BRISTOL - This year’s Berlin boys lacrosse team has a much different look than teams of recent years.
Ten different players scored goals for the Redcoats in Friday’s 16-2 win over Bristol Eastern, which is a noticeable departure from the offense they’ve had in the last few seasons.
“What I really like about this team, what really makes them special is that in years past we did have one or two guys that we really leaned on to control the offense. This year, the ball is really spread out more,” Berlin coach Scott Rossi said. “We have a lot of guys contributing. Instead of guys scoring goals in bunches, I now have guys [scoring] two goals, one assist [or] two assists.”
In addition to having so many players contribute on Friday, those contributions came from players up and down the lineup. At least one player from each grade netted a goal against the Lancers: one freshman, four sophomores, four juniors and one senior. Freshman Mike DeMaio’s goal received probably the biggest reaction from his teammates, as the big guy backed into the Bristol Eastern defense with three defenders draped on him and scored.
The balanced output was thanks in large part to the fact that Rossi was able to get all of his players into Friday’s game. With the score so lopsided so early, it gave Rossi the opportunity to get the less experienced players into the game and he took it.
“I love that because my young guys practice all week with the varsity guys,” he said, “and to really be able to reward them with valuable minutes on the field and to give them opportunities to get touches and get involved is special. It’s special for them. They remember it. It’s good to be able to reward everybody on the team.”
The feeling is not exclusive to the head coach either. The players feel the same way.
“It’s good to incorporate everyone,” said junior defender Jack Lombardo, who had a goal in the game. “It’s not just about one player. It’s about the whole team.”
Even though the game was out of reach for most of the game for Bristol Eastern, it’s still not easy to insert every player on as deep as bench as Berlin has and Rossi was grateful that his team, especially its leaders, were able to handle it.
“I give my starting guys a lot of credit for working the ball and controlling the tempo of the game so I could get everybody involved,” he said.
While it certainly is a big change, having so many sources of offense is a welcomed one for Rossi.
“They’re really unselfish. The stats really show it this season,” the head coach said. “I’ve been really happy with that. We don’t have that go-to guy; we have a bunch of guys.”
There were some question marks entering this season for the Redcoats about experience and offensive output - mostly because of departing seniors - but they have answered those doubts. Berlin played a sound game on both ends of the field against Bristol Eastern and that’s what Rossi wants to see from his team all season.
“As a sixth-year varsity team, my expectations are a lot higher for them,” he said. “We should be able to move the ball. We should be throwing and catching with regularity. I’m really happy with how they moved their feet off-ball [Friday]. I think that we had a lot of guys cutting through. There was a lot of good ball movement and control. That’s really our expectation for them. They did a good job [Friday].”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @K_baum30