BERLIN - From the very first play of the 2017 regular season, senior forward Julia Sisti set the tone for the Berlin girls soccer season.
“She came to practice every single day ready to work hard and push her teammates,” Redcoats head coach Katie Amenta said. “As a captain, she led by example in every event, giving everything she had, making those around her better.”
Berlin responded with a strong showing to start the season, going 2-1 in its first three games while outscoring opponents 13-1.
Sisti did her part on the offensive end. The forward scored five goals, including a four-goal performance against in the Redcoats' 7-0 win over Platt Sept. 12th. This after Sisti scored in the season-opening win over Maloney.
In the end, the senior’s performance on the season earned Sisti her third consecutive All-State selection. But more importantly, she also helped propel the Redcoats to one of their most successful seasons as a program, one that saw them reach their first championship game since 1998.
It was during their Class M tournament run that Sisti provided some of the team’s biggest moments.
After closing out the regular season with an 8-8 record to earn the 20th seed in the bracket, Berlin cruised through the first two rounds after beating East Catholic and Platt Tech by scores of 2-0 and 7-0. But tied 1-1 in the quarterfinals against Cromwell, Sisti scored the game-winning goal with nine seconds left to give the Redcoats a 2-1 win and a semifinal matchup against No. 1 Lewis Mills, where Sisti would deliver yet again.
With a trip to the title game on the line, Sisti advanced Berlin with the winning penalty kick. The Redcoats would go on to fall in the Class M title game 3-0 to Granby Memorial. Still, it was certainly a memorable moment for Sisiti.
“Being able to make it to the state championship this season with a young team was a great accomplishment,” Sisti said. “I will always remember the tournament run we made as the 20th seed.”
And Amenta had nothing but praise for the star forward, calling Sisti a student-athlete every coach wants on their team.
“Over the years Sisti gained confidence in her skill and play she was able to step up in several games, scoring goals, or defending key players to help us win,” Amenta said. “She has phenomenal footwork. Her shot could put a hole in the net, and her stamina is unmatched.”
Sisti’s accomplishments go further back than her time with the Redcoats. She began playing soccer when she was just 5 years old and started playing mini kickers for Berlin and then moved onto travel soccer. But Sisti said she owes a lot of her success to her grandfather.
“My grandfather was the one who put the ball at my feet for the first time,” Sisti said. “Since then, we have shared a passion for the sport. He always used to spend time teaching me how to kick the ball and teaching me tricks from his days of playing, and he has definitely shaped me into the player that I am.”
Sisti has come a long way since the age of five. She is committed to play soccer for Division-II Stonehill College next fall.
“Playing college soccer has always been a goal of mine,” Sisit said. “All of the support that my parents and family have provided has helped me get to this point.”
Although playing collegiate soccer was an important factor, the primary reason Sisti chose Stonehill because of their academics. Sisti plans on majoring in health science and is looking to one day work in the medical field.
“I looked at schools at all levels, but after I visited Stonehill and sat in on some classes, I instantly knew that it was a perfect fit for me,” Sisti said. “I attended multiple camps at the school and got to know some of the players and coaches. The program is very competitive and I love the positive team atmosphere that I saw. I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to play there.”
Berlin will certainly miss Sisti next season, both for her offensive abilities and her leadership skills. But Amenta expects Sisti to be just as successful in college. The head coach said she has never met an athlete who loves the game of soccer more than Sisti does, her passion is the reason she is so successful on the field.
“Overall, Julia is one of kind,” Amenta said. “She is a national honor student, phenomenal athlete and all-around great kid. She’s someone I hope my own daughters grow up to emulate.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @shelbyiava