BERLIN - Berlin’s Tyler Ralph went into Thursday’s game against Rocky Hill with the mindset to win, but little did he know he would be achieving a milestone.
Against the Terriers, the attackman put up three goals in the 16-4 win, one of them being his 100th career goal.
“The game overall was just a great game,” Ralph said. “It felt good to score my 100th goal but more importantly, we beat [Rocky Hill]. Hitting 100 was never really a goal in my mind. I just started getting closer and closer and I just did what I had to do.”
Ralph has been playing varsity since his freshman season and during his first year, he put up an impressive 42 goals. His goal totals only increased from there. Now in his junior campaign for the Redcoats, Ralph has netted 36 goals this season alone.
“Tyler is a fantastic kid and a hard worker,” Berlin lacrosse coach Scott Rossi said. “He really loves his teammates and the game. He has started for our varsity team all three years, but he has always been a team-first, humble kid.”
While Ralph’s offensive game has been key for a Redcoats team that is 13-3 on currently on an eight-game win streak this season, he developed his skills long before stepping on the varsity field. At the age of seven, he joined Berlin’s youth lacrosse association and has been playing ever since.
“My older brother played lacrosse and I started learning how to catch and throw,” Ralph said. “I instantly fell in love with the sport.”
Lacrosse doesn’t just run in his immediate family either. Ralph’s cousin, Cameron Criniti, was another leading factor in him playing.
“I would say one of the bigger inspirations I have is my cousin,” Ralph said. “He's always been good at lacrosse and it pushes me to work harder and be better than him. Just a little family competition, that’s all.”
Criniti is in his third year at the University of Connecticut, where he plays on the men’s club lacrosse team.
But what’s interesting about the two, not only do they share the love of the sport, but they also wear the same number, 13. Criniti had the number first and Ralph simply just wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ve been 13 since I was a freshman,” Ralph said. “I’ve had it all three years and Cam, wore it when he was in high school and now he has it in college.”
“No one else was going to take it,” he added. “I wanted that number. My older brother had 13 for hockey and so did I. So 13 I guess is just a number that runs in the family.”
Yet even with all of the individual stats and family accomplishments, there is something Ralph still wants to do. Berlin has one game left in the regular season Thursday against Windsor, and like the rest of the Redcoats, the junior has his sights set on a deep postseason run in the Class M tournament. Winning, after all, is the most important thing.
“The only goal I have, and it’s the rest of the teams goal, is to win a ring,” Ralph said. “That’s always what every high school team competes for and we are in a really good spot right now to achieve that goal.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org