BERLIN - The Berlin girls soccer team have every intention to make sure 2018 ends better than the way 2017 did.
Of course, it’s going to be a lot to ask after the Redcoats turned in one of the program’s best seasons in 20 years when they reached their first Class M state finals since 1998, upsetting top-seeded Lewis Mills in the semifinals along the way.
But after falling short of the title by three goals to Granby in the championship game, this year will be about finding away to hoist the trophy.
With roster full of talent, Berlin believes it has all the pieces to get the team where it wants to be as well as the right mental makeup to get there.
“When I met with the girls for the first time in early June, I could already sense that feeling of desire and motivation to get back to the state final and hopefully win it,” head coach Alex Joslyn said. “We also have other goals in mind, such as winning a conference title and hosting a state playoff game.”
Of course, there will be some challenges along the way. The Redcoats are now on their third head coach in as many seasons. Joslyn served as an assistant for the boys program the last three years, but the players have liked what they’ve seen from their new coach.
“I think coach Joslyn has been doing a really good job especially stepping up,” senior goalkeeper Lindsay Walsh said. “I know that he’s young, but I really like what he’s doing with our team. I like the atmosphere that he’s brought to us.”
The Redcoats will also be without All-State midfielder Julia Sisti this season. The good news is the amount of talent that is returning.
Walsh will be back in goal for her final season in a Berlin uniform. Against Lewis Mills, a game that came down to penalty kicks, she deflected three of the Spartans’ four attempts to send them to the championship game.
The Redcoats will also be returning senior forward Maxine Muscatello, junior defender Amy Kuckel, junior midfielder Lea Cabral and sophomore forward Ashley Wenzel. Junior defender Maria Butrimas will also be making her presence known on the field after returning from a season-ending injury last year.
“Obviously we have to adjust to the loss of our seniors,” Walsh said. “But I feel like with the new system we have going we’ll be able to work through it and we’ll be back to how we were, we won’t skip a beat.”
The Redcoats also have an incredibly deep freshmen class coming in which includes midfielder Kyle Gentile.
“I feel like we’re made up of half freshmen,” Walsh said. “I’ve actually been really impressed with them. There are a lot of really strong girls coming to the team this year.”
And even as the Redcoats have the talent, they know the road to the championship will not be easy.
“I feel like it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication,” Walsh said. “Just like last year, you really have to have the heart because getting there is a mental thing too. It’s my last year so I’m really hoping we make it to the final, that’s my main goal. I really want to have a strong season and go out with a bang.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org