BERLIN â€“ During Berlinâ€™s boys lacrosse game against Southington on Monday, the Redcoats played well in the third quarter. Trailing 7-2, Berlin cut the deficit to four goals after giving up eight straight to the Blue Knights, but ultimately the Redcoats needed a more consistent showing in the defeat.
Southington was simply better than Berlin for three of the four quarters as it outscored the home team 11-3 in quarters one, two and four. Finding that balanced, complete-game production has been a struggle for the Redcoats through 11 games this season.
â€śOne of our Achilles heels on the season is really generating consistent offense,â€ť Berlin coach Scott Rossi said. â€śThe past few games weâ€™ve been slow starters, weâ€™ve tended to have to kind of chase and come from behind. I was really pleased with the fact that they were pushing the [gas] early and put us up early [Monday]. Thatâ€™s a step in the right direction.â€ť
John Mcgeever and Danny Verenesi started the scoring with two quick goals for the Redcoats. However, the Blue Knights prevented Berlin from scoring again until the third quarter, garnering the bulk of the possession through the first half.
Mcgeever, Vernesi and Gavin Jordan each scored in the third to make it 9-5, but another surge from Southington during the fourth quarter was too much for the Redcoats.
â€śI think we were 9-5 for a while there,â€ť Rossi said. â€śThen we just ran out of gas, just because weâ€™re a Class M school, so we donâ€™t quite have the numbers that they have. The wheels kind of come off late in games sometimes, guys are tired and weâ€™re looking to get them quick rest and back out on the field.â€ť
Inexperience also runs within the Berlin lineup as just seven of the 31 players on the roster are seniors.
Â â€śWe ask a lot of these kids,â€ť Rossi said. â€śIâ€™m super proud of them this season, especially. Coming off the extended break and a lot of these guys not having varsity experience and just hitting the ground running this season and playing high reps and high minutes against teams like Southington, Simsbury, itâ€™s a great learning experience for them.â€ť
Losers of four straight, the Redcoats are in a rebuilding year. Just one season removed from a 12-4 record and the No. 5 seed in the Class M state tournament, Berlin wonâ€™t finish with a winning record this season.
Despite that, the plethora of young Redcoats players should be an encouraging sign for a team thatâ€™s trying to replace 20 upperclassmen from the 2018-19 season.
Berlin goalie Adam Gauvin, a sophomore, looks to be a staple in net for the Redcoats as he made 10 saves against the Blue Knights while R.J. Mrachek, another second-year, notched a goal Monday.
In a season like this, victories arenâ€™t necessarily the only thing that matters. Showing progress against quality competition might not benefit in the short term, but it should set a team up for the future and thatâ€™s exactly what Berlin is striving for.
â€śIâ€™m not happy to lose but it was good to be competitive with Southington,â€ť Rossi said. â€śThatâ€™s what we want.â€ť
The Redcoats (2-9) will visit Newington on Thursday at 3:45 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.