BERLIN – An aggressive approach fueled the Berlin girls soccer team past E.O. Smith on Wednesday at Scalise Field.
Taking a 3-0 lead into halftime against the then-undefeated Panthers, the Redcoats weren't afraid to be physical during a second half that saw the temperature of the game increase. Multiple fouls were called on both teams, but Berlin seemed comfortable in the chippy environment as it hung on for the 3-1 victory.
“Hopefully they see the writing on the wall, when we're physical, good things happen,” Redcoats coach Alex Joslyn said. “[Against] Wethersfield, we kind of got pushed around a little bit and last Monday against [Bristol] Eastern was the same thing.
“[Tuesday], we came back to our game of being more physical and I think that definitely affected the way E.O. Smith played,” Joslyn said.
Joslyn felt Berlin played its best game to date against the Panthers and credited his team's sharp focus early in the match.
“I think they came out with energy,” Joslyn said. “Sometimes we come out flat, but they came out right from the get-go. They came out 100 miles-per-hour and they didn't let up. If they made a mistake they moved on and that's why they were able to get those chances. Luckily we were able to finish those.”
Kylie Jefferson, Julia Salina and Sam Negrao potted all three of Redcoats' goals in the first half to hand E.O. Smith its first loss.
It's been a bit of an up-and-down start to the season for Berlin as Tuesday's win pushed its overall record to 2-1-1. A 2-1 loss to Maloney opened the Redcoats' schedule before they beat Eastern, 4-3, and tied Wethersfield, 0-0.
Joslyn admitted they're still trying to figure out some roles on this year's squad after losing Ashley Wenzel and Jenna Zupp, two All-State players, from the 2020 roster.
“We're looking for a striker,” Joslyn said. “We've been doing some rotations. [Tuesday] it was Jenna Wenzel, she did a great job. Other girls too such as Clare McGeever, a senior, and Kylie Jefferson, who's coming off an ACL injury who put that first [goal] in.
“We're not going to have a girl that scores 20 goals,” Joslyn said. “We're going to share it and they've done a great job doing that so far. I'm excited to see what's to come the remaining of the season.”
Berlin also boasts a bevy of experience with 10 seniors, so it shouldn't take the Redcoats too long to settle in and find that consistency.
“Eight have started since they were sophomores,” Joslyn said. “It starts all the way back from our keeper and it works all the way back up top. This team is senior heavy. They're great kids, they've been with me for four years. They're my first four-year group. Told them the first time I had them I think they're capable of doing some great things and [Tuesday] they showed what they can do.”
Natalia Chorzepa, Jocelyn DiMatteo, Gwen Tighe, Lauren Mcbride, Olivia Salina, Morgan Biello, Kylie Gentile and Grace Lazzara join Jefferson and McGeever as the 10 Berlin seniors.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.