The spring season is finally underway and plenty of area athletes are playing to their fullest potential to ensure their respective teams come out on top.
New Britain’s Larissa Tabb and Berlin's Mike DeMaio have done exactly that over the past week.
The New Britain girls tennis team collected a big win over Berlin on Tuesday, its first of the season, which left head coach Joe Canzanella momentarily speechless.
Tabb played a key role as the senior defeated Berlin’s Jess Webber during the No. 2 singles match in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-1 as the Hurricanes went on to beat the Redcoats 5-2.
“Larissa did excellent,” Canzanella said. “I moved her from the No. 3 spot to the No. 2 based on her performance last match. She came through and beat Berlin’s No. 2 player in a very confident way.”
Not only does Tabb bring her vast knowledge of tennis to the team, but she is also a leader. Tabb believes the reason why they were able to perform so well on Tuesday was because of their team dynamic.
“During practices we work really well together,” Tabb said of her team. “We have certain lineups, formations, everything that we have to do as a team. We’re cooperative and we’re not bad when it comes to taking instructions. We’re able to work on things so we can get better.”
And while the season has just begun, Tabb has already set the bar high for herself and the rest of the Hurricanes. She would like to win as many matches as possible, then ultimately advance to the Class L state tournament.
Last season, New Britain made it only as far as the qualifying round before a 7-0 loss to Fairfield Ludlowe.
“Hopefully I make it to states this year, me, the team,” Tabb said. “I think that that would be really awesome if we made it there and I think we have the potential to go there.”
DeMaio certainly did his part during the Berlin boys lacrosse team’s 18-3 win over Bristol Eastern on Friday.
The Redcoats had 11 different players find the back of the net, but it was the sophomore who finished with the big game, tying for the game-high scores with three.
But what made Friday particularly special for the DeMaio and the Redcoats wasn’t the performance of a young player taking advantage of an opportunity to try and earn varsity time. It was the story behind the goals.
DeMaio hasn’t had it easy. His mother recently passed away from cancer and as a way to honor her, Berlin players wear a yellow “KD” on their helmets.
“Michael is a truly inspiring person” Redcoats head coach Scott Rossi said. “He is so positive and really keeps things in perspective for all of us. He’s always smiling.”
And Friday afternoon, the sophomore had plenty to smile about and took advantage of that varsity playing time. Placed right behind the back of the net, the attackman’s three goals all came in one quarter.
“I knew coach said that we were probably getting a run [at getting in],” DeMaio said. “I’m happy I got to go in and score some goals.”
“We love having [DeMaio] on the team,” Rossi said. “He’s such a hard worker and has a big heart. When we can get him involved in games like [Friday], we really love to. He one of our younger guys and when I get a chance to get him out there with the varsity team it’s really exciting for us.”
There was plenty to be excited about for DeMaio and going forward, the future could be a bright one.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org