While last seasonâ€™s records might not show it, there was plenty of growth last season between the three area girls lacrosse teams. But while each is heading in the right direction, they still know there is more to accomplish.
A season ago, Berlin reached the qualifying round in the Class M state tournament, while Southington made it to the first round. But this year, both teams are looking for an even deeper run.
Newington, meanwhile, finished its season with just three wins.
But both the Indians and the Redcoats should be interesting to watch as both are under new management.
Cassidy Goodwin is taking over for Bridget Sheehan after four seasons leading Berlin, while Allison Hoffman takes over for the Indians after first-year head coach Gary Harrigan stepped down.
There will be some questions along the way with whether or not the new head coaches be able to get their respective programs into the state tournament chief among them.
But all three teams were rather young last season and this year, after accruing some valuable playing time, should be more competitive.
Here is a closer look at the teams:
Head Coach: Cassidy Goodwin (1st season)
Last Year: 7-9
Key Losses: Taylor Smolicz, Olivia Curtin, Amanda Lee, Danielle Skates, Julia DelVecchio, Claudia Zovich, Lucia Addamo, Julia Swiatek, Amanda Lee, Jaclyn Lombardo
Key Returnees: Cara Wade (senior/midfield), Morgan Luciani (senior/midfield), Cameron Michalek (senior/attack), Amanda Funari (senior/attack), Emily Beisel (senior/attack), Nadia Humen (junior/goalie)
Outlook: Although Berlin qualified for the postseason last year, the Redcoats are looking to take the next step as a program under new head coach Cassidy Goodwin.
But first, Berlin will have to replace some veteran players and leadership. The Redcoats graduated 10 seniors from last season, seven of whom were starters. But Berlin should still be optimistic heading into the season.
The Redcoats still have a roster with a good number of upperclassmen, including Cara Wade and Morgan Luciani, who have seen substantial playing time and should only be beneficial.
While itâ€™s still a little too early to tell what kind of team Berlin will ultimately be, all signs point back to the upwards trend the program started on just a few years ago.
Head Coach: Allison Hoffman (1st season)
Last Year: 3-14
Key Losses: Neve Mannion, Megan Andrews, McKenna Gernander, Bella Pilkey, Vicky Skonieczny, Symantha Fazzio
Key Returnees: Grace Bielesz (senior/midfield/defense), Ali Houldcroft (senior/midfield/attack), Madelyn Mangiafico (senior/defense), Kiley Davis (senior/defense), Maya Gajowiak (junior/attack)
Outlook: To say it was a rough 2017 season for the Indians would be an understatement. The team won just three games compared to 14 losses, but perhaps the only place it can go is up.
Newington will be under a new head coach in Allison Hoffman, which could bring a new perspective to how the team plays.
The Indians did lose several quality players that were important pieces last year, including Megan Andrews and McKenna Gernander, but this should not be a problem. The Indians have a veteran-laden roster with key pieces returning at almost every position from attack to midfield to defense.
One of those pieces is Maya Gajowiak, a returning all-conference attacker.
In her sophomore season, she was one of the Newingtonâ€™s top offensive threats, netting an astounding 75 goals, an almost five-a-game average.
Head Coach: Jillian Pomposi (5th season)
Last Year: 9-7
Key Loss: Morgan Raymond
Key Returnee: Stephanie Zera (senior)
Outlook: The Blue Knights made a number of positive strides during their 2017 campaign, before falling to perennial power Darien in the first round.
Last season many of this yearâ€™s underclassmen were able to get playing time, which should only have added value experience to bring into this season.
Another bright side is the Blue Knights did not lose too many players, having only graduated one from a year ago.
But the big question is whether Southington be able to fill in the spot of all-conference midfielder Morgan Raymond.
The Blue Knights do have senior Stephanie Zera returning for her final year and she should have a big impact on the team.
As of right now, though, the season has all the makings to be a good one for Southington.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org