Two Berlin sports teams have been hit by the injury bug this year, but that hasnâ€™t stopped either of them from thriving on the field and keeping state tournament hopes alive.
This past week, both Redcoats squads received big individual performances to notch key victories and continue their narratives of success despite losing key players to injuries this season.
Taylor Edman and Jamie Palmese are this weekâ€™s Athletes of the Week for bolstering their shorthanded squads.
The Berlin soccer team lost one of its top players in Ashley Wenzel to an injury before the season began, but the Redcoats still managed to enter their Senior Night game on Tuesday with an 8-4-1 record. Hosting Platt, the senior Edman recorded a hat trick on a night where every senior on Berlinâ€™s roster scored a goal, including Edman, whose three goals in the game bumped her season total to a team-high seven.
â€śAfter losing our leading goal scorer (Wenzel) to injury, we needed someone to step up and Taylor did right from the start,â€ť head coach Alex Joslyn said. â€śIn her first game back from her own injury that caused her to miss the opening game, she scored the game winning goal vs. Wethersfield. I don't know if I was happier she scored or relieved she was not seriously hurt as we initially thought.â€ť
Edman was able to fight off a potential injury that would have thinned Berlinâ€™s roster even more, instead stepping up and thriving in multiple roles. She also is second on the team with four assists, and does whatever the Redcoats need to continue their success.
"Taylor has the ability to play multiple positions at a very high level,â€ť Joslyn said. â€śHer first two years she was an outside midfielder, last year she was a center midfielder, and this year she is a striker. More impressively, wherever she plays, she is always helping the team out defensively. That just goes to speak to the type of person and player Taylor is.â€ť
Edman showed Berlin what it will be missing on Senior Night, but first, sheâ€™s looking to lead the Redcoats through the state tournament before her high school season comes to a close.
"We are going to miss Taylor next year, no question at all,â€ť Joslyn said. â€śShe has been a role model for all of the younger girls on the team and shows how to lead by her actions. She is probably one of the most unselfish and coachable players I have ever been around. But, before she graduates, I know she has some things she wants the team to accomplish first.â€ť
The Berlin soccer team thrived off its experience to end its regular season, but the Berlin football team is succeeding with a load of underclassmen who have stepped up following season-ending injuries to key starters. The Redcoats routed Avon on Friday night to move to 6-1 on the season, and their sophomore wide receiver Palmese was a big part of their success.
Palmese scored the first touchdown of the night with a 44-yard score on a crossing route, then made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone later in the game to spark a boisterous celebration from the bench, who watched Palmese get a toe down in the end zone just before being pushed out of bounds.
â€śJamie Palmese is probably the most physically gifted athlete Iâ€™ve ever seen on the football field,â€ť head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. â€śWe call him the Scout Team Killer, because he just makes our defense look like they donâ€™t know what theyâ€™re doing. Heâ€™s always jumping in the air and landing on the ground making these catches. Heâ€™s an incredible athlete.â€ť
Palmese began the season as primarily a running back, but has translated into more of a receiver role given the injuries that have piled up. But it hasnâ€™t affected Palmese, who has been a vital role of the Redcoatsâ€™ offense and a big reason the team is still within striking distance of a playoff berth.
The sophomore now has 162 rushing yards and 175 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the season.
â€śItâ€™s been awesome,â€ť Palmese said. â€śItâ€™s a lot of hard work paying off for all of us.â€ť
The Redcoats play at East Catholic on Friday night.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 804-5094 or email@example.com