NEWINGTON â€“ Itâ€™s make or break time for Newington girls lacrosse.
At 6-8, the Norâ€™easters have just two games remaining in the regular season, needing two wins to qualify for the state tournament, while one victory would leave them right on the bubble.
Newington will host Berlin and Rocky Hill next week in a pair of games thatâ€™ll determine its postseason fate.
â€śWe have two really competitive games next week that Iâ€™m really excited for against Berlin and Rocky Hill,â€ť Norâ€™easters coach Jamie Hale said. â€śI really think those are winnable games and Iâ€™m hoping we can go to stateâ€™s.â€ť
Monday, the Redcoats roll in and theyâ€™ll also be fighting for their playoff lives as they need to win out to advance. Currently, Berlin has lost five straight, but have games against Tolland and Avon in between its matchup with Newington.
The Redcoatsâ€™ last win came against Windsor, 14-9, on May, 4.
â€śIâ€™m excited for our next couple of games,â€ť Norâ€™easters junior Morgan Hellman said. â€śWeâ€™re playing Berlin, thatâ€™s always a good game. We were already getting hyped for this game, but thatâ€™s just going to make it even better so weâ€™re excited to play.â€ť
Then on Wednesday, Newington will battle Rocky Hill in its regular-season finale, another team seeking a playoff slot. After starting the season 5-0, Rocky Hill has only won twice since then and need just one more victory to secure a spot.
â€śTwo rough games left but I think weâ€™re ready to bring it and we can pull through,â€ť Norâ€™easters sophomore Hailey Gaydos said.
In Newingtonâ€™s loss to RHAM on Tuesday, Hellman and Gaydos paced the offense with a combined seven goals. However, Hale points out her offense hasnâ€™t relied on two scorers to bring the scoring punch much this season.
â€śTen of our girls have had goals throughout the varsity season, so it has been spread out, but they are certainly some of our stronger goal scorers,â€ť Hale said.
The Norâ€™easters are also a fairly young group with just six seniors. At this point though, Hellman and Gaydos feel that the inexperience isnâ€™t as big of a factor as it was earlier on in the season.
â€śI think we have a good bond so everyone is confident, willing to try things, which is really good because this is the time to do so,â€ť Hellman said. â€śYouâ€™re not going to get better if you donâ€™t try. We have a good bond that helps them get the experience.â€ť
â€śEveryoneâ€™s learning [from] each other and becoming friends, I think we learn how everyone plays and how that can better us in a game,â€ť Gaydos said.
Keeping the spirits high and the nerves loose is Haleâ€™s goal as Newington hopes to return to the postseason after qualifying in 2019 with a 12-7 record. The Norâ€™easters lost to Pomperaug, 18-4, during the first round.
â€śWe just really need to stay positive,â€ť Hale said. â€śWe really need to keep up our endurance and make sure that weâ€™re hydrating. We also need to make sure that our midfield transitions are clean because thatâ€™s where we were losing the ball the first half [Tuesday]. I feel like we cleaned it up the second half but we need to be more consistent.â€ť
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.