Two Bristol Eastern students share â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť honors with regards to area high school sports. They are junior Myah Croze of the girls soccer team and senior Ariza Kolloverja, a captain of the schoolâ€™s football team.
Croze, the daughter of Greg and Tammy Croze, earns the honor for a second straight year. She was among those who helped the Lancers to two victories last week, an 8-2 win over visiting Platt on Monday and 4-3 overtime triumph against South Windsor on Saturday.
In the first game of the week, the 2016 all-conference forward netted three goals and in the second contest, scored the winning tally with assistance from teammates Brooke Dauphinee and Jenna Soucy.
â€śAgainst Platt, we knew we had to combine as a team and play to our level,â€ť Croze said. â€śWe used outsiders a lot because we knew we can have an advantage there.â€ť
The South Windor match was a come-from-behind victory.
â€śWe were down 3-1 at the half and I think we just wanted to win more, so we left everything on the field and played to the best of our ability as a team,â€ť Croze said. â€śWe knew it was going to be tough, so we knew we had to play well to win.â€ť
Entering this week with a 3-3 team mark, the juniorâ€™s advice to younger players would be to always work hard.
â€śIn the end it will pay off,â€ť Croze said. â€śAlways do your best even when you think you canâ€™t.â€ť
Croze added that she has benefited from playing sports in different ways.
â€śItâ€™s given me more confidence,â€ť Croze said. â€śItâ€™s taught me to play with other people and you have to work hard if you want something. Itâ€™s nice to learn everyone elseâ€™s perspective of the game.â€ť
Kolloverja, the son of Naile Kolloverja, is a running back, strong safety and receiver for Eastern coach Anthony Julius whose charges are now 1-2 on the season. On Friday, he and the Lancers beat visiting Newington 9-7 to snap a 17-game losing streak and earn their first win as a program since 2015. Offensively, he carried the ball 30 times for 172 yards as well as catching a pass for 10.
â€śIt feels amazing to win,â€ť Kolloverja said. â€śI havenâ€™t had this feeling in a while. The reason why we won is because our team is dedicated, hardworking and we never give up.â€ť
Another reason for the victory was Kolloverjaâ€™s performances on both sides of the ball. Coming into the game, he wanted a bigger role within the offense.
â€śI asked [Julius] for more touches,â€ť Kolloverja said. â€śI believe in my ability to help us win games. The previous game I had only two touches. I thought that I could impact the game.â€ť
The â€śAOWâ€ť pick then said he wants the Lancers to play a .500 season, and he hopes to be responsible for some part of it as a captain.
â€śFor me, itâ€™s to keep the team united and to set an example for others,â€ť Kolloverja said.
And like Croze, he, too, has gotten something of out playing his favorite sport.
â€śItâ€™s kept me motivated, to just keep going,â€ť said Kolloverja. â€śItâ€™s created a family and friendships with the teammates I have. Itâ€™s given me a lot of life lessons that I wouldnâ€™t have gotten without playing football.â€ť