Senior captains from Bristolâ€™s two public schools have been chosen as the â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť honorees for area scholastic sports. They are Olivia Beaudoin of the Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team and Ryan Rodriguez of the Bristol Central football team.
Beaudoin, the daughter of Michael and Marianne Beaudoin, has been a steady player for coach Stacy Rivoira, whose team was ranked No. 4 going into post-season play before losing to No. 1 and undefeated Woodstock Academy on Nov. 14 in the semifinals of the Class L tournament. The Lancers ended the season with a respectable 17-4 record.
â€śOlivia was an unsung hero on our team in many games,â€ť Rivoira said. â€śShe became a strong right side hitter this year, who we relied on to put down kills at key moments. Her ability to put down kills and create an offensive threat on the right side helped balance out our offense and put pressure on other teams. She is an easy player to root for because she is an unselfish player who worked hard to be the best teammate she could possibly become. She enthusiastically supported her teammates and modeled unselfishness both on and off the court.
â€śI am so proud of Olivia for all the time and effort she put into becoming a solid player for our team and a leader we could count on. She did everything I asked of her over four years at Bristol Eastern and always played and practiced with a positive attitude that the team could feed off of. She was a fun player to coach. She is a student-athlete in every sense of the word and a person any coach would love to have on their team. Oliviaâ€™s discipline and work ethic both in the classroom and on the volleyball court are to be admired. She is very deserving of Athlete of the Week, because she represents everything that Bristol Eastern volleyball stands for.â€ť
Beaudoin reflected on a successful senior campaign.
â€śMy [teamâ€™s] season was a season to remember,â€ť Beaudoin said. â€śWe all had the same goals and had great chemistry. We went really far this year, because we had the same work ethic and an outstanding coaching staff.â€ť
Beaudoin only started playing the sport as a freshman. Her older sisters, Victoria and Rachel, played volleyball and soccer, respectively, for the Lancers.
In addition to volleyball, Olivia Beaudoin also plays as a starter on the boys golf team at school, doing so as a junior this past spring for the first time.
â€śI like the calmness of the sport, but I also like how it challenges you mentally,â€ť she said.
As far as college next year for Olivia Beaudoin, she wonâ€™t be playing a varsity sport, but will look into taking part in either intramural or club sports. Rachel Beaudoin, she added, played softball for Fairfield University.
Rodriguez, the son of Ralph and Vanessa Rodriguez, won annual defensive game honors for Bristol Central after its 24-19 victory over Bristol Eastern on Friday. He was selected for his efforts throughout the game, including a key fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. His coach, Jeff Papazian, only had good things to say about Rodriguez after the game.
â€śHe is one of the better defensive ends in the conference and what he does for us on offense in terms of blocking the run game often goes unnoticed,â€ť Papazian said. Heâ€™s the one the players all gravitate to and heâ€™s been able to handle that role and be really good at it. He ranks right up there with the best defensive ends weâ€™ve had here at Central.â€ť
Fitzgerald was pleased with this season.
â€śOverall, it was a great season,â€ť Rodriguez said. â€śWe proved a lot of people wrong. Iâ€™m just proud of my team and the work they put in.
â€śEastern played a great game, they gave us a run, but I never doubted my team, I knew weâ€™d pull through. Iâ€™m happy that no one gave up at any point, everyone knew weâ€™d pull through. In the second half, I knew weâ€™d have to come up with a big play. â€¦ I recovered the fumble for us to get the ball back.â€ť
When asked what it was that he likes about the game, there was plenty to say.
â€śI love the atmosphere playing in the game and the fans,â€ť Rodriguez said. â€śItâ€™s more of a family thing. Youâ€™re with them in the summer and you get to know a lot of people. I love just being able to hit someone, it gets you through a lot. Whatever you are going on [in life], football gets you through it.â€ť
He also plays basketball and baseball for the school.
â€śIn baseball, I love hitting,â€ť Rodriguez said. â€śItâ€™s probably what Iâ€™m best at. In basketball, I like the pressure. Knowing you have to make the shot and itâ€™s knowing you have the ball at the end of the game.â€ť
College is in Rodriguezâ€™s plans for the next school year. He plans to continue his football playing, while studying to become a physical education teacher.
Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.