BRISTOL - With its recent success, the Bristol Central girls volleyball team is hoping to get a tougher schedule in the coming years, similar to cross-town rival Bristol Eastern.
Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Lancers, the Rams had played just two winning teams, compared to the four the Lancers had played.
Bristol Central beat Simsbury (8-2) in five sets and lost to Seymour (3-1), the two teams it has faced with winning records.
“It’s a huge advantage,” Bristol Central head coach Holly Willette said. “It prepares you so much more for this type of game. So hopefully next year we’ll be able to get some more tougher teams in the beginning of our schedule to help push them and make them realize what it takes to kind of fight through and overcome this type of team.”
The Rams are a talented team, but with their nearly quarter-century losing streak to Bristol Eastern in their minds, being battle tested may have been an issue, especially in the third set when Bristol Central held a lead with just a few points left and let the Lancers come back.
“We came out scared, timid and we played frantic,” Willette said following Wednesday’s match. “We didn’t communicate as a team and we just psyched ourselves out I think. I have no words.”
Under third-year head coach Willette, the Rams won six games in 2016, 13 last year and already had eight wins entering Friday’s match against Wethersfield with nine matches left to play.
“They are definitely more competitive [now],” Bristol Eastern head coach Stacy Rivoira said. “I think if you look at our schedule, I think it also needs to be said that we’re playing all the No. 1 and 2 teams in our league and they’re playing all of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.”
Getting to face the Lancers twice every season only helps Bristol Central, despite the long losing streak.
“We absolutely are making progress,” Willette said. “They’re doing a great job and I think the young mentality of kind of persevering all of the Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern hoopla is hard and it’s tough. They need to have a different mindset going into it I think and all we can do is work on it.”