When the clock reached zero between the Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern girls soccer teams Tuesday it marked the end of both teams’ regular seasons. It also marked a new era in the rivalry between the two teams.
The game ended in a 2-2 tie, giving both teams 8-5-3 records entering the postseason.
Central was down two in the final 15 minutes of the match until a pair of goals from Salvatrice Bosoco and Rachel Wygant knotted the game to force overtime.
A late goal from Bosco in the teams’ first matchup this year on Oct. 8 gave the Rams their first win over the Lancers since Sept. 30, 2014.
“That’s one of the things we had talked a lot about even in the preseason,” Central head coach Ginny Godbout said. “That win against them in the first game and then just coming back and being able to tie it back up after being down 2-0 says a lot about our girls and about our leadership that we have on our team. We have a lot of experienced girls who have really stepped up and shown a lot.”
The Rams are 9-14-5 against their crosstown rival since 2006, but actually had the upper hand over the Lancers from 2006-2014 with a 9-8-3 record prior to the losing skid.
The tide started to shift again when the two teams tied in the final game of the 2017 season. Another tie and an overtime win for Eastern in their two 2018 matchups showed Central was on the verge of getting that elusive win.
“It’s really awesome,” Bosco said. “A lot of my teammates that I played with last year had never beaten Eastern before, so for them to come see the games and come see us do so well against them, it’s for them.”
The last time Eastern was unable to win either of its games opposite Central was in 2008. Lancers head coach Scott Redman said the rivalry is one of the most intense in Connecticut.
“It’s always a battle,” Redman said. “It’s always a tight game, tonight that was pretty clear. It’s a pretty emotional game for the girls. They definitely get up for it, both sides. It’s one of the best rivalries in the state in my opinion. They got us this year once and tied the other, so they kind of won this year. It’s a pretty good even match, [the] kids play together growing up and then they go different ways throughout school so it’s a fun rivalry for sure.”
Since 2006, 17 of 28 contests between Eastern and Central were decided by one goal or fewer.
“I believe every time we step on this field that rivalry sparks up,” Eastern senior Leah Policarpio said. “I think it always comes down to who works harder and who can finish, who can capitalize on all the chances they get.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org