The Bristol Press
CROMWELL - The Bristol Central Rams are heading to the Class L State Championship for the first time in program history after defeating East Lyme in the semifinals.
The seventh-seeded Rams continued to click offensively and defensively as they took down the three-seeded East Lyme Vikings 3-1.
Seniors Maddie Lodovico and Samantha Sklenka said the moment is crazy, unbelievable and irreplaceable.
“There’s no emotion that I could put to it,” Lodovico said. “I am just so proud of my team and everything that we accomplished this season and I think Saturday we are just going to prove it all.”
Sklenka, who is returning to another state championship after playing with Bristol Central in its softball championship game last season, said all of the hard work that they put in in the offseason and throughout the season is finally paying off.
“This is something we’ve talked about since day one and it is finally coming true,” she said. “It’s just crazy. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates. My teammates are everything. I literally wouldn't be here without them. I love them all so much, even on the softball field.”
The Rams came out in the first set with a lot of intensity in every hit, point and serve. Their intensity was reflected in the scoreboard as they took an early 5-1 lead and stretched it all the way to a 25-15 win.
Bristol Central repeated their first set performance almost identically in the second set as the Rams went on to win the set 25-15 as well, but it was the third set that shook up the night and gave the Rams pause.
On the cusp of being swept, East Lyme battled in the third set. The Vikings established an early 8-5 lead and despite surrendering the lead twice late in the set, East Lyme stood strong and beat the Rams 25-22.
Sklenka and Lodovico said East Lyme put up a great fight. They said the Vikings are a very good team and they proved it in the third set.
“I think our energy just got the best of us,” Lodovico said. “We came off two great first sets and we came out thinking we’re going to sweep them. They showed us that they're not easy and that they could play just as hard as we can. We just had to prove that we were able to come back even stronger in the fourth set.”
The Rams were able to get the best of the Vikings in the fourth set winning 25-17.
As for the state championship game, Bristol Central will be facing off against top-seeded Barlow Saturday at East Haven High School at 1 p.m.
Sklenka said expect a big game with high energy.