NEW BRITAIN - Bristol is still learning and still growing as a girls lacrosse program.
That much was evident Sunday night when it advanced to the gold medal game of the Nutmeg Games 19 & Over Girls Lacrosse Tournament before falling to the West Hartford War Chiefs, 14-1.
But despite the lopsided score in the bracket final, Bristol was far from disappointed in the result, especially considering the quality of its opponent and what Bristol was able to accomplish.
“This is our first year doing the college division - 19 & over - and it was really cool to have a lot of the players from the past come and play with some of the present players,” said Bristol coach Kyle Phelan, who also coaches the high school girls co-op team.
“West Hartford is a very lacrosse-rich town. They’ve been playing for a lot of time. We’re only in our fifth year of existence in Bristol, so to walk away with a silver medal is awesome for us.”
West Hartford netted the first eight goals of the game, three within the first few minutes and then another six before after halftime.
Marisa Haverty and Maya Feigenbaum each had a hat trick, while Gillian Haverty, Samantha Cozzolino and Lydia Chelli each scored twice for the War Chiefs. Caroline Grant and Gwen Geiler also netted one apiece.
Kayla Policarpio scored Bristol’s lone goal at the end of the first half when the ball left her stick before the follow through, bounced off her head and found the inside of the net.
Bristol had other opportunities to score, but was unable to get off clean shots.
Still, there were times throughout the game when Phelan liked what he saw and areas his players need to improve upon for next spring.
“We never gave up,” Phelan said. “That’s something that we always preach. You’re going to play, you’re going to work hard all the way to the final bell.
“There’s always room for improvement. When you play a team as good as they are, it’s going to expose what you need to work on. Seeing them pass the ball around, their spacing and things that we want to work on ourselves, it gives you a mental image of what you want to see out of your own team.”
And playing in the Nutmeg Games offers both players and coaches the opportunity to see different styles of play that they might not get to see over the course of the high school season, which has the same opponents on a regular basis.
“They have 16-game seasons [in high school], but you see the same teams over and over again and some teams are still developing,” Phelan said. “Coming to the Nutmeg Games, you can see play from all over the state, see who’s the best of the best around and get some good exposure.
“I have some players who are playing in college and others who have the ability and aspirations to play in college, so they see what they’re up against.”
Now the head coach is hoping the positive results the team made throughout the tournament will lead to even better things next season.
“As a program, our goal is to make the state tournament,” Phelan said. “We’ve improved our record every year over the last three years, so we’re hoping to continue the trend and make the state tournament next year.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach