SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Last year brought the South Kingstown field hockey team its first losing season in five years, but the Rebels were trending up at the end and doing everything in their power to keep that season going. Their playoff matchup with Burrillville turned into a marathon – two overtime periods and two shootouts – before the Broncos prevailed.
It was a heartbreaking ending, but the surge was to be continued.
And it’s going strong.
The Rebels opened the 2019 season with a 4-0 victory over Cumberland then scored one of their most significant victories in recent memory on Monday with a 1-0 triumph over perennial powerhouse Lincoln School. It was the first regular-season loss for the Lynx since 2017. Paige Sayour scored the lone goal and Nina Byrne logged her second straight shutout in goal as the Rebels notched the signature win.
A start like that only adds material for South Kingstown’s high hopes. The Rebels had a relatively small senior class last year, so a lot of players return with experience. Byrne was an all-division selection last year and should again be one of the top goalies in the league. Midfielder Allison Gencarelli was also an all-division pick.
The senior class also includes defensive anchor Eileen Byrne, midfielder Katherine Cagle and forward Kelsi Conlon, as well as Sophia Arnone, Isabella Vacca and Fiona Mitchell. A strong junior class features Sayour, Julianne Stone and Kacie Curran in big roles.
It adds up to a solid squad, and the early results have been promising. Stone scored two goals, Sayour had one and Katelyn Leonard tallied one in the season-opening win over Cumberland. Sayour, Gencarelli and Katherine Laliberte had assists. Byrne made two saves for the shutout.
Lincoln School went 14-0 last year and finished as the D-II runner-up, but the Rebels rolled on in Monday’s matchup. The Lynx had a sizeable edge in penalty corner opportunities, but the Rebels clamped down defensively time and again. Byrne made 19 saves.
There weren’t many chances at the other end, but the Rebels scored midway through the first half, when Sayour knocked home a shot in traffic, off an assist by Caroline Parente.
The Rebels were set to be back on the field Wednesday for a matchup with Smithfield.