NORTH KINGSTOWN — In a matchup of two teams that have roared out of the gates this season, only one had a fast start to Tuesday’s game at Wilson Park.
The result was an early signature win for the North Kingstown High School girls soccer team.
The Skippers scored three first-half goals, then held off a push by South Kingstown in the second half for a 3-2 victory in the rivalry showdown.
“Like I said to the girls, it’s early, it’s not like it’s the end of the world for either team,” North Kingstown coach Mark D’Arezzo said. “But it’s a good momentum boost for whoever came out of here. I think they’re one of the best teams around, so this is big for us. It’s a good confidence boost.”
The Skippers pushed their record to 3-0 with their best win yet, having also beaten Lincoln and Mt. Hope. They’re one of four teams out to perfect starts in Division I as they aim to be one of the top squads in the league.
South Kingstown was in that group, and had earned entry in impressive fashion, beating Mt. Hope 8-0 and Burrillville 7-1. But the slow first half doomed the Rebels on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, we learned a lesson today that we can’t just walk out on the field and have everybody roll over for us,” head coach Scott Rollins said. “We had a relatively easy first two games, and we just didn’t come out with any fire today. When we had fire, you see what we can do.”
Amaya Dickenson staked North Kingstown to a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute, settling a pass from Amanda Watson in the box and sneaking a shot past South Kingstown goalie Faith Hutchins. Just three minutes later, Sadie Souls lofted a high cross to the middle of the penalty area, where Olivia Zevzavadjian headed it home for the 2-0 lead.
The action started to even out from there, but North Kingstown seized one more opportunity. In the 30th minute, a foul was called in the box, leading to a penalty kick. Souls knocked it in past a diving Hutchins.
“We’ve been fortunate the first few games,” D’Arezzo said. “The first game, we scored in 38 seconds. Then Mt. Hope the other day, we scored in about a minute. And today, we go up 3-0. You always want to play with the lead and the girls have done a great job coming out fast.”
The opposite was true for the Rebels, and they heard about it at the halftime break.
“It’s only three games into the season, so my whole halftime thing was, ‘Either you’re going to cry in your cereal and lose 9-0 or you’re going to come out and show that that first 10 minutes was a fluke,’” Rollins said. “I’d rather learn that lesson now than learn it in November.”
The comeback efforts started quickly, as Avery Martin got the Rebels on the board in the 48th minute. She knocked a free kick from just outside the box that deflected off a wall of defenders and found its way into the net. In the 54th minute, Hayden Hill headed in a cross from Sadie Rosenblum to cut the deficit to one.
Twenty-six minutes remained, but the rally stopped there. South Kingstown generated several chances but was turned away. The best came in the 75th minute when a ball got past goalie Maya Gamble and trickled toward the near post. North Kingstown defender Bridgette Toland swept in to knock it away. Two corner kicks for the Rebels also yielded nothing.
At the final whistle, the Skippers celebrated. With teams in Division I meeting just once per season in league play, rivalry bragging rights will be on North Kingstown’s side for the first time in a while.
“They’re a really good team, so this is a good win,” D’Arezzo said. “We’ll see what happens. Hopefully, this keeps us going.”