CRANSTON — South Kingstown handed Lincoln School one of its two field hockey losses this season. It came early in the year on the Broad Rock Middle School grass field. Less than a month later, the Lynx returned the favor on turf in a 7-0 win.
Last Wednesday’s Division II semifinal rematch was somewhere in between, but not close enough to the first meeting for the Rebels to break through. On their way to the D-II title, the Lynx ended a strong season for the Rebels with a 4-0 win at Cranston Stadium.
“I’m very happy with their accomplishments and very proud of the work they put out here today,” South Kingstown head coach Margaret McGregor said. “The second half was completely our half for the most part, and I couldn’t be more proud. We lost to them 7-0 on turf earlier this year. Just the overall improvement was tremendous, and their work ethic – I can’t ask for anything more.”
The trip to the semifinals was the first for the Rebels since 2015, when they finished as the D-II runner-up. In the subsequent years, they met playoff heartbreak time and again, losing quarterfinal games in overtime or shootouts in three consecutive seasons. They turned the tables this year, winning their quarterfinal game in a shootout over Smithfield.
That win earned the matchup with Lincoln School, the No. 2 seed. While there was some confidence to be taken from the early-season win over the Lynx, the Cranston Stadium turf gave the Rebels pause. They had already seen the difference when they met the Lynx on their artificial surface.
“It’s a turf game and it’s a beautiful turf game,” McGregor said. “Their stick skills are that much more advanced on turf. We got some practice time and we were better, and that’s how we’re walking away from it, that we made those improvements that we needed to give them a game.”
The first 15 minutes of the game were scoreless, but the Lynx had a sizeable advantage in possession and penalty corners. They finally converted on one with 14 minutes to go in the first half, as Rachael Romain punched in a shot. Seven minutes later, Addie deFeo made it 2-0.
“Their one player, de Feo is incredibly fast, so it makes it very challenging,” McGregor said. “But it’s all about teamwork and communication. That’s what we stressed this week. My girl, Megan Cairns, I thought did a fantastic job of playing her. Even though she got a couple of goals, they weren’t breakaways and they weren’t when Megan was on her. They were off corners or off rebounds. So the overall game philosophy was to make sure that Megan was on her and that she had help when she needed it.”
The Rebels made a push in the second half, cutting into Lincoln School’s possession edge and earning three penalty corners, their first of the game. But they couldn’t convert, and Lincoln School got late goals from deFeo and Ana Belliveau to pull away.
“I think we were a little slow drawing corners. We didn’t really go for that in the first half. We were looking for that perfect shot instead of drawing corners so we could be in a man-up situation,” McGregor said. “The second half, we did draw some more. But it is hard when you need to capitalize quicker and then you have pressure on you because you want to get that goal. But offensively, I thought we did a great job of using the width and using the corner, trying to beat them down there to send cross balls over.”
Lincoln School went on to beat Wheeler for the D-II crown and its first title since the 1999 D-I championship.
South Kingstown will bid farewell to eight seniors but will also bring back a solid core.