180517ind Narr GLax File

Narragansett’s Anna Lubic makes a move during a game earlier this year.

NARRAGANSETT — At its best, the Narragansett girls lacrosse team can hang with just about anybody, as it did when it toppled Smithfield, one of the top teams in the league, a few weeks ago. And the Mariners have found their best more often than not since, even when they’ve had to dig deep.

Narragansett won for the fourth time in five games Monday night, rallying from an early hole and a halftime deficit for an 11-9 senior night win over Lincoln.

“We have to keep our mind on what we do, because we’re not talented enough to win on talent alone,” head coach Mark Lubic said. “We’re good – don’t get me wrong – and I’m really ecstatic about how hard they work, but if we don’t work hard every day, we’ll lose. Tonight was a perfect example. Maybe we came in overlooking Lincoln, but they came here and played their A game. We needed to find our A game, and at the end of the day, we did.”

The win pushed the Mariners to the .500 mark in Division II, completing a climb that began with the upset of Smithfield. At the time, the Sentinels were unbeaten and Narragansett was off to a 1-4 start. Now the Mariners find themselves in the middle of the pack and with the potential to be a tough out when the postseason rolls around, though Lubic said they won’t look that far ahead. They’re just happy to have found improvement.

“They lift each other up when one is down. We have some very talented offensive players that are able to play the game at a high level. We have a solid cast of other players who are getting better every day. Our goalie is outstanding and when she’s on her game, she’s tough to beat,” Lubic said. “I think it’s that, more than anything else. The girls are starting to click, they’re starting to play a little bit better, but still, we have a lot of tough tests ahead of us.”

Lincoln provided a surprising test Monday. Still looking for their first win, the Lions jumped to a 4-1 lead and answered a push by the Mariners to take an 8-5 edge into halftime. But the Mariners took control in the second half, outscoring the Lions 6-1 for the win.

“Every game has an ebb and flow to it,” Lubic said. “We got down a little early. We tightened some stuff up defensively, tried to stop the one player running hard to goal. We did a little bit better in the second half – there’s still a lot of work to do there. But at the end of the day, our athletes made more plays.”

The comeback began with a goal by Grace McGrady four minutes into the second half. It took a long time for the rally to hit another milepost, but Anna Lubic finally scored with 12:01 left to get the Mariners within a goal. The wait was much shorter for the next goal as the Mariners won the ensuing draw and Lubic needed just 18 seconds to net the equalizer.

With 10:39 left, Lubic scored again to give the Mariners their first lead, and McGrady pushed the advantage to two goals two minutes later. Lincoln moved back within one on a Lily Loparto goal with 7:38 left, but the Mariners won the next draw, bled some time off the clock and gained breathing room with another goal from Lubic.

“Fortunately, our players made more plays,” Mark Lubic said. “Their goalie played outstanding tonight. She was a brick wall. Lincoln has some good players and they’re coached well. Fortunately, today we were a bit better.”

Goalie Shannon O’Connell made a save on a free position shot with 1:59 left to turn away the Lion’ last chance. It was part of a strong second half by O’Connell, who allowed just the one goal and stopped a total of three free-position shots. She finished with seven saves.

“It just lifts everybody up,” Lubic said. “You could see it with Lincoln today. Their goalie made some incredible plays and it lifted the whole team. Shannon made some incredible plays and it lifted the whole team for the second half. The goalie play was really important.”

Anna Lubic racked up eight goals to lead the Mariners. McGrady had two and Ella Mushen scored one. Sarah Sweet chipped in an assist.

The win provided a happy final home game for seniors Mushen, Noelle Arrighi, Anna Pratt, Hannah DeSantis, Emma Shaw, Jillian McConnell, Aliaa Mohamed and Sidney Pimental. Several are key players. Others have ceded bigger roles to young players but haven’t wavered.

“Some of them have been in a tough position and it’s something sports is always unfair about,” Lubic said. “You’re with the program for a few years and all of a sudden someone younger is taking your starting time. Unfortunately, that’s what happens, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors. They’ve been really supportive of the entire group, even with their playing time being diminished. They work hard, they lead by example in practice, they lead by example in the games.”

Narragansett was set to visit Pilgrim Wednesday. They’ll visit East Providence Monday before closing the season Tuesday at Lincoln School.

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