SOUTH KINGSTOWN — In the first half of Thursday’s game, a South Kingstown defender noticed an open Prout player and called on her teammates to do something.
Only she didn’t do it by referencing a number or a position.
“I heard one of the girls from SK yell out on defense, ‘Guard Katelyn,’” Prout coach Sue Pullyblank said. “That just shows you – they all know each other. They played together growing up. They play together on club teams. It’s a huge rivalry.”
Unblemished records on both sides made Thursday’s meeting even bigger, and the rivalry brought out the best in the Crusaders. Prout raced to a 6-1 lead and never wavered in finishing off an 18-8 victory at Curtis Corner Middle School.
“It was really nice,” Pullyblank said. “I gave them a little pep talk before the game. It’s been all one game at a time for us. Today, I just told them, ‘Make it count. Everything you do today, make it count.’”
The Crusaders stand alone at the top of Division II with a 9-0 mark, having also picked up a significant win Monday when they topped a one-loss Smithfield team 13-10.
South Kingstown is also in the lead pack but suffered another chink in the armor Monday when it lost by an 8-6 score to Lincoln School. That game and Thursday’s matchup with Prout represented the Rebels’ first opportunities to face upper echelon teams.
“This is the first time we’ve seen someone at the higher level of our division and it’s May. It’s not an excuse, but it’s something that didn’t help in the end,” head coach Kristin Orabone said. “Hopefully, this does help in the sense that it sets a fire for them. They have something to really build from now.”
Prout built an early lead Thursday, getting a goal from Kat Moody just 31 seconds into the game and one from Sinead Maron a minute-and-a-half later. Stella Mayo made it 3-0 with 21:19 left.
The Rebels got on the board with a Chen Marino goal at 20:24, but Prout scored the next three, with Moody delivering two and Abby Chapel scoring the other.
Throughout the fast start, possession was more even than the score would indicate. The Crusaders controlled three draws, while the Rebels won four. The problem for South Kingstown was what happened after.
“The draws were pretty even,” Orabone said. “A lot of times, we did get the possession. Then a bad pass, a bobble. And they were there to pick it up.”
Maddy Marcotte and Caroline O’Hara scored as the Rebels tried to stay within striking distance, but Prout only added to its lead. Maron and Moody tallied a goal each and Chapel scored twice as the Crusaders jumped to a 10-4 halftime lead.
In another rivalry game against Narragansett earlier this season, Prout fell into a quick hole and needed to rally, but there had been no such trouble this time.
“They really brought it today,” Pullyblank said. “I think everything worked well.”
Prout scored four of the first five goals in the second half as the lead grew to nine. Marino scored twice for the Rebels, but a pair of goals by Mayo and one each by Annaliesa Wood and Chapel sent the Crusaders on their way.
“It was moreso our passing and catching was very off,” Orabone said. “We wanted it and I don’t think that ever changed. But it was as simple as our passing and catching didn’t look the way it’s been looking today. That hurt us a lot. And Prout was there to pick up mistakes.”
Mayo and Moody set the pace with five goals each. Chapel added four goals, while Maron had two goals and three assists. Wood and Allie Schofield had one goal each. Goalie Annie Alofsin made 10 saves, including two early in the second half when the Rebels had one each of the first two draws.
“Annie had a great game,” Pullyblank said. “She lives in South Kingstown so she was really pumped up.”
Marino had four goals and an assist to lead the Rebels. O’Hara had two goals, while Marcotte and Taylor Martin tallied one each. Goalie Charlotte Roberts finished with seven saves.
Prout’s win over Smithfield was powered by Mayo’s four goals and Moody’s hat trick. Alofsin made 14 saves to quiet a high-scoring attack.
Just four games remain in the regular season for Prout. Next up is a Saturday game at Chariho. South Kingstown, which had several weather postponements early in the season, has six games left.