211028ind nksk girls soccer 2.jpg

North Kingstown's Isabella Cambio and South Kingstown's Celine Barbera battle for possession.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — The turnaround continued for the North Kingstown girls soccer team with a signature win over rival South Kingstown on Monday night.

The Skippers avenged an early-season loss to the Rebels with a 2-1 victory at Curtis Corner Middle School. It’s their fourth consecutive victory and fifth win in their last six, on the heels of a rough patch in the middle of the season.

“We know as a team that we have to play the full 40 minutes,” said senior Bridgette Toland. “We’ve been working on our fitness every single day so that we can play those full 40 minutes. It always comes down to one or two goals. I think we all knew this was a super important game to win and we came together as a team and did it. I’m proud of everybody.”

North Kingstown improved to 8-5-2 with one game remaining in the regular season. The recent surge has been welcome after the Skippers got beat up in the win-loss column and in the injury department midway through the season. Playing without four of their top seniors, the Skippers had a string of four losses and two ties.

“Losing a captain, one of our best players, was hard,” said Toland, who is still playing with a cast on her arm after an injury. “There were big shoes to fill, but every single person has stepped up.”

“It’s mostly our attitude,” senior Kaitlin Sullivan said. “Our heads were down after everybody got hurt, but we really brought it together. We had to get our girls’ confidence back and we really did.”

The Rebels fell to 6-7-2 as a recent bumpy ride persisted. Over their last six, the Rebels own a big win over East Greenwich, but also close losses to top contenders Pilgrim and Cranston West and a pair of ties against Barrington and Portsmouth.

The Skippers grabbed the lead just before halftime in Monday’s match as freshman Liza Mackrell lofted a high-arcing shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the net.

The youth movement continued in the second half. Freshman Ellie Bishop made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute. The Skippers were on a counter attack and took a shot. A failed clear by the Rebels sent the ball back to the top of the box, where Bishop headed it right back in to the corner of the net.

“Every time we come here or they come to us, it’s a one-goal game,” head coach Mark D’Arezzo said. “Both teams work really, really hard. We knew coming here that we had to out-work them. Started out a little slow but then our work ethic kicked in and I think we picked it up the rest of the game. We took it to them. We put the goals in when it counted and we held on.”

The fact that a pair of freshmen scored the goals is a prime example of the team’s togetherness.

“We have freshmen who have been working really hard. We’re all cheering them on,” Sullivan said. “Everybody has to work hard – it’s not just the captains and the seniors. We need everybody to be at 100 percent.”

South Kingstown had threatened before Bishop’s goal, most notably on a breakaway chance for Alexia Pasyanos that was knocked away by the defense. After Bishop’s tally, the Rebels finally broke through as Reagan Bell knocked home a rebound to make it 2-1 in the 54th minute.

The Rebels kept pushing but couldn’t find the equalizer. Kathryn Bourgeois made a few stops down the stretch to preserve North Kingstown’s lead.

“Every time since our last loss, we’ve played so hard,” Sullivan said. “We worked up to this game. Every single practice, it was like, ‘Let’s get it back. Let’s win against SK.’”

North Kingstown has solidified itself behind first-place Pilgrim in the Division I-South standings. The Skippers will face the Patriots in the season finale.

“It’s anybody’s game,” Toland said. “I think we know we can’t let it get to our heads. We have to keep pushing, take it one game at a time and work together.”

South Kingstown will face Coventry in its season finale.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.