NORTH KINGSTOWN — The North Kingstown High School boys lacrosse team is within range of the program’s first winning season in Division I since 2008.

An 18-10 victory over Mount St. Charles on Friday night and an 8-7 win over East Greenwich on Monday put the Skippers at 5-5 on the year. They had a chance to get over the .500 mark with another game against Mount on Wednesday. Three games remain after that, two of which are against teams the Skippers have already beaten.

And whatever happens, the Skippers are enjoying themselves.

“This is a great group of guys,” junior Kole Mancini said. “I’ve never been more close to our seniors than this year. This group is special. We’re really a family.”

The Skippers won the Division II title in 2021 but quickly returned to D-I, the league they’ve called home since their infancy as a program. For many years, they were a powerhouse before the balance of power in Rhode Island lacrosse shifted. North won the D-I title in 2008, with its 10-3 record that year going down as its last winning mark in the top league.

After getting two wins last year, the Skippers have taken strides this spring under second-year head coach Sean Murray. Their lone defeats have come against La Salle, Moses Brown and Barrington – the three teams ahead of them in the D-I standings. Already, North has won more games than in any of its last seven D-I seasons

The Skippers were hoping to crash that top group in a matchup with Barrington last week, but they watched a tight game slip away in the second half and fell 18-8.

“We’ve got big games coming up and then the playoffs,” Mancini said. “Barrington is a good team. We just need to work harder in practice so we can come out and do it the whole game. I feel like we only played the first two quarters really hard and then we let up.”

As disappointing as it was, the Skippers focused on the opportunities still in front of them, and they were certainly locked in on Friday. They took a 3-2 lead in the first quarter then dominated the second to open up a 10-4 advantage at halftime.

“We’ve got some guys who get it fired up before the game,” Mancini said. “It’s all pregame, warming up, in the locker room – just being one with our guys is what makes us come out fast.”

The Mounties worked their way back into the game in the third quarter and made it 12-10 early in the fourth. The threat was the jumpstart the Skippers needed to finish strong. Mancini scored three goals and Ethan Ringler tallied two as the Skippers scored six unanswered goals and closed out the victory.

“I brought the offense together and said, ‘Guys, we’re not losing this game,’” Mancini said. “We couldn’t afford to. This was a must-win.”

Mancini had a huge night with seven goals and an assist. Ringler finished with three goals and one assist. Nick Snyder and Jacob Joly each had two goals and one assist. John Randall, Collin Petrella, Adam Pelletier and Victor Encarnacion all had one goal each. Carter Sullivan and Garrett Deady had one assist apiece. Goalie Emerson Lavallee made 12 saves.

“First quarter, struggled a bit, just trying to feel out the defense,” Mancini said. “Second quarter, my guys were like, ‘Kole, come on. We need you.’ I just kind of started clicking. Huge team win tonight. We had a lot of guys score goals.”

The Skippers made it two wins in a row with the triumph over East Greenwich on Monday.

“If we just keep this momentum going, we’re going to be in pretty good shape,” Mancini said.

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