SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Giving up a pair of leads hurt, but an offensive breakthrough and the first points of the season in the standings were enough to put Monday’s game on the positive side of the ledger for the Prout girls soccer team.
The Crusaders played North Providence to a 2-2 tie on the school’s new home turf. The tie gives Prout its first points of the season in the Division II standings, after a loss to Mount St. Charles in their league opener. They hadn’t scored a goal in any of their league and non-league matchups.
“Last game, our defenders and our center mids were our strong suit, and we were a little weaker up top. This game, I thought we were strong all the way through the field, so that’s growth from last game,” head coach Christina Armstrong said. “Am I disappointed we didn’t get the win? Yes. But to see them grow in such a short period of time, we’re happy with how they played.”
Prout was the Division II runner-up last season and is extremely young this year. But it’s a group that’s receptive to coaching, and the differences in Monday’s game and the league opener showed it. Against Mount St. Charles, the Crusaders possessed the ball well but didn’t create chances. On Monday, they possessed it and put shots on net, and it paid off.
“Coming out of last game, the biggest thing we said was that we needed to shoot more,” assistant coach Belle Pesante said. “We needed to have more offensive chances because we needed to score some goals. We put a lot more shots on net and had a lot more shots in general. We were way more dangerous up top. It’s an improvement.”
The game was scoreless into the second half. Prout broke through in the 50th minute, when Kelsie McConnell knocked home a cross from Taylor Roberts for the 1-0 lead.
After North Providence answered in the 62nd minute, Prout regained the lead when Reese McIntosh turned and fired a missile from the top left corner of the box that beat the North Providence goalie in the 73rd minute.
Four sophomores accounted for the goals and the assists.
“The majority of the minutes from our forwards are the sophomore class,” Pesante said. “They’re very hungry sophomores. They want to make a difference, and they’re so willing to learn. Their soccer IQ is high. Today, we said, ‘Go out there and shoot,’ and that’s exactly what they did.”
Prout was minutes away from the victory when North Providence rallied one more time. In the 78th minute, a breakaway led to the equalizer. Neither team scored in the final two minutes.
“Little breakdowns because we’re young,” Armstrong said. “Nothing too detrimental. We just have to do a lot of teaching. It s a work in progress, but we’ll get there. I see the potential.”
Prout goalie Cece Brown made six saves.
The Crusaders were set to visit Bay View on Wednesday.