It hasn’t been the start the Warwick Vets girls’ soccer team was hoping for, but the ’Canes weren’t exactly dealt the most favorable hand either.
It’s been tough.
Vets fell to 0-7 on Thursday with an 8-0 loss to Bay View. Already playing in Division I, where the ’Canes are arguably out of place, Vets has played seven of the top eight teams in the 15-team division to begin the season.
Every team they’ve played thus far has a current record of .500 or above, and the combined record of the eight teams is 25-8-11.
The season was going to be difficult no matter what, but starting off with that type of draw has made it that much worse.
“We got the news that we were going to stay in D-I, and then the next news we got is our schedule,” Vets head coach Tom Flanders said. “When you open it up with South Kingstown, East Greenwich, La Salle, Portsmouth – they do a toll on you. We’re beat up. We’ve got three concussions, an MCL, an ACL, three ankles. It’s taken a toll on us.”
Bay View improved to 3-3-1 on the season, and it didn’t take the Bengals very long to jump out in front and put the ’Canes in a hole.
Just eight minutes into the game, Bay View led 3-0. All three goals were scored by standout freshman Chrissy Conley, and before Vets could even get itself settled in a tough road environment, it was already headed down the wrong path.
“I think I yelled out to them, I said, ‘You’re almost 10 minutes in,’ and it’s already 3-0,” Flanders said. “On a field like this, if it stayed at three, and you started getting into a groove, I’ve seen fluky things like that happen. But it just wasn’t meant to be. They kept going with their momentum, and we didn’t match it.”
Vets did have some chances, but it didn’t seem like anything would go its way.
In the 10th minute, Emily Almonte fired a shot just over the net. A minute later, Bay View keeper Hannah Lee saved a bouncing shot from Sloan Kinney.
In the 18th minute, Kinney came up the right side and ripped a shot off the crossbar that happened to set up a Bay View counterattack. Rylee Leonard took a shot for the Bengals, and the rebound came out to Marianna Bailey, who punched it in for a 4-0 lead.
It was just that kind of game for the ’Canes.
“Sloan Kinney hit a post, hit a crossbar,” Flanders said. “We had other opportunities here. Larissa [Paolantonio] hit one just wide. There were chances, but when they don’t go and you’re down, they hit you even harder. We just worked our tails off and we brought the ball all the way down, built from the sides, went up and we hit a post. We had no result. Besides being outmatched in these games, the other thing that this team doesn’t have is any luck.”
Just before the half, Leonard made a move on Vets’ keeper Katelen Pick and scored, making it 5-0 at the break.
It was a familiar spot, as many of the ’Canes games thus far have been decided by lopsided scores. They’ve lost their seven games by a combined 39-5 score.
“I’m disappointed,” Flanders said. “I knew it was going to be a tough season in D-I. Every day is a battle. I was not expecting this. We got surprised a little bit.”
Vets pushed the ball hard in the early portion of the second half, but continually came up empty. A shot by Kinney was saved, as was a long-range try by Emily Almonte.
In the 61st minute, Bay View got its sixth goal from Rocky Pederzani, and its seventh came in the 71st minute off the foot of Alexa DiComitis. The Bengals made it 8-0 in the 77th when Mikaela Lee scored.
“We chalk it up to a lot of bad decisions today,” Flanders said.
There is still time to turn things around, as Vets’ schedule will get easier going forward. Today, it hosts a 2-3-2 Mt. Hope team at 5:30 p.m. before playing on Thursday at 5:15 at home against 0-6 Cranston West.
“It’s been difficult, but the girls have good attitudes,” Flanders said. “We’re just trying to get the most of this season. These kids have worked hard enough to deserve some luck to go on their side.”