The Warwick Vets girls’ soccer team had chance after chance to get the ball in the net in Tuesday’s first half, but despite the ’Canes’ dominance, they went into halftime tied at zero with Bay View.
And while lucky to still be hanging around, the Bengals scored two goals off crucial Vets’ mistakes in the second half to steal a victory 2-0 in a game the ’Canes know they could have had.
“We didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Vets head coach Tom Flanders said. “I told them at halftime that I’ve been in games like this before, where you hold possession and you do all the right things – but score. Then you allow teams to hang around, and things like this happen.”
It was a tough loss for a struggling Vets team that fell to 1-5 in Division I. Bay View improved its record to 2-3.
Seemingly everybody had a decent look at the goal for Vets in the first half, as Sloan Kinney, Casey Bennett, Katelyn Ravenell, Lauren Almonte and Larissa Paolantonio all had opportunities to give the ’Canes the lead.
But it didn’t happen, and it was clear that frustration had set in. In the second half, the ’Canes didn’t look like the same team.
The Bengals controlled possession early, and finally in the 44th minute, broke the scoreless tie.
Vets goalkeeper Katelen Pick ran to pick up a ball at the edge of the 18, and then sent it out to her defense. But the ball was taken away from Vets’ backfield by Bay View’s Gaby Smith, who dribbled close to the net and finished for the 1-0 lead.
“It might have been a little frustrating, but as a team we have to do a better job of staying organized with our conversation out there,” Flanders said. “Kids in the first half were giving good information to each other, and that stopped in the second half.”
The ’Canes, deflated after the way the game had gone to that point, worked the ball up field after the goal, but couldn’t get any legitimate chances.
Then, 14 minutes later, Bay View struck again.
Smith fired a shot from the top corner of the 18, and it got through Pick for a goal that made it 2-0.
“We realized we had to keep the ball on the ground,” Bay View head coach Angelo Pizzi said. “And once we got that monkey off our backs, so to speak, the girls felt a little more comfortable.”
That goal did seem to wake up the ’Canes, however, and they had some of their best looks of the second half over the final 20 minutes.
In the 63rd minute, Kryslin Calderone broke free into the box and, from right in front, shot the ball just wide of the net.
Seven minutes later, from the 18, Calderone lofted one just over the crossbar.
“It was one of those things where sometimes we want to make one more dribble before the shot,” Flanders said. “We’re trying to get this perfect shot where it really doesn’t have to be like that. If we’re inside the 20, we should be looking at the frame.”
Bay View ran out the clock not long afterwards, and it was clear that Vets knew it had let a winnable game slip away.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Bay View, La Salle, whoever,” Flanders said. “Whoever it is in D-I, if you’re not paying attention, if you’re not with the game plan for that 80 minutes and you’re playing partial games, these things happen.”
And for the Bengals, it was a testament to hanging tough even when they were getting outplayed throughout the entire first half.
“We talked to our girls at halftime,” Pizzi said. “We recognized some of the things we needed to improve on. We described that to our players, and they executed it.”
The ’Canes will take on city rival Toll Gate, at Vets, on Friday at 7 p.m. The Titans are currently 0-3-1.
“We’ll probably give them some rest, then have a practice and see if we can correct some of these things that went wrong for us tonight,” Flanders said.