With a 19-7 win over East Providence on Thursday, the Warwick Vets girls’ lacrosse team matched its league win total from the previous two years combined. That didn’t make for a perfect week – sandwiched around the victory were a 15-11 loss to Mt. Hope and a 14-8 loss to Wheeler – but there’s still a different feeling around the Hurricanes this year.
At 2-3 in league play with two additional non-league victories, the ’Canes have hit a level of play that’s been difficult to reach the last two seasons. Their Division II slate is still tough, but the ’Canes are up to it.
“There are two teams in this division that are really tough. Everybody else, I think we’re pretty even with them,” said Vets head coach Kathy Palazzo. “I think with those two aside, we can compete with anybody in our division. We’re definitely coming on stronger than we have the last few years. They’re getting a taste of success, and they like it. It’s really motivating them.”
Vets was hoping to get at least two victories out of the spring break week, but Mt. Hope had too much on Tuesday. Emily Almonte scored four goals for the ’Canes and Katelen Pick made 10 saves. The Huskies improved to 3-1 with the victory.
Thursday, on a blustery morning, Vets came back strong. Facing an East Providence team that came in with the same 1-2 league record, the ’Canes sprinted to a 13-4 halftime lead and coasted to the big victory. Savannah Hersey had five goals, Casey Bennett scored four and Jenna Fontaine tallied three.
“We had a tough game the other day against Mt. Hope,” Palazzo said. “We came out and we kind of wanted to work on some things that we’re weak on. They came out today and did really well. They were a little nervous about the wind, but they looked pretty good out there.”
Vets led 2-1 in the early going before scoring eight consecutive goals to break the game open. Late in the first half, the Townies made it a 10-5 game with three straight goals but the ’Canes didn’t let it get closer. In the final 55 seconds of the first half, they scored three goals to go up by nine. Bennett scored the first one with 55 seconds left and Hersey added another with 30 seconds to go. Almonte then won the ensuing draw, sprinted to the cage and finished with 15 seconds left.
Just like that, the ’Canes led 13-4.
“When they get going, they really get going,” Palazzo said.
Vets had no trouble in the second half, extending the lead to 12 in the early going on goals by Hersey, Fontaine and Nicole Luiz. The Townies never got closer than 10.
Luiz and Almonte finished with two goals each, while Ricki Beaufort, Kat Raposa and Shelby Mahoney had one apiece.
“I feel like we’re jelling together really well this year,” Palazzo said. “Almost everybody has been playing for four years now and they’re really coming together. They know what to expect, they’re looking up the field more to pass than to run the ball. They’re really moving the ball better.”
Vets has now posted two lopsided wins over teams it had a leg up on. It beat Tiverton 19-2 in its second league game of the season. The ’Canes also own victories over Division III teams Pilgrim and Chariho.
On Friday, Vets faced a tough challenge against Wheeler and held its own in the 14-8 loss. Almonte had five goals to lead the way.
The ’Canes will be back in action Wednesday when they visit Lincoln High School, who’s currently 0-4.