The Warwick Vets girls’ lacrosse team stormed out of the gates on Friday afternoon, taking a quick 2-0 lead on Narragansett just two minutes into the game.
But the undefeated Mariners were unfazed.
Led by three goals apiece from Chandler Lemay and Abigal McKanna, Narragansett controlled play for the remaining 48 minutes and, thanks to a dominant second half, rolled to a 13-5 win over the ’Canes.
After its near-perfect start, Vets simply didn’t have any answers for Narragansett’s face-paced style the rest of the way.
“I think they just kind of psych themselves out in game situations,” Vets head coach Kathy Moan said. “We do things in practice, no problem, then we get out in the field in the game and I don’t know if it’s nerves. I don’t know what it is.”
Narragansett improved to 3-0, while Vets remained winless at 0-3.
Yet, at the start, the ’Canes looked like a team that was poised to break into the win column. Alyssa McCracken and Jenna Fontaine staked Vets to that two-goal advantage, and the Mariners were back on their heels.
Quickly, however, the fortunes flipped.
Narragansett got a goal from McKanna to slice the deficit to one, before Lauren Almonte put Vets up 3-1 with a shot from the left side with 20:37 left.
But the Mariners were clearly starting to get their feet, and a second goal from McKanna made it a 3-2 game less than a minute later. With 15 minutes to play in the half, Lemay took a pass from McKanna to the left of the net and fired a shot past Vets goaltender Christine Amaral to knot the score at three.
“We start off, and I don’t think we’ve started a game where we didn’t score the first goal,” Narragansett head coach Kenneth Andronowitz said. “It’s just one of those things. They didn’t get flustered. They’re just very composed.”
As the ’Canes tried to regroup, Narragansett kept coming.
A goal from Lemay with 12:15 to go in the half gave the Mariners their first lead of the game, and another from Eileen Sullivan at the 5:35 mark gave Narragansett a 5-3 advantage and forced Vets into a timeout.
Unfortunately for the ’Canes, the break didn’t change very much, as Narragansett came out of the timeout just as fast, and Lemay scored with just under four minutes to go. That gave the Mariners a 6-3 lead heading into the half.
“We’re just emphasizing quick ball movement up the field,” Andronowitz said. “It’s quicker to get the ball through passing than it is running it. And they can all pass and catch. It’s a nice thing to have.”
Still, despite the deficit, Moan was still happy with how her team played in general over the first 25 minutes.
“They played an amazing first half,” Moan said. “I thought we stayed right in there with them. Narragansett’s a good team, a fast team.”
At the start of the second, Vets put on a furious attack, but Narragansett goalie MacKenzie Page turned way multiple shot attempts, and suddenly the Mariners were going the other way.
On the counter-attack, Samantha Sabetti scored, and Narragansett opened up a four-goal lead.
“Offensively, we’re not a single person team,” Andronowitz said. “There’s just a lot of weapons that we have.”
The ’Canes responded with a goal from Casey Bennett three minutes later to get within 7-4, but Narragansett never let it get any closer.
McKanna scored at the 14:39 mark and then again 42 seconds later to make it 9-4, and Sullivan added her second of the day barely a minute later for the 10-4 lead.
“When they got up two or three goals on us, it just got into their heads and totally affected the way they played on the field,” Moan said.
From there on out, the outcome was no longer in question. Fontaine scored her second goal of the day to get the ’Canes back within five, but Narragansett scored the final three goals on shots from Eliza DeCubellis, Sabetti and Samantha Harrington.
The loss was slightly discouraging in general, but there were positives to take away, especially with the way the ’Canes began the game.
That said, it won’t get much easier going forward. Vets takes on 2-1 Middletown today at 6 p.m. on the road.
“They’re a young team,” Moan said. “They’re still learning how to play together. Most of my varsity starters are all sophomores, so they’ve all had one year under their belt. Everyone says ‘growing pains,’ but it really is growing pains. It’s a growing year for us.”