Pats hanging tough in D-I
The Pilgrim field hockey team’s difficult stretch in Division I continued on Tuesday afternoon, as the Pats took on Lincoln School and lost 5-0.
Pilgrim fell to 0-9 on the season, but it’s not as though it was unexpected. The Pats knew they were going to have a hard time competing with the strong D-I teams.
Instead, they just try to do their best and limit the damage. Though they’ve scored just one total goal so far this year, they hung tough against Tiverton before a 2-1 loss and they only fell to perennial power North Kingstown 2-0.
Out of place in the best division in the state, Pilgrim does what it can to make the best of it.
Unfortunately for Pilgrim, against Lincoln School – which has the third-best record in the state at 8-1-2 – there wasn’t all that much the Pats could do.
“There are some games I think that if we play well we have a shot to be competitive,” Pilgrim head coach Nisa San Giovanni said. “This is one of those games where I think that even on our best day, they’re a little more skilled than we are.”
One thing Pilgrim did well on Tuesday, especially in the first half, was defend.
Against the talented Lincoln attack, the Pats held strong for the first 19 minutes of game action before Elizabeth DiSandro smacked a shot past goalie Courtney Cardoza on a pass from Nicole White to break the scoreless tie and put the Lynx up 1-0.
From there, players like Haley Donahay, Julianna Mollo, Sarah Reilly, Kelly Vatter, Jillian Yehle and Brianna Florio kept Lincoln School at bay until the final minute of the half.
With time expiring before the break, the Lynx’ Ellie Chrupcala smashed a long, hard shot out of Cardoza’s reach for a 2-0 lead at the break.
But Lincoln School had 13 penalty corners in the first half, and the Pats limited it to just two goals.
“I was pleased at the end of the half with my kids,” San Giovanni said. “At my last count we had given up something like 12 corners, but I have some tough kids. They don’t give up, even when they’re outmatched.”
Cardoza also did her part, stopping a number of hard shots from Chrupcala with her pads and even using her glove to knock down some high attempts.
“That kid hit some rockets, and Courtney was able to make some nice saves,” San Giovanni said. “They hit some air shots and Courtney made nice saves on those too.”
Early in the second half, the floodgates opened up a little bit.
Just over three minutes in, DiSandro scored her second goal of the game with a bouncer into the right side.
Then about halfway through the half, Larson Bennett ripped a shot from the middle that flew past everybody for a 4-0 lead.
“You can only expect them to hang on for so long,” San Giovanni said. “They almost start settling back. They get rid of the ball and start backing up in anticipation of what’s coming instead of playing some offense. I really have to try to instill that. Even if you don’t score, at least you’re moving the ball down to the other end.”
With eight minutes remaining in the game, Lincoln School put together a final goal off a penalty corner when Bennett flipped a pass to White on the left post, who only had to sweep it in to the open net to make it a 5-0 game.
“If they make a couple of passes on a corner and get an open shot with hits that hard, they’re going to put one in the corner,” San Giovanni said. “And they did.”
The good news for Pilgrim is that the potential for greener pastures is right around the corner. The Pats have two good chances to win coming up.
First, they’ll play a non-league game at Division II Warwick Vets on Monday at 3:45 p.m. The next day, Pilgrim will go to 0-10 Woonsocket. That game will be at 3:45 p.m.
“We have a few shots next week where, if we play well, we can finally get a ‘W,’” San Giovanni said.