Pilgrim forward Samantha McConnell scored a hat trick and added an assist to carry undefeated Pilgrim to a 5-0 shutout win over Toll Gate in Division III field hockey at CCRI on Tuesday afternoon.
“She had a great game,” Lady Pats head coach Stephanie Shields said. “She really did. Everything worked. We’ve been working really hard with the forwards in general to make sure that they’re facing the correct direction, really working on crashing the net, not standing and watching and that definitely all came together today.”
“It felt really good,” McConnell added. “Toll Gate, being our rival, we knew it was going to be a tough game, especially when they just beat Rocky Hill (4-1-1). So, we had to come in strong and we did. It was really good.”
Also coming up big for the Lady Pats was Lydia Ramsden, who finished with two assists, while Sara Langevin, the goalkeeper, stopped all six shots that she saw.
One minute and 45 seconds into the contest, Pilgrim drew a 1-0 advantage when Ramsden assisted in front to McConnell, who fired past Meghan Merrow, Toll Gate’s junior goalkeeper. Merrow made nine saves on the day.
That was the lone goal of the first frame.
In the second half, the Lady Pats upped their edge to 2-0, 1:34 in, when McConnell secured her second tally from just outside the circle.
With 17:45 remaining, Olivia Paquet scored a goal out of a penalty corner, after an assist from Ramsden, and that expanded the Lady Pats margin to 3-0.
McConnell scored her third goal with 11:24 left, and extended the Pilgrim buffer to 4-0.
Lastly, with just 11 seconds on the clock, Destinee Santiago fired a shot into the back of the cage, following a battle in front, and that ballooned the Lady Pats cushion to 5-0.
“I thought Pilgrim played incredibly well,” Toll Gate head coach Jim Areson said. “They scored five really good goals. They are a really good team. They’re like the class of Division III right now. So, it was actually a very impressive performance by them.”
Areson felt his Lady Titans, who also fell to the Lady Pats in the season opener 3-0, looked better in the second meeting despite the score. Nonetheless, Toll Gate was still very upset with the lopsided loss and plans on coming back even stronger its next time out.
“The score wasn’t indicative, but we definitely played them better than the first time,” Areson explained. “And they’re mad. So that’s good too. There’s nothing like a little anger to work it out in practice and get better. And you know, maybe we can see them in the playoffs and change the whole scenario of the season with just one game. I hope we do. That’d be fun.”
Pilgrim improves to 5-0-2 with the victory while Toll Gate falls to 4-2-1.
The Lady Pats play next on Thursday against Woonsocket (1-5) at Barry Field at 4 p.m., while the Lady Titans host Cranston East (0-7) back at CCRI on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.