The Lady Patriots edged out the Toll Gate Lady Titans 10-7 in girls lacrosse on Tuesday afternoon during its home opener at Pilgrim High School.
Anna D’Angelo, a junior, led the Lady Pats with five goals and two assists.
“She had a big game today,” Pilgrim head coach Jessica McCaughey said. “She did awesome. She’s one of my captains. She’s a leader on and off the field, but she also works really hard constantly. And every goal that she had wasn’t luck, there was hard work behind it. And I’m really impressed and I’m really proud of her.”
Alyssa Silvestre, also a senior, topped the Lady Titans with three goals plus a pair of assists. Also, coming up big for Toll Gate was senior Nicole Proccaccini with two goals, plus an assist, and Cassie Cirella, a sophomore center, who had a goal and three assists.
The Lady Pats sprinted to an early 4-0 lead, which they brought into halftime. However, Toll Gate pulled within one with less than four minutes to play in the contest.
“It was definitely a more even game in the second half,” Toll Gate head coach Jim Areson said. “I mean, in the first half they completely dominated us. They were just quicker and did everything better than us. Then in the second half, we played much better.”
Abby Magiera, a senior, made five saves for Pilgrim while Kylie Russo, also a senior, tallied seven for the Lady Titans.
Pilgrim got the first goal of the contest 15 minutes in when Lydia Ramsden, a sophomore, found the back of the net.
Forty-one seconds later, Pilgrim padded its lead when D’Angelo fired a shot past Russo and put the Lady Pats up 2-0.
Next, Olivia Paquet got on the board with a blast and put Pilgrim on top 3-0 with 9:46 remaining.
Three minutes later, D’Angelo earned her second tally, which gave Pilgrim a 4-0 cushion.
One minute and 30 seconds into the second frame, Toll Gate’s Cirella forced a turnover on defense and then, heaved the ball ahead to Procaccini, who went on a breakaway and rocketed a shot into the cage, while inching the Lady Titans within 4-1.
Toll Gate added another goal a minute later when Haley Gregoire, a senior, fired past Magiera and made it 4-2.
Next, Pilgrim’s Ella Centracchio scored during a free shot, which killed some of Toll Gate’s momentum and that put the Lady Pats up 5-2 with 17:14 to play.
Thirty seconds after that, D’Angelo collected her third tally and extended Pilgrim’s advantage to 6-2.
Fifteen seconds later, Toll Gate’s Cirella won the ensuing faceoff and left the ball for Silvestre, who sprinted down the field and buried a dagger, making it 6-3.
D’Angelo then secured her fourth goal, this time from point-blank range, following an assist from Paquet and that put Pilgrim up four.
With 13:15 left, Toll Gate’s Silvestre made a swift pass in front to Cirella, who found the back of the net and got the Lady Titans within 7-4.
D’Angelo netted her fifth and final tally with 9:03 remaining in the contest and that put Pilgrim back up by four.
Next, Toll Gate’s Silvestre made a nice inbound dish in front to Procaccini, who put a bouncer past Magiera and got the Lady Titans within 8-5.
With 3:59 left, Silvestre acquired her second tally when she rifled a free shot into the cage and got Toll Gate within two.
Fourteen seconds later, Silvestre struck again and earned a hat trick when she scored and got Toll Gate within 8-7.
“It was a nice response from them,” Areson said. “Particularly, from the first game of the year, going down 4-0 and being dominated like that and then, coming back like that. It’s definitely something to build on for the rest of the year. I’m very happy, very pleased, particularly with the way we played in the second half and how we responded to things.”
With momentum now on their side, Toll Gate’s Silvestre tried for a fourth goal with 2:15 left, but she was denied by Magiera and Pilgrim took over from there.
D’Angelo found Ramsden, who drove into the Toll Gate zone with 1:36 left and fired past Russo, making it 9-7.
“Honestly, it was exciting,” McCaughey said. “I’m super pumped about the save that Abby made when it was 8-7. The shot that they made, that she saved, would have made it 8-8, but instead we got the ball back and scored and made it 9-7. That was a game-saving save.”
Pilgrim got its final tally from Paquet, who scored with a put back after Russo stopped a free shot attempt.
It was Paquet’s second goal of the game. Both her and Ramsden obtained two goals and an assist apiece.
“That’s awesome,” McCaughey said. “They’re sophomores. They were both on varsity as freshmen, but they’re definitely starting to come into their own.”
Pilgrim moved down a division this year and McCaughey believes her team can take advantage and get a title.
“It’s good,” McCaughey said. “We’re ready to go. We’re ready to win a championship. So, that’s where we’re headed. But, you know, one game at a time.”
Toll Gate plays its next game on Friday against Rocky Hill at Warwick Vets Middle School. Pilgrim takes the field next on Saturday against Classical at Al Morro Athletic Complex in Providence at 5:30 p.m.