The Pilgrim Patriots beat the Toll Gate Titans, 2-1, on Thursday evening at CCRI. Pilgrim junior June Beauregard broke the 1-1 tie with 4:55 remaining in the contest.
“The ball just came across the goal and then their goalie dove for it, she fell on the ground, and I was able to hit it in right before she hit the ground,” Beauregard explained.
The Pilgrim victory puts the Pats in a tie with the Titans for first place at 3-1.
Pats’ head coach Stephanie Shields was thrilled with the way that the Pilgrim offense attacked the net and set up the game-winning goal.
“That was huge,” Shields said. “We’ve been working hard, practicing with our forwards to make sure that they’re in the right position, moving the ball, and then being aggressive to the ball and it’s obviously paying off right now.”
Tying the Titans at the top of the division may have been Pilgrim’s toughest task thus far this season says the Pilgrim head coach.
“We battled,” Shields said. “It’s tough to give up a goal with less than a minute left in a half and then you have to go out and play hard the whole time. And they dug deep. This was probably our best challenge so far and they really worked hard.”
Mary Greenwell was in net for Toll Gate and Sara Langevin for Pilgrim.
Five and a half minutes into the contest, Pilgrim’s Karly Evans fired a deep slap shot wide. Shortly after, Beauregard passed in front to Samantha McConnell, but she couldn’t punch it in because the Toll Gate defense batted it away.
With 20:58 remaining in the first half, Toll Gate’s Nicole Procaccini used an aerial dribble to get in front, but the Pilgrim defense was there to knock it away before she could get off a shot.
Then, with 12:25 remaining in the first half, Pilgrim’s Mikaila Rastella assisted in front to McConnell, who fired it past Greenwell, giving the Pats a 1-0 edge.
Two minutes later, Toll Gate’s Procaccini had a chance, but her shot was stopped by Langevin, who used a kick save to keep Toll Gate off the board.
But with 28 seconds left in the half, Procaccini aerial dribbled in and fired from deep, which ricocheted off of Langevin before Mya Linchitz swooped in with the putback, tying the game at 1. The assist was Procaccini’s third of the season.
“We’ve been down in the first half twice this year and we’ve immediately just like that came right back,” Toll Gate head coach Jim Areson said.
It was Mya’s first tally of the season.
“Mya’s been working really hard in practice,” Areson said. “I’m glad. We have a lot of kids on the team that have gotten their first goal. So, we’ve been playing really well. I’m very happy with how we’ve been playing.”
Pilgrim’s Addison Murphy had an opportunity early in the second half, but blasted a shot wide.
With 13.23 remaining, Pilgrim had another chance when Carolyn Corley assisted to McConnell, but her attempt was denied by Greenwell. A minute later, Hope Frye passed to McConnell and her try was turned away by the Toll Gate goalkeeper.
But with 4:55 remaining in the contest, Victoria Tatewosian blasted a shot from midfield towards the net and Beauregard raced over and punched it in, giving the Pats a 2-1 advantage.
Toll Gate went on the offensive following that, but the time expired on the Titans, and Pilgrim held on for the win.
Beauregard was pumped up afterwards about both the victory and her team moving into a tie for first place.
“It’s crazy,” Beauregard said. “It’s really good.”
Areson thought that his team played well enough to win.
“I thought we played extremely well, extremely hard,” Areson said. “It was a really good game. It was an intense game, kind of had a playoff atmosphere. It was a good city rival game. It was pretty even for the most part. We’re still tied for first place, so we’ve just got to keep working and keep plugging.”