The Toll Gate Lady Titans fell 13-9 to the Rocky Hill Mariners during the 2019 Girls Lacrosse Division III Championship at Cranston Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Rocky Hill freshman Kaeley Zito was too much for Toll Gate, leading all scorers with six goals and two assists.
“We really focused on her, but she’s just a really good player,” Toll Gate head coach Jim Areson said. “And she made great plays, tremendous moves, and she was the difference.”
The Lady Titans fought for the entire contest and they didn't take the loss lightly.
“No, but it was a tremendous season,” Areson said. “I was just telling the girls, if you told me at the beginning of the season we would have been here, I would have taken it.”
“We started 1-4, and then the next ten games we went 9-1,” Areson explained. “We played extremely well.”
Toll Gate was headed by seniors Alyssa Silvestre and Nicole Procaccini, who scored three goals apiece.
“They both played well,” Areson said. “Unfortunately, it’s their last game as players at Toll Gate and it would have been nice for them to go out on a high, but they really played hard and I’m going to miss them next year. I’m going to miss all the seniors.”
Kylie Russo, a senior, made five saves in net for the Lady Titans while Rocky Hill senior Aviva Beringhause stopped nine shots.
The Mariners got the first goal of the game at 11:33 of the first half when Zito assisted in front to senior Ptolemy Tassone for a tally, and that put Rocky Hill up 1-0.
Rocky Hill increased its edge to 2-0 1:13 later after Zito found Jordan Lanowy, a sophomore, for a goal.
Fifty-two seconds later, the Mariners upped their lead to 3-0 when Zito buried a driving shot.
Then, Rocky Hill ballooned its edge to 4-0 after Tassone one-bounced a shot past Russo with 9:47 remaining in the half.
Toll Gate’s Procaccini answered fifteen seconds later, after an assist from Cassie Cirella and that got the Lady Titans within 4-1.
Next, with 5:36 left, Toll Gate inched within 4-2 after Jennifer Ray passed to Antonia Andreason for a tally.
Then, with 2:34 remaining, the Lady Titans got the last goal of the first half when they inched within 4-3 after Alyssa O’Keefe scored during a free shot.
Toll Gate evened the score at 4, thirty-five seconds into the second half, when Silvestre grabbed a ground ball and went the distance for a breakaway goal.
Four minutes after that, the Lady Titans took a 5-4 advantage when Procaccini scored with a free shot.
Procaccini found the back of the cage again, thirty-six seconds later, this time with a put back, which put the Lady Titans on top 6-4.
However, Boss answered for Rocky Hill, fifty-six seconds later and pulled the Mariners within 6-5.
Then, with 15:38 remaining, the Mariners knotted the game at 6 when Zito buried a shot during a free position.
Thirty-five seconds after that, Zito scored again when she evaded a defender in front before firing by Russo and putting Rocky Hill up 7-6.
Next, the Lady Titans tied the game at 7 with 13:14 left when senior Kelsey Hunter made a spinning shot in front.
But two minutes later, Rocky Hill drew an 8-7 advantage when Boss assisted in front to Lanowy for a tally.
Then, with 10:47 left, the Mariners added to their buffer at 9-7 when Zito snuck a leaping shot past Russo.
Seventeen seconds later, Toll Gate’s Jennifer Ray won the ensuing draw before dishing to Silvestre, who found an opening and fired past Beringhause, while pulling the Lady Titans within 9-8.
But with 8:05 left, Toll Gate’s Sara Rhodes was whistled for a foul, which rewarded Zito a penalty shot, which she made, and that increased the Mariners cushion to 10-8.
Thirty-five seconds later, Rocky Hill padded its lead when Chloe Ponte scored during a free shot and upped the Mariners margin to 11-8.
Next, Zito pranced into the Toll Gate zone, thirty-eight seconds later, and snuck a shot past Russo, which upped the Rocky Hill advantage to 12-8.
With 3:07 left, Rocky Hill’s Lanowy found the back of the cage following an assist from Boss and that increased the Mariners lead to 13-8.
The Lady Titans inched within 13-9 with 1:27 remaining when Silvestre fired a free shot past Beringhause.
To get to the championship game, Toll Gate defeated the Lincoln Lions 5-4 on Thursday during the semifinal round. In that match, Russo, the Lady Titans goalie, came up big with 15 saves.
“Kylie’s a four-year starter,” Areson said. “She was enormous in the semifinal game. She’s the reason we got here. She had another good game today. That Zito kid was tough. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top, but it was a tremendous season and I’m very proud of them.”