There was a championship rematch last Saturday at Rhode Island College when the Westerly girls soccer team took on Toll Gate in the Division III finals. After falling to the Titans in last …
There was a championship rematch last Saturday at Rhode Island College when the Westerly girls soccer team took on Toll Gate in the Division III finals. After falling to the Titans in last year’s title game, the Bulldogs would rebound and roll to a 4-0 decision to knock off the defending champs.
The two teams were scoreless at halftime, but the Bulldogs found the net early and often in the second half to put up four unanswered points to run away with the victory.
The tide began to turn late in the first half as Westerly began finding more scoring opportunities to strain the Toll Gate defense. Titan keeper Alanna Pereira came up with some big stops in the final minutes of the first half and the opening sequences of the second, but the Westerly offense would break through and catch fire in the final 25 minutes.
“They’re really fast. We’re defensively strong so we tried to close up the middle but we gave up a lot of penetrations up the middle in the first half. We’re lucky that they didn’t go in. The second half, we tried to correct that and we did. You have to take chances, we pulled a midfielder and added another striker to try to tie it up, but we gave up a few goals on the back end. We needed to put pressure on them to get back in the game,” said Toll Gate coach Bob Enright of some adjustments the team made.
The Bulldogs finished the season unbeaten with a 13-0 league record. They topped Toll Gate 5-0 in their regular season meeting.
After beating Westerly 1-0 in last year’s championship clash, the Titans faced a rebuild in 2023 as it said goodbye to 15 seniors. This year’s roster did not blink, though, as it finished the regular season with a 6-0-3 league record and reach the finals for the third time in four years.
“This was a rebuilding year, we made the finals in a rebuilding year. We lost 15 seniors and made the finals again. I’m proud of this program, we made the finals three of the past four years, made the playoffs all four years. What more can you ask from them? You can’t win everything, I thought we played amazing. The score isn’t going to reflect it since we took some chances, but the girls played amazing,” said Enright.
Toll Gate will be graduating another crop of key seniors, including players Adeline Areson and Katie Pale. Enright credited his seniors for their winning ways over the past four seasons.
“Those seniors are so important because they only know success. They know nothing but winning,” Enright said. “They have winning attitudes and the rest of the girls came on board. What they did was amazing, four years and over 50 wins. I’m proud of them. They kept this team going all year.”