SPORTS

Running it back

Defending champ Toll Gate ready for new division

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 9/2/21

By ALEX SPONSELLER After a rocky start to the 2020 season, the Toll Gate girls soccer team would catch fire and win its final five games and take home the Division III State Championship with a 3-1 win over Narragansett. The Titans are back in action and

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SPORTS

Running it back

Defending champ Toll Gate ready for new division

Posted

By ALEX SPONSELLER After a rocky start to the 2020 season, the Toll Gate girls soccer team would catch fire and win its final five games and take home the Division III State Championship with a 3-1 win over Narragansett.

The Titans are back in action and were bumped up to Division II this fall. Toll Gate coach Bob Enright feels that the girls are up to the challenge and are looking to prove themselves in a new tier.

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s one of those stories of where no one expected much of us last year, and we kind of came out of nowhere to win it. There was a lot of publicity, they got to see themselves on TV. This year, I’ve been telling them that they’re going to need to want it, they can’t think that they’ve made it. Everyone is ready for you now, there are no gimme’s,” said Enright.

Toll Gate returns much of its core from last season, however, did graduate some key pieces including top scorer Cassie Cirella.

The Titans believe in their group, though, and feel that they have the depth to overcome the losses.

“We lost girls like Cassie, we lost a few of our scorers. We are a defensive-minded team … we’re pretty stacked defensively, we have a really good striker in Olivia Dutra, she’s going to score a lot of goals this year. We can’t get big heads, they’ve got to want it. They’ve got to be level-headed and prove that they weren’t a one-year wonder,” said Enright.

Senior Maddie Clark added: “It’s definitely a transition, we definitely lost a few goal scorers that we could use this year. We have players that can fill those spots though, so we’re not worried about it. We just need to work together as one unit and not separately. That’s how we practice and we need to translate that onto the field.”

Fellow senior Meghan Carreiro believes that the key this season will be for the team to stay as hungry as it was last season down the stretch.

“I feel like we’ve been working well together. (The leadership role) is a big role to fill especially considering Cassie was the captain for two years. We’ve been working really well together and melding well with the team. We can’t focus too much on the target on her back, we just need to focus on how we play and being the same team that we were last year. It really comes down to what we’re thinking, that’s what helped us last year, being focused on winning,” said Carreiro.

Senior Kylie Whitney has been encouraged by the young core of players and hopes that the seniors finish their careers strong.

“(The young players) have improved a lot and have been working well together,” said Whitney. “This is an important year for the seniors. We really want to compete and get another championship.”

With the injury fund games approaching this week, Enright believes that the team will be just fine as long as it keeps things in perspective.

“They didn’t have that winning mentality (last season), but then things started clicking. They were focused and they’ve continued moving this summer,” said Enright. “I was proud of every one of them. They’re going to do good things as long as they stay level-headed.

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