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NARRAGANSETT â The Coventry girlsâ soccer team is eternally grateful that soccer matches at the high-school level last 80 minutes, not 40.
It was a tale of two halves on Wednesday at The Prout School for the Oakers, where the first 40 minutes of play saw Prout â a past foe within the Division II ranks â take complete control of the match in terms of possession and physicality against the prominently-physical Coventry XI.
But, the second half saw the Oakers regroup and regain that physical form to take control of the match, which resulted in a pair of second-half tallies to earn a tough 3-2 win over the Crusaders for their third victory in as many matches on the young season.
âI wasnât happy at all with the first-half performance by them,â Coventry head coach Chris Daigneault said. âWe brought it in the second half, though, and I thought they played really well.â
Although the season is still in its genesis, the victory by Coventry was impressive in that the team earned the win when the conditions werenât favorable, especially with most of those conditions self-inflicted.
In their previous two years at the Division I level, a match that the Oakers had on Wednesday, where the players werenât marking up on forwards at the midfield and allowing them to freely run up the touch lines for solid scoring opportunities, wouldâve resulted in a disastrous affair before the first half whistle was blown, let alone the final one.
Now, with Coventry already surpassing last yearâs win total with Wednesdayâs win, the confidence with the maturing Oakers is starting to grow at a rapid rate, which in turn is resulting in their play showing signs of the same dominance it had at the Division II ranks â especially in 2006 when the Oakers topped Prout for the Division II championship.
âA little confidence is being built and their character is being built,â Daigneault said. âTheyâre understanding how to win a little bit. When Prout made it 3-2 with eight minutes to go, and they knew that they had to hold on against a good team, they bared down and didnât panic. They made some good passes. Theyâre young and theyâre still learning. We have all juniors this year that were sophomores last year. Theyâre getting older and getting better.â
âWeâre so proud of ourselves,â Coventry sweeper Kristina Almeida said. âWe canât believe that weâve made it this far. Weâve been working hard. Weâve been playing all summer. Weâve been exercising and working out more. We deserve this and weâre so proud right now.â
In the first half, Prout had control on the Oakersâ side of the pitch for nearly the whole 40 minutes and Crusader midfielder Renee Altimari was at the forefront of bringing the play up field to give Prout a plethora of scoring chances. One of those chances came within the first 10 minutes when Altimari moved the ball around three Oaker defenders and got off a sliding shot with her left foot, a shot that was brilliantly saved by Coventry keeper Gianna Palermo.View more articles in: