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WAKEFIELDâ€”In a team sport like girls soccer, one player generally canâ€™t make the difference between winning and losing.
That being said, Prout certainly could have used the services of middle defender and senior captain Maddie Hagerty for the final 30 minutes of last Thursdayâ€™s 1-0 loss to North Kingstown.
After neither team could get on the scoreboard in the first half of Thursdayâ€™s game â€“ thanks in large part to some strong Crusader defense and standout play in net from both NKâ€™s Morgan McBrier and Proutâ€™s Payton Bradshaw â€“ the contest took a drastic turn when Hagerty went down with a lower body injury early in the second half.
The Prout senior had to be helped off the field by head coach Ria Carroll and assistant coach Kristen Need and did not return.
â€śSheâ€™s a good player, she keeps us balanced in the middle, she plays hard for us, she wins balls in the middle, sheâ€™s just a presence on the field,â€ť Carroll said after the game, â€śand we need her.â€ť
Fortunately for the Crusaders the injury does not seem to be as serious as it appeared to be at the time as Hagerty was back in practice Monday.
â€śHopefully it was just a scare and it doesnâ€™t hinder her all season,â€ť Carroll said via e-mail Tuesday morning, â€śbut as of yesterday she seemed to be OK striking the ball and running.â€ť
While that is certainly good news for Prout going forward it helped the Crusaders little against the Skippers as soon after Hagerty left the game NK broke the scoreless tie.
â€śShe would have helped on [the goal] and it changed the dynamics really of the rest of the game inside,â€ť NK coach Randy Jones said. â€śThatâ€™s when we decided to bring it inside a little bit more knowing that sheâ€™s not there.â€ť
After drawing a corner kick, Alicia Southland sent the ball into the box from right to left into a mess of Prout and NK players.
The ball went just over the outstretched arm of Bradshaw and past NKâ€™s Ansley Ostiguy and Proutâ€™s Alexis Olson before settling at the feet of Jennifer Roth along the back post.
â€śI honestly didnâ€™t even get a good glimpse of that,â€ť Carroll said. â€śIt looked like a big cluster in there and then the ball ended up in the back of the net. Thatâ€™s the breaks you get.â€ť
Amidst the confusion Roth appeared to be the only one to have a good beat on the ball and the sophomore midfielder drilled the ball into the back of the net for what proved to be the game-winner 57:22 into the contest.
â€śWe started last week, we had a couple scrimmages and our goal was to work on set pieces so every day they spend about a half an hour on corner kicks and how they want to set them up,â€ť Jones said.
â€śWeâ€™ve been working through them. We went into our first scrimmage against Bishop Feehan and we took 12 corner kicks and didnâ€™t get one so that was the goal the whole week to work on set pieces and corner kicks. It proved well of us.â€ť
The Crusaders had a number of promising chances to tie the game â€“ namely a free kick just outside the left corner of the box and corner kick in the final five minutes â€“ but could not find the equalizer.
North Kingstown (2-0-0 Division-I, 2-0-0 overall) kept its shutout streak alive Tuesday as it travelled to Barrington and left with a 4-0 victory.
The Skippers next match is set for today at 6:30 p.m. at home when they host Toll Gate.