NARRAGANSETT—How a team views a tie is all about how it happens.
The Narragansett boys soccer team, for example, was more than happy to leave Tuesday’s home contest against Mount Pleasant with a 1-1 decision thanks to some late heroics from senior Alec Cotroneo.
“The good news is we’ll get a point out of it,” Narragansett coach Ryan Kanaczet said. “We don’t know what the bad news is because we don’t know how this team’s going to fare.
“…Hopefully this team is a top five team in the division and we can say that tie wasn’t that bad.”
As the red numbers on the scoreboard at Tom Ashley Field glared – frozen at 2:00 to signal the remaining time would be kept on the field by officials – Cotroneo turned and fired a shot from 25 yards out along the right edge of the goal box.
“I honestly just turned and hit it,” Cotroneo said. “I knew where to hit it on my foot but I didn’t really look up until after I kicked the ball.”
The shot couldn’t have been better, soaring over the top of the Kilties’ keeper and into the back of the net, sending the Narragansett players into shocked jubilation.
“I’m just happy we tied,” Cotroneo said, “because I feel we should have beaten this team from the beginning.
“…[Corner kicks] were really all our offense today and I guess that shot was just a lucky a shot. We were lucky we made it to a tie and we just need to work on offensive position for the rest of the season.”
It was one point in the standings the Mariners very nearly didn’t get as for some time it appeared as if Mount Pleasant was going to leave South County with a victory.
After neither team scored in the first half the Kilties had a golden opportunity in the 45th minute on a scrum inside the Mariners’ 18-yard line.
’Gansett sophomore goalkeeper Austin McKanna – who had his fare share of game-saving stops Tuesday – made a save on an initial shot that pulled him away from the goal line, leaving the net unprotected.
The Kilties got a second shot on net in McKanna’s absence but fortunately for the Mariners defenseman Kyle Frankovich had alertly slid back to the goal line, where he stopped the attempt and a follow up before ’Gansett cleared the threat.
“They had some big stops in the back,” Kanaczet said. “My back four played a great game. Some mistakes here and there but we’ll fix them and go from there.”
Narragansett nearly turned good defense into a goal at the other end but Jonathan Rost’s shot from inside 15 yards along the left side was turned away by Mount Pleasant’s keeper.
The two teams had some minor chances over the next 20 minutes before the Kilties finally broke the scoreless tie in the 65th minute.
After drawing a direct kick just outside the right corner of the box, Mount Pleasant sent the ball over Narragansett’s four-player wall and into the middle of the box.
After some initial jockeying for possession amongst red and white jerseys the ball trickled out to the 18-yard line where the Kilties’ Mauro Cortez-Pacheco tucked a one-timer inside the right post for the 1-0 lead.
The Mariners had a handful of promising scoring chances –particularly a corner kick in the 68th minute that bounced through the Mount Pleasant box untouched – but it appeared as if the Mariners were destined for the loss.
Then came Cotroneo’s strike, fittingly enough finding the back of the net after traditionally better scoring chances had come and gone all game for the Mariners.
“We were close on a couple,” Kanaczet said of his team’s inability to take advantage of corner kicks. “There should have been two or three goals on them to be honest with you and that would have changed the whole outcome of the game.”
Narragansett (1-0-1 Division II, 2-1-1 overall) will look to put its unbeaten league record on the line today at 4 p.m. when it travels to Woonsocket for a match with Mount St. Charles.