WARWICK – It was a tough start to the week for the Narragansett boys soccer team as it dropped their second straight game when they travelled north to face Toll Gate Monday afternoon at Goff Field.
Early mistakes proved costly for the Mariners, putting them in a hole from which they could not recover as Toll Gate went on to a 3-1 victory.
Coming into the contest Narragansett coach Ryan Kanaczet and his squad knew they were going to have their hands full with the division’s second leading offense and the likes of Jose Beltran and Josh Sandin, who are both amongst the top goal scorers in the state, and that they would need to be on point early to not let the contest get away from them.
“We knew going into the game, just from looking at the paper,” Kanaczet said. “…You can’t give them room on those things or they’re going to finish. You have to be quick and ready for it right off the bat.”
As expected, the Titans struck early as Sandin put away two in the game’s first 10 minutes for the early Toll Gate lead.
Just two minutes in, the midfielder broke through the Narragansett defense and put one past a sprawling Austin McKanna in goal, high near side. Then in the seventh minute Sandin danced his way through the defense once again and poked it in for the 2-0 lead.
Though it can be the kind of thing that can often derail a team, the quick tallies did not seem to take the Mariners out of the game. Narragansett stayed in and began to find their rhythm on both ends on the field.
The opportunities began to come and the Mariners began to control the possession as the first half wore on.
They were taking control of the game, but Narragansett struggled to get their chances on net and could not get anything behind Toll Gate goalkeeper Tylor Rubiera. The frustration would grow as Beltran scored on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute after being taken down in the box, sending the game to the half with the Titans leading 3-0.
“I think we’re trying too hard. Complicating the game versus just taking it simple and knocking the ball around a little,” Kanaczet said. “Let the ball do the work is what I’ve been trying to say to these guys all along.
“…We do have some nice passing combos going. You can see the switches in the field just to change the point of attack and try to capitalize on those things. We had the opportunities.”
The Mariners finally broke through early in the second half, getting on the board in the 50th minute. Rubiera made the initial save as Robert Pratt put a low angle shot on net, but as the keeper went to pounce on the rebound, the ball squirted loose to Alec Cotroneo who was right on the doorstep to poke it in, making it 3-1.
Unfortunately, while McKanna and the defense made a number of key stops late to keep Narragansett in the game, the offense continued to be stymied and could not convert on a number of late opportunities and get any closer.
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Mariners are not yet ready to panic in the young season given the competition they have faced their last two times out.
“I’m not totally disappointed,” Kanaczet said. “Would I have liked it to have been closer or potentially won? Absolutely, but we had two of the top teams probably in the division right now. We had Mount 1-1 going into the 75th minute and they ended up capitalizing.
“There’s no pushovers early in the season. Westerly will be a tough game for us, too.”
The Mariners will look to snap the early losing skid Thursday at 3:45 p.m. when they welcome in a Westerly team that won its first game of the season on Monday, 2-1 over Pilgrim.