WOOD RIVER JCT.—The goal of any team in any sport is to get off to a strong start but given the way things went last time out for the Chariho girls soccer team, Monday’s first 10 minutes were particularly important.
Heading into Saturday afternoon’s non-league contest with Division II Westerly the Chargers were flying high, sitting at a perfect 4-0-0 atop the Division III-A standings.
Then – like the high pitched buzz of an alarm clock – Chariho got a wakeup call courtesy of a 4-0 Bulldog victory.
“To say the least,” Chariho coach Brittney Godbout said. “I think maybe our heads got a little too big and they thought they could just kind of walk through.
“Saturday was definitely a wakeup call and they showed up today, which was good. I missed my team this weekend.”
The Chargers certainly returned to form Monday night as Chariho (5-0-0 D-III A) struck twice in the first six minutes en route to a 3-1 victory over a solid North Providence (3-2-0 D-III A) squad.
While only assisting on one of the first two scores, both goals were set up by fantastic plays by junior Arin Demers.
“When she’s on, she’s on,” Godbout said. “We’ve been trying to get her to shoot more because she has that great foot so that was very nice to see.”
In the fifth minute Demers carried the ball down the left side of the field before stopping on a dime just outside the 18-yard line and crossing the ball from left to right to senior Ryan Tracy.
From there Tracy put a wonderful strike on the ball on a one-timer as the right-footed striker curved the ball over the top of NP keeper Ashley VanBemmelen for the early 1-0 advantage.
“That’s another thing we’ve been working on, keeping Ryan wide and making those runs,” Godbout said. “She finished perfectly.”
The Chargers had to wait just 45 seconds to double their advantage as Demers perfectly footed a ball in between a pair of Cougar defenders to Sami Orciari, who was on a run up the middle of the field inside the North Providence 18-yard line.
Orciari, the Cougar defenders and VanBemmelen each battled to gain control of the ball but it eventually spun out of the scrum to a wide open Meghan Rousseau along the left post.
All that was left for the senior striker was to tap in one of the easier goals in her standout career for the Chargers.
Chariho kept the pressure on and had its chances – including one off the foot of Rousseau that struck the post with 24:31 left in the first half – but ultimately went into the break leading 2-0.
As the time ticked off the clock early in the second half it appeared as if the Chargers would never get that extra breathing room, leaving a slim window for a Cougar comeback open.
In the 53rd minute Chariho finally broke through as Oriciari found Rousseau on a great pass inside the 18-yard line and the senior striker just tucked the ball inside the near post for the 3-0 advantage.
“That was the talk at halftime. We know North Providence from last year, they’re not a team to give up and I told them if we don’t score first there’s a good sign that they might take it,” Godbout said. “That was our goal – it took a little longer than we thought – but we got it finally.”
North Providence finally got on the scoreboard with 15:32 to play as Danya Grimaldi chipped the ball over top of Chariho keeper Silvanna Terranova – who finished with five saves – but the Cougars could not draw any closer.
While the Chargers have certainly done well to get this far, they will be in store for a major test today at 6:30 p.m. when they host West Warwick (4-0-1 D-III A).
“They’re very strong offensively and defensively. Last year they beat us because they were a lot faster than us,” Godbout said. “We have some speed this year – a little more than last year, which is nice – and we have the passing game.
“Hopefully if we possess the ball like we do hopefully it won’t be that big of a problem but we’ll definitely be ready for it.”