COVENTRY - A light rainfall did little to dampen Coventry’s dominant showing against Prout on Wednesday afternoon in the Preliminary Round of the D-I playoffs.
Behind four goals in the opening half and two more in the second, the Oakers (10-4-2) posted a resounding 6-0 shutout victory to advance to the quarterfinals, while sending the Crusaders (4-11-1) looking ahead to next season.
Madison Resendes was the central figure behind the bulk of Coventry’s offense, scoring four of the team’s goals on the day, three of which came in the opening half. Her sister Sydney added one of her own to go along with a pair of assists, while Katarina Capezza rounded out the home team’s offensive onslaught with the sixth and final goal.
The two teams had faced one another less than two weeks earlier, finishing in a 2-2 draw before one side dialed up the intensity in the rematch.
“Much better result this time,” Oaker head coach Chris Daigneault said.
For him, the difference resided in his team’s aggressive offensive approach, which paid significant dividends on Wednesday.
“We’ve been working on attacking a little bit more. Even when we’re on defense, we’ve been looking to attack a little bit more,” he said.
Catie Pendola (3 saves) and Lexi White (1 save) combined to keep the Crusaders off the scoreboard all day, while the home team jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
“We scored two minutes into the game and they had that attack mode in them,” said Daigneault. “In practice, I’ve been telling them that if they miss the net, they’re doing pushups,” he said with a grin.
Setting up scoring opportunities was another plus for the home team on the day.
“I think we passed well too,” Daigneault said, highlighting the play of the Resendes sisters, each playing a central role in the one-sided victory.
While the conditions may not have been the most desirable, the opportunity to play a must-win match on their home turf served as another welcomed advantage.
“We play well on this field. This is our field, we love it, so that helps too,” said Daigneault.
From here, the Oakers will get set to face South Kingstown in the D-I quarterfinals this coming Sunday at 4 p.m. at Curtis Corner Middle School.
The two teams faced each other back on September 19 with the Rebels edging Coventry out by a 1-0 final.
“We played really well against them in that game,” Daigneault said. “It was probably a 50/50 game, could have been anybody’s game at that time. Hoping it can at least be the same thing this time around. I think if we play our game the way I know we can play, we’ll be in the game.”
On the other end, the Crusaders were hoping that their last meeting with Coventry would serve as a preview for Wednesday’s clash. It did not.
“Tough game,” head coach John Pastore said. “The girls had a great end to the year. Today just didn’t go the way we had hoped, but they left here with a good attitude. Hopefully, they’re going to keep that going into next season, but they did the best they could today, it just wasn’t their day today.”
The 2019 season began with promise for Prout as the Crusaders posted a 1-0 win over East Greenwich before falling on hard times, dropping four in a row, followed by five of their next six. Back-to-back wins against Burrillville and Cranston West coupled with a tie against Coventry got them back into the playoff hunt, though the team did drop their final contest of the regular season, a 1-0 decision against Cumberland on Senior Night.
With the odds stacked against them, Pastore was hoping to see his team pull off the upset, but it simply was not to be on Wednesday.
“We were just off today, plus Coventry’s a very good team. They played really well and we just looked flat today,” he said.
Allison Schofield recorded a dozen saves in net for the Crusaders, but allowed half as many to get past her as well. Offensively, very little went Prout’s way.
“I’m pleased with their effort this season and I’m sure that they’ll be back at it next season and doing the best they can. We’re losing a few seniors, but we’ll do OK,” Pastore said.
Follow Nick Cantor on Twitter @cantornick