Mount St. Charles junior Jordan McComb (9) gets ready to fire a shot on North Smithfield/Burrillville goalie Taylor Duquette (40) as defenders Chelsea Almeida (16) and Emily Cardon (10) close in on her during the first half of their Division III quarterfinal-round game on Thursday on the Mountiesâ campus. McComb didnât score on her shot, but she ended her afternoon with five goals (giving her 55 this season) and three assists to help her team net a 16-10 victory. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
WOONSOCKET â On Monday afternoon, Mount St. Charles cruised to an easy 20-7 triumph over North Smithfield/Burrillville Co-op in both squadsâ penultimate Division III contest.
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It could have been the Mounties, who like the Northerners were missing a few players for a variety of reasons in that clash, were expecting the same kind of result when the rivals met again in a state D-III Tournament quarterfinal on Thursday.
Nothing couldâve been further from the truth. North Smithfield/Burrillville catapulted to leads of 4-1 and 6-3 over the initial 9:09 and went into the break tied at 7-all.
Fourth-seeded Mount, however, outscored its foe 9-3 over the final 25 minutes â not to mention five unanswered in the final 8:13 â to snag a wet 16-10 triumph over the Northerners in the afternoon drizzle.
Junior standout Jordan McComb, who finished second in all of Rhode Island in regular-season points scored (50 tallies, 39 feeds), collected five goals and three assists, while senior Ally Goralski netted four goals and two assists; classmate Jane Moniz a hat trick and a feed; sophomore Elizabeth Caruso a pair of scores and an assist; and senior Caitlin Barnabe two tallies.
Not surprisingly, junior attacker Isis Van Putten paced the Co-op squad with four goals and two assists. Other key point-getters included junior midfielder Tiara Bianco (two tallies, two feeds); classmate/attacker Margaret Reid (two scores, three assists); and fellow junior Jayne Roberts (goal, assist).
âThis is the best game weâve played all year,â noted MSC head coach Allie Macamaux, whose team improved to 9-4-0 overall and now will face top-ranked Chariho in a tourney semifinal at its home field at 4 p.m., Tuesday.
(The Chargers earned that bid after disposing of No. 8 Scituate, 17-5, also on Thursday).
âJordan is just a phenomenal player; sheâs so versatile,â she added of McComb. âWhen she gives it all, itâs 110 percent, if not more. Her shots can be crazy, as she can go high or low. No one knows where itâs going to go.â
Offered NS/Burrillville mentor Pam Etheridge, whose fifth-seeded club closed at 6-6-1: âThe girls played hard and they played smart; when it was over, I told them how proud I was of each and every one of them. The last five minutes changed the momentum. We were still in it.
âStill, we doubled our winning percentage from our first two years, as we only won three each season,â she continued. âWe also graduate only five seniors, so the future looks bright.â
The Northerners nevertheless dominated the first 10 minutes, needing only 9:09 to snatch a 6-3 cushion. VanPutten took just eight ticks after the opening faceoff to race downfield and plunge an unassisted goal past freshman netminder Grace McWilliams; and Roberts took a pass from Reid, looped around the cage and fired low to make it 2-0 a mere 1:46 into the tilt.
Caruso pulled the Mounties to 2-1 24 seconds later, but VanPutten and Bianco teamed up for the first time to make it 3-1 with 22:08 remaining, and Bianco drilled in VanPuttenâs pass 19 ticks after.
The two foes traded goals, McComb and VanPutten doing the honors, before Reid bounced in a VanPutten pass with 16:51 left to give the visitors a 6-3 cushion.
Only 7:05 later, following consecutive scores by Moniz in a 4:06 span, Goralski knotted it for the first time at 6-6 with a leaping high rip past junior keeper Taylor Duquette.
North Smithfield/Burrillville didnât know it at the time, but â after Reid knocked in Biancoâs assist with 7:14 remaining in the initial session â it would be its last. Goralski knotted it for the second time at 7-7 on a pass from sophomore Sabrina Fagan with 2:07 left, and thatâs how the half ended.
At the 2:23 mark of the second half, Goralski accepted a pass from McComb, who had been stationed behind the netting, jumped and fired past McWilliams to give the Mount its first advantage at 8-7.
Less than three minutes later, Bianco evened it again on a penalty shot, though McComb moved from left to right across the crease and slipped a low delivery past Duquette to give MSC a 9-8 lead â and one it wouldnât relinquish.
Over the next five minutes, Moniz and Caruso each notched tallies, the last on a Goralski pass, as the hosts snatched an 11-8 cushion with 13:23 remaining.
VanPutten and senior attacker Kelsey Farrell responded with a pair to close the gap to 11-10; in fact, Farrellâs attempt seemed to be stopped by McWilliams, though it bounced slowly into the net at the 10:28 mark.
North Smithfield/Burrillville produced a couple of superb chances to knot it, but Caruso sent a long pass into senior Caitlin Barnabe, who hustled downfield and beat Duquette low to the left with 8:13 left. Exactly three minutes after, Barnabe scored again on a fantastic feed from Moniz.
It gave the Mount a 13-10 advantage, and it was looking for more.
Just 10 ticks after the tally, referees whistled Bianco for a slashing penalty, and she sat out the next two minutes. Twice in the span of 39 seconds (or a scant 44 after the infraction), McComb scored twice, the last one coming after she raced three-quarters of the field and roped one past Duquette to deliver to MSC a 15-10 cushion.
McComb also finished it off on a feed from Caila MacNeil with 1:58 left to nail it down.
âThat penalty was huge; that meant they were down a player, and weâd playing seven-on-six (offensively),â Macamaux said. âWith the player advantage, we scored two quick ones, and that turned out to be a key.
âThey needed only eight seconds into it to score, and it was 2-0 shortly thereafter,â she continued. âAt that point, I think the girls got the feeling you have when youâre behind; they decided to dig a little deeper and try a little harder to score. They worked to get back into it.
âI will say, when it was 6-4, I was really worried. At that kind of moment, it can go one of two ways â either you stop playing and think itâs over, or you push harder and start playing the way youâre capable.
âWe began teetering back and forth, then took the lead for good and held onto it. It was a great game, but Iâm glad weâre moving on.â