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 didnâ€™t 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 couldâ€™ve 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).
â€śThis is the best game weâ€™ve played all year,â€ť 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).
â€śJordan is just a phenomenal player; sheâ€™s so versatile,â€ť she added of McComb. â€śWhen she gives it all, itâ€™s 110 percent, if not more. Her shots can be crazy, as she can go high or low. No one knows where itâ€™s going to go.â€ť
Offered NS/Burrillville mentor Pam Etheridge, whose fifth-seeded club closed at 6-6-1: â€śThe 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.
â€śStill, we doubled our winning percentage from our first two years, as we only won three each season,â€ť she continued. â€śWe also graduate only five seniors, so the future looks bright.â€ť
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 VanPuttenâ€™s 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 didnâ€™t know it at the time, but â€“ after Reid knocked in Biancoâ€™s 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 thatâ€™s 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 wouldnâ€™t 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, Farrellâ€™s 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.
â€śThat penalty was huge; that meant they were down a player, and weâ€™d playing seven-on-six (offensively),â€ť Macamaux said. â€śWith the player advantage, we scored two quick ones, and that turned out to be a key.
â€śThey needed only eight seconds into it to score, and it was 2-0 shortly thereafter,â€ť she continued. â€śAt that point, I think the girls got the feeling you have when youâ€™re behind; they decided to dig a little deeper and try a little harder to score. They worked to get back into it.
â€śI 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 itâ€™s over, or you push harder and start playing the way youâ€™re capable.
â€śWe began teetering back and forth, then took the lead for good and held onto it. It was a great game, but Iâ€™m glad weâ€™re moving on.â€ť