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WOONSOCKET â Mary Green knew she was coming into a good situation this winter when she accepted the head coaching job at Mount St. Charles.
She didnât realize it was going to be as magnificent as it has been.
The former Bryant University two-sport standout has seen her Mounties roll out to a 4-1 mark â the best start in the programâs six-year history â and take charge of Division III-North, quickly establishing themselves as the âteam to beatâ in the five-team circuit.
Before absorbing its first setback of the season on Friday to also-undefeated crossover foe Narragansett, MSC had zipped through the first half of its III-North schedule by outscoring its division rivals, 48-31.
But wins and stats only tell part of the story of this team, which Green, who is currently a graduate student at Bryant, inherited from last seasonâs coach, Kayla Manzi.
Ironically, Green and Manzi know each other very well. Not only were they roommates at Bryant, but they were also teammates for two seasons on the Bulldogsâ lacrosse team, with Manzi graduating in 2010 and Green picking up her diploma last spring.
âKayla got a job and moved to Boston,â noted Green, a native of Merrick, N.Y. âShe kind of threw my name into the mix, and thatâs how I ended up here.â
Green was just coming off her final season with the Bulldogsâ soccer team, receiving a chance to play as a grad student because she missed her junior season with a torn ACL that she suffered midway through her sophomore season on the lacrosse team.
Manzi encouraged Green to apply for the job, and not only did she put in a very good word for her, she also told her what to expect as a rookie coach.
âKayla only coached them for a year, but she did tell me to get ready to just fall in love immediately with all of them, that theyâre a great bunch of girls,â said Green. âObviously, high school girls are going to be high school girls â I was one myself â and she told me to just be ready to deal with the proms, the stories, and everything like that. But mostly, she just told me that I would be very excited to come work at Mount St. Charles with this group of girls because theyâre that great.â
While all the players have been great, so have the results, and even though Green could easily take all the credit for the teamâs hot start, she deflected it to Manzi, who inherited a team that won a total of 12 games in its first four seasons of existence and led them to an 8-6 mark and their first-ever playoff berth last season.
âKayla turned around the program,â added Green. âShe definitely made an impact in her year here. The team made it to the playoffs for the first time and she definitely gave this team stuff to look forward to and work on down the road.
âShe gave me a great team. Weâre 4-1 now, and itâs really all the girls doing this. Theyâre just making me look good.â
Green had a bit of nervousness before her first practice with her new team in mid-March, but a couple of hours later, she ended it with nothing but smiles.
âI didnât know what I was really walking into,â admitted Green. âI knew that the program had been around for four or five years, but after that first day, I remember calling my dad and telling him, âThese girls are all actually really good.â I was pleasantly surprised.â
The squad has indeed been really good, and when you begin talking about its players, you have to start with their four veteran senior captains â Meaghan Walsh, Lauren Caruso, Rachel Leclaire, and Kelly OâNeill.
Walsh, a three-sport standout at Mount, is the teamâs leading scorer with 11 goals, and Caruso and her sister, freshman standout Elizabeth Caruso (10 goals), have also teamed up to form a nice scoring punch.
OâNeill is a solid all-around player who is currently out with a knee injury she suffered in the final minutes of Mountâs 12-9 victory over Scituate last Wednesday, and Leclaire, a battle-tested goalie, has really given the team a boost with her play.
âIâm so glad we have a goalie,â noted Green. âThatâs probably your biggest concern walking into a team that you donât know. I always respect goalies because itâs a position that not everyoneâs willing to jump into. I was definitely happy when I saw Rachel with all her equipment on ready to go the first day of practice.â
In addition to a strong group of seniors that also features Alex Lewis, Green also boasts plenty of talent and balance in her junior and sophomore classes.
Junior Ally Goralski, who has scored seven goals, âis definitely going to be a player to watch,â added Green, and Shaina Bauersachs, who leads the team in assists (seven) and Jane Moniz also lead the way among the 11th graders.
Of the sophomores, Green owns three standout starters in Sam McPhee, who has netted eight goals, Jordan McComb, and Carly Imbriani.
Green also got a lift this past week from some of her junior varsity players, who helped fill in the blanks in three games while some of her players had to tend to off-the-field matters during the schoolâs vacation week.
âWe were missing a few girls, but everyone stepped up to the plate this week and realized that it was their time to shine,â said Green. âWe wouldnât have been able to play this week if it werenât for them, so those players deserve a lot of credit.â
In a season full of ups, last Fridayâs 13-3 defeat to the Mariners â a team that won the Division II-South championship last year, but surprisingly was sent down to the Division III ranks â was Mountâs first down moment, but Green and her team are ready to quickly put aside that loss and move on.
âOur first goal was to be undefeated, but now weâre going to have to rework that,â Green said with a smile. âWe just want to give it all we got the rest of the season. I think all the girls are expecting to make the playoffs again and make a respectable run. They definitely have their heads set on making it to the championship game, and when they talk about it, Iâm like, âLetâs focus on our next game, girls, not on any games down the road.â
âThatâs our main goal, but we just want to keep getting better. Thereâs little goals and thereâs big goals. The big goal obviously is to get to the dance, but the little goals are working on things like throwing, catching, standing still, working on our transition. Thereâs work to do, but weâre going to be a better team for it.âView more articles in: