Broncos settle for third place with defeat to Patriots
Junior Sydney Blais and her Burrillville High teammates finished the regular season in third place in Division II, no thanks to a 1-0 loss to Pilgrim that gave the Patriots the runner-up spot in the standings. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
BURRILLVILLE â Burrillville wrapped up its regular season on Thursday afternoon as the Division IIâs top scoring team -- doing so despite not scoring a single goal in its final two games this week.
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But unlike their scoreless draw less than 48 hours earlier against Tiverton, the Broncos were unable to come away with a point in the standings in their showdown for second place with visiting Pilgrim.
Junior striker Katie Vieira notched her team-leading 17th goal of the season on a breakaway with less than seven minutes to play to lift the Patriots to a 1-0 victory and spoil the Broncosâ âSenior Dayâ festivities in their finale at Gledhill Field.
Both teams entered the game with 10-2-1 records, but the Patriots, with their win, will capture the No. 2 seed in the upcoming playoffs right behind regular-season champion Lincoln (12-0-2).
The Broncos, who have scored 50 times this season, outshot the Patriots by a 14-5 margin, this coming after outshooting the Tigers on Tuesday night by a 12-6 count, but surprisingly, their inability to finish off their opportunities resulted in the team finishing the week with an 0-1-1 mark and settling for third place.
âThat was our problem in our three losses,â said Burrillville coach Amy Cardone. âEven in our tie earlier in the week against Tiverton, we outshot them, but we just couldnât put the ball in the back of the net. I donât understand why in some games we just canât finish, but itâs very frustrating.â
The first half was especially frustrating, with the Broncos outshooting the Patriots, 9-3, but having nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
In the second half, which turned into more of a defensive battle, the Broncos took four of the first five shots before Vieira broke loose for her goal. She reeled in a nice pass from Haley McCusker, dashed in alone on Burrillville goalkeeper Catherine Keable, and punched a shot to the left of Keable that sailed into the twines.
âThey get one breakaway and they put it in,â added Cardone, âand when you canât finish, just that one goalâs going to do it to you.â
The Broncos nearly knotted the score with two minutes to play on a direct kick by Tori Libby that took a hard bounce in front of goalkeeper Hannah Page. But Page dropped to her knees and corralled the ball as Taylor Ross raced in to locate a possible rebound.
While the defeat was a difficult way to head into the postseason, especially considering the Broncos were unbeaten in their last seven games, it didnât change the fact that the Broncos or Patriots were going to clinch a bye into the quarterfinals, which are slated to start on Saturday, Nov. 2, and possibly be on a collision course for a rematch in the semifinal round on Thursday, Nov. 7 at Cranston Stadium.
âBut you want to win on Senior Night,â said Cardone. âYou want to see the seniors end their regular season on a high note, and you want to go into the playoffs on a high note.
âRight now, we just need to work on finishing. We need to consistently put the ball in the back of the net and not just every other game. If we could had done that this season, we might had been undefeated.â
After the game, the Broncos honored their four seniors, Rachel DeRotto, Chelsea Almeida, and Ross and Libby, their co-captains. Libby leads the Broncos with 18 goals this season.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24