WOONSOCKET --- In a season where wins have been difficult to come by, Woonsocket had its share of highlights in its Division I crossover affair against South Kingstown at Barry Field.
Topping that list was the fact that the Villa Novans, after getting shut out in their first six games of the season, finally found the back of the net – not once, but twice.
The Villa Novans also kept play in the Rebels’ end of the field through the better part of the end of the second half, and they played hard right to the final whistle as if they were competing in a one-goal game.
Unfortunately for the Villa Novans, Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Rebels wasn’t a one-goal game, but a 5-2 loss that may have kept their ‘0’ intact in the win column, but did little to wipe the smile off the face of their head coach, Hilary Switzer, when she talked about her team after the game.
“I’ve been here for six years and this is definitely the best group of girls I’ve had,” she admitted. “The attitudes are the best I’ve ever seen, and they’re willing to work hard.”
Sophomore forward Brittany Girard produced both of the Novans’ goals, the first seven minutes into the game off a pass from junior co-captain Kayleen Esquinlin, and the second with 1:57 left, with junior Dacia MacNeil setting up the score.
Girard’s first goal actually gave the Novans a 1-0 lead and their small groups of fans something to cheer about, but the Rebels (2-5) tied the score at 12:50 and went ahead to stay with less than a minute to play on a goal by Tava DeQuattro.
Abby Schmidt, who recorded the first hat trick of her young career to spark the Rebels’ assault, then added to her team’s lead by scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But the Villa Novans began to take control of the game after that and ended up scoring again on Girard’s second goal.
The Villa Novans, who are fielding their youngest team in recent memory, with just one senior, sweeper and co-captain Vanessa Smith, had several players stand out in the game, and Switzer offered praise for the play of Kareena Cruz on defense, MacNeil in the midfield, and Girard on offense.
Cruz “played smart defense and help keep the ball up on offense,” added Switzer, and MacNeil “sent the ball downfield and set the offense up on several occasions.”
S.K., which entered the game with just five goals scored in their first six games, also received a goal and two assists from Rachel Curran and a three-assist afternoon from Lindsay Powle.
The Villa Novans are back in action tomorrow with a 3:45 p.m. crossover contest in Warwick against Pilgrim.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24