CRANSTON – Lincoln High Athletic Director Brian Fineberg provided the sad news as the Lions began loosening up for the next task at hand.
Because the R.I. Division II Tournament semifinal at Cranston Stadium had been postponed 24 hours due to Thursday afternoon's rains, head coach Chris Allen decided to conduct a preparatory indoor practice in the school's gymnasium. He wanted one more chance to ready his troops for the “remake” on Friday.
With perhaps two minutes left before the end of that workout, standout junior goalkeeper Lauren Hervieux fell to the floor with some type of grave injury.
“She apparently fractured her knee; she couldn't walk,” he stated grimly. “Just think, if it doesn't rain (Thursday), she would've played (then).”
Fineberg referred to Friday night's tilt against fourth-ranked Warwick Vets, which stifled the top-seeded Lions throughout the initial half.
After Allen's aggressive yet upbeat halftime chat with his players, Lincoln picked up its play several notches and utilized two amazing tallies from junior midfielder Hailee Jarry to escape the park with a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes.
“The only thing I told the girls before the game was to play the same game we had all season,” Allen said rather matter-of-factly after his squad remained unbeaten at 14-0-2. “The transition to playing when it was really cold out, we had problems, and Warwick Vets played very aggressively.
“They definitely had us on our heels in the first half,” he added. “The difference in the second half was hunger. I thought the girls wanted to win badly. We were able to control the pace and had better possessions; we found the open players, and they communicated much better.”
There are plenty of reasons why the Lions now will face the victor of the battle between Burrillville and Pilgrim (contested late Friday night) for the D-II crown at 2 p.m., Sunday at Rhode Island College, but – in the statistical department – Jarry wins out.
With 13:04 elapsed in the final stanza, and the favorites down 1-0, Jarry pounced on a deflection, spun and fired a 30-yard “frozen rope” (and it was) over senior goalie Katelen Pick to knot the score at 1-1.
And, with perhaps 90 ticks left in regulation, she snared a loose ball at the 18, let a defender clear and ripped a grounder past Pick for what proved to be the clincher.
That ignited a celebration on the turf, not to mention those riding the bench, among them Hervieux, crutches and all.
“Oh, my God, I'm so excited!” the co-captain (with classmate Erin Gannon) smiled afterward. “That was amazing! I'm so proud of these girls.”
Hervieux seemed rather melancholy as Warwick Vets took control from the outset, and eventually notched the go-ahead tally with 17 minutes left before the break. On the play, senior quad-captain Emily Almonte fed sister (and fellow captain) Lauren with a through pass from the 30-yard line. The latter knocked it down by the left post and fired a bouncer past Hervieux's replacement, freshman Gianna Iaciofano, who dove but couldn't stop it.
The Lions had a few opportunities to knot it the rest of the way, but Pick stood tall, manufacturing five saves in that opening session.
Just 5:40 into the second half, Emily Almonte delivered a 16-yard liner at Iaciofano, who made a terrific lunging save.
Lincoln's Gannon took a right-side corner kick with 27:18 left before the final horn, but Vets' Katherine Raposo headed it from harm. A mere 22 ticks later, Jarry's high line drive flew past Pick to tie it.
It looked as if the Lions had scored the winner with 16:24 remaining when sophomore Maya LaFleur outhustled two defenders and rifled a short try at Pick, but she dove by the right post and slapped it away.
Not even 15 minutes later, Jarry sealed the verdict with her wicked groundball inside the right post.
Iaciofano, by the way, finished with six saves in her captain's absence. Pick managed a superb 13 for the 'Canes, who were eliminated at 10-6-0.
“Hailee came through when we needed her,” an obviously elated but subdued Allen sighed. “She's had some important goals for us this year (13 in all after Friday's thriller), so she just added to it here. As for Lauren (Hervieux), that was just unfortunate. You never foresee any of those things, but it happened; we had to move forward and play our game.
“It took a while, but we did,” he added. “Having Lauren here on the bench, that was great support for our team.”
Warwick Vets 1 – 0 – 1
Lincoln` 0 – 2 – 2
First half: WV – Lauren Almonte (Emily Almonte) 23:00.
Second half: L – Hailee Jarry (una.) 52:56; L – Jarry (una.) 78:30.
Shots on goal: Warwick Vets 7, Lincoln 15. Goalie saves: Katelen Pick (WV) 13, Jianna Iaciofano (L) 6.