Rough start for tough Skippers soccer team
After only playing two pre-season scrimmages, plus a 40-minute Injury Fund game against Pilgrim on Sept. 1, the Skippers hosted rival South Kingstown for their first league match of the season on Tuesday night.
The Skippers had reason to believe they would have a good start to their league season. In their first pre-season match-up against Pilgrim, the NK offense had a great night and soundly defeated the Patriots, 7-0. They picked up where they left off at the Injury Fund game on Saturday morning and topped Pilgrim again by a score of 3-0.
The team, which was a little worn out after leaving that morning at 6:30 a.m. to play in the Injury Fund game, returned home to host Smithfield on Saturday evening.
Although the Skippers were held to a 0-0 tie in that game, assistant coach Sean McAdam saw positives in their play.
"We spent the majority of the game in their half," McAdam said after the Smithfield game. "We really just need to finish. We take some great legitimate shots, we just need to follow through and have them go in."
Islander Kyra Reppe was without fellow Jamestowner, battering mate and team captain Catie Kelly for the Smithfield game, but she did have several shots that were just centimeters wide of scoring goals for the Skippers.
Ashley Smith also had a standout defensive game, including several steals, which kept the Sentinels off the board.
The island teammates had hoped to kick off their senior season with a win against the rival Rebels, but two fatal mistakes by the Skipper goalie, combined with a lack of follow through on offense contributed to the 2-0 North Kingstown loss.
The game started well enough for the home team, with the Skippers spending the majority of the first 15 minutes in the first half in Rebel territory. Reppe got off several shots, but South goalie Libby Lazar was able to get her hands on all of them.
With 23:04 remaining in the first half, South Kingstown forward Alexis Smith launched a long, arcing shot over goalie Brooke Messier's head and put the Rebels up 1-0.
North came back with the pressure and again controlled the ball in the South Kingstown half of the field, but two Reppe shots sailed over the goal post and the Skippers were unable to bury one in the net.
With time winding down in the first half, Smith fought hard for the ball and was able to keep it clear of the NK goal to hold the Rebels to a 1-0 halftime lead.
Kelly, along with the team, came back with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half. They spent the first ten minutes of the half penetrating repeatedly into Rebel territory, but still could not get the game-tying goal.
Messier was saved twice by the goal post from South scoring, but with 15:33 remaining, she was caught out of the goal in the corner playing for the ball and Lexa Valleco closed the lid on the game by scoring the Rebel's second goal.
"South only took about ten shots the whole game, but that second goal just sucked the life out of us," McAdam said.
The Rebels only being able to get off ten shots is proof that the Skippers new four-back defensive game is working, so now their focus shifts to regaining their preseason offensive form.
"We are really just trying to work on the simple things this year. They are a good team, we just need to do the simple things right," McAdam said.