North Kingstown soccer team remains undefeated; Central Falls is next
The second time around was a charm for the North Kingstown High School boys' soccer team in their match-up against South Kingstown. The Skippers remained undefeated, with a record of 14-0-2, after their Oct. 18 win at home. The first meeting of the two teams, on the Rebels' field, ended in a 2-2 tie.
A large crowd gathered to watch, anticipating an exciting and fast-paced game that had the potential to end North's winning streak. The slippery conditions made play difficult, causing both goalies to make sliding stops and players to have trouble with ball control.
Most of the action started ten minutes into the first half when North's Andy Hess scored the first goal of the night with an assist from forward Billy Zile.
"We kind of relaxed after the first goal," coach Kyle Froberg said. "It took the edge off." Thirty seconds later South Kingstown retaliated with a goal by Dan Sheldon to tie the score at 1-1.
Island resident Garik Smith got a solid shot off near the end of the first half, but it hit the uprights behind the soccer goal.
Froberg made it clear in his halftime speech that he did not want his team did to relax with the 1-1 score. He wanted to fire them up and he wanted them to play to win, not to tie again. What he said hit home with his players. "Pretend it is 0-0 again," he told them going into the second half.
Team co-captain and Jamestown resident, Brett Uttley, said Froberg told the team they had to possess the ball more and be more patient on offense, which they did, and it gave them a 2-0 advantage in the second half.
Six minutes into the half, Zile threw in his second assist to cocaptain and islander, Ben Nadeau. With a score of 2-1 in North's favor, the Skippers did not let their guard down as South made a big push in the last few minutes of the game. Uttley took two solid shots on goal, to no avail. And with a little over two minutes left of play, Tom Laferriere scored on what looked like a cakewalk, with an assist from Colin Taggart, to wrap up the win.
Although it was a pretty even match, North prevailed with a final score of 3-1.
Froberg seemed happy with the team's performance and noted, "Billy (Zile) is usually scoring goals for us, but he had two assists tonight. He did his job."
Uttley felt the team got off to a slow start in the first half. "We played their game and we were kicking the ball, but mid-way through the first half we played our game and played well." They are a tough team and "to go 2-0 in the second half against a team like South, we had a good performance," he added.
When asked about the first game at South, Nadeau once again noted North's field size as being to their advantage. "Our field is just so much longer and wider and that is what we are used to playing on," he said.
With the South game behind him, Froberg expressed relief. "I wasn't nervous going into it because our kids played well and we should have won the first game we played against them (South); it was the first game of the season. This is definitely a different field, it's much better," he said.
Uttley sees Central Falls as the next big challenge. "Soccer is in their blood," he said with a laugh. When asked about their focus on their undefeated record, Uttley casually replied, "We will take each game as it comes."
North plays Central Falls tomorrow night, Friday, at home in a rain make-up game at 7 p.m.