NK ends losing streak with first tie of the season
When the North Kingstown boys' soccer team stepped onto the field with their Chariho opponents on Monday night, they knew that this game was important.
First, Chariho had given North Kingstown its first loss earlier in the season. Before that, the team was on a 30-game winning streak that started back in 2006.
Second, the team had been on a losing streak the past few weeks— losing their last three games 1-0 against Central Falls, 2-1 against LaSalle, and 3-2 against South Kingstown—and knew that if any game could end that streak, it had to be this one.
Third, it was senior night for the NK boys. For captains Billy Zile and Russell Dauksis, locals Garik Smith and Andrew Bretti, and the rest of the seniors, it would be the last home game of their high school careers.
While NK was down and scoreless at the end of the first half, the team's confidence came back in the second in what might have been the best 10-minutes of offensive soccer playing in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League this year. The Skippers scored three goals in the last 14 minutes of play, bringing the final score to a 3-3 tie.
Things didn't start off well for North Kingstown. Seven minutes in, Chariho forward Patrick McNamara slid a shot past NK goalie Spencer Hagist to give them the first goal of the game. Then the Chargers continued to live up to their name when forward Nick Dubee—the number one goal scorer in the southern division scored seven minutes later, giving them a 2-0 lead.
While NK was given many scoring opportunities throughout the first half, forwards Andy Hess and Nick Casillas, along with mid-fielders Zile and Bretti, were unable to get through Chariho's defense and put their shots by goalie Bradley Borsay, who currently has the second most saves in the southern division. kicks in the first half but neither one connected with the net.
At the halftime whistle, the score remained 2-0.
After seniors were awarded with gifts and their photos were taken with their parents, the game was back on. Chariho's defense continued to pose a challenge to the NK forwards as they narrowly missed shot after shot. Chariho's Borsay racked up eight saves in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
But then NK came back when a foul was called against the Chargers and NK's Zile was given a penalty kick. Zile easily got the ball past Borsay, putting the Skippers on the board, 2-1, with 14 minutes left in the game. "The shift in momentum was awesome," said Zile. "The few fans we had were all standing up, it was great."
Zile's goal certainly helped NK's offensive momentum, for less than four minutes later junior Nick Casillas scored with an assist from Andy Hess, who currently leads the southern division in assists. Then, with seven minutes left, defenseman Andy Buresh bounced a 25-yard shot off of the top post and past Borsay to give the Skippers a 3-2 lead.
"After Buresh's goal, our bench was going wild. I really thought that that was going to be the game winner," said Zile.
But the Chargers' Nick Dubee scored his second goal of the night with 6:40 left on the clock, and although NK struggled to score once more before the clock ran out, the game ended with a tie.
Although the game had not ended the way the Skippers would have liked, goalie Spencer Hagist was proud of his team's performance in the second half.
"That was the best half of soccer I think we've ever played," he said after the game. "We just messed up at the end."
Head coach Kyle Froberg, from Jamestown, was also pleased with his team's performance. "We're just getting our focus back," he said. "We had a great training session yesterday, and I was hoping that that would carry over to today's game. And I think it did…in the second half."
Froberg commented on the performance of Garik Smith, Andrew Bretti, and Sam Baines, his Jamestown athletes. "Andrew Bretti has been a pleasant surprise for us," he said. "He's worked hard, trained hard…he can take guys on pretty easily one-on-one.
"Garik has also been great. He's been off the bench a lot and he's had a lot of opportunities. His work ethic has been great this whole season, so hopefully there'll be more opportunities for him to come."
With their record at 11-5-1, North Kingstown played their last regular season game against Coventry on Wednesday night, but the results were unavailable at press time.
"We just have to stay focused, and not worry about tonight's tie," said Froberg. "The confidence is back, and that's what we need."