Hard play and long friendships keep varsity lacrosse team winning
The North Kingstown High girls’ varsity lacrosse team is wrapping up a challenging regular season.
This, according to Jamestowner Maey Petrie, 17, the team goalie. Petrie said the Skippers expect to make the playoffs. One game with LaSalle, originally scheduled for May 9, was postponed, but regardless of that contest’s outcome, the team is assured of second place behind East Greenwich (9-4) in the Division I South standings.
The Skippers (7-6-0 in league play and 9-6-0 overall) closed out the regular season with a winning record, but the record was in jeopardy going into the second to the last week of competition. North Kingstown High dropped a game to East Greenwich and briefly lost their winning record in conference play. At practice earlier this month, the players were getting back to work and focusing on scoring opportunities.
“You’re wide open here,” Coach Keith Higgins shouted, as he worked with the Skippers on play making. “You’ve got to see it; you’ve got to go to the cage.”
A 15-5 victory over Cranston West on May 15 improved the team’s record to 6-6 in league play (8-6 overall) and they finished with a 7-5 win over Prout at home last Friday.
Even so, that’s not the kind of record this squad is used to having, according to Petrie and Jamestown teammate Margot Janson, who are both juniors. Jamestown has three players on the varsity team. Shannah Crowell, a senior, is one of the squad’s co-captains and plays defense.
Janson and Petrie have gone through a lot of lacrosse together. They were middle school rivals, both said. Janson played for St. Michael’s Country Day in Newport, while Petrie played for Pennfield in Portsmouth. Their first encounter was not on the playing field, though.
“We were best friends in pre- school” at St. Michael’s Country Day, Petrie said, adding that Pennfield broke off from St. Michael’s and became a separate school, and the lacrosse rivalry heated up between the two friends.
Petrie started lacrosse in eighth grade, and Janson also started playing the sport in middle school and liked the game. “I kind of just stuck with it,” Janson said.
They did stay friends over the years between pre-school and middle school, Petrie said partly because their parents were friends and they had mutual school friends. “But we still wanted to beat each other,” Petrie added. Pennfield took the sports rivalry with St. Michael’s Country Day seriously, Petrie said.
Now, they’re playing on the same side at North Kingstown High School.
“Janson was thinking about going to a private high school, but we talked her into going to North Kingstown High,” Petrie explained. The girls also are teammates on the Skippers’ girls’ swimming team, which turned in another strong performance this past winter and finished as state runner-up.
They’re used to being on winning teams.
As freshmen Janson and Petrie helped the Skippers’ Junior Varsity turn in a perfect season. The squad went undefeated in the regular season and then won the states. Meanwhile, the varsity team played almost a perfect season. The Skippers won the Rhode Island Interscholastic League state title and lost only one game on the regular season schedule. Last year, the varsity team wasn’t able to repeat as state champs, but the Skippers won the Division I South title. They lost in the first round of the playoffs, Janson said. This year, though, they’ve had some losing streaks against tough competition. The Skippers haven’t before known how it feels to be a team that’s lost five or six games at this point in the season.
Their best game was probably the May 4 game against Cumberland, Janson said. The Skippers won 8-7. (North Kingstown High played Cumberland in the injury fund game, which doesn’t count in the conference records, and won that first meeting 6-4).
“It was the best we’ve played,” she said, with respect to putting together some good plays and making “clean passes and clean catches.” Everyone worked together, she said.
“Cumberland moved up from Division II” this year, she said, and they were faring well against Division I competition. “We played accordingly,” she said. “It was a good game.”
Margot injured her ankle in Week 6 play and said she might be out for the rest of the season. She and Petrie will have one more year at North Kingstown High, and Janson, who plays midfield, and Petrie both think they want to continue after high school and play with a club team in college.
Petrie is looking at the University of Texas at Austin because it has a good business program, and she loves Austin.
Janson likes lacrosse because it’s a fast-moving game of strategy. As a midfielder, she has to run a lot during a game, but it’s running with a purpose, she said.
“You have an actual task,” she said, so it isn’t just dashing up and down the field.
Jamestown also has six players on the girls’ Junior Varsity lacrosse team, and two of the six are co-captains. They players, all sophomores, are Allie Baldwin, Brie Bryer, Grace Lynn, Mariah Messinger, Rachel O’Neill and Natalie Toland. Bryer and O’Neill are the co-captains.