North Kingstown off to best start in years
The North Kingstown girls’ varsity soccer team is off to its best start in the last three years, according to coach Randy Jones. So far, the team has outscored its opponents 16-2 through five matches.
At practice on Monday afternoon, the coach kept the squad focused on the upcoming game with the South Kingstown Rebels, who are 2-2-1 in league play.
“The next two days, it’s all about Wednesday night,” he said.
The Skippers are 4-1 in league play. On paper, they would seem to have the edge over their rivals, but Jones told the players they had to work hard to prepare. He started practice on Monday with some advice about staying healthy, taking vitamin C and getting enough sleep before the match. Once the games start, he said, there can be no distractions.
“So get your homework done and caught up,” he said.
Jones said winning this match was going to take all their dedication and attention. According to Jones, South Kingstown will throw some different combinations at them.
“Are we going to practice some of those formations?” one of the players shouted. Jones replied they would practice all of them.
The North-South game is still a big rivalry. One good development, Jones said, is that it’s more of a friendly rivalry now. The action on the field used to get “kind of rough,” he said, but perhaps because the athletes play in summer leagues together now, they have developed friendships. But no question, the Rebels will come to win.
The game was Wednesday night at North Kingstown High. Results weren’t available at press time.
Two Jamestowners have made varsity, and both play forward. Jessy Primiano and Alexis Brayman, both 15 and sophomores, started playing soccer with the Jamestown rec department.
“My dad played soccer, and he was the coach,” said Jessy, who scored a goal in North Kingstown’s 4-0 win over Barrington on Sept. 10. She also assisted on a goal in the Skippers’ 6-0 rout over Toll Gate two days later.
Jessy is the daughter of Jay and Lisa Primiano. Jessy doesn’t play any other sports, so she wanted to continue to focus on soccer in high school. “I’ve played it all my life,” she said.
Alexis also started young and learned the basics in the Jamestown program. Unlike Jessy, Alexis played other sports along with soccer, although she focuses solely on the single sport now.
“I did other sports,” she said, “but I quit those and stayed with soccer. I like the pace.”
Jessy said the team is having a “pretty good year” so far in the early going. The one defeat was a 2-1 loss last Thursday to Coventry. Until that loss, the Skippers were the top-ranked squad in Rhode Island.
“We just got knocked out of number one last week,” Jones said.
They dropped to fourth place in the Division I standings behind three undefeated teams, East Greenwich, Portsmouth and La Salle.
Since Jones took over and started rebuilding three years ago, the girls have made the playoffs in each of the last two years. Jones grabbed the reigns following the disappointing 3-14-1 season in 2010. With the new coach, the program has turned things around. The Skippers have captured 24 victories in the past two years.
“It’s been quite a turnaround,” he said. “The talent was always there, it was just a matter of channeling it.”
Plus, Jones said, the Skippers have always benefitted from the people working with the soccer associations, such as the Frobergs, Jay Primiano and Jay Sisson.
The 2013 team is a mix of veterans and younger players. They have 11 seniors, including the four co-captains: goalkeeper Morgan McBrier, defender Kayla Pelletier, forward Savannah Jones and midfielder Finley Kincaid. Because they all play difference positions, they basically play the entire game, the coach says.
“They’re our strongest players,” Jones said. “Kayla never comes off the field. Neither do the others. Savannah is still the leading scorer in the state.”
Savannah is averaging nearly two points per game. She has six goals and three assists in five games this season.
But it’s not all about the seniors. Jones said the underclassmen are lending much support.
“We have a great sophomore class and a great junior class,” he said.
Moreover, two freshmen made this year’s varsity. “They’re contributing. They come right off the bench in the first 10 minutes,” Jones said. “They’re very competitive. Between Jamestown and North Kingstown, we have a pretty good feeder system.”
The system he is talking about are the recreation leagues: the North Kingstown Soccer Association, the Jamestown Soccer Association and the Ocean State Soccer Association.
Fifty students went to the tryouts, and 90 percent of them made the varsity or junior varsity team.
“We seldom have many cuts at tryouts,” he said. “We have a pretty strong summer program. By the time we get to tryouts, it’s whoever makes it through the summer.”
Another plus, all the big games – South Kingstown, La Salle, Smithfield, East Greenwich and Bay View – are at home this season.
The Skippers are back in action when they host Smithfield on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m.