Lawn School boys make playoffs for first time in decade
For Jamestown soccer players, the fall season turned into a November to remember. When the North Kingstown boys took on La Salle for the Division I state title on Saturday, Jamestowners helped propel the team to its first shot at a championship in six years. Ultimately, the Skippers fell short, losing the match 1-0 to the Rams, but the team – with islanders contributing – will be back in action next year.
The Skippers seemingly make the playoffs every year, but for the first time in about a decade, the younger players at Lawn School also made a trip to the playoffs. They saw a different level of competition in the playoffs, said middle school coach Tom Carney. The kids agreed.
“It was definitely harder than it normally is,” said sixth-grader Jake Froberg, 11. “Getting into the playoffs definitely pumped us up, and we wanted to win. We were more committed to winning.”
And they did win the first-round match. Lawn School took the opener in double overtime, beating North Cumberland Middle School, 4-3. The team captains, Connor Smith and Jack Westall, came up big, Carney said. Connor was the goalkeeper, and Jack scored the game-winning goal on a penalty kick. He faked the shot right, then booted it left.
The penalty kick is one on one, Connor, 13, explained, with the goalkeeper defending the net against the shooter.
“It was exciting,” Jack said. “We were all freaking out.”
But Carney said it wasn’t only the goal scoring that propelled them over North Cumberland.
“Our defense and our keeper played a strong game,” the coach said.
Playing defense for Jamestown were Andrew Bauer, Nick Antonucci, Travis Atwood and Caleb Wagner. Along with Connor in net, the team only allowed 12 goals the entire regular season.
Leading the way on offense against North Cumberland were Tyler Atwood, who scored two goals, and Gavin Wagner, who also scored. Jack’s game-winner was Jamestown’s fourth and final goal.
Seventh-grader Keegan Bradley, 12, said the opposing players were bigger and better than players in past competition.
“More skillful,” Jake added.
Keegan, who plays left midfield, agreed the playoff games were indeed harder than regular season match-ups.
“Everyone in the playoffs was good,” said Connor. “Some teams we played in the regular season weren’t good.”
Donald Neal, 13, started the year hoping to play midfield, but as his skills developed, the coach moved him to the right striker position. “I wound up only scoring once,” he said, but he learned a lot this year and had a “fun season.”
Gavin, 13, played a defensive role on the team. He was the stopper, he said. His best game was probably the opening round victory over North Cumberland because he also scored.
Tyler, 13, also picked the game against North Cumberland as his best effort. Tyler came up with two goals in the match and led the team in scoring.
His brother Travis said his best game was in the regular season when he scored two goals against Newport’s Thompson Middle School.
Lawn School didn’t survive the quarterfinal match, going down 1-0 against South Kingstown’s Curtis Corner Middle School. Despite the disappointing score, the game has to rank as its top perfor- mance of the season, according to the coach.
“It was a very close match,” Carney said. “Our whole team came together to play the best game they had played all season. The one goal of the game was scored on a penalty shot midway through the second half. Every player gave his all, and I was proud of how the team handled such a tough game.”
Nineteen students were on the team, Carney said. The eighthgraders are Nick, Tyler, Travis, Andrew, Sam Cowan, Alex Crespo, Donald, Connor, Gavin and Jack. They will all graduate in June.
“But we do have a strong group of sixth- and seventh-graders who will likely continue on next season,” Carney said.
The seventh-graders are Keegan Bradley, Tim Fay and Logan Goodwin, he said. The sixthgrade players are Peter Andres, Jake Froberg, Will Schott, Theo Simmons, Cam Tuttle and Caleb Wagner.
Carney, who teaches seventhgrade English and language arts, said talent and hard work made the difference this season.
The fact they know each other well also helped, he said.
“They’ve been playing together a number of years,” he said. Most of the boys played together in the town’s recreation league.
Carney has coached the middle school boys off and on for six years, starting in 2005.