Just over a month ago, the Cranston West girls’ lacrosse team picked up its first win of the season with a victory over Prout.
Since then, the Falcons had won just once more, but they felt good about their chances on Monday afternoon, when they took on the Crusaders for a second time.
Unfortunately for West, Prout – which had only won one game on the season coming in – was prepared for the rematch.
Paced by a dominant first half, the Crusaders controlled the game from start to finish, as the outcome was hardly ever in doubt in an 11-7 Prout victory.
Prout led 5-1 at halftime, a stark contrast to the 6-0 score that West led by at halftime in their first meeting.
“The whole game was reversed,” West assistant coach Charles Pearson said. “Cranston West was up 6-0 at the half, and they ended up winning 13-10, but just barely. What happened here was a reverse role. We sat back. We were flat.”
The Falcons dropped to 2-9 overall in Division I-South, while the Crusaders improved their record to 2-8.
And right from the start, it was clear that Prout was much more in control.
The Crusaders controlled the ball relentlessly. They got two goals from Mackenzie Avedisian and one from Abigail Lyons in the first 10 minutes of the game, forcing the Falcons into a timeout.
During that span, West advanced the ball just once into the offensive zone, lost all three draws it took and didn’t take a single shot – either on net or off.
“Prout came out faster,” Pearson said. “We were weak.”
Coming out of the timeout, West won the draw and advanced the ball, but Emily Tilton’s shot was saved by Prout goalie Clare Griffin, and the Crusaders took off the other way.
Casey McGowan was awarded a free position moments later, and she scored to make it 4-0.
With time winding down in the half, Meg Hammond finally got West on the board when she scored on a free position, but Prout came right back when McGowan scored the same way less than a minute later.
“The shots that we should have stopped we didn’t,” Pearson said. “And the transition was not all that great. When we played defense we sat back too much.”
The second half was better for the Falcons, but down by four goals, it was an uphill climb.
Early in the half, Titlon made a move on the left side, got free and scored to make the score 5-2, but Lyons won the ensuing draw for Prout and went all the way to West’s goal, where she beat goalie Hayley Patton to re-up the lead to four.
“Not winning any faceoffs is also a big thing,” Pearson said. “We’re very weak on that. If we get it, we have a loose ball, we have the transition and we’re not making the right choices.”
From there on out, the Falcons continued to mount comeback attempts, only to come up short each time.
Allie Smedberg scored not long after Lyons’ goal to make it 6-3, but Lyons immediately scored again on a free position.
After Tilton scored on a free position for West, Prout got two goals from McGowan and one from Avedisian to take a 10-4 lead.
“We weren’t moving, we weren’t following the through cutters,” Pearson said. “I told the girls that when we’re up in Division I here, you’re only going to get a few opportunities. And you’ve got to take advantage of them.”
Down by six goals, the Falcons began to play with a sense of urgency, and goals from Smedberg, Nicole Lambrese and Hammond quickly made the score 10-7.
Just a minute later, Tilton was awarded a free position with a chance to make it a two-goal game, but her shot was turned aside by Griffin for one of her 14 saves on the day.
On the counter-attack off that save, Avedisian scored for Prout to put the game away.
“Like all the games we’ve played, we realized we can win this game, and then time ran out,” Pearson said. “But the greatest thing about this program and these girls is they don’t quit. They just keep playing.”
Unfortunately for West, it was too little too late. That has been a common theme for the Falcons this year, as they have dug themselves some big deficits before rallying late, but ultimately coming up short.
In their previous two games, they were very competitive with 5-4 Bay View and first-place East Greenwich, which only beat them by a single goal.
Now, with the season coming to a close, West will at least try to finish strong.
It has three games remaining. The first is this Thursday at home against South Kingstown at 4 p.m. Next Wednesday, the Falcons will host North Kingstown before finishing the year with their annual City Cup game against Cranston East on Monday, May 21.