The No. 9 Cranston West girls soccer team fell to No. 1 La Salle 3-0 in the Division I quarterfinals last week.
The two teams had a tight battle in the opening half, however, the Rams would score a goal in the final minute of the period to take the 1-0 lead. La Salle would continue to attack in the second, and wrap up the 3-0 shutout victory.
“My message to the team going into the game was to control your emotions. The last time we played we panicked a little bit. I looked at the clock with about two minutes left, thought we would go into the half tied 0-0 and would have a chance to regroup. When that goal got scored I think that took the wind out of their sails a little bit. Not so much because we gave up a goal, but because the ball went in and (the ref) blew the whistle,” said Cranston West coach Jeremy Sherer.
The Falcons finished the season with an overall record of 8-8-2. Sherer was proud of his team’s mental toughness in the loss, especially considering some the different adversities it faced throughout the year, including losing four different keepers due to injury.
“We have a very young team, at any given time we would have 3-5 freshmen on the field. We have a great young team coming up and we finished the season strong. La Salle is tough at La Salle, we were coming off one day’s rest, that’s tough. We had some terrible luck with our keepers so we had to put field players in net. They didn’t play poorly but they were definitely needed on the field,” said Sherer.
Despite the loss, the Falcons enjoyed their best run in a handful of years, and Sherer felt that the team’s experience was key in its progress on the field.
“(Experience was) extremely important. This is my fifth season at West and the first season I was here, we were on such a bad run that we did not know how to win. Not that they didn’t know how to put the ball into the net, but they didn’t understand the psychology of winning,” said Sherer. “The second year we made the playoffs but were blown out because we didn’t know what to expect, then the third and fourth years we made the playoffs but had to face Lincoln. This year we had a group that had playoff experience for four years, beat Lincoln, so experience was big this year.”
West is poised to have another strong campaign in 2019 considering the amount of underclassmen on the roster. However, its four senior leaders will be missed.
“Katie Blake is probably one of the best players that I have ever coached. Melissa Murphy is also a tremendous player. Ryan Nebus had a really great season, and Julia Perreault was injured prior to the season but recovered and finished the season strong,” said Sherer. “They will be missed, but I don’t think there will be a leadership void, we already have a lot of great leadership.”