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LINCOLN â€“ If you missed the first 30 seconds of Tuesday nightâ€™s Division II girlsâ€™ soccer clash between Lincoln and Warwick Vets, you missed a lot.
Electing to establish tempo on the gameâ€™s initial touch, the Lions quickly penetrated deep into the Hurricanesâ€™ zone before one of their scoring stars took over. Senior Hailee Jarry succeeded in turning the corner and getting past a Warwick Vets defender before rifling a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that goalie Katelen Pick had little chance of stopping.
Jarryâ€™s mighty poke proved to be the difference as Lincoln went on to post a 1-0 victory on what was â€śSenior Nightâ€ť at Chet Nichols Field. The Lions will carry and 11-0-2 league mark into Thursdayâ€™s regular-season finale at Westerly. A win over the Bulldogs would enable head coach Chris Allen and his players to officially clinch the division title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Division II playoffs.
â€śIt definitely keeps them motivated,â€ť said Allen when asked about having something significant to play for come Thursday. â€śWe really donâ€™t talk seeds or rankings at this point. We just look at each game one at a time. Weâ€™ve got one game left and whatever happens after that, weâ€™ll move forward. But weâ€™ve played a good season so far.â€ť
Allen agreed when it was suggested that his Lions are more than capable of playing in the type of white-knuckle affair that played out against the Hurricanes, who fall to 9-4. Tuesday saw Lincoln post its eighth shutout against league foes.
â€śItâ€™s not just our defense. Our offense is more than capable of sustaining pressure, which allows our defense to work from the back,â€ť the Lincoln mentor explained. â€śIn a couple of games that have been close, our offense has stepped up and been able to keep the pressure on the opponent.â€ť
A chess match ensued after Jarryâ€™s goal as both teams continued to trade opportunities and shots. The two goalies ended up making a combined 32 saves with 20 belonging to Pick while Lincolnâ€™s Lauren Hervieux made 12 stops.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a nice spread offense, which has helped us to be as successful as we are,â€ť Allen pointed out. â€ś(Warwick Vets) played a nice, physical game in the back and made our offense have to work for it. We got some shots in the end, but thatâ€™s how the ball bounces.â€ť
Lincolnâ€™s defense was put to the test multiple times inside the final 10 minutes. A corner kick by Warwickâ€™s Sloan Kinney with 9:30 remaining bounced around the cage for a couple of anxious moments before Lincoln junior Delaney Maxell batted the ball out of harmâ€™s way and toward midfield.
Roughly a minute later, the Hurricanesâ€™ Meredith Walsh got off a shot that wobbled around before Hervieux stepped to the forefront and corralled the live ball. Lincoln junior Faithe Hernandez also deserves credit for the way she marked the opponentâ€™s top threats.
â€śFaithe is a very strong defender. So is (sophomore) Lauren Christo,â€ť said Allen. â€śA lot of heads-up play back there. They didnâ€™t caught sleeping and were able to distribute the ball out.â€ť