LINCOLN â The playoffs for Division I begin Oct. 29-31 and Cumberland and Lincoln are right on the cusp to be among the eight teams that earn a berth into a quarterfinal game.
The neighboring rivals battled together on Tuesday afternoon in a key Div. I-B matchup and it was the host Lions that kept up their last-season momentum en route to a 3-0 decision over the Clippers.
Lincoln broke open a close game with two scores in the latter half to earn the win and boost its record to 5-4-2 in the division. The Lions are currently ranked No. 7 among teams in the entire league and have posted a 2-1-1 record their last four games.
âWe are right in the middle. We are getting better as the season has been going on,â said Lincoln coach Brenda Sylvester. âThis is what we like to see, getting ready for the playoffs. We are working towards that goal first and then weâll see how we do if we make it to the playoffs.â
Cumberland coach Stefanie Capone-Bello saw her squad drop to 3-9-1 and ninth in the 12-team division. The Clippers were out-shot by a convincing 14-1 margin.
âOur first half wasnât our best half,â Capone-Bello admitted. âWe started out a little slow today but I think they picked it up in the second half and had a much better second half. We just couldnât put one in the net.â
Lincoln took its 1-0 advantage into the half on a goal from junior Heather Bager with 7:50 remaining. The Lions dominated in the opening period, but just couldnât get their offense clicking enough to increase their lead.
âWe were moving the ball really well, but we werenât getting as many shots as we would like,â Sylvester said. â(A score of) 1-0 was pretty much what we expected after we saw the shots. The movement on the ball was excellent.â
The back-breaker for the Clippers occurred less than two minutes into the second half when Lion junior Jillian Borzain scored just 1:20 after the break off sophomore Kellyn Dyerâs second assist of the contest.
âAny goal hurts,â Capone-Bello said. âIt doesnât matter what time it is. But obviously, right at the beginning, itâs hard to come back from that. But they hustled and they kept at it.â
Sylvester felt the insurance goal ignited her team.
âIt was big,â she said. âThe girls needed it. They needed to pick it up in the second half. That was excellent to get them excited and psyched up for the rest of the game.â
Senior Briana LoCurto made it 3-zip by scoring with 9:36 left on the clock on a feed from Borzain.
The outcome was a lot different then the last time the two teams met. In their season-opener on Sept. 12, the Lions narrowly defeated the Clippers by a 1-0 score.
ââI thought the game might be a little closer (today),â Sylvester said. âBut the girls have been working hard and have been doing everything we have been working at in practice. They looked really good. I was impressed.â
The Clippers, who lost no one from last yearâs squad, will endure another tough test this Thursday when it welcomes East Greenwich to Tucker Field. The Avengers are atop the Div. I-B standings at 9-1-2.
âOur season has been a roller coaster. Thatâs how I would sum it up,â Capone-Bello said. âWeâve had some upsets. Weâve had games that we havenât played as well as we should have and weâve had games where we came out really strong and we played really, really well. Itâs been a roller coaster.â
Lincoln faces winless Warwick Vets back on its home turf Thursday and a talented Bay View squad on Saturday The Bengals are currently 7-3-1 in Div. I-A.
Sylvester believes her Lions will be competitive if they can inch their way into the playoffs.
âWe have a great team,â she said. âIf they keep playing together and keep playing as a cohesive unit, they can do a lot.â
Cumberland 0 0 â 0
Lincoln 1 2 â 3
First half â 1. L, Heather Bager (Kellyn Dyer) 7:50.
Second half â 2. L, Jillian Borzain (Dyer) 28:40; 3. Briana LoCurto (Borzain) 20:24.
Saves â L, Ashley Devolve 1. C, Becky Geddes 11. Shots â L 14. C 1. Penalty corners â L 10. C 2.