PAWTUCKET – Ho-hum.
Another game, another one-sided victory for St. Raphael Academy, one made entirely possible by the dominating Ivey-Jones sisters.
Tuesday afternoon saw Shea High become the latest Division III team to be brought to its collective knees by SRA’s 1-2 scoring punch, senior captain Kytresa Ivey-Jones tallying two goals with little sister Kyanna recording a hat trick while also delivering an on-target assist that directly led to another goal. Blend the stats together and it’s clear why the Saints coasted to a 7-0 verdict at Max Read Field.
Both sides had to contend with sultry conditions throughout the first half, something that actually may have allowed the host Raiders to “only” trail by a 2-0 score at halftime. Shea was able to apply to some pressure on St. Raphael netminder Caitlin Dunne during the early stages of the second half before the Saints put the game well out of reach, scoring four times in a 15-minute span.
“I’m not blaming the heat, but we had a couple of girls who were beat up. It happens,” said Shea head coach Danielle Bishop. “We had possession of the ball for quite a bit, but we just can’t finish. We’re going to work on that.”
SRA head coach Ashley Femino doesn’t need to be reminded of the luxury she has in the Ivey-Jones sisters.
“The power, the speed … when the ball is sent through they just have so much speed for anyone to keep up with them,” Femino said. “Sometimes I move Kytresa back to midfield, but the power of her shot allows her to score from anywhere on the field.”
There’s more to Kytresa and Kyanna Ivey-Jones than just finding the back of the net. Kyanna, a sophomore, unleashed a cross pass that allowed junior Lauren Gaj to join to SRA goal barrage, the sequence coming midway through the second half. The deft touch Kyanna displayed came shortly after she overpowered a helpless Shea defender in a 1-on-1 situation.
Gaj added two assists while Hennasey Ogni closed out the scoring with a goal with nine minutes remaining.
One player who drew praise from Femino was Dunne, a senior captain who was credited with 16 saves. Whether it was sacrificing her body to come up with the stop or leaping towards the sky to punch the ball over the crossbar and out of harm’s way, the athleticism Dunne displayed was instrumental in SRA recording its fourth shutout.
“She has gotten so much better,” Femino said. “The first couple of years, she didn’t want to be a goalie, but she’s a brick wall. She knows when to come out for the ball and she knows when to stay on the line.”
“Their goalie is very, very good,” complimented Bishop after the Raiders fell to 3-4 in league play.
Once again the Saints (5-0-1) find themselves in a familiar position. The team has scored the most goals in the division (45) while giving up the second fewest (four). Such a winning recipe was on display a year ago when SRA breezed through the regular season undefeated (14-0).
The playoffs, however, proved to be a different story. SRA won in a shootout against West Warwick in the quarterfinals before falling to Middletown in the semis. Neither the Wizards nor the Islanders appeared on the Saints’ schedule.
“They definitely have it in the back of their minds,” said Femino regarding last season’s bitter conclusion.
Some may complain with the arrangement of Division III this season. Instead of two divisions, there’s one, 17-team conglomerate in which teams are guaranteed to face each other once during the regular season.
For a team that was perhaps caught off-guard by its 2010 postseason opponents, the 2011 arrangement agrees with St. Raphael.
“I think it’s much more effective because we get to play each other once,” Femino said. “Last year we were in the weaker division. This way we can see how we match up against the stronger teams in the division instead of meeting them in the playoffs for the first time.”