WOONSOCKET — In a game featuring two of the Division III-A’s youngest teams, it was a group of veteran players that helped St. Raphael pick up its first league victory of the season on Wednesday afternoon.
Junior striker Kyanna Ivey-Jones netted a pair of goals, her fifth and sixth of the season, and senior co-captain Lauren Gaj added a goal and an assist to help the Saints post a 3-1 victory over Woonsocket at Barry Field.
Senior striker Krislyn Godin scored her fourth goal of the season for the Villa Novans (0-7 in league play) with 10 minutes to play in the match, but that came a long time after the Saints (2-5 overall, 1-5 in the division) did the bulk of their damage early by getting Ivey-Jones’ first goal nine minutes into play and Gaj’s score two minutes later.
Ivey-Jones’ goal was set up by a nice cross pass from Trina Lomba, and passes by Haley Mitsmenn and fellow senior co-captain Hennasey Ogni helped made Gaj’s goal possible.
“The first two goals we scored were very important,” said first-year SRA coach Michael Ross Drake. “We worked very hard in practice yesterday as far as formation and touch, making stuff happen, and it showed out there.”
Ivey-Jones, who had scored more than 20 goals her freshman and sophomore years with the Saints, added her second goal 12 minutes into the second half off assists from Gaj and Ogni, but before that goal, the Novans did their best to get back into the game.
Senior goalie Quinci Eacueo, who finished the afternoon with nine saves, had a handful of quality stops in the opening half to keep the game a two-goal affair.
“I think the key to today’s game was us being able to defend (Godin),” said Drake. “She had chances early, but my goalie was just outstanding in the first half. It would have been a different game if it wasn’t for (Eacueo). We’re a young team, and when we get scored upon, we usually get down.”
While Drake was pleased with Eacueo’s play, he also mentioned two sophomore who were also standouts on defense, stopper Hayley Dunne and sweeper Erin O’Neill.
“You saw Hayley winning balls all the time out there,” said Drake, “and Erin is my leader in the back. She organizes the defense, and she did a nice job.”
Woonsocket goalie Carmen Giambra ended up with 10 saves, and like Eacueo, she had a few key saves that kept her team in the game.