Sentinels rule playoff opener

Sentinels rule playoff opener

Smithfield High senior Martine Rizzo and her teammates earned their third trip to the state semifinals in the last four years on Sunday night by rolling to a 5-0 victory over Bay View Academy at the Boyle Athletic Complex. The Sentinels’ defense only allowed the Bengals to take two shots on net. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Girls’ soccer team returns to state semifinals by trouncing Bay View

SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield High girls’ soccer team spread out the wealth last Sunday night, as four players produced the goals that helped the Sentinels defeat Bay View Academy, 5-0, in the Division I quarterfinal-round matchup at the Boyle Athletic Complex.

After a weekend of spotty rain and high winds, this game went off without a hitch. Two minutes into the game, the Sentinels jumped on the board and never looked back, as they scored two goals in the first half and three more in the second.

The Sentinels, who are the third seed in the state playoffs, took the field late Wednesday night for a semifinal-round contest at East Greenwich High against 2nd-seeded South Kingstown, which netted a 2-0 victory over 10th-seeded Cumberland in their quarterfinal-round match on Sunday night.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will face either top-seeded defending state champion La Salle Academy or 5th-seeded Mount Hope in Saturday’s championship game at noon at Rhode Island College.

Sunday’s victory saw the Sentinels (11-3-2) outshoot the 11th-seeded Bengals, 13-2, and Smithfield senior keeper Abby Leveille earn the shutout. Smithfield head coach Bob Squillante always gives his keeper props, but he said Sunday’s win was more about his team’s defense.

“The last time we played (Bay View), our defense played really well,” Squillante said, referring to his team’s 3-0 win over Bay View on Oct. 6. “They did the same again today. They’ve been playing terrific all season.”

Offensively, the Sentinels scored their first goal, when from the far corner, Kasey Ruo sent the ball toward the net, and Sami Nicynski put it away. Less than 10 minutes after that goal, the Sentinels doubled the lead on a goal by Riley Hart that was set up by Marissa Ruzzano. Ruo scored the Sentinels’ first goal of the second half, and Ruzzano scored the final two goals off assists by Hart and Meghan Flynn.

“Our attacking was working well,” Squillante added. “We seemed to be much better in sync today. The passing was great and we were finishing. That was the difference. We were putting the ball on a frame, and we took advantage of the goalie a little bit with some high shots.”

The Bengals advanced to the quarterfinals by posting a 2-1 victory over 6th-seeded Scituate on Oct. 31 at Manning Field. The Sentinels, who ended their first season in the state’s top division with a 7-7-2 record, saw Rachel Oster score their goal in the first half off a pass from Sarah Petrarca, but the Bengals came back and won the game by breaking a 1-1 tie with three minutes left in double overtime.

The Sentinels, meanwhile, will now take on a tough opponent in South Kingstown, which posted a 2-1 win over them on Oct. 16. This will be the third time in the last four years that Smithfield has reached the semis.

“They are a really good team,” Squillante said. “We’re going to have to play much better than what we played today. The girls are up for it and we’re looking forward to it. This is playoff time, so anything can happen. It’s exciting.”

Bay View’s Isabella Kopech, left, and Smithfield’s Sami Nicynski collide as they battle for the ball in the corner of the field. Nicynski scored Smithfield’s first goal of the night.