Chieftains keep piling up wins – in D-II

Chieftains keep piling up wins – in D-II

Quint Bonin scored two goals in the second half, including his 22nd of the year, to help Ponaganset net a 7-5 victory over Pilgrim in their Division II affair last Thursday night. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Fourth-year boys’ lacrosse team takes 7-4 mark into tonight’s duel with Portsmouth

GLOCESTER – A year after reaching the Division III championship game in only its third season as a RIIL team, the Ponaganset High boys’ lacrosse team has certainly proved to everyone that it belongs in the D-II ranks this season.

Last Thursday night on their home field, the Chieftains improved to 7-4 by winning a tight game with Pilgrim and pulling away with a 7-5 victory.

“It was a great win all-around, defensively and offensively,” head coach Tracy Howard said. “We needed it. It was a must-win (game) for us, and the guys pulled it off and did a great job. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Chieftains sat just a half game out of fifth place in the 15-team standings behind Coventry and Middletown, which were both 8-4.

Ponaganset has two regular-season games left before the D-II playoffs, both on the road, against undefeated Portsmouth tonight at 7 p.m. and fourth-place East Greenwich (7-2) next Monday. South Kingstown (11-1) and the Prout School (9-3) also reside near the top of the standings.

“It’s been great,” Howard said about playing in D-II. “It’s good competition, and I knew the boys would hold their own.”

“We’re just looking forward to finishing up the season and getting into the playoffs,” continued Howard, who will graduate 15 seniors that make up nearly half his squad. “That’s what we’re looking forward to, but we’re up for the challenge. I have a great group of kids that play tough together right to the end.”

Against Pilgrim, the Chieftains held a 3-1 lead through the first two quarters of the game with all their goals coming from Ray Howard, and in a two-minute span in the third quarter, the Chieftains took a 5-1 lead on goals by Jacob Lincourt and Quint Bonin.

But the Patriots would not go down without a fight, and they scored another goal with 7:09 left in the quarter. The rest of the third was scoreless, but the aggression and physicality picked up.

Bonin later added his 22nd goal of the season, but with about seven minutes remaining, the Patriots cut their deficit to two goals. Nevertheless, Ponaganset goalie Nick Dalessio didn’t allow any more scoring, as he finished the game with 10 saves.

The Chieftains were coming off one of their most thrilling victories of the season, a 9-8 win on the road over Mount Hope, as goals by Lincourt and Ray Howard snapped a 7-7 tie. Howard, who leads the team with 34 goals, scored four times in this game, and Lincourt added three goals, giving him 20 this season.

Jacob Lincourt has scored 20 goals this season.