Solid ‘D’ fuels Cumberland’s 3-0 start

Solid ‘D’ fuels Cumberland’s 3-0 start

Cumberland senior sweeper Abby Free, right, battles Scituate midfielder Lexi Parker, #14, for control of the ball during the second half of last Friday afternoon’s Division I game at Caito Field, which was won by the visiting Clippers, 1-0. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Young girls’ soccer team overcomes turnovers to blank Bay View, Scituate, Smithfield

CUMBERLAND – At times, the first week-and-a-half of the season hadn’t been pleasant, but that didn’t prevent the Cumberland High girls’ soccer team from jumping out to a quick 3-0 start for the first time in three years.

After kicking off their Division I schedule with a 3-0 victory over Bay View Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Clippers eked out back-to-back 1-0 wins by downing Scituate last Friday afternoon on the Spartans’ new turf complex and Smithfield on Tuesday night at Tucker Field.

That’s not a bad start for a team that’s “still working stuff out,” according to third-year head coach John Hoxsie, and has a young roster that contains only four seniors who are the captains: defensive standout Abby Free, midfielders Gianna Sarmento and Campbell Gothberg, and striker Olivia Sarmento.

“We’re still figuring out who fits where,” Hoxsie admitted. “But I feel like we have some good depth at every position and these girls are going to have to earn playing time. We don’t have a girl that can just dominate and take over, so if we’re not getting results, then (it’s) who’s the next person up, and with the depth we have, that’s a good problem to have.”

Hoxsie spoke last Friday afternoon after his team made a bit of history by becoming the first girls’ soccer team to win a game at the newly renovated Caito Field, but in order to defeat the Spartans, they had to overcome a rash of turnovers, as well as some pressure by their hosts.

“We survived,” said Hoxsie. “But we have to clean up our turnovers. I said it to the girls, even going back to our (scrimmage) against Attleboro – in the first half of that game, Bay View, and this game, we looked sloppy out there. It’s definitely something that we need to improve on.”

If there’s one area that’s been superb for the Clippers in their early going, it’s been their defense, which has been led by Free, their talented sweeper, and junior goalkeeper Juliette Vemmer, who has totaled 26 saves in her three shutouts.

Offensively, the Clippers were firing on all cylinders in their win over Bay View, as junior striker Madison Durkin, sophomore midfielder Paige Vieira, and freshman standout Mackenzie Lavallee. And in the 34th minute in their win over Scituate and All-State goalkeeper Madison Medbury, sophomore Riley Trudeau provided the heroics by scoring off a pass from Lavallee.

On Tuesday night, the Clippers faced the always-tough Sentinels, which endured some tough luck at the start of their season and dropped three straight 1-0 contests. Durkin scored Cumberland’s goal midway through the first half and Vemmer, who turned away 10 shots in a solid effort, and the rest of the ‘D’ did their part to silence Smithfield.

“You know when you play Smithfield that you’re going into a dogfight,” offered Hoxsie. “They’re always tough, they’re always physical, and they’re always talented. It’s always a good game, and if you can’t get up for a game like that, then don’t step on the field.”

Junior backs Gracie Vieira and Jenna Thomas and sophomore midfielder Halle Delmore have also shined in CHS’s starting lineup, and three key juniors off the bench have been midfielder/backs Ally Stanfa and Liliana Lachance and first-year midfielder Maggie Peterson.

“We have some girls that will work and will work hard, and we’re hoping we can get some results out of them,” said Hoxsie.

The Clippers will return to action on Friday with a 4:15 p.m. contest at Barrington’s Victory Field against the Eagles. They will return home next Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. game against Burrillville.

Cumberland junior midfielder Allison Stanfa, left, outraces two Scituate players to a loose ball near the sideline during last Friday’s game.
Cumberland junior goalie Juliette Vemmer, shown catching a shot near the right post during last week’s victory over Scituate, has totaled 26 saves in her three shutouts this season.