‘Sky’s the limit’ for BVP girls’ soccer team

‘Sky’s the limit’ for BVP girls’ soccer team

Blackstone Valley Prep senior Sole Miranda, center, zips past two Providence Country Day defenders as she takes the ball down the field during last week’s Division III matchup at the Pride’s field. Miranda scored four goals to lead the Pride to a 4-3 victory and help them earn a return trip to the D-III playoffs. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Fourth-year Pride earn return trip to Div. III playoffs by taking 4-3 thriller with PCD

CUMBERLAND – After spending the past seven seasons as a middle school soccer coach at Blackstone Valley Prep, Steven DaRosa was planning to take a break from the sidelines this fall.

But when he was presented with the opportunity to become the head coach of the Pride’s high school girls’ soccer team this season, DaRosa simply couldn’t pass it up.

“It was this group of girls in particular that I taught and coached in middle school,” DaRosa noted. “I felt like this was a great opportunity to get back together with these girls because they’re a great group, and they just have so much skill that the sky’s the limit for them.”

And after posting an 8-6-2 mark last year in only their third season as a RIIL Division III team, the sky may just be the limit for the Pride this fall. Last Wednesday, Oct. 2, they improved to 6-3-1 and booked early reservations for a return trip to the D-III playoffs by defeating Providence Country Day, 4-3.

After losing all 11 of their games in their inaugural season in 2016 and winning only three times in 2017, the Pride’s program took a huge leap last year. With five games remaining, can the Pride top its win total from last season and host another opening-round game in the postseason?

“It’s a possibility,” DaRosa said. “We try not to talk too much about what’s far ahead. It’s just one game at a time – the whole Bill Belichick mantra – and we just want to focus on that and enjoy moments like this one here.”

The Pride celebrated their sixth victory last week on a rainy afternoon, and it was a wild encounter that saw senior strike Sole Miranda score all four goals, but the visiting Knights keep their hosts and the fans on the edges of their seats by scoring twice in the final 15 minutes to cut their deficit to a goal.

And there have been quite a few other great moments that have made BVP’s season one to treasure, including one that didn’t end with the thrill of victory. On Sept. 26, the Pride bused to South County to face Narragansett, which was in third place at the time, and battled the Mariners to a scoreless tie.

“That was a good test,” DaRosa said. “It was a pretty tough game, but it gave the girls some confidence, because I think last year, Narragansett beat them pretty handily.”

When it comes to experience, the Pride has a large senior class that has seen it all through the highs and lows of the past three seasons, and it’s keyed by their co-captains, Victoria Jakubiak and Kaylee Alvarez; Rachele Segura, a center midfielder who is a two-time All-Division pick; and Miranda, who also received All-Division honors last season and currently leads BVP in goals with 13.

Also in that class is Elly Rourke, who is in the history books for scoring BVP's first goal in RIIL competition.

“It’s going to be a great Senior Night for them,” said DaRosa. “I’ve known them since the fifth grade, so it’s awesome to see them grow up and enjoy this together.”

While most of the lineup features battle-tested seniors, there’s a good group of sophomores in the mix, led by Lucy Noris, who is a center midfielder, and when she’s not on the field, she’s been running for the cross country team and establishing herself as one of northern Rhode Island’s top harriers.

Along with Noris, who has produced five goals and seven assists, the sophomore class also has defensive standouts Ashely Zambrano, Sophia Lombardi, and Gianna DaSilva back from last year’s lineup.

The Pride will next face Tolman on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Max Read Field and celebrate Columbus Day by hosting second-place Tiverton on Monday at 11 a.m. Games against Woonsocket, Paul Cuffee and Shea will wrap up their regular season.

“We want to finish the season strong and start getting better just in time for the playoffs,” DaRosa said. “We want to get that momentum going.”

Blackstone Valley Prep seniors Kaylee Alvarez, left, shown throwing the ball into play during last week’s game against Providence Country Day, and Victoria Jakubiak, right, who is a four-year starter, are the captains on this season’s team.