Cougars rule opener with Novans

Cougars rule opener with Novans

Left, North Providence junior midfielder Juan Acevedo, left, looks to pass the ball to a teammate as Woonsocket senior midfielder Kyle Srypannho closes in on him during last Saturday morning’s Division III opener at Barry Field. Acevedo scored a goal to help the Cougars defeat the Novans, 5-1. Right, North Providence sophomore Santino Autiello, left, pushes away Srypannho as he wins the battle for a loose ball near midfield. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Boys’ soccer team kicks off six-game D-III season with impressive 5-1 win

WOONSOCKET – It’s been a very long time since the North Providence High boys’ soccer team kicked off a season in dominating fashion, but that’s what the Cougars did last Saturday morning in their Division III opener against Woonsocket High at the Novans’ Barry Field.

Taking advantage of some early mistakes in the penalty box by Woonsocket, the Cougars broke out to a quick 3-0 lead before coming away with an impressive 5-1 victory.

Sophomore Bruno Teixeira scored a pair of goals, and his classmate, goalkeeper Alex Carvalho, turned away seven shots to help lead the Cougars, who return seven starters from last season’s team that posted a 7-7-1 mark (NP’s best season since 2011) and reached the D-III quarterfinals.

“I’m really happy we got the season started, even as limited as it is,” said NP head coach Chris Swiczewicz, whose team will only play six regular-season games. “The challenges of the masks have been a little bit tricky, but it’s good to see (the players) out now in actual live action. And the masks didn’t hinder as much as I thought. I think the training we did really helped with that.”

In the first half, the Cougars quickly jumped on the scoreboard on a goal by senior captain Zach Auslander, who scored on the rebound of his own shot off WHS keeper Jayson Inthasane, and after Teixeira doubled NP’s lead by firing a shot over Inthasane’s head, junior Juan Acevedo scored on a penalty kick to make it a 3-0 game.

The Novans scored their goal on a penalty kick by Mbye Camara, but the Cougars got that goal right back before halftime when junior Joel Do Rosario found the back of the net.

“(The defense) solidified really quick,” Swiczewicz said. “Pretty much everyone on defense is returning from last year, so our defense is definitely solid. And Alex, our keeper, was pushing for the number one spot last season as a freshman, so he’s also right there.”

Teixeira scored the Cougars’ final goal late in the game, as Do Rosario set up the play and senior Mario Alvarez Colin slipped a nice pass to Teixeira.

While Swiczewicz was pleased with his team’s performance, he also noted that there are a couple of things that the Cougars still need to clean up.

“Our goal is just to go out there and improve each game,” Swiczewicz reported. “Hopefully, at some point, (the RIIL) will give us an idea if there will be a postseason or not. But all we can do is go game-to-game and day-to-day and just try to improve, and if we get a playoff shot, we’ll be ready.”

The Cougars will play their home opener on Saturday at 10 a.m. against neighboring Blackstone Valley Prep.