Good news, bad news for Cougars

Good news, bad news for Cougars

North Providence senior Sophia DiMarzio, right, gets ready to pass the ball before Wheeler senior Emily Colaiace closes in on her during last Saturday’s Division II game. The Cougars qualified for the D-II playoffs by posting a 1-0 victory, but suffered a 3-0 loss to Middletown the following afternoon in their postseason opener. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Girls’ soccer team nips Wheeler to qualify for D-II playoffs, but drops postseason opener to Middletown

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence High girls’ soccer team experienced some good news and some bad news last weekend.

The good news came last Saturday morning, as the Cougars were able to clinch a berth in the Division II playoffs by grabbing a 1-0 victory over the Wheeler School on the Cougars’ home field.

But the bad news came the next day, when the Cougars, who earned the eighth seed in the playoffs and hosted 9th-seeded Middletown High in a preliminary-round match, suffered a 3-0 loss that denied NP of its first trip to the D-II quarterfinals since 2016.

“This has been one of those up and down seasons,” said NP head coach Kabba Joof, whose young team went 3-2-1 in its abbreviated D-II regular season. “Normally, with 16 games, we’ll start slow and then get better, but with only six games, it’s kind of difficult, but these young ladies did what they had to do.”

In order to reach the playoffs for the first time in three seasons and host their first playoff contest since 2014, the Cougars went 2-0-1 down the stretch. NP posted a 2-1 victory over Wheeler on Nov. 7 at the Warriors’ field, and three days later, the Cougars battled Moses Brown to a 1-1 draw.

The sun was out, but the wind was biting in last Saturday’s rematch with Wheeler. The Cougars got off to a slow start, but as the first half went on, they had a handful of opportunities. At one point, Michaela Rizzo drew the Wheeler keeper out of the net, but couldn’t get anything on her shot.

“This was one of those games that we’ve been having all season,” Joof said. “The girls started out slow, but at least the good thing is that we kept (Wheeler) at bay. They didn’t get a lot of opportunities and they didn’t score a goal.”

With 5½ minutes remaining in the first half, the Cougars finally pushed through and got on the board. Sophia DiMarzio went head-to-head with Wheeler’s keeper, who made a nice slide to block the ball, but Sophie Intrieri quickly pounced on the rebound and sent the ball into the back of the net.

From that point on, the Cougars’ defense did its best to prevent the Warriors from tying the score, and freshman goalkeeper Molly Witt was able to record her third shutout of the season.

“She’s going to be a good one,” Joof added. “We’re very lucky to have her this young, and I think for the next three years, she’s going to be great.”

In last week’s tie with Moses Brown, Witt allowed the Quakers’ goal in the opening half, but ended up stopping the other seven shots she faced. DiMarzio eventually scored the tying goal for NP in the 65th minute off a pass from Meagan Witt.

North Providence High sophomore Morgan McGrath, right, does her best to keep the ball away from Wheeler School senior Emily Colaiace in the first half of last Saturday morning’s Division II regular-season finale. The Cougars punched their tickets to the D-II playoffs and improved their D-II record to 3-2-1 by netting a 1-0 victory.