Offensive struggles keep Lincoln from securing first win
Lions outshoot visiting Bay View; Bengals secure shutout win at Ferguson Field
LINCOLN — Outside of a seven-goal defeat to undefeated Barrington, the Lincoln field hockey team has had an opportunity to win its three other games to start the Division I season.
The Lions battled reigning state champion North Kingstown for long stretches of the opening game before securing a point against Smithfield.
Friday afternoon against visiting Bay View, the Lions, once again, played well enough to earn a victory, but the Bengals left Ferguson Field with a 1-0 victory thanks to a lastminute goal in the first half.
Lincoln (0-3-1 Division I) has yet to score a goal in four games plus an overtime session against the Sentinels.
“In these close games, the difference is all about intensity and playing smart,” Lincoln coach Ashley Pavao said. “When we play Bay View, it’s always a close game that could go either way. Today, the difference was a little bit of luck. The girls played really well and we made improvements over our last game against Barrington.”
Bay View (2-2 Division I) has also struggled to score goals early in the season, as the Bengals only two goals through the first three games came in a 2-0 victory over Cumberland. The lone goal Friday came with just 30 seconds left in the opening half when Lincoln junior goalie Maddie Flaxington misread a shot by junior Emily Levesque.
In truth, the Lions dominated the opening 25 minutes of the contest and were unlucky not to have put a shot past goalie Natalie Noland, who wound up making six saves.
Sophomore Jennah Saqib helped create a flurry of penalty corners at the 20-minute mark, but the Lions failed to take advantage of their chances.
“We’re just going to keep making improvements and try to get them next time,” Pavao said. “Offensively, we’re really been focused on working together and making those angle passes and travelling up the field in triangles. We’ve been doing a lot better with that stuff.
“Jennah had a really good game today. She was working the ball on offense and she was getting those crosses in. Again, once the ball gets in the circle it’s just about playing smart and finding a little bit of luck. It just didn’t happen for us today.”
On the other end of the field, Pavao was pleased with her defense coming off the blowout loss to the Eagles. Flaxington was only forced to make one save thanks to the play of senior Olivia Genesse and a few other defenders.
“We tried a new defensive system in this game and it seemed to work well,” Pavao said. “Our defense has been strong, but coming off the last game they were feeling a little unsure of themselves, but hopefully they gained some confidence back.”
The Bengals controlled long stretches of the second half, but the Lions had chances to tie the game in the final three minutes after Pavao called her final timeout. Abby Colletto had the best chance in the 59th minute, but the Lions were forced to endure a fourth straight game without a goal.
After travelling to East Greenwich Monday night, the Lions return to Ferguson Field Wednesday afternoon for a matchup with Valley rival Cumberland.
“Wins are coming,” Pavao said. ‘We’re playing Cumberland on Wednesday – it’s on. It should be a good game.”