Moun­ties blow away Toll Gate

MSC fin­ishes per­fect week with 5-0 vic­tory

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By BRAN­DEN MELLO bmello@woonsock­et­

WOONSOCKET — What a dif­fer­ence a week makes.

Eight days ago, the Mount St. Charles boys soc­cer team trudged off the field against West­erly and made the long trek back up In­ter­state 95 on the back of the Moun­ties’ sec­ond straight de­feat to fall be­low .500.

Fri­day af­ter­noon, the Moun­ties sprinted off their home field af­ter a 5-0 past­ing of Toll Gate. The vic­tory fin­ishes off a seven-day stretch where the Moun­ties de­feated West War­wick and pre­vi­ously un­beaten Wheeler to move into the hunt for a home quar­ter­fi­nal con­test.

“More pa­tience with our of­fen­sive at­tack has im­proved a lot since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son,” Mount St. Charles coach Paul Jacques said. “Early in the sea­son, we would rush and rush and rush. Now, we’re look­ing for more qual­ity shots, as op­posed to quan­tity.

“I re­ally like the play of Dre Dan­neker in the cen­ter of mid­field with Nate Bursell. They have so­lid­i­fied the mid­dle. I moved Bursell out of the back and that has re­ally helped us.”

Mount St. Charles (4-2-1 Divi­sion II) is play­ing its best soc­cer since claim­ing the 2015 Divi­sion II ti­tle. The Moun­ties sit five points be­hind reign­ing Divi­sion II cham­pion Moses Brown and three points be­hind un­de­feated Smith­field.

The Moun­ties can take a big step to­ward a bye in the first round with Coven­try and fourth-place Cranston West on the docket next week. The Oak­ers make the trip to Lo­gee Street on Mon­day be­fore the Moun­ties travel to the Hope Road Soc­cer Com­plex on Wed­nes­day.

“We need to keep our com­po­sure next week be­cause that isn’t go­ing to be an easy week,” Jacques said. “Cranston West just had a huge win against Mt. Hope and we’re play­ing away, so that will be a tough game. Coven­try al­ways plays us hard, but luck­ily that game is here. It should be a bat­tle though.”

Toll Gate (1-5-1 Divi­sion I) showed Thurs­day night in a 2-2 tie with the Sen­tinels that their ca­pa­ble of play­ing with the best teams in the divi­sion. But, the Ti­tans showed up late for the con­test and were never re­ally a threat to the Moun­ties.

The home side dom­i­nated the open­ing 20 min­utes, but poor crosses and the play of Toll Gate goalie Bran­don Franco (14 saves), kept the game score­less. The Moun­ties fi­nally took ad­van­tage of their chances in the 23rd minute when se­nior Chris Ci­ullo curled in a free kick from the right side that Jake MacKin­non redi­rected into the net.

“I wasn’t look­ing di­rectly for Jake, but I was aim­ing for that side of the goal,” Ci­ullo said. “Lately, we’re just mov­ing the ball bet­ter and press­ing up higher as a team. We’re get­ting more op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause of that.”

Ci­ullo used his 300-me­ter speed to dou­ble the lead 10 min­utes later. The mid­fielder found some space in the mid­dle of the field and drib­bled past a num­ber of Ti­tan de­fend­ers be­fore blast­ing a shot past the help­less Franco.

Mount in­creased its lead to 3-0 just be­fore the half when Martin Payette used his su­perb foot skills to cor­ral a ball in the box and fire a low shot past Franco.

Jacques was happy with the way his team played, es­pe­cially since they had to warm up twice af­ter the Ti­tans showed up five min­utes be­fore the orig­i­nal start time of 4.

“One thing we stressed at prac­tice yes­ter­day and one thing we stressed

“One thing we stressed at prac­tice yes­ter­day and one thing we stressed in the locker room be­fore we came down here was we can’t have a let up.”

– Paul Jacques

in the locker room be­fore we came down here was we can’t have a let up,” Jacques said. “We knew they had a big tie with Smith­field, but we needed to be fo­cused. It was tough af­ter we had to start and stop warm­ing up.”

Se­nior for­ward John Collins was in­volved in both sec­ond half goals be­fore Jacques emp­tied his bench for the fi­nal 20 min­utes. Af­ter a Mount cor­ner kick wasn’t cleared out of the box, Collins fin­ished off a Dan­neker pass. Collins found se­nior mid­fielder Jake Lawrence for a goal 12 min­utes later to fin­ish the scor­ing.

Mount sopho­more goalie Jake Mad­dalena made five saves and has now al­lowed just one goal in the last three games. Mad­dalena’s four shutouts this sea­son are also a credit to a de­fen­sive unit led by se­nior Daw­son Dan­neker, sopho­more Nate Leclaire, Ci­ullo and MacKin­non.

‘This is what I ex­pected of this group, es­pe­cially the way we’re pass­ing the ball,” Jacques said. “We’re good at pass­ing the ball. Plus, Nate Leclaire has re­ally so­lid­i­fied our de­fense since we moved Bursell to the mid­field.”

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