Pats hold off Titans in rivalry matchup

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The Pilgrim Lady Patriots earned their first victory of the season, beating the Toll Gate Titans, 12-9, at the Bend Street Complex on Thursday afternoon.

Pats’ senior Paula Cavanagh led the way, scoring five goals while adding two assists.

“It was amazing,” Cavanagh said. “It was just what we needed to go into the beginning of the season. Especially with the consolidation, we need to work on playing together and then once we capitalize on that, we’re going to be a good team. We’re working really hard, our coaches are working really hard with us and we’re doing well together.”

Pilgrim head coach Jess McCaughey shared her support for Cavanagh.

“Oh my God, Paula’s awesome all the time,” McCaughey said. “That’s why she plays center. She makes it happen. She’s a playmaker.”

Pilgrim’s Kat Raposo netted two goals and Ellen Strain added one goal and two assists. For Toll Gate, Laurel Ten Eyck scored three goals and Maddie Smith scored a pair herself.

Ten Eyck scored thirty seconds into the game to give Toll Gate an early 1-0 lead.

Cavanagh won the ensuing draw and took it down the field before leaving it for Lila Giguere, but her shot was stopped by Toll Gate goalkeeper Kylie Russo. However, Pilgrim would tie it during a penalty when Strain, from the top of the arc, assisted to Alyssa Peixinho with 20:33 left in the half. Moments later, Cavanagh found Grace Maguire, who was fouled. Maguire would score during her free shot to give Pilgrim a 2-1 advantage.

Pilgrim’s Jessica Ginaitt played like a giant in the net. In one sequence, the sophomore stopped a shot from a spinning Smith with her stick head, before denying a try from Ten Eyck.

With 11:36 left, Haley Gregoire passed to Alyssa O’Keefe, who put one past Ginaitt to tie the game at 2.

A minute later, Pilgrim took the lead back when Strain found the back of the rack on a free shot.

With 8:57 left, junior Maddie Ford had her shot denied, but Cavanagh was there for the putback, scoring with a backhand to put Pilgrim up 4-2.

Cavanagh won the following faceoff and passed ahead to Ford, who was fouled. Ford would fire it past Russo on the penalty shot to increase Pilgrim’s lead to 5-2.

With 53 seconds remaining in the half, Peixinho assisted in front to Cavanagh for a goal to give the Pats a 6-2 advantage. Thirteen seconds later, Cavanagh won the draw and passed ahead to Ford for a goal.

Pilgrim headed into halftime with a 7-2 advantage.

Toll Gate’s Smith scored on a penalty shot 55 seconds into the second half to pull the Titans within 5-3.

A few minutes later, Toll Gate’s Russo made saves on shots from Maguire and Steph Langevin, before Strain dished in front to Cavanagh, who made a spin move, before rifling a low shot into the net, putting Pilgrim up 8-3 with 21:20 left.

A minute later, the Titans would get revenge when Madison Gothberg assisted across to Patrice Canning, who flung it into the net to pull Toll Gate within 8-4. Five minutes later, Lily Fortin scored on a free shot to cut it to 8-5.

However, Cavanagh would strike with 13:17 left to put the Pats up, 9-5. Thirteen seconds later, Toll Gate’s Smith would win the draw and race for a goal to pull the Titans within 9-6. 

With 11:45 to play, Cavanagh struck again, putting the Pats up 10-6. A minute and a half later, Ten Eyck scored to make it 10-7.

Toll Gate would inch closer. First, Gothberg assisted to Ten Eyck, but her shot was denied by Ginaitt. During its next possession, Toll Gate’s Karinne Medeiros shot a backhand wide, but Ten Eyck grabbed the rebound and scored a wraparound goal with 10:02 to play to pull the Titans within 10-8.

Pilgrim tried to get some separation on its next possession, but Giguere fired wide and Cavanagh had her shot stopped by Russo.

Next, Toll Gate’s Smith earned a free shot, but had it blocked in spectacular fashion by Ginaitt. The junior goalkeeper followed it with another snub on Smith, before Ten Eyck found the back of the net on a penalty shot to cut the Toll Gate deficit to 10-9 with just 2:32 remaining.

However, Pilgrim’s Raposo would stop the bleeding when she scored with 1:56 remaining to put Pilgrim up 11-9. Raposo struck again with seven seconds left to give Pilgrim a 12-9 win.

Toll Gate head coach Jim Areson thought his team looked sharper in the second frame.

“I thought we played extremely well in the second half,” Areson said. “Laurel Ten Eyck did a real good job on the draw in the second half and that’s what we built on throughout the half. I think they were a little tight in the beginning. The way we played in the second half is pretty much how we’ve been playing for this season. I’m very excited for the season. We’re doing a lot of great things.”

McCaughey was happy with her team’s effort for the most part.

“Overall, Jess Ginaitt in goal was fantastic,” McCaughey said. “She played great. Exactly what I wanted. We just got to make sure that we play at that level the whole time. We kind of dropped out of it for a little bit and it became a close game, but overall I’m really psyched. It’s the first win as a new team, new coach, so this is exciting. And, again, hats off to Toll Gate. I love playing them. I know both of the coaches, I love their team and everything they’re about, so it was a fun day today.”

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