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WOONSOCKET â€” For Lincoln High, Mondayâ€™s task was as straightforward as youâ€™ll get. A win against Woonsocket High meant the Lions would clinch no worse than a share of the Division II-North crown.
Mission accomplished as Lincoln, buoyed by two goals from Jillian DeSimone, took care of business with a 4-0 win over Woonsocket at Barry Field. The Lions finish the regular season 12-1-5. The Villa Novans completed their first â€“ and possibly last â€“ in Division II with a 1-17 mark.
â€śSheâ€™s a very nice player and has had herself a nice season,â€ť said Lincoln head coach John Dâ€™Aloisio about DeSimone, a junior captain.
Lincoln and II-South champ Exeter/West Greenwich each wound up with 29 points, a total Ponaganset had a chance to reach with a win against North Smithfield on Monday night. Dâ€™Aloisio says all tiebreaking concerns will be sorted out at Tuesdayâ€™s night playoff meeting. The postseason gets under way next Monday with the quarterfinals taking place at the higher seedâ€™s home site.
â€śIt could be complicated,â€ť said Dâ€™Aloisio as he walked off the field.
The Lions also received goals from Barbara Jackson and Olivia Maxell, capping off an 18-game season that Dâ€™Aloisio mentioned was grueling from an injury standpoint.
â€śWeâ€™re just happy to get through it with relatively good health,â€ť said Dâ€™Aloisio. â€śI think 18 games are too much for the girls. Weâ€™ve had a few weeks where weâ€™ve played three games, though Iâ€™m glad the regular season is over. Now weâ€™ll get a chance to get healthy for the round of eight. Weâ€™ll probably get a home game because weâ€™ll probably be one of the top four seeds, though I donâ€™t know the exact number at this point.â€ť
If anything, Dâ€™Aloisio should have a good idea where his club stands among the other Division II contenders in. Besides Ponaganset, the North also includes Mount St. Charles (24 points) and North Smithfield (19 points).
â€śI was very impressed with how tough the division was,â€ť said Dâ€™Aloisio, â€śbut I donâ€™t even want to discuss whatâ€™s coming up. You do need some luck to get through these playoffs. Again, weâ€™re just happy we got through 18 games with relatively good health.â€ť
Asked to handicap the teams in the north division, Woonsocket head coach Kathleen Fagnant paused a moment before responding. â€śI think itâ€™s going to be an unpredictable playoff run. We played Lincoln in the beginning of the year (the Lions won 6-0 on Sept. 15) and (Monday) it was 1-0 at the half. I think there are going to be a lot of upsets because people are going to think that theyâ€™re going to go in and win and theyâ€™re not.â€ť
Despite the tough season Fagnant was proud the way the Villa Novans conducted themselves. The coach added she plans to petition the R.I. Interscholastic League to move down to Division III next season.
â€śThe girls were out there smiling and laughing (on Monday). To go through a season like this and still be upbeat is remarkable is a true testament to how close the girls are. I couldnâ€™t be more proud of this team,â€ť said Fagnant. â€śI know some teams in Division III that definitely want to move up. Weâ€™ve just got to put our information together as far as how many injuries weâ€™ve had and how many goals were scored against us. These girls deserve fair competition and what we had this season wasnâ€™t fair. But we played and got through it. Now weâ€™ll see what happens.â€ť