The Johnston girls lacrosse team has had an impressive spring in its first season in Division II, improving to 7-3 overall and topping first-place Westerly 9-6 on Tuesday afternoon.
Gabby DiRaimo and Kylee Lameiro led the Panthers with three goals each, while Grace Muller added two and Bianca Robbins one.
“What a great win against a team like that. The girls defensively have been really clamping down, we’re averaging only six or seven goals against. Getting the win is definitely a nice momentum swing for us right before playoffs,” said Johnston coach Jay Areson.
The Panthers became one of the top teams in Division III in the past decade, and took home the 2017 State Championship. Now, in Division II, the Panthers are right back in the mix as they recently clinched a playoff spot and look to be a true contender as the postseason approaches.
“I knew we had (potential), we have a senior-heavy team this year so I knew that we had the experience. The first game of the season we got crushed by Middletown and we kind of thought maybe we were in over our heads, but we settled down, went back to the basics and went back to doing what we did when we won the state championship. We’re an offense-minded team and we’re unselfish, now we know that we belong in Division II,” said Areson.
The Panthers played again on Wednesday evening in their season finale, but the results were not available at press time. Areson and company like their chances to make some noise in the playoffs, and are confident regardless of division.
“We’ve got some good momentum going into the playoffs, the girls seem pretty relaxed. They’re very calm, they’re always joking at practice, they don’t feel an urgency to win … but they go out there every day and compete, these girls are gamers,” said Areson. “A lot of our seniors have won state championships in lacrosse and other sports so they are confident and know what it takes to win.”