The Johnston girls soccer team was upset by Rogers in a 3-0 shutout in the Division IV Championship last weekend at Rhode Island College.
After a scoreless first half, the Vikings would be granted a penalty kick early in the second and convert to take the 1-0 lead. Things would get tough for the Panthers, who lost standout striker Alexia DiLorenzo to injury moments later as Rogers tacked on two insurance goals down the stretch to run away with the win.
“That penalty kick (was the difference). Once that penalty kick happened, unfortunately that is where everything began to unravel. The injuries began to set in and started to take a toll. By that point we were up against the wall,” said Johnston coach Toni Scavitti after the loss.
The Johnston offense slowed down after DiLorenzo’s exit and struggled to pressure the Rogers defense in the second half.
“That impacted us significantly. She’s our speed, she’s part of our speed at the top so to not have her be able to run, we had to switch some things around that we weren’t expecting to do,” Scavitti said.
This was the third time that these two teams squared off this season. The second-seeded Panthers beat the No. 4 Vikings each previous contest by a combined score of 3-0.
Although the Panthers were the favorite heading into the matchup, Scavitti and company tried not to overlook the Vikings, who also upset top-seeded Providence Country Day in the semis.
“(Our goal was) to not underestimate them. We knew what they were capable of, we trained specifically for them, we were prepared to work with their strengths and their weaknesses. It’s just unfortunate that they were able to pull out the win tonight and we didn’t,” Scavitti said.
The Panthers will be graduating nine seniors from the roster, including their two top scorers in DiLorenzo and Kaylee Poole, as well as keeper Ava Waterman.
After a few down seasons, the Panthers moved to Division IV last year and qualified for the playoffs each go-around. Scavitti will miss this senior core that helped revitalize the Johnston program.
“They’ve been a phenomenal group. It’s going to be a big loss losing all of them,” said Scavitti.
Johnston finished the season with a 16-3-1 overall record.