Panthers playoff run ends in EP


The Johnston girls lacrosse team returned to the playoffs and would get a 9-5 win over Classical in the play-in game last week. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, their run would come to a close when they fell 17-0 to No. 2 East Providence on the road over the weekend.

The Panthers claimed the final seed in Division III and took on the seventh-seeded Purple in the play-in match up.

Johnston led 4-3 at halftime but would cruise to five more goals in the second half to put the game out of reach. Hannah Lavergne led the way with a game-high five goals while Kaylee Poole added three and Courtney Dias one. Lavergne, Dias and Samantha Marcotte all recorded assists in the win while goalie Riley Guenette made six stops in the cage.

“When we played (Classical) in the regular season they beat us 17-13 but we didn’t play our game. I told the team that everyone has a bad game and maybe that would be ours. We knew that we had three girls that they would have to shut down, we had the four-game winning streak in the middle of the season, so their confidence level was pretty good heading into the playoffs,” said Johnston coach Jay Areson. “Reaching the playoffs will help their confidence moving forward, and I told them that this is all a learning experience so let’s take what we can. I wouldn’t say it was surprising, but we weren’t expecting to win that game. It felt good for the girls.”

The Townies jumped out to a big first-half lead in the quarterfinals and never looked back as they got the win to end the Johnston run. Despite the loss, Areson was proud of his club for reaching the playoffs, especially considering the team is made up primarily of underclassmen.

“We fell behind 11-0 at halftime and I told the girls to keep their heads up, know that they reached their goals and my expectations had been met. We have nothing to lose, so use this as a springboard for next year. We’re losing two seniors unfortunately, but we have a lot of sophomores that were in the playoffs in only their second year. That was a good taste for them. How fast it was, the crowd, the media being there, it was a good experience,” said Areson.

He was also pleased with the rapid improvement from last spring, when the Panthers failed to record a win.

“Coming off of last year where they didn’t win a game, I think this year they finally learned how they had to play the game of lacrosse. Knowing where to be in your position, knowing how to work through checks, how to check. A lot of girls went to a winter camp, so the skill level was raised. The more experience they got in the regular season, the more it helped their confidence,” said Areson.

The Panthers will be graduating seniors Rachel Ixcotoyac and Dias and will be looking to fill those shoes next season.

“Rachael and Courtney will be missed. They were really good players for us the last two years and their confidence and support of the younger players played a big role,” Areson said. “It’s going to be tough not having them next year, but I’m confident that a few girls will be able to step up and fill those roles.”


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