PROVIDENCE — In an epic encounter and what had to have been one of the longest ever playoff contests in the brief two-decade history of the sport at the interscholastic level, East Providence …
PROVIDENCE — In an epic encounter and what had to have been one of the longest ever playoff contests in the brief two-decade history of the sport at the interscholastic level, East Providence High School suffered a quadruple overtime loss to neighboring Bay View in the 2023 Division III girls' lacrosse championship game.
At Brown University's Stevenson-Pincince Field on the East Side of Providence Sunday, June 4, the second-seeded Bengals edged the fourth-seeded Townies in the fourth sudden-death extra session 9-8 to win Bay View's second-ever girls' lax title, adding the D-III crown to the D-II championship the Bengals earned back in 2010.
Elizabeth Healey netted the title-winning tally with 46 seconds left in the fourth, three-minute extra session. Annabelle Tracy assisted on the goal. The goal came a bit after the 10th and final save of the game by Bay View keeper Kate Shields.
"We were just so excited. We were hoping for this all season. I'm glad we finally made it here," Healey said of the title win.
Of overtime and finally scoring the clinching goal, Healey added, "It was very tiring, more three minutes, more three minutes...I felt like I could breath again. It was very exciting to finally find the back of the net."
Healey finished the afternoon with four goals. Tracy had a hat-trick. Phoebe Dolan and Giana Giordano accounted for the two other Bay View scores. EPHS star midfielder Ryleigh Grant finished her outstanding career as a Townie with a hat-trick as did junior standout Kenna Wigginton. Emma Nordquist, another of EP's fine seniors, potted the tying goal in the waning moments of regulation time. Freshman Alyssa Karalekas had the other tally for the Townies. And sophomore keeper Ava Williams made nine saves in a very good effort in net for EPHS.
The Townies led 5-4 at the end of the first half and built a 7-4 advantage about 10 minutes into the second. At around that time, however depending on one's point of view, either EPHS lost its discipline or the officials made a few tough calls in Bay View's favor.
The Bengals scored four goals over the next 10 minutes with the Townies being either a woman or two down for some six of those. Healey accounted for the final goal of the spree with EP two women down 5:35 remaining in regulation.
"It was a great game all around. We played as a team. We played as a whole," said EPHS head coach Haley McCusker. "The fact that we held them while a man down a majority of the second half is a win in my book. And we had everything go the other way. Nothing went in our favor. But at the end of the day the girls played with every bit of fire and heart they could. You couldn't ask for anything more."
Bay View, which dropped down a tier in time for 2023, finished their season with a 13-3 overall record in league games, including earlier playoff wins over Rocky Hill and Westerly. Bay View also won two of three against the Townies this spring, losing the league opener for both sides 9-7 back on March 31 then winning by a 12-7 count on May 6.
For East Providence, which was the reigning D-III champs after defeating North Smithfield 12-11 a year ago, its 2023 campaign came to a close with an 11-5 record. The Townies reached the finals with wins over Cranston East and top-seeded Narragansett.
"To get back to this point I think shows you how much time the girls have put in. And the heart they illustrate when they get in big moments, especially like this one," McCusker added. "It's just a special group. I'm excited for what's in store for them whether it be the ones who are next on their journey leaving high school or the ones who are coming back next season."