Pilgrim shuts out rival Toll Gate 3-0 to start season

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The Pilgrim field hockey team pitched a 3-0 shutout against city rival Toll Gate last week during the teams’ season opener at Pilgrim.

The Lady Pats stifled the Toll Gate offense throughout the matchup, allowing the Titans to record only four shots on goal.

Pilgrim jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Samantha McConnell scored just 3:45 into the contest. Destinee Santiago would add another goal less than two minutes later to give the Pats the quick 2-0 advantage.

Toll Gate would tighten things up and shut down the Pilgrim offense for the remaining 24 minutes of the half and into the second. However, Lydia Ramsden would score midway through the second to give the Pats the 3-0 lead and put the game out of reach for Toll Gate.

Pilgrim coach Stephanie Shields was happy with her team’s defensive performance, including senior goalie Sara Langevin, who finished the day with four saves in the cage.

“Sara is our senior goalie, she was All-State last year, she’s a great goalie. She has a lot of poise in the net and confidence, our senior defender Giana Alviti also has a lot of poise and confidence, our team has a lot of confidence. We’ve been working on the defense a lot, the scoring will come, but defense is very important and we’ve got some really good players back there. Some speed coupled with some skill is definitely what is helping us on defense,” said Shields.

Shields was also happy to see her team kick it up a notch in the second half after falling into a rut late in the first. Fatigue and defensive adjustments by Toll Gate led to the Pats offense slowing down, according to Shields.

“They got a little tired there and it’s also a mentality thing. We told them at halftime that they have to keep up, they have to get going because one goal would have turned the tide … one goal by Toll Gate would have changed things. We just needed to keep going, keep moving the ball and to make sure that we were the ones in control, not being the ones laying back and letting them take advantage,” said Shields. “Toll Gate is a good team too and they knew what we wanted to do, they’re a good team and they made the adjustments to slow us down.”

McConnell and Mikaila Rastella recorded assists in the win, while Toll Gate goalie Meghan Merrow racked up 10 saves in the cage for the Titans.

Although the Pats struggled at times to find the back of the cage, Shields was optimistic in her team’s offense and its ability to get production across the board.

“That was great and that will be key for us, not having just one girl doing all the scoring and spreading it out. That makes it harder for the other team to defend,” said Shields.

The Pats improved to 1-0 with the win while Toll Gate fell to 0-1.

“It was nice and it was good to get it against our city rival, it’s always a big game against Toll Gate,” said Shields. “It sets us up well and helps show us how the season is going to go and the things that we want to do.”

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