The Toll Gate field hockey team’s historic 2018 campaign came to an end on Sunday, as the Titans fell 3-2 in overtime to Tiverton in the Division III State Championship game.
Tied 2-2, the Tigers would capitalize and Sascha Duggan scored the game-winner with 30 seconds remaining in the first overtime period to clinch the title.
“That was the first time that we played in overtime, we were in a lot of close games throughout the season but that was the first time that we played in overtime and I think that hurt us a little bit. There were very few coachable moments because we never played in overtime. You can practice all you want but it’s different once you’re in the game,” said Toll Gate coach Jim Areson. “Having that experience would have been immense. The momentum shifted, we got tight, we played hard but it just didn’t work out.”
Tiverton got the early 1-0 lead less than six minutes into the game on a goal from Amelia Peterson, but Toll Gate’s Grace Barta would knot the score a few minutes later to make it 1-1 at the half.
Emily Ventre scored for Toll Gate early in the second to give the Titans the 2-1 advantage, but Tiverton would get a goal from Margeaux Souza with eight minutes remaining in regulation to eventually force overtime.
Emily May, Angelin Santerre and Barta all recorded assists for Toll Gate while Emma Newell racked up eight saves in the cage.
“We played extremely well, particularly in the second half. In the first 20 minutes of the second half we just dominated. We got up by one and you know how it goes, we started looking at the clock, getting tight, letting it slip away. You have to give Tiverton credit, they really responded,” said Areson. “We played extremely well, I was very proud of them, I thought they did everything I asked them to do. I have no regrets and they shouldn’t have any regrets on how they played. They did everything right except put the ball in the back of the net.”
Areson was also proud of his senior leaders, and the impact that they have made on the Toll Gate program during their four years in the system.
“There are nine girls that have been in the Toll Gate program for four years. Their freshman year they won just one game, and we have progressed ever since, to the point that they were in the championship game their senior year. It’s a testament to their determination, their hard work, I told them that they have set the bar for future teams. (Making it to a title game) is not an easy thing to do in the city of Warwick,” said Areson.
The Titans now flip the page to 2019, and Areson expects the team to face a transitional year next fall.
“I think we’ll be alright but it will be a rebuilding year,” said Areson. “Hopefully making it to the championship game will draw out more kids. We have some good kids coming back, we should be good defensively, but there will be some holes.”