2018-06-07 / Front Page

WINS 'LACROSSE' THE ISLAND

Rogers’ Girls Cap Perfect Season
By James Merolla


Members of the Rogers girls’ lacrosse team rejoice after receiving the RIIL Division III championship plaque on Sunday, June 3 at Brown University. The top-seeded Vikings’ girls completed a perfect 17-0 season, by beating second-seeded Westerly 9-7, in the final of the state’s D-III tournament. Members of the Rogers girls’ lacrosse team rejoice after receiving the RIIL Division III championship plaque on Sunday, June 3 at Brown University. The top-seeded Vikings’ girls completed a perfect 17-0 season, by beating second-seeded Westerly 9-7, in the final of the state’s D-III tournament. Undefeated state champions!

What began as a dream two decades ago for head coach Marie Nunes and her husband, Matt, has resulted in the most gratifying, improbable, fantastic finish in school history, as the Rogers High girls’ lacrosse team defeated Westerly 9-7 on June 3 at Brown University to put the exclamation point on a 17-0 season with the Division III state championship.

“My husband and I started [this program] 20 years ago. It’s been an unbelievable run. We weren’t allowed to say the ‘B’ word all season,” Nunes said, referring to the Brown University finals. “We went game by game. We’ve just been positive all season and we couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. This is great.”


Rogers’ defender, Crystal Fuerte, center, looks to embrace Vikings’ goalie Tess Nunes, 55, and teammate Liza Nunes, 3, moments after time ran out to ensure Rogers’ first girls’ lacrosse title. 
Photos by Meri Kellerwww.merikeller.smugmug.com Rogers’ defender, Crystal Fuerte, center, looks to embrace Vikings’ goalie Tess Nunes, 55, and teammate Liza Nunes, 3, moments after time ran out to ensure Rogers’ first girls’ lacrosse title. Photos by Meri Kellerwww.merikeller.smugmug.com The two teams were evenly matched. The Vikings were 14-0, the Bulldogs 13-1, with their only loss coming to Rogers on May 14.

Rogers defeated Tiverton 20-3, and then beat Cranston West 17-8 to advance to the final.

In front of hundreds of screaming supporters for both sides, Rogers started slowly, built a big lead, then almost saw its dreams shattered by a Westerly team that nearly came back to steal the title.

Rogers senior Jane Leys scored four goals and had an assist. Senior Faye Callahan had two goals, including the dramatic game-winner after rushing back onto the field following a penalty for making contact with Westerly goalie Quinn Chappelle’s head.

Callahan winged one past Chappelle with 7:12 left to preserve a precarious 8-6 lead that was slipping away. Junior midfielder Emma Daignault also had two goals and freshman Liza Nunes the other.

“Best thing ever,” said Callahan.

The Vikings took the early lead and never trailed. Callahan started the scoring at 8:35 in the first half, but Westerly’s dynamic junior Kata Cummings got it right back at 9:29. Leys scored her first at 11:37, but Cummings scored her second at 12:06.

Rogers then went on a tear, with two goals each by Daignault and Leys, and one from Nunes to build what looked like an insurmountable 7-2 lead.

That’s when Bulldog junior Lauren Dobson almost single-handedly turned the game around. She scored the first of her four goals just before halftime. Teammate Grace Armstrong then scored just 2:31 into the second half, followed by Dobson’s second to close the lead to 7-5 at 10:23.

For about 20 minutes, Westerly stymied Leys with a doubled-team, allowing for the tense comeback up the middle. Only the goaltending of Vikings’ freshman Tess Nunes, who made several brilliant close-range saves, averted disaster.

But even Nunes couldn’t stop Dobson, who raced the entire length of the field and closed the gap to 7-6 at 17:04.

When Callahan was penalized, a tense two minutes followed, until she darted onto midfield and bounced the game-winner past Chappelle. The seemingly unstoppable Dobson then scored her fourth to close the gap to 8-7 at 19:06.

But Leys was not finished. She split her defenders slickly, tallying her fourth with just 1:16 to go to seal the championship.

Return to top