EAST PROVIDENCE — After starting the season off with two victories, matching its win total for all of last year, it begged the question; is the East Providence High School girls’ soccer team’s sudden resurgence an indication of what lay ahead for the rest of 2013?
E.P. entered the new week with a 2-1-0 record in the Division II ranks. The Townies defeated Cranston East, 1-0, and Johnston, 4-2. The locals next played even with then fellow unbeaten Scituate through one apiece, before the Spartans scored seven unanswered to take a resounding 8-1 decision.
A result like the latter made second-year head coach Angelo Pizzi hesitant to crown his team a playoff contender quite yet. The Townies, after all, went just 2-11-1 a year ago in league games. However, he does see promise in a group of players, which mixes experience and youthful exuberance.
“We won our first two games, which was great, the same number we won all last year. We’re going to be more competitive than we were a year ago,” said Coach Pizzi, assisted again this fall by Nick Shattuck. “The best thing about this team is the unity among the players and the camaraderie of the girls. But they still have some things to learn.”
Coach Pizzi is relying on his three senior captains and defenders — Jillian Amaral, Erica Dias and Tess Jones — to help the younger players on the roster understand what they must do to succeed at the varsity level.
“It’s taking the basic premise of soccer, which is putting the ball in the net, while enhancing their understanding of the tactics, techniques and awareness of the game at at higher level than they’re used to,” Coach Pizzi said of his inexperienced varsity players.
Some of the youngsters already contributing include freshmen midfielders Sydney Vilardi and Julia Andrade. Sophomore keeper Devon Federowicz is entrenched as the Townies’ No. 1 choice between the woodwork.
“Our expectation level in terms of wins has already been surpassed with the two we’ve got,” Coach Pizzi added. “What we want to do now is be competitive in every game we have left and see where that takes us. Our anticipation is for the girls to be focused, to work a little harder on the fundamentals of the game. If we do that, the results will take of themselves.”
The Townies face two testing outings this week, traveling to Westerly Tuesday night, Sept. 17, to face the Bulldogs at 6 o’clock. East Providence returns home two nights later, Sept. 19, to face unbeaten Burrillville at Pierce Stadium at 7.