The Prout boys lacrosse team got the postseason draw it wanted.
Then it showed why.
Defense has been the Crusaders’ focus this spring and after an up-and-down regular season, earned a matchup with defensive oriented Cumberland. Prout’s defense stepped up huge Friday, allowing only one goal in the second half and did enough on offense to pull out a 6-4 win and earn a spot in the Division II semifinals.
“We worked hard all season. We came in here to fight and we gave it our all and it’s on to the semifinals,” Prout goalie Teddy LeBlanc said. “We knew it was a fresh season, we knew our team, we knew to come in and give it our all.
“It’s all or nothing in the playoffs.”
Prout lost to Cumberland 10-4 and 7-3 in the regular season, leading coach Mike Millen to tell his team if they held the Clippers to under seven goals, they would move on to the semifinals.
The Crusaders did better than that.
Offense was hard for both teams to come by. Prout opened with two goals in the first quarter before Cumberland tied the game. In the second quarter, the Crusaders got goals from Liam McIntosh and Declan Foley to go up 4-2, but Cumberland’s Sean Taylor came through with a goal in the final minute of the half to make it 4-3 at the break.
Both defenses dominated the second half. Prout’s John Gaffney and Cumberland’s Seth Perron both scored in the third, but the quarter was more about the lack of goals. Neither defense budged, forcing the offenses to be selective with shots in hopes of getting something that resembled a look.
With 10:33 left in the game, McIntosh scored his second goal of the game, which proved to be the last either team would score.
“We wanted that defensive play. We have the same thing. Our defense is great,” McIntosh said. “… We didn’t want a fast game. We wanted to settle in.”
Prout won’t have that option Wednesday night when he travels to Warwick to take on No. 2 Pilgrim. The Patriots want to turn games into track meets and keep the scoreboard operators busy.
The Crusaders beat Pilgrim, 9-8, in Warwick on April 20 before losing at home to the Patriots, 17-13, on May 18. None of that matters now.
“We beat Pilgrim before. We can beat them again,” McIntosh said. “If we come in and get it done, we have a chance.”
“We just know we have to come in and play our game,” LeBlanc said. “We already took down Pilgrim once and we’ve got a chance at them again.
“[Being an underdog] can benefit us, but we know our game.”
Division II quarterfinals
No. 3 Chariho 15, No. 6 Cumberland 13
The Chargers found themselves in a back-and-forth battle with the Clippers, but Laurel McIntosh‘s goal with 4:18 left put them up for good in a 15-13 win to earn a spot in next week’s semifinals.
From the start of the game to the finish, no lead was safe. Chariho would take a lead, Cumberland would answer with two goals and take it right back. With 6:45 left, Abby Skurka came through with a big goal, putting the Clippers up 13-12.
The Chargers came back quickly, getting the tying goal Chaia Elwell with 5:58 left to play. Chariho got the game winner after an interception by Brie Macarusowho transitioned the ball upfield before it eventually found a home with Elwell, who hit McIntosh on a backdoor cut to score the go-ahead goal.
Both defenses put in work over the next four minutes before Elwell scored an insurance goal with 21 seconds left for the game’s final score.
Elwell led Chariho with eight goals. McIntosh, Megan Ballard and Kayden Jaillet scored two goals apiece to help the Chargers’ cause.
Skurka led Cumberland with four goals. Maddie Rodgers and Izzy Beitler added two goals apiece in the loss.
Chariho will play its semifinal game Wednesday at No. 2 North Kingstown.
Division III quarterfinals
No. 3 Westerly 20, No. 6 Ponaganset 7
The Bullodogs were an offensive juggernaut from start to finish as 10 different players scored in the 20-7 win over the Chieftains, earning their spot in the semifinals.
Casey Macera led Westerly with five goals and Hannah Seltzer scored four. Erica Nyberg had three goals and Allyson Faubert, Gianna Falcon and Sydney Haik scored two goals a piece.
Ponaganset got two goals apiece Brooke Batista, Mitzie Westgate and Jaina Yekelchick.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: RIIL Boys and Girls lacrosse playoff results from Friday, May 26