WOOD RIVER JCT. — Chariho High senior Jenna Brierly plays the attack position for the girls’ lacrosse team.
Her position could not be more aptly named as that’s exactly what Brierly and Chariho did to Westerly High in Friday’s Division III-South contest.
Chariho jumped to a 6-0 lead after the first six minutes and Brierly scored four goals in the early outburst. The Chargers went on to claim an 18-3 victory.
“We did well with our midfield passing and we worked on the plays we worked on yesterday in practice,” Brierly, who finished with six goals and has nine for the season, said. “And our defense stepped it up a lot from two days ago (a 13-2 win against Johnston).”
Brierly did most of her damage by eluding Westerly defenders from the right side and getting within a few yards of the goal before firing a shot. If not for the fine work of Westerly keeper Kyra McCormick (nine saves), Brierly would have likely scored several more goals.
“I think I was able to use my openings well and I work a lot on my dodges,” Brierly said of her ability to make it to goal. “And my teammates realize when I have an opening and they back away.”
The six goals matched a career high from last season when she scored six in a 16-10 playoff win against Smithfield. She now has 53 for her career. Brierly has scored at least one goal in the Chargers’ last 16 games dating back to her sophomore season.
Westerly’s Emily Sullivan and freshman Emma Givens scored the Bulldogs’ only goals in the first half.
Chariho’s Abby Cuddy, Paige Pajarillo and speedy sophomore Maisie Jones also contributed two goals each in the first half. Chariho outshot Westerly 26-11 for the game.
“I liked our offensive possession,” Chariho coach Michelle Tebbets said. “When we weren’t scattered and sprinting to the goal, we had clear possession of the ball. It makes the game a lot easier, less running and less scoring. It makes it kind of a shorter game when you hold the ball on your offensive end and really score when you have an opportunity. I think we played well.”
Brierly and Pajarillo were continually able to stand behind the Westerly goal watching teammates make runs to the front of the goal for good scoring chances. The picked out the best ones for passes.
Samantha Orciari had the other Chariho first-half goal as the Chargers led 11-2 at the break.
“We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s defense,” Westerly coach Margaret Paisley said. “They had it down, so we still need to work on that. And our stick skills still need improving.”
Cuddy, a standout post player on the basketball team, took the faceoffs and the Chargers gained possession after nearly all of them.
“It helps to have a 6-foot center,” Tebbets said.
Chariho continued to build the lead in the second half scoring the first six goals to make it 17-2. Westerly scored its other goal in the final two minutes by Meghan Crawford.
For the game, Pajarillo finished with three goals and two assists, Cuddy added three goals and Jones finished with two. Oricari, Payton St. Lawrence, Megan Kirby and Izzy Rinne had a goal each. Alyssa Bromley and Haley Wilcox contributed two assists each.
Tebbets said both midfield lines played well for the Chargers. Cuddy, Kirby, and Bromley comprised the first line. St. Lawrence, Rinne and Patience Coombe were on the second line.
“It wasn’t like you saw them with the ball every time, but they were there in the play. They were where they were supposed to be,” Tebbets said.
Chariho, which finished 9-4 last season before losing in the Division III semifinals, is now 2-0 overall and in Division III-South.
“My personal goal is a state championship and I think everybody agrees with that,” Brierly said. “We have to work hard and keep doing what we are doing now. We have to keep communicating and we can’t try to do everything ourselves. It’s a team effort. We just need to play our game and we can’t let other people intimidate us.”
Westerly dropped to 0-2 overall and in the league.
Chariho is off until Friday when it hosts Pilgrim at 4 p.m. Westerly plays again on April 15 hosting first-year Johnston at 6 p.m.