WESTERLY — After suffering two recent disappointing efforts against bottom-ranked Division II teams, the Westerly High girls’ soccer team wasn’t about to take last-place Johnston lightly Thursday.
And the Bulldogs responded with their best offensive effort in the last two weeks as Brittany DeGrooth and Emily Luther scored two goals each to power a 4-1 victory.
It was the best offensive effort since a 4-0 win over Chariho Sept. 21. The Bulldogs have been in a funk lately, losing 3-2 to Cranston East, the 15th-place team in the 16-team Division II, and tying Classical, 1-1.
The victory snapped an 0-2-1 streak, improving Westerly’s record to 5-3-2 overall, 4-3-2 for sixth place in Division II. Johnston is in last place at 1-10-1, 0-8-1 Division II.
It was a better effort and apparently a better formation for Westerly.
“We changed our alignment to a 4-3-3 recently to generate more offense and the girls really put it together tonight,” Westerly coach Clyde Britt said. “Mackenzie Donnelly is the center forward and she has the speed and ability to push the ball though and create opportunities on the wings for Brittany and Emily.”
Luther opened the scoring 21 minutes into the game on an assist from DeGrooth. After DeGrooth scored 7 minutes later on an assist from Donnelly, DeGrooth and Luther got together again for what Britt called the night’s prettiest goal just 45 seconds into the second half.
“Brittany crossed the ball from the right flank outside the right post all the way to the left post, where Emily sprinted towards the line and one-touched the ball in the air into the goal,” Britt said. “It was a well-played pass and finish.”
DeGrooth added the fourth goal, her team-leading 11th of the season, on a free kick from 18 yards out to complete the Bulldog scoring.
Danielle DeAngelis scored a second-half goal for Johnston.
Westerly outshot Johnston, 13-7, and held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks. Emily Sullivan made four saves for the Bulldogs, who play at Scituate 3:45 p.m. Thursday.
Moses Brown ...................2
PROVIDENCE — The Quakers (1-4-4, 1-4-3 Division II) got their first win of the season by scoring early in each half and shutting down the Bulldogs for most of Thursday’s Division II game.
It was a disappointing loss in what has been an up-and-down season for Westerly (4-5-2, 3-5-2 Division II). The Bulldogs lost their first four games and then won two and tied two before Thursday’s loss.
With the score tied 1-1 at halftime, Julio Barrofo scored what proved to be the winning goal just 3 minutes, 20 seconds into the 40-minute second half.
“That kid has a lot of speed,” Westerly coach Les Ahern said. “He scored on a breakaway, went 1-on-1 real tight with our goalie, picked his corner and rammed it home.
“He had seven or eight hits on the net and is so fast. He’s only a junior and I don’t like the thought of facing him again.”
The Quakers also struck quickly at the beginning of the game. Charlie Ruhl redirected a direct kick and scored just 2:30 into the game.
The Bulldogs roared back with a tying goal a bit less than 9minutes later. Terrell Norris took a feed from Pat Johns and scored to the goalie’s right from about 7 yards out.
It was the first goal of the season for Norris and a team-leading 13th assist for Johns.
The Quakers outshot the Bulldogs 12-9 and had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks. Billy McCormick made eight saves in goal for Westerly.
Moses Brown came into the game having scored just two goals while giving up just five.
“I didn’t expect to play on artificial turf today,” Ahern said.
“We always have played on grass, but they sent us to the football field today. I think that gave them a little edge.
“We had opportunities today. But the time came and went and we came in second. We have five games left. I told our kids that’s 15 points (three for each win) for us to get.”
A total of 12 of the 16 Division II teams make the playoffs, so there are ample opportunities for the Bulldogs to clinch a spot.
Westerly has one of those three-point opportunities when hosting Middletown on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Cranston East ..................3
WESTERLY — Despite a stellar serving performance by Westerly’s Julianna Morrone, who essentially carried the Bulldogs to a 25-12 win in game three of the best-of-five competition, Cranston East held on to win the Division II match in four games.
Cranston East (6-5, 6-5 Division II) won 25-13, 25-12, 21-25 and 25-14.
Morrone served a season-high seven aces to pace the Bulldogs (1-11, 1-10 Division II).
“She almost served the third game out,” Westerly coach Molly Morrone said. “The third game was some of the best volleyball we’ve played. We were communicating, talking, passing the ball well and were aggressive at the net.”
Morrone added five digs and five kills. Megan Lacey contributed eight kills and six digs, while Andrea Morrone had five digs and three assists. Alyssa Valentini chipped in five digs and two kills, and Lia Gabrielle had four digs and two blocks for Westerly, which plays at Scituate 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.