CRANSTON — If Chariho High hoped to bring home its first Division II girls soccer championship in almost two decades on Saturday, it could not afford any flaws in its game.
Unfortunately for the Chargers, a slow start and nearly nonexistent attack put them in a hole they could not overcome and they fell to Moses Brown, 3-0, at Cranston Stebbins Stadium.
Fourth-seeded Moses Brown (16-3-2) scored twice in the first nine minutes and limited the Chargers to just one shot on goal to earn their first Division II crown.
The Quakers took a 1-0 lead just 3:36 into the game. The play started with a corner kick. Moses Brown's Morgan Plouffe, who was very active early in the game, volleyed a ball that hit the crossbar and nearly crossed the line. Chariho managed to get the ball off the line, but a second hard shot rebounded off keeper Alison Klein and Janiya Ocampo drove it home for a 1-0 lead.
"We started off at such a high and that brought us right down," Chariho coach Brittney Godbout said. "Our heads went down and unfortunately we didn't pick ourselves up in time and they scored that second goal."
Plouffe scored the second goal just 8:02 into the game. She ran onto a ball from Cate Greene to the left side of the 18-yard box. A few touches later the Quakers had a 2-0 lead as Plouffe found the back of the net from about 12 yards out.
Moses Brown had five shots, four of them on goal, and the game was not 10 minutes old.
Chariho had almost no attack, finishing with only seven shots for the game, one of them on goal.
"Moses Brown does a very good job of shutting you down and not giving you enough time," Godbout said. "We were just taking too much time.
"Defenders could not send the long ball like they normally do. Midfielders couldn't do anything with the ball. Moses Brown is a strong team and they don't give you any space."
Moses Brown center midfielder Marybeth Fitzsimmons is a big part of the team's defending success. Earlier in the season, she played forward for the Quakers, but that changed.
"We started doing this thing where I cover the top goal scorer for the other team," Fitzsimmons said. "I covered Spencer [Shiels] today. My goal is basically to shut them down."
Fitzsimmons said her team does a great job of communicating.
"We just have a wall. It's hard for them to make space and play around us. Getting a 2-0 lead was very important for us, too" Fitzsimmons said.
Chariho's best scoring opportunity came about 22 minutes into the second half when Emily Seekell played a ball to Rebekah Sullivan inside the 18 for a shot that went wide.
About two minutes later, Shiels got a foot on a through ball, but keeper Kelly Graziano was just a yard or two away and easily covered the opportunity.
At one point, Godbout moved Shiels and Tessa Azzinaro from forward to midfield in an effort to spark the attack.
"We couldn't find our forwards," Godbout said. "We tried every formation in the book today."
Moses Brown's Sarah Gifford scored the third goal with 13:28 remaining.
No. 6 Chariho finished the season 13-6-2, 9-1-1 over its last 11 games.
"This season was a little bit rough to start out, but we definitely picked it up by the end of the season. We really came back from the beginning of the season," senior captain and back Tia Sardelli said. "We made it here and that's really great."
Chariho last reached the D-II title game in 2000, when it prevailed against Scituate, 2-1.
The Chargers return eight starters, but will have to replace Klein in goal.
"I'm very proud of the girls, very satisfied with our season," Godbout said. "I haven't made it to the final in the nine years I've been here. The last time we made it as a program was 2000, so we are making progress."