PROVIDENCE – A goal from Alex Jenkins about 40 seconds into the second half proved to be the difference in a 2-1 win in the girls’ soccer state title game for the Smithfield Sentinels against the South Kingstown Rebels at Rhode Island College on Monday.
In a game that was physical and featured aggressive play from both teams, Jenkins’ goal sparked a brief skirmish near South Kingstown’s net.
After referees broke up the scrum, Jenkins was given a yellow card, but Smithfield weathered her absence for a few minutes and the lead held for the rest of the second half. South Kingstown didn’t get many chances, thanks to the stout Sentinels’ defense and midfield play.
Smithfield struck early in the first half as well, with senior sweeper and captain Samantha Colbert scoring 1:37 into the game.
However, South Kingstown matched the goal with 17:36 left in the half. Elecia Cardarelli had the sweetest kick of the day, as she buried a free kick from more than 30 feet out in the upper-left corner of the net, out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
The game was physical throughout, with South Kingstown goalkeeper Briana O’Grady suffering an ankle injury that limited her mobility in the second half. While Smithfield fans howled for fouls, the aggressive tone of the game favored the stronger, faster Sentinel squad.
The state title is Smithfield’s first in girls’ soccer – The Sentinels were runners-up in 2011. Smithfield won a Division II title in 2009, and Division III titles in 1990 and 1991.
The second place finish is South Kingstown’s sixth in 13 years, dating back to 2000. The Rebels won the title in 1997, 1998 and 1999.