McGuire shines in return to Portsmouth High lineup

Scores nine goals in two shutout wins ·

PORTSMOUTH — It was Marykate McGuire’s own Homecoming Tuesday night at Portsmouth High School, and boy did she put on a show.

The junior soccer standout left PHS after her freshmen year to enroll at St. George’s School last fall. She returned to Portsmouth in November, however, saying the private school wasn’t a good fit academically. 

Because she competed on the St. George’s soccer team, Rhode Island Interscholastic League rules prevented her from re-joining the Patriots lineup until last Thursday, when she scored four goals and added three assists in Portsmouth’s 10-0 route of Pilgrim on the road.

On Tuesday night against Coventry on the PHS turf field, Miss McGuire dazzled once again, scoring five goals in the 7-0 victory. Portsmouth is now 8-2 in Division I.

“I’m so happy to be back,” Miss McGuire said after the game. “It’s awesome and I love it here. It was definitely the right choice for me.”

Head coach Jim Blaess already had a pretty darn good soccer team before Miss McGuire returned to the lineup. The squad was 6-2 midway through the season and had won four straight before the junior striker laced up her cleats.

So what does adding such an explosive offensive weapon mean to the squad?

“You’ve seen the results,” Mr. Blaess said after the game. “But she not only brings another dimension to the team as far as her ability goes, but she’s setting up other players, and then other teams are concentrating on her and that leaves other players open. 

“She knows that, so she’s dishing to them and making other plays happen. It just makes a good team better going forward and it opens up a number of weapons and tactics as well.”

The Patriots struck first only four and a half minutes into the game, when senior co-captain Sophie Piffard scored on an assist by junior Caelan Corey.

After that, Miss McGuire took over, scoring goals in the sixth, 23rd and 26th minutes before knocking in a fourth goal just before the whistle sounded at the half. Her final goal came 16 minutes into the second half — a 25-yard blast that went over the head of the Coventry goalkeeper.

For good measure, she added an assist when Miss Piffard scored her second goal of the night with about 19 minutes left in the game.

The Patriots displayed nifty ball control and pretty passing throughout the game and kept the ball on their side of the field for most of the contest.

“We’ve always been a possession team — that’s what we preach,” Mr. Blaess said. “We like to take the attack in from the end line, the touch lines, to the middle, to the counterattacks. We’re trying to put a lot of variety into it.”

Cumberland on Thursday

Portsmouth has a big challenge coming up Thursday, Oct. 6, when it visits 7-1 Cumberland at Tucker Field at 7 p.m. After that, the team travels to Exeter/West Greenwich High School for a 3:30 p.m. game on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Showing their colors

Tuesday's game officials wore pink uniforms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

PHS soccer, Portsmouth High School


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