Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 12-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | DECEMBER 12-18, 2018 SPORTS & RECREATION 21 ALEXANDER SERMOS, a 7th-grade student at Birchwood Middle School, was chosen to represent the state and be a captain and starter for the second straight year on the FBU All-Star National Championship football team in Naples, Fla. Sermos, 13, is an offensive and defensive lineman who has been playing football since he was seven years old. In July, he was chosen to play in the USA Football Middle School Bowl at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio – he was the first R.I. player to be named a starter – and two weeks ago, he received a call to play in the Junior All-American Bowl in Dallas. Sermos rejoins FBU All-Star National Championship team the helm after last season, he reached out to Goulding to return to coaching and apply for the job. Goulding, who will be assisted by head girls' lacrosse coach Sue Rainone, even- tually landed the job, and while she's blessed to have her seven returnees, she doesn't have any depth to back them up – only 14 players make up her varsity and junior varsity rosters. "Sadly, there isn't a lot of girls out there that want to stay with basketball," she said. "The seven (returnees) that I have are strong – they can handle it – but it's just having that bench in case something hap- pens. It's a long season, and once we start playing games next week, that should fill me in on how the rest of the season's going to go, but I'm really not that worried." Junior point guard Stephanie Saucier, who is in her third season in the starting lineup, and junior center Gionna D'Ovidio were both First-Team All-Division picks this season and will again lead the Cougars' attack. Junior Karissa Sherman, who was a Second-Team All-Division selection, is expected to exit the backcourt and patrol one of the Cougars' forward spots, due to a lack of size on the roster, and junior Raffaella Brunetti, who was a Third-Team All-Division player, is back as a guard. The Cougars other three returnees are battle-tested seniors: forward Victoria Hess and guards Destiny Gregson and Nicole Mendoza, who will also be in the start- ing lineup, depending on NP's matchups. Gregson is a four-year varsity player, and Hess and Shearman are three-year mem- bers. After those seven players, the rest of the team is brand new, but Goulding thinks she might have found a promising pros- pect in freshman Alena Rizzo. "During our Injury Fund (game), I threw her in there and I was really surprised at how she did," reported Goulding. "Usually, (freshmen) have that period of a little bit of nervousness and mistakes, but she went right into it and did really well, and I think I'm going to get big things out of her this season. She's normally a guard, but I think I'm going to use her as a forward because she has some height." Sophomore guard Tatiana Caro and freshman guard Brenna Lepre round out the Cougars' varsity roster. "It will be an interesting year for us, so we'll see what happens," said Goulding, who added with a laugh. "At least we're not in Division I again. I was there when they put us there (during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 season) and it was a horrible two years." The Cougars will open their season on the road next Monday with a 6:30 p.m. game against Mount Saint Charles, and two nights later, they will host Narragansett in another 6:30 p.m. contest. The Cougars, who will not play in the Smithfield Holiday Boosters Tournament during the Christmas break, won't play in their third game until Friday, Jan. 4, when they travel to Westerly. From preceding page BREEZE PHOTO BY ERIC BENEVIDES Big contributions are expected in the paint this season from North Providence High junior center GIONNA D'OVIDIO, shown in action during a Division III-North showdown against Burrillville High last winter. D'Ovidio received First-Team All-Division honors last season.

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