Taylor Provost left Peabody High last spring after a solid soccer career for the Tanners and a 2011 state championship in hand, along with being a top student; her winning ways continued this fall on the field for Roger Williams University.
The Hawks took the Commonwealth Coast Conference title, but ran into the Division III buzzsaw that is Messiah College of Pennsylvania. Messiah won three out of the last four national championships and clinched its ninth title on Saturday defeating Ohio Northern University, 5-1.
Messiah had given up six goals all season heading into the game with RWU, and only beat Provost and her teammates 2-1, although one of those scores was an “own goal” by RWU.
“We were excited to play them, nervous, but we showed we could keep up with them; it was a great game,” Provost said. “It was exciting for us to realize we could play on their level.”
Provost, an 18-year-old freshman, now dons No. 10 to play defense for Roger Williams.
Provost was a co-captain on both the girls' soccer and basketball squads her senior year and was named an all-star in both the Northeastern Conference and Agganis Classic for soccer. She was on the honor roll all four years and a member of the National Honor Society.
“When I played at Peabody, I loved my team, my teammates, [but] it’s more intense in college -- we’re together all the time: we play together, we eat together, we live together, it’s very intense,” Provost said.
She got a chance to show the folks in Peabody how she’s progressing as a college athlete during a few home games against local college teams this season. The Hawks took on Beverly's Endicott College, beating the Gulls, 2-1, during the regular season in September and took them out in the CCC playoffs on penalty kicks -- both games were in Rhode Island -- with Provost’s hometown fans coming down to cheer her on.
Roger Williams knocked out Salve-Regina, 3-1, in the CCC quarterfinals, setting up the playoff re-match with Endicott. That game was decided on penalty kicks, 3-2, after ending up tied 0-0 in regulation.
Provost lives off Lowell Street in the central part of Peabody when she’s home from school with her mom, dad and younger sister Kasey, who now plays soccer at Pingree. Kasey hopes to be back on the field next year after a knee injury ended her 2012 season.
Both sisters were part of the Tanners' championship team last year.
“Beating Endicott was great, they’re definitely one of our big rivals, but it was more fun for me, to come up and play at Gordon College during the regular season,” Provost said. “So many of my family and friends came to see me play, we lost the game, our only conference loss, but it was great to play so close to home.”
Gordon won the regular season game, 3-2, in Wenham, and the Hawks would have to wait until the playoffs for another shot at the Fighting Scots. That chance came on Nov. 1, once again in Wenham, this time Roger Williams won the game, 1-0, clinching the league championship for Provost and her team, with the stands filled with her family and friends from Peabody.
Provost is undeclared at RWU, but has her eye on the business school, and has joined the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity.
“Peabody High prepared me very well for college soccer, working with teammates, playing hard and tough soccer,” Provost said. “I learned to play hard until the end and really, really keep your focus up for the whole game, and that’s exactly how all of the games are played in college.”
“I learned to never take an opponent lightly -- any team can win any game, especially in college,” she said.
“I was nervous about the transition from high school to college, but soccer made it easier,” she added. “Our team has such a close [bond], everybody is friends with each other. It made the transition from high school to college so much easier.”
Nine freshmen suited up for the Hawks this season, and Provost said they all were welcomed warmly by the upperclassmen on the squad.
“I miss my friends and family, I actually knew where people were going to sit in the stands at high school games,” she said. “I’m excited where I am now, [however], college has been great so far.”