Archive - 2010 - Sports Article
LINCOLN â€“ You could say the elements helped even the playing field between Lincoln and North Smithfield. With a steady rain sweeping across Chet Nichols Field, Tuesdayâ€™s Division II quarterfinal match became a matter of survival.
Thanks to two goals in the final nine minutes, the Lions emerged from this mud bath with a 2-0 victory over the Northmen, who played the game minus the services of head coach Steve DeMeo. DeMeo was relived of his coaching duties after Mondayâ€™s arrest for allegedly transmitting inappropriate messages to a minor.
Boston Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen confirmed Tuesday that the process to find Pawtucketâ€™s next manager is already under way. The vacancy was created when Torey Lovullo left to become Torontoâ€™s first base coach on Monday.
â€śWeâ€™ve already started to put together a list,â€ť Hazen said via cell phone. â€śCertainly within the list you have to stay somewhat flexible because of (potential coaching shifts at the major league level). As a result more candidates could become available as those situations play out.â€ť
PAWTUCKET -- In the end, Torey Lovullo could not say no to his mentor and close friend John Farrell.
A partnership that took flight as teammates with the California Angels in 1993 and later working side-by-side in the player development ranks with the Cleveland Indians was rekindled Monday, as Lovullo was hired to join Farrellâ€™s coaching staff in Toronto. The former Pawtucket Red Sox manager will serve as the Blue Jaysâ€™ first base coach.
Nobody said the format to crown a single champion for the 2010-11 high school boysâ€™ basketball season would be perfect. The event, which calls for a 16-team bracket, is the first of its kind, meaning it should be viewed as a litmus test by administrators, coaches and players.
But that hasnâ€™t stopped some coaches from the lower divisions in voicing concern on how everything is arranged. The field is broken down so that the first eight slots are awarded to Div. I teams, the next five belong to Div. II, and the last three spaces are set aside for entries from Div. III.
It was great to see Joe Paterno collect his 400th career victory at Penn State on Saturday. I was in the neighborhood for many of the first 120 back in my college days and early sports writing years. It wasnâ€™t always easy dealing with a man who set such high standards for himself and his program. Paterno kept everyone on their toes, beginning with his players and going right down the list, all the way down to the lowest creatures on earth â€¦ the sports writing fraternity.
Eight teams will square off today-- weather permitting -- in the Division II playoffs. And perhaps six of them could actually win the state title that will be decided this coming Sunday at Rhode Island College.
â€śOur division is very close,â€ť Lincoln coach John Dâ€™Aloisio admitted over the weekend. His Lions host North Smithfield at 4 p.m. today.
A day-long rain is in the forecast. Any games postponed today likely would be made up on Tuesday.
Welcome to the Division II football playoffs, home of the complex algorithms.
For those who remember the unprecedented five-way tiebreaker of two years ago that tabulated Woonsocket as the odd team out, a refresher course on the wording of the tiebreaker formula was held after Central knocked off Chariho on Friday night. The 40-12 outcome created a three-way logjam atop the II-A standings with Central, Chariho and Johnston all sporting identical 5-2 records.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Mike Sassi knew his St. Raphael squad could not improve or hinder its playoff position heading into Saturdayâ€™s regular season finale against Ponaganset. Though the Saints were locked in as the third seed in Division II-B, that didnâ€™t stop the head coach from digging deep into his bag of motivational tricks.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Friday nightâ€™s key Division II-A matchup with Johnston High pretty much mirrored the way the season has gone for the Shea High football team. The Raiders were once again their own worst enemies, fumbling the ball seven times, three of which were recovered by the visiting Panthers.
Even as something as simple as recovering an onside kick eluded Shea in the third quarter. So when Johnston smothered the live ball at the 6:58 mark, you had the feeling that whatever slim chance the Raiders had at qualifying for the postseason went up in smoke.
LINCOLN --- Lincoln High handled the must-win pressure quite well.
Needing to claim its Division III regular-season finale with mighty Middletown High in order to keep their postseason hopes alive, the Lions rose to the challenge and put forth one of their best performances of the year in front of a large Homecoming Night crowd by posting a 29-16 triumph at Ferguson Field.
The victory gives the Lions a 5-3 mark and tiebreakers over two of the other three teams fighting for the last three playoff spots in the division â€“ Moses Brown and the Islanders.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High had to dig deep on Thursday night to outlast Narragansett in a preliminary round playoff matchup.
The Tigers rallied from a 2-1 deficit to edge the Mariners in five games, 3-2.
EAST PROVIDENCE â€“ North Kingstown outside hitter Annie Ragan was prepared for a long night against the East Providence girls volleyball team in Thursday nightâ€™s Division I quarterfinals.
Instead, it turned out to be the shortest postseason appearance the Townies have had in over 20 years.
Plagued by a slew of errors all over the court, East Providence struggled to find a way to win key points, and North, on the back of their all-state outside hitter, gladly took advantage, beating the Townies 25-23, 27-25, 25-20, a surprising end to the season for EP.
CUMBERLAND --- Itâ€™s been seven years since Cumberland High last captured a playoff game, but on Thursday night, the Clippers ended that drought in a big way in its Division II preliminary-round match with Warwick Vets High.
Michaela Leblanc and Michelle Malboeuf had solid games at the net and Robyn Andrade and Jessica Larivee keyed a strong showing from the service line for the Clippers in their easy 3-0 triumph at the Clippers' Wellness Center.
While the fates of politicians were decided on Election Day, the fates of five playoff-hopeful Blackstone Valley clubs could be determined as early as this weekend or as late as Thanksgiving morning.
When October ended, so did much of the drama in the Division II-B playoff race. Last weekendâ€™s play saw the top three seeds etched in stone in Tolman (6-0), Woonsocket (5-1), and St. Raphael (4-2) and the final spot still up for grabs between Mount Hope and Toll Gate.
PAWTUCKET --- When Portsmouth High took a 1-0 lead just 54 seconds into Wednesday afternoonâ€™s Division I quarterfinal-round contest with Shea High and held it into the final moments of the first half, the Raiders and their fans were quietly fearing the worst.
Thatâ€™s because in last yearâ€™s Division II quarterfinals, the Raiders suffered a stunning 2-1 loss to Lincoln High that saw the Lions draw first blood, and despite being dominated for most of the game, escape Pawtucket with the upset victory.
You never forget your first big league manager â€“ no matter where the game of baseball takes you. Thatâ€™s how Torey Lovullo is choosing to remember the wisdom and guidance former Detroit and Cincinnati manger Sparky Anderson imparted on his pro career. Anderson passed away on Thursday from complications of dementia in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 76.
â€śIâ€™m saddened because he was an influential man in so many areas,â€ť said Lovullo, Pawtucketâ€™s manager, when reached early Thursday night.
PAWTUCKET â€“ So how do you build a winning high school football program? Tolman coach Dave Caito certainly can describe the process.
WOONSOCKET -- Last yearâ€™s Division II Super Bowl championship season is a distant memory for players on the 2010 Woonsocket High squad.
â€śThatâ€™s gone,â€ť head coach Carnell Henderson admitted on Tuesday night. â€śWe were a senior-heavy team last year. The kids on this yearâ€™s team feel like they were recipients of a championship last year. They want to win one for themselves.â€ť
The Villa Novans are 5-1 with one game left in the regular season. That one loss came against unbeaten Tolman by a 6-0 score back in mid-September.
Based on their records and how theyâ€™ve played against their league opponents, the Division I semifinals should include top-seed Barrington and No. 2 Shea from Division I-East and third-seeded Bishop Hendricken and No. 4 seed La Salle from Div. I-South.
PAWTUCKET â€” Two great names from Tolman High football history were reunited on Monday evening for the taping of Bill Mulhollandâ€™s â€śGood Sportsâ€ť cable access television show.
Larry Caswell and Frank Geiselman shared a stage, talking about their successful careers as quarterback and wide receiver, respectively, at both Tolman and the University of Rhode Island.