Archive - Sports Article
November 2nd, 2011
A not-so-funny thing happened to St. Raphael and Ponaganset on their way to sewing up the Division II-Bâs final two playoff spots.
The Saints and Chieftains, who were each just one victory away from clinching berths last weekend and taking on two teams with paper-thin hopes of reaching the playoffs, were instead the victims of two mild upset losses.
Last Friday night, the Chieftains (3-3), who were visiting a Pilgrim team (3-3) that got socked in its three losses to Tolman, West Warwick, and SRA, found themselves dropping a 26-12 verdict.
The R.I. Interscholastic League boys soccer playoffs get under way this afternoon with a Division I quarterfinal matching visiting Portsmouth and Shea High at the McKinnon/Alves Complex in Pawtucket.
The game pits two rivals from the hard-fought East, which Shea won with a final record of 11-3-4. Portsmouth, which defeated Shea once and tied the Raiders in their other meeting, took third place in the East with a 10-5-3 record.
The Division II tournament kicks off on Friday with North runnerup Tolman (13-1-2) hosting Middletown (11-4-1 in the South) at 6 p.m. at McKinnon/Alves.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â When it gets to the end of the league season and the seedings are essentially assured for the playoff-bound teams, it's all about momentum for the postseason.
That's what neighboring Division II-North rivals North Smithfield and host Lincoln were playing for on Tuesday night at the Northmen's Athletic Field.
After 80 minutes of well-played soccer by both squads, the end result was a more-than-fair scoreless tie.
Dreamers can always dream big. Itâs a birthright that canât be stripped away, regardless if this figment of oneâs creative tanks comes off as either practical or far-fetched.
How do dreams take flight? Obviously we donât fit the description of a neuroscientist, yet weâll let you in on the origin behind this particular thought process.
Go back to last week and the exhibition contest between Providence College and Assumption that was played at Alumni Hall. As the game progressed, the more serious we started lending support to this: What if the Friars played a handful of games on campus?
Just because the Red Sox declined to pick up Dan Wheelerâs $3 million option for the 2012 season doesnât automatically spell the end of the partnership between the team and relief pitcher.
As Wheeler explained when reached Monday afternoon, the opportunity to return to Boston remains on the table. Itâs just that the process in doing so has completely changed.
The Division I playoff seeding race has changed shape several times over the past week.
A fortnight ago, it appeared as though La Salle Academy and Shea High would finish 1-2 in the overall points race. Now, thanks to a strong finish by Central Falls, the Warriors will be the No. 2 seed in the eight-team playoff field that begins action on Friday.
PROVIDENCE â Cumberland missed a chance to improve its playoff seeding on Monday when it played a 1-1 tie with Hope High, which brought a 1-13-2 record into the regular season finale.
âWe didnât help ourselves today,â Cumberland coach John Lopes said afterwards. âWe had a chance to move up in the seedings if we won and got some help from someone else but we played flat for all but about five minutes of todayâs game.â
FOSTER â The state meet for cross country takes place next Sunday at Ponaganset High.
For some schools, such as the Lincoln boys' team, their âstate meetâ took place on Saturday at the class championships.
The Lions were among a handful of schools that needed a quality placement in their respective class meet to earn a trip to the states because they did not get an automatic berth by finishing among the top three in their division.
PAWTUCKET â When analyzing the Division II-B playoff picture, the idiom âdown to the wireâ comes to mind.
This past weekendâs slate of games resulted in such a shakeup that even the Richter scale went haywire. A number of alleged favorites went down, which in turn open the door for several teams that once upon a time were viewed as playoff onlookers, not playoff contenders.
CUMBERLAND -â The pressure is off.
Cumberland High secured its first playoff berth in three years on Friday night, shocking previously-unbeaten Central, 19-6, at Tucker Field. Senior running back Ryan Gaumond scored twice for the Clippers, who evened their record to 3-3 in Division II-A and fourth place in the division. The Knights dropped to 5-1.
PAWTUCKET â Talk about throwing a wrench in oneâs plans.
Friday night saw West Warwick become the first Division II-B team to hang a defeat on Tolman since late in the 2009 season. Of even greater consequence, the Wizardsâ 33-19 victory created a logjam atop the standings, with West Warwick, Tolman and St. Raphael, which hosts Mt. Hope Saturday afternoon, all with one league loss apiece.
Before Tolman can set its sights on a repeat Division II-B regular-season title, the Tigers are going to have to overcome a tall order tonight -- namely one of the biggest and best defensive teams in all of Division II in West Warwick.
The Wizards, who are 4-1 and a game behind Tolman (5-0) in the standings, boast plenty of size in their front seven with veteran linemen Aaron Koehler and Cesar Jimenez and two defensive ends that clearly have the attention of Tolman head coach Dave Caito.
SMITHFIELD --- The rematch was just as competitive as their first meeting, but the end result wasnât the one that Tolman had hoped for in its Division II-North regular-season finale and battle of unbeatens with Smithfield.
Joe Pateâs goal off a rebound 1:48 into the second half allowed the Sentinels to eke out a 1-0 triumph over the Tigers and repeat as II-North champions on Wednesday night before a packed house on Smithfieldâs âSenior Nightâ at the Boyle Athletic Complex.
PROVIDENCE â Ed Cooley knew he was in store for some rough sledding the moment he signed up at Providence College last March.
The task is great, but even Cooley had shake his head in disbelief based on what went down prior to the Friars hitting the floor for their first exhibition game on Tuesday night. A thin roster was stretched even thinner as Cooley had just eight scholarship players available for his teamâs tuneup against Assumption College.
PAWTUCKET â There are two unbeaten varsity boys sports teams at Tolman High this month â football and soccer.
The football team (5-0 in Division II) gets most of the hype but the soccer squad is carving out an amazing season of its own, one that will reach a feverish pitch tonight when the Tigers visit Smithfield with the Division II-North regular season title on the line.
âI donât want to overhype this game to the kids,â Tolman coach Jack Couto. âWeâve already clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs. This game is for the regular season title, thatâs all.â
Some quick-hitting observations/notes to pass along âŠ
It almost never fails. Every time a major sporting event fails to reel in the viewing public, thereâs some sort of announcement bemoaning how interest is down.
FOSTER â It was the type of game that allowed Dave Caito and his coaching staff to stretch beyond the normal extremities and learn a little bit more about the 2011 Tolman Tigers.
PROVIDENCE â There was an epic little war of a soccer game played on Saturday at La Salle Academy. Pawtucketâs Shea High, a totally ethnic squad of skilled players from several countries, took on an equally skilled La Salle squad, coached by one of the giants, Mario Pereira, in a match witnessed by perhaps 300 soccer aficionados.
PAWTUCKET --- Toll Gate High marched into Pariseau Field on Friday determined to spoil St. Raphael Academyâs âHomecoming Nightâ and bus home with an upset win that would have lifted them off the schneid in the Division II-B standings.
And for an entire quarter, the Titans appeared to be on the verge of stunning their hosts, as they controlled the clock for all but 1:19 of the period, held a 6-0 lead, and appeared to be headed for another score at the start of the second quarter.
LINCOLN â On paper, thereâs not much that separates the top two teams in Division II-North â Lincoln High and Mount St. Charles Academy.
On the field Friday afternoon, the numbers didnât lie.
The first-place Lions scored all of the offense it would need and then held off a very-determined Mount squad in the second half to post a 3-1 win at Manville Park.
With three games left on its schedule, the victory improved Lincolnâs league record to 14-1-0 and all but secured it the II-North crown. The second-place Mounties dropped to 10-2-0 with still six games remaining.