Archive - Sports Article
November 9th, 2011
â€śWith the benefit of hindsight, I wish I could have done more.â€ť
â€“ Joe Paterno
Who would have thought it would end this way for the legendary Penn State coach of 46 years? Paterno, the man of high moral values, the guy who once vowed not to retire and â€śleave college football to the Barry Switzers and Jackie Sherrillsâ€ť of his coaching fraternity, had failed the biggest morality test of his life.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ You know that Mount St. Charles-Coventry final that would have been billed as a matchup pitting one unbeaten squad versus another? Apparently Ponaganset didnâ€™t get the memo.
EAST GREENWICH â€” There are strength in numbers for sure on the soccer pitch, to which East Greenwich High will attest.
The Avengers consistently flooded the penalty box area with defenders, forming a protective cocoon that allowed goalie Oscar Goodwin to thrive while simultaneously left Tolman Highâ€™s array of skill players singing the blues.
CRANSTON â€” Shea High shook free from a determined Cumberland team on Monday night at Cranston Stadium and advanced to the Division I state finals for the second straight season with a 3-0 victory over the Clippers.
The Raiders, who lost in the 2010 finals to Barrington, will meet top-ranked La Salle in Saturdayâ€™s high noon showdown at Rhode Island Collegeâ€™s pitch. The two teams tied 2-2 during their only regular season meeting.
CUMBERLAND â€” After shaking off some rust in the first game, Cumberland High went into playoff mode and is now just two bigs wins from the school's first-ever state championship.
Fueled by an outstanding night from junior Sam Bertherman and a solid all-around effort from her teammates, the third-seeded Clippers swept by No. 6 seed Tolman, 3-0, in the Division II quarterfinals on Monday at the Wellness Center. Cumberland won with scores of 25-23, 25-4, 25-9.
CRANSTON â€“ Form held true in three of the four Division I quarterfinal playoff games contested over the past three days. Top-seeded La Salle, third-seeded Shea and fourth-seeded Barrington all advanced. Only second-seed Central Falls fell by the wayside, beaten 3-2 by seventh-seeded Cumberland on Saturday afternoon.
That sets up unbeaten La Salle versus defending champion Barrington in tonightâ€™s 5 p.m. opener at Cranston Stadium followed by Shea and Cumberland at 7 p.m.
Throw out the regular-season records because in Division II, the playoffs beckon.
In a division known for staging â€śPre-Thanksgiving Madnessâ€ť due to an eight-team field, the Div. II playoffs get underway this coming weekend with four quarterfinal-round matchups. For local entries Tolman, St. Raphael and Cumberland, the mission is clear â€“ extend the season to Nov. 30, the date set aside for the semifinals.
FOSTER --- St. Raphael Academy is heading back to the Division II playoffs, but in order to earn their berth, the Saints had to survive a royal barnburner on the road with Ponaganset High on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and turned up the heat defensively in the final 18 minutes of play to bus home with an exciting come-from-behind 29-23 victory that not only clinched their berth, but also snuffed out the Chieftainsâ€™ playoff hopes.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Even though goals were hard to come by on Friday night when Tolman hosted Middletown in a Division II playoff game, there was no shortage of exciting action and stunning developments during the 100 minutes of soccer and the dramatic shootout that ended the evening with the Tigers advancing to the D-II semifinals.
Tolman, which saw a hard-earned 1-0 lead disappear in the final minute of regulation, won the game on the basis of shootout goals by Sebastian Estrada and Calvin DeOliveira along with four pressure saves from keeper Adam Ghazal.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High took care of business in the preliminary round of the Division II playoffs on Thursday night, rolling to a 3-1 victory over Tiverton.
The sixth-seeded Tigers advance to Mondayâ€™s 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal round matchup at Cumberland. The Clippers, who ruled Division II-North with a 12-2 record, are seeded No. 3 overall in the tournament, behind top seed Exeter/West Greenwich (14-0) and second seed Bay View (13-1).
PAWTUCKET â€” Emerson Barros, who had netted only one goal in his first two seasons of playoff action for Shea High, scored four times on Thursday as the Raiders sped past Portsmouth 5-2 in a Division I quarterfinal round match.
â€śThe one person we knew we had to mark, we didnâ€™t mark,â€ť Portsmouth coach Mike Stinton said after the match ended. â€śTheir speed is the one thing we couldnâ€™t match up with today.â€ť
A not-so-funny thing happened to St. Raphael and Ponaganset on their way to sewing up the Division II-Bâ€™s 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. Itâ€™s a birthright that canâ€™t be stripped away, regardless if this figment of oneâ€™s creative tanks comes off as either practical or far-fetched.
How do dreams take flight? Obviously we donâ€™t fit the description of a neuroscientist, yet weâ€™ll 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 Wheelerâ€™s $3 million option for the 2012 season doesnâ€™t 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. Itâ€™s 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.
â€śWe didnâ€™t help ourselves today,â€ť Cumberland coach John Lopes said afterwards. â€śWe 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 todayâ€™s game.â€ť
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 â€śstate meetâ€ť 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 â€śdown to the wireâ€ť comes to mind.
This past weekendâ€™s 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.