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.