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.
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 oneâ€™s 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.