November 7th, 2013
NORTH SCITUATEâ€”Make them earn it.
It was the mantra for the East Greenwich boys cross country team Sunday for the RI State Championships as the Avengers were fully aware of the depth and talent of both Hendricken and La Salle.
Just because the Hawks and Rams were heavily favored to duke it out for the state title Sunday didnâ€™t mean EG was going to roll out the red carpet for the two teams though as the Avs put up a strong fight at Ponaganset High Schoolâ€™s Covered Bridge Trail.
EAST GREENWICHâ€”The playoff window for the East Greenwich football team hasnâ€™t shut but the number of options for getting into the playoffs was limited by Friday nightâ€™s 24-20 loss to Classical.
A win wouldnâ€™t have guaranteed the Avengers a spot but from here on out with gameâ€™s against three teams â€“ Middletown, Burrillville and Narragansett â€“ each in playoff contention, victories are all but necessary.
â€śWe canâ€™t afford to lose again,â€ť East Greenwich coach John George said, â€śor weâ€™ll be out.â€ť
PAWTUCKETâ€”The East Greenwich girls volleyball team will be returning to the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Keaney Gymnasium this fall.
After opening the Division II playoff with a convincing sweep of Tiverton, the Avengers punched their ticket to URI with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Tolman on Tuesday.
â€śThey came out strong tonight,â€ť EG coach Terri Garno said. â€śThe first two sets we were up probably eight to 10 points from the get go.â€ť
After convincingly taking the first two games, the Avengers ran into a bit of trouble in the third as the Tigers built a 16-10 lead.
EAST GREENWICHâ€”So far, itâ€™s been nearly all chalk in the Division I Girls Soccer Tournament.
Aside from No. 10 Cumberland beating No. 7 Kingstown in the opening round, every higher seed has held in D-I and Sunday No. 3 seed East Greenwich added itself as the last name to that list.
Senior Sarah Beaulieuâ€™s goal in the final 10 minutes made the difference as the Avengers held off a pesky Smithfield squad for a 2-1 win to advance to the D-I semifinals.
LINCOLNâ€”Facing a top-seeded team is never an easy task but the East Greenwich boys soccer team was smelling an upset Saturday night against Lincoln in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs.
After beating defending-champ Classical four days prior in a shootout the Avengers once again found themselves in the same sudden-death situation against the Lions but this time it did not go in EGâ€™s favor as Lincoln survived for a 2-1 victory.
â€śWe got unlucky I guess,â€ť East Greenwich senior Pat Lavan said.
NORTH SCITUATEâ€”For most teams at Sundayâ€™s RI Cross Country Championships at Ponaganset High Schoolâ€™s Covered Bridge Trail marked the last race of the season.
That was not the case for the North Kingstown boys and girls teams, however, as both Skipper squads qualified for the New England Championships by virtue of their performances.
WEST GREENWICHâ€”The grass is green, the sky is blue and every year the Exeter-West Greenwich girls volleyball team makes it to the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Keaney Gymnasium.
OK, maybe the last part of that statement isnâ€™t a universal truth but it might as well be a given the way the Knights have played over the past four years.
The three-time defending Division II champs will once again take part in the final four as EWG rolled Cumberland 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 Tuesday night.
The Knights will now face Division II-North regular season champ Barrington today at 6 p.m. at Keaney.
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ The playoffs are not supposed to be that easy.
Once the regular season ends, the playoffs are supposed to be a long, grueling challenge that tests the mettle of every player. Unless, it seems, you are the North Kingstown girls volleyball team.
Had those in NK gym last Friday night blinked, there is a likely chance they may have missed it as the Skippers put a swift, punishing hurt on Mount St. Charles, 25-11, 25-16, 25-15, in the RIIL Division I quarterfinals.
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ It was with authority the North Kingstown boys soccer team started their playoff run last Friday night when they welcomed in Bishop Hendricken in the RIIL Division I quarterfinals. And with the new season, the Skippers turned over a new leaf as it was their offense, by no means the teamâ€™s forte during the regular season, that stole the show against the Hawks en route to a 3-0 victory.
PAWTUCKETâ€”Few teams in Division II have shown the ability to match the North Kingstown football team score for score this season but Sunday at Pariseau Field St. Raphael was more than up to the task.
After a relatively low-scoring first half the two teams combined for 48 points in the third quarter as the Sainted marched away with a 54-34 victory.
â€śYouâ€™ve got a lot of real good athletes on the field. Theyâ€™ve got a lot of real good athletes and weâ€™ve got real good athletes and it was an explosion of real good football for a while,â€ť NK coach Joe Gilmartin said. â€śThey just played better football than we did.â€ť
â€śâ€¦The reality is they controlled tempo. They were able to play offense at their tempo and we were not able to play offense at our tempo. Some of the points that we had we scored so fast that we still werenâ€™t able to wear them down and really create the rhythm of offense that we want to create.â€ť
Early on there were no indications of the offensive explosion that occurred Sunday as â€“ despite both teams getting their fair share of chances â€“ Saints only led 7-0 after the first quarter.
St. Raphael tacked on a second touchdown with seven minutes left in the second quarter but the Skippers responded as a 58-yard pass from Matt Deignan to Jacob Porter set up one-yard touchdown run from Deignan two plays later.
Neither team scored on their remaining possessions in the second quarter to make the score 14-6 heading into halftime.
Then â€“ take a deep breath â€“ the game dove into the depths of the bizarre.
On the first play from scrimmage St. Rays Josh Alves broke free for a 55-yard run and two plays later James Kelly ran it in from two yards out.
Nick Chevalier fumbled on NKâ€™s first play from scrimmage but three plays into Saints ensuing drive he picked up an Emmanuel Leak fumble off a strip sack from Jake Mota and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
St. Rays didnâ€™t waste any time though as Leak made amends by rumbling 43 yards on a quarterback keeper for a touchdown on the Saints first play from scrimmage.
North Kingstown punched back, as Tristan Loghlin took the ensuing kickoff back 80 yards to the house for a score.
St. Rays answered, as Leak found Kelly on a go route down the right sideline on the second play of the Saintsâ€™ ensuing drive for a 62-yard touchdown catch.
All of this took just five minutes of actual game â€“ 35 points mind you â€“ and it didnâ€™t stop there.
Scott Deering fumbled on Northâ€™s first snap to give the ball back to St. Rays but this time the Saints answered with a long scoring drive â€“ at least as far as this gameâ€™s standards go; six plays and 54 yards in three minutes capped off with a Leak 17-yard run.
Surely with just three minutes to play in the quarter that would be it for scoring in the third but a little over 90 seconds later a 31-yard pass from Deignan to the end zone was tipped by Porter but then secured by Trevor Huntington in the back of the end zone to make it 41-27 St. Rays with 1:27 left.
Even with all the lunacy of the third quarter North Kingstown still had a shot in Saturdayâ€™s game as the Skippers stopped the Saints on their opening drive of the fourth to take over at their own six-yard line.
North picked up a couple of first downs but its drive stalled when it failed to convert a fourth-and-10 at its own 35 and six plays later Kelly scored from three yards out to make it a three-score game with five minutes to play.
The Skippers continued to fight with Deignan scoring 10 seconds later on a 60-yard TD run but with NK incapable of stopping St. Rays the home team marched down field to seal Northâ€™s fate with another touchdown.
â€śWe didnâ€™t play very good defense. We didnâ€™t play very good offense at times and we turned the ball over a lot,â€ť Gilmartin said.
â€śâ€¦We had poor execution on two plays that we ended up fumbling the football on and thatâ€™s inexcusable. We didnâ€™t play a very good football game today.â€ť
The loss puts the Skippers in quite the predicament as there is the potential for five teams to be tied atop the Division II-B standings at 5-2 in league play if NK, Saints and Rogers can each beat teams with losing records Friday night.
If so, NKâ€™s playoff fate would hinge on what happens between West Warwick and Cumberland as the tiebreaker to determine the division leader would be defensive points allowed if the Wizards win.