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WEST GREENWICHâThere will be a new champion of Division III boys soccer this season.
Exeter-West Greenwich knew it would be in for a tough time this fall with only senior captains Jack Livsey and Joe Micelli returning from last yearâs unbeaten championship team yet the Knights persevered en route to a 9-5-1 record in the regular season.
Unfortunately for Exeter â the No. 6 seed in the tournament â it ran into a tough Davies squad in the opening round and the Patriots handed the Knights a 2-1 loss.
âTheyâre a good team. Theyâre really good,â EWG coach Matt Savoie said. âThey have really good midfield control, great finishing and theyâre a hard team to play.â
Early on things were looking up for EWG as it took a lead midway through the first half as a cross ricocheted off of Tyler Lynch and just spun across the goal line before Davies goalkeeper Christian Lanuza could bat the ball away.
The 1-0 lead only last for eight minutes though as Daviesâ Andony Anez worked his way past a group of EWG defenders and rifled a shot into the top corner of the net from 12 yards out.
The game remained tied at half and neither team got any tremendous scoring chances through the first 20 minutes of the second frame.
Then in the 66th minute the Knights got their best chance of the half as sophomore Brennan Rattenni collected a through ball and got a yard advantage on the Daviesâ defense.
With only the goalie to beat Rattenni took a shot from 15 yards out right at Lanuza that was deflected away.
âItâs amazing how much a 24-foot goal shrinks when you have all that green,â Savoie said. âHe works his butt off every day and does his best. Sometimes the ball just doesnât break for you.â
Six minutes later the Patriots made the Knights pay as they quickly played a ball off a goal kick into the Knightsâ box, where Anez finished his second goal of the game for the Davie victory.