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Knights could have bye in first round of D-I playoffs

October 30, 2013

Photo by Evan Crawley

WEST GREENWICH—Exeter-West Greenwich girls soccer coach Kevin Fraser has seen 19 senior days come and go during his tenure coaching the Knights, each one special in their own way.
Few – if any – have had the track record of this season’s senior class though, a group that has gone from winning three Division II Championships in a row to this season thriving amongst the state’s best in Division I.
“They’ve done a bunch of great things through the years,” Fraser said. “Obviously in Division II the last few years being state champions. Last year’s senior class was a big part of that too and this year’s senior class was a huge part of it.”
EWG’s seniors had a big part in Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Barrington as senior striker and Holy Cross-bound Kara Shaw started things off by finding junior Emily LePage just 5:45 into the contest for a 1-0 advantage.
Less than four minutes later the standout striker got into the action herself, finishing off an Alyssa Clements pass for the early 2-0 advantage.
“They were very upset with that tie against North Kingstown. It felt like a loss to us,” Fraser said. “They knew they had it and they gave it away and they weren’t going to do it again today.”
From there the action slowed to halt, with few promising opportunities and the Knights holding onto a 2-0 lead at the break.
The eagles hung around for the first 30 minutes of the second half but – as they did in the first half – put the game away in a flurry beginning with Abigail Borges’ goal with 6:40 to go off of Clements second assist.
LePage then tallied her second score of the game 90 seconds later to put the exclamation point on the Knights’ victory.
While the result couldn’t have gone better, it wasn’t all good for EWG as senior Ila West left with a knee injury early in the second half and left in an ambulance.
Tuesday’s match marked the end of the regular season for the Knights and where they will be seeded in the playoffs is out of their hands.
“We have to wait and see where we fit,” Fraser said. “We’re going to finish either fourth or fifth.”
Last week’s tie with North could bump EWG to the fifth seed unless the Knights can get some help from the Skippers.
NK plays Portsmouth today and with an NK win or draw EWG will be the fourth seed in the postseason, giving the Knights the crucial first-round bye. A Patriot victory would bump EWG to fifth.
“We’ve been fighting for that fourth seed all year because you get a first round bye and then the quarterfinals at your home field as opposed to travelling but we’ve played very well on the road so I’m not concerned if we do have to go on the road,” Fraser said.
“The only problem is you have that extra playoff game. Any time you have that extra playoff game you have a chance for injury and you have a chance to lose. That’s why that first-round bye we were really pushing for it.”

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