November 7th, 2013
WEST GREENWICHâThe grass is green, the sky is blue and every year the Exeter-West Greenwich girls volleyball team makes it to the University of Rhode Islandâs Keaney Gymnasium.
OK, maybe the last part of that statement isnât 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 teamâs forte during the regular season, that stole the show against the Hawks en route to a 3-0 victory.
PAWTUCKETâFew 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.
âYouâve got a lot of real good athletes on the field. Theyâve got a lot of real good athletes and weâve got real good athletes and it was an explosion of real good football for a while,â NK coach Joe Gilmartin said. âThey just played better football than we did.â
ââŠThe 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 werenât able to wear them down and really create the rhythm of offense that we want to create.â
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 NKâs 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 didnât 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 didnât stop there.
Scott Deering fumbled on Northâs 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 gameâs 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 Saturdayâs 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 Northâs fate with another touchdown.
âWe didnât play very good defense. We didnât play very good offense at times and we turned the ball over a lot,â Gilmartin said.
ââŠWe had poor execution on two plays that we ended up fumbling the football on and thatâs inexcusable. We didnât play a very good football game today.â
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, NKâs 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.
WEST GREENWICH â Freshman midfielder Laura Palmer sat on the bench and watched her Exeter-West Greenwich girls soccer teammates battle No. 5 Portsmouth in wet and windy conditions for 95 minutes Thursday afternoon.
And then coach Kevin Fraser summoned Palmer from the bench and replaced Lane West with the freshman in a tie game in EWGâs first ever Division I playoff game.
NORTH SCITUATEâContrary to what most high school students are likely to believe, Hall and Oates is not the generic supermarket brand of Raisin Bran.
The popular late â70s, early â80s duo, however, was responsible for the Billboard Top 100 No. 1 song in early November of 1981, âPrivate Eyes.â
At the same time the Chariho girls cross country team had its eyes set on finishing off a tremendous season; second in Class B with and 8-1 record and runner up at the state championship meet.
WOOD RIVER JUNCTION â It was a dark and stormy nightâŠ
A clichĂ©d prelude to many tales of terror, but not one many foresaw using last week when the Chariho girls soccer team faced Middletown in the Division III quarterfinals on Halloween night.
EAST GREENWICHâFor seniors Hollie Pryor, Elana Lamont, Emily Manning, Alexis Marsella and Haley Wilcox thereâs no way around it; last Wednesdayâs loss to La Salle stung.
After a strong regular season the Chariho field hockey teamâs run came to an end with a 2-0 loss to the Rams in the Division II semifinals, marking the final game for the Chargersâ five seniors.
NARRAGANSETT â Saturday was meant to be a big day for the Narragansett football team. Not only was it senior day for 17 Mariners, but facing a similar two-loss Middletown team, it was a contest rife with playoff implications for both sides.
The Mariners kept it tight, but a late explosion by the Islanders helped them pull ahead and run away with a 27-7 victory.
WAKEFIELD â It was a loss that sat with Prout boys soccer coach Tim Ryan all offseason, fuel for the upcoming year.
Heavily favored, his Crusaders were upset by a sixth seeded Davies team, 3-0, in the 2012 quarterfinals.
There was no looking past them this time, but history still nearly repeated itself on Saturday as the 11th seeded Patriots pushed Prout to the brink in the Division III quarterfinals, before the Crusaders pulled out the 2-1 win in penalty kicks.