Tigers reach fi­nal

Bar­rios nets win­ner for Tol­man

Woonsocket Call - - SPORTS - By COLBY COT­TER ccot­ter@ri­cen­tral.com

EAST GREEN­WICH — The Tol­man boys soc­cer team made his­tory on Thurs­day just by step­ping on the field. No team in school his­tory had made it to the Di­vi­sion I semi­fi­nals.

The No. 1 Tigers weren’t con­tent, and they went and gave them­selves a chance to put some more firsts into the record book by de­feat­ing South Kingstown, 1-0, Thurs­day night at Carcieri Field.

“It means a lot, for these kids,” said a vis­i­bly emo­tional head coach Dan Silva. “All the work we’ve put in… I’m just ec­static. From where we started to where we are now. One more to go. We’ll see what hap­pens.”

Roy Bar­rios scored the lone goal, settling down a bounc­ing ball in front of the Rebel net in the 63rd minute. Bar­rios and his twin brother Juan scored three of the four Tiger goals in the pre­vi­ous meet­ing with the Rebels, and the pair again played a big role in the semi­fi­nals.

“The twins, they rise to the oc­ca­sion,” Silva said. “These kids, all they think about is soc­cer. Soc­cer is their life. Roy broke down cry­ing af­ter the game. He’s that emo­tional, he wants it that bad.”

There were a mul­ti­tude of cor­ners, free kicks and other set-pieces on the frigid Novem­ber night. SK en­joyed the lion’s share of the struc­tured scor­ing chances, in­clud­ing a break-away sit­u­a­tion for goal-hun­gry Wre­nano Honeyghan.

“I thought they out­played us, to be hon­est,” Silva said of SK. “Most of the first half, sec­ond half it evened out a bit. We got for­tu­nate, got the right tap-in, the right bounce in.

“We didn’t play our best. We didn’t get here at a good time. Bit of nerves. First time here for Tol­man, we didn’t know what to ex­pect. We had a lit­tle luck on our side to­day.”

They also had sopho­more goalie Nel­ton Semedo in net. The young­ster played the game of his life, stop­ping Honeyghan’s break­away shot with a mo­men­tum-shift­ing kick save. Even in the face of the con­sis­tent pres­sure from the dan­ger­ous SK squad, Semedo never blinked.

“To be up 1-0, that’s a tight lead to hold with all that pres­sure com­ing,” Silva said. “They didn’t threaten us too bad at the end.

“Our goalie played a fan­tas­tic game, made a huge save on the break­away. Saved us in the first half. He was the MVP to­day for sure.”

The open-field save kept the game score­less, and the Tigers re­sponded with a scor­ing op­por­tu­nity of their own. Abra­ham Ve­na­gas pro­vided Roy Bar­rios with the ball in open space, but his shot didn’t have enough on it to fool the Rebel goal­keeper.

Min­utes later, Bar­rios was the ben­e­fi­ciary of a solid Tol­man throw-in. De­spite a crowd of de­fend­ers sur­round­ing Bar­rios, he man­aged to steady the ball and sneak it into the net.

The Tigers fully parked the bus down the other end of the field fol­low­ing the late goal. The late pres­sure by SK never amounted to much of any­thing, and the Tigers mobbed the field to cel­e­brate their first cham­pi­onship ap­pear­ance since 2001 and first ever at the D-I level.

Stand­ing in the way of the No. 1 pub­lic school Tigers will be ei­ther Moses Brown or La Salle. The Tigers and Rams played to a 1-1 tie early in the sea­son. They had lit­tle trou­ble with the Quak­ers, who they de­feated 3-0.

Photo by Jerry Sil­ber­man / risport­sphoto.com

Tol­man ju­nior mid­fielder Roy Bar­rios (10) scored the only goal in the Tigers’ 1-0 Di­vi­sion I semi­fi­nal vic­tory over South Kingstown to ad­vance the Tigers to their first state fi­nal Sun­day at noon.

Pho­tos by Jerry Sil­ber­man / risport­sphoto.com

Ro­drigo Gomes-Pinto (20, above), Juan Bar­rios (16, left) and un­de­feated Tol­man will play for the school’s first state ti­tle Sun­day af­ter­noon af­ter the Tigers elim­i­nated South Kingstown, 1-0, Thurs­day night in the semi­fi­nals at East Green­wich High.

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