Tigers reach final
Barrios nets winner for Tolman
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.
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.
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.