Can Clippers slow down Shea tonight?
Cumberland's Ryan Rei, right, scored a key goal in Saturday's 3-2 win over Central Falls that put the Clippers into tonight's Division I semifinals against Shea. (BUTCH ADAMS photo)
CRANSTON â€“ Form held true in three of the four Division I quarterfinal playoff games contested over the past three days. Top-seeded La Salle, third-seeded Shea and fourth-seeded Barrington all advanced. Only second-seed Central Falls fell by the wayside, beaten 3-2 by seventh-seeded Cumberland on Saturday afternoon.
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That sets up unbeaten La Salle versus defending champion Barrington in tonightâ€™s 5 p.m. opener at Cranston Stadium followed by Shea and Cumberland at 7 p.m.
â€śWe were ready to play either Central Falls or Cumberland,â€ť Shea coach Pierre Ridore admitted. â€śIt doesnâ€™t matter to us. Cumberland is a tough team with a big defense. They can be physical and they have some skilled players, too. We just have to play our game. We have the advantage in speed over Cumberland. They have the size. It will be a good matchup.â€ť
Cumberland finished off three scoring plays and asserted itself physically during Saturdayâ€™s win over Central Falls. The Clippers, who finished second in the North with a 9-5-4 record, beat division champ Central Falls (11-2-5) twice and tied them once in three meetings.
â€śâ€ťI want to give Cumberland credit,â€ť C.F. coach Carl Africo said. â€śThey took some chances and finished their plays. They played a very physical game, which is not really our style. It seems like once we get to the playoffs, the officials want the game won on the field. I think that favors teams that want to slow the game down and get physical.
â€śMy guys played with a lot of heart and Iâ€™m very proud of them,â€ť Africo said. â€śI think, unfortunately, that letting the kids play hurts the team with more skill. I would like to see the league use three officials for all of the playoff games, not just the championship game. These games are too important to the kids to just have two officials out there.â€ť
Cumberland broke a scoreless game with 12 seconds left in the first half when Ryan Rei took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Warriors to tally a demoralizing goal against the home side.
Central Falls tied the game two minutes into the second half when Stiven Monteiro scored off an assist from Kelvin Castillo.
Cumberland, which went 1-0-1 against C.F. during the regular season, went back ahead on a goal by Luke Bakos, only to see Central Falls tie the game later in the second half on a goal from Victor Mariaca.
Cumberlandâ€™s Derek Dalton then scored the game-winner, heading in a corner kick. The Clippersâ€™ defense did the rest and Cumberland walked away with its second win over C.F. on the Warriorsâ€™ home field in the past three weeks.
The Clippers won five of their last six games and tied the other heading into the playoffs. Under veteran coach John Lopes, they play hard and maximize their talent to compete against teams like Central Falls. Tonightâ€™s matchup against Shea, which beat the Clippers 5-2 back in early October, represents another huge challenge for Cumberland.
â€śWe look to utilize our skills against Cumberland,â€ť Ridore said. â€śItâ€™s going to be a tough game.â€ť
Cumberland 1 â€“ 2 â€“ 3
Central Falls 0 â€“ 2 â€“ 2
First half scoring: 1. CUMB, Ryan Rei (una.), 39:48.
Second half scoring: 2. CF, Stiven Monteiro (Kelvin Castillo), 42:00; 3. CUMB, Luke Bakos (una.), 48:00; 4. CF, Victor Mariaca (Gabriel Piedrahita), 49:50; 5. CUMB, Derek Dalton (una.), 52:00.
Shots on goal: Cumberland 10, Central Falls 7. Goalie saves: Remi Lussier (CUMB) 5. Christian Ruano (CF) 7.