My Pitch

A few thoughts from the high school playoffs

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High school sports continue to be one of the hardest things to predict, as this past week’s playoffs produced plenty of surprises and unexpected results.

First off, the high-flying Pilgrim girls soccer team fell to Moses Brown in the Division II Semifinals.

That was one of the big shockers for me, as I fully expected and was on record saying I believed that they would cruise to the title. Moses Brown played the Lady Pats tough during the regular season, so I guess it was just a difficult matchup.

My biggest takeaway from the loss, and the season as a whole, is that styles make matchups. Moses Brown is a defensive-minded team that likes the low-scoring rock fights. Although Pilgrim earned the win earlier in the year and had opportunities to win last week, sometimes things just don’t work out.

Either way though, big congrats to the Pilgrim girls, who still had one of the most epic runs in recent memory.

Next, a big surprise to me was seeing the Toll Gate boys soccer team not only reach the Division III Championship, but to see the Titans almost get it done. I was at the semifinals in Cumberland when the Titans faced Exeter-West Greenwich, and honestly, I thought they were outplayed for much of the contest, but they hung in there and won in overtime to reach the finals.

St. Ray’s has been one of the top programs in the state over the past decade, and it seems like that experience may have been just a little too much for the breakout Toll Gate team. The Saints won 1-0. It was close, but the Titans just didn’t have enough.

My biggest takeaway with this team is that the Titans laid a fabulous foundation for the future. Many people, including myself, felt that the Titans would be a low-end playoff team and would be lucky to get a postseason win. Although the Toll Gate offense was a bit inconsistent throughout the year, its defense and goaltending led the way and brought its best when it mattered. Credit to the Titans.

One Warwick team that did get it done was the Vets girls soccer team, which wrapped up a state title on Saturday. Congrats to the Hurricanes, who were dominant throughout the season and also brought their best when the lights were the brightest.

It looks like Pilgrim soccer is not going anywhere soon and continues to have one of the strongest feeder systems in the state, ranging from Warwick Firefighters Soccer to high school. Regardless of the final results from this fall, there is no denying that Warwick has one of the top soccer communities in the state.

Now, let’s talk football.

Congrats to the Toll Gate Titans, who won a tight game against EWG to claim the final playoff spot in Division IV. The Titans have been resilient all season and have demonstrated great mental toughness. It was no different last week, and now the Titans remain in the championship hunt. I don’t like their chances, to be honest … Toll Gate has proven to be a contender, but it just has not been quite as consistent as other top teams in the league. Overall, though, it will be interesting.

Pilgrim won its season finale and senior night game to wrap up a perfect regular season and the top spot in Division III.

I have assumed since maybe two or three weeks ago that the Pats have the Division III title in the bag, but looking at the Pilgrim girls soccer team has made me hesitant to maintain that confidence.

Tolman played the Pats tough. So did Chariho. But at the end of the day, Pilgrim has been rolling in all three phases and has also answered the bell time and time again. Pilgrim will host Narragansett this week in the opening round, and although I expect a close game, I believe the Pats will prevail.

Hendricken will also be taking on Portsmouth for the state championship at Cranston Stadium this upcoming weekend. Portsmouth has been a breakout club this fall, and the Hawks have not played them this season either. Although I am certainly not counting Portsmouth out, it is hard to see anyone topping the Hawks who are also undefeated and virtually untested.

We’ll see how things shake out in the next few weeks, but this has been an excellent season for the city of Warwick, and it looks like the future will be bright in all three of its schools.

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