The Tiverton High School girls soccer team is currently in the middle of a playoff run that will hopefully propel them to a Division II state championship.
On Thursday November 1 the girls won a preliminary round game against #11 seeded Burrillville by a score of 3-0. The Tiverton girls came out flying in that game and were ahead 3-0 by halftime. Coach Joe Gill substituted liberally in the second half and was rewarded by outstanding play from his defensive unit led by Rachel Mauricio, Allison Benevides, Maya Bergandy, Grace Cavanagh and Elizabeth Janick.
Leading the scoring for the Tigers was Samantha Welchman with two goals while Bergandy had one. Assists went to Jackie Wilson (two), Erica Farias and Bergandy. Haley Higginbottom had eight saves in posting the shutout. After defeating Burrillville, the 6th seeded Tigers moved on to face 3rd seed Lincoln at Lincoln High School.
Showing the effects of the 30 degree weather the Tigers started out slowly and Lincoln carried the play for most of the first half. Toward the end of the half the Tigers began to gain momentum and pushed often into the offensive zone.
The momentum carried over into the second half and both teams settled into a back and forth effort with scoring opportunities being turned away by each goalie including a diving stop by Tiger's Higginbottom midway through the half.
When the regulation game ended scoreless both teams prepared for two 10-minute overtime periods. Tiverton began to assert themselves early the first overtime period and almost had the go-ahead goal when a blazing shot by Farias caromed off the crossbar before being cleared away. As the game went through the second overtime period Tiverton pressed relentlessly looking to get the go-ahead goal and midway through the overtime period Elizabeth Janick sent a cross through the goal box that was narrowly missed by several teammates looking to score. With less than three minutes to play Tiverton's Bergandy won a battle for the ball on the left side and sent a cross into the middle that Jackie Wilson took down with her body and then left-footed into the corner of the net. Facing elimination, Lincoln threw all their effort into getting a game tying goal but the Tiger defense and midfield held them off and assured the victory.
Grace Cavanagh, Alli Benevides and Rachel Mauricio kept the potent Lincoln forwards bottled up for much of the game holding them to mostly ineffective shots on goal. When Lincoln did manage a strong shot on net, goalkeeper Higginbottom was equal to the task and turned away 12 shots overall.
Tiverton has an overall record of 10-5-1 and next faces #2 seed Pilgrim in the semi-final game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cranston Stadium.
Throughout the season seniors Bergandy (11 goals; 3 assists) and Welchman (10 goals; 4 assists) have led the way offensively while the midfield play of seniors Farias, Wilson and Rebecca Mauricio has created opportunities for the forwards. Defensively sophomore Rachel Mauricio, seniors Maya Bergandy and Elizabeth Janick, junior Allison Benevides and freshman Grace Cavanagh have provided solid defense and coupled with senior goalkeeper Haley Higginbottom have held opponents to an average of 1.13 goals per game. Higginbottom has posted 7 shutouts for the year and has an 88% save average.