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Tiger Girls fall in Championship Game; Upset Bid Falls Short

Tiverton High School girls soccer attempted to do what no other team has done in two years, beat Exeter-West Greenwich - but their efforts fell just short.

The 6th seed Tiverton Tigers girls soccer team entered their Division 2 state championship game as significant underdogs but gave undefeated and top-ranked Exeter-West Greenwich Scarlet Knights everything they could handle before ultimately falling 2-1. EWG entered the game as two-time defending state champs without having lost a game either this season or last season. However they were severely tested in this championship game by a veteran Tiverton squad. The first half was a see-saw battle with EWG holding the edge for the first 20 minutes and the Tigers holding the edge over the last 20 minutes. And for the first time all season, EWG trailed as the Tigers were the first to score. In the 30th minute, Tiverton’s Rebecca Mauricio sent a cross in front of the goal and Mackenzie Mello passed it on to Olivia Bergandy who drilled the ball into the open net. As the Tigers continued to control possession and put pressure on EWG it seemed like Tiverton would make it to half time with the lead. But EWG got a break on a scramble in front of the Tiverton net and Emily Lepage of EWG put the loose ball into the net with 2 minutes to play in the half. Tiverton came out of the half with determination but EWG slowly took control of the game and kept constant pressure on the Tigers. When the Tigers were able to mount an offensive surge, they were turned away by EWG goalie Kathryn Regan. As the second half wore on EWG continued to press and their efforts were rewarded when a Tiger foul led to a free kick that Tiger goalie Haley Higginbottom tipped off the crossbar and the ball fell in front of the net where Kara Shaw of EWG pounced and drilled the ball into the back of the net. The Tigers supporters were loud and tried to cheer their team on to victory as Tiverton pressed for the tying goal. A shot by Sam Welchman just missed the net and the EWG defense smothered several other Tiverton attempts. However the clock ran out before Tiverton could get the equalizer and their upset bid was over. The Tigers path to the championship game was the result of a 3-0 win over 11th seed Burrillville in the preliminary round then a 1-0 overtime win over 3nd seeded Lincoln in the quarterfinals and a 2-1 win over 2nd seeded Pilgrim in the semi-finals. When the final whistle blew Tiverton was runner-up for 2012, a significant feat for a team that based on school-size could have played in Division 3 but chose the challenge of playing in Division 2. Playing in the final soccer game of their high school careers were seniors Maya Bergandy (Captain), Olivia Bergandy, Erica Farias, Haley Higginbottom (Captain), Elizabeth Janick, Rebecca Mauricio, Megan Thornton, Samantha Welchman and Jackie Wilson (Captain). 

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