NP boys’ soccer team tops EWG, advances to Div. III semifinals

NP boys’ soccer team tops EWG, advances to Div. III semifinals

Cougars take on Johnston on Thursday, seek first championship game appearance since 2005

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence High boys’ soccer team’s first home playoff game in nine years was certainly an entertaining one.

Sophomore Bruno Teixeira’s unassisted goal in the 55th minute broke a 3-3 tie and helped the Cougars hold on for a 4-3 victory over Exeter/West Greenwich on Monday night in their Division III quarterfinal-round game on the Cougars’ campus.

The Cougars, who are 6-0 and the top seed from the North subdivision, will play in their first semifinal-round game in nearly a decade on Thursday at 4 p.m., when they host neighboring rival Johnston, which netted a 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Prout School in their quarterfinal-round game late Monday night in Wakefield.

The Panthers, who are 4-2 and the North’s third seed, and the Cougars battled each other on Oct. 24 in North Providence, and the Cougars came away with a hard-fought 2-1 win, thanks to second-half goals by Christian Ciotti and Juan Acevedo.

Monday night’s game did not get off to a great start for the Cougars. Just a minute into play, the Scarlet Knights, who are 3-5 and the fourth seed out of the South, was awarded a penalty kick and cashed in on it, as EWG sniper Cian Purcell buried it into the back of the net.

Undaunted, the Cougars answered back and scored three of the game’s next four goals before halftime. Acevedo netted his eighth goal of the season to lead the Cougars, Joel Do Rosário tacked on his seventh, and Nathan Nascimento scored his second in as many games.

In the 44th minute, the Scarlet Knights tied the contest, but 11 minutes later, Teixeira untied it when he took what appeared to be a harmless shot 15 yards to the left of the EWG goalkeeper, but saw his shot roll right between the goalie’s legs and into the bottom right corner of the net.

The Scarlet Knights did everything they could to knot the game and force overtime, especially in the final 10 minutes. Their best chance came in the 79th minute when Purcell tried to score his third goal of the night on a 15-yard shot from the right of the Cougars’ net, but it clanged off the right post and goalkeeper Alex Carvalho quickly smothered the rebound.

Narragansett, which is the South’s top seed, will play the Paul Cuffee School, which is the North’s second seed, in tonight’s other semifinal-round matchup.

The championship game is slated for Saturday at 5 p.m. at Cranston Stadium. The Cougars last played in the D-III finals in 2005.