East Greenwich beat Tolman 1-0 Monday night under the lights at Carcieri Field, moving into the championship round against Smithfield for the second year in a row in a game that will be played on Sunday at Rhode Island College at 2 p.m.
In last year’s D-2 championship game, the unbeaten senior-heavy Avengers lost to Smithfield 3-2. This year, Smithfield is unbeaten, with a record of 17-0-2. EG goes into the final game with a 14-4-0 record.
EG coach Pat McGuirl said he was “shocked” with the win, considering the team’s youth.
“Early on, some days .. they didn’t always seem to go 100 percent,” McGuirl said of his team. “We knew we could get more out of them. I’m just shocked right now.
“We were much more intense,” he said.
The game was won on an unassisted goal from senior co-captain Anthony Melnick in the first half.
“It was a really amazing goal, a brilliant shot,” said EG goalie and fellow co-captain Oscar Goodwin.
Melnick was more circumspect. “It was fortunate. It was about 20 minutes in and the [Tolman] goalie’s not very tall so I was aiming for the far corner,” he said. “I put pace on it but I wasn’t sure it would go in. It was going on target. One of their own players tipped it and it went in, but it was on target.”
McGuirl also lauded Goodwin’s efforts as goalie. In addition to a couple of dramatic saves in the first half, Goodwin spent much of the second half protecting the goal as EG moved to defend its lead. The efforts paid off.
“This is the hardest I’ve seen our team fight. This is some of the best performances that I’ve seen all season from players like Peter Goretoy and Anthony Padrazo and Pat Lavin. They played so hard and they did a really good job. It’s the intensity that really got us through," said Melnick.
EG plays Smithfield in the D-2 state championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Rhode Island College.