Ultimately, the Smithfield Sentinels were not to be denied, as they completed an undefeated season with a 3-1 win in the Division II championship against East Greenwich at Rhode Island College on Saturday afternoon.
The Sentinels scored two goals in the fifth minute, and never trailed against the Avengers. Mark Marino had the first cap, and also added another goal in the 23rd minute. Jobe Ebrima scored the other goal in the fifth minute.
East Greenwich junior Anthony Padrazo scored in the 12th minute, to momentarily get the Avengers within a goal. However, Smithfield dominated possession for most of the game, leaving East Greenwich with scattered chances in both halves.
In the 15th minute, Tyler Amaral missed on a shot at the net. In the 31st minute, a shot from Connor Pease went off the crossbar and off to the side.
Head coach Patrick McGuirl said his team struggled to find consistency in the first 10 minutes.
“We made mistakes in the back row,” he said. “Before we knew it we were down 2-0.”
Although the second half featured chances for both teams, neither could kick the ball into the back of the net. The game got increasingly physical as time went on, with Padrazo picking up a yellow while jostling for position against Smithfield defenders.
East Greenwich also played the last 40 without senior captain Anthony Melnick.
“He didn’t play the second half because he was hurt,” McGuirl said. “He pulled his hamstring again.”
East Greenwich was also without senior Daniel Ling, a starting forward. McGuirl said he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, competing for a science prize.
“What are you going to do?” McGuirl said. “The kid had a chance at $100,000 in a competition.”
With the win, Smithfield finishes the season undefeated. The only blemishes on the Sentinels’ record were two regular season ties.
Both teams are quite familiar with one another in the playoffs, despite being in different divisions. Last year, Smithfield beat East Greenwich 3-2 for the Division II title. In 2009, East Greenwich beat Smithfield in the semifinals en route to a title, and also eliminated the Sentinels in 2008.
Speaking on Smithfield’s level of play, McGuirl said his team didn’t have anything to be ashamed of.
“I’m proud that the kids make it and hung in there,” he said. “Smithfield is a good team and well-coached.”
First Second Final Smithfield 3 0 3 East Greenwich 1 0 1 Time Team Goal / Assist Score 5:13 Smithfield Mark Marino 1-0 S 5:57 Smithfield Jobe Ebrima 2-0 S 12:53 East Greenwich Anthony Padrazo 2-1 S 23:39 Smithfield Marino (2) 3-1 S