After defeating Burrillville on November 1, the sixth-seed Tiverton Tigers moved on to face third seed Lincoln at Lincoln High School last Tuesday evening.
Showing the effects of the 30 degree degree weather, Coach Joe Gill's Tigers started out slowly and Lincoln carried the play for much 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 Tiverton’s Haley 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 in the first overtime period and almost had the go-ahead goal when a blazing shot by Erica Farias caromed off the crossbar. 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 Tigers looking to score.
With less than three minutes to play, Tiverton forward Olivia Bergandy won a battle for the ball on the left side and sent a cross into the middle that midfielder Jackie Wilson struck cleanly with her left foot into the corner of the net.
Facing elimination, Lincoln threw all their effort into getting a game-tying goal but the Tiverton defense and midfield held them off and assured the victory. For the Tigers, Grace Cavanagh, Ali 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 Haley Higginbottom was equal to the task and turned away 12 shots overall.
Tiverton has an overall record of 10-5-1 and next faces second seed Pilgrim High in the state semifinal game Saturday at Cranston Stadium at 2:00pm. Throughout the season,n seniors Olivia Bergandy (11 goals; 3 assists) and Sam Welchman (10 goals; 4 assists) have led the way offensively while the midfield play of seniors Rebecca Mauricio, Farias and Wilson has created opportunities for the forwards. Defensively, sophomore Rachel Mauricio, seniors Janick and Maya Bergandy, junior Benevides and freshman Cavanagh have provided solid defense and coupled with senior goalie Higginbottom have held their opponents to an average of 1.13 goals per game. Higginbottom has posted seven shutouts for the year with an 88% save average.