CRANSTON EAST VS TOLL GATE BOYS SOCCER – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 LIVE AT 4PM ON COX’S YURVIEW CHANNEL 4, ON THE COX CONTOUR APP OR STREAMING.
They’ve already met once this fall and it was a non-league game, meaning that the actual result has no bearing on the playoff picture.
On Tuesday, the boys soccer teams from Cranston East and Toll Gate will cross paths again. The 4 p.m. game takes place at Cranston Stadium and will air live on YurView, Cox Channel 4 in Rhode Island as well as be streamed live here.
If the first encounter between these two Division II rivals is any indication, the rematch could once again feature a low-scoring affair where the spotlight shines on each side’s goalie. On Oct. 18, the Thunderbolts and Titans played to a scoreless draw despite Cranston East owning a 21-9 advantage on shots on goal.
“That first game was decided by the goalkeepers,” said Cranston East head coach Richard Grenier. “Toll Gate’s goalie [junior Jayden Pereira] made some jaw-dropping saves and their defense cleared the area very well against us. We weren’t able to penetrate their box as much as we wanted to.”
The 2020 Thunderbolts marked the ushering in of a new era after Grenier and his coaches graduated 11 seniors and had to replace 10 starters from last year’s unit that clinched the top seed in Division II after posting a 13-1-2 regular-season record.
“We felt this was going to be a learning and a rebuilding year,” said Grenier.
So far, Cranston East sits in first place in its subdivision that includes city rival Cranston West along with Mount Pleasant and Hope. The Thunderbolts are 2-0-1 against league foes and 2-0-2 overall.
Similar to its upcoming opponent, a period of transition engulfed the Toll Gate program. The Titans are a newcomer to the Division II scene after reaching the D-III title game last season. Grouped in the same subdivision as crosstown rival Pilgrim along with Mount Hope and Smithfield, Toll Gate is off to an 0-3 start in league play.
Record aside, Titans head coach Michael Kenney believes his squad is trending in the right direction. Toll Gate netted its first and second goals of the current season this past Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Smithfield after getting held off the scoreboard in each of the first three game.
“We had a solid core returning and were ready [for the jump up in division competition],” said Kenney. “We’re starting to make progress.”
Who should fans (and YurView viewers) keep an eye on? Ask and you shall receive. Below is a checklist to help you get game ready. Let’s begin with the away team.
Kenney lavished heavy praise on Pereira, calling him the best netminder he’s ever coached.
“He’s sound all the way through. He’s tall, he’s rangy, and he’s strong. He can cover all angles and his kicks are fantastic. On a good night, he can boot the ball three-quarters of the way down the field,” said Kenney. “It’s nice to have someone back there who you don’t have to worry about.”
This unit is led by Devin Farrell, who shares the captain responsibilities with fellow seniors Josh Paiva and Liam Hart. A selfless player, Farrell was asked to transition to sweeper with the idea of solidifying the Titans’ backline.
“He does a nice solid job back there,” said Kenney about Farrell. “Liam is another guy who’s been with us the past two years. He’s improved quite a bit and is another big strong kid for us in the back.”
Senior Noah Mathews-Rotondo is a first-year starter as the Titans’ high back. Up front, Toll Gate has been rewarded in the trust the coaches have placed in sophomore Tyler Carpenter.
“He’s going to be a stalwart for us on defense over the next few years. He’s really good,” said Kenney about Carpenter.
Paiva was one of the Titans’ top defenders on the 2019 group that fell to St. Raphael in the D-III finals. Like several of his teammates, he’s been asked to shift to a different spot on the field.
“He’s trying to take on a lot of the responsibilities,” said Kenney about Paiva.
The rest of the midfielders are either brand new to varsity or are experiencing life as a starter for the first time in their high school career. A senior, David Barry has been a pleasant surprise at left wing after coming off the bench last season. Also rotating through are senior Evan Burr and two sophomores – Anthony Martinez and Ryan Dacey.
Toll Gate is going with a two-man front. After not playing in 2019, senior Allen Teran came back and is filling the role of attacking forward. Junior Dante Faria transferred into the program as a sophomore.
“Both of them are very quick. Allen is tough and has a great sense for the ball,” said Kenney.
Originally, David White was penciled in to serve as an understudy. That plan fell through after the goalie that Grenier intended to start decided to transfer. Still, you’re not going to get any argument on how things have worked out.
“He just gets better with each game and practice,” said Grenier when asked about White. “[Assistant coach Matthew Grenier, Richard’s son] works with the goalies and has done a great job pushing David this year.”
The marking backs are junior captain Christian Mestre and sophomore Connor McDonough. Another 10th grader (Nathan Carrillo) lines up at stopper. The lone senior on the roster is Joe Lenk, who’s also one of four captains.
“All of them have done well,” said Grenier. “Joe has been a very calming influence while playing back there.”
Junior captain Louis Reyes and junior Josue Molina were two of the main reasons why Cranston East hung on for a 2-1 win against Cranston West this past Saturday.
A junior captain, Carlos Andrade has two goals and two assists on the season.
“He’s our best scorer and setup man,” said Grenier. “He’s a tall kid with a polished shot. Plus, he’s so unselfish. Some of the passes he makes … I see him playing past high school. ”
Andrade plays up front with another sophomore (Michael Lopez) while the two outside halfbacks are junior Mario Meletz and sophomore Nadeem Chaudhry.
CRANSTON EAST VS TOLL GATE BOYS SOCCER – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 LIVE AT 4PM ON COX’S YURVIEW CHANNEL 4 AND STREAMING HERE.