The Knights came out with high energy, which resulted in a majority of the possession and play in their attacking third. It also resulted in a lead for Stoughton just over the midway point.
But Attleboro head coach Steve Santos tinkered with his five-member midfield at the break, pushing certain pieces forward to close down the space Stoughton was working with.
That change, along with a renewed energy and a pair of fortunate bounces helped the Bombardiers earn two points.
“Stoughton played really well in the first half, they wanted it and they came out with a lot more energy than we did,” Santos said. “They got the reward for working hard and we kind of put our heads down. We had a talk at half and the energy came in the second half, we had a little bit more intensity. The girls just worked for it, and we got the bounce in the end.
“We’re working on our confidence and being in situations we’re not used to being in. We got the bounce today and we’ll move forward and try to build on it tomorrow.”
Attleboro had a pair of chances inside the first 20 minutes of the game, with senior Alison Wall tracking down a through ball and firing a shot from atop the area, but Stoughton keeper Emma Harrington was there for the save.
Stoughton continued its pressure and began to register chances. Junior Elizabeth Kashian put the first shot on frame with a low big from the top of the area, but Attleboro keeper Madison Brown scooped up the shot.
But two minutes later, the Black Knights were able to break through. Mackenzie Manning delivered a cross that was flicked on by Sarah Widrow behind the defense. Stoughton sophomore Chinazo Odunza raced in and was able to slide her shot in to make it 1-0 in the 27th minute.
Stoughton had a chance to add to its lead in the 37th minute when a corner kick dropped just a yard off the goal line, but a scrum ensued and Attleboro was able to clear it. Harrington took away a chance from Attleboro’s Isabella Salviati on the other end by charging off the line.
“We had five midfielders but I felt like they were dropping too deep, giving Stoughton some space and they were using it to get forward,” Santos said. “I had them move up and take away that space and that helped us in the second half.”
The shift paid dividends right away as the Bombardiers put the pressure on early on in the second half. After a ball was cleared, Attleboro put a long ball back into the box that accidentally hit a Stoughton’s players raised hand, giving the Bombardiers a penalty kick.
Harnois stepped up and placed her shot into the bottom left corner to bring the Bombardiers level.
“In the first game against Canton, she had a couple of opportunities to put the ball away and she missed a couple that I’m sure she wished she had back,” Santos said. “But she showed it today, she has a promising future. She works hard and she knows how to be in the right spot to get things done.”
Attleboro kept the pressure up throughout the second half. Julia Hayes had a shot from distance turned away by Harrington off a bounce. Five minutes later, Morgan LaPlume played a perfect ball through Stoughton’s back line for Ashley Lauzier, but Harrington came charging off her line and made a great sliding save.
Shortly after Harrington came out for the sliding save, the Knights went on the counter attack. A touch from Manning put her in along with Odunze, but Attleboro defender Jordyn Foote thwarted the attack.
In the final minutes, the Bombardiers got their reward for continual pressure. Harnois whipped in a cross in the 78th minute that took a deflection off a Stoughton defender and found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
“It was a well-fought game,” said Stoughton head coach Tara Daniels. “We just had two unlucky things happen in the second half and it cost us the game. The girls played tough, they played hard. I think this year is going to be a turning point for us looking at the two first results.”
Attleboro girls soccer (1-1 Hockomock, 1-1 overall) returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Sharon. Stoughton (0-2, 0-2) travels to Mansfield on the same day to take on the Hornets.
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