Franklin Falls To Barnstable In D1 State Semifinal

Franklin volleyball
Franklin’s Lily Galluccio (7) and Maggie Doyle go up for a block against Barnstable’s Riley James. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a battle of two of the top teams in the state of Massachusetts, the Franklin volleyball team gave everything the Barnstable Raiders could handle.

The Panthers, who secured the Central-West sectional title in a dramatic five-set win, push the Raiders, champions of the South sectional, to the limit. But ultimately, Barnstable made one final run to come away with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) win and a return trip to the D1 State Final.

“I couldn’t really ask for more,” said first-year Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth. “They knew they’d have to be matched up with [Barnstable] eventually so why not the state semifinals? We prepared them the best we could for them, and for [Barnstable outside hitter] Riley James. We knew blocking was going to be key today, and we had some really good moments for our blocks, we just needed a little bit more. But honestly, what the girls did, how hard they worked, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Raiders are a perennial power in the state, having won the D1 State title 13 times since 2000 and entered Tuesday night’s match without having lost a single set this year. While that didn’t change, Franklin gave Barnstable its toughest test of the season and scored more points (62) against the Raiders than any other team has in 2018.

“They are a good team,” said Barnstable head coach Tom Turco of the Panthers. “They have quick, fast athletes and they have nine seniors. We haven’t been pressed like that [this season]. We’ve played a lot of really good teams and they are one of them.”

Barnstable skated to a win in the South Sectional Final, beating New Bedford 25-3, 25-8, 25-16. It didn’t take long to see that Franklin was going to be a much bigger challenge.

Each time the Raiders tried to pull away in the first set, Franklin stuck around. Kills from Ellie Wisniewski, Allyson Bonnet-Eymard, and Hailey Sanders each answered a point from Barnstable to keep the deficit at three. Barnstable built a six point lead at 16-10, but a 4-1 run from the Panthers again made the lead three points.

But Barnstable senior Riley James, the state’s all-time leader in kills, showed off her skill. She had four kills (in the final eight points, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. James finished with a season-high 24 kills in the match.

Franklin continued to battle in the second set, with six ties over the first 16 points, including at 8-8. Barnstable attempted to pull away at 12-9 but Franklin responded with a 4-1 run to knot the score at 13, getting a big kill from Maggie Doyle.

The Panthers got a nice kill from Wisniewski from the back row after a nice dig from Riley Marino to pull within one at 18-17 but were forced to call timeout when the Raiders won the next point. Barnstable went up 22-19 on a kill from Ingrid Murphy (16 kills) but Sanders landed a kill from the middle to get within two. After Barnstable went back up by three, the Panthers forced a hitting error to make it a two pint game again.

But once again, James was in the front row when the Raiders needed her most and she had two kills over the final three points to put Barnstable up 2-0.

“We wanted to have four hands on [James] at all times,” Weymouth said, We wanted two girls to block her wherever she went. We were right there…right there. But it is what it is, the girls worked so hard, they did great.

Barnstable went up 3-0 early in the third set but Franklin refused to fold. Franklin won seven of the next eight points to seize a 7-4 lead, highlighted by kills from Doyle, Sanders and Bonnet-Eymard — all on assists from senior Lauren McGrath.

Franklin kept its lead, and stretched it to 14-10 on a big block from senior Lily Galluccio to force Turco to take a timeout. The Panthers let Barnstable back in the game with three errors over the next four points to knot the score.

But Bonnet-Eymard sandwiched a pair of kills around a nice kill from McGrath to give Franklin a 19-16 lead, and again forcing a timeout from the Raiders.

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The Panthers led 22-19 after a kill from Doyle, and 23-21 after a service error from the Raiders, and were on the verge of giving Barnstable its first set loss of the season. Franklin’s Doyle and Sanders found a lot of success attacking from the middle spot.

“We knew coming that [Barnstable] wasn’t very effective from the middle,” Weymouth said. “Our middles were super effective I thought. You can only run your offense so well if your serve receive is in system. There were times when we wanted to run the middle but the serve receive was a little off and we were forced to go outside. But our middles were huge, they were unstoppable when they were swinging. I’m so proud of these girls for making it this far.”

A kill from Murphy and a Franklin hitting error tied the game, and Murphy used a perfectly place push just over the net for the final point and the win.

Franklin volleyball finishes the season at 20-1.

Nauset Pulls Away From Foxboro In Second Half

Foxboro boys soccer
Foxboro’s Shane VandenBoom fights for a loose ball in the second half against Nauset. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WHITMAN, Mass. – For the first 40 minutes, Foxboro boys soccer kept pace with top-seeded and undefeated Nauset.

The Warriors had the advantage in corner kicks, an even number of chances created, just one less shot than Nauset, and trailed just 1-0 at the break.

But in the second half, Nauset showed why its considered one of the top teams in the state, scoring three straight goals en route to a 4-1 win in the D2 South Semifinals.

“I just think we were second to every ball,” said Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino. “Our passing was off today, we weren’t playing to feet. Our Achilles heel has been giving up goals but [Nauset] is a good side.

“We were getting beat to every ball. Give credit to [Nauset].”

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While Nauset got a shot on goal in the first minute, Foxboro created an opportunity just 60 seconds later. Will Regan delivered a free kick from midfield but the ball took a strong bounce and was just out of the reach of Dylan Barreira at the post in the 2nd minute.

After applying some pressure, Nauset broke through in the 13th minute. A failed clearance fell to the foot of senior Avery Santoro and he buried his low shot from a step inside the area inside the far post.

Despite going behind a goal, Foxboro still had its chances to pull level. In the 18th minute, junior Joe Cusack lofted a free kick in behind the defense where senior Matt Garcia connected with a driving header but his bid was just over the bar.

Senior Nic Beigel had a pair of shots in a ten minute span, both forcing saves. In the 21st minute, Beigel delivered a low shot from 25 yards out and in the 30th minute, the senior got off a hard shot but both were at the keeper.

Foxboro had two more chances in the final 10 minutes of the half. Arguably the best chance came off the foot of Garcia, who delivered a tempting ball through the area to the back post but no one made a run and the ball was touched out by the keeper. On the second ensuing corner kick, Barreira’s service was cleared to Cusack, who played the ball back into the area. Tim Behn had a look from just outside the six yard box but his shot was blocked and cleared away.

“We had some chances,” Franchino said. “Matty Garcia put one into the box and we had two guys standing in the box when they should be crashing the post. If we score one, maybe it changes things.”

Once the second half began, it was all Nauset. The top-seed showed their offensive prowess and needed just over six minutes to add to the lead. Ethan Boyle played a ball over the top of the defense and Romell Brown hit a volley off the bounce that went over the hands of Foxboro freshman keeper Derek Axon and under the bar for a 2-0 advantage.

In the 55th minute, Nauset center back and All-American selection Abdel Talabi played a ball into the area, sophomore Ben LaBranche flicked it on, and senior Curtis Moore was open for a header across the line. Two minutes later, Anthony Lavoti worked his way past a defender and fired a close range shot that Axon got a piece of but the rebound bounced over the line for a 4-0 lead.

Nauset scored all three of its second half goals in a 10-minute span.

“They finished,” Franchino said of the difference in halves. “They were getting a bunch of chances, just weren’t finishing. They play very direct, lump it into the box, and get bodies onto it. They close very hard too.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“But I always tell them, you have a wait problem. Not weight, but wait problem. You can’t sit around sit around and let the game happen, go make an impact in the game. I think that was the difference today, we were on our heels a little bit and not getting after like we can.”

Foxboro got on the board in the 75th minute. Beigel dispossessed a Nauset defender and went on a break down the right side. Beigel waited until Talabi committed before sliding a pass over to Barreira and the junior tucked his right-footed shot inside the near post to make it 4-1.

Foxboro boys soccer finishes the season at 9-7-5 with a league-high 57 goals, which is the most scored in the Hock since the Warriors scored 70 in 2015.

Bulldogs Blanked By Scituate In D5 South Final

Canton football
Canton’s Kyle Fitzgerald carries the ball early in the second half against Scituate. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
SCITUATE, Mass. – A lot of the focus leading into Friday night’s Division 5 South Final between Scituate and Canton revolved around the Sailors’ high-power offense.

But the story of the night ended up being Scituate’s defense.

The Sailors pitched a shutout, limiting Canton’s offense to just over 100 yards and six first downs, to earn a 21-0 decision and the D5 South title, the first in program history.

“Our guys were prepared, motivated, and fired up to play defense tonight,” said Scituate head coach Herb Devine. “We did a great job all night long playing defense. We tried to take away what they wanted to go. We knew [Johnny Hagan] and [Kyle] Fitzgerald are just great players so we tried to limit what they do. Our defense played outstanding.”

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Scituate came into the game averaging over 40 points in its two playoff games, putting up an impressive 57 points in a semifinal win over Holliston. While Scituate’s defense gave up a total of 61 points in its first two playoff games, its defense allowed a total of 69 points all of regular season (including 35 to Duxbury).

“They gave us a lot of trouble,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “We have so many playmakers…maybe we leaned on them too much and got away from the fundamentals. We just didn’t execute at a high level. I tip my hat to Scituate, they had a good plan, their kids played good, and they are a good team.”

The Sailors flexed their offensive muscles early on, taking the first drive of the game down the field for a score. It turned out to be Scituate’s second longest drive of the game as they moved 77 yards on eight plays to take an early lead.

Facing a third down early in the drive, Scituate quarterback Aidan Sullivan (10/15, 219 yards) completed a 10-yard pass for a first down. The Sailors didn’t face a third down the rest of the drive and Will Sheskey (24 carries, 135 yards) punched it in from 5 yards out for a 7-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.

The next three series – two from Canton – resulted in punts, but the Bulldogs nearly had a chance to change the game. After punting, Scituate tried to field the kick on the bounce but a nice play from the Bulldogs knocked the ball free. Canton had two shots at it – one player diving on top but the ball jumping free, and other a chance right before the sideline – but neither player could get a hold of the ball in the pouring rain and it went out of bounds, keeping possession with Scituate.

The Sailors made to take advantage of the lucky bounce and needed just three plays to find the end zone. On second on 5, Canton brought a lot of pressure but Scituate had the perfect play call on as Sullivan dumped a screen pass off to Sheskey and he went virtually untouched for a 63 yard touchdown, giving Scituate a 14-0 lead with 9:35 left in the second quarter.

“We knew they like to blitz in some situations and our quarterback absolutely made a great read.” Devine said. “It can be either a little hitch route or a screen and he made the right read and Sheskey went for the touchdown.”

Canton responded with its best drive of the opening half. A unsportsmanlike conduct penalty helped move the ball 15 yards, and Johnny Hagan (86 all purpose yards) hit Gersom Rivera for an 18-yard gain to the Scituate 34-yard line. The Dogs had a chance to complete a pass down field but the receiver was held, giving Canton first and 10 at the 22-yard line.

But a false start, a two-yard rush, and a run for no-gain put the Dogs in a 3rd and 13 situation at the 25-yard line. Hagan tried to make a play but was intercepted at the goal line.

Scituate nearly tacked on another score before half, driving all the way down to Canton’s 23-yard line but Ben Seaman came up with a big sack on third down and Canton forced an incompletion on fourth, keeping the deficit at 14-0 heading into half.

A holding call on the first play of the second half put Canton’s offense in a whole and it was forced to punt quickly thereafter.

Canton’s defense continued its strong play on Scituate’s ensuing drive. The Sailors got inside the red zone, all the way down to Canton’s 8-yard line. But Seaman came up with a big sack on third down and David Allen broke up a pass on fourth down to keep the Sailors out of the end zone and the lead at 14-0.

The Bulldogs offense moved the ball forward on seven straight plays, but faces a 4th and 3 at their own 40. With little time left in the third quarter and a two-score deficit, Canton went for it but Hagan’s pass was picked off just over midfield.

Scituate killed a lot of the remaining time with its next drive, needing nine plays to cover 47 yards. It was’t until a 1-yard sneak from Sullivan on fourth down that Scituate added its third touchdown of the game to go up 21-0 with 8:46 to go.

“The defense gave us a chance,” Bohane said. “Ultimately we didn’t do enough offensively. We just never got that rhythm that we need so badly. We didn’t find it today. The defense kept plugging away even though they gave up an early score which has been a little bit of an Achilles heel. We needed to make plays offensively and we didn’t but they didn’t make it easy for us.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We just didn’t find any consistency, we never got comfortable in our offense. We didn’t find a play or two that we can hang our hat on but credit to Scituate, they didn’t give us an inch on offense.”

Canton football drops to 8-2 with one game left on Thanksgiving against rival Stoughton. While the future for the Bulldogs looks bright with the majority of its lineup made out of juniors, Bohane stressed how important this senior class has been to this season.

“Scituate played in this game last year, it shows.” Bohane said. “But I can’t get beyond the fact our seniors really poured their heart and souls into this season, into the playoffs, everything. Right now I really feel for this guys. It’s a learning experience for sure but it’s so difficult for the seniors.”

Hornets Drop Heartbreaker In Double Overtime

Mansfield girls soccer
Mansfield’s Sydney Mulkern fights for a loose ball against Newton South in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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PLYMOUTH, Mass. – Time after time, the Mansfield defense thwarted long throws and corners kicks from top-seeded Newton South.

In the first overtime period alone, the Hornets fended off five long throws from the Lions’ throw-in specialist Larissa Williams.

While the Hornets limited Newton South’s restarts in the offensive third in the second overtime, the Lions finally got a throw-in in the final minute and cashed in. Williams’ long throw-in was cleared back to her on the sideline, and she delivered a service into the area that Audrey Lavey headed into the net, giving Newton South a 3-2 win over Mansfield.

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“We kept bending, bending, never breaking but the last one they finally find the free header,” said Mansfield head coach Kevin Smith. “Hats off to [Newton South], they are a fantastic team. The corners, the long throws….they were very dangerous and put us under pressure. We just couldn’t find that release pass. We had opportunities, we had a couple open nets we just couldn’t put it away.”

Mansfield had a pair of leads in the game, but the Lions had an answer each time, the second strike coming just seconds after the Hornets had regained the lead.

In the first overtime, the Lions applied the majority of the pressure with five long throw-ins, but the back line of Emily Vigeant, Mikaela Maughn, Erin Daniel, and Kerina Geminiani did an admirable job of handling it in front of keeper Caty DeMassi.

Newton South also had a pair of corner kicks in the first 10-minute span of golden goal, which is how the Lions tied the game in the second half, but Mansfield’s defense did its job.

While playing compact in the back, Mansfield’s best chances came on the counter attack. In the 86th minute, Sydney Mulkern nearly played Steph Kemp in behind but a nice play by the Newton South keeper cleared it away.

In the second overtime, Kemp made a nice run to the outside, got a touch around her defender and delivered a tempting ball into the area but there weren’t any Hornets in the vicinity.

“That’s the only thing you can do,” Smith said of the counter attack. “We couldn’t find a way to release the pressure in the midfield. When we got the ball up front, we were trying to make the pass too quickly and we weren’t there because it’s a 60 yard run with tired legs.”

The Lions nearly had the game-winner in the 94th minute when Cassie Lee snuck in behind the defense but DeMassi was quick off her line to thwart the opportunity.

Mansfield had a bright start to the match, having the majority of possession and keeping the ball in its attacking half. In the 12th minute, Daniel nearly opened the scoring with a well-taken one-timer from 30 yards out but the ball smacked off the cross bar, and Katie Garvin’s header on the rebound was saved.

The pressure paid off in the 28th minute as the Hornets Tok the lead. Cassidy McMahon delivered a corner kick to the far post and Melissa Reef rose up and headed the ball back across the goal inside the post for a 1-0 lead.

But the lead only lasted four minutes, as the Lions took advantage of a Mansfield miscue. In the defensive third, a miscommunication allowed Lee to get in between the defender and the keeper, blocking the clearance. The loose ball popped back to Lee’s foot and she buried her chance, sending the teams into half tied 1-1.

Mansfield regained the lead just over 10 minutes into the second half. Bryn Anderson settled a throw from Geminiani and gained just enough space to launch a high cross to the far post. McMahon skied into air and headed the service under the bar and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.

Similar to the first lead, it didn’t last long. Newton South quickly marched up field and earned a corner kick, and Lucy Jenks nodded in a cross from Maia Madison to make it 2-2 in the 52nd minute.

In the 67th minute, DeMassi made a terrific play off her line to deny the Lions of a partial breakaway.

In the 70th minute, Mansfield nearly went ahead again. Kemp played McMahon wide, and she centered her pass but Anderson couldn’t get her foot on the cross in front and Mulkern saw her chance for over the bar at the far post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And in the 75th minute, the Hornets had a free kick from straight away from 20 yards out but couldn’t get the shot on frame.

“After their first goal, you could tell we were deflated and they had some momentum going for them,” Smith said. “We just couldn’t find our energy. We got it back at halftime and scored the goal to go up. I didn’t think we dropped after their second goal, I thought we still had opportunities, we just couldn’t find it. Their keeper made some nice plays, their defense was smothering. Our defense played great too. But they found that last one.”

Mansfield girls soccer (15-3-4) graduates 19 seniors from this year’s team, a group that made its mark on the program. The Hornets won three straight Kelley-Rex division titles, the first three in program history. In their four years, the varsity team went 54-12-12.

“It’s a special group, I’ve known most since they were 5 or 6 years old, since they were little kids,” Smith said. “They are like my daughters.”

Canton Rallies Past Medway To Advance To Central Final

Canton volleyball
Canton’s Bailey Shea (21) and Erin Devine go up for a block against Medway in the first game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MEDWAY, Mass. – Throughout the 2018 season, Canton senior Erin Devine and junior Taylor Harris have taken turns as the Bulldogs go-to option on offense.

In fact, in 18 of the 20 matches played prior to Wednesday night’s D2 Central semifinal matchup with #5 Medway, either Devine or Harris led Canton in kills.

But this time around, both players had it going offensively for the top-seeded Bulldogs, each recording double-digit kills to pace Canton to a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-9) win over the Mustangs.

“Both Erin and Taylor had super games,” said Canton head coach Pat Cawley. “We really haven’t had a day like that this year, it’s usually either Erin or Taylor. But tonight they both were on.”

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Devine had a team-high 16 kills (with just two hitting errors) and added seven blocks while Harris added 15 kills, 12 digs, and four blocks. It’s just the second time this season that both players reached double-digit kills in the same match.

Even though Canton was the top-seed, the match took place at Medway High, which was a predetermined site by the MIAA. However, it wasn’t selected as the location until the semifinalists were set.

“They worked really hard on not letting the crowd get in their head,” Cawley said. “You have to beat the best to be the best, we’re going to be on the road from now on anyways. Granted we won’t be in someone else’s home gym, but we’ll still be on the road. And if you want to win it all, you have to be good on the road.” g

While both players had strong games offensively, the key to the game came down to matchups. After the Mustangs took the first set, Cawley did her best to figure out how to get Devine matched up with Medway star Maegan Hladick, who had eight kills in the first game alone.

Canton actually had a strong start to the first game, jumping out to a 6-2 lead but Medway worked its way back into the match and rattled off a 10-3 run to take a 12-9 lead. The Bulldogs responded with some strong play, including a couple of nice serves from Megan McDonough (12 digs), and took a 20-16 lead.

But after a Medway timeout, the Mustangs won five of the next six points to tie the first set 21-21. Despite a timeout from Canton, Medway won the next four points, including a pair of kills from Hladick, to secure a 25-21 victory to go up 1-0.

Cawley elected to try and get Devine and senior Bailey Shea on the opposite side of the net to try and get a block on Hladick.

“We didn’t change after the first game but we matched up better because they changed their rotation,” Cawley said. “When they started with the serve, they changed it and it was a better matchup for us. Going into the third, I had a feeling he was going to switch his rotation so I moved mine and luckily we matched up. We were lucky with the rotation, it’s a lot of guess work.

“We were trying to get Erin and Bailey, our two best blockers, to line up with [Hladick]. Because she plays the outside, she’s not blocking Erin so I wasn’t really too concerned who was blocking Erin, I just wanted to block [Hladick].”

The matchup change worked well for the Bulldogs, as Hladick finished with just four kills in the second set. While Canton led for the majority of the match — going up 12-6 after a big kill from Devine, and 16-10 off the hand of Devine again — Medway continued to battle back.

The Mustangs got within three 18-15, and then notched four straight points to go up 19-18 to force another Bulldog timeout. Canton came out with renewed energy, but the Bulldogs trailed 22-21. Devine landed a kill to tie it, a strong serve from Julia Minichiello resulted in a 23-22 lead, and Devine landed a big block on Hladick for a 24-22 lead. Medway got within one but saw its final hit go into the net with Devine and Shea ready for the block.

The third set was close throughout, with nine ties in the first 26 points, the last coming at 13-13. But Devine landed a kill and blocked an attack, and Harris landed back-to-back kills for a 17-13 lead. Canton kept the lead the rest of the way, but Medway did get close at 19-18, but before the Mustangs could tie it, Cawley called a timeout.

“I just reminded them that we have the lead and we have to play like we have the lead,” Cawley said. “We have to play aggressive and strong, and to their credit they did it. It was such a back and forth match. We battled so hard last year, we had a rough year but they stuck together and they deserved this. They gained a lot of confidence by sticking together. We’re really a team.”

Coming out of the timeout, Canton won six of the final seven points, getting a kill and an ace from Harris in the span to win 25-19 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Harris finished with eight kills, a block, and an ace in the third game.

“We need that second option if we’re going to win,” Cawley said. “Taylor hits the ball the hardest, she’s just trying to find her groove and keep it in play while still being aggressive. She’s working really hard on it, and she’s also a really good defensive player. She plays all six spots for her, she’s upped her game for us. She played well against Holliston too so I think she plays well under pressure.”

The momentum from the win in the third set carried over into the fourth set. Devine landed a kill and had a block, Shea, Rose Hazam, and Nicole Brown (28 assists, 11 digs, six kills) all had a kill, and Harris added two kills as Canton raced out to a 12-2 lead.

The strong beginning was all Canton needed as the Bulldogs went on to win the fourth set 25-9 to secure a 3-1 victory.

Canton volleyball (19-2) advances to the D2 Central Final and will play the winner of #2 Groton-Dunstable (18-2) and Westboro (17-3) on Saturday at Wellesley with a time to be determined. It marks the fifth time in the last seven years that Canton has reached the sectional final.

Mansfield Blanked By Brockton In South Quarterfinals

Mansfield boys soccer
Mansfield’s Dylan Buchanan battles for possession against Brockton in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – In the second half, the Mansfield boys soccer team applied plenty of pressure against Brockton, creating chances off corner kicks and throw ins.

But the Hornets couldn’t break through, and the pressure came just a bit too late as #11 Brockton used a pair of first half goals and added a third one on a counter attack midway through the second half to secure a 3-0 victory over #3 Mansfield.

The Boxers, a team much better than your typical #11 seed, had complete control over the first 40 minutes of the game. Brockton had a lion’s share of the possession and neutralized Mansfield’s attempts to get up field.

“They have a hell of a lot of talent over there,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan.

While the Boxers didn’t create a ton of goal scoring chances, they did capitalize on the opportunities they did have. After controlling the game of the opening 15 minutes, the visitors found the back of the net to go ahead.

After earning a free kick along the right flank, Brockton’s Luis Spinola served the ball to the near post to teammate Leonardo Teixeira. Teixeira had his first touch blocked down but tracked it down and fired in a shot at the near post on a tough angle to make it 1-0.

While Mansfield began to work its way into the game some, earning its first corner and first real attacking throw in, the Boxers struck again in the 33rd minute. Vanilton Xavier and Teixeira combined to get Xavier out wide. After using a cut back to avoid two defenders and centered it back to Teixeira, who headed in a ball he played up to himself.

“They played a little bit more aggressive,” Sheridan said, as compared to the regular season meeting between the clubs. “They were passive the first time, they didn’t play aggressive until the second half. In this game, they came out from the get go with a lot more gusto than the first time. We came out timid but we settled down. After the lightning break, we took it too them. We just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”

Mansfield’s lone chance of the opening half came off the foot of junior Colin Caridi, who blasted a low shot from 20 yards out but it slid wide at the far post.

“First, we had to keep the ball,” said Brockton head coach Herminio Furtado about defending Mansfield. “As long as you keep the ball, you’re safe. Second, don’t give them throw ins, they love that. We’d rather play from the back and if we lose it, just try to win it back instead of playing it out and giving them throw ins. It was about possessing and being conservative.”

The second half came to an abrupt halt just over minutes in because of a lightning delay. After the teams cleared the field, play resumed 36 minutes later. After the delay, the Hornets ramped up the pressure.

Mansfield had three straight conner kicks in the 38th minute, but only the final one had a chance on goal with Luke Savoie’s header saved on a bounce.

While Teixeira didn’t play a lot of minutes for Brockton in the second half, he did have a chance in the 51st minute but Mansfield junior keeper Cam Bovey made the stop.

While the Hornets pushed numbers forward, the chances on goal didn’t pile up. Instead, the Boxers were able to strike on a quick counter attack. Edson Lopes played Joel Arsenault wide but as soon as Lopes released the ball, he took off sprinting forward and was rewarded for his run as Arsenault slipped a ball in behind and Lopes touched it around the keeper for a 3-0 lead in the 60th minute.

“They only [broke us down] a couple of times.” Sheridan said. “The third goal, we were pushing numbers up and had less guys in the back…2-0, 3-0, 4-0…didn’t matter, we had to go for it.”

Mansfield’s best chance of the game came a minute later as Luke Devine flicked a ball in behind on a header and Savoie fired a hard low shot across the goal but it hit off the far post and rolled across the goal line, somehow staying out and keeping the Hornets scoreless.

Mansfield boys soccer finishes the season 13-3-5.

Second Half Surge Sends King Philip Into South Semis

King Philip field hockey
King Philip’s Alli Meehan brings the ball up against Barnstable in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip field hockey dominated the first half, applying a lot of pressure and keeping the ball in its attacking half, but the Warriors had no success finding the back of the net.

Despite five penalty corners and three shots on goal — and one that hit the post, and one just over the crossbar — King Philip’s offense was stymied by a compact Barnstable defense and went into the halftime break scoreless.

So King Philip co-head coaches Erin MacDonald and Kim Meehan decided to even up the numbers to start the second half, bringing up sophomore Abby Nixon from the midfield to be a fourth forward.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The change paid off as King Philip’s offense finally broke through off the stick of Nixon, and from there the third-seeded Warriors rolled to a 4-0 win over #11 Barnstable.

“We had to put another forward up top,” MacDonald said of the adjustment. “We took a midfielder and moved her up because we weren’t getting through all of the players they had inside the circle. Abby Nixon getting the first goal started the momentum, that one goal changed everything.”

King Philip’s best chances of the first half came in a five-minute span. In the eighth minute, senior Nicole Connor hit a hard shot through traffic but it bounced off the post and hit off a teammate’s foot to give possession to the Raiders.

And four minutes later, Connor found senior classmate Kate Lindmark on a corner and Lindmark lofted a shot over the defense but the ball bounced just over the crossbar and on top of the cage.

The Warriors continued the pressure in the second half, and the adjustment of Nixon up top paid off in the 42nd minute. King Philip peppered the Barnstable keeper with four shots in a shot, first off the stick of Alli Meehan, then from Nixon, again from Meehan, and the final one from Nixon into the back of the cage to make it 1-0.

“We needed more forwards, we had so many opportunities in the beginning but we weren’t scoring.” Kim Meehan said. “So we made some adjustments to get another player forward. It felt like we got the right mix on the field and then we scored.”

After going scoreless for just over 40 minutes, King Philip’s offense needed less than a minute to double its lead.

The Warriors quickly pushed the ball up field and earned a corner. Off the corner, the ball worked its way around to freshman Meghan MacDonald and she used a nice back hand shot to beat the keeper to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

“When you have four forwards, it just changes the whole dynamic because you get more touches in the offensive end,” Kim Meehan said. “We’ve been playing with three forwards the whole season but we had to adjust to their line. They had everyone but one player back in the circle at times. It shows we’re doing something right on offense but we had to make an adjustment.”

The offense continued to click, converting another corner in the 50th minute. After Lindmark sent the ball into the circle, Alli Meehan and Connor executed a perfect give-and-go. Meehan found Connor, who dished it right back and Meehan smashed her shot in to make it 3-0.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With so many numbers back trying to stop KP’s offense, Barnstable’s best chance offensively was on the counter attack. One of the few chances they had going forward came in the 53rd minute. Barnstable’s forward came streaking up field but her counter bid was thwarted by Emma Izydorczak.

King Philip added one final tally in the 54th minute. The Warriors used its speed to get past the defense as Alli Meehan connected with Nixon right in front. But instead of shooting, Nixon used an extra pass to find Raegan Simeone all by herself in front of goal and the junior buried her chance to make it 4-0.

King Philip field hockey (18-1-1) advances to the D1 South Semifinal and will play #2 Somerset-Berkley (19-1) in a rematch of last year’s D1 South Final (KP won 1-0). The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 at Taunton High School.

Late Goal Gives Walpole Win Over Oliver Ames

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Haendel Louhis dribbles the ball into the attacking third against Walpole. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For the past two seasons, Oliver Ames has been responsible for ending Walpole’s season.

The Rebels reversed the roles in 2018.

#11 Walpole scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, leading to a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Oliver Ames.

Two seasons ago, the Tigers upset Walpole with a dominate performance. And last year, OA’s James Gillespie scored in double overtime to send the Rebels home.

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This time around, it was Walpole’s Aidan Murray that pounced on a loose ball in a scrum off a corner kick in the final minutes of the game for the game-winner.

“We have a little history with them, [in the tournament], they got us last year so this was kind of sweet here,” said Walpole head coach Lee Delaney. “I thought the turning point of the game was the save on the PK. The next goal in the game was going to be a big one so that was a huge save. I thought we really took it too them, had a lot of dangerous chances in the box where we just couldn’t find someone’s foot. [OA] is a good club, I know they are young. I knew it would be a toss up game, OA is always a great match but I’m glad we’re on this side this time.

“We have a couple of set plays on corners and you hope to convert them but it takes great execution. Sometimes it just takes a second ball in a scrum. It’s kind of how we lost last year, we cleared it off our own guy and it went right to their guy and he knocked it in.”

The late goal didn’t allow the Tigers much time to orchestrate an attack to try and tie the game. For OA head coach John Barata, the game should have still been tied because of a missed call.

“They were horrendous…both hand balls, knocked down and they finished…the refs didn’t call either so it was frustrating for sure,” Barata said. “They came here with a mission to play us off the ball, thump everything forward as direct as possible and go at us. I think the young guys got a little bit of a lesson that they’ll take with them. We have a good amount of kids back so they’ll learn from this.

“I thought the game was very back and forth, which is what we expected from Walpole. It’s a tough match, it’s tough to lose anytime. I think Walpole will give a lot of teams a run for their money.”

It was a back-and-forth start with both sides venturing into the attack third. OA keeper Jacob Lerman easily handled a Walpole shot from distance early and OA’s Haendel Louhis had a pair of chances go just wide, a shot from the top of the box in the 9th minute, and a header off a throw from Andrew Leite.

Oliver Ames broke through in the 27th minute. After senior Sean Flaherty was fouled at the top of the area, sophomore Colin Milliken stepped up and hit a well-struck free kick to give the Tigers the lead. Milliken hit his right footed shot up and over the wall, freezing the keeper on the line for a 1-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long though as Walpole scored just over a minute later to level the game. Walpole sent a corner in and Lerman made a nice stop on the first bid but the rebound fell to Daniel Colbert and he buried it.

“That’s the tough point, that’s one of the maturing factors we talk about all the time,” Barata said of giving up a quick equalizer. “The sad part was that it was the same exact thing, on a corner kick, we know what they’re trying to do. To give it up a minute a half later is tough but that’s the M.O. of a young team and we’ve done that a couple of times this year.”

In the second half, Walpole came out flying and applied a lot of pressure over the first 15 minutes. The best chance fell to the feet of Rebels’ senior Conor McDonough. McDonough took down a ball over the top and had a one-on-one chance against Lerman but the OA keeper came up and was position perfectly to knock the bid aside.

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Oliver Ames had a golden chance to take the lead midway through the second half but were denied by Walpole keeper Dennis Crowley. OA sophomore Kevin Louhis used his speed to get past a defender and into the area but was brought down and the Tigers were awarded a penalty kick. Flaherty hit a low shot to the right side but Crowley made a diving save to keep the ball out and keep the game tied 1-1.

“Their keeper made a good save, so there’s nothing wrong there,” Barata said. “We dominated the rest of the game from that point. They took it to us the first 10 minutes of the second half, they came flying at us. They made some adjustments and gave us some problems initially. Once we settled in, we got the PK, everything was in our favor…but then it was just a bad call, I just can’t hold back on it. It was a horrible no call on the goal. Just didn’t feel fair to end the game like that. But Walpole is a very good team, a lot of seniors, they work their bollocks off so I have a ton of respect for their boys/

Oliver Ames boys soccer finishes the season 8-4-5.

Franklin Edged By BC High In Tournament Opener

Franklin boys soccer
Franklin’s Tim Duval makes a move past BC High’s Brendan Kennedy in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Timing is everything, especially in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the seventh-seeded Franklin boys soccer team, it was the 10th-seeded BC High Eagles that were on the right end of things.

The Eagles scored a goal in the final seconds of the first half to level the match, and then just minutes after Franklin had a golden chance, BC High scored the go-ahead goal and earned a 2-1 decision on the road at Pisini Field.

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“It was frustrating but we had our chances to score too, and it was frustrating that we didn’t finish there. I think in the end, probably the better team won, they were bigger and more athletic than we were. But I thought our kids played really hard and gave it their best shot. I’m really happy with the team and the season. They really turned it around the second half of the season, which I hope will give the returning players motivation to build off of next year.”

While BC High came out with all the energy, it was Franklin that struck first, opening the scoring just over 15 minutes into the contest.

In just their second foray into the attacking third, the Panthers cashed in. Junior Lucas Moura collected a clearance attempt and alertly played the ball in behind a pair of defenders. Senior Ethan Bowenmade the run onto the ball, getting a touch to the ball just as the BC High keeper came sliding out. The keeper got a piece of the shot but not enough as Bowen’s touch found the back of the net and gave Franklin a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.

After the Eagles had controlled the game, the goal from the Panthers seemed to instill some confidence and the game equaled out in terms of possession and chances as halftime approached.

In fact, best chance over the next 20 minutes belonged to the host Panthers. In the 29th minute, senior Nick Barry switched the field of play with a nice cross to an open Tim Duval but his shot from atop the area went over the bar.

Just as it looked liked the Panthers would take a lead into the halftime break, the Eagles leveled the match. Off a corner kick in the final minute, BC High had its initial bid parried away by junior keeper Jack Rudolph but the rebound fell to the feet of Eagles’ senior Luke Reid and he buried the loose ball to knot the score.

“There’s no question, our goal clearly changed things,” Bositis said of his team getting confidence from the first goal. “There’s no doubt we played with more confidence after that. But giving up the goal right before halftime, that was the killer for me. Giving up a goal with 30 seconds in the half, that’s a big momentum swing.”

While BC High gained some momentum at the break, the Panthers quickly reasserted themselves in the game, having their best three chances of the second half in the first 20 minutes of the frame.

In the 45th minute, Duval found junior Donny Tappin and his first touch put him through a pair of defenders but his off balance bid was over the bar.

Two minutes alter, the Panthers continued to apply the pressure as Barry ripped a hard cross that forced a diving save in the area from the keeper to prevent the ball from finding a recipient.

And then in the 58th minute, Franklin had its best chance to take the lead back. Duval battled his way past a defender on a long ball from Nitin Chaudhury to get into the area. He beat another defender and cut past the oncoming keeper to have a look at the net but his bid with the outside of his foot rolled wide of the frame.

The Panthers found themselves on the end of an unlucky call just minutes later after the ref in front of the play allowed the play to continue, but the official on the opposite side of the field called Franklin for a foul.

The Eagles sent the free kick into the area and a scrum ensued before Anatoliy Berezyuk got the final touch on it for a 2-1 lead.

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Franklin boys soccer made a push in the final minutes, pushing all players forward in search of services from junior Sam Stowell, but the Panthers couldn’t create a chance on target.

The Panthers finish the season 10-7-2.

“Our goal was to get into the tournament,” Bositis said. “I wasn’t sure how many games we’d win but I was very happy for them to get 10 wins. The first half of the season didn’t go as we expected, I thought we’d be a bit better. But at the halfway point, they turned it around and went 7-1-1 down the stretch, they had some really good games. And they worked their butts off tonight too.”

Takeaways Help Mansfield Pull Away From Barnstable

Mansfield football
Mansfield senior quarterback Aidan Sacco leaps over a Barnstable player in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Holding a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Mansfield football team was in search of a stop that could potentially change the game.

The Hornets might not have gotten the stop in terms of yardage, but they got something even better.

Going for it on fourth and one from its own 34-yard line, Barnstable quarterback Matt Petercuskie (12/38, 116 yards) lined up under center, snapped the ball and appeared to get enough of a push for a first down. While fighting for extra yards, the QB extended the ball out.

Mansfield senior linebacker Philip Dinov alertly punched the ball free and it popped right into the arms of junior Michael DeBolt (eight carries, 48 yards), who took off for a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 21-10 Hornet advantage with under nine minutes to go.

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It turned out to be the biggest play of the game and the Hornet defense didn’t break the rest of the way as top-seeded Mansfield earned a 28-10 victory over the fifth-seeded Red Raiders.

“I thought the defense played lights off,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “The fake punt was foolish on my part but we only gave up the three which helped. In the second half, the defense was lights out. Makhi [Baskin], obviously the picks were gigantic momentum changers. The offense played well enough to score enough points. That’s a good football team that we just beat. We were a little shorthanded tonight so it was a gutsy win. I think tonight it was the defense stepping up against a really good offensive team that had 35 points last week, this was a defensive win tonight.”

DeBolt finished with three touchdowns with his two others coming on the ground. The junior missed the first three games after suffering an injury in preseason. He’s played on the defensive side of the ball since Week 4 but didn’t start on offense until the final game of the regular season.

“It feels great to be back out there,” DeBolt said “I was really down after I got hurt in preseason but I’ve worked my way back here. On that fourth down, there was a big pile and Phil Dinov just punched the ball free. It popped up right to me so I just took off, I didn’t hear a whistle so I kept going.”

While Mansfield extended the lead with the fumble recovery, the Hornets put the game to rest with its next defensive series.

Facing another fourth down, this one from its own 41-yard line with six yards to gain, Petercuskie dropped back to pass but Mansfield junior Makhi Baskin read it perfect, jumping the route and picking off the pass. Baskin took the return 40 yard down to the Barnstable 14-yard line.

Two straight runs from DeBolt resulted in a score, the second one from 3-yards out and the Hornets suddenly had a 28-10 lead with 5:40 to play.

“Turnovers turned the game,” Redding said. “Our defense came up big and forced those turnovers and our first unit didn’t turn it over. “We were expecting a sneak [on the previous drive], we were blitzing in and they still got a push, it looked like he was fighting for extra yards and coughed it up. That’s a huge turnaround right there. And then we got the interception on the next series.”

The last 5:40 took 30 minutes to play but the Hornet defense didn’t break at all and kept the Red Raiders out of the end zone despite a pair of trips inside the red zone.

Though Mansfield’s defense had a terrific game, it had a slow start as the Red Raiders came out firing. The visitors marched 75 yards on 16 plays, converting a fourth down inside the red zone on a questionable catch call. Barnstable’s hurry up offense and quick screens gave Mansfield some issues, and Petercuskie used a QB option keeper to score from five yards out to make it 7-0 just 5:03 into the game.

Mansfield’s offense had an important response right away, scoring on its opening drive to tie the game. After DeBolt had a nice return, the Hornets used their ground game to move the ball. After quarterback Aidan Sacco (14 rushes, 110 yards) had a couple of nice gains, DeBolt punched it in on third down from two yards out to make it 7-7 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

After the opening drive, Mansfield’s defense did a nice job adjusting to the Barnstable offense, which Redding credited to defensive coordinator Mark DeGirolamo. The Raiders’ next two possessions ended in three-and-outs and negative yardage.

“Coach DeGirolamo talked to the secondary about how to line up against the quads. We didn’t practice it all week and he did a good adjustment to handle their quick little screen game. We were able to double Conner Baldasaro, took their best receiver out of the game and the key was we covered the other guys one-on-one and did a great job there. Coach DeGirolamo gave them a lot of different coverages, their QB is so smart so we tried to throw a lot of looks at him and we might have thrown him off a little bit.

Mansfield’s offense didn’t fair much better as they saw a 33-yard field goal attempt go wide right on their second drive. And on their third drive, facing fourth and 5 from its own 44, the Hornets elected for a fake punt call and came up a half yard short with 1:15 to go in the half.

That was just enough time for Barnstable to get down field and Jonathan Silva hit a 25-yard field goal as time expired to give the visitors a 10-7 advantage at half.

Similar to its first drive of the first half, Mansfield’s offense had a key opening drive to the second half. The Hornets orchestrated a 10-play, 59 yard drive to take the lead for the first time in the contest.

After yet another good return from DeBolt on the kickoff, the Hornets converted a first down n a carry from Vinnie Holmes at midfield, only for an unsportsmanlike penalty to knock them back 15 yards. Although Sacco ran for 11-yards, the Hornets were called for holding on the next play and faced 1st and 20 from their own 39 yard line.

Sacco ran for four yards, hit Danny Rapoza for a key 10-yard gain and then jolted seven yards past the marker for a first down.

DeBolt followed with a 19-yard run and then Holmes took one up the middle, breaking a tackle and looked like he was about to fall into the end zone for a touchdown. But the ball was poked free and rolled into the end zone. A handful of players jumped on it but it was Holmes that somehow got up and jumped on the ball for a touchdown.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With Mansfield leading 14-10, the teams traded punts to finish out the third quarter, setting up the next drive where DeBolt had the fumble return.

Now Mansfield football turns its attention to the D2 South Final, where it will host rival King Philip. The third-seeded Warriors took down Natick, 17-7, to advance to its third straight sectional final. The teams met back in September at Alumni Field with Mansfield prevailing, 28-27, after KP’s two-point conversion attempt in the final minute came up empty.

“I asked them what could be better than beating KP twice in one season?” Reading said of his brief postgame comments to his team. “They did it to use last year and now we have a chance to do it to them. I think it’s great for our league that the two best teams can make it to the final and have an all-Hockomock League final with the winner going to Gillette, it just shows how good the league is.”

The D2 South Final between the Hornets and Warriors is scheduled for a 7:00PM kickoff at Alumni Field on Friday.