In the 56th minute of the University of Vermont’s fourth game of the season, former Foxboro standout Joe Morrison was able to cushion a ball into the path of fellow senior Alex Nagy, who rifled a shot under the bar for what turned out to be the game-winner against Princeton. While Morrison would admit that the finish may have overshadowed the pass, it was an important moment for the midfielder, who has been battling an injury for several years, to record his first assist since the 2019 season.
“It wasn’t much of an assist really,” Morrison said with a laugh. “Being able to celebrate with him and the guys, there’s nothing better than celebrating a goal with the team, especially at home with your home fans finally back.”
Each of the last three seasons, Morrison has been managing a groin injury that has kept him from being able to play a full 90 minutes and forced him to adapt his game. After playing 19 games with nine starts as a freshman and starting 14-of-15 games as a sophomore, he only played off the bench in four of UVM’s eight games last year and has yet to make a start this fall.
He was an all-conference performer as a freshman, scoring once and assisting on another, and scored twice and had three assists in his second season in Burlington. Heading into this weekend’s America East opener with Stony Brook, Morrison received word that he has been cleared to play full games and he hopes that will allow his role to expand.
“Last game was really the first game where I felt like myself,” he explained, “but I think it’s just something I’m always going to have to deal with and manage and treat it. Learning how to play limited was definitely an obstacle, but it was better than not playing.”
When asked about the difficulty of trying to fight through an injury and continue to contribute, Morrison replied, “It’s just frustrating more than anything. Knowing that I don’t have that extra burst to beat a guy off the dribble, instead I’m going to have make an easy pass. It’s something you learn to play with. Instead of using my athleticism, you use your intelligence more, be smart, and know when to take chances. It’s really frustrating.”
In 2020-21, due to the pandemic, UVM was only able to play eight games, going 5-2-1 and losing to top seed UNH in the America East Tournament final. This fall, things are feeling a little more normal around the program and Morrison appreciates the moments on the pitch that provide a much-needed distraction from the real world.
“In a way, it’s kind of like a therapy,” he said. “It’s two hours a day where you don’t think about anything besides playing soccer. You’re not even really thinking about playing soccer, you’re just playing. When you’re off the field, there are so many distractions.”
Having teammates to share the experience of this past year has been critical to overcoming the challenges and the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“What we were going through for a year, year and a half, was terrible,” Morrison reflected, “but you had 30 of your best friends going through it with you. We all knew how bad it was but when you do it together, with your closest friends, it makes it a lot easier.”
Morrison came to UVM after an award-filled four years at Foxboro. He played two years with the soccer team, earning All-State honors and being named to the HockomockSports.com Best XI both years. The 2014 Underclassman of the Year helped the Warriors make two deep playoff runs, but he chose to play for the Boston Bolts academy during his junior and senior seasons.
“Those high school kids, I played soccer with for 15 years and I guess you can kind of say it was a selfish decision to play academy,” he said, “but it was something I really had to at least for one year. I really wanted to play high school my senior year, but looking back it was probably a good decision I didn’t. Playing academy, it was high level, it was five, six days a week and it really helped. Right when I got here, I felt like I was ready to contribute.”
Unlike most of the academy players, Morrison did continue his basketball career for all four years at Foxboro and was named the HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and Player of the Year as a senior. He continues to have a positive relationship with Foxboro coach Jon Gibbs, who went to a recent UVM game to see him play.
“There was nothing better than playing a sport with all your buddies that you grew up with, playing for your town,” Morrison said. “It was so special. Jon was incredible too. He was an incredible role model, mentor, he still keeps in touch with all of us. He did so much for me in high school, I appreciate him so much.”
It has been a bright start to the season for the Catamounts, who opened with five straight wins and hadn’t allowed a goal until this weekend’s game with Stony Brook. Despite having a 17-to-7 edge in shots (seven to three in shots on goal), UVM suffered its first loss of the season against the Seawolves. Morrison recorded a season-high three shots in the match.
Although UVM suffered a loss in its conference opener, the Catamounts have started well and Morrison feels the squad has the potential to make this a special season, especially as his confidence, health, and overall play continue to improve.
“Yeah, we’re doing well,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. Winning is fun…We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of guys that just want to win games. We have a really cohesive team and that’s the goal, make the NCAA Tournament and make a run for the title.”
CANTON, Mass. – Canton and Milford both went into Saturday morning’s divisional crossover match at WWII Veterans Memorial Field with two losses from their opening two games. Both wanted to record their first victory to build momentum for the long season ahead.
After sharing four goals in the final 15 minutes, including two in the final five, they had to settle for a first point. Serena Borges put Milford in front with three minutes to play but almost immediately from the kick off Canton leveled thanks to Anne Hoban and the game finished in a 2-2 draw.
“A tie is better than a loss,” said Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “I think it’s going to have the next couple of games at home and I think we can build around that. I think this point can help us build a little momentum.”
It was a match filled with chances on both ends. The hosts had the first opportunity when Allie McCabe had a shot from distance that forced a save out of Milford keeper Yvonette Lima. After 15 minutes, the Hawks should have had the lead when Kaylee Whitney pounced on a short clearance by Canton goalie Marissa Staffiere and crossed to freshman Paige Caldon, but her header went wide of the open net.
Canton was attacking down the wings, trying to get in behind Milford’s young outside backs. Hoban, who has moved from defense to forward this season, hit a low cross from the left that Lima did well to cut out at the feet of Gabriella Herivaux. A couple minutes later, Emma Cahill got forward on the right and crossed for Hoban, but Lima was able to get behind the close-range shot.
“She never saw a day of varsity soccer before this year,” Milford coach Lou Colabello said of Lima. “She had 14 saves the first game, 16 saves the second game, and today she kept us in the game. She’s an athlete.”
After Milford went close from a Borges corner that bounced in the six-yard box, Emily McCabe forced Lima into a good save on a long free kick and then McCabe set up Hoban with a cross to the back post only for the header to go wide. Dani Atherton beat her marker on the right and crossed to Caldon, but the freshman couldn’t get enough on it to put the shot on net. Atherton again showed her skill to beat one defender on the right and tee up Brooke Ferreira for a shot from 20 yards out that landed on the roof of the net.
“We had more possession, more in their half, and just didn’t utilize it enough,” Senyonjo explained. “I think that’s going to be our biggest issue is that we don’t have many goal scorers this season. We’re going to have to find ways to use the chances we get. We let other teams get back into the game. If we finish some of those chances, maybe it could have gone differently.”
The first half was end-to-end and the chances kept coming in bunches for both sides after the break.
Just four minutes into the second half, Brianna Guerreiro was able to open space for a cross on the right and she picked out Caldon at the back stick. The ball was redirected back across goal and was going to sneak inside the post before Allie McCabe was able to clear off the line.
Two minutes later, Emily McCabe nearly broke the deadlock with another free kick, slamming one off the bar. Hoban then got free on the left side of the box and forced Lima into a good save. In the 52nd minute, Hoban again got loose in the left channel, running onto a through ball and forcing Lima into a sliding block.
The opening goal finally came in the 65th minute. Hoban found space on the left and crossed it to Herivaux in the middle of the box. The senior striker didn’t make clean contact but knocked it on target. Lima was able to make a full stretch save, but could only palm it into the path of Han Hong and she smashed in the rebound to make it 1-0.
Momentum was short-lived. Milford had a corner two minutes later and Borges was able to pick out Amy Oliveira. Her header deflected off a Canton defender on its way to goal, wrong-footing keeper Elyse Broderick and finding the back of the net.
Atherton nearly put the Hawks in front with five minutes to go. She got loose on the right and slid a shot past Broderick but not past Allie McCabe, who had her second goal line clearance of the game. Two minutes later, the Hawks pulled in front. Atherton created the opening, this time on the left side, and played the ball into Borges on the edge of the box. Borges took a nifty touch to get the ball onto her right foot and then curled a shot into the far corner.
It felt like the game-winner, but Canton created an almost immediate equalizer. As with so much of the Bulldogs attack, Hoban got in behind the Milford defense and the senior opened up her body and calmly side-footed her shot to Lima’s left.
Colabello said, “It goes back to knowing how to win in this league. When you get that lead, especially on the road, the confidence has got to be that we’re going to win. You can’t hope to win or try not to lose. You make a mental mistake and people are going to make you pay for it.”
Even though there was less than two minutes remaining, there was somehow still time for Emily McCabe to force Lima into yet another save and for Atherton to bend a shot that went narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
“One of the things to be really proud of is that we didn’t give up,” Senyonjo “That’s one of the things that we did in the first couple games. We gave up a couple goals and it went down and out whereas today I think there was belief that we could get a goal. Responding like that should get them pumped up for the next game.”
“Is it a good tie?” Colabello asked. “Surely after the two losses, and we haven’t beaten them in two years. Today was the best effort [of the season] for sure.”
Canton (0-2-1) will be back at home on Monday when it hosts Stoughton. Milford (0-2-1) will also be home on Monday for a visit from Attleboro.
Today’s games are listed below.
Milford, 44 @ Wellesley, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Evan Cornelius 51-yard pass to Nick Schuler, Nicholas Araujo XP good; (M) E. Cornelius 31-yard pass to Jaden Agnew, N. Araujo XP good; (M) E. Cornelius 20-yard pass to Isaiah Pantalone, N. Araujo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Grant Scudo 81-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) N. Araujo 38-yard field goal; (W) Vincent Ferrara 65-yard pass to Jack Poirier, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) N. Araujo 32-yard field goal; (M) N. Araujo interception return, N. Araujo XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) N. Araujo 45-yard field goal.
Stoughton, 0 @ East Bridgewater, 4 – Final
Taunton, 4 @ New Bedford, 2 – Final – Emily Calderon scored twice to power Taunton to its first win of the season and first win for second-year coach Mike Couture (the Tigers only played four games last year). Ava Alves and Janessa Arguello also scored for Taunton, while goalie Isabella Anslow had a strong game and helped keep the team together defensively to earn the victory.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It had been nearly seven years since Mansfield and North Attleboro last met on the gridiron, the longest drought in a rivalry that dates back a century.
It turned out to be worth the wait.
The Hornets tied the game with under a minute to go and then scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in both overtime periods to upend the Rocketeers, 31-29, in double overtime at Community Field.
It marked the first time the rivals played one another in overtime.
“It was a special environment here at Community, one of the last old school places. I have such respect for their coaches, we knew they were going to be ready to play,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “I thought we just hung on in the second half. It wasn’t going our way, we couldn’t get much going. We did just enough.”
North Attleboro was close to putting the game out of reach with just over four minutes to play. Nathan Shultz sliced through the Mansfield defense to the tune of 65 yards to put the Rocketeers in prime position near the red zone. North got a first down but nothing more as Mansfield’s defense held, forcing the Big Red into a field goal attempt.
The Hornets got a second life when the 28-yard attempt went wide, but they had just 4:11 to play with no timeouts and 80 yards to gain.
Junior Conner Zukowski (18-for 29, 302 yards, four touchdowns) led the game-tying drive for the Hornets. After converting a third down early in the drive, the Hornets went on to march 80 yards on 10 plays, finished off when Zukowski floated one to sophomore Trevor Foley (7 catches, 113 yards, three touchdowns) in the corner of the end zone. Zukowski also hit Dana Johnson three times on the drive for 63 yards.
Foley hauled in the two-point conversion pass right at the goal line, was hit back, stayed on his feet, and then stretched out over the line to tie the game, 15-15, with 0:49 seconds to play.
“I felt like we really played young in the first half but in the second half we showed a lot of character, they really stepped up and played like veterans,” Redding said. “Every week I think we’ll make progress but we just have to learn to play for four quarters.”
Mansfield started on offense for the first overtime and on the first play, Zukowski went right back to Foley, floating one to the back right corner and the 6’4 sophomore did the rest, out-leaping the defender to grab the score. Zukowski found Drew Sacco cutting across the middle for the two-point conversion and the Hornets jumped ahead 23-15.
North got the ball down to the 1-yard line on its first three plays and senior Tyler DeMattio — who made the switch from quarterback to running back this week — bulldozed his way in on fourth down to keep North alive. Freshman quarterback Chase Frisoli (6-for-9, 86 yards) fired a low bullet and Gavin Wells made a nice catch for the two-point conversion to knot it 23-23 and send it to double overtime.
The Rocketeers took their turn on offense first and despite a big push from the Hornet defensive line, DeMattio (19 carries, 65 yards) was able to bounce it outside and scamper into the end zone. A false start pushed North back five yards and the conversion pass was swatted away by Foley at the goal line.
On Mansfield’s first play, Zukowski backpedaled before dumping off a screen pass to Rocco Scarpellini, who broke free of a pair of tackles to get into the end zone. On the two-point try, Zukowski lofted a pass to the back left of the end zone to Foley for the win.
“It was a great game, both teams played tough and it’s tough for any team to walk away from a game like this with a loss,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “We’d rather but on the other side of it but I’m proud of our kids, especially after the disappointing loss last week. I thought our kids worked really hard to bounce back.
“We played better. We didn’t play good enough to win but we played better this week than we did last week so we’re happy about that. And with the new rating system, a two-point loss isn’t so bad anymore.”
Mansfield opened the game with a touchdown on the first drive. The Hornets went 3-for-3 on third down on the drive, moving the ball all the way down to the 2-yard line after Zukowski linked up with Foley for 26 yards. A high snap forced Mansfield into a 3rd and goal from the 24 but Zukowski found Foley in one-on-one coverage on the left side. James Gilleran’s point after put the visitors up 7-0 with 7:16 left in the first quarter.
North was forced to punt but DeMattio pinned the Hornets at their own 2-yard line. The ball came free on a handoff attempt and it was ruled DeMattio recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. A scramble on the point after attempt ended up intercepted and Mansfield held its advantage at 7-6 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.
“We had used him last year at back in the Century Game so it’s always been in the package but it gives us the ability to do some different things on offense, and it also lets us play him on defense,” Johnson said of moving DeMattio from quarterback to running back and linebacker. “We haven’t had the luxury to have him play both ways but he’s a senior now, sometimes you have to roll the dice and just get your best players on the field.”
Wells put an end to another Mansfield drive with an interception and the Rocketeers forced a punt on the next series. Tyler Bannon converted a third down with a 12-yard run, and Shultz followed suit with a 12-yard run on his own, followed by a late hit call to get the hosts inside the 10-yard line.
Two plays later, DeMattio ran it in from four yards out to put North Attleboro ahead. Caden Colby and Mark DeGirolamo combined to stuff the two-point rush attempt.
Mansfield drove into North territory late in the first half, going 65 yards on eight plays but Danny Curran read the pass perfectly and stepped in front for an interception in the end zone to prevent any further damage, keeping a 15-7 lead at halftime.
The defenses were the stars for the majority of the second half. North was forced to punt after a three-and-out to start the second half, fumbled on its second possession, and had to punt again at the end of the third quarter after a big sack from Mansfield’s Aidan Devlin.
Meanwhile, Mansfield had a turnover on downs due to a fourth down sack from Tyler Bannon and had back-to-back punts. On its first three drives of the second half, Mansfield had a total of 62 yards before the final drive of 80 yards to tie the game.
“They didn’t play great against Feehan but we knew they were better than that,” Redding said of the Rocketeers. “They came out with a whole different look with DeMattio at running back and he runs really hard. The quarterback played well for a freshman, they were much better tonight than they were on film. They had us on our heels with their blitzing, with DeMattio coming, with Bannon coming off the edge — he’s a big, fast kid. We’re fortunate Zuk stepped up and had a heck of a night throwing the football, that was the difference.”
It marked Mansfield’s first win over North since 2013, although the team’s hadn’t played since 2014. It was the first overtime game in the rivalry; games previous ended in a tie at the conclusion of four quarters but that rule was changed about a decade ago.
“That was a classic, just about as good as high school football gets,” Redding said. “I’m glad the rivalry is back and we’ll see them at Alumni next year but maybe we’ll go up to Memorial [Park] and keep playing on the old-school fields.”
Mansfield football (2-0) will have its first home game of the season next week when it welcomes another member of the Hockomock League’s Davenport division in Stoughton. North Attleboro (0-2) hits the road for the first time to take on another Kelley-Rex division foe in King Philip.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames girls soccer team controlled possession, applied a lot of pressure, and had nearly a dozen corners in the first half of its matchup with Franklin on Friday afternoon.
And at halftime, all they had to show for it was a 2-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
Oliver Ames continued to carry the play in the second half and found the back of the net twice to earn a 2-2 draw against the visiting Panthers.
“We were lucky to come away with a 2-2 tie,” admitted Franklin interim head coach Jodi Klein. “OA outplayed us for most of the game. We capitalized on some scoring opportunities which is wonderful but we were playing too slowly, not contesting for 50-50 balls enough. The last half of the second half, after it got level, we did a much better job. But I think we needed to increase our intensity.”
The Tigers picked up where they left off to start the second half, quickly moving up field to pressure the Panthers’ defense. There was a near chance less than a minute into the second half but Franklin junior Norah Anderson recovered well and timed her slide perfectly to deny an open look in the area.
OA continued its pressure and it finally paid off in the 47th minute after a superb effort from senior Camryn O’Connor. After gaining possession just over half near the middle of the pitch, O’Connor used her speed to race down the right wing, getting around the defender before inserting a low cross right to the six-yard line. Sophomore Lucinda Li Cotter made the run to the middle and used a deft touch to redirect the cross on a one-timer into the back of the net.
After failing to convert on 11 corners in the first 40 minutes, totaling eight shots on target, the Tigers were finally on the board early in the second half.
“Cam pretty much had to make a superhuman play just to get that cross off to Lu but that got us going,” said OA head coach Britt Sellmayer. “The girls showed a lot of character to fight and get back into the game.”
While the Tigers didn’t have as many chances in the second half, they still controlled the play. Just under 20 minutes after getting on the board, the hosts found the equalizer.
Lauren Sellmayer sent a free kick from just over half into the area at the far post. The ball bounced off a Franklin defender and fell in front to freshman Taylor deVos, who was all alone in front and buried the loose ball to knot the score 2-2 in the 66th minute.
“It’s a good tie, it’s early in the year, we’re still figuring it out,” Sellmayer said. “We played a little tense, made a mistake, and gave up a goal early and that’s going to happen. I don’t think they had as many chances as we did in the first half but had the lead. And they were tougher than us, more physical, and won those 50-50 balls. You have to credit them for that, they won those battles all game. Their back four is solid, it’s hard to get chances.
“It was a great game. Two good teams going at it and I think we had the edge just about everywhere except the scoreboard.”
Franklin’s best scoring chance for the go-ahead goal came in the 74th minute on a free kick in the attacking third. Senior Izzy Arnold put her shot from the left wing on target but OA keeper Emily Meyers handled it soundly.
While OA controlled the run of play over the first 40 minutes, it was Franklin that put the ball in the back of the net twice in the opening half.
Less than 10 minutes into the contest, a failed clearance from the OA defense went right to the feet of Stella Regan at the top of the area. Regan took a touch and then deposited her shot over the keeper and into the back of the net at the far post for a 1-0m advantage in the 9th minute.
Oliver Ames girls soccer
OA had its chances to pull level. The Tigers had two good looks in the 17th minute, the best of the two when freshman Emma Gavin saw her half volley tipped over the bar by Franklin keeper Rachel Welch. Senior Katie Gibson and junior Jenna Gilman also put in strong shifts for the Tigers.
Franklin almost doubled its lead moments later as sophomore striker Anya Zub forced a turnover and carried into the area but her low shot was denied. On the other end of the pitch, O’Connor saw her free kick to the far corner stopped by Welch, who parried the bid over the crossbar.
Five minutes later, the momentum swung back in favor of the visitors as they doubled their lead in the 28th minute. Anderson dropped a free kick in between the defense and the keeper, and Regan was the first to react to the loose ball, nodding it home off the bounce past the oncoming keeper.
“I’ll take a point on the road against a team like OA, especially given the fact that we did not play to our potential,” Klein said. “We didn’t have our best game but we played a good team and walk away with a point so I’ll take it.”
Oliver Ames girls soccer (2-0-1 Hock, 2-0-1 overall) returns to action on Monday with a road trip to division foe Sharon while Franklin (2-0-1, 2-0-1) returns home for a clash with Taunton on the same day.