The tie clinches the Bulldogs at least a share in the Davenport division title – the program’s first Hock title since 2013 – and a chance to win it outright with a win or tie against Stoughton night on Wednesday.
“We talked about the opportunity [to clinch] and to just play their game and to not overthink things,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Thanks to HockomockSports, the girls are all well aware where they stand. We tried not to make it too much of a focus. But in the second half, it was a little more about the urgency.”
“It was important to not get too crazy if we let up a goal. Sometimes mentally it can be tough to come back in the big games.”
Although Foxboro is mathematically still alive for a share of the title, the Warriors would need to beat North Attleboro and a win from the Black Knights over Canton. If the Warriors had picked up a win over visiting Canton on Monday, the two teams would be tied for first heading into the final game.
“It kind of feels like a loss because they played so well and gave so much effort that you want the win,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “But we’re putting ourselves in a good position to compete in the tournament, which is always next level hockey.
“I’m really psyched with how we played in the second half, you want to be a second half team. But I’m really pleased with how we played today and how we look going into the tournament.”
Despite being of the two top scoring squads in the Hockomock League, the two teams showed off why they are two of the stingiest in terms of goals against in the first half.
Foxboro had the lone shot on net in the opening five minutes but Riley Brown turned away Sophia DiCenso’s bid. Just minutes later, Foxboro got the ball behind the Canton defense but Brown came charging out and kicked it clear.
Canton had the lone two corners of the first half. The first, with just over 13 minutes left in the opening stanza, was denied when Foxboro’s defense was quick to get out and clear it out.
The second came with just over a minute to play, but once again Foxboro’s players were quick off the line and thwarted any chance before Canton could get a shot off.
“We worked on our defense,” Bordieri said. “We knew they were fast, we knew they were very skilled so we were prepared in how to play them. I thought the defense came up huge for us today.”
After a pedestrian first half, the second half started with a flurry of chances. Foxboro had three straight corner chances in the opening minutes.
The first two chances each resulted in a shot, but neither found the back of the cage. But on the third attempt, the ball popped out of a scrum in front. Junior Carly Stern placed a shot on net and just beat the diving effort of Brown to give Foxboro a 1-0 lead.
“I think we just needed to settle,” Bordieri said of the strong start to the second half. “I think we knew what we wanted to do, and knew what we could do, we just needed to settle and really start playing our game. We were kind of rushing it, and I thought we played with more poise in the second half.”
Foxboro’s defense limited the visiting Bulldogs to just one corner in the second half, and one shot on goal, but Canton made the most of its chance.
While in the attacking end, Foxboro was whistled for a foot infraction. Canton sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch quickly took the restart, sending the ball into the circle where senior Andrea McNeil got a perfect touch, tipping it past the outstretched effort of Foxboro’s Kelli McCarthy.
“I think the girls were thinking about the Davenport (title) in the first half and sometimes that stresses you out,” O’Connor said. “But we just told them to stay composed and play their game. And they were able to pull it back together.
“It was perfect timing, it came when we needed it. Nice hit, nice tip, nice position by everyone.”
Foxboro’s best chance to regain the lead came with just over 13 minutes to play. Off of Lily Daly’s corner, Jackie Brion stopped the pass and Catherine Luciano unleashed a shot. DiCenso got a tip in traffic but the ball bounced off the post and stayed out.
The Warriors had seven corners in the second half alone, but Canton’s defense did well to prevent any other goals.
“I thought our defense is an outstanding job against them, especially with their goal scorers like Lily [Daly],” O’Connor said. “I thought they did a very good job of limiting her opportunities in the circle.”
Canton field hockey (13-3-1 overall, 12-2-1 Hockomock) can clinch the Davenport title outright with either a win or tie against Stoughton on Wednesday at 6:30. Foxboro (12-3-1, 11-3-1) concludes its league schedule by hosting North Attleboro on Wednesday.
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