Second Half Comeback Lifts Taunton Over Sharon

Taunton boys soccer
Taunton’s Mateusz Hagemajer fends off Sharon’s Isaiah Stessman late in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton boys soccer team didn’t win the battle of possession or have the most chances in the game, but it did have the advantage where it mattered most: the score.

The Tigers weathered a strong attack from Sharon, countering with two second half goals, including the game-winner in the final five minutes, to pick up a 2-1 win.

“For this team, it’s about a belief system,” said Taunton head coach Taylor Whitters. “They have to really believe in what they are capable of, because they are capable of a lot, this team has a lot of talent. It’s about being confident. This team in particular, they don’t give up. They are really embracing the “we” mentality over “me” and I think thats’ carrying them through.

“They are determined and resilient, and that showed today. We can’t come out flat like we did. But I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team for staying with it.”

With the game tied 1-1, Taunton senior Brett Beaulieu won a one-on-one battle on the left flank, dribbled into open space and drove a perfectly weighted cross into the senior. Junior Mateusz Hagemajer was in the right spot, heading it just under the bar through the keeper’s hands for the game-winner.

Sharon had the majority of the play, especially in the first half. The Eagles applied a ton of pressure in the opening 20 minutes but couldn’t solve the Tigers’ defense, anchored by Evan Melo and Liam Crowley, or goalie Nolan Melo (10 saves).

Senior Antonio El-Khoury had a nice rip from 25 yards out sail just over the bar, junior Isaiah Stessman drove a low shot from the top of the box off the post, and the Eagles had a couple of crosses go without an answer.

The Eagles finally broke through in the 26th minute when Stessman tucked a header just inside the far post off a nicely taken corner from senior Eli Berkowitz.

Before the end of the half, Taunton settled in some and developed a pair of chances on their own. In the 33rd minute, Hagemajer hit a half volley that was smothered on the bounce by Sharon keeper Ethan Kantor. Five minutes later, hard work from Jared Roderick nearly led to a chance for Hagemajer in the box but Sharon’s Daniel Gunduz interjected and cleared.

After some back and forth play in the early second, Taunton came up with the equalizer just over the midway point of the half. Beaulieu came up big again, gaining possession just over half and linking up with Colby Fernandes in the final third.

Fernandes took a touch into space before taking a shot from 25 yards out. The shot deflected off a player and hit off the inside of the post, just outside the reach of the diving keeper, to make it 1-1. It was Beaulieu’s first of two assists on the night.

“We rely on Brett a lot,” Whitters said. “He’s a very smart player and he’s very tactically aware. He’s very versatile so I can have him go in the middle to calm things down or he can be an attacking option out wide. He really sets a positive tone for us, he’s a workhorse out there.”

Sharon nearly responded right away when Berkowitz was played in alone in the 67th minute but Melo made a terrific one-on-one stop to keep the game level. Eight minutes later, Hagemajer had the winner.

“It’s deflating. We completely dominated that game, dominated the chances,” said Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly. “I’m in shock…we stopped running the last 10 minutes of the game. It was unlucky [Taunton’s] first goal took that deflection. But a break like that gives a team like that hope. We’re not a bad team…I know we’re 0-3-3 but we’ve dominated almost every single game we played.

“We’re missing by just inches and then we give up two lousy goals. It just completely annihilates us. We’re working our butts off, we’re dominating the midfield, we’re getting through balls but with no results. Their goalie was busy but we were missing the frame a lot. Everything was just a few inches off here and there. But give [Taunton] credit, they played their butts off and showed a lot of heart. They had no quit in them.”

Taunton boys soccer (1-1-2 Hockomock, 1-2-2 overall) is back in action on Monday night when it visits Franklin. Sharon (0-2-3, 0-3-3) is in action the same night, taking on Canton in its first ever night game at Sharon High.

Pair of Set Piece Goals Lift Franklin Over King Philip

Franklin boys soccer
Franklin senior Nitin Chaudhury makes a move on the sideline during the first half of Franklin’s 2-0 win over KP. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a game that featured hectic action in the midfield and few chances from open play, Franklin got a huge double save and a pair of goals from set pieces to beat King Philip 2-0 in the mist on Wednesday night at Pisini Field, earning the Panthers their first two points in the league this season.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was a good win,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis. “I have a tremendous respect for (KP coach) Nick Gale. I think his teams are always well-coached, they play hard, play good soccer, and it’s been a while since we beat KP (since Oct. 2015), so it was a really good win for us.”

Not surprisingly, the game started with the ball largely confined to the midfield area. It took nearly 15 minutes before either team would fashion a shot on goal and it was the Warriors who had the first good chance.

Senior Anthony Bozza dropped deep into the space in front of the Franklin back line and played an inch-perfect through ball to John Cullen. Franklin goalie Jack Rudolph was quick off his line to cut down the angle and was able to block Cullen’s first chipped shot and then also get a hand to keep out the rebound.

“Tony brought it from a wide area in and John made a nice backside run and we got him in,” said Gale. “Everybody says that the first goal probably changes the game, so John maybe could’ve changed the game if he had scored that.”

A minute later, KP had another go from the edge of the area with a low drive by junior Matthew Clarke, but Rudolph was able to get behind it and make the save.

Franklin took its time getting into the game but soon was closing down all over the pitch, compressing the space and not giving KP much time on the ball, particularly outside backs Kevin Flynn and Matt Szczepanowski. The pressure eventually paid dividends when the Panthers earned a corner with a half hour gone in the match.

Junior Donny Tappin played a cross into the center of the box and freshman defender Terry O’Neill nodded the ball down into the turf and over sprawling KP keeper Nick Beltramini. It was O’Neill’s second goal in as many games and he has already shown his worth on the defensive side too, forming a solid partnership with junior Sam Stowell.

“He definitely doesn’t play like a freshman,” said Bositis of O’Neill, who also scored Franklin’s goal in the loss to Milford last time out. “He’s just very steady.”

The Panthers added a second goal 12 minutes into the second half. A free kick from just inside the KP half by Stowell angled towards the edge of the box. Beltramini came a long way to get the ball, but senior Nick Barry rose highest and was able to get his head to the pass just before the keeper was able to punch. The brave flicked header doubled the Franklin lead, but Barry took a blow from the keeper in the process and was unable to return to the game.

“We’re going to have to be more disciplined giving up throws or set pieces deep in our own end,” Gale said about the defending on set pieces. “We’re going to have to do a better job recognizing where we are on the field and giving up fouls deeper in their end, not ours.”

Beltramini kept the Warriors in the game down the stretch as Lucas Moura tested him with a one-timer following a turnover and another free kick was headed down by Jacob Cummings into the path of Sam Molloy, who forced a diving save from the KP keeper.

The Warriors were struggling to create scoring opportunities for most of the second half. While the ball flowed through midfield, particularly through the feet of Zac White, the ball did not get to the forwards very often.

“I ask my guys to be courageous in trying to play our style and really dissect defensive structures,” Gale explained. “I really want them to see the game in a different way, but at the same time we find that we’re over-patient. Then you’re not really creating any chemistry up top, whether playing the ball in behind or into the strikers, so we struggled doing that for most of the game.”

KP did create a couple of chances late in the game to try and cut into the deficit. Sophomore Evan McEvoy fired a shot from long distance that drew a save from Rudoplph and then had another go from outside the box with two minutes to play, but it was also saved.

While content with the win, Bositis admitted that there is still a lot for the Panthers to work on. He said, “We’re still very much a work in progress, but I feel like everyone in the league feels the same way. We’ve missed a lot of practice time or its been cut short…because of the weather. We had a good game tonight.”

Franklin (2-1-0, 1-1-0) will travel to Canton on Friday night, while King Philip (1-2-0, 1-1-0) will be on the road to face Milford.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Player of the Week – Luke Savoie, Mansfield Soccer

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Luke Savoie
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Mansfield senior Luke Savoie has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Sept. 3 through Sept. 9. Savoie is the first player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year.

Savoie had a huge week for the Hornets, scoring a pair of hat tricks and tallying six of the team’s seven goals, as Mansfield racked up a pair of wins to start the season. The senior midfielder scored the game-winner against Foxboro in the league opener and then scored the game-winning goal against Dartmouth just two days later.

“Luke’s play this week has been unbelievable,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan. “He has put himself in all the right positions to score and has capitalized on almost all of his chances.”

In the season opener against Foxboro on Wednesday, Savoie helped the Hornets jump out to a 2-0 lead inside of 15 minutes. He scored the opening goal on a 30-yard free kick and then was first to a rebound in the box. After the Warriors battled back to tie the game, Savoie finished off a corner to put Mansfield back in front with just 10 minutes remaining.

On Friday night against Dartmouth, Savoie gave Mansfield a 2-0 lead in the first half when he scored off a long throw. Dartmouth cut the lead in half before the break, but in the second half Savoie scored with a header and then completed his second hat trick in as many games with a goal off a free kick by Tommy Lanzillo.

The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.

Morse Insurance

Attleboro Cashes In Late To Take Down Canton

Attleboro boys soccer
Canton’s Paul Corcoran (left) challenges Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira knew he needed junior outside back Josh Smith to have a strong game defensively.

Not only did Smith deliver, he gave a little extra.

Smith scored his first career goal in the 71st minute to break open a scoreless game to help the Bombardiers take a 2-0 decision over Canton in their season opener.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“More importantly than the goal, he defended their best player,” Pereira said. “We were trying to find someone to finish, we tried subbing too. It was good for Josh to get it. He’s a solid player, he’s not a flashy player but he’s very smart.”

For the majority of the game, Smith was tasked with dealing with a Bulldogs’ offense that scored four goals in their season opener just days earlier against Marshfield. But he was able to give Attleboro the lead just inside the final 10 minutes.

After a free kick was partially cleared by the Bulldogs’ defense, junior Michael Russo delivers a service back into the area. Sophomore Joey Soucy ran onto it and fired a one-time shot from in close. Canton keeper Alejandro Correal made a terrific first save but the rebound popped loose and Smith was there to tap it in for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a good win, the kids are excited,” Pereira said. Attleboro was the last of the 12 Hockomock teams to kickoff its 2018 campaign. “They’ve been ready to go, everyone else has been playing. They were nervous in the first half but then we settled down and it was a totally different team out there for us in the second half.”

The game was loaded was chances for both sides but it wasn’t until Smith’s goal in the final 10 minutes either side broke through.

With Canton down a goal and pushing for an equalizer, Attleboro senior Will Halben gained possession just over half after a turnover. He went at the defense with pace, getting by his mark and rifling a shot into the far corner to make it 2-0 in the 77th minute.

“Towards the end of the game, when you’re up by a goal, he can be deadly,” Pereira said of Halben, who has been the Bombardiers’ leading scorer for the past two years. “He had a couple of chances earlier too and he’ll get a couple of those each game, but it was nice to have him finish.”

The Bulldogs had the better of play for the first 40 minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net. Griffin Roach had a header off Paul Corcoran’s throw-in saved by Attleboro keeper Andre Menard in the opening 15 minutes.

The best chance came off the foot of TJ McCabe. After winning possession near midfield, the sophomore beat off two defenders to gain some space before ripping a hard shot from 25 yards out that just sailed over the crossbar.

“You can’t play 40 minutes of the first half where you’re really on your front foot dominating and not score a goal and think you’re going to win a game, you can’t do that in the Hockomock League,” said Canton head coach Danny Erickson, now in his 26th season at the helm of the Bulldogs.

“Attleboro is too good a team for that. I thought we played great soccer today, pretty much start to finish. I thought the second half was even, we both had some chances. I thought we dominated the first half but Attleboro was clean with a couple finishes in the end and that was the difference. But that was a great Hockomock League game. We could have come out on top but Attleboro deserved it today.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The first half hour of the second half was full of goal scoring chances, including two from Canton inside the first 15 minutes. Corcoran linked up with McCabe, who found Cruz but his chance was turned aside. Two minutes later, Roach once again got his head on a throw by Corcoran but it went just over the bar.

Attleboro countered two minutes later when Brady Holander’s service connected to Justin Lurssen but Correal made a nice diving save to keep the game level.

The Bombardiers next best chance came 10 minutes later when Eli Araujo played Halben into space behind the defense and the senior got past Correal but was forced wide enough by the keeper where his tough angle shot went high.

“The first half, they had the play and then in the second half I thought we outplayed them a little bit,” Pereira said. “They are a good team, they play physical, they play quick, they have size. That was a good game. You knew whoever got the first goal was going to get the win. We ended up with two nice ones.”

Attleboro boys soccer (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) faces another stiff challenge on Wednesday when it welcomes Mansfield (2-0) to Tozier-Cassidy Field. Canton (0-1, 1-1) will try to bounce back when it hits the road to take on Foxboro on the same day.

New Faces But Familiar Result In OA’s Season Opener

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Colin Milliken and Stoughton’s Rami Houraibi battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – It was all new faces on the field for Oliver Ames, but the result was very familiar.

The Tigers, fresh off their third state final appearance in the past four years, have an entire new lineup after graduating two dozen seniors, including all starters and most reserves that played regularly.

In the first game with its new line up, Oliver Ames came away with a 3-0 win over visiting Stoughton.

“The kids have worked hard and that showed today,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “We can knock the ball around and play some soccer but we just have to mature a bit and grow up and gel as a group. I think as the season progresses we’ll get a little bit better each day.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers took the lead in the 15th minute and then broke the game open with back-to-back goals inside the final five minutes of the first half.

“It definitely felt like a first game,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Joshua Aubin. “We haven’t played a competitive game in almost two weeks. I think everyone was a little nervous to start and it showed. They got that first goal off an amazing shot, one of the best you’ll see all year. But the second and third goals, they were on us. Turnover at midfield and quick counter and then a silly foul in the box. But those two goals, those are easy enough to fix so that’s encouraging.”

Oliver Ames established control of the play early and were rewarded by a terrific goal. Sophomore Anthony DaCosta found himself in space when a long ball came in from sophomore Matthew Nikiciuk. DeCosta was given the space to take a touch and turn, and without hesitation the sophomore rifled a nice shot from 25-yards out that beat the keeper and went right under the bar for a 1-0 lead.

After a bit of back and forth play for the next 20 minutes, the Tigers changed the complexion of the game in the final five minutes of the first half.

Junior Jonathan Freeman came away with a win just over midfield and quickly found the feet of junior Colin Milliken. Milliken turned and played a through ball between two defenders, allowing senior Sean Flaherty to run onto it and slot his shot him at the far post to make it 2-0.

Stoughton had its best chance of the half shortly after going down 2-0. Senior Fabi Ponce de Leon played a curling free kick into the area that was spilled but the rebound effort from Gabe Ribeiro was to the left of the frame.

OA quickly countered and attacked up the left side. Sophomore Brady deVos found some space in the area and tried to get by his defender but was hauled down.

The sophomore stepped up to the spot and calmly blasted his bid into the back of the net just a minute later, giving OA a 3-0 lead just minutes before the halftime whistle.

“I thought overall we were in control of the play but it felt like we were getting a little panicky,” Barata said. “We had some chances to score the next goal and we just hand’t so I think getting the second and third goals relieved some pressure on them.”

“The third goal really hurt, that 1-2 punch,” Aubin said. “But it’s stuff that we can watch film and try to correct. I thought they picked themselves up coming into the second half and were competitive.”

Trailing 3-0 in the second half, the Black Knights tinkered with their lineup in an attempt to get back into the game. While it meant trying to build more offense, it sacrificed some defense.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were able to take advantage of that at times but couldn’t add onto their lead because of some stellar saves from junior keeper CCarter Gerome (11 saves).

Just six minutes into the second half, Milliken once again found Flaherty in behind the defense and the senior used a nice cut back move to free himself but his chance was turned aside by a terrific sliding save attempt from Gerome.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and I think it showed. I thought we were much more competitive in that second half. ,” Aubin said. “So we were a bit more offensive minded so we knew we’d give up some chances but Carter definitely stood on his head at times and kept us in the game.”

Stoughton’s best chance of the second half came in the 61st minute when Ponce de Leon put a free kick on frame but OA senior keeper Jacob Lerman made a move to his right to punch the ball out.

A minute later, OA nearly had another goal with Flaherty in alone but once again Gerome came up big to keep the Tigers off the scoresheet in the second half.

Oliver Ames (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Taunton (0-1-1) to Muscato Stadium. Stoughton (0-1, 0-1) hits the road to take on North Attleboro on the same day.