SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Two years ago, Foxboro was on the verge of beating Medfield before a late goal forced overtime and eventually Medfield won on penalties. It was the third straight year that Foxboro’s season ended at the hands of Medfield. On Saturday afternoon at Southeastern Regional, the two teams squared off again, with Foxboro seeking a measure of revenge.
In the 71st minute, sophomore forward Jordyn Collins made a near post run and met Katelyn Mollica’s corner kick with a textbook volley. The ball arrowed into the top corner and Foxboro held on for the final nine minutes to secure a 1-0 victory and a spot in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
“I told them at one of the timeouts, if we get another chance at a corner kick, put it in the net,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I don’t do too many set plays on corners. Jordyn just happened to be there and a perfect finish.”
Following Collins’ goal, Medfield came storming back upfield, as was expected from a physical game that featured end-to-end action. Foxboro survived a dangerous free kick in the attacking third and a number of attempts to play the ball in behind the defense.
At the final whistle, the players swarmed to goalie Morgan Sylvestre (four saves) to celebrate the latest in a long line of battles between two perennially strong programs.
“It was scary,” senior defender Alex Stamatos said of the minutes after taking the lead. “It was actually very nerve-wracking, but we were able to pull through and get the win.”
The first half featured a number of scoring chances for both teams. It started just two minutes into the game when Lizzy Davis turned a corner on goal only for Medfield keeper Izzy Brown to make the save. Two minutes later and it was Medfield’s turn, with Marissa Gorog forcing a save out of Sylvestre.
Mackenzi Fraser was next to test the keeper after a nice touch took her past the defender but forced her into a tight angle. Kendra Wentling had a shot from inside the box charged down and the rebound fell to Collins, but she sent it over the crossbar.
Medfield looked dangerous on the counter and from set pieces. In one sequence, Stamatos was forced to head a corner over from the shadow of her own goal and then the following corner was nodded on frame, but Sylvestre was quickly down to her right to parry it. The rebound was prodded just wide of the post.
“At first we just weren’t playing our game,” Stamatos explained. “The ball was in the air a lot and we just needed to keep it on the ground and we just needed to stay with their speed.”
Fraser had another chance running onto a through ball from Davis in the left channel but her shot was saved. Medfield nearly got on the board when Stamatos, under pressure, slipped while trying to clear but Emma Keating couldn’t keep her shot down.
Grace Ferguson forced a save with a shot from 20 yards and then Alyssa VandenBoom nearly fashioned an opening with a cross from the left that flashed across goal but couldn’t be turned home at the back post by Jackie Dizney.
“Especially the beginning of the first half, their intensity was so high and they were winning almost every ball,” Stalcup said of Medfield. “We started to pick up our intensity towards the end of the half.”
When asked if this was a learning experience for a young roster, Stalcup replied, “I think it was a slap in the face because last year a lot of them were freshmen and sophomores and it was the preliminary round and we got beat pretty bad. This was a hard-fought battle. I think they saw that they had to bring just as much intensity to get any momentum.”
In the second half, the field tilted as Foxboro took control of the midfield. Wentling and freshman Kailee McCabe were starting to dictate play and get the ball out to Mollica and Davis on the wings. Collins, Fraser, and freshman Kaitryn Franchino all made strong runs at the Medfield defense.
Despite the pressure that the hosts were exerting, the only real scoring chance that they fashioned came in the first 10 minutes of the half. Collins was close to breaking the deadlock when she got free on the right side but Brown made a diving, one-handed stop to keep the game scoreless.
In the 71st, Collins had another chance and this time gave Brown no chance to make the stop, sealing the win and Foxboro’s place in the next round.
“I was really excited. It was great. I knew that she could do it,” Stamatos said. “We just all worked together throughout the whole game and worked hard to do our thing.”
Stalcup added, “It’s huge. It gives us even more confidence going into the next round and I feel like we have nothing to lose at this point. We have this huge momentum and I’m nothing but excited about it.”
Foxboro (15-1-3) will host Notre Dame Academy on Tuesday at a time and location to be determined.
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