Foxboro, Mass. – After struggling to get going on offense in the season opener against King Philip, defending Davenport division and Div. 2 South champion Foxboro clicked into gear and found its scoring touch against Franklin on Monday evening at Sam Berns Community Field.
“It’s a great win,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “We needed that after our showing against KP. Honestly, it was back-and-forth in the middle of the field, which makes for a really exciting game, but I’m really happy with how they played.”
She added, “We came out on fire, which was key. Everyone worked as a team. The way we placed the ball, we were looking for give-and-go opportunities, we were looking for combinations where the other day we weren’t.”
The game started evenly with both teams racing through the midfield and trading attacks, although there were few clear chances in the opening 20 minutes. Annie Walsh had a one-timer hit the outside of the goal and then a minute later Julia Carangelo had a shot from distance kicked aside by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini.
In the 20th minute, Foxboro found a breakthrough with a quick break. DiCenso sent a pass in front and Daly slipped the ball past a few Franklin defenders and just past the line to make it 1-0.
Just a minute later, the Warriors doubled the lead. Daly created the opportunity with a run down the left wing and she hustled to keep the ball in play before cutting it back to Catherine Luciano. The senior crossed the ball into the middle for DiCenso, who finished with a first-time shot on the turn.
“Scoring totally gives a team confidence and I felt like once you play with confidence then you do more things,” said Bordieri. “There were so many things they started to do well once we played with confidence.”
Walsh had the first chance for Franklin in the second half but her shot was kicked aside by Foxboro goalie Kelli McCarthy, last year’s league MVP, which was only one of two shots on goal by the Panthers. Four minutes later and Foxboro added a third.
This time it was a run down the right wing that opened up the Franklin defense, which was missing senior center back Kate Morse to an injury. Junior Molly Murphy, who last week verbally committed to play lacrosse at Davidson, found space on the right to center to DiCenso. The ball bounced in the crease and Daly popped up at the back post to knock it home for her second of the day.
“They’re fast, they’re experienced, and they can finish,” said Franklin coach Lisa Cropper about the Foxboro attack. “I thought we played fairly well for most of the game, held our own other than in our defensive circle. We made three mistakes and they capitalized on all three.”
With seven minutes to go, Franklin got on the board. Walsh again beat her defender to open space and was able to pull the pass back to Cassi Ronan. The junior midfielder then flicked a pass into the middle and freshman Victoria Quinn batted the shot into the back of the net for her second goal of the season.
Cropper said, “Cassi had a lot of pressure on her because we didn’t have Kate behind her. Regan [Paterson] stepped in and did a decent job at center back, so we were a little undermanned but held our own.”
It was the rare chance that Franklin was able to create against the Foxboro defense, thanks in large part to the play of senior midfielder Jackie Brion, who seemed to be in the way of every Panthers attack.
“As a center-mid, she controls a lot of the play,” said Bordieri of Brion. “Defensively, she breaks up anything in the midfield, making it really hard for teams to crossover. She was awesome today; really, really strong.”
Despite the final result, Cropper was pleased with the effort and believed that her team put in a good performance. She said, “I told the kids that you learn from your mistakes and hopefully we can learn from this and build on it.”
Cropper joked, “To play these guys this early, we knew it was going to be tough. We had them this way last year, then they went on to win the sectional title. So, we’ll just do it our way this time.”
Bordieri is hopeful that this will spark the offense and get the Warriors on track for the season. She explained, “Our offense has totally stepped up. I think they’re all really starting to gel. It’s really starting to come together.”