By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Coming off a highly anticipated game against division rival Foxboro just some 18 hours before kickoff on Friday afternoon, Oliver Ames head coach John Barata was a bit concerned there might be a bit of a hangover.
The Tigers allowed a goal in the final five minutes against the Warriors on Thursday night but were back out on the pitch on Friday afternoon against a Stoughton side that had won four straight games.
But there was no lull as the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and added one goal in the second half to pick up their 11th win, a 4-0 win over the neighboring Black Knights.
“We needed to do that,” Barata said of converting their early chances. “We didn’t want to fall into a lull after such a big emotional game and a letdown with a late goal last night and have [Stoughton] come jump all over us with us being tired. But we didn’t have that happen, we survived. It was good to get the goals, especially the first goal 10 minutes in and we continued to press. They maybe had one shot on goal in the first half. We were able to control the game and I thought we played one of our better games overall.”
The Tigers were in control for the majority of the first 10 minutes but it was Stoughton that had the first chance. After a long throw pinballed around the area, it bounced out to Stoughton junior Loubensky Lucas, who hit the ball on a volley but his bid sailed high.
Just a minute later, Oliver Ames had its first scoring chance and they were able to convert. A free kick from just over midfield was sent into the area by sophomore Cam Vella. The ball deflected off of the upper body of junior Thomas McCormick and fell to senior captain Keegan Nutt, who buried his chance from close range.
It took less than five minutes for the Tigers to double their lead. A long throw in from senior Max Bamford into the area was met by a charging Thomas McCormick at the front post. McCormick flicked it perfectly, sending the ball into the net at the far post.
Oliver Ames nearly made it a three goal lead in the 25th minute when Nutt’s ball through the defense sent sophomore Tylor Jones in on goal but Stoughton goalie Kyle Silverman came off his line and forced Jones’ bid wide at the post.
But just a minute later, the Tigers did create a three goal lead. In a rush forward, sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza played a pass wide to senior captain Chris Romero. Romero’s first touch was nearly perfect, pushing himself ahead of the defender and in on goal. Romero then fired a shot from a tough angle and was able to find the back of the net.
“This first half performance today killed us,” Stoughton head coach Aaron Salter said. “I thought for the majority of the second half we were a bit more of a fret, we didn’t get going in the first half. If you give a team as good as Oliver Ames the opportunity they are going to punish you. The second half was much better.”
There weren’t too many chances in the second half for either side and the score remained at 3-0 for over a half hour of play in the second frame.
One change that helped Stoughton defensively was inserting junior Matt Gallagher into the defensive back line for the Black Knights. Gallagher, a call up from JV, earned high praise from Salter.
“Matt Gallagher, when I put him at center back and he made a massive difference,” Salter said. “He did the easy stuff, he went and won the first ball and then give it. He did that superbly and really shored us up in the back.”
It wasn’t until a corner in the 73rd minute that the Black Knights elected to push nearly everyone up and that created space for Oliver Ames’ final goal. The corner was cleared and sophomore Matt Alvarado launched a ball up to midfield. Vella collected and was able to get around his defender and go in on goal and calmly slid his shot into the back of the net.
With the three goal lead, Barata was able to get some starters some rest after logging heavy minutes on Thursday night.
“It was very nice to get some guys a break and a rest,” Barata said. “But it was also good to see the quality of play didn’t really drop. Now we know if we are in this situation again with a back to back we know we can do it.”
With four games left, Oliver Ames (11-0-1, 11-0-1) sits three points clear in first place in the Davenport Division. They’ll look to continue their push for the league title on Tuesday with a trip to Canton, a team that also tied Foxboro this week. Stoughton (6-5-2, 6-4-2) will continue its push for a playoff berth on Monday in a non-league game against Norwood.
- Attleboro’s Murphy Signs With NY Giants As An UDFA - 04/25/2020
- Former Tiger Santos-Silva Declares For NBA Draft - 04/04/2020
- 2020 Hockomock League Boys Swimming All Stars - 03/20/2020