FOXBORO, Mass. – When Foxboro and Oliver Ames meet there is a distinct clash in styles, with one team trying to keep the ball on the ground and trying to pass its way up the field and the other looking to be more direct and hit longer passes for quick transitions. Regardless of the approach, both teams are very effective with what they do best.
On a rainy Friday night at Sam Berns Community Field, Foxboro and OA showcased their different approaches but neither was able to get the upper hand in an entertaining 1-1 draw. For the second time in two days, the teams went home with a point apiece.
“We just struggled with our finishing,” Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said. “I was playing a flat back three and had the midfield and offense packed, and we created plenty of chances, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
After storming back with two late goals to earn the tie on Wednesday, Foxboro carried that momentum into Friday’s game and took a lead in the opening minutes. Aislinn Servaes’ cross from the wing found Kailee McCabe in the middle and the junior midfielder showed off her skills with the ball at her feet to work a shooting opportunity and continue her torrid start to the season.
Foxboro also hit the side netting in the early going, as the Warriors got off to a great start, but OA worked itself back into the game and used set piece opportunities to cause problems. Allison Evin had a corner kick routine deflected right in front of Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre and then cleared and Lauren Sellmayer had a free kick chance that went just over.
In the 17th minute, the Tigers found the equalizer. It came on another corner routine, as Camryn O’Connor took the short pass from Evin and then laid it back into her path on the left corner of the box. Evin took a touch and then curled a shot over the keeper’s outstretched hand and into the top far corner.
The Tigers nearly grabbed the lead five minutes into the second, but Sellmayer’s free kick from 20 yards out struck the post. Emma Pereira hit a long free kick into the path of Reese Pereira, whose cross from the right pinballed to Jenna Gilman at the back post but the touch was heavy and Sylvestre saved. Mccabe tried to put Foxboro ahead in the final minute of the half but her 35-yard free kick was wide of the goal.
Foxboro came storming out of halftime and put together its best quarter of the match.
Jordyn Collins finally started to get a little room against an almost constant double team from Emma Pereira and Evin. Just two minutes into the third, Collins got loose in the right channel but her shot was saved by OA keeper Emily Meyers. A minute later, Meyers came up with an even better stop down low to her right to deny Alyssa Vandenboom’s effort from the edge of the box and then did well to palm a dipping McCabe free kick over the bar.
“Our keepers really stood up today, both Emma )O’Donnell) and Emily, and Emma Pereira two games in a row has shut out Jordyn, which doesn’t happen a lot. Jordyn’s a great player,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “Our keepers and backs played great today, but our mids and our forwards have to improve. We’ve got to get more chances up front.”
All the pressure seemed to be on the OA defense, but O’Connor nearly snuck a goal against the run of play. She picked off an attempted outlet pass on the right side of the box. Seeing Sylvestre off her line, O’Connor went for the shot and sent it inches over the bar. It was a scare for the Foxboro back line, marshaled by Emma Dahl, which had otherwise been dealing with OA’s attacks.
Stalcup said, “I was really happy with the way the defenders played. I told them, I know it can be frustrating when a team plays kick and run. It breaks up the flow of our passing, but they did a good job stopping the dangerous plays.”
In the final minute of the third, Collins showed the physical side to her game, holding off Pereira and Evin to get behind the OA defense but Meyers was equal to the shot. Then rebound was cleared to Servaes who let fly from distance but the keeper was ready for it and made a comfortable stop.
Seven minutes into the fourth quarter, Collins would have her best chance to try and snag two points for the Warriors. A through ball by Vandenboom split the OA defense and left Collins free on goal, but Meyers reacted quickly to slide out and close the space, flashing her left arm to rob the Foxboro striker of a potential winner.
“We were moving the ball around so well and keeping possession,” Stalcup said. “It was exactly what I wanted. I told the midfielders to not be afraid to attack the goal and for Jordyn to lay it back and play off of them. We just couldn’t find a goal.”
As the clock stopped with two minutes remaining, OA had a break down the right wing. Gilman carried the ball from just inside her own half all the way to the Foxboro penalty area, but seemed to run out of steam there and her shot was right at Sylvestre.
“We’re very athletic,” Sellmayer explained. “Taking away the corner kicks and being able to head the ball and being able to play really takes away from us but we’re adjusting and doing our best. Foxboro is a great team. They move it really well but we hung in there.”
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