By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Against Canton on Wednesday night, Mansfield coach Kevin Smith moved junior Hannah Reiter from center back to forward and the Hornets offense sprung into life for a frantic final 20 minutes at Gillette Stadium.
On Friday afternoon at Sam Berns Community Field, Smith moved Reiter up front right from the start and once again Mansfield went on the attack.
With Reiter in the middle of the front three, space was opened up on the counter for seniors Jen Kemp and Jackie Carchedi, who totaled all four goals for the Hornets in a 4-2 win over Foxboro that leaves Mansfield just one point shy of tournament qualification.
“It helped a lot,” said Smith about Reiter’s impact on the Mansfield attack. “She’s such a good influence up there and…she should have had two goals herself.”
It took Mansfield only 1:40 to get the lead when Reiter found space in the hole between midfield and defense and slipped a through ball to Kemp to spring a 2-on-1 with the last defender. Kemp laid the ball into the path of Carchedi and she made no mistake with a first time finish.
Foxboro also created some dangerous situations coming forward with Hannah Burns forcing a save out of Emily Gaumond before Kemp hit the post on the other end. Burns would tie the game when she capitalized on hesitation in the Mansfield defense from a cross by Hailey Maling and pounced from close range.
In the 23rd minute, Reiter should have given Mansfield the lead after good combination play between the front three but she sent her shot narrowly wide when clean through on goal.
Three minutes later, Kemp teed up Carchedi for her second. Kemp worked space down the right channel and somehow kept the ball alive under pressure on the end line. She managed room for a low cross that picked out her classmate for a side-foot finish.
“Defensively, we obviously had some breakdowns,” explained Foxboro coach Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn, “which is something that we’re working on.”
“t’s a fairly new defense with not having Kiersten [Warner] from last year, so we’re regrouping. It’s one of those things that we’ll be continuously working on.”
Four minutes to halftime and the lead was extended. Senior Rebecca Bornstein ran onto a through ball by Kemp and tapped the ball past the onrushing keeper before being tripped. Kemp stepped up to put away the penalty and make it 3-1.
Just four minutes after the break, Kemp got her second. The forward ran at the center of the Foxboro defense, cut to her left and fired a low angled shot past the keeper to make it 4-1.
The game was not over for the Warriors, who kept the pressure on in the second half despite the deficit. Riley Collins provided a consistent outlet on the wing and she forced a save by Gaumond with a good run down the left. Carolyn Will also forced a save with a long, curling free kick.
One struggle for Foxboro was the tight marking that Mansfield had on midfielder Lily Sykes. With Katie Bongarzone and Jill Savoie in close proximity at all times, Sykes had little time or space with the ball to try and create.
“I can’t say anyone has really done a one-on-one mark with her,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “She’s struggling with her ankle but she’s doing extremely well with it.”
Smith noted, “The key is win the midfield and that doesn’t allow teams to attack us and then we can go. That allows us to play a 4-3-3; lose the midfield and we have to sink people back and it becomes a 4-5-1.”
The Hornets switched a number of players as the second half wore on and Bornstein, who had been starting games until the decision was made to move Reiter forward, was a constant menace down the right wing.
“I told her that it’s not a demotion because Hannah is going up, but she just said I got it,” said Smith. “She drew the PK, almost had a couple of assists over there…she’s doing a great job.”
Sykes would get Foxboro one closer with five minutes remaining. Rather than sending her free kick into the box, she went for goal and was able to beat Gaumond at the near post to make it 4-2.
“Unfortunately, I think we had the ball up in the air way too much and not possessing at our feet,” said Lamothe-Vaughn, whose team was missing keeper Hallie Canfield and forward Kristen Bortolotti. “I think if we had played more of the game that we’ve played against other teams then it would’ve been a better outcome.”
She added, “It was a lot of kick and run today from both teams.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.