Both times, the Warriors netted the opener in the fifth to take an early lead. But the first time around, the Tigers rallied for a pair of goals before halftime and walked away from Macktaz Field with a win – the only team to beat KP so far this season.
The fifth-seeded Warriors weren’t going to let history repeat itself this time.
King Philip kept up the pressure after the fifth minute opener, adding a second in the 27th minute and buried an insurance tally in the 78th minute to pick up a 3-0 win over #12 Oliver Ames.
“The first game, we were all over them but their goalie [Regan Benton] is a phenomenal keeper, just phenomenal. That was what we were primarily worried about tonight as well,” said King Philip head coach Gary Pichel said. “The second game, when we went to OA we gave them a good game and won 3-0, and we were hoping to do the same tonight. But you never know in the playoffs, anything can happen.”
The Warriors cashed in on their first shot on goal of the game, taking the lead in the fifth minute. With possession on the right wing, senior Julian Massarone created some space before hitting a low cross to the near post. Sophomore Avery Snead made the run, getting a touch a step ahead of the defense, one-timing her shot in at the near post to make it 1-0.
“It was huge, it was what we were hoping for,” Pichel said of the early strike. “Because if you give them even a little inch, then things go sour for you really fast against Oliver Ames. They’ve been the cream of the crop for many, many years.”
In the first meeting, Oliver Ames cashed in on a pair of corner kicks to take the lead before half. This time around, the Warriors didn’t allow the Tigers a single corner in the first half, and kept the majority of the play in its attacking third.
In the 12th minute, KP’s Makayla Griffin played Snead in behind the defense and she ripped a left footed shot but Benton made the comfortable stop the near post. Seven minutes later, Ally Stanton put a perfectly weighted cross right onto the six-yard line that Snead met with her head, but her bid was just over the bar.
Snead grabbed her second of the game with one of the better shots of the season. Junior Abby Baker played Snead in the middle of the field, the sophomore took a couple of touches towards goal and ripped a shot upper corner at the near post from 25 yards out to make it 2-0.
“If [Oliver Ames] gets any momentum, they are all over you,” Pichel said. “But we kept the pressure [to get the second goal]. We kept the pressure on up top, and between Makayla Griffin and Ally Stanton on the outsides — they were causing all sorts havoc — and then, of course, you have Chloe [Layne] dancing around in the middle and Avery striking balls in.”
Snead nearly had a first half hat trick a minute later when Griffin linked up with Snead again, and Snead drove a low shot to the bottom corner, but Benton made a tremendous diving one-handed save to push the bid aside.
OA had a chance to cut the deficit in half just two minutes later, with Ault and Abigail Hodges causing havoc in KP’s box. Ault had a chance pushed aside by a defender with Hodges latching onto the loose ball with a shot that looked destined for the goal, but a KP defender did well to block the shot.
Just before the half, Stanton had a chance from in close after Snead flicked on a free kick from Emma Corcoran, but Benton did well to close the angle and force the shot high.
The second half evened out in terms of possession, but both sides side had chances. Benton made a comfortable stop on Layne’s bid from atop the area in the 50th minute; OA’s defense got a deflection on Layne’s close-range bid in the 51st minute after Massarone got a touch to Corcoran’s service; and Stanton hit the post off a corner kick in the 62nd minute.
As OA began to push numbers forward, King Philip’s backline stood tall. The Warriors didn’t allow the Tigers many spells of possession in the final third and Durant was forced into just one save.
“I thought our backline was super strong,” Pichel said. “Faye Veilleux as a stopper really botched things up for them when they were trying to come down the middle, so that was a big deal for us. And our keeper didn’t have an awful lot of work which was nice.”
With numbers forward for the Tigers, the Warriors went on the counter-attack. Snead carried possession across for midfield before sliding a pass to Layne in single coverage. She touched the ball onto her left foot and ripped a low shot into the corner to ice the game in the 78th minute.
King Philip girls soccer (17-1-2) advances in the D1 South tournament to visit #4 Bridgewater-Raynham (16-1-1) on Tuesday at 6:00. The Trojans’ tie and loss came against Bishop Feehan. King Philip defeated Feehan in the season-opener in September.
Oliver Ames finishes the season 11-8.