The Tigers and Hornets battled each other – and the wet conditions – for 80 minutes but neither side could break through as the teams settled for a 0-0 draw.
“It’s a good tie, [Mansfield] is a great team,” Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer said. “[Mansfield head coach] Kevin and I go way back, we have a great relationship. They’re well coached, they have some good players. Hannah Reiter is an unbelievable player. I thought our girls did a nice job on her. And I thought we had some of the younger players step. It was little bit of an eye opener for them, things got a lot faster when you play Mansfield.”
Oliver Ames was without senior captains Francesca Calabraro and Jessica Robarge as well as talented junior Jackie Mills. Mansfield pounced early, seizing a lion’s share of possession early on but couldn’t produce a scoring chance. The possession evened out over the next half hour but neither side could find the back of the net.
The Tigers took control for the final 10 minutes of the first half, registering a pair of chances inside a minute. First, Julia Roy latched on to a long ball and forced a diving save from Gaumond. A minute later, Tori Wyman hit a cross that forced Gaumond to paw it clear.
“That’s a good point for us,” Smith said. “Oliver Ames is a great team. I know they’re missing [Francesca] Calabraro, Jackie Mills and Jess Robarge but they’re still a great team. They’re deep, they have great players and it seemed like a great even game both ways. Both teams were hitting hard, passing well, attacking well. Both goalies made some nice saves, both defenses were tested but neither broke.”
The home side threatened just minutes after Gaumond’s saves. Reiter collected possession in the midfield and used a pass to spring Stephanie Kemp in behind the defense. The sophomore uncorked a tight angle shot but OA keeper Regan Benton got a hand to it and kept it out.
Mansfield tested Oliver Ames early in the second off a free kick. Emily Vigeant‘s service in the 45th minute skidded on the slick turf and was spilled by Benton, but the junior was quick to cover up the loose ball.
Twenty minutes later, the Hornets had another free kick in a dangerous spot. Reiter’s shot from 25 yards out floated just over the bar to keep the game scoreless.
Kemp had a good chance in the final minutes of the game, taking a shot from just outside the area but it just slid wide in the 76th minute.
“They are such a great team, they play quickly,” Sellmayer said of Mansfield. “It was a great learning experience for our younger players. Our back four – great game, they were solid. I think we limited them to two corners. Hopefully we’ll get some players back. It should be a great game at the end of the year when we see them again.”
Smith was equal in his praise for the visiting Tigers.
“I’m sure the stats will show that OA had a couple more shots, and we probably had more possession but what’s more possession without scoring?” Smith said. “It’s not like we dominated 80-20, it was close. It was a good game all around, both teams.”
Mansfield girls soccer (9-0-1, 7-0-1) will look to remain unbeaten when they travel to take on North Attleboro on Friday. Oliver Ames (8-0-2, 7-0-2) will try to do the same when they host Milford on Wednesday.