NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames girls soccer team controlled possession, applied a lot of pressure, and had nearly a dozen corners in the first half of its matchup with Franklin on Friday afternoon.
And at halftime, all they had to show for it was a 2-0 deficit on the scoreboard.
Nevertheless, the Tigers persisted.
Oliver Ames continued to carry the play in the second half and found the back of the net twice to earn a 2-2 draw against the visiting Panthers.
“We were lucky to come away with a 2-2 tie,” admitted Franklin interim head coach Jodi Klein. “OA outplayed us for most of the game. We capitalized on some scoring opportunities which is wonderful but we were playing too slowly, not contesting for 50-50 balls enough. The last half of the second half, after it got level, we did a much better job. But I think we needed to increase our intensity.”
The Tigers picked up where they left off to start the second half, quickly moving up field to pressure the Panthers’ defense. There was a near chance less than a minute into the second half but Franklin junior Norah Anderson recovered well and timed her slide perfectly to deny an open look in the area.
OA continued its pressure and it finally paid off in the 47th minute after a superb effort from senior Camryn O’Connor. After gaining possession just over half near the middle of the pitch, O’Connor used her speed to race down the right wing, getting around the defender before inserting a low cross right to the six-yard line. Sophomore Lucinda Li Cotter made the run to the middle and used a deft touch to redirect the cross on a one-timer into the back of the net.
After failing to convert on 11 corners in the first 40 minutes, totaling eight shots on target, the Tigers were finally on the board early in the second half.
“Cam pretty much had to make a superhuman play just to get that cross off to Lu but that got us going,” said OA head coach Britt Sellmayer. “The girls showed a lot of character to fight and get back into the game.”
While the Tigers didn’t have as many chances in the second half, they still controlled the play. Just under 20 minutes after getting on the board, the hosts found the equalizer.
Lauren Sellmayer sent a free kick from just over half into the area at the far post. The ball bounced off a Franklin defender and fell in front to freshman Taylor deVos, who was all alone in front and buried the loose ball to knot the score 2-2 in the 66th minute.
“It’s a good tie, it’s early in the year, we’re still figuring it out,” Sellmayer said. “We played a little tense, made a mistake, and gave up a goal early and that’s going to happen. I don’t think they had as many chances as we did in the first half but had the lead. And they were tougher than us, more physical, and won those 50-50 balls. You have to credit them for that, they won those battles all game. Their back four is solid, it’s hard to get chances.
“It was a great game. Two good teams going at it and I think we had the edge just about everywhere except the scoreboard.”
Franklin’s best scoring chance for the go-ahead goal came in the 74th minute on a free kick in the attacking third. Senior Izzy Arnold put her shot from the left wing on target but OA keeper Emily Meyers handled it soundly.
While OA controlled the run of play over the first 40 minutes, it was Franklin that put the ball in the back of the net twice in the opening half.
Less than 10 minutes into the contest, a failed clearance from the OA defense went right to the feet of Stella Regan at the top of the area. Regan took a touch and then deposited her shot over the keeper and into the back of the net at the far post for a 1-0m advantage in the 9th minute.
Oliver Ames girls soccer
OA had its chances to pull level. The Tigers had two good looks in the 17th minute, the best of the two when freshman Emma Gavin saw her half volley tipped over the bar by Franklin keeper Rachel Welch. Senior Katie Gibson and junior Jenna Gilman also put in strong shifts for the Tigers.
Franklin almost doubled its lead moments later as sophomore striker Anya Zub forced a turnover and carried into the area but her low shot was denied. On the other end of the pitch, O’Connor saw her free kick to the far corner stopped by Welch, who parried the bid over the crossbar.
Five minutes later, the momentum swung back in favor of the visitors as they doubled their lead in the 28th minute. Anderson dropped a free kick in between the defense and the keeper, and Regan was the first to react to the loose ball, nodding it home off the bounce past the oncoming keeper.
“I’ll take a point on the road against a team like OA, especially given the fact that we did not play to our potential,” Klein said. “We didn’t have our best game but we played a good team and walk away with a point so I’ll take it.”
Oliver Ames girls soccer (2-0-1 Hock, 2-0-1 overall) returns to action on Monday with a road trip to division foe Sharon while Franklin (2-0-1, 2-0-1) returns home for a clash with Taunton on the same day.
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