But a late surge from the Warriors resulted in two goals in the final three minutes to bring the teams level just before halftime. Medfield used that momentum — and the advantage of the wind — to go on and score four goals in the second half and come away with a 7-3 victory of the Bulldogs.
From the opening minute, Canton seized control of the play,. Junior Sarah Connolly won possession just over half, dribbled her way through the Medfield defense and unleashed a shot from atop the area that forced a save.
Canton finally broke through in the 18th minute when Hannah Link sent a pinpoint through ball that Tessa Cudmore ran onto. Cudmore muscled her way past one defender and held off another as her shot from just inside the area found the far post for a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, the Bulldogs doubled the lead. Riley Duserick whipped in a curling corner kick that forced Medfield keeper Sarah Graham into a save but the rebound fell right to Julia Hamilton, who one-timed it in from in close.
Medfield applied pressure after a timeout, first with Kathryn Doody coming off her line to thwart a break from Alanna Cooney. But a minute after the save, Cooney gained some space on the right wing and ripped a shot to the far post to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
Canton was quick to respond, with Duserick nearly scoring an olimpico off a corner but the linesman deemed it didn’t cross the line. In the 27th minute, the ball popped into the attacking area and Cudmore played it perfectly, shielding off a defender to get some space before placing it into the corner for a commanding 3-1 lead.
But in the 37th minute, Annie Phipps used a turn just outside the area to gain a bit of space and fired top shelf to bring the Warriors within one. Two minutes later, Phipps centered a cross to Taylor Sherman, who got a touch past Doody as she charged out, and slid the ball into the net to make it 3-3.
“The momentum swung in their favor completely and it hammered us,” Canton head coach Kate Howarth said. “I think it’s a completely different game if we go into halftime with a 3-1 lead. It took the wind out of our sails for sure. We had the momentum for the whole first half until the last 10 minutes and we just crumbled.
“You lose all the footage that you gained. Instead of going forward a step, you go back three steps. It was still a winnable game but we just didn’t have it today. If we came out like we did the last two games I think we would have destroyed them. We didn’t have 80 minutes in us today.”
Medfield scored the game-winner in the 55th minute as a long throw eluded Canton’s defense and Sherman raced onto it. The break forced Canton’s defense to commit and Sherman centered to Cooney in the middle for an open shot and goal.
The Warriors made it 5-3 when a long throw found Maggie McCarthy at the near post for a flick to the far post. Medfield added a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes as the Bulldogs pushed numbers forward.
In total, eight of the 10 goals scored in the game came from the team playing with the wind at its back.
“The wind affected the game a lot,” Howarth said. “It’s not just a breeze, it’s significant. It can help take the ball when you have it and it can kill you when you’re against it.
“We weren’t come at the same level that we were the last few games. Some games you come into and you can’t be beaten, some games you struggle through. This was one we were going to have to struggle through. We didn’t look good, they didn’t look good. They kicked the ball around a lot. It was going to be a struggle for both sides but they struggled better than us and found ways to score some goals. I think if we played the second half like we played the first 30 minutes of the game, it’s a completely different game.”
Canton girls soccer finishes the season at 10-8-2. The Bulldogs, who were seeded 15th in the D2 South Sectional, knocked off #2 Greater New Bedford and #10 Milton in their tournament run.
“I don’t think our wins and losses showed exactly how good this team was,” Howarth said. “We play in one of the toughest leagues around here. You go into the tournament against someone who’s 13-1 and play nobody, we were able to go in and destroy them. We gained from playing tougher teams during the regular season. We’ve been through the adversity.”
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