FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry called Wednesday’s league meeting with King Philip a “must win” game, as the Warriors try to build their resume ahead of the state tournament seeding on Friday.
As it has all season long, Foxboro has turned to its underclassmen to provide the scoring punch and freshmen Sophia DiCenso and Caroline McGeary came through in the clutch. The duo combined for the final three goals of the game to halt a KP comeback and lift Foxboro to a 15-13 victory that split the season series.
DiCenso led the way with six goals and three assists, all of which came on goals by McGeary, who finished with five, including the eventual game-winner with 5:51 left in the game.
“They’ve been playing together for so long, probably since sixth grade, and they just feed off each other,” said Sherry about the freshmen duo. “They play really well together and they know where each other are going.”
At the start of the game, it looked as though KP was going to be able to pull away a win similar to the first meeting (a 15-8 win at Macktaz Field). The visitors had a 3-1 lead with Katie Crowther, Abigail Buchanan, and Jen Lacroix all getting on the board and with KP winning each of the first five draw controls.
Foxboro made a change in the circle with Caroline Boudreau and Hallie Canfield taking the draws against Lacroix and the home team would win 10 of the next 11 draws to take control of the half.
“I put Hallie [Canfield] on the draw and different people around it,” Sherry explained. “Ultimately, we were losing to a 50-50 ball…so people in the circle needed to get it in their sticks and transition and not panic and stay poised.”
Junior Ally Curran spun and scored to cut the KP lead to one and then McGeary scored back-to-back goals both off DiCenso assists to put Foxboro ahead 4-3 and complete her hat trick. Foxboro extended the lead with another freshman, Lily Feeney, scoring a pair, the second on a great catch in traffic on a pass by classmate Megan Curran.
KP called a timeout to regroup and Lacroix gave the Warriors a boost by scooping a ground ball in the defensive zone and racing the length of the field for a goal. With 27 seconds left in the half, Lacroix repeated that trick, this time from half, to keep KP in it before the break.
“Jen is probably all-around our best player,” said KP coach Julie Boudreau. “For a middie who runs up and down the field, who is super tired, but still has the stick work when she gets down into attack and can score. We’ll definitely miss her and those are big shoes to fill.”
KP scrambled in a goal that cut the lead to 6-5 but again Foxboro had a response. DiCenso scored with a sidearm shot on a free position, sophomore Catherine Luciano added another, and DiCenso drove to push the lead to four.
“The momentum was definitely going back and forth,” said Boudreau. “I think we were rushing it a little on attack, getting a little frantic, but I was happy with how we played today going into tournament.”
With Foxboro leading 10-7 at the break, Luciano scored to make the lead four, but only a minute later Crowther got one back with a low angle shot and then 33 seconds after that Francesca Tonelli bounced in an eight-meter shot that made it a two-goal game.
McGeary temporarily halted the comeback with a drive, but Lacroix scored her third of the game while KP was up a player. After Buchanan cut the lead to one, KP got an important boost from an unlikely source. Dana Truini scored a pair of goals to give KP its first lead since early in the first half.
“I pulled her up from JV a couple games ago because she was doing great on the draws and ground balls,” said Boudreau. “We need a spark on the field, so I think different people have been being that for us.”
Sherry started feeling like the game was slipping away and starting to resemble the first meeting, so she called timeout to settle her team down.
“Once we called timeout, we caught our breath and I told them that we can’t be putting them on the line,” she explained. “We needed to limit our fouls and we need to win the draw and we need to hit the net.”
Sherry added, “I like for them to feel the pressure and see if they can figure it out but sometimes a timeout is necessary to give them a little head check.”
The timeout worked wonders as DiCenso scored with another free position to tie the game at 13-13 and a little more than a minute later she fed McGeary on a cut into the middle to put Foxboro back in front. With 3:08 left, DiCenso dodged past her marker and fired in a goal that put the game away.
Sherry said, “It was a must win for us. I love the game that we had, putting the pressure on us and we had to perform.
“If we want home field advantage or possibly a bye then we needed to win. It was huge that we did.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.