The Rebels reversed the roles in 2018.
#11 Walpole scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, leading to a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Oliver Ames.
Two seasons ago, the Tigers upset Walpole with a dominate performance. And last year, OA’s James Gillespie scored in double overtime to send the Rebels home.
This time around, it was Walpole’s Aidan Murray that pounced on a loose ball in a scrum off a corner kick in the final minutes of the game for the game-winner.
“We have a little history with them, [in the tournament], they got us last year so this was kind of sweet here,” said Walpole head coach Lee Delaney. “I thought the turning point of the game was the save on the PK. The next goal in the game was going to be a big one so that was a huge save. I thought we really took it too them, had a lot of dangerous chances in the box where we just couldn’t find someone’s foot. [OA] is a good club, I know they are young. I knew it would be a toss up game, OA is always a great match but I’m glad we’re on this side this time.
“We have a couple of set plays on corners and you hope to convert them but it takes great execution. Sometimes it just takes a second ball in a scrum. It’s kind of how we lost last year, we cleared it off our own guy and it went right to their guy and he knocked it in.”
The late goal didn’t allow the Tigers much time to orchestrate an attack to try and tie the game. For OA head coach John Barata, the game should have still been tied because of a missed call.
“They were horrendous…both hand balls, knocked down and they finished…the refs didn’t call either so it was frustrating for sure,” Barata said. “They came here with a mission to play us off the ball, thump everything forward as direct as possible and go at us. I think the young guys got a little bit of a lesson that they’ll take with them. We have a good amount of kids back so they’ll learn from this.
“I thought the game was very back and forth, which is what we expected from Walpole. It’s a tough match, it’s tough to lose anytime. I think Walpole will give a lot of teams a run for their money.”
It was a back-and-forth start with both sides venturing into the attack third. OA keeper Jacob Lerman easily handled a Walpole shot from distance early and OA’s Haendel Louhis had a pair of chances go just wide, a shot from the top of the box in the 9th minute, and a header off a throw from Andrew Leite.
Oliver Ames broke through in the 27th minute. After senior Sean Flaherty was fouled at the top of the area, sophomore Colin Milliken stepped up and hit a well-struck free kick to give the Tigers the lead. Milliken hit his right footed shot up and over the wall, freezing the keeper on the line for a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long though as Walpole scored just over a minute later to level the game. Walpole sent a corner in and Lerman made a nice stop on the first bid but the rebound fell to Daniel Colbert and he buried it.
“That’s the tough point, that’s one of the maturing factors we talk about all the time,” Barata said of giving up a quick equalizer. “The sad part was that it was the same exact thing, on a corner kick, we know what they’re trying to do. To give it up a minute a half later is tough but that’s the M.O. of a young team and we’ve done that a couple of times this year.”
In the second half, Walpole came out flying and applied a lot of pressure over the first 15 minutes. The best chance fell to the feet of Rebels’ senior Conor McDonough. McDonough took down a ball over the top and had a one-on-one chance against Lerman but the OA keeper came up and was position perfectly to knock the bid aside.
Oliver Ames had a golden chance to take the lead midway through the second half but were denied by Walpole keeper Dennis Crowley. OA sophomore Kevin Louhis used his speed to get past a defender and into the area but was brought down and the Tigers were awarded a penalty kick. Flaherty hit a low shot to the right side but Crowley made a diving save to keep the ball out and keep the game tied 1-1.
“Their keeper made a good save, so there’s nothing wrong there,” Barata said. “We dominated the rest of the game from that point. They took it to us the first 10 minutes of the second half, they came flying at us. They made some adjustments and gave us some problems initially. Once we settled in, we got the PK, everything was in our favor…but then it was just a bad call, I just can’t hold back on it. It was a horrible no call on the goal. Just didn’t feel fair to end the game like that. But Walpole is a very good team, a lot of seniors, they work their bollocks off so I have a ton of respect for their boys.”
Oliver Ames boys soccer finishes the season 8-4-5.