By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Sharon’s Jake Goloboy scored with less than 10 minutes remaining on a counter attack and the Eagles picked up a point on the road with a 1-1 tie against Oliver Ames.
The Tigers scored first, finding the back of the net in the 52nd minute to break open a scoreless stalemate but Sharon equalized in the 71st minute to earn the draw.
“I think we’re coming on here late in the season after having some rough games early on,” Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly said, adding how pleased he was to get the result against the #10 team in the state. “We’re starting to string together passes, we’re starting to play better. I didn’t even think we played that great tonight but they got into our heads a little bit. They took us out of our game but when we did possess the ball, we played well.”
Oliver Ames had the majority of the chances in both halves, including a volley from senior Chris Romero in the 13th minute that just went over the bar. Just a minute later, a long throw from Max Bamford was deflected around in the area but Sharon senior Matt Lowerre was in the right spot at the right time and cleared the ball off the goal line.
The Tigers kept up the pressure and three minutes later senior captain Keegan Nutt got a hold of a shot off a bounce that forced Sharon senior goalie Andrew Filipkowski to punch the ball over the bar. In the 29th minute, Romero took a feed from senior Joe Cucinotta and ripped a low shot with his left foot that hit the near post and stayed out. Filipkowski came up big again with just over seven minutes left in the half when sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza had a chance from just inside the area but Sharon’s keeper got his legs in the way.
“If we don’t finish, we’re not going anywhere. That’s just the fact,” Oliver Ames head coach John Barata said. ‘We totally dominated the game, they took two shots and scored one. That’s a problem for us. It was one counter attack all game. We hit the ball off the bar, we had chances inside the six, missed breakaways. It’s the same story, different night and tonight we got punished.
The home side was finally able to convert just under 12 minutes into the second half. Sophomore Cam Vella hit a one time through ball to junior Thomas McCormick, who curved bent his run perfectly down the middle. McCormick unleashed a shot from a step inside the 18 but was robbed by a kick save from Filipkowski. The rebound fell to Nutt and he placed his shot off the far post and into the back of the net to go up 1-0.
“We play a variety of formations, mostly playing 4-3-2-1. That’s a coaching mistake of mine, I should have switched to a 4-4-2 earlier,” Kelly said. “When we did switch, we capitalized. Our speed up front gave them trouble in the back and that’s where we got them. If we made that shift earlier, who knows what this game ends at. OA is a very good team, we know that. I think we did a good job tracking back on their balls over the top. They’re a very skilled team.”
OA had another chance just over 10 minutes later but an acrobatic save from Filipkowski at the near post stuffed McCormick’s tough angle big.
Finally in the 71st minute, Sharon was able to use a counter attack to catch Oliver Ames. Senior James Dunlea unleashed a logn ball from midfield up to junior Oliver Hu. Hu pulled the defender to the right side and slid his pass into the middle to an open Jake Goloboy and the senior buried his chance into the back of the net.
With just over five minutes to play, a deflected pass fell to Vella and he had a chance alone on Filipkowski but his low shot was swallowed up by Sharon’s captain.
“In all honesty, that was one of the best performances I’ve seen from a high school goalkeeper,” Kelly said. “I think he’s the best keeper in the league. He’s the backbone of our team, he’s our captain, he’s our vocal leader and he’s why we are where we are in the season.
Oliver Ames (12-0-2) remains unbeaten with two games left. The Tigers, who had a two point advantage in the Davenport Division race, travel to Milford and Foxboro next week. Sharon improves to 9-6-1 overall and will close out the regular season next week by hosting Foxboro and traveling to Canton.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.