Oliver Ames Claims Challenge Cup With Win At Canton

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The Oliver Ames girls soccer team poses with the Challenge Cup trophy after beating Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 CANTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames girls soccer team started the season without a win in its first four games.

The Lady Tigers ended the 2020 campaign as the hottest team in the Hockomock League, earning a pair of trophies including the Hockomock Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win over Davenport division champion Canton.

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After defeating King Philip on Tuesday to win the Hockomock Cup, the Tigers avenged their only loss of the entire season by taking down the Bulldogs in the Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup was created after Canton was forced to quarantine out of an abundance of caution after playing a team that had a positive COVID test. It gave the Bulldogs, the top seed out of the Davenport, a chance to play in the postseason after having to forfeit their first round of the Hockomock Cup.

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“We’re a young team and it’s also about a coach learning who can do what,” said Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer of the turnaround from the start of the season. “We’re not playing the same positions that we were the first couple of games. COVID put everybody behind but for us, it was just a little bit more because we were younger. When you have experience, when you come back you get rolling a little bit sooner. We peaked at the right time, I’m very proud of the girls for how they played at the end of the year.

“Canton got a chance to play another game, they are a great, great team that I really feel like taking two weeks off didn’t help their cause. They were on a roll themselves when they were playing. They have some super players and the coach has done a great job in his first year. But it’s tough to sit out for two weeks and come out and play a team that’s hot, and we’re playing well, and we’ve been playing every three days for the past two weeks. I think that kind of hindered them a bit. I don’t want to take anything away from them being a great team.”

The Tigers started with four straight ties, finally breaking into the win column in their fifth game with a 2-0 decision over Sharon. Canton and OA tied in their first meeting of the season, and the Bulldogs handed the Tigers their only loss (3-1) in the second meeting.

OA caught fire after that loss, winning five straight to win the Hockomock Cup, and earned its sixth straight victory with the win on Thursday evening.

“We weren’t overly excited about [playing again] at first but then we looked at what it meant for Canton,” Sellmayer said. “And I said to my seniors ‘this is it, this is a chance to play one more game’ and we talked about playing for the seniors. We made sure all the seniors played.”










Although the result wasn’t what Canton, who had just one loss in the regular season, had hoped, the Bulldogs relished in the opportunity to get back on the field. The Bulldogs hadn’t played or practiced since the final week of the regular season, getting one training session in on Wednesday evening.

“It was amazing to least get out there to have one more chance to compete…a team that was having such a great season only to be cut short by, unfortunately, unforeseen events,” said first-year Canton head coach Idris Senyonjo. “Our seniors, especially, they needed this. Of course it didn’t end how we wanted it, but they needed to finish the season. They’ve worked so hard to be able to get there.

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“A big layoff is such a big difference in this spot, it means everything. Even if you only take a couple of days, but you take 10 days …that’s a long time not kicking the ball. We practiced for the first time just last night out in the cold. [OA] had a gameplan, they stuck to it and they were the better team today, so you can’t take that away from them. You just hope we could have done better on a couple of chances in the first half but that’s how the game goes. If you don’t take your chances, the other team will.”

The Tigers scored in each the first and second quarters, and tacked on a key insurance goal in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled one back in the final minutes.

Before Oliver Ames opened the scoring late in the first quarter, Canton had a pair of chances to take the lead. Just nine minutes in, Gabriella Herivaux played a through ball into the area for Olivia Rodman but her chance from in close was met with a terrific stop from OA keeper Emma O’Donnell. Minutes later, Rodman returned the favor for Herivaux but her bid skipped wide at the far post.

Off a kick-in in the attacking third, Katie Gibson knocked down a service into the area. Alexa Lane was the first to pounce on the loose ball, a quick touch past the keeper from in close to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going into the second quarter.

At the midway point of the second quarter, OA senior Emma Pereira took down a clearance and used her time and space to turn and fire a rocket inside the far post from 25 yards out to double the Tigers’ advantage.

Canton opened the second half with a pair of chances to get back into it but Mia Gilmore’s free kick a minute in was just off frame, and an intercepted pass by Elisa Diletizia led to a chance but her shot was over the bar.

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COVID restrictions nearly led to a goal for the Tigers in the 50th minute when Pereira’s cross was met with a good take off Carly Gibson’s shoulder but it was right at the keeper.

Canton’s Allie McCabe came up with a big stop on the goal line to deny a shot from Lane to keep the score at 2-0 at the end of the third quarter, but the score didn’t stay that long at the start of the fourth.

Oliver Ames was quick to clear a Canton corner and sophomore Jenna Gilman latched into the loose ball and used her speed to race up the right wing. Her cross into the area was cleared away by a defender but only as far as Pereira, who brought it down and laid it off to junior Lauren Sellmayer. Sellmayer took a touch to put it on her left foot and fired a perfectly placed shot off the far post and in to make it 3-0.

“Emma had a great goal, Lauren had a great goal, and Alexa’s scored two games in a row coming off the bench for us, and her work and her speed has helped with pressure,” Britt Sellmayer said. “We’re not the most skilled team but I think we’ve outworked everybody the last four games. Our work rate in the midfield, contesting every 50-50 ball. They showed a lot of heart. Canton is definitely more skilled than us but I think we had a little more work rate today and maybe our team is a little bit deeper. But we’re also fresher, those two weeks off is huge. I tip my hat to [Canton], they are a great team, and congrats on being Hockomock champs.

“We definitely connected a lot more passes today than the first two times we played Canton. We started playing better as a team, the communication came together. Plus, finding the right role for everybody. Sometimes as a coach, it takes a while to put people in the right spot where they can be successful.”

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Canton continued to fight back against OA’s back four of Sophia Byron, Mary Cross, Allison Evin, and Madeleine Taylor. After coming close on a couple of chances before, Gilmore blasted a free kick from 30 yards out just under the bar to get the Bulldogs on the board.

“It’s been a rollercoaster for us, having to start late and then cut the season short, only to go back again,” Senyonjo said. “The team had a new coaching staff so they had to adjust to the new system, the way we want to play. So kudos to them, it speaks volumes the kind of kids that are here. I’m definitely looking forward to going again next year.”

Oliver Ames girls soccer finishes the season at 8-1-5 and won both the Hockomock Cup and the Challenge Cup. Canton’s record finishes at 8-3-1, though one loss was via forfeit at the start of the Hockomock Cup.

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Canton Edges Foxboro in Finale to Win League Title

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Canton celebrates an Olivia Rodman goal during a 3-2 win over Foxboro in the season finale that clinched a first league title since 2012. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Following Foxboro’s 1-0 win on Monday afternoon, Canton knew that it would need a win in Wednesday night’s rematch at WWII Veterans Memorial Field to overtake the Warriors and win the Davenport division title.

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After twice taking the lead and having Foxboro quickly bounce back to tie the game, Canton’s third lead of the night turned out to be the charm. Gabriella Herivaux’s goal three minutes into the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs the lead for good and they held on for a 3-2 victory and a first league title since 2012.

“Both teams played hard the whole game,” said first-year Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “It was tough, we scored a goal and then give up one like two seconds later. That’s always a demoralizer, but I knew they were going to become a little more defensive the longer the game went on because they didn’t have to win, we had to win.

“We had to force it, but there was nothing left in the tanks after that.”

Coming into the game, Foxboro and Canton boasted five of the top six scorers in the league this season. Fitting for a big game, all five of those star players found the back of the net on Wednesday, including Canton’s trio of senior forwards Olivia Rodman, Elisa Diletizia, and Herivaux.

“I spoke to each one of them yesterday,” Senyonjo explained. “I told them, all the goals you’ve scored are going to be irrelevant if we can’t get the result. Every goal that you’ve scored has led you to this moment. This is going probably going to be the last home game you play and why not finish with a championship?”

Foxboro started well, with the Warriors aggressively pressing and pinning Canton back. Aislinn Servaes had an early chance after a misplaced clearance inside the opening 10 minutes and forced Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere into a save. Seven minutes later, Jordyn Collins got space on the edge of the box but her shot was charged down by freshman Ava Gilmore.

“It was a very evenly-matched game,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was a great game. I knew it was going to be a battle out here and I knew they were going to want to beat us so much because of what happened on Monday.”

It took most of the first quarter, but the hosts started to find ways into the attacking third. Diletizia switched play out to the right and Anne Hoban stepped past a defender before firing a long shot that was saved by Foxboro goalie Maddie Mayer, who was called up from JV to replace the suspended Morgan Sylvestre.

The chances kept coming for both teams. Rodman fired a cross from the left that Herivaux teed up for Emily McCabe to put on goal from just outside the box. Collins made a run on the left side of the box and knocked the ball off Staffiere, but Allie McCabe got back and cleared it off the line. Rodman then showed quick feet to shift the ball to her left and send a shot just wide.

Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts were in front. Mia Gilmore whipped in a cross from the right and Rodman showed great skill to bring it down off her chest and hit it quickly on the turn.

The excitement of the opening goal was short-lived. Within a minute, Foxboro got the ball into the box and Collins drew a foul. Kailee Mccabe made no mistake from the spot, firing Foxboro back level.

Early in the second half, Sarai Costello freed Diletizia with a long, curling pass around the left back and the forward forced Mayer into a save from a tough angle. A couple minutes later, Kailee McCabe slipped past her marker to get space for a shot from 25 yards that was just over the bar.

In the 49th minute, Herivaux managed to keep the ball in play on the near touchline and get it into the middle. The ball was played into the feet of Rodman with Foxboro defender Lindsey Resnick on her back. She was able to get her head up and slide an inch-perfect pass into the path of Diletizia, who was clean through on goal and powered her shot past Mayer’s dive and into the far corner.

Again, Canton celebrations were cut short just five minutes later, as Foxboro responded with a second equalizer. McCabe stepped up and let rip from the edge of the box. The shot was blocked, but looped to the left onto Collins’ foot. After taking a touch, she bent a shot inside the far post and tied the game at 2-2.

The home team came out flying for the fourth quarter, needing a goal to win the title. Rodman had a good chance from the left that initially looked like it was flying into the top corner, but ended up settling into Mayer’s gloves.

“I told them just throw everything you’ve got right now,” Senyonjo said about the message heading into the final 20 minutes. “It just came down to could we get lucky today because this game was going to give me a heart attack.”

A minute later, the Bulldogs were in front for a third time. A kick-in from the right was fired into Herivaux at the near post. She managed to bring the ball down off the bounce and, surrounded by defenders, managed to turn and get a foot on the ball as she was falling down, knocking it past the keeper.

After losing two leads, Canton tried to add to its advantage. Gilmore hit another great cross to the back post and Rodman directed it towards goal but Jordan Carman was there to block.

Foxboro’s best chance in the closing minutes came off the foot of a Canton player. Katelyn Mollica fired in a low cross from the right and Mekhala Costello stretched to block, tipping it towards goal but right into the grateful grasp of Staffiere.

“I just can’t help but wonder if it would’ve been different with Morgan in net but that’s something I can’t control,” said Stalcup about her senior goalie who was out because of a red card in Monday’s game. “They played well, Canton worked hard and they just got more goals than us tonight. My girls fought hard, we gave it our all out there.”

Senyonjo added, “It feels good. We beat a really good team.”

Canton (8-1-1) and Foxboro (7-1-2) will wait to find out the details of the Hockomock League’s cup tournament. When asked about the possibility of a third meeting in the cup final, Stalcup said, “That’s what I’m hoping. That’s what I would really love to have is one more chance.”

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Shorthanded Foxboro Beats Canton, Jumps Into First

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Foxboro players celebrate with Jordan Carman after she jumped in goal and held onto a clean sheet against Canton, moving Foxboro into first by a point. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Just five minutes after going in front in Monday afternoon’s top of the table clash at a windswept Sam Berns Community Field, Foxboro’s advantage seemed tenuous at best.

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The Warriors had starting goalie Morgan Sylvestre sent off for a foul on the edge of the box that the officials deemed a denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. Junior Jordan Carman grabbed the goalie shirt and gloves for the first time in her career, which meant Foxboro was losing not only its keeper but also one of its best defenders.

Going up against the league leaders, a team with the second most goals in the league (behind only Foxboro), and an attacking unit boasting three of the top five scorers in the Hockomock for 50 minutes, it was improbable that the Warriors could come away with a victory.

But that’s exactly what happened. Foxboro dropped back into a solid defensive shell, largely holding Canton to long distance chances, and Carman dealt comfortably with everything she faced, helping the Warriors hold on for a 1-0 win that moved them into first place in the Davenport with one game remaining.

“I’m smiling very big under this mask right now,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was just about containing, keeping them outside of the box as much as possible, not diving in, not letting them get any near shots off, and not letting them just pass the ball around. We did a good job of cutting off the angles for them to get it out wide.”

Despite the unseasonably cold weather, the teams looked ready to go from the start and settled into a tough, midfield battle.

The first quarter saw only a couple of half-chances for either side. Jordyn Collins settled a cross from the left but tried to play the ball out wide to Katelyn Mollica rather than shoot on the turn. Three minutes later, Olivia Rodman sent a left-footed cross into Gabriella Herivaux but the side-footed effort was easily held by Sylvestre.

Things livened up over a 12-minute span in the second quarter that saw the hosts go ahead and then quickly drop down to 10 players.

In the 24th minute, Collins blocked a clearance that forced Canton back into its own box and then Alyssa Vandenboom blocked the second attempt to get through on goal only to hit her shot right at Bulldogs keeper Marissa Staffiere. A minute later, the same duo combined for the opener.

Vandenboom played a perfectly weighted through ball between the center back and left back that Collins ran onto and the senior striker made no mistake, firing her shot in off the far post to put Foxboro ahead.

Just five minutes later, Elisa Diletizia got free for the first time in the match and was storming in on the Foxboro penalty area. Sylvestre was off her line quickly but her tackle caught the Canton forward. The officials conferred and agreed that if not for the foul Diletizia had a clear sight at goal and gave a straight red to the keeper and a free kick on the edge of the box.

With no backup keeper, Stalcup was forced to give Carman her debut in goal, which meant taking her from the stopper position where she has been so effective all season.

“Not even in practice, but she’s always told us that if need be that she would be the one that would step up,” Stalcup said about Carman’s goalkeeping experience.

Mia Gilmore wasn’t able to test the new keeper with her free kick, as it went narrowly over the bar. Six minutes later Gilmore had another chance from the edge of the box, after good interplay between Emily McCabe and Sarai Costello, but again it went just over.

The expectation was that Canton would create chance after chance in the second half, laying siege to the Foxboro goal in search of the equalizer, and the Bulldogs had plenty of possession, but the Foxboro defense continued to hold out. Lindsey Resnick in the middle, flanked by Meghan Burke and Peyton Feldman with Emma Dahl taking Carman’s spot at stopper alongside Kailee McCabe playing deeper than usual proved difficult for Canton to break down.

“I think we started forcing it a little bit too much,” Canton coach Idris Senyonjo admitted. “I think the idea of we need to score started getting in our heads more than actually we’re going to score if we keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing. But they did a good job defensively. They’re a good team.”

In fact, Foxboro had one of the best chances of the third quarter. Collins got free on the break and laid a pass off to Mollica on the right but the shot went just wide.

“That was what was so brilliant about it, when we did get the counters we were able to keep possession of the ball and at least get a few runners on the side,” Stalcup said. “They thought they were going to pound it on us and when we got the counter it put them on their heels.”

Canton’s best chance came nine minutes into the fourth. Anne Hoban broke free down the right wing and the defender hit a low cross into the box that Herivaux met first time. It was a well-struck shot but it skimmed the crossbar on its way past. Two minutes later, Rodman had a chance on the left but tried a cross rather than a shot and Carman got a touch and Burke was able to block the rebound attempt.

“It forced them to go much further deep to defend and it meant that we had to break up two blocks of four, which made it much harder,” Senyonjo explained. “You still have to make sure you do your job. We had probably, what 80 percent of the possession after the red card happened? But that doesn’t do you any good if you don’t get score a goal.”

Although the Warriors haven’t won a third straight title yet, it leaves them needing just a point on the road in Wednesday’s rematch to clinch the division.

“They came in [today] and the pressure was on them to get a win and now that pressure is on us,” said Senyonjo. “It’s kind of switched around.”

Foxboro (7-0-2) will travel to Canton (7-1-1) on Wednesday night in the regular season finale.

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Goalies Shine as Oliver Ames and Canton End Scoreless

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OA goalie Peyton Phillips makes a sliding save to stop Canton’s Maria Femia on a breakaway at the end of the first half. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Not all scoreless ties are the same. Sometimes, offenses are limited and it becomes a midfield stalemate. Other times, there are chances galore and at the final whistle you are left wondering how it was possible no one found the back of the net.

Sunday morning’s game at Muscato Stadium was definitely the latter.

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In a battle for first place in the Davenport division, Oliver Ames and Canton finished 0-0 thanks in large part to the stellar play of the two goalies, Canton’s Riley O’Connor and OA’s Peyton Phillips, and two resilient defenses making critical last-ditch stops.

“It was kind of the battle of the goalies,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. “They both did such a great job. I thought my defense played a great game today, unfortunately we just weren’t able to put it in the net. I’m not unhappy, it was a good battle back and forth.”

The goalies wasted no time in making their presences known, as the first quarter was end-to-end and featured chance after chance for both teams.

OA jumped out to a quick start, using its speed to cause problems for the Canton back line. Just two minutes in, Georgia Costello teed up Haley Gilman right in front of goal but O’Connor made the stop. Less than a minute later, Emily Han made a strong play to stop the Bulldogs from breaking and then turned it into a break for Costello, who was denied again by O’Connor’s pads.

A minute later and the visitors had their first great chance. Ellie Bohane got behind the OA defense and was clean through on goal only for Phillips to stop not only the first shot but also the rebound. Julia Maclaine then picked out Lexi Gennis on the doorstep but O’Connor read the tip and kicked it to safety.

Canton had two good chances in the final two minutes of the quarter. First, great stick work by Maria Femia sent Meghan LaBelle on a breakaway that Phillips stopped and then Bohane sent Erin Lane clear of the defense only for the goalie to stand tall again.

“She just started playing goalie last year,” Lawrence said of Phillips, who is in her first year as the starter. “She’s really come alive this year and she’s been amazing. She’s got the size, intensity, and athleticism, and that’s built her confidence this season. She’s showing it now.”

Everyone took a much-needed breath during the first break and things settled down for the first half of the second quarter before a flurry of chances to close out the half.

Sofia Anestam showed off her skills, dancing around a pair of Canton defenders before forcing a save out of O’Connor. Two minutes later, Costello slipped a pass through to Anestam on the break but again the goalie was equal to it.

In the closing seconds of the first half, Canton had another break. Lizzie Tassinari started it with a steal in the defensive zone and an accurate outlet pass down the wing to LaBelle, who in turn slid a pass to spring Femia clean through on goal. Phillips aggressively came out and made a sliding block to prevent the goal.

“I’m going to cringe watching those again,” said O’Connor about the chances missed in the first half. “We definitely had those chances, but it’s how to capitalize without putting it right at the goalie’s pads.”

Femia injured her ankle on that play and Canton’s leading scorer was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.

It would have been difficult to follow up that action after the break and chances were harder to come by in the second half. Most of the third and fourth quarters was played in the OA attacking third with the Tigers pressing for the go-ahead score but thwarted by the trio of Allie Gefteas, Carly Fitzgerald, and Tassinari.

“I really felt like Lizzie had probably her best game of the season,” O’Connor said. “You know, these big games is where you see who is ready to really play and she clearly was.”

When OA did get through, O’Connor was still there to make the save. Maggie Woods pushed forward three minutes before the end of the third and her diagonal pass just missed the stick of Maclaine at the back post.

In the final seconds of the quarter, Han again started a break for the Tigers with a pass to Erin Cottam, who was able to hit Costello wide open a few yards from goal. O’Connor was well-positioned and managed to get a foot to the shot, denying another great chance for the hosts.

“Not only her skill but her intensity and her mental toughness, she won’t give up on anything,” Lawrence said of Han, who missed the bulk of 2019 with a broken leg. “She’s the mental anchor back there. Abbey Boyce too, she’s so fast, she’s a very smart player. The two of them are very dynamic.”

Without Femia up top, Canton was finding it hard to sustain attacks and OA continued to press in the final 15 minutes. Woods again found space and fired a pass across the face of goal, but Fitzgerald cleared at the far post. With a minute to play Cottam got free in the middle and forced yet another save out of O’Connor, who made sure the game stayed tied to the end.

“Just keep playing your game and it’s going to fall, it’s going to fall,” said Lawrence about the message to the team in the fourth quarter. “Erin and Georgia kind of alternate the top spot but I put both of them in towards the end because they’re so fast and scrappy around the net. They had the great combination that the goalie got a toe on.”

Oliver Ames (6-0-2) will take on Stoughton this week knowing that two wins will earn the Tigers a Davenport title in their first year back in the division. Canton (6-1-1) is one point behind OA entering the final week and will take on Foxboro hoping to catch the Tigers and win back-to-back league titles.

“We’re not taking Stoughton lightly,” said Lawrence. “We’ve got two games left. We’ll come out tomorrow and have a good practice and finish strong.”

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Gilman’s Goal Lifts Oliver Ames Over Canton

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Oliver Ames’ Emily Han (left) goes to clear the ball past Canton’s Sarah Cunningham in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 CANTON, Mass. – For 60 minutes, the Canton and Oliver Ames field hockey teams battled back-and-forth, racing up-and-down the field matching each other stride for stride, shot for shot, and stop for the stop.

The only difference came with just over 10 minutes to go off the stick of Tiger senior Haley Gilman, who scored the lone goal of the game to give unbeaten Oliver Ames a 1-0 win over previously undefeated Canton in a battle for Davenport supremacy.

Both defenses shined, constantly thwarting chances and limiting the opposition from ever sustaining a consistent pressure on net, which wasn’t a total surprise as the teams entered the contest with two of the best defenses in the Hockomock League. Canton had allowed just one goal going into the game and OA had surrendered just four goals.

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That’s not to say there weren’t chances both ways, including breakaways and point-blank chances in front of net. But Canton senior goalie Riley O’Connor and OA senior keeper Peyton Phillips both had strong games in the cage to keep the game tight.

“It felt like whoever scored first was going to win,” said Oliver Ames head coach Sharon Lawrence. “It was about being in the right place at the right time, [Canton] had some of the same chances as we did. We talked at the end of the third quarter about how we were doing all of the right things, we were making good passes, we just had to keep up our passing and speed and eventually, it will fall. We just had to keep playing our game.”

The fourth quarter started with chances for both sides, with the visiting Tigers putting the pressure on early. Gilman connected with Maggie Woods on the sideline but her centering pass to Georgia Costello was thwarted by good defense from Canton’s Meghan LaBelle. A minute later, Woods set up senior Sofia Anestam for a low shot that was kicked aside by O’Connor.

Canton had a chance to break the deadlock two minutes later, a pass finding space behind OA’s high-line defensively. Bulldogs senior Maria Femia latched onto the ball and raced into goal along the right side but her shot was wide at the near post as Phillips came flying off her line with a feet-first tackle attempt.










The Tigers came back down the other way and finally found the back of the net with 10:25 to play. Woods once again connected with Costello, who delivered a service into the area. O’Connor once again came up with a terrific point-blank stop but Gilman stayed with it and tucked the rebound bid into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

“I thought it was a great game for both sides,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Both teams had great opportunities. For us, we had some chances in the circle we just made some bad decisions. I was hoping we’d be a little more up for the home game [against OA], we did play a little flatter than we usually do on offense. I thought our defense did a solid job. We just needed a little bit more on offense.

“We just have to capitalize on our chances. We were able to get behind the defense and we got in there, maybe we need two people so we can make that extra pass. We’ve had these opportunities before that usually turn into a goal, just didn’t happen today.”

Canton continued to push for the equalizer over the final minutes but OA’s defense and Phillips stood tall. Femia and Sarah Cunningham had a two-on-one chance broken up by Emily Han, and a minute later, OA defender Abbey Boyce had a key interception and clear. Phillips made a positional pad stop on a one-timer from Cunningham in front after a cross from LaBelle.

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“Our defense this year has been so good,” Lawrence said. “With it being 7-on-7 this year, there’s so much space on the field so we’re trying to preserve our energy and move as a unit, using kind of a zone as a defense. We have a lot of speed this year, especially on defense which helps.”

With just over a minute to go, the Bulldogs had another breakaway bid with Femia racing in but once again Phillips came charging off her line with a slide stop, getting just enough of the shot to keep it wide and the Tigers cleared to secure the win.




“We coach Peyton to charge when she needs to and cut down that angle so it’s not an easy shot,” Lawrence said. “We never want her to be a sitting duck in there. So the more aggressive she is, the scarier it is for the offense.”

Both defenses were strong from the get-go. With little chances through the first half, the Tigers nearly found the back of the net just before the end of the first quarter. Woods linked up with Costello for a good chance in the area but Canton’s Allie Gefteas intervened to prevent a chance on goal.

OA continued to push in the second quarter and might have had a couple more shots on goal if not for some great defensive work from Canton’s Lizzie Tassinari. Just before the halftime break, Canton was inches away from the lead when Femia set up Samantha Vrabel in front but Phillips made the point-blank stop.

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“I thought both defenses were solid,” O’Connor said. “Having no corners is probably the biggest killer for our offense, for our game. We were in the circle, and if there’s a foul you go back out. Usually we’d have 10 to 12 corners, and we probably turn that into something. That’s probably been the biggest challenge with the modifications.”

Oliver Ames (6-0-1) remains undefeated with the win and moves into first place in the Davenport division with a one-point lead over Canton (6-1). The two teams will meet again on Thursday in a rematch that will have major implications on the Davenport division title.

“It’s our goal, we want to win it all,” Lawrence said. “We don’t focus on it before the games, but we knew this was the biggest week for us coming in. But right now it’s just taking it one game at a time.”

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