WELLESLEY, Mass. – With back-to-back goals, Foxboro rallied to tie South champion Cohasset in Tuesday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Babson College’s MacDowell Field. The Skippers, who won the state title in 2017, took a timeout to regroup and proceeded to break the game wide open.
Cohasset scored five goals in the final 4:04 of the first half, propelling the Skippers on a game-closing 12-3 run and a 17-8 victory that ended the most successful season in the Foxboro program’s history.
“That four, five-goal lead they got going into half was killer,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “It’s too hard to dig yourself out of those. We’ve had games where we’ve been in positions where we’ve had to do it but we’ve never had the result that we needed. We’ve dug ourselves out but not enough.”
The Skippers had the first good look of the game but the shot caromed off the far post, after a loose ball was scooped up by the Warriors an outlet pass sent Molly Murphy on a break. She picked out Julia Kelley at the ‘X,’ who hesitated to draw a defender and open space for a pass to sophomore Lilly Vey for a close-range finish.
Northwestern University-bound Jane Hansen (five goals and two assists) cut through the Foxboro defense to tie the game, but the Warriors answered back. This time Vey played provider, setting up Sophia DiCenso as she cut across the front of goal and the University of Richmond-commit unleashed a side-arm shot under the bar to make it 2-2.
After three straight goals by the South champions, DiCenso scored her second goal of the night, this time with a lefty shot from a tight angle to bring the Warriors back within one.
Hansen assisted on Cohasset’s fifth of the night to restore the two goal lead, but Foxboro scored two in rapid fire to tie the game. Sara Addeche (four saves) made a big stop on a free position on one end and the Warriors again broke quickly with Meghan Curran getting the ball up the near sideline to Murphy, who bounced a shot through the five-hole to make it 5-4.
Right off the ensuing draw, DiCenso was inches away from tying it, but her shot came off the post. Kelley (three goals and one assist) was in the right spot to snag the rebound and finish.
It was the high point for the Warriors, as the favorites took control. Kate Cunning scored to break the deadlock and 12 seconds later assisted on a goal by fellow sophomore Gennie Littlejohn. Hansen scored back-to-back goals only 30 seconds apart to extend the lead to four and with just 22.9 left in the half Cunning got another assist on a Madie Donovan goal.
“Going into half, it was just about putting pressure on the ball and not letting them have a relaxed thought,” Sherry said about the frame of mind of the Warriors at the break. “I think we kind of did that but they had too much time to find their feet and hit their cutters. They got space and they got open, so that was an adjustment that we needed to make and we didn’t make it enough.”
The Warriors came out of the break with the right attitude and gave themselves hope of a comeback with the first goal of the second half. DiCenso was unlucky again, as another shot came off the post, but Curran chased down the ground ball to keep possession and seconds later Vey (two goals and two assists) combined with Kelley to bring the score to 10-6.
Foxboro had two opportunities to cut into the lead further, but the Cohasset defense forced a turnover and Hansen made it 11-6 with 19:30 to play. The Skippers added two straight, including a nice give-and-go between Hansen and Molly Greer, to push the lead up to seven.
Vey got a goal on a free position but another three-goal run by the Skippers eliminated any momentum that may have been gained by Foxboro. Jaime Notarangelo added the eighth and final goal for the Warriors from a free position with two minutes left.
Experience was a benefit for the Warriors in the East final against Medway and Foxboro (16-8) brought home its first-ever sectional title. It was the main goal of the season, Sherry explained, and she thinks it will help the returning players to have gotten a taste of the state semifinal atmosphere.
“They have so much exposure in this environment,” Sherry said about Cohasset. “I think we played really well. I think this was the best competition they’re going to see (outside the South). I think we gave them a fight and we hung in with them and it just wasn’t enough.”