Lowney Nets Winner for Oliver Ames at Foxboro

OA Girls Soccer
Dana Lowney throws her hands in the air to celebrate her game-winning goal against Foxboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – When Oliver Ames pays a visit, teams know what they are in for. It is going to be a physical matchup and it is critical to not give OA set pieces in the attacking end of the field. Foxboro showed that it is capable of holding its own on the physical side of the game, but then with 16 minutes remaining in a scoreless game the ball went out for a corner.

Zoe Chazan played the ball into the middle of the Foxboro penalty area and it skipped off a crowd of players to the edge of the box. Senior right back Dana Lowney was standing alone just outside the 18 and she collected the loose ball and fired a shot just under the bar.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

That goal was all that would separate the sides in an otherwise even match between former Davenport division rivals. The 1-0 win at Sam Berns Community Field was already the third victory for OA even though the season is less than a week old.

“You’re going to score off headers and the two ‘garbage’ players we have hang at the 18 on both posts, I tell them if you hang there then sometime during the season it’s going to come to you and put it in,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer.

Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn, who also played against the Tigers during her time at King Philip, said, “We played a very good game against OA, we dominated them for a lot of it, but we gave up corners. You can’t give up corners against OA; you just can’t.”

Lowney was wearing a bandage on her head and a black eye from a collision in one of the other games this week. While she explained after the game that it did not hurt, it was a visible representation of the way the game played out. Both teams set up to disrupt their opponent, close down all over the pitch, and never shy away from contact.

The aggressiveness of both teams made it difficult to connect passes and for the first half hour the Tigers had the only good scoring opportunities. Francesca Calabraro created the first opening with a run down the right sideline, but her cross was knocked over by Kiana Lozzi inside the six-yard box. Calabraro also had the second chance six minutes later when she pounced on an errant header but she pushed her shot just wide of the post.

Foxboro had its first shot on target in the 32nd minute. A throw-in on the near sideline found junior Shaina Abbotton the edge of the OA box. She spun to create a sliver of space and sent a chip that looked destined for the back of the net until junior goalie Regan Benton leapt to get a fingertip on it and keep it out.

“I think sometimes it’s harder too when you’re not touching the ball a lot to stay focused, but she was solid for us,” said Sellmayer. “She did a great job.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors thought they had another chance at a goal two minutes after the break when senior Kristen Bortolotti appeared to be bundled over in the box. Despite the contact, the official waved away appeals from the Foxboro bench and pointed for a goal kick.

Although she did not get the call, Bortolotti was Foxboro’s best attacker in the game. She dropped deep into the midfield and ran at the OA defense time and again and twice her movement opened up chances for Riley Collins coming off the wing, but neither led to a goal.

Lamothe-Vaughn was ecstatic to have Bortolotti back after she missed all of her junior season with an injury. “Kristen is everywhere,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “She’s amazing. Last year, we just had injury after injury and hers being huge and her not coming back it really hurt us. So, having her we’re very lucky.”

Both teams were focused on limiting the top attackers, so Calabraro and Foxboro’s Lily Sykes struggled to make an impact on the game. The Tigers back four (Lowney, Chazan, Emily Freeman, and Emily Short) and the Foxboro back line (Devon Mollica, Lauren Flahive, Olivia Dantona, and Alex Stamatos) kept everything in front and bottled up both ends of the pitch.

Sellmayer said, “They’re good, it was hard for us to break them down. We only had like two corner kicks and it took us 60 minutes to get one. They limited Francesca on shots and they did a nice job. They’re solid, but we persevered.”

With 16 minutes to play, a long shot was tipped aside by Foxboro goalie Hallie Canfield. The Tigers got their second of three corners and Lowney made it count. It was the second late goal allowed in as many games by the Warriors, but Lamothe-Vaughn left with a good feeling about how her team played.

“We’re just going to take this and move forward,” she said. “Against Mansfield, we just completely unfolded and that’s why we lost. We didn’t lose this because of not playing a full 80 minutes. I’m proud of them.”

The game had been moved up because of a scheduling conflict later in the season, so OA played on back-to-back days and three times in four days. The Tigers came through the tough stretch with a perfect six points out of six.

“We’re playing well, just keep working hard everyday,” Sellmayer said. “It’s a good start.”

Oliver Ames will host Sharon on Monday, while Foxboro will travel to King Philip looking for its first win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Girls Soccer: 2016 Davenport Division Preview

2016 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview
After the league realignment, North Attleboro comes into 2016 as a favorite for the Davenport title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview

Canton

2015 Record: 13-5-1
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Kate Howarth

The Bulldogs will be happy to see Oliver Ames move on to the Kelley-Rex after finishing just behind the Tigers in the Davenport title race each of the past two seasons. Head coach Kate Howarth is now in her fourth season and Canton seems poised to make an even bigger impact this year with a number of returning players, despite still being a very young team that has only three seniors on the roster.

Canton’s strength starts at the back where senior goalie Kathryn Doody has developed into a solid shot stopper and also an extra sweeper who can cover when the defense steps up to press the play. Just in front of the keeper, Sarah Connolly will be in her third year on varsity and brings “loads of experience,” according to Howarth.

Junior Riley Duserick is back to run the middle of the pitch for the Bulldogs after a pair of all-star seasons. Her range of passing and her long-range shooting will force defenses to keep an eye on her at all times, which can open lanes for the pass into senior forwards Hannah Link and Tessa Cudmore. Both are in their fourth year on varsity and Howarth is counting on their experience to be in the right place to finish opportunities.

Howarth added, “We have some great depth this year. When we make subs I don’t think our quality will go down at all and that is very exciting.”

Foxboro

2015 Record: 9-9-0
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn

The Warriors were one of several teams that battled injuries last season. Foxboro started the fall without its starting keeper, one of its primary forwards and with its star midfielder playing through an injury suffered in the off-season. The Warriors still reached the postseason but with a full roster set to start 2016, expectations are even higher.

The key player is junior midfielder Lily Sykes, who head coach Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn referred to as the team’s “rock.” Sykes has recovered from the injury problems she dealt with last year and will be the primary playmaker in behind the forwards. She will have plenty of experienced players to look for with the return of senior Kristen Bortolotti, who was one of Foxboro’s top scorers as a sophomore but missed all of last year with injury. Also up top, the Warriors will feature Olivia Dantona, Shaina Abbott, and Hannah Burns.

Another key returner is senior goalie Hallie Canfield, who missed significant time last year. She adds even more confidence to a returning back four of seniors Devon Mollica, Lauren Flahive, and Jamie Gorman and sophomore Alex Stamatos. With Hailey Maling and Riley Collins running the wings, Foxboro has plenty of familiar talent coming back to try and win the program’s first league title since 1993.

Milford

2015 Record: 8-9-2
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Jay Mastaj

For the past several seasons, Milford has been incorporating younger players in an effort to get back to the postseason, but injury troubles have limited the Hawks in the ultra-competitive Hock. This year, the Hawks have a good balance between senior leadership and young talent and could be poised for a breakthrough season.

The key players for Milford are senior captains Nicole Dahlgren, who is a strong presence in the center of defense with the ability to step into the midfield, and Kristen Franzini, who was the team’s leading scorer from a year ago with nine goals. The four-year starters will have help from midfielder Maggie Boyle and defender Rachel LeBlanc.

Head coach Jay Mastaj is excited about a strong crop of freshmen, including Maddie Boyle, Ashleigh Starks, Annie Flanagan, and Juliana France. Mastaj said that the team has plenty of depth this season. He added, “This is the most talented team that we have fielded in my four years here at Milford.”

North Attleboro

2015 Record: 13-5-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Glenn Pasquel

While the Rocketeers had a solid regular season under first-year head coach Glenn Pasquel, not many expected North Attleboro to make a run through league rivals OA and Franklin to reach the Div. 1 South semifinal (a 2-1 loss to Whitman-Hanson). Key players like Hana Caster and Grace Guertin are gone, but North has a lot of returning talent for its first season in the Davenport and expectations are high at Kelly Field.

Much of the excitement around the program is in the attacking third where junior Haley Guertin will try to have another season like 2015 in which she scored 19 goals, led the league in scoring, and was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. She will receive help up top from winger Felicity Monfils, who emerged last year as a threat on the right wing for the Rocketeers. Emily Schromm and Julianna DiRenzo will try to fill the holes in midfield from the strong crop that graduated.

Goals are important but it was the development of the North defense that propelled the Rocketeers to a tournament run. The move of Rachel Labonte to sweeper turned into a masterstroke as she seemed to block every attack and move the ball quickly back into the attack. Emily Chiasson will join Labonte in the back line in front of new goalie Emma Noreck. Pasquel said, “Great start to the season, plenty of returning players…Looking forward to a great season.”

Sharon

2015 Record: 3-13-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Furnival

First-year head coach Brad Furnival has spent the preseason installing his style of play and building the organization needed to compete in the Hockomock League. So far, he said that results have been positive and he is excited to get the season underway. It may be a new coaching staff, but the Eagles have plenty of familiar names from last year’s young and talented squad.

Senior captains Anna Crosby and Ally Steinberg will be the players that Furnival is expecting to be leaders on and off the pitch and both have the potential to make an impact in the midfield. Ally Filipkowski has the foot skills and moves to create scoring chances for herself and her teammates.

In addition, Sharon will also have St. Michael’s College-commit Victoria Zambello and Ithaca College lacrosse commits Alex and Samantha Rabb back this season to add aggressiveness and energy to the team. There is a lot of talent on hand and Furnival is trying to find the right “vision” to mold the talent into a competitive team. He said, “I’m looking to have the perfect balance this season between players with a technical and physical prowess, which will make Sharon a much harder team to play against.”

Stoughton

2015 Record: 4-14-0
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Tara Daniels

Head coach Tara Daniels enters her second season with the Black Knights looking to continue the development of the program to compete in the very competitive Davenport division. Stoughton has several players that Daniels believes could make a big impact this season and see the Black Knights make a move up the standings.

The key for Stoughton will be the midfield where Emerson Sprague will try to run things from the center of the pitch. Daniels praised Sprague’s distribution and her ability to keep the Black Knights in possession. On the outside, senior captain Amelia Cochran will be racing up and down the wing and junior Mia Greene will be helping Sprague with the playmaking duties. Up front, sophomore Gabby Diaz will try to build on a solid freshman campaign.

The defense is led by junior captain Sarah Wildrow. Daniels said of the vocal outside back, “I’ve never seen Sarah get out-hustled.” Daniels added, “Hard work and staying healthy will be key to our success. Our goal this season is to keep our mind focused on teamwork and connecting passes.”