Below are the official 2016 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Tyler Mann, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Harry Lancaster, Attleboro
Nick Hasenfus, Attleboro
Paul Corcoran, Canton
Jake Verille, Canton
Anthony Barreira, Foxboro
Jeff Melo, Foxboro
Hatim Brahimi, Franklin
Farley Asmath, Franklin
Colby Koch, King Philip
Tyler Mann, King Philip
Cam Mullins, King Philip
Eli O’Neill, King Philip
Max Gurnon, Mansfield
Nick Hyland, Mansfield
James Chotkowski, Mansfield
Marcello Panno, Milford
Pedro Sampaio, Milford
John Brennan, North Attleboro
Nathaniel Cardoza, Oliver Ames
Thomas McCormick, Oliver Ames
Matt Campbell, Oliver Ames
Ben Stamm, Sharon
Shalin Patel, Sharon
Loubensky Lucus, Stoughton
Tyler Melo, Stoughton
Daniel DeAndrade, Taunton
Zach White, Attleboro
Griffin Roach, Canton
AJ Bubencik, Foxboro
Connor San Clemente, Franklin
Ryan Coulter, King Philip
Jed Tolbert, Mansfield
Danny Mendoza, Milford
Mason Galbato, Oliver Ames
Andrew Reyes-Jones, Sharon
Jordan Asnes, Stoughton
The difference ended up being the Warriors converting in the half they had the majority of control while its defense kept the Eagles at bay when the visitors dictated the pace; King Philip picking up a 1-0 decision in the D1 South Quarterfinals.
“We struggled to score a little bit today but you expect a battle at this point in the season,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “I think if a couple of those went in, we would have been better off but I have a lot of respect for BC High. They are a good program historically and they were a good program again this year.
“We were prepared to battle. We made it a little bit more difficult on ourselves but not scoring more goals but at the same time, I love the heart and character my guys had today.”
King Philip was in control from the opening whistle, notching a pair of serious scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the game and adding good looks on a pair of corner kicks.
In the sixth minute, Larsen Keys and Anthony Bozza connected with a one-two sequence before Keys delivered a service into the area. Thomas Lugten rose up and met the cross with his head, forcing BC High keeper Mike Ball to leap and tip the ball just over the bar.
In the 15th minute, Bozza served in a corner that senior Cam Mullins jumped up to meet, nodding his header towards the near post but Ball was quick to get down and make the stop.
In the 28th minute, senior Colby Koch did well to get some space from his defender, took a touch to his left and hit a low shot that was deflected but Ball did well to recover and make the diving save.
Finally, after a handful of early chances, the Warriors were able to break through just before the half hour mark. The ball bounced out to the top of the area in front of Lugten and he connected on a volley. The ball hit the bottom of a BC High defender who had jumped to block the shot. That deflection put the ball right inside the far post, sneaking under Ball to put KP up 1-0.
The Warriors were unable to find a second before the halftime break. From the opening whistle of the second half, the Eagles seized control of the game. Using a kick and run direct style of play, BC High tried to expose a weakness in KP’s defense but were unable to.
“We made defense a priority today because we’re going to have to be a good defensive team to keep good opponents from scoring goals,” Gale said. “We tried to create as many transitional opportunities by winning the ball back quickly. Defense was definitely a priority.
“[BC High] played direct balls quite a bit [against Quincy] – we knew that’d be tough to defend against all the time. That late offsides call was a blessing. Overall we defended well though. At this point in the season, you have to be able to defend the direct play.”
King Philip’s defense was strong in the air, continually clearing away long balls from the Eagles.
The Warriors did have some chances in the second half, but Ball was fantastic in net for BC High.
In the 58th minute, a long throw fell to the feet of Koch, who was on the edge of the six yard box. Koch tried to turn and shoot but Ball made the save in close. In the 60th minute, Keys flashed a header just wide off a corner kick from Bozza.
BC High finally had a service sneak through King Philip’s defense in the 63rd minute but Warrior goalie Eli O’Neill was quick off his line and gobbled the loose ball before an Eagle could get a touch.
Mike Rowe made a nice cut inside the area to get free in the 67th minute but his shot was denied by Ball. The rebound fell to the feet of Koch but he was unable to get around it before BC High cleared it.
As the final minutes ticked away, BC High pushed number forward, allowing KP to get off on a break. Tyler Mann fed Koch in alone on goal. Koch did well to wait for Ball to make his slide and tried to elevate the ball over the keeper but an impressive one hand saved knocked the ball down. The rebound fell to Koch but before he could slot it in, Ball dove back into position and handled the follow up.
Seconds after Ball’s double save, it looked as though BC High had found the equalizer. After a service was cleared out, the Eagles dropped another ball back in behind the defense. The ball deflected its way to a wide open Ryan Cuozzo behind the defense, who buried the ball at the far post but the refs whistled for offsides. KP was able to kill off the last minute without another threat.
“It was a little frustrating at times but I told the guys they had to be disciplined,” Gale said. “At this point in the tournament, it’s going to be frustrating sometimes, you’re not going to win every single battle. It’s important to continue to make sure your disciplined in what has brought you success all season long.
King Philip boys soccer (17-1-2) advances to the D1 South Semifinal to take on #4 Braintree on Wednesday at 5:30 at Brockton High School. The Wamps beat Attleboro 2-1 on a goal late in the game to reach the semifinal.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip boys soccer has scored in a variety of ways throughout the 2016 season. From free kicks to corner kicks, and in the run of play, the Warriors have crafted some impressive goals this year.
But the Warriors saved their best goal for the most important game of the season.
Senior Colby Koch uncorked an absolute stunner just moments before halftime that proved to be the game-winner in King Philip’s 2-0 win over Mansfield – a victory that clinched the Warriors’ first ever outright league title and first Kelley-Rex crown since 2010.
“A lot of hear of heart, a lot of grit and a lot of passion, which I think plays into it and they were heavily disciplined, which is something against a good team like Mansfield you have to be because they’ll expose you in a moment the second you break down,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “Their work ethic, they earned this one tonight.”
The Warriors entered the game with a three point lead in the division over Mansfield and came out with the better of chances early on. Junior Tyler Mann intercepted a clearance from the Hornets and quickly found Koch for a shot just outside the area but Mansfield keeper Jed Tolbert did well to time his jump for the save.
Five minutes later, Jack Bush’s long throw was deflected to the back post where KP sophomore Anthony Bozza latched onto it but his shot was blocked wide. In the 33rd minute, Larsen Keys cleared a Mansfield free kick and Mann quickly sent Koch forward. The senior connected with Nils van den Boogaard for a shot from just outside the area but Tolbert was positioned well for the stop.
Mansfield finally registered its first serious scoring chance in the 36th minute when Cullin Anastasia was able to win a 50/50 ball, putting it down for a shot from Sam Hyland from just outside the area but KP keeper Eli O’Neill smothered the low shot.
Just a minute before halftime is when the fireworks finally went off. Koch gained possession in the attacking third. A couple of touches forward, Koch was given just enough space the the senior didn’t hesitate, unleashing a shot from just a couple of steps over 30 yards out that ripped through the air to the upper corner at the far post to put the Warriors up 1-0.
“Everyone was just making incredible runs, when I had the ball I was going to try and find Tyler on a run but the defender angled his body so I couldn’t,” Koch said. “I faked it, the defender went right, I went left and the goalie shifted so I just shot to the far post.
“You have to take opportunity you get. I think it was Wayne Gretzky that said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. The guys on the team encourage me to shoot, and they all can finish as well so if we have the space it can be dangerous.”
“Even the shots before and after, you could tell he was on his game tonight,” Gale said. “He’s been very focused as of late. He’s stepped up from an outside back position [last year] to a striker and he’s somehow managed 14 points. When you switch positions, you don’t just do that often. For that moment, we needed something big for us and no one else I’d rather have than Colby taking that shot and he got a good shot off.”
The goal gave the Warriors the momentum heading into the break but KP couldn’t break through Mansfield’s defense and capitalize to start the second half.
Mansfield had the first chance of the second stanza in the 55th minute when James Chotkowski hit an off-balance shot inside the area but it curled high and wide. Four minutes later, KP had a chance to double the lead by was stuffed by Mansfield captain Max Gurnon. Mann found Koch, who returned the pass but the shot from Mann in the area was blocked by Gurnon.
Two minutes later, the Hornets nearly used their bread and butter – set pieces – to cash in and tie the game. A free kick from Gurnon dropped into the area, met by sliding O’Neill but the ball bounced loose in the area. Anastasia had a go on the rebound but his chance was blocked away.
Mansfield had another bid in the 64th minute to try and tie the game when Hyland dropped a free kick to the far post but Gurnon was well marked and couldn’t get a clean touch.
“My backline and goalie have been the strength all year but Mansfield is extremely dangerous in the final third with their set pieces,” Gale said. “They have players who are fearless and can finish so I have to give props to my back four and keeper for being able to handle that pressure nonstop throughout the game. Going into the game it was important to not allow them many opportunities and we did a good job defending them.”
King Philip secured the win in the 79th minute as Thomas Lugten gained some separation on the left wing, firing a shot that Tolbert got a piece of. The rebound rolled to the far post where Mann sprinted onto it and buried it from in close to make it 2-0.
“Nothing, we just can’t score on them,” Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan said when asked what it is about KP that gives the Hornets trouble. Mansfield’s lone two losses are to KP. “We played them tough. We had one mistake on that first goal, we let Colby get away and get the shot off…it was a beautiful goal, just a beautiful goal. We were pressing up at the end, we went with three forwards, four forwards. We were going for the tie and then we wanted the win, it just didn’t happen.
“[King Philip] is a good team, they’re very disciplined. They are going to be a tough out in the tourney – but I hope we see them like we did last year.”
With the win, King Philip moves to 15-1-2 overall and 13-1-1 in league play, which clinched the league title.
“They pay attention, I can’t even hide it,” Gale said when asked if his players were aware of the possibility of clinching with the win. “I think that’s what played into how well they played. They wanted it. It doesn’t happen here very often. We had someone come up that won the title in 1999 and they shared it with Oliver Ames. I couldn’t tell you the last time that KP has won it outright in soccer.”
“It’s incredible,” Koch said of winning the division. “You just know you’re never going to get this chance again so you just have to live it up and take it for what it is, it’s awesome. I love it.”
King Philip boys soccer closes the regular season when Franklin comes to Macktaz Field on Thursday at 3:45. Mansfield has two games left in the regular season, first a visit from OA on Thursday and then a date with Canton at Gillette Stadium on Friday at 6:00.
By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
WRENTHAM, Mass. – After tying Attleboro earlier in the season, King Philip knew it would need more than the one goal scored in the first half. The Warriors were able to turn it on in the second half, adding three more goals, to blank the Bombardiers, 4-0.
The Bombardiers came out strong and held the ball for most of the time in the first 20 minutes. Multiple chances opened early for Attleboro, but none ended in the back of the net. Most notably, in the 2nd minute, Ahijah Joseph streaked right up the middle of the Warrior defense and was just barely stopped at the last row of defense by a sliding Cameron Mullins.
Attleboro kept the pressure on, but the game slowly began to shift towards the other end, putting KP on the offensive. Once they got the ball rolling, KP never looked back.
KP’s first real chance came in the 12th minute when the ball was advanced into the zone and a waiting Colby Koch was ready to receive it. The Bombardiers defense came crashing in on Koch, a little too hard, and ran right into him, drawing the penalty kick. Mullins then lined up to take the ensuing penalty kick and booted it right past a diving Nicholas Hasenfus to open the scoring.
With a lone point up on the board for KP, the rest of the first half washed away with no real threats by either side.
To try to find a spark, Attleboro’s head coach Peter Pereira made a lineup change in the second half. He moved Harry Lancaster, who was previously leading the defense, to the front of the formation. This proved to be a smart decision as Lancaster helped the offensive attack for the Bombardiers.
After multiple shot attempts to open the half, the Warriors finally capitalized in the 47th minute. Tyler Mann dribbled the ball right up the gut of Attleboro’s defense and put a beautiful touch pass past the last defender right Koch. Koch then sidestepped the charging Attleboro goalie and was left we an easy tap in to double to score.
The Mann-Koch duo struck again just eight minutes later, but this time the roles were reversed. Koch, who had the ball on the wing, found Mann on a low cross, and the junior tapped it in at the far post to make it 3-0.
After the two quick goals, Attleboro tried to stop the bleeding with a time out. After the timeout, Lancaster helped put together one of Attleboro’s better looks of the game. He weaved in and out of the Warrior’s defense until he had an open shot on net but KP keeper Eli O’Neill came up with a big save.
O’Neill cleared the ball out by tossing it to Mullins, who then booted it down the field. He toed it right over the entire Attleboro defense to find Koch on the opposite end of the field. Koch took advantage and tapped in another wide open net for his second goal of the game.
With the Warriors up by four, it was a game of keep away for the last 20 minutes. KP kept up their pressure but did not get any more solid looks at the net. Attleboro did see a few more chances before the last few seconds ticked off the clock, however. The Bombardiers had two consecutive free kicks in the final three minutes of the game, but both were stopped in their tracks by KP’s defense.
“I think we moved the ball well. We created a lot of scoring opportunities; I thought that was awesome,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said.
With the win the Warriors improve their record to 13-0-2 and keep a zero in the win column.
When asked about his team’s success Gale said, “Every game is going to be tough, everyone wants a piece of the success we are having. I try to keep these guys humble, and keep them focused on only getting better.”
The King Philip Warriors will try to stay hot as they face a true test in Oliver Ames on Wednesday. Attleboro will look to bounce back as they play host to a very talented Mansfield team on Wednesday as well.
The Kelley-Rex division leading Warriors netted a pair of first half goals a minute apart and then tacked on three more goals in the second half to take down the Davenport division leading Eagles.
“I have to give major props to my midfield,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “I thought Connor [Mullins] had an awesome, awesome game. Our goal was to build up through our midfield whenever possible and Connor’s a huge cog to that. And he had three assists today. He was a major factor today in our success today.
“I thought our ability to keep possession against obviously a good, first-place Davenport team, our guys tried to meet that challenge. I told the guys we had to start to focus on what we do well and to do it consistently. I thought our possession game was phenomenal and they built it up really well and created a lot of opportunities in the final third.”
Mike Rowe registered the first shot of the game, his tough angle shot by Sharon keeper Ethan Kantorin the 4th minute. A nice sequence between Tyler Mann and Anthony Bozza in the 13th minute resulted in another save from Kantor at the near post. Thomas Lugten latched onto a shot in the 21st minute but Kantor notched another save.
“I thought a lot of our offense had to do with Colby [Koch], Lugten and Bozza starting to build a lot of chemistry together,” Gale said. “I don’t know what the shot totals were but I thought we attacked their goalie quite a bit. I thought the guys did an awesome job start to finish.”
Finally in the 29th minute, the Warriors broke through. Connor Mullins dropped a corner kick onto the six yard box that Kantor dove out and got a paw to off the bounce. The ball went right to Cam Mullins, who buried it with his head for a 1-0 lead.
Exactly a minute later, Connor Mullins played a ball over the top to senior Colby Koch. Koch took a touch and blasted a shot from just inside the area to double King Philip’s lead in the 30th minute.
“One goal makes a huge difference in a game, for the opponent as well as for you,” Gale said. “Once we scored one, I don’t know it was a burden lifted but I think it was a self-belief they could go out there and have that success. Right off the bat, they were hungry for a second one and I think we scored within two minutes. You obviously like to see that, since you build a first half lead. It helps set the tone.”
The Warriors took advantage of another corner in the 52nd minute with the Mullins’ brothers linking again. Connor’s service found the head of Cam, who looped his header to the far post and under the bar to make it 3-0.
Less than 10 minutes later, junior outside back Larsen Keys was first to a 50/50 ball and his touch turned into a perfect through ball. Mann ran onto the ball alone and buried his shot at the far post to put King Philip up 4-0.
“Going into the latter half of the season and into the tournament, you have to balanced team,” Gale said. “You have to be able to score in the run of play and off of set pieces, whether it be a long throw, a direct kick or corner. We have the size to take advantage of them but we haven’t done it a ton yet this year so it was nice to see a couple of set pieces work out for us today.”
King Philip capped the scoring in the 76th minute, cashing in on another set piece. Cam Mullins’ service from midfield found the head of Coulter at the far post but Kantor made an acrobatic save to keep it out. However, the rebound fell to Cameron McGovern, who tucked his shot into the side netting from close range to make it 5-0.
“They’re extremely disciplined,” Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly said of KP. “They know where they are supposed to be at all times, they know where each other are and they use one, two touch passes. It’s stuff we’ve been working on the last few weeks. We haven’t played since last Wednesday and then we had two days off this week for the Jewish holidays, we can’t practice then – that really hurts. It’s tough to get the game mentality back. I’m not going to take anything away from KP. My guys didn’t step up today.”
King Philip boys soccer (11-0-1, 9-0-1) now has a four point lead in the Kelley-Rex division and will travel to North Attleboro for a league match on Thursday. Sharon (4-3-2, 4-3-2) hold a one point lead in the Davenport division and will return to action on Monday when they host Norwood for a non-league contest.
Today’s games are selected.
Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Ahijah Joseph gave Attleboro the lead with an 18th minute goal, an advantage the Bombardiers took into the halftime break. Franklin senior Hatim Brahimi found the equalizer in the 69th minute to level the scoring.
Canton, 3 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Canton sophomore Paolo Ruggeri scored in the final minutes of the came to complete the Bulldogs’ comeback. Foxboro’s Anthony Barreira and Jeff Melo scored goals in the first half as the Warriors took a 2-0 lead into halftime. But Canton senior Ben Waterhouse cut into the lead with a goal in the 52nd minute and sophomore Paul Corcoran tied the game in the 55th minute. Ruggeri was able to convert with under two minutes to play for the game winner.
King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Sophomore Tony Bozza netted his first career goal in the opening minutes of the contest off an assist from Thomas Lugten and Lugten doubled the lead before the halfway mark of the first half to lead King Philip. Bozza used a one time finish off a pass from Lugten to put KP up 1-0 in the 2nd minute. Lugten then took a flick from Colby Koch and tucked his chance into the net from inside the area. KP head coach Nick Gale said his back four of Jack Bush, Cam Mullins, Ryan Coulter and Larsen Keys had a strong defensive game in front of goalie Eli O’Neill, who had a strong game against Mansfield’s set pieces.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Pedro Sampaio netted a pair of second half goals to lead the Scarlet Hawks to their second straight win. Sampaio converted a penalty kick to put Milford up 1-0 and then carried possession across the edge of the area before firing in his second of the game.
Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Joe Cerqueira and Nathaniel Cardoza each scored in the first half for Oliver Ames. James Gillespie assisted on Cerqueira’s goal and Chris Lawrence set up Cardoza’s goal.
Stoughton, 2 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon cashed in on a pair of corner kicks to build a 2-0 lead at halftime and converted on a free kick for a 3-0 advantage early in the second half. Andrew Reyes Jones opened the scoring, converting a corner from Michael Baur. Jeffrey Gao doubled the lead, finishing off another corner from Baur. Ben Stamm headed home a free kick from Ian Camilli to make it 3-0. Stoughton responded with a pair of goals with sophomore Fabio Ponce De Leon finishing a lofted pass from Tyler Melo coming first and Jordan Asnes finishing a cross from Goddy Fombe to make it 3-2. Camilli iced the game with his second point of the game with a strike from just outside the area to cap the scoring.
Franklin, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Miranda Smith scored twice and assisted on the third goal for the Panthers. Jess Kroushl added a goal and an assist and Emily Mastaj had an assist for Franklin.
Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 2 – Final
Mansfield, 5 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Emma Oldow scored once and had two assists, Allee Bezeau netted a pair of goals and Emma Goulet and Steph Kemp each scored once and had an assist in Mansfield’s win. Avery Snead scored for King Philip.
Milford, 1 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Milford converted a corner kick to pick up a tie on the road at North Attleboro. Nicole Dahlgren scored off of Maddie Boyle’s corner for the Scarlet Hawks. Milford head coach Jay Mastaj praised the two-way play of Ashleigh Starks and Maggie Boyle.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Anna Tempestoso, Kiana Lozzi and Abby Reardon were the goal scorers for OA and Zoe Chazon added two assists for the Tigers. Samantha Tichelaar scored for Taunton.
Sharon, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Sharon’s Alex Rabb registered her third hat trick of the season to lead the Eagles while Ally Filipkowski, Jessie Tarnoff and Amanda Klayman each scored two goals apiece. Ally Steinberg and Maxine Gordon each scored once for Sharon.
Mansfield, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Mansfield picked up a 25-16, 20-25, 28-26, 25-19 win on the road at Oliver Ames. Olivia Broyles had nine blocks and four kills for the Hornets while Chloe Peters added 20 service points and Jess Haradon and Jacey Anderson combined for 20 digs. Oliver Ames’ Bridget McCarthy had 27 assists and five aces and Maya Fetcho added 11 kills.
Milford, 3 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – Sharon junior Jess Allan led the Eagles’ offense with nine kills and Cori Jermyn added seven kills.
Attleboro, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Maggie Malloy accounted for all of the scoring in the game, scoring a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Jaclyn Brion scored the lone goal of the game with eight minutes remaining to earn Foxboro’s fifth straight victory.
Milford, 3 @ Sharon, 1 – Final
King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Click here for a recap from the game.
Sharon, 181 @ Stoughton, 192 – Final – Max Avratin was the match medalist, shooting a low-round of 44 to lead Sharon. Cam Doherty and Zach Gay led Stoughton, both shooting a round of 47.
Taunton, 191 @ Milford, 154 – Final – Three Milford golfers broke 40 on the day to pace the Scarlet Hawks to the win. Ryan Tomaso carded a low round of 35 while Anthony Arcudi shot 38 and Tylor Renaud carded a round of 39.
Canton, 153 @ North Attleboro, 149 – Final – Four different golfers shot under 40 for the Rocketeers to edge Canton in a key Davenport division showdown. Robbie Congdon shot a 36, David Colasanti shot a 37 and Dylan Kane and Tyler Sinacola both shot 38 in the win. Canton’s Matt Minichiello was the match medalist, carding a low round of 35.
Sharon, 22 @ Canton, 33 – Final
Sharon, 15 @ Canton, 49 – Final
King Philip scored a pair of goals in a flawless first half, kept Oliver Ames at bay for the first 20 minutes of the second half and held of a furious charge at the end to pick up a 2-1 win over the Tigers. KP’s win snapped Oliver Ames 25-game unbeaten streak that spanned the entire 2015 season and the start of this year.
“It was all on the players, it wasn’t any coaching changes,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. It was a simple elevation in energy and focus. These guys are coming off back to back games, it’s their sixth game in 14 days, so they thoroughly exhausted and they emptied the tank today, with whatever they had left. That’s probably the best first half we’ve played this season. It was hard to find anything wrong with it.”
The Warriors had full control in the first half, with the majority of possession and chances. KP was content to keep possession in its own third but worked nicely into the midfield and into the final third to create chances.
The first chance came in the 6th when Jack Bush found Colby Koch, whose cross was touched to Tyler Mann in the center of the area, but his shot was deflected wide. Two minutes later, Thomas Lugten and Koch combined for a 1-2 but OA goalie Ben Kemp stopped Lugten’s point blank shot.
OA’s best chance in the first half came in the 18th minute when junior Cam Vella was able to find some space at the top of the area but his shot flashed wide.
King Philip continued the pressure and was able to breakthrough in the 26th minute. Bush, from his outside back position, was able to get up field and had time on the ball. He picked out Koch with a perfect pass and Koch used a class one-time finish with his left foot to find the back of the net to put the Warriors up 1-0.
Koch clanked the post with a shot from just inside the area in the 32nd minute but less than a minute later, the Warriors doubled the lead. Mann, who was dropped deeper in a midfielder role rather than his normal striker spot, lifted a perfect ball over the top of the defense, finding a streaking Larsen Keys – KP’s other outside back – and the junior calmly finished one on one with the keeper to make it 2-0.
“We got two points coming from outside backs, which is phenomenal.” Gale said. “It was something we thought they were going to take away from us but we found a way to get around it and get some points. The thing I was most proud of in the first half was our focus on finishing, which is something that against a phenomenal team I thought we were going to struggle with and we found a way to get it done. I’m proud as hell of my guys.
“Tyler had a phenomenal ball on the backside to Larsen and Larsen did what he’s done in the past and he finished it. He picked his spot nicely and finished it from 20 yards out. Jack Bush’s cross, he picked out Colby and it was an absolute class shot. We found a way to get it done which is the most important thing against one of the best teams in the state.”
Oliver Ames amped its pressure up to start the second half. After Mike Rowe had his shot in the 48th minute saved by Kemp for KP’s first chance of the second half, Oliver Ames’ Thomas McCormick registered the Tigers’ first scoring chance of the second half, but his shot hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Ten minutes after McCormick hit the bar, Oliver Ames had another chance in the 69th minute when Matt Campbell’s corner found Vella, but his header was saved by KP keeper Eli O’Neill, who went full stretch to get the stop.
The Tigers finally broke through in the 75th minute, as Campbell played James Gillespie in alone on goal and the junior finished to pull OA within one.
OA kept the pressure up the final five minutes, but KP’s defense was able to clear off the danger.
“They cashed in on two chances, which is what they wanted to do and they were successful.” Barata said. “We have a lot to work on but we’re young, we’re figuring it out, it’s still a young season. I think we’re in a good position. I think the last 20 minutes – if that’s how we play, I think a lot more teams will be concerned about playing us. Right now they’re not because we’re soft but we’re young, I’m not too worried about it.
“It will be nice for us to get another chance at them at home. I think it will be a little bit different. But we’ll see how it goes – they are a very good team, and today the better team won.”
Gale’s decision to drop Mann into the midfield paid big dividends as the junior paired with classmate Connor Mullins to help the Warriors control the midfield. Meanwhile, KP’s center back pair of Ryan Coulter and Cam Mullins helped the Warriors keep possession along with Keys and Bush.
“I told our guys before the game that whoever could win the midfield would win the game today,” Gale said. “I dropped Tyler back in there to kind of complete it. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do to try and take Tyler out of the game either but Tyler is such a versatile player we could drop him in the midfield to solidify it. I thought at least in the first half, we definitely played better in the midfield and I think that showed. Tyler was a big impact player for sure.”
King Philip boys soccer (6-0-1, 4-0-1) moves into a tie with Mansfield for first place in the Kelley-Rex division. The Warriors will be back in action on Monday when they host Taunton. Oliver Ames (3-1-1, 3-1-1) will try to bounce back the same day with a trip to Attleboro.
By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Defense wins championships and that was the mentality of the King Philip Warriors on Thursday afternoon as they hosted a talented Bishop Feehan team.
In the end, the defense and Zac White’s second half goal were the big reasons King Philip came away with a 1-0 win over the Shamrocks.
The Shamrocks came out fast and aggressive and looked for their offense very quickly. They attacked the ball and tried to exploit the cracks in the defense, but King Philip did the job in closing those gaps and playing good team defense.
KP head coach Nick Gale noticed his defense’s hard work and had nothing but praise for them.
“It was one of their best games, the back four played amazing,” Gale said.
The back four, made up of Cam Mullins, Ryan Coulter, Larsen Keys, and Jack Bush, proved why they are one of the strongest defenses in the Hockomock. Although they did allow ten shots on goal, they were able to minimize and shut down many of the opposition’s attacks, with Bush thwarting a handful of Feehan opportunities.
Senior Eli O’Neill had a strong game in goal behind the back four. O’Neill, who has only played three varsity games in his career, looked like a veteran in net, stopping 10 shots and influencing a handful more.
“Eli had his best game today,” Gale said. “He was smart and very vocal.”
The Warriors spent most of the game on the defensive side of the ball, but when they advanced it, they took advantage of their opportunities.
In the 23rd minute, there was a glimpse of hope followed by a crash of disappointment. Bush fired from about 25 yards out and his shot seemed to be going right over the goalie’s head into the back of the net, but at the very last second, Feehan’s goal rose up and just got a fingertip on it.
KP’s offense kept pounding away at the Feehan defense and finally broke through in the 47th minute. The ball bounced around from Warrior to Warrior and ended up at Tony Bozza’s feet in the left corner. He centered the ball to a wide open White, who tapped it right over the outstretched Bishop Feehan goalie for the sole point of the game.
When asked, Gale made it a priority to point out that both Bozza and White are sophomores who have very bright futures and will be able to lead the team in the upcoming years.
After the King Philip goal, Feehan became even more aggressive on offense and had some late game pushes. The Warrior defense stood strong though and didn’t allow any attacks to get too far.
With the win, King Philip improves to 3-0 overall. The Warriors will try to ride this momentum into their next game against Canton on Friday afternoon.