Panthers Prevail With Road Win At Taunton

Franklin boys soccer
Taunton’s Alec Nunes dribbles past Franklin’s Andrew DiLeo in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – If you needed any proof that the final score doesn’t always reflect how the game was played, look no further than Franklin’s 2-0 win on the road at Taunton.

Despite playing arguably its best game of the season, and creating nearly a dozen good scoring chances, Taunton couldn’t find a way to find the back of the net.

And Franklin, who was on the defensive for a solid hour of the game, weathered the storm and push from the Tigers, evened the play over the final 20 minutes of the game and netted both of its goals in that same span.

“We were very fortunate,” said Franklin head coach Fran Bositis. “We should have down maybe four goals at halftime. They outplayed us in the first half completely.

“I thought that Taunton was controlling the game. Then all of a sudden it just changed. I’ll give my guys credit for staying with it.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After a free kick chance early for the Panthers, it was all Taunton for the next 35-plus minutes.

In the fourth minute, sophomore Alec Nunes split his way between two Panthers defenders before centering a pass to junior Evan Melo. Melo had a go from outside the area but his bid was comfortably saved by Franklin keeper Freddie Beckmann on the bounce.

Just seven minutes later, Taunton senior Jake DeAndrade played junior Brett Beaulieu down the wing. Junior Kyle Aubin was on the end of the cross but his shot went just wide.

Taunton center back Derek DeSantis plays a long ball over the top in the 18th minute with Beaulieu tracking down and sending a cross to the far post. Senior Liam Crowley had his shot blocked with the rebound falling to Aubin, but his low shot was pushed aside on a diving save from Beckmann.

Nunes had a bid in the 31st minute when Beaulieu centered a pass on the turf, and Nunes latched onto it at the top of the area but his hard shot skidded wide at the far post. Two minutes later, Beaulieu found Melo but his header at the back stick was wide as well.

Franklin had one chance in the final minute of the half when Nitin Chaudhury and Liam Kapples combined at midfield with the result springing Kapples free. However, DeAndrade did well to track back and his slide tackle blocked Kapples’ bid inside the area.

The Panthers also had the first chance of the second half but Andrew DiLeo’s shot was tipped wide by Taunton keeper Nolan Melo for a corner.

Taunton kept the pressure up to after that chance but still couldn’t find the back of the net. Nunes sprayed a pass wide to Crowley, who whipped a cross to the far post but Beaulieu’s effort to center the ball again was smothered by Beckmann.

Two minutes later, Nunes found Crowley again, who linked up with Aubin in the middle, but his bid went wide as he was pressured heavily by Franklin’s center backs. Inside the same minute, junior Liam Crowley stepped into a shot from atop the area, but it was wide.

In the 49th minute, Nunes’ free kick went right at Beckmann, and in the 53rd minute, Nunes’ corner was headed by Daeshawn Duffie but Aubin’s half-volley attempt just looped over Beckmann and the bar.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

DeAndrade, pushed up to an attacking spot, found his classmate Crowley on the left side but his chance from a touch angle went wide at the near post.

“I felt like we were outplaying them for about a good hour, and especially in the first half,” said THS head coach Taylor Whitters. “We just didn’t finish, and that’s how you win games. You have to finish.

“It’s a growing pain for us. We have an awesome team, they have a positive attitude, they are hard working. But they just have to believe. That’s the next step, it’s the confidence piece. Just believing they can do it.”

Once the hour mark struck, the Panthers seemed to settle in and their pressure helped create chances. While the majority of play took place in Taunton’s attacking third up until this point, Franklin’s pressure suddenly made it a challenge for the Tigers’ defense to get out of its own defensive third.

In the 61st minute, Jacob Cummings played Chaudhury wide and he found Tim Duval inside the area, but his point black shot was knocked down Melo and eventually cleared.

Franklin finally broke through in the 68th minute on the counter-attack. Kapples sprayed a pass wide for sophomore Donny Tappin. Tappin cut back inside the area to create some space before placing a shot on target. It was nearly stopped by a Taunton defender but found its way into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

A minute before the Panthers officially made it 2-0, Franklin had a golden chance denied by Melo. Beckmann launched a long punt that bounced over the defender with Tappin running onto it, but his shot was turned away by the Taunton keeper.

However, a minute later, a blocked clearance went looped right to Chaudhury at the back post, and he headed his shot just over the line before Taunton’s defense could clear it.

“Believe me, we’re very happy with the win,” Bositis said. “I’m happy they were able to stay with it and find a way to get it done. It’s a real good thing for the underclassman too, and we have a lot of them.”

Taunton had one final chance in the 77th minute when Beaulieu connected with Crowley on the left wing, but his bid at the near post was tipped over by Beckmann.

“We’ve been competing a lot more this season, and we’re giving some teams a run for their money…but if you can’t finish…you know, goals win games, simple as that,” Whitters said.

Franklin boys soccer (5-7-3 overall, 5-6-2 Hockomock) will try to continue to keep its postseason hopes alive when it travels to Mansfield on Thursday. Taunton (2-11-2, 1-10-2) will look to bounce back when it hits the road to visit King Philip on the same day.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Soccer: 2017 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Cam Vella (left) and King Philip’s Mike Rowe are back for their senior seasons. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 8-6-6
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Peter Pereira

Even though Attleboro graduated some key pieces, the Bombardiers have a lot of experienced and talented players back for the 2017 season. The biggest challenge will be replacing center backs Harry Lancaster (Best XI selection) and Tyler Treichler (Second XI selection) in the heart of the defense.

Juniors Colin Levis and Aidan Lancaster are both back on the defensive line after gaining plenty of experience a season ago. They’ll look to work with Brandon Lewis and Connor Dunn to solidify the back four in front senior goalie Nick Hasenfus (2016 Best XI selection). In the midfield, Zach White is back and will be relied upon as one of the team’s top playmakers once healthy. He’ll have the help of Brady Holander, Nathan LaPlume, Devin Andre, Eli Araujo and Keith Thompson.

After breaking out as one of the league’s bright young stars a season ago, Will Halben is back to lead the attack alongside sophomores Mike Russo and David Medeiros.

“We are hoping to do a bit better than last year with a bit more depth,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira.

Franklin

2016 Record: 6-9-3
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Fran Bositis

It looks like there is a chance of growing pains in the forecast for the 2017 Panthers. After graduating over a dozen seniors from last year’s team, there will be some inexperience in the lineup for Fran Bositis.

Senior Freddie Beckmann returns as the team’s starting goalie to give the defensive end some familiarity, but it will be a brand new back four in front of him. Sophomore Sam Stowell saw some minutes a year ago and will anchor the defense alongside senior Andrew DiLeo. Senior Connor O’Rourke, who also played some last year, will man the outside along with junior Sam Malloy.

In the midfield, Nitin Chaudhury will take over as the holding mid in the center of the pitch but could also move around depending on need. He’ll have the help of sophomores Jacob Cummings and Donny Tappin. Up front, there are mainutes up for grabs with junior Tim Duval in the running to likely grab one of the spots.

“We’re going to be young and inexperienced,” Bositis said. “We have a handful of seniors back but a youth movement is happening. But overall, the kids are really working hard and have great attitudes. We’re looking for improvement each day.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 17-2-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champion)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Nick Gale

It will be hard to top the historic season the Warriors had a year ago, winning the division title and allowing just eight goals all season. But Nick Gale and his squad are focused on 2017, not last Fall.

Even though 2016 Best XI selections Cam Mullin and Colby Koch, and Second XI selections Ryan Coulter and Eli O’Neill all graduated, the Warriors still return some of the top talent in the league this year. Tyler Mann, the 2016 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, is just one of many talented players back for Gale. Senior Connor Mullins will be a key piece in the midfield, senior Larsen Keys started all of last year on the back line and senior Mike Rowe is a dangerous player inside the 18. Thomas Lugten, Anthony Bozza and Zac White are all back as well after playing plenty of minutes last year.

Junior Nick Beltramini and sophomore Tristan Stephani are battling for minutes in goal.

“Our focus continues to be on developing players and improving our team,” Gale said. “We understand that opposing teams will be after us, but we won’t take our attention away from training, competing, and focusing on the smaller details that will help us continue to move forward. The league will be good, and we know we will need to be as well.

Mansfield

2016 Record: 11-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Steve Sheridan

Mansfield will be relying on a mix of experience and new faces in an effort to get back to the postseason for another year. The Hornets have the challenge of trying to fill the shoes of two-time Best XI selection Max Gurnon, and as well as the void left by the injury to Ethan Brill-Cass, a two year varsity starter.

However, with Sean Lanzillo, Nick Hyland, Sam Hyland and Harry Braidt back, the Hornets have a solid core to work on. Lanzillo’s speed makes him one of the toughest marks in the league while Sam Hyland emerged as a top midfielder last season. Nick Hyland and Braidt will be back to anchor the back line. Head coach Steve Sheridan expects junior Sam Nugent to step in and make an impact early on defensively, as well as junior midfield Luke Savoie on the offensive end.

Senior Nick Ferraz is battling with sophomore Anthony Salisbury for the starting position in net.

“I’m hoping some of the younger guys can step up on offense, and with the departure of Max along with the injury to Ethan and graduation of Jed in goal, our defense is going to have some new faces,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan.

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 10-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames returns plenty of talent and will be looking to challenge King Philip for supremacy in the Kelley-Rex division. Two-time HockomockSports.com Best XI selection Nathaniel Cardoza is back to anchor the Tigers from the middle of the field. His ability to play defense, as well as get forward, gives OA a boost.

Other returning starters back this year include Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Cam Vella, Mason Galbato and Jack Sheldon. Mike Braga and Chris Lawrence bring experience to the back line in front keeper Jack Carroll, who is in his third year in net.

With the graduation of three-year starter Thomas McCormick, the Tigers have a void to fill at the striker position. Senior James Gillespie saw time last year off the bench and proved a capable option up top while Alvarado also showed his ability to finish. Senior Brandin Osborne transferred in from Coyle and will also be an attacking option for OA. Nick Bloumbas, Sean Flaherty and Niko Byron will all likely see time off this season as well.

“We are looking to build a solid team that will play well in a very competitive environment,” OA head coach John Barata said. “We know that to succeed we will need to play our best soccer everyday. The boys are working hard – we need to turn our effort into results. I feel confident that we will find our way and make an effort to qualify for the MIAA State tourney.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 1-16-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

Taunton brings back eight starters from last year’s team and head coach Taylor Whitters is hoping that experience will translate into an improved season in 2017. On top of of those eight starters, the Tigers will have Marc deSousa back in net after a missing his junior season battling cancer.

Senior Liam Crowley is back again with more experience to anchor the back line along with junior Kyle Aubin. DaeShawn Duffie and Hasan Farahat both return to give the Tigers a solid duo in the middle of the pitch while junior Liam Crowley also adds experience to the midfield. Jake DeAndrade, Brett Beaulieu and Alec Nunes are also back in the mix this year as well.

The Tigers got a boost from their rival as Ian Soderbom traded his Warrior blue and gold in from Coyle for Tiger black and orange. Soderbom will be a key piece on defense while Francois Hennaux, an exchange student from Belgium, will add depth to Taunton’s offense.

“Our team is already looking stronger and better,” said Whitters. “They say the tougher the set back the stronger the comeback. We are going to be one of those teams.”

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/17/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 4 – Final

Canton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro’s offense exploded for three goals, snapping Canton’s seven game unbeaten streak. Gabe Pinhancos opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finishing off a cross from Zach Matracia to put North up 1-0. Leo Charlebois doubled the lead, converting from the penalty spot after Andrew Fontaine drew the foul inside the area. Pinhancos got his second of the game in the 53rd minute, taking a through ball from Conor Danahey to put the Rocketeers up 3-0. Shawn Watters made six saves in net and North head coach Geoff Burgess said John Brennan was huge defensively for Big Red.

Foxboro, 1 @ Sharon, 2 – FinalSharon scored once in each half to pick up a key division win against Foxboro. Jake Teven opened the scoring in the first half, scoring an unassisted goal from just outside the area to put the Eagles up 1-0. Andrew Reyes-Jones doubled Sharon’s lead, converting a long throw from Tyler Hippler to make it 2-0. An own goal with three minutes to play put Foxboro on the board.

Taunton, 0 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalCullin Anastasia scored inside the opening 10 minutes off an assist from Sam Hyland to set the tone for the Hornets. John Cooney doubled the lead in the 52nd minute, scoring off an assist from Max Gurnon and James Chotkowski iced the game in the 72nd minute off an assist from Anastasia. Nick Ferraz notched his first career shutout with four saves. Head coach Steve Sheridan had high praise for Sam Nugent, Ethan Brill-Cass, Harry Braidt, Jalaj Singh, Jake Tuleja and Gurnon for their defensive play.

Franklin, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final Kevin Hall scored the lone goal of the game in the second half on an assist from Noah Scafati to help the Panthers earn the win. Freddie Beckmann recorded the shutout in net for Franklin.

Stoughton, 1 @ Milford, 0 – FinalStoughton’s Marco Antunes scored his first goal of the season early in the second half as the Black Knights beat Milford. Noah Schulze served in a free kick that Antunes was able to eventually latch on to. Matt Gallagher recorded his second straight shutout of the year. “Milford was excellent and made us play hard for the win tonight,” Stoughton head coach Aaron Salter said. “Marco Antunes was excellent and so was my defense.” Milford head coach Brian Edwards said Andre Oliveira and Marcello Panno put in great performances in midfield for the Scarlet Hawks.

Girls Soccer
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalKing Philip freshman Avery Snead scored a pair of goals in the first 20 minutes of the game to lead the Warriors, who qualified for the postseason with the win. Snead converted a pass from classmate Chloe Layne for the game-winner in the eighth minute and doubled the lead in the 19th minute, netting a through ball from Julia Massarone from 10 yards out. Riley Magane iced the game on a shot from just inside the area off an assist from Skylah Caruso.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Canton, 1 – FinalRiley Duserick gave Canton a lead in the first half but North Attleboro’s Aine Mendonca leveled the scoring before the break, scoring on a free kick. North Attleboro head coach Bill Wallace said Haley Guertin, Rachel LaBonte and Emily Chiasson played well for the Rocketeers.

Sharon, 2 @ Foxboro, 1 – FinalAlex Rabb scored a pair of goals, putting Sharon ahead 1-0 just over 10 minutes into the game and then netting the game-winner on a free kick from 30 yards out just before halftime. Ally Filipkowski notched the assist on Rabb’s opener. Foxboro’s Kristen Bortolotti scored on a penalty kick in the first half for the Warriors.

Mansfield, 2 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalHannah Reiter netted a pair of second half goals to lead Mansfield to the win on the road.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalRegan Benton had the shutout for Oliver Ames in Net. OA head coach Britt Sellmayer said Zoe Chazan, Dana Lowney and Kiana Lozzi had strong games for the Tigers.

Milford, 6 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final Gabbie Riley and Maggie Boyle each scored a pair of goals while Julianna France and Sydney Morrison each netted one goal to lead the Scarlet Hawks. Olivia Marshall notched the shutout in net for Milford.

Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – Final King Philip defended its home court with a 25-16, 25-13, 25-19 sweep of the visiting Bombardiers. Kat Kmetz led KP with 16 service points while Carly Adams had 14 service points and Sydney Phillips finished with 12 service points and had a strong game at the net. Emma Lopez had six kills and Liv Balduf finished with four kills and 10 service points for the Warriors.

Canton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final Canton dropped the second set but rebounded to get the next two for a 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20 win. “It was a gritty, hard fought battle,” Canton head coach Pat Cawley said. Nicole Poole dished out 21 assists and added six kills and six aces to lead the Bulldogs. Emma Murphy had seven kills six blocks and two aces, Cassie Loftus had her best all around match of the season according to Cawley with five kills and some impressive defensive play. Julia Panico controlled Canton’s defense with 15 digs.

Foxboro, 2 @ Sharon, 3 – FinalSharon won the second and third sets but had to battle all the way to the fifth set to earn the win over Foxboro. Sharon junior Jess Allan led Eagles’ offense with 10 kills along with seven aces. Junior Naomi Topal added nine kills and six aces, senior Faythe Gomolka tallied 17 assists and Cori Jermyn had five aces, six digs and four blocks.

Taunton, 0 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalMansfield picked up the sweep, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19, at home against Tainton. Chloe Peters had 14 service points and 20 assists, Jess Haradon had 11 digs and eight service points, Meg Hill added 11 kills and Lexi Gardner chipped in with six service points .

Franklin, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalFranklin picked up a big division win in five sets on the road at Oliver Ames. Erin Skidmore led the Panthers with 12 kills while adding 23 digs and a pair of aces. Maddie Kuzio also had two aces while leading Franklin with 31 digs. Lauren McGrath had 31 assists to go along with an ace and Maggie Doyle had six kills and five blocks.

Stoughton, 0 @ Milford, 3 – Final

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – FinalCaitlin Donahue scored a hat trick, netting two goals in the first half as KP held a 4-0 lead by the break. Liz Furfari and Alli Meehan each scored once for the Warriors.

Canton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final

Foxboro, 7 @ Sharon, 0 – Final

Taunton, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final

Franklin, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final Franklin punched its ticket to the state tournament with an impressive win on the road. Sophomores Annie Walsh and Cassi Ronan each had scored two goals and grabbed an assist to lead the Panthers. Senior Kayla Marshall added a goal and senior Caroline Lounsbury had an assist. Franklin sophomore goalie Christina Lucini made four saves to get the win in net. Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper said Dana Lewandowski and Kate Morse had outstanding games through the midfield and on defense.

Stoughton, 5 @ Milford, 3 – FinalOlivia Schlehuber scored a pair of goals for Stoughton, while Kayla Oliviera, Mia Russell and Julia Russell scored once to pace the Black Knights.

Golf
Sharon, 167 @ Oliver Ames, 146 – FinalOliver Ames’ Brady Allbritton and Mark Bissonette shared medalist honors, both shooting 36 for the Tigers. Nolan Donze and Thomas Walsh each shot 37 for Oliver Ames. Sharon’s Andrew Glover and Max Avratin each shot 41.

Canton, 165 @ Attleboro, 178 – FinalCanton’s Joey Vaughan earned match medalist honors after shooting a low-round of 40 for the Bulldogs. Danny Powers shot a 41 and both Jackson Maffeo and Matt Minichiello carded a round of 42. Attleboro’s Corey McKenna shot a team-low 41 on the day.

Milford, 169 @ King Philip, 180 – FinalRyan Tomaso earned match medalist honors, shooting a round-low 36 for the Scarlet Hawks. Anthony Arcudi shot a 40 for Milford while Danny McLoughlin carded a team-low round of 41 for KP.

Stamm’s Brace Helps Sharon Pick Up Win Over Franklin

Sharon boys soccer
Sharon’s Michael Baur (left) goes up for a header in the second half against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – Sharon senior Ben Stamm scored once in each half and the Eagles’ defense was able to limit Franklin in a 2-0 win on Friday afternoon.

The Eagles didn’t waste much time to seize the lead, finding the back of the net inside the opening five minutes. Sharon then iced the game with just over 10 minutes to play. Both goals came off long throw-ins.

“We haven’t used the long throw-in at all,” Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly said. “Two goals off of long throws is really nice. And on those direct kicks, if could get on the end of some of those, we could have scored more but it’s something we’ve got to work on. This season is the most we’ve scored on set pieces since I’ve been here.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the fourth minute, Shubojit Roy-Chowdhury launched a long throw from the attacking third into the area. The ball fell to Stamm, who had his first shot blocked. The senior kept with it and got another shot, this one was partially blocked but trickled in at the far post to put Sharon up 1-0.

“We’ve been working on possession and switching the field a lot since the KP game,” Kelly said. “Some of the pieces fell into place today. Getting that early goal, just that little poke in, it gave us confidence to ride. We lost a little composure after that but I have a good group of seniors that can get it back for us. And I have a lot of subs at my disposal and we don’t get any worse.

“We’re deep, we’re fast and when we play the way we know how to play, we come out on top.”

Franklin had the only other scoring chance of the first half. In the 16th minute, Matt Poirier launched a service from the right sideline, just a few steps over half. The ball was deflected and bounced through Sharon’s area and found Farley Asmath, but his bid went over the bar at the far post.

Chances were aplenty in the second half, the first just two minutes into the stanza. Spencer Hall worked to get some space on the left sideline and hit a service to the back post. Oliver Hu elected to have a go on a one-time volley but his bid went high.

In the 55th minute, the Panthers had a free kick from midfield that Asmath met with his head to flick on. Kevin Hall ran onto the ball at the back post but his touch went just over the bar. Two minutes later, Sharon had a chance when Alex Romantz flicked the ball to Andrew Reyes-Jones in the area but Franklin keeper Freddie Beckmann was first to the ball to end the chance.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Ten minutes later, Sharon’s Marques Benton played a ball into Reyes-Jones but once again Beckmann was quick off his line to gobble the ball up. In the 68th minute, a free kick from Franklin’s Liam Kapples found the head of Hatim Brahimi in the area but Sharon keeper Ethan Kantor smothered the loose ball before a Panther could latch onto it.

Finally in the 69th minute, the Eagles cashed in on another long throw. Tyler Hippler tossed the ball into the area and a scoffed clearance from the Panthers defense led to an open opportunity for Stamm and he buried it at the far post to make it 2-0.

“In practice, we emphasized making sure, even if we lose the ball, we don’t stop playing,” Kelly said. “We have to keep playing until we get the ball back. When we have players start to buy into the system, that’s what we see. We have a great defense this year too. With Shalin [Patel] at stopper and Shubojit at sweeper, we hopefully shut down the best player on the other team.”

With the win, Sharon boys soccer (6-3-2) moves into a tie atop the Davenport division with Canton – both 5-3-2 in league play. The Eagles have three straight home games, starting with a visit from Foxboro on Monday.

After picking up five wins in its first six games, Franklin (5-6-2, 4-5-2) has now gone winless in its last seven games. The Panthers will try to bounce back with a trip to Oliver Ames on Monday.

“I don’t have any answers, it’s a funny team,” Franklin head coach Fran Bositis said. “We’re just finding ways to lose games. It’s been a combination of things. I don’t think it’s from a lack of effort but I don’t know what it is, I can’t figure it out.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA Slips Past Franklin With Late McCormick Header

OA boys soccer
Nathaniel Cardoza and the OA midfield took control in the second half, but the Tigers could not find a breakthrough until the final two minutes. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – The clock was winding down and Oliver Ames continued to press forward in search for a winning goal. After a number of missed opportunities, including free headers sent wide, shots from the edge of the box that were just outside the post, and chances kicked aside by the Franklin defense, the breakthrough finally came with just two minutes left to play.

The Panthers were unable to decisively clear the first ball in from a long throw on the near side of the field. The ball was won back by the OA midfield, which had taken over in the second half, and cycled out to the right to Jack Sheldon. He fired in a pinpoint cross to the back post where Thomas McCormick was all alone to nod the ball past Freddie Beckmann.

The late goal stood up as the winner on Tuesday evening. OA handed Franklin a 1-0 loss at Pisini Field to end Franklin’s unbeaten start while extending its own unbeaten run to 25 games stretching back to 2015.

“We did a lot of pressure in the second half and we kept winning the ball back,” said OA coach John Barata. “We have good players and we can play a bit. We’re learning and we’ll figure it out, but that’s why it’s important to get a good win like this.”

It was a result that could have been far more comfortable after a dominant performance by the Tigers in the second half. Nathaniel Cardoza, Mason Galbato, Cam Vella, and McCormick consistently won the ball back for OA and pushed the Tigers into the attack.

Franklin was pinned back for long stretches of the second half and but for consistent play by center backs Connor SanClemente and Alex Chitarra and holding midfielder Nitin Chaudhury and missed chances by the visitors kept the game tied.

“I think we gave them a little too much respect,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis. “We were just a nightmare in terms of putting passes together and just controlling the ball…We defended well. Defending we couldn’t do much better, except at the end there.”

McCormick had a good chance one minute into the second half but his shot on the turn was saved by Beckmann at the near post. Three minutes later Vella had space but his shot went wide of the far post and he missed a second chance on a near post header off a throw. With 11 minutes to play, Matt Campbell had a back heel chance saved and McCormick flashed a header wide when left free inside the six-yard-box.

“Very nervous,” admitted Barata about the feeling in the second half, “because we just came off a game where we outshot a team like 25-5 and tied. And then you see them come down and they had two class act chances. All of a sudden we go from a good performance on one end and we could be losing.”

The misses could have led to a defeat for OA but for a miss by Franklin and junior goalie Jack Carroll.

Midway through the second half, Franklin could have taken the lead when James LeVie met a cross from Cam LeBlanc only to blaze it over the bar. With five minutes left, Franklin finally got out of its defensive third and won a free kick that Hatim Brahimi took quickly and forced Carroll into a save. The keeper could only parry it and the ball rolled to Kevin Hall, but Carroll recovered to block with his legs.

“That one save at the end…that’s the game,” said Barata. “We would be talking about how it was a good performance and unfortunately we lost 1-0.”

Bositis added, “We had some chances. We certainly didn’t control play like they did, but we had some chances that we probably…I mean we should have had a goal at the far post and that changes everything.”

Franklin looked much more dangerous in the first half with striker Farley Asmath causing problems as an outlet for the midfielders. Showing strength and speed, Asmath created openings for Brahimi to spring Hall but Carroll was able to save comfortably.

With 27 minutes gone, Asmath opened up the OA defense with a great turn in the box and he tried to pick the far corner only to have Carroll deny him with a kick save. At halftime, OA chose to push higher up the pitch and despite a switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 Franklin could not recover and get the ball up top.

“Second half we just had to play higher up the pitch and possess in the attacking third and try to bury them here because their one outlet, a very strong outlet, is No. 9 (Asmath),” said Barata. “Today it worked.”

Despite the loss, Bositis was still positive about the way the Panthers have started. He explained, “I’m very pleased with the start of the season. They’ve done very well. We’ll see if they have a short memory and we bounce back to be ready for Taunton on Thursday.”

Franklin (4-1) will travel to Taunton on Thursday, while Oliver Ames (3-0-1) will travel to King Philip on Friday afternoon.

Franklin Holds Off Foxboro To Grab Third Win

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – For the Franklin boys soccer team Friday night, defense was the name of the game, especially late at Pisini Field as the Panthers snuck by the Foxboro Warriors for a hard fought 2-1 win.

Coming into the game, Franklin coach Fran Bositis knew that Foxboro would be a tough team to beat and tailored his game plan accordingly.

“We felt that for us to be successful, we needed to win all the 50-50 balls, reduce the time in space they had to play with the ball, and not only win the 50-50 balls, but to win the second and third balls, and I think we did a good job of that,” Bositis said.

Early on in the game, Franklin — namely senior forward Farley Asmath — produced numerous scoring chances only for Foxboro goalie Bobby Harrison to make a save keep the game scoreless.

On the other side, the Warriors had their fair share of opportunities as well, but Franklin’s defensive unit, led by senior backs Connor SanClemente and Alex Chitarra, along with junior goalie Freddie Beckmann stepped up to deny any Foxboro scoring chance.

Late in the first half, Franklin broke through. In the 30th minute, Cam LeBlanc saved the ball from going out of bounds on the endline and crossed it over to a wide open Kevin Hall who headed in the first goal of the game and his third of the young season

Bositis was happy with the way his offense kept at Foxboro despite getting denied early, saying, “We kept looking at it, and I’m pleased with what they did and how they played, and I’m certainly pleased about the final result.”

In the 44th minute, Foxboro’s early second half scoring opportunity was thwarted when Anthony Barreira’s cross was intercepted by Beckmann. For the next twenty minutes, neither team could break through.

Finally, in the 60th minute, Asmath found junior midfielder Connor O’Rourke open in the front of the net for a header, but quick reflexes from Harrison kept the score at 1-0. Just two minutes later, Foxboro’s Brady Gardner’s shot was saved by a diving Beckmann, who used all of his 6’4 frame to deny Gardner.

In the 66th minute, Asmath again set the table, this time for Hall who put one past the Foxboro keeper to give Franklin a 2-0 lead.

Down 2-0, Foxboro got more and more aggressive on the offensive end, and Barriera’s perfectly placed shot in the 73rd minute found the corner of the net to cut Franklin’s lead in half.

In the final 10 minutes it was the defense again that reigned supreme, as Franklin forced Foxboro into taking tough shots to try to tie the game up.

“I think the defense did a nice job stepping up, and we needed them to step up,” Bositis said. “I think Connor SanClemente and Alex Chitarra, and really all of the back five played well, and especially at the end there they really stepped up.”

Franklin boys soccer (3-0, 3-0), will try to remain unbeaten when they face Oliver Ames, another unbeaten side, on Tuesday. Foxboro (0-2-1, 0-2-1) will look for its first win when they return home on Tuesday against Sharon.