Unbeaten Season Comes to an End for KP in South Final

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Freshman Grace Lawler was given the task of man-marking Feehan star striker Francesca Yanchuk during the D1 South final and largely contained the forward. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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HINGHAM, Mass. – The game seemed to be going the same way as most of the 21 that preceded it. King Philip was hoarding the ball, putting consistent pressure on the opposing defense, creating scoring chances, and looking comfortable at the back after a switch to a 4-5-1 formation at halftime.

Suddenly, with little warning, everything changed in Saturday’s Div. 1 South final at Hingham High. A penalty given, a tying goal scored, and all the momentum (as well as the wind) suddenly at Bishop Feehan’s back.

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In a battle of unbeaten top seeds, Feehan rallied with two second half goals in the span of four minutes to secure a contentious 2-1 victory and claim its first sectional title. The Warriors (21-1) lost for the first time this season and fell just short of a second South title in three seasons.

KP coach Gary Pichel was left fuming and frustrated at the final whistle, believing calls that went against his team in the second half, particularly the penalty, changed a game that his team was otherwise controlling.

“We were in control,” he said, “except for the momentum-breaking calls out on the field that sent the ball the other way. We completely owned the field. The effort was there, the motivation was there.”

Frustration aside, he also praised Feehan for its fight back in the second half. “They worked just as hard as we did and the breaks went their way, so they’re the champs. I give all the credit to them for hanging in there and working as hard as they did.”

The Warriors came out with the wind at their backs in search of an opening goal. Chloe Layne, the league MVP who was recently selected as an All-American, had the first chance on a short goal kick. She got onto her left foot and sent a cross into the middle, but Ashley Kelly just got across to clear.

Feehan’s best chances in the opening half all came off set pieces. An Annie Pearl free kick was headed at the back post but Olivia Berry blocked it on the line and cleared for KP. In the 25th minute a free kick from Hailey Goodman was redirected on target but comfortably saved by KP keeper Taylor Butler.

KP dominated the majority of the half, taking advantage of the wind. Avery Snead cut across the edge of the box and sent in a left-footed shot that had to be saved at full stretch by Madison Breckner. Makayla Griffin sent Snead into space a few minutes later but her shot on the run was saved by the keeper.

In the 35th minute, the pressure finally paid off. Griffin whipped in a corner from the far sideline and Snead was there to nod it home from just a few yards out, putting KP deservedly ahead 1-0.

Jenny Montville had a chance to double the lead just before the break, but her shot from 20 yards sailed over the bar.

At the start of the second half, KP had several chances to add to its lead. Snead fed Layne, who in turn played Montville into the right channel but her chip over the onrushing keeper went just past the bar. In the 53rd minute, Snead slipped Kiera Lindmark down the left side and she hit a perfect cross into Layne unmarked in the center, but her volley was too high.

“I thought that was going in for sure,” said Pichel. “That was a perfect ball and [Chloe’s] usually adept at volleying it into the net. If that went in, then it would have been lights out I think.”

Despite the misses, KP looked largely untroubled. The defense, which had allowed only three goals during the regular season was keeping Feehan at arm’s length. Butler had to make a save at the near post when Goodman cut in on her left, but the combination of Griffin, Berry, Paige Varvarigos, and freshman Grace Lawler limited Feehan’s chances.

Lawler in particular stood out because she was matched up against Feehan junior striker Francesca Yanchuk, who has already amassed more than 100 goals in her career. Lawler met the physical battle and gave Yanchuk no good looks at goal for 60-plus minutes.

In the 63rd minute, a penalty was given when a Feehan player went down in the box. The KP defense and bench argued that there was no contact from the defender, who was shepherding the attacker away from goal. The official pointed to the spot and Yanchuk put enough power to give Butler no chance.

After tying the game, Feehan took control of the match and went in search of a winner. Moments after a collision between Yanchuk and Butler forced the trainer to take a look at the KP keeper, Sydney Kofton lofted a pass behind the KP defense for Yanchuk to chase and the forward beat Butler to the spot before deftly slipping the ball past the keeper and inside the post.

KP would create a couple of chances to equalize in the closing minutes. Jenna Hitchen set up Montville for a shot that was saved and then Layne hit a shot off the bounce with two minutes to play, but her shot went straight at the keeper.

It was not the ending that this KP senior class was looking for after a record-setting career. Layne and Snead both broke the existing program scoring record, with Layne finishing as the new top scorer. The Warriors won a pair of Kelley-Rex division championships and went to two South finals, winning the title in 2017. The 21 wins that the Warriors amassed this season was a program best.

“Im very proud of the kids. I’m super proud of them,” Pichel said. “They’re champs in my eyes, in the eyes of their fans, and their families and friends. I’m going to be sad to see these kids go. Had them for four years, the senior class is like, the best I ever had. You hate to see them go.”

“There’s been a ton of accomplishments. Final touches were going to be to win this and give it a great shot at states, but …”

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KP Gets Off to Strong Start, Books Place in Final

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King Philip players celebrate one of the three first half goals by the Warriors in a 4-1 victory over Needham. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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HANSON, Mass. – In the playoff opener against Hingham, King Philip took time to get going and watched as the Harborwomen put them under pressure from the opening whistle. It was a learning experience for the Warriors that they need to be ready to go from kick-off and take control of matches.

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It was a lesson that the Warriors put into practice on Wednesday afternoon at Whitman-Hanson’s O’Neil Field against No. 12 seed Needham. KP scored three times in the opening half hour and rolled to a 4-1 win that books its place in the Div. 1 South final for the second time in the last three seasons.

“We talked about it just before we came out that we really wanted to press them hard and put them back on their heels and make them think about defense more than their offense,” said KP coach Gary Pichel.

KP has had a target on its back essentially from the start of preseason practice, as the Warriors came in as one of the favorites in D1, and the players have managed to keep rising to the challenge.

“It has been tough to play with that target on our back,” said KP senior Makayla Griffin, “but we just take it one game at a time and focus on the game that’s coming up rather than looking in the long run.”

While KP would have the bulk of the early possession, Needham had the game’s first good look in the third minute when Samantha Scully teed up Madeline Ledbury for a shot from the edge of the box, but it sailed over the bar.

In the 13th minute, the Warriors started to convert their pressure into scoring chances. Jenna Hitchen slipped a pass into Chloe Layne, who then set up Avery Snead for a shot from 25 yards that forced a save. A minute later, Snead settled a throw-in from Paige Varvarigos, stepped inside her marker onto her right foot, and fired a shot that needed to be tipped over.

The opening goal nearly happed in the 19th minute when Snead headed down a Griffin corner and then knocked the rebound through the box, but Needham defender Maylin Carr cleared off the line just in front of Hitchen.

A minute later, it was 1-0. A ball out of defense from Varvarigos found the feet of Snead, who deftly flicked it into the path of Layne behind the Needham defense. The Rockets nearly got back into position but could only get a piece of the shot that slipped inside the post.

Once in front, the Warriors stepped on the gas with a pair of goals only a minute apart. Layne played provider for the first, finding a way through a double team to get off a cross from the left that found Snead for unmarked flicked header in the six-yard-box. The second came off a Griffin corner, as Snead met it at the back post with an unstoppable header that made it 3-0.

“We just came in on fire,” Snead explained. “Getting the early goals just allows everyone to relax because everyone is so stressed out in the beginning. Getting the early goals just calms us.”

She added, “[Chloe and I] just found a lot of space in the middle and we just kept trying to check to the ball and play through balls to each other. Once we got the first one, then we just got on a roll.”

Needham didn’t go quietly. In the 32nd minute, Ledbury had a free kick from 30 yards come back off the bar and it was Scully who reacted first to force the rebound over the line. That spurred the underdogs into their best spell of the match, closing the half as the team on the front foot.

“I told them that we weren’t making many changes, I just wanted the pressure to remain the same,” Pichel said about his halftime message. “High pressure, quick on the ball, force them to make mistakes, and then capitalize on those mistakes, and you pretty much saw that. They were all over them.”

The Warriors set out in the second half to grab the momentum back. Makenzie Shandley played Layne down the left channel, but her chip over the onrushing keeper was tipped wide of the post. Six minutes later, Snead was able to slip in Shandley but pressure from the Needham defender forced the shot wide.

KP kept piling up the chances to extend the lead. Olivia Berry stepped forward from defense and delivered a pass out to the left to Hitchen, who then crossed into the middle for Layne but the last defender was able to clear. Another Griffin set piece almost picked out Snead only for the keeper to come out, challenge, and knock it away.

The defensive unit for KP, which included Griffin and Berry in the middle, Varvarigos on the left, and freshman Grace Lawler starting on the right but man-marking Needham’s Caroline Hood, stood out again. Griffin explained, “I think we’re really good at communication and knowing where everyone is going to be at all times and just talking to each other.”

In the 59th minute, Layne had a shot on the turn that had the keeper stranded but slid over the bar. Just a minute later, Needham had its best chance of the half when Ledbury got on the end of a looped cross but her shot off the bounce went wide, with KP goalie Taylor Butler scrambling across the net.

The game stayed 3-1 until the closing seconds. Under pressure, the Needham keeper spilled a cross from the left and Kiera Lindmark was able to push the rebound across the line on the third try.

Pichel said, “That’s been our trademark all season is that hustle and the hard work they put into it. Having the skill level that they have and the hard work ethic that they have is a great combo.”

King Philip (21-0) will try to secure its second South title in three years when it takes on No. 2 seed Bishop Feehan on Saturday at noon at Hingham High.

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KP Earns Third Win Against OA and Advances to Semis

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Jenny Montville (5) and Ally Stanton celebrate the opening goal in King Philip’s 3-1 victory over Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – It is never easy to beat a team three times in a single season, but King Philip continues to meet all challenges this year and continues to show that there is a lot more to the team than just its two superstars.

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The Warriors dominated the ball, limited Oliver Ames to a handful of half chances until late in the match, and had three different players find the back of the net in a 3-1 victory on Thursday afternoon that completes a sweep of the season series with the Tigers and sends the top seed into the Div. 1 South semifinal.

“You always worry about beating a team a third time, but my worries started to diminish when I saw how hard we came out and we were just taking it to them,” said KP coach Gary Pichel.

He added, “The kids came out with so much more energy at the opening whistle than they did against Hingham, so they learned their lesson. It’s not going to be a cake walk against a 16-seed and then you get OA and of course it’s always a battle against Britt (Sellmayer) and his team. We’re just happy to be moving on.”

OA’s defense was put under pressure from the opening kick. A long ball down the left channel was kept in bounds on the end line by Chloe Layne who created a corner, which Makayla Griffin curled it to the back post where it had to be cleared off the line. A minute later, Ally Stanton took a shot from distance that OA keeper Emily Meyers palmed out for another corner. Avery Snead headed the corner on target but Olivia Carroll was able to block on the line.

In the 12th minute, Layne again showed her ability to hold the ball up under pressure and passed it to Makenzie Shandley, who teed up Stanton for a shot that was saved. Three minutes later, Stanton played provider to set up Snead, who held off her defender but then blazed a shot over the bar.

The chances kept coming in the 23rd minute when Snead showed off her quick feet to dance around a couple of defenders but then dragged her shot wide of the post.

Allison Evin, the hero of OA’s overtime win against Franklin in the first round, nearly stunned the home crowd when she forced an Abigail Hodges free kick over the line, but it was ruled out for offside.

Led by Hodges, Carroll, and Emma Pereira, the OA defense had held the KP attack at bay, until the 36th minute. A bouncing ball landed at the feet of Jenny Montville, who hit a speculative shot on the turn from 25 yards. The half-volley looped towards goal and eluded the leap of Meyers before nestling into the top corner.

OA coach Britt Sellmayer said, “She hit it and it went up and came down in the net, so it was kind of deflating.” He joked, “It’s so hard to keep Chloe off and then Avery, I was thinking if we could stop those two, but we haven’t stopped them in four years, thank god they’re going to college.”

It was almost 2-0 in the closing seconds of the first half. Jenna Hitchen raced down the left side and forced a good diving save out of Meyers and then Montville saw her brace erased by a goal line clearance from Jenna Gilman.

“We’re trying to figure each other out in that first half,” Pichel said. “I was trying to figure out what his plan was, which was obviously to mark up with at least one person on Chloe and Avery, but I thought they were more defensive at the outset. We were just all over them.”

Eight minutes after the break, KP doubled its lead. Griffin set up Hitchen, who cut inside on her right foot and forced a save out of Meyers. The keeper managed to tip the shot onto the bar, but Snead was the quickest to react to the rebound and tapped it home.

In the 60th minute, the Warriors put the game away. A corner was half-cleared out to Stanton, who hit it first time through a crowd and into the bottom corner.

Pichel said, “We’ve worked hard the whole season to get them more involved with the play. Even though Chloe and Avery do the bulk of the scoring, we get big contributions from Jenny Montville and Jenna Hitchen and Ally Stanton. That’s three other players they have to worry about other than Chloe and Avery and that’s been a big plus for us all season long.”

OA started to create more scoring chances in the closing 15 minutes, but the KP defense of Olivia Berry, Paige Varvarigos, Grace Lawler (who was given the task of man-marking OA’s leading scorer Erin Holmberg), and Griffin proved difficult to break down.

“Sometimes you underrate their defense because of Chloe and Avery,” Sellmayer explained, “but it took us 70 minutes before we started getting some corner kicks and creating some chances on them.”

Leah Johnson had a chance blocked by Berry and Varvarigos was forced to clear a Hodges free kick off the line, while the rebound was sent over the bar. A Hodges corner in the 75th minute was met by a glancing header from Camryn O’Connor, but it went narrowly wide of the far post.

The Tigers avoided the shutout in the final minute. Johnson found herself with room on the left side of the box and picked out O’Connor alone in the middle. The sophomore took a touch and fired a shot into the side netting.

“We had some chances, but we didn’t get the luck that we needed in the first half,” Sellmayer reflected. “To beat a great team like KP, you’ve got to have some luck. We worked hard but it didn’t bounce our way today.”

King Philip (20-0) advances to face No. 12 seed Needham in the semifinal, which will be played on Wednesday at Whitman-Hanson.

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Layne Hat Trick Helps KP Avoid Hingham Upset Bid

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King Philip celebrates one of its four second half goals in a 6-2 victory over Hingham in the opening round of the playoffs. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip knew heading into Monday’s Div. 1 South opener against Hingham that it was not going to be an easy night. The Harborwomen were not a typical No. 16 seed and would pose a stiff challenge in the first round. Luckily for the Warriors, they have Chloe Layne.

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The University of Hartford-commit and recently named Hockomock League MVP put on a show with her control and vision, scoring three goals and assisting on two others, as KP scored four unanswered in the second half to pull out a 6-2 victory.

“Chloe was playing out of her mind out there,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “She was getting doubled, tripled, pulled, yanked, kicked, so I think it’s only fair that she ended up scoring a hat trick.”

Hingham came into the game fired up and got off to a strong start, pressing the Warriors and playing quick balls into the channels for the forwards to chase. Alexa Varholak had an early chance down the left but sent her shot just wide of the far post. In the 11th minute, Olivia Sharkansky found space on the right side and sent a shot just over the bar.

It took KP a while to get the ball into the attack. A good passing move from Jenna Hitchen to Ally Stanton to Makenzie Shandley opened room for a shot from distance, but it didn’t trouble the Hingham goalie.

In the 13th minute, Hingham found a breakthrough. Kate Dalimonte lined up a free kick from just inside the attacking half and she belted a shot that dipped just under the crossbar and out of the reach of KP goalie Taylor Butler. The strike had Hingham coach Ryan Puntiri dancing up the sideline in celebration, but the momentum from the goal was short-lived.

Within a minute, KP had answered. A quick transition got Layne in space running at the Hingham back line and she laid a pass into the path of Jenny Montville, who took a touch and then hit an unstoppable shot into the far corner to make it 1-1.

Montville came off the bench and gave the Warriors a spark down the right wing. She combined with Avery Snead to have a shot from the edge of the box to force a diving save from Hingham keeper Kathryn Wilson.

The Warriors grabbed the lead in the 22nd minute. Layne leapt to head a bouncing ball in the box. The header came back off the bar, but she was the first to react to the rebound and side-footed a shot past the keeper.

That goal seemed to spark the Harborwomen back into life and the visitors dominated the final portion of the first half, looking more like a perennial power than a team that finished the regular season with a .500 record. Ava Maguire sliced a shot from 20 yards wide of the post, Sharkansky forced Butler to palm away a shot at the near post, and Butler had to be off her line quickly to block a chance for Taylor Aymar.

“This is how she’s played all season long,” Pichel said about Butler. “She learned her lesson from that first goal they got on the direct kick where she was out too far. She makes the right choice almost every time to come out and take the play away. She has so much confidence in herself.”

Hingham tied the game with three minutes left in the half. A corner was played to the back post, where it was knocked back into the middle of the box. The ball bounced around until it fell to a wide open Aymar, who tapped it in.

Butler was called into action just two minutes after the break, sliding out to block another chance for Aymar in the left channel and keep the score level.

“At halftime we talked about, is this the way we want to end our season?” Pichel explained. 
“It most certainly was not. They came in with a lot more energy in that first half than we did. We can’t just sit there and say, hey we’re going to ride this thing out and we’re going to end up winning because that’s now how it works.”

KP started to wear Hingham down and gained control of the midfield. Stanton drove forward out of midfield and forced a save out of Wilson, who held onto it at the second attempt. In the 58th minute, a corner was cleared out to Stanton, who had a shot from 20 yards. The ball bounced away from the keeper and Hitchen was quickest to the loose ball and flicked it past the goalie for a 3-2 lead.

With Hingham pushing forward for an equalizer, KP struck for three goals in the final six minutes. Layne got it started when she was able to toe poke the ball beyond the last defender and then picked the bottom corner on the break.

Three minutes later, Layne looped a pass over the Hingham back line to Snead, who was able to stretch out a leg and knock the ball past the onrushing keeper. Layne then completed her hat trick and added gloss to the final score when she cut in from the right side and sent a left-footed shot inside the far post.

Pichel noted, “This has got to be the toughest 16 seed we could ever have to play and sure enough it turned out that way and the score was not indicative of how well Hingham played. They played us as tough as anyone has this year.”

King Philip (19-0) will host division rival Oliver Ames on Thursday afternoon. The Warriors won both regular season meetings by a combined eight goals.

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KP Edges Battle of League Leaders at Foxboro

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Senior Makenzie Shandley (4) scored the only goal of the game, lifting King Philip to a hard-fought win against fellow division leader Foxboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – To run through a perfect season, especially against the level of competition in the Hockomock League, sometimes you have to be lucky as well as good. King Philip rode its luck on Friday afternoon at Sam Berns Community Field to upend fellow division leader Foxboro.

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Senior Makenzie Shandley scored the game’s only goal with 20 minutes remaining in the second half to lift KP to a 1-0 victory, but the perfect start to the season owed a lot to the crossbar, which Foxboro struck twice in the final three minutes, and to the play of keeper Taylor Butler, who made several important interventions when Foxboro got behind the defense.

“Holy smokes, that was insane,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “We knew it was going to be one of these games and it was. This was back and forth all game long. I’m pretty happy with the kids for hanging in there.”

The game’s only goal came with the visitors kicking into a stiff wind. Jenna Hitchen played the ball into the left channel for Chloe Layne to run onto. The senior forward was able to keep the ball in play but seemed to be bottled up on the end line. That was until she pulled off a spin move past her marker, opening space for a cross. Shandley beat her marker to it and then showed a deft touch to redirect it into the net.

“Who would’ve figured?” Pichel replied when asked about it being Shandley that came through with the only goal rather than some of the league’s top offensive threats. “Kenzie is a hard-working kid though and to have that kind of touch in tight like that, where she just kind of redirected it.”

KP had plenty of work left to do to preserve the one-goal advantage for 20 minutes. With 10 minutes left, Jordyn Collins had her progress halted 25 yards from goal but was able to lay the ball off to Kailee McCabe. The sophomore midfielder was clean through on goal, but Butler was out quick and appeared to make a huge save, although it was ruled a goal kick not a corner.

The hosts upped the pressure over the final few minutes of the game, putting the KP defense on its heels. As the clock wound down under three minutes left to play, Lizzy Davis got room to fire a shot from just outside the box that looped over Butler but came back off the bar. Just a minute later, from almost the exact same spot, McCabe was first to a loose ball and had a go but again the bar came to KP’s rescue.

“I just came over here and told them from what I saw, we were the better team,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I might be a little biased but that’s what I saw out there.”

She added, “We had through balls, we had great crosses, I feel like we had so many chances, it was just they finished and we didn’t. That’s kind of been our problem all season in tough games.”

Foxboro was looking to its speed in transition to break down a KP defense that had only allowed two goals all season and had recorded 10 shutouts in 12 games entering Friday. Collins only needed five minutes to show how dangerous she was on the break, holding off Olivia Berry and forcing Butler to come out and block the shot.

“She is quicker in person that she was on film,” Pichel said of Collins. “The film doesn’t do her justice. Jordyn just goes from touchline to touchline all game and then she settles in the middle and that’s the cue for their midfielders to send it through the middle to her.”

Midfielder Ally Stanton was out injured for the visitors and that forced Pichel to alter his lineup, moving forward Avery Snead back into the center of the pitch, which kept the Providence College commit from having much impact in the final third. Caroline Cass, Emma Dahl, and Yara Fawaz mostly were able to keep Layne, the league’s leading scorer, from having much impact as well.

“My defense was amazing today,” said Stalcup. “I feel like we shut Chloe down pretty well. She did get that cross off but we didn’t let her get any shots off from close in, from inside the 18. I’m really proud of my defense.”

KP’s best chance of the first half was created by Jenny Montville, who broke free into the center of the Foxboro defense, creating space for Ava Tormey on the right side of the box, but her effort was held by Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre.

Collins created several chances on the other end. She was tightly marked by freshman Grace Lawler all day but with 10 minutes left in the first half Collins had the strength to hold her marker at bay and force Butler into a save. Two minutes later, Collins sent the ball forward to Davis, who won a challenge with a KP defender on the edge of the area but dragged a shot wide.

Montville and Snead forced Sylvestre into saves early in the second half, while Collins tried to beat Butler at the near post from a tight angle. In the 59th minute, Layne finally was able to find enough room in the penalty area to fashion a chance and Shandley finished it.

Layne had a goal wiped away for a very tight offside call that could have put the game away, but with only a one-goal lead against a potent attack, KP needed to hang on down the stretch. Between the defense, with senior Makayla Griffin and Berry joined by Snead for the final minutes, and the woodwork, KP did just that and maintained its perfect record.

King Philip (13-0, 11-0) will try to keep its perfect start to the season alive against Franklin on Wednesday. Foxboro (8-2-2, 8-2-1) will host division rival Canton on Tuesday.

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Snead Returns With Hat Trick to Lift KP Past Attleboro

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KP senior Avery Snead returned from a week off due to injury and scored a six-minute hat trick in the second half to power the Warriors to a win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip has been without senior forward Avery Snead for the past week, as she recovered from an ankle injury. The Warriors welcomed the two-time league MVP back into the lineup against Attleboro on Tuesday evening at Macktaz Field and the Providence College-commit showed how important she can be over an impressive six-minute stretch of the second half.

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Snead scored three goals in quick succession, starting just seconds after the break, to turn a one-goal game into a comfortable 4-0 victory for the hosts, who remain unbeaten on the season.

“When we broke for halftime, I said let’s do a quick strike here, break their spirits, but I didn’t expect three in six minutes,” joked KP coach Gary Pichel. “That was a glorious comeback for [Avery]. It’s a major relief to have her back and healthy again. It’s always nice when you have one of the top players in the league, if not Massachusetts, back in your lineup.”

Inside the first minute of the second half, Snead showed quick feet to slip past the center of the Attleboro defense and she breezed down the middle of the box and coolly slipped a shot inside the post to make it 2-0. Three minutes later, Snead took advantage of a ball from Jenny Montville that bounced past the Attleboro back line for another easy finish.

In the 46th minute, Snead rose highest to get on the end of a pinpoint Makayla Griffin free kick and flicked it past the onrushing keeper for her third of the night and the team’s fourth.

“They’re just two great players and you can only try so much to keep them off the board,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos of Snead and fellow forward Chloe Layne. She had a nice first game back. She was excited. I think after she got one, she got the taste back.”

The first half was dominated by the home team. KP controlled possession and create a host of scoring chances, only to have Attleboro keeper Ashley Macia come through with 11 of her 14 saves before the break.

“It’s the dynamic duo is what it is and they’re back together again this year and it’s been pretty nice,” said Pichel about pairing Snead and Layne up top again. “It puts the other teams back on their heels a little bit.”

Snead and Layne wasted no time in combining for a chance, as Layne, the league’s leading scorer this season, created space on her right foot and forced a diving save after only five minutes. Two minutes later, Layne was set up by Ally Stanton but her left-footed drive was tapped up onto the bar.

KP found its breakthrough in the 12th minute on a set piece. Griffin delivered a perfect free kick from near midfield that landed on the head of Layne, who flicked it past Macia.

A minute later, Griffin picked out Stanton, whose header was saved. Stanton had another good chance in the 22nd minute after Layne drew a crowd and opened shooting space on the edge of the 18 only to have Macia made another strong stop.

“We came in a little bit hesitant,” Santos admitted. “The first 10 minutes after they scored that goal, we settled in a little and created some opportunities but we needed that final ball. We worked the ball out wide and tried to do this switch, but it was a low roller that they took and counterattacked.”

The chances kept coming for the Warriors. Snead opened space for Stanton, but she wasn’t able to make clean contact and the shot was gathered by Macia and then Kiera Lindmark gave Ava Tormey a chance on goal but again the shot was saved.

When asked if he was worried about having only a one-goal cushion heading into the break, Pichel responded, “I wasn’t that nervous because I knew that we carried play pretty well in that first half and it was just a matter of time before we did something here…I just didn’t realize it would be that quick.”

Attleboro struggled to create clearcut chances. After intercepting a throw-in, Gabrielle Lauzier sent an angled cross into the box that was just out of the reach of Ashley Dame and was collected by KP keeper Taylor Butler, who had otherwise been a bystander for most of the half. Attleboro forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois were largely quiet, forced to drop deep to get onto the ball.

“Their tempo is fast, their decision-making is fast and they’re hungry for the ball and all you can try to do is pack it back and hope the game plan works,” Santos said about defending KP. “I think we came in a little intimidated but it was a good test for us. I told them, if we qualify for tournament this is what you have to be ready for.”

After Snead turned the game on its head in the opening six minutes of the second half, the game settled into mostly a midfield battle with few chances on either side.

Layne played Montville in behind the Attleboro defense in the 55th minute but the shot was saved and Jillian Anderson combined with Makenzie Shandley but Attleboro back-up keeper Alexis Campbell was there to make the stop. Meghan Panzer had a half-volley effort that went close for the best chance for the Bombardiers after the break.

King Philip (8-0, 6-0) will look to continue its unbeaten start at Stoughton on Friday, while Attleboro (3-3-1, 2-3-1) will have a tough trip to face Davenport division-leading Foxboro.

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Layne Lifts King Philip Over Franklin With Early Goal

King Philip girls soccer Chloe Layne
King Philip’s Chloe Layne and Franklin’s Carissa Alers battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Franklin girls soccer team put on a nearly flawless defensive performance against visiting King Philip on Tuesday afternoon.

But the potent Warriors’ offense only needs one chance to punish teams.

Such was the case at Pisini Field as senior Chloe Layne scored inside the opening 10 minutes, the 100th point of her career, and the Warriors walked away with a hard-earned 1-0 decision over the Panthers.

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While King Philip’s lone goal came early, the Warriors had chances throughout the game that were either thwarted by the Panthers’ defense or denied by senior goalie Bre Atwood.

“Defensively, [Franklin head coach Tom Geysen] always comes up with a good scheme, you just have to try and work and work and work until you break through,” said King Philip head coach Gary Pichel.

The Warriors started on the front foot, keeping possession as they built towards their goal. In the eighth minute, senior Avery Snead controlled a service and linked up with Layne. Layne first carried towards the end line but cut back inside and fired a left-footed blast that powered through defenders and into the back of the net. The assist was also the 100th point for Snead in her KP career.

“You can’t let Chloe get in that deep, and all she needs is a little space,” Pichel said. “She just knocks it in with a lot of firepower. I thought Franklin did a good job [defensively] on Chloe and Avery, they were all over them, made it very difficult to get decent shots off. But that’s what you expect, a close game against Franklin.”

Minutes later, Snead nearly doubled the lead. She took a pass from classmate Jenna Hitchen and rifled a one-timer from just inside the 18 but her low shot was wide as Franklin senior Sam Powderly applied pressure.

The Warriors best chance to add onto their advantage in the first half came in the 22nd minute. Junior Paige Varvarigos lofted a corner kick that Snead rose up to meet but her header flashed just wide at the near post.

Although Franklin defended for the majority of the half, it did have some breaks that turned into looks offensively. In the 20th minute, Carly Alston served a corner kick to the near post. Anna Balkus was the first to the bar, getting a touch that eluded the keeper but the ball was cleared in front of goal by the KP defense.

King Philip had two great chances to add onto the lead in the opening 10 minutes of the second half but Atwood came up big for the Panthers on both occasions. In the 45th minute, Snead blocked a clearance attempt but Atwood quickly closed down and turned away her shot.

Four minutes later, Makayla Griffin found Ally Stanton with a corner kick, and Stanton’s header looked destined for the back of the net before Atwood made a terrific diving save to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

“I thought their goalie made some really good stops, especially on that corner it looked like Ally Stanton had taken care of it, it was going right in, and she got there right in the nick of time,” Pichel said. “We knew coming in that, the trouble they had with Milford, you forget about it. It’s KP against Franklin and it’s always a dogfight.”

Franklin got strong defensive performances from Powderly, senior Sabrina Addi, junior Carissa Alers, junior Erin Quaile, and freshman Norah Anderson.

“You have Snead, Layne, and Stanton…that’s a lot of firepower,” Geysen said of the KP attack. “When you look at their scoring, goals and assists, it all goes through the three of them. So we just tried to make it a little bit harder, tried to be in their face, and when you have the opportunity, double team them.

“Just one chance, that’s all it takes. And that’s what happens when you don’t score.”

Anderson applied pressure so Snead couldn’t get off a clean one-timer in the 63rd minute. Less than a minute later, Jenny Montville blasted a shot from 25 yards out but Atwood handled it on the bounce. And in the 69th minute, Stanton’s cross found Montville but good defending from Addi prevented a serious chance.

Franklin had its best chance of the second half come in the 73rd minute on a near post corner kick but KP keeper Taylor Butler came off the line and disrupted the service.

“I told Taylor she did a fantastic job of coming out when she needed to and taking care of business,” Pichel said. “I thought Grace Lawler did a fantastic job on defense, picking up some of their runs. Jenny Montville and Ava Tormey, things changed drastically when I put those two in the middle. They really picked it up for us and gave us a lot of energy.

We’re a work in progress. Who’s going to step up, who’s going to be consistent…and you just do the best you can. We don’t think we’re fantastic but we’re more of a meat and potatoes type team, just keeping fighting.

Hitchen intercepted a clearance in the 76th minute to give the Warriors one final chance, but the near post service was knocked away by Atwood before Layne could get a touch.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Bre played extremely well in the second half after being a little passive in the first half,” Geysen said. “Same thing with Sabrina [Addi], she had a great second half. They were both better today and it worked well.

“We beat Milford but we didn’t play very well, they physically knocked us all over the place and took advantage of our lack of aggressiveness. We needed to be more physical and aggressive today, that was the goal for today. I don’t care what the score was, we needed to play better. And I was very proud that they did that today.”

King Philip girls soccer (3-0 overall, 2-0 Hockomock) is back in action on Friday with a trip to Milford. Franklin (1-1, 1-1) is on the road at Canton on Thursday afternoon.

Girls Soccer: 2019 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2019 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
Last fall, Mansfield won the league title for a third straight season but the rest of the loaded Kelley-Rex division will be aiming to take down the Hornets this year. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-11-1
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Steve Santos
The Bombardiers have made great improvements over the last couple of seasons, jumping from eight goals scored as a team to 26 and then 24 in 2017 and 2018, and now head coach Steve Santos is looking for Attleboro to take the next step and make its first state tournament appearance since joining the Hockomock League. With an experienced corps and several talented newcomers, Santos hopes this will be the year to get a taste of the postseason.

The attack has been led by junior forward Isabella Salviati, who had half of the team’s goals last year and assisted on seven other goals. The forward play flows through her, but the Bombardiers will be hoping to get more contributions from junior Briley Harnois, who had a breakout sophomore campaign, and from midfielder Jessica Gates, who has the vision to find the key pass that will spring one of the forwards. Also helping out through midfield and into the attack with be seniors Ashley Dame and Julia Reyes.

There is also experience in the heart of the Attleboro defense with senior Sophia Salviati paired with classmate Emily Antonik. Junior Vanessa Laguerre makes the move up from JV this season and will be slotted into the back line as well. Goalie has been a position of strength for the Bombardiers for several seasons but this year it is in flux as senior Ashley Macia is slated to be the starter, but she is also capable in defense and saw a lot of time as an outfield player last year. Freshman Alexis Campbell could eventually step in between the posts. Junior Riley Sullivan could contribute right away and is capable of playing multiple positions and sophomore Emily Khang adds another player with ball skills.

“We have a lot of returning players,” said Santos, “and I think we have more depth so we won’t have to rely on the starters for as many minutes. We have a lot of players who can contribute and fill in the pieces. The key this season will be being consistent for 80 minutes and keeping our pace for the whole game.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 10-3-5
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tom Geysen
Franklin lost only three games all of last season and had one of the league’s best defensive records, allowing only 10 goals in 18 games. That solidity in the defensive third will be hard to replicate, as the Panthers graduated three of last year’s back four, but there is also hope that the promising young attackers can take some of the pressure off by improving on the team’s 40 goals scored, which was seventh best in the Hock.

Senior Sabrina Addi is the lone returning defender for the Panthers, but she will get help from senior goalie Breanna Atwood to try and organize an inexperienced defense. Freshman Norah Anderson will jump into the center of the defense and looks ready for the physical challenge of Hock play. Senior Sam Powderly will drop back from midfield to help out as well.

Once the Panthers get the ball back, there are plenty of familiar faces to try and get goals. Senior Anna Balkus can play a number of different positions, including in the heart of midfield, the wing, or in the attack. Sophomore Stella Regan is coming off a breakout rookie season and adds even more pace to the center of the pitch, while senior Carly Alston is a solid performer on both sides of the ball. In the attack, juniors Erin Quaile and Sydney St. Marie are looking to make the leap to add more consistent scoring.

“I know the kids with experience won’t back down,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen, “but I need to see how the younger kids will react to this level. I need to see if they can physically cope with playing where I need them to play.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 12-5-2
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Gary Pichel
When you bring back players the caliber of seniors Avery Snead and Chloe Layne, the expectations will be very high for the upcoming season. King Philip enters 2019 as the favorite to bring home a league title but also with the goal of matching the run that the Warriors made in 2017, when they won the South title in double overtime and reached the state semifinal.

Layne, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, and Snead, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and two-time league MVP, have been among the league’s leading scorers each of the last three years and will make one more run at a league title. They are joined up top by senior Ally Stanton. The trio was one of the league’s most dynamic attacking groups, combining for 50 goals and 33 assists last season

Senior Jenna Hitchen and juniors Emma Glaser and Jenny Montville will also contribute to pushing the Warriors forward, while freshman Ella Pisani is a newcomer to watch in the attack. A lot of attention will (rightfully) be paid to KP’s attack, but its defense is also experienced. Seniors Makayla Griffin and Olivia Berry and junior Paige Varvarigos return to the back line with a combined eight years on varsity. Junior Taryn Greenberg and freshman Grace Lawler will also contribute in defense in front of junior goalie Taylor Butler.

“I am very excited about the prospects for our team this year,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “That being said, we will remain laser-focused on not overlooking any team that we play. We will not look ahead but instead, will prepare for each team we have on our schedule with great intensity, one game at a time.




Mansfield

2018 Record: 15-3-4
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Kevin Smith
The Hornets have had an unprecedented level of success over the past three seasons, winning three straight Kelley-Rex division titles, and reaching last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal, but Mansfield enters the fall with an almost entirely new roster and having only one player on the team with more than one year of varsity experience.

Senior Erin Dooling is by far the most experienced player on the roster, but defender Maria Sevastos and midfielder Katie Miller both saw a lot of playing time as freshmen and impressed during their rookie campaigns. Senior midfielder Kerrin Sears and senior defender Megan Krone join Dooling as captains this season and will both need to provide leadership for a team with four freshmen on the roster.

Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said, “We are young and learning each day with an entire new starting lineup, four freshmen on the roster and 18 of 24 players new to the team. Erin is the lone player with more than one year of varsity experience while Maria and Katie earned a lot of minutes last year. All three will be leaned on to share their experience with the team.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 11-5-3
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames continues to turn out competitive teams ready to challenge the best teams in the league and put themselves in the state tournament picture. This fall will be no different, as the Tigers have six returning starters and 14 players who saw varsity action last year. While there is still a relative lack of experience, the Tigers remain a team with high expectations.

Defense has also been a strength of the program and this year is no different with seniors Olivia Carroll, Abigail Hodges, and Leah Johnson providing a strong backbone for the team and will be a unit that is hard to break down. Junior goalie Emma O’Donnell is dealing with a preseason injury, so sophomore Emily Meyers will get the start for the season opener. Seniors Erin Holmberg and Abby Evin will lead the forward line, but there were strong rookie seasons from Camryn O’Connor and Allison Evin that give confidence for additional help in the final third.

“For OA to return to the tournament we will need some of our less experienced players to step up,” said Oliver Ames coach Britt Sellmayer.

Taunton

2018 Record: 3-16
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Joe Rocha
Former Taunton boys soccer coach Joe Rocha takes over the girls program this fall and will continue a rebuilding effort to try and get the Tigers off the foot of the division standings, which is a difficult task in the loaded Kelley-Rex division. Rocha knows it will be a process with a relatively young roster and is looking for improvements over the course of the season.

Senior Grace Pimenta will be back in goal for the Tigers this season, after missing part of last year with an injury. Pimenta will add leadership to the defensive unit that features senior Emma Silvia and sophomore Isabella Anslow in the middle. Keeping things solid in the center will be the key and Taunton will hope that the forwards can stay active and put pressure on the opposing defenses. Seniors Paige Tolan, Allison Calderon, and Kerla Sylvestre, and juniors Emily O’Gara and Morgan Zakrewski will be counted on to step up and improve Taunton’s goal-scoring numbers (after scoring 16 goals as a team last season).

“We are a very young team and will have some growing pains,” Rocha said. “As a first-year coach, my players are learning a new system and once we all get on the same page, I feel that our play will improve.”

Hornets Finish Off KP to Advance Past First Round

Mansfield girls soccer
Mansfield senior Bryn Anderson (5) drives forward with KP junior Faye Veilleux (21) in close pursuit during Saturday’s D1 South first round matchup. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield won its third straight league title this fall, and its first outright championship in program history, so the Hornets are no stranger to regular season success. But, in the state tournament, Mansfield has been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.

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This group of seniors (of which there are 19 on this year’s roster) had not seen the second round since they were freshman year and they were hungry to add a playoff run to their league accomplishments. That hunger was intensified by Saturday evening’s opponent in the Div. 1 South opener at Alumni Field, as King Philip upset the Hornets in overtime two seasons ago.

The Hornets scored twice against the wind in the first half (and arguably against the run of play) and held on with a typically stout defensive performance to shutout the Warriors 2-0 and advance to the South quarterfinal.

“We definitely wanted to win,” said Mansfield senior Steph Kemp. “We weren’t willing to leave this field without a win. All of us seniors, the whole team, everyone worked together. We didn’t want this to be our last game and it showed.”

King Philip (12-5-2) opened the game with the wind at its back and the Warriors used it to put the hosts on their heels early on.

Inside the opening 10 minutes, Abby Baker had the first chance of the game for KP. A throw in from the left side went off the shoulder of Mansfield defender Mikaela Maughn and Baker forced keeper Lauren Whitman into the first of her six saves. Just two minutes later, Avery Snead threaded a pass to Ally Stanton, who laid it into the path of Chloe Layne but the shot lacked power and Whitman saved.

“We had some great chances, but didn’t finish,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “That’s the tale of this game. I thought we dominated in the first half and didn’t get anything from it and they had two shots and put them in. That’s the difference in the game.”

Despite the pressure from the Warriors over the opening half hour, it was Mansfield that got the game’s first goal with its first shot on target. Kemp battled KP defender Olivia Berry on the right side of the box and managed to squeeze it loose into the middle where Cassidy McMahon ran onto it and was able to side-foot it past keeper Taylor Butler.

The Warriors came right back with a series of chances. Snead rose highest to head a long free kick from Makayla Griffin but Whitman was there for the save, then right back Lauren Anderson fired a long pass up top to Layne, who flicked it into the path of Jenna Hitchen on the left side but again it was saved. In the 37th minute, KP’s forwards combined again – Stanton to Snead to Layne, but the junior’s finish was just wide.

Two minutes later and the lead was doubled. A throw in from the left side was flicked by Sydney Mulkern to Melissa Reef at the corner of the box. The senior midfielder spun past her marker and onto her right foot before curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner for a 2-0 advantage.

“That’s a goal that she’s been staying after practice for a whole week just to work on,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained. “She says that she gets so many of them and to see her hard work pay off is really cool.”

Mansfield got the wind in the second half and it almost paid immediate dividends when Bryn Anderson got to the end line and cut it back for Kemp, who blazed over the bar.

Even into the wind, the Warriors looked dangerous in attack. Baker touched one on to Layne, who fired over and then she had a second chance with a half-volley from a Faye Veilleux throw in but couldn’t get enough power on it to beat Mansfield’s second half keeper, Caty DeMassi. Hitchen set up Snead in the middle but she also sent her shot over the bar.

In the 62nd minute, Anderson drove forward from midfield but her shot from the edge of the box was inches over the crossbar.

In the final 20 minutes, Mansfield locked down on the defensive side. Maughn and fellow center back Emily Vigeant were keeping a constant eye on Snead in the middle of the field, while freshman Katie Miller was tasked with following Layne as closely as possible. Reef added to the defensive shape from midfield and outside backs Mulkern and Kerina Geminiani were always on the cover.

“Wow,” Smith said about the complete defensive performance of his team. “We had to be very organized.” Pichel added, “The wind was against us [in the second half] and they did a great job defending. It was a hard hole to climb out of.”

Both coaches raved about the play of their opponents and both admitted that Saturday did not feel like a first round game. “Two giants went at it and one is left standing,” said Pichel. Smith said, “It felt like a sectional final.”

The Hornets allowed a league-low eight goals this season and that defensive strength was evident as they closed out the game and protected a two-goal cushion. At the final whistle, the whole team raced to the far end of the field to celebrate the win.

“It’s definitely relieving and it’s exciting,” Kemp said. “We haven’t been in this position since freshman year and even then not a lot of girls were on the field, so it’s our first time being through this all 19 of us senior together. We’re excited to just go on and see what it feels like to be in the rest of the tournament.”

She added, “I was tired from coming off the field but I managed to make that sprint all the way to Cat.”

Mansfield (14-2-4) will travel to face No. 4 seed Bridgewater-Raynham on Monday in the sectional quarterfinal.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Warriors Regain Confidence With Win at Mansfield

King Philip girls soccer
King Philip junior Avery Snead (9) scored a pair of goals on Monday night to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win at Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Last season, King Philip and Mansfield shared the Kelley-Rex division trophy. Earlier this year it looked like both teams were in line to repeat before the two teams met for the first time. The Hornets won that game 4-1 and are now on the verge of a third straight title, while KP went into a tailspin, losing four straight.

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On Monday night at Alumni Field, the two teams met again. Behind a pair of goals from Avery Snead, the Warriors beat Mansfield 2-1 to force the Hornets to wait a few days before clinching the title and to regain some of their confidence with the state tournament looming.

“It’s nice to be back on track again,” admitted King Philip coach Gary Pichel. “We lost our way for four games, had some bad luck, but you’ve got to keep marching forward to get ready for the playoffs. Our record isn’t stellar but we may surprise a couple people along the way.”

KP has been trying out a number of different lineups and formations in the last couple of weeks to try and find a set up that would work best. On Monday, Pichel pushed Snead up top as the lone forward and moved Chloe Layne into a central midfield role to give her more touches and allow her to create.

“The four games we lost, I was experimenting where is Chloe best served and she showed it against Taunton in the center spot,” Pichel explained. “She just became old Chloe again. Now she’s back and thank God. When you separate them like that then it creates chances for Chloe coming from [midfield] and Avery if she gets chances then she’ll make the most of it.”

The formation shift nearly worked right from the opening whistle, as Layne squeezed between a couple of Mansfield defenders and created space on the left side of the box. Her cross flashed across the goal and was knocked out. On the ensuing corner, Faye Veilleux’s header from a few yards out went narrowly wide.

While it was a good start for the Warriors, Mansfield started to bypass the middle of the field and use its speed on the wings. The Hornets hit long diagonal passes in behind the KP fullbacks and were able to create a number of chances.

Katie Garvin slid a pass through to Sydney Mulkern down the right channel in the eighth minute and the winger was able to pick out Steph Kemp alone in front. KP goalie Taylor Butler (six saves) needed to be out quickly to smother the shot. It was a sign of things to come in the first half.

A cross from the right side by Erin Daniel found Melissa Reef in space on the far side of the box, but she was unable to keep her header down. In the 21st minute, Kemp dropped in to pick up the ball and she slipped Cassidy McMahon in behind the defense only for the junior winger’s shot to come back off the far post.

McMahon was causing havoc on the right side. She cut back onto her left foot and forced a diving save from Butler and she also set up freshman Katie Miller for a chance from 20 yards that went over.

“We had lots of opportunities,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said. “Their game plan was great, to condense the space in the middle, so we had to do that. We couldn’t play through the middle. We found space on the outside, but we couldn’t find that final pass, that final score.”

The Hornets profligacy in front of goal, gave KP the chance to grab the lead against the run of play. A long ball forward bounced around and Abby Baker was able to head the ball between a pair of Hornets defenders. Snead chased after it and was able to use her long reach to just get a touch on the ball in front of Kerina Geminiani and with Mansfield goalie Lauren Whitman stranded.

The lead was very short-lived. Only a minute later and the Hornets were right back in it. Again it was McMahon that created the chance, cutting in from the right. She picked out Kemp in the middle, a good turn to free her right foot and the senior found an angle to slide her shot past Butler to make it 1-1.

“Just under a minute,” Smith said of the quick turnaround by his team. “Always keep it in mind that we can score when we’re down. And we had opportunities in the second half too.”

In the second half, the Warriors were more cognizant of the diagonal pass attacking the fullbacks to try and slow down the Hornets attack. Mansfield still had chances to take the lead, including a cross from McMahon on the left that nearly got to Mulkern on the back post if not for an intervention by Paige Varvarigos.

A throw-in from Daniel then found Kemp in space and she hit a low cross to McMahon, who had made a long run unmarked down the left, but her shot went over the bar.

KP started to come into the game after that chance and create scoring opportunities of its own. Snead picked the right pass to find Ally Stanton in space, but her shot was saved by Mansfield keeper Caty DeMassi.

In the 63rd minute, the Warriors were back out in front. Layne got free on the left side of the box, in a rare foray forward, and she hit a cross/shot that went through the six-yard-box and nearly snuck inside the far post. The ball caromed off the post and straight to the foot of Snead, who made no mistake with the empty net.

“You cross your fingers and hold your breath trying to beat Mansfield because it’s hard and we were just hoping that Avery could tuck a couple in and she did,” Pichel said. “Avery came through.”

McMahon had another chance racing in at the far post, but her shot went over the bar, and Emily Vigeant’s corner with three minutes to play found the head of Reef but Butler was able to save comfortably.

Smith said, “We got the pressure on them, we had corner kicks, we had shots, but we just couldn’t find that last little touch.”

With Snead moved back to the center of defense alongside Makayla Griffin and Olivia Berry, the Warriors packed it in and largely held Mansfield at bay for the closing stretch of the game. KP nearly put the game away on the break when Jaida Caruso freed Jenna Hitchen for a run at goal, but the shot went over.

It was the big win that KP had been waiting for and Pichel thinks it can be the result that will propel the defending Div. 1 South champs on another tournament run. “Huge amount of confidence, believe me,” he said. “This is just the medicine that the doctor ordered for us. It really is.”

King Philip (10-4-2, 10-4-1) will try to keep the momentum going on Thursday at Oliver Ames. Mansfield (11-2-3, 10-2-2) can move closer to clinching the league title when it visits Stoughton on Wednesday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.