Late Goal Gives Walpole Win Over Oliver Ames

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Haendel Louhis dribbles the ball into the attacking third against Walpole. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For the past two seasons, Oliver Ames has been responsible for ending Walpole’s season.

The Rebels reversed the roles in 2018.

#11 Walpole scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, leading to a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Oliver Ames.

Two seasons ago, the Tigers upset Walpole with a dominate performance. And last year, OA’s James Gillespie scored in double overtime to send the Rebels home.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

This time around, it was Walpole’s Aidan Murray that pounced on a loose ball in a scrum off a corner kick in the final minutes of the game for the game-winner.

“We have a little history with them, [in the tournament], they got us last year so this was kind of sweet here,” said Walpole head coach Lee Delaney. “I thought the turning point of the game was the save on the PK. The next goal in the game was going to be a big one so that was a huge save. I thought we really took it too them, had a lot of dangerous chances in the box where we just couldn’t find someone’s foot. [OA] is a good club, I know they are young. I knew it would be a toss up game, OA is always a great match but I’m glad we’re on this side this time.

“We have a couple of set plays on corners and you hope to convert them but it takes great execution. Sometimes it just takes a second ball in a scrum. It’s kind of how we lost last year, we cleared it off our own guy and it went right to their guy and he knocked it in.”

The late goal didn’t allow the Tigers much time to orchestrate an attack to try and tie the game. For OA head coach John Barata, the game should have still been tied because of a missed call.

“They were horrendous…both hand balls, knocked down and they finished…the refs didn’t call either so it was frustrating for sure,” Barata said. “They came here with a mission to play us off the ball, thump everything forward as direct as possible and go at us. I think the young guys got a little bit of a lesson that they’ll take with them. We have a good amount of kids back so they’ll learn from this.

“I thought the game was very back and forth, which is what we expected from Walpole. It’s a tough match, it’s tough to lose anytime. I think Walpole will give a lot of teams a run for their money.”

It was a back-and-forth start with both sides venturing into the attack third. OA keeper Jacob Lerman easily handled a Walpole shot from distance early and OA’s Haendel Louhis had a pair of chances go just wide, a shot from the top of the box in the 9th minute, and a header off a throw from Andrew Leite.

Oliver Ames broke through in the 27th minute. After senior Sean Flaherty was fouled at the top of the area, sophomore Colin Milliken stepped up and hit a well-struck free kick to give the Tigers the lead. Milliken hit his right footed shot up and over the wall, freezing the keeper on the line for a 1-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long though as Walpole scored just over a minute later to level the game. Walpole sent a corner in and Lerman made a nice stop on the first bid but the rebound fell to Daniel Colbert and he buried it.

“That’s the tough point, that’s one of the maturing factors we talk about all the time,” Barata said of giving up a quick equalizer. “The sad part was that it was the same exact thing, on a corner kick, we know what they’re trying to do. To give it up a minute a half later is tough but that’s the M.O. of a young team and we’ve done that a couple of times this year.”

In the second half, Walpole came out flying and applied a lot of pressure over the first 15 minutes. The best chance fell to the feet of Rebels’ senior Conor McDonough. McDonough took down a ball over the top and had a one-on-one chance against Lerman but the OA keeper came up and was position perfectly to knock the bid aside.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Oliver Ames had a golden chance to take the lead midway through the second half but were denied by Walpole keeper Dennis Crowley. OA sophomore Kevin Louhis used his speed to get past a defender and into the area but was brought down and the Tigers were awarded a penalty kick. Flaherty hit a low shot to the right side but Crowley made a diving save to keep the ball out and keep the game tied 1-1.

“Their keeper made a good save, so there’s nothing wrong there,” Barata said. “We dominated the rest of the game from that point. They took it to us the first 10 minutes of the second half, they came flying at us. They made some adjustments and gave us some problems initially. Once we settled in, we got the PK, everything was in our favor…but then it was just a bad call, I just can’t hold back on it. It was a horrible no call on the goal. Just didn’t feel fair to end the game like that. But Walpole is a very good team, a lot of seniors, they work their bollocks off so I have a ton of respect for their boys/

Oliver Ames boys soccer finishes the season 8-4-5.

Milford Impresses In First Win Over Oliver Ames

Milford boys soccer
Milford’s Walisson de Oliveira tries to make a move against Oliver Ames’ Aaron MacDonald in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The Milford boys soccer team hasn’t had much success against Oliver Ames since it joined the Hockomock League in 2012.

That changed in a big way on Monday night in a rainy contest on the turf at Val Muscato Stadium.

Milford had a dominant showing, scoring four first half goals on its way to a convincing 5-0 win. It marked the Scarlet Hawks’ first win over the Tigers since joining the league, snapping a 10-game winless streak.

“We talked about coming out strong in this game,” said Milford head coach Brian Edwards. “Some of our previous games, we started out weak and were fortunate to get points out of them because of the way we started. So it was a point of focus the last couple of days, and I was very happy with the energy level.

“This is going in the right direction. I still think we have a ways to go in all honestly, but today and the Foxboro game, our approach and the way we came out of the gate, and attention to detail was great. Tonight, the defense and the effort from our outside mids, that allows us to play well. The work we put in off the ball defensively allowed us to do what we did with the ball. If we keep working like that, I think we’ll keep getting better.”

It was all Hawks from the get-go, registering their first scoring chance just over 60 seconds into the contest.

Sophomore Leo Coelho played a perfectly weighted through ball on the ground that found junior Walisson de Oliveira right inside the area, but his touch was smothered by OA keeper Jacob Lerman. Although de Oliveira had his first chance denied, it was far from the last time he would factor in.

In the 5th minute, de Oliveira blasted a free kick from 35 that went just high and wide at the near post. In the 8th minute, Coelho made a darting run out of the back, combining with de Oliveira to eventually find Joao Vitor, but his shot went just over the bar.

The visitor finally converted in the 12th minute. Jordan Borges played a long ball out of the back that skid on the turf past the defense. Miscommunication between the OA defense and keeper allowed Vitor to come streaking in and get a touch past the keeper. de Oliveira was in the perfect spot and cleaned up the loose ball, burying it into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

OA had a nice spell of play over the next 10 minutes, nearly drawing level of two chances. First, sophomore Colin Milliken took a feed from classmate Jimmy Keane and ripped a dipping shot from 25 yards. The ball nearly skipped in front and almost slipped through Milford keeper Josh Orellana’s hands, but the senior positioned himself well to cover.

Just a minute later, a free kick from Niko Byron fell to the feet of Brady deVos, and the sophomore had a go from atop the area, but Orellana made a terrific jumping save and gobbled up the rebound.

Just seconds later, Milford’s Anthony Salvador traced down the left flank, centered to Vitor and his curling shot from just before the 18-yard line found the back of the net despite a partial save.

“It could have been a totally different game,” Edwards admitted. “Once we went up 1-0, I thought we were fortunate because [Oliver Ames] had a nice spell of play. If they score there and it’s 1-1, this is a totally different game. The score was a bit misleading. So that’s an area we still have to get better because we can’t afford to slow down.”

After going up 2-0, Milford continued to apply a heavy dose of pressure while controlling possession of the game. In the 32nd minute, de Oliveira really put the Hawks in the driver’s seat. The junior used a nice cut to get past a defender, took a touch towards goal and fired a laser from 25-yards out that went just under the bar for a 3-0 lead.

The Hawks added to their lead with another terrific goal just two minutes later. An attack throw from Tiago Carvalhoj was flicked on by de Oliveira to sophomore Lucas Da Silva. Da Silva took a touch to get the ball on his right foot and then ripped a volley to the far post for a terrific goal, giving Milford a 4-0 lead heading into halftime.

“Wally is a beast, first and foremost,” said OA head coach John Barata. “But today was the first time our inexperience really showed to be honest. It’s not an excuse, but it really showed today. And on top of that, we gave up two bad goals to start. We had a miscommunication on the first one and the second one was unfortunate. When you go down two to them, you have to come out and go for it. We played great for 15 minutes, and then they put in two in two minutes.

“You make mistakes we like we did against that team, you’re going to get punished. They have guys that can play, I think that’s the best playing team in the Hock that I’ve seen.”

The second half featured fewer scoring chances for both sides, but quality chances nonetheless. de Oliveira had a free kick from 40 yards out tipped over the bar from OA sophomore keeper Drew Nikla.

In the 49th minute, Milliken curved a free kick to the far post from 25 yards out, but Orellana covered nicely to deny the shot. Two minutes later, Carvalho had a long clearance bounce over the OA defense. Vitor ran onto it, but Nikla came well off his line and blocked the shot with his body outside of the area.

Milford capped the scoring in the 65th minute when Salvador got his second assist, setting up de Oliveira’s hat trick. Salvador sent a ball into space between two OA defenders. de Oliveira made a diagonal run to beat his defender and latched onto a shot from inside the area that found the back of the net.

“The work rate that I’m seeing from these guys is what I want to see,” Edwards said. “That’s how we want to play, we want to play pretty soccer and play from the back to front. We don’t want to be too direct, we want to move the ball.”

Milford boys soccer (5-1-2 Hockomock, 5-1-2 overall) is back in action on Thursday in a big division clash against Canton at 6:30. The Bulldogs sit two points ahead of Milford with one more game played. Oliver Ames (3-1-4, 3-1-4) will try to bounce back from its first loss when it hosts King Philip on the same day at 3:45.

New Faces But Familiar Result In OA’s Season Opener

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Colin Milliken and Stoughton’s Rami Houraibi battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – It was all new faces on the field for Oliver Ames, but the result was very familiar.

The Tigers, fresh off their third state final appearance in the past four years, have an entire new lineup after graduating two dozen seniors, including all starters and most reserves that played regularly.

In the first game with its new line up, Oliver Ames came away with a 3-0 win over visiting Stoughton.

“The kids have worked hard and that showed today,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “We can knock the ball around and play some soccer but we just have to mature a bit and grow up and gel as a group. I think as the season progresses we’ll get a little bit better each day.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers took the lead in the 15th minute and then broke the game open with back-to-back goals inside the final five minutes of the first half.

“It definitely felt like a first game,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Joshua Aubin. “We haven’t played a competitive game in almost two weeks. I think everyone was a little nervous to start and it showed. They got that first goal off an amazing shot, one of the best you’ll see all year. But the second and third goals, they were on us. Turnover at midfield and quick counter and then a silly foul in the box. But those two goals, those are easy enough to fix so that’s encouraging.”

Oliver Ames established control of the play early and were rewarded by a terrific goal. Sophomore Anthony DaCosta found himself in space when a long ball came in from sophomore Matthew Nikiciuk. DeCosta was given the space to take a touch and turn, and without hesitation the sophomore rifled a nice shot from 25-yards out that beat the keeper and went right under the bar for a 1-0 lead.

After a bit of back and forth play for the next 20 minutes, the Tigers changed the complexion of the game in the final five minutes of the first half.

Junior Jonathan Freeman came away with a win just over midfield and quickly found the feet of junior Colin Milliken. Milliken turned and played a through ball between two defenders, allowing senior Sean Flaherty to run onto it and slot his shot him at the far post to make it 2-0.

Stoughton had its best chance of the half shortly after going down 2-0. Senior Fabi Ponce de Leon played a curling free kick into the area that was spilled but the rebound effort from Gabe Ribeiro was to the left of the frame.

OA quickly countered and attacked up the left side. Sophomore Brady deVos found some space in the area and tried to get by his defender but was hauled down.

The sophomore stepped up to the spot and calmly blasted his bid into the back of the net just a minute later, giving OA a 3-0 lead just minutes before the halftime whistle.

“I thought overall we were in control of the play but it felt like we were getting a little panicky,” Barata said. “We had some chances to score the next goal and we just hand’t so I think getting the second and third goals relieved some pressure on them.”

“The third goal really hurt, that 1-2 punch,” Aubin said. “But it’s stuff that we can watch film and try to correct. I thought they picked themselves up coming into the second half and were competitive.”

Trailing 3-0 in the second half, the Black Knights tinkered with their lineup in an attempt to get back into the game. While it meant trying to build more offense, it sacrificed some defense.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were able to take advantage of that at times but couldn’t add onto their lead because of some stellar saves from junior keeper CCarter Gerome (11 saves).

Just six minutes into the second half, Milliken once again found Flaherty in behind the defense and the senior used a nice cut back move to free himself but his chance was turned aside by a terrific sliding save attempt from Gerome.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and I think it showed. I thought we were much more competitive in that second half. ,” Aubin said. “So we were a bit more offensive minded so we knew we’d give up some chances but Carter definitely stood on his head at times and kept us in the game.”

Stoughton’s best chance of the second half came in the 61st minute when Ponce de Leon put a free kick on frame but OA senior keeper Jacob Lerman made a move to his right to punch the ball out.

A minute later, OA nearly had another goal with Flaherty in alone but once again Gerome came up big to keep the Tigers off the scoresheet in the second half.

Oliver Ames (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Taunton (0-1-1) to Muscato Stadium. Stoughton (0-1, 0-1) hits the road to take on North Attleboro on the same day.

Boys Soccer: 2018 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2018 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Taunton’s Colby Fernandes and Franklin’ Nitin Chaudhury battle for possession last season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-9-5
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Peter Pereira

Attleboro is aiming to use a strong nucleus of returning players to get back into the state tournament after a couple of years of being on the outside looking in.

“We are excited about the team and looking forward to doing well in the Hockomock, which is not an easy task since there is a lot of talent and good teams in the league,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira.

The Bombardiers bring back a seasoned group of defenders that will hopefully give them stability in the back. Colin Levis brings the most varsity experience to the group and will be joined by Connor Dunn, Josh Smith, and Nathan LaPlume. Senior transfer Aaron Flynn and classmates Jared Cooper and Alex Naughton give the Bombardiers a solid group of veterans in the back. Seniors Andre Menard and Tyler Biller are candidates for the starting goalie position.

Pereira has a lot of options to work with in the midfield, including senior Aidan Lancaster. Lancaster has experience playing defense as well so can provide an extra layer of defense when needed. Another familiar face back in midfield will be Michael Russo, who showed flashes of great skill during his sophomore season. Russo and Lancaster will be joined by Brady Holander, Hugo Henriquez, Kevin Raczkowski and Patrick Raczkowski.

There will be another familiar face up front as Will Halben returns as the feature striker. Halben has been Attleboro’s leading scorer the past two seasons and will be a major factor up front again this year. Eli Araujo, Joey Soucy, Justin Lurssen, and Guilherme Machado are expected to provide help up top as well.

Franklin

2017 Record: 5-9-4
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Fran Bositis

After going through some growing pains throughout the 2017 season, the Panthers are looking to make it back to the state tournament.

It all starts with the Panthers’ three senior captains, who will be relied upon to help Franklin compete in a very talented Kelley-Rex division.

Nitin Chaudhury, Nick Barry, and Sam Stowell are all veteran players and will be joined by 10 other returners from last year’s team that got better as the season went on. The Panthers must replace talented goalie Freddie Beckmann but head coach Fran Bositis is expecting good things from junior Jack Rudolph because of his excellent athletic ability.

Chaudhury will once again be the engine of the team from the midfield position while Stowell is back for his third year in the heart of the Panthers’ defense. Jacob Cummings will be another weapon for Franklin in the midfield while senior Tim Duval and junior Donny Tappin return up top.

“As always we are looking forward to competing in the very competitive Hockomock League,” Bositis said.

King Philip

2017 Record: 11-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Nick Gale

The Warriors have had back-to-back successful seasons and are looking to make it three straight, despite losing six experienced starters to graduation.

While King Philip certainly has some shoes to fill, head coach Nick Gale has a lot of options to work with and is aiming to make another appearance in the state tournament.

Senior captains Zac White, Tony Bozza, and John Cullen have all seen plenty of varsity minutes over the past couple of seasons and are ready to lead the 2018 Warriors. White and Cullen will be major factors in the midfield while Bozza gives the Warriors some pace up top. White and Cullen will be joined in the midfield by a trio of sophomores – Evan McEvoy, Camron Lawrence, and Ajae Olsen – all of whom saw some minutes as freshmen a year ago.

KP’s defense has been among the best in the league over the past two seasons but will need some new faces to step up to continue that trend this year. The Warriors do have some experience with senior Andrew Thompson and juniors Brian McCarthy and Wesley Orzell all expected to step up in the back for KP.

“We’re a much smaller team this year, but we haven’t lost our willingness to fight while defending,” Gale said. “Our focus will be on improving team defending and our ability to press intelligently. We have defenders returning with varsity experience and they’re committed to working together to ensure we’re organized and defending as a team.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 10-3-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Steve Sheridan

Although Mansfield graduated over a dozen seniors, and the majority of its starting lineup, the Hornets have a strong presence in the middle of the pitch and are looking to build off that to compete for the Kelley-Rex title.

The Hornets bring back EMass All Star Sam Nugent at center back and he’ll be joined by Ethan Brill-Cass, who had a bright sophomore season but missed all of last year due to injury. Mansfield’s defense will feature all seniors as Derek Meuth and Matt O’Donnell fill out the back four for the Hornets. Tony Salisbury and Cam Bovey are competing for the starting spot in goal.

Mansfield also has seniors Luke Savoie and Luke Devine back in the center of the pitch to patrol the midfield. Both Savoie and Devine were key pieces for last year’s Hornets team, which came within one point from earning a share of the league title with OA. One spot that Mansfield is looking for new faces is up top, but options include Colin Caridi, Owen Mullahy, and Raffi Marzella.

“Having to fill the loss of 14 seniors from last season is going to be challenging,” said MHS head coach Steve Sheridan. “We have a variety of guys on offense that I’ll be expecting big things from, time will tell who will step up.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 15-3-4 (Kelley-Rex Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D2 State Final
Coach: John Barata

It’s not often a team graduates its entire starting lineup and then some, but that’s the situation defending Kelley-Rex champions Oliver Ames finds itself in.

The Tigers lost a whopping 20 seniors to graduation and return just four players from last year’s roster so it there will be a completely new look for OA in 2018. But that doesn’t mean the standards will be any lower for the Tigers, who have made three state final appearances in the last four years.

“We have a completely new team and we are looking forward to working hard,” said OA head coach John Barata. “Our primary objective is to get better every day and try to compete in a very difficult and talented Hockomock League.”

OA’s defense was among the best in the entire state last season, allowing just 15 goals in 22 games played. Barata will be looking for Aaron MacDonald, Andrew Leite, Harry Ahearn, Matthew Nosalek, and Jon Freeman to step up and fill in the spots along the back line. Senior Jacob Lerman and sophomore Drew Nickla are battling for the starting spot in goal.

On the offensive side of the ball, Barata is looking for contributions from Colin Milliken, Anthony DaCosta, Matt Nikiciuk, Sean Flaherty, Niko Byron, Kevin Louhis and Haendal Louhis to carry to load.

Taunton

2017 Record: 3-14-2
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

A solid nucleus returning from last season and more cohesiveness are two of the top reasons for optimism for the Taunton High boys soccer team.

The Tigers have players back all over the field and are hoping that the combination of experience and some fresh faces leads to a competitive season in a very competitive division. Junior Nolan Melo made a splash last season when he took over as starting keeper and looks to be one of the top players at that position in the league.

Senior Evan Melo will be tasked with anchoring the defense from his center back position while Taunton will look for some new faces to step alongside him. Colby Fernandes returns to his defensive midfield spot and Liam Crowley is back as the attacking midfielder in the middle to give the Tigers a nice steady presence up the center of the pitch.

Leading scorer Brett Beaulieu (nine goals, four assists) is back as the featured striker while Alec Nunes can either pair with Beaulieu up top or drop into the midfield when needed. Kyle Aubin is another returning midfield option for the Tigers.

“We have seven returning starters this season and a team with solid technical ability as well as great team chemistry and athleticism,” said Taunton head coach Taylor Whitters.

2017 HockomockSports.com Boys Soccer Awards

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Matt Alvarado (right) celebrates his second half goal with Mason Galbato (left) and Cam Vella (center). (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

Oliver Ames Claims Third South Title In Four Years

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Matt Alvarado (right) celebrates his second half goal with Mason Galbato (left) and Cam Vella (center). (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Coming off its biggest win of the season in the D2 South Semifinals against top-ranked Nauset, Oliver Ames head coach John Barata was admittedly a little worried how his Tigers would come out on Tuesday night against Pembroke in the sectional final.

But those worries were quickly erased as the Tigers came out firing, dictating the play throughout the first half. OA took the lead just before the halftime break and then added two more in the second half to earn a 3-0 win over the sixth-seededa Titans, giving the fourth-seeded Tigers their third D2 South crown in the last four years.

“That’s where the experience kicked in for us,” Barata said. “We knew that even after winning such a big game, it was just one game and the next big game was this one. Having won that one and losing this one, [the Nauset win] wouldn’t have meant much. So it was very important coming out firing, and we did.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Tigers were ready to go. With 21 seniors on the roster, Oliver Ames is stacked full of playoff experience.

The Class of 2018 witnessed the Tigers win four playoff games, including the sectional final, in 2014, their freshman year

In 2015, a handful of those seniors – then sophomores – played vital roles in five postseason wins including a win in the D2 State Final. And last year, they picked up experience in two more postseason games.

Now in the program’s 16th playoff game since they were freshmen, these seniors had no trouble getting going from the start.

“It’s a great senior group, it’s a group I’ve been with since kindergarten and first grade,” Barata said. “We knew it was a special group coming through, and we’ve had similar groups and have similar groups coming, but it’s been a special bond. For me, it’s been nice to see them succeed and now hold their own title up, not with senior groups. They’ve done it on their own.”

Less than a minute in, the Tigers had two goal scoring chances. Senior Chris Lawrence’s throw somehow flew through the area without a recipient. And seconds later, senior Mason Galbato chipped a service in but senior James Gillespie’s header was saved.

Three minutes later, senior Matt Alvarado found Gillespie at the far stick but his header just went over the bar. Two minutes later, Gillespie’s low shot just missed the far post after senior Michael Nikiciuk had set him up via a low centering pass.

In the 18th minute, Lawrence launched another long throw that slipped through the keepers’ hands but Brian Flaherty cleared the loose ball off the line to prevent the Tigers from taking the lead.

Flaherty gave the Titans their best chance of the first half. OA senior keeper Jack Carroll did well to clear away a cross, but the loose ball fell to Flaherty who floated a shot off the crossbar from 25 yards out.

But the momentum didn’t shift as OA continued its pressure. Alvarado touched a ball over the top that Pembroke tried to shield back to the keeper but strong pressure from senior Nathaniel Cardoza nearly gave the Tigers the lead.

A minute before half, the Tigers cashed in on a corner kick. Senior Jack Sheldon drove the corner right to the six-yard line where Cardoza rose up and nodded his header inside the near post for a 1-0 lead.

“We felt like we should have opened the game up much earlier,” Barata said “It made it a battle and we knew it was a going to be a difficult contest but we should have opened the scoring much earlier and much more frequent. But [Pembroke] made some adjustments, then we made some adjustments [in the second half] and got control back.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While Pembroke picked up some of the play to begin the second half, the Tigers withstood the pressure. The best chances for the Titans came on a scramble in front off a corner kick, but OA did well to clear it.

The Tigers finally found an insurance goal in the 71st minute. Sheldon gained possession on the right flank near the corner flag. He was able to beat his defender along the line, drawing the defense out. He slid a pass right to the penalty spot where Alvarado calmly blasted a right footed shot into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

“We talked about going into a defensive formation or not, but at the end of the day, we had so many chances it just didn’t make sense to go into a cocoon and have them come at is. So we decided to not do it and it paid off. We were able to get the two at the end.”

OA put the game away for certain just two minutes later as Gillespie was rewarded for a great run with a service into the area. His shot was saved but Nikiciuk was right on the doorstep to tap it in for a 3-0 lead.

With the win, Oliver Ames boys soccer (15-2-4) advances to the D2 State Championship to take on North sectional champion Concord-Carlisle (13-2-6) on Saturday, with a location and time to be announced. It is also a rematch of the 2014 final, a 1-0 win by the Patriots.

“We look forward to playing them again, they are a fantastic team,” Barata said. “They have five state titles, they are a juggernaut in high school soccer. They are the bar that everyone tries to be. I know Ray [Pavlik] well, he’s a fantastic coach. I hope we give them a great game.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Gillespie’s Brace Sends OA Past Walpole in Double OT

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Nathaniel Cardoza (4) dribbles past a Walpole defender in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames senior James Gillespie didn’t have a ton of touches on the ball during Thursday’s nights game against Walpole, but he certainly had the two most important ones.

Gillespie scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in double overtime in the 94th minute of play to help the fourth-seeded Tigers avoid an upset bid by the 12th-seeded Rebels.

“You’re kind of like hiding back there and defenders don’t know you’re there sometimes,” Gillespie said of his back post positioning, the spot he was for both his goals. “The first goal, the defender didn’t know I was there. It’s a good spot to be standing in because we get a lot of crossed to the back post.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers nearly had the game won in regulation but Walpole struck with just over a minute to play. With just their second shot on goal of the half, Rebels senior Luccas Ferreira got just enough of a header on a long throw-in from Kevin Sullivan to tie the game.

“We knew we had to keep our heads high, we couldn’t let them come back and score another goal,” Gillespie said. “We just had to keep fighting to get that goal back.”

Oliver Ames had its chances in the first half but only converted once.

In the eighth minute, senior Matt Alvarado combined with Gillespie, who laid a pass off to Michael Nikiciuk but his bid was at the keeper.

A tactical change helped create the Tigers’ goal in the first half. Head coach John Barata switched senior Matt Campbell from the right side of the pitch to the left side. Shortly after, Campbell won possession on the wing and delivered a low cross that found its way through the area to the back post, where Gillespie tucked it in on a one-timer.

“James is brilliant at that, he’s been brilliant at framing the back post,” Barata said. “We’ve been lucky because no one can mark one guy. For example, James scored twice today but we have 14 goal scores, so we don’t have that star scorer teams can focus on. But we have guys that score.”

The lone scare of the first half came via miscommunication between the defense and keeper. A defender attempted to head the ball back to Jack Carroll, who had come out to get it himself. Senior Colin Evin recovered nicely and cleared the ball just before the goal line to preserve the one-goal lead.

OA kept the pressure up but couldn’t find the back of the net.

In the 29th minute, Alvarado slipped a through ball to Nikiciuk, who got a slight touch before the keeper, but Walpole’s goalie recovered nicely.

A minute later, senior Nathaniel Cardoza linked up with Alvarado, who cut it back to put the ball on his left foot but his shot was slightly deflected and just hit the post and stayed out.

On the ensuing corner, Walpole partially cleared the ball but Mason Galbato took the ball down on his chest and fired a low shot that just rolled wide.

The chances continued in the second half when Jack Sheldon found Alvarado two minutes in, but his left-footed strike was knocked down and saved.

Good pressure from Nikiciuk resulted in another chance in the 57th minute, as his hard run to a loose ball forced a collision between keeper and defender, but before the ball would sit for Alvarado on the rebound, a defender made a nice tackle to block the shot.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Sheldon forced the keeper into another big save in the 67th minute. His shot from just outside the area was slightly deflected and popped up on the keeper on the bounce, but he got just enough to push it over the net.

“We knew we needed two goals against them because they might sneak one in,” Barata said. “The funny thing is the game should have been over; should have been over in the first half, should have been over after the second half. We should have had three or four to be honest. [Walpole] is a very good team but we had multiple chances. I don’t think they had five shots. We have to learn from this that this could have easily been a loss in a game that we purely dominated. We knew it’d take two goals but I just wish it came earlier.

Walpole had its best three chances of the game come in the final 10 minutes. A long throw from Sullivan bounced through the area to the far stick but Walpole’s Conor McDonough saw his golden chance sail over the bar.

The Rebels had a free kick from 25 yards out in the 75th minute, but Carroll was quick to react and made the comfortable save to his left. Four minutes later, Walpole had the equalizer.

“The boys know what they should be doing, getting the ball in the corner and be relaxed,” Barata said. “But instead the adrenaline was bouncing around, plus [Walpole] had to come at us late. We knew it’d be tough, but we just lost some focus in the last two minutes, and we didn’t clear two balls.”

After a scoreless first overtime period, the teams switched sides and OA cashed in on its first corner of the frame. Sheldon’s low cross was touched by Galbato right at the penalty spot, sending the ball to the back post for Gillespie to bury for the winner.

“The ball deflected off a teammates leg and it was open in front of me and I just ran in there and put it away before they could get to the ball,” Gillespie said.

With the win, Oliver Ames boys soccer (13-2-4) to the D2 South Semifinal to take on top-seeded Nauset (18-1-1). It’s a matchup of the past two D2 State Champions.

It will be the first time we play them ever in program history. They’re the number one team in the state, number three team in the region and number five team in the country so we’ll have our hands full. But we’re looking forward to the challenge. We go in as the underdogs so hopefully, we’ll go in fighting.

The game between OA and Nauset is scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 at Milford High School.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Oliver Ames Wins Division With Draw Against Mansfield

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames senior Matt Alvarado defends against Mansfield senior Sean Lanzillo. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The game ended in a draw, but Oliver Ames walked away from Val Muscato Stadium with something to celebrate.

Although neither the Tigers nor the Hornets of Mansfield scored in a showdown of the Kelley-Rex’s top two teams, the point from the draw kept OA (26 points) ahead of Mansfield (25 points) and clinched the division title in the final league game of the season.

“It’s a good draw because that’s all we needed to win the league outright,” said OA coach John Barata, who helped the program win its fifth division title in the past seven years. “However I think we were the better team today anyways. I thought we had many more chances, especially in the beginning. I thought we dominated about 80% of the game.

“But they had the best chance of the game so we escaped with the tie. Although it was a good tie, we kind of escaped because they had that chance and we got fortunate. They could be Hock champs right now.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The first half nearly picked up right where OA left off the last time these two teams met back at the beginning of October. The Tigers dominated the second half of that game with chance after chance, but only scored once in a draw.

“[Oliver Ames] is a much higher ranked team than people give them credit for,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan. “They are a great team…great coach, great players. I have nothing bad to say about this game other than I wish we scored.

“We should have put away that golden opportunity. But we didn’t play our best for 80 minutes and they didn’t score on us. If this was the tournament, I’d take my chances with my goalie in PKs.”

The chances came right away for OA, who had six corners kicks in the opening 40 minutes and six long attacking throws into the area.

Michael Nikiciuk ripped a left footed shot for the Tigers in the eighth minute that was collected by Mansfield keeper Nick Ferraz. Senior Nathaniel Cardoza played classmate Brandin Osborne wide but his low drive at the near post was turned aside.

Cardoza was at it again in the 20th minute, seamlessly splitting a pair of defenders before sending in a through ball for classmate Matt Campbell, but Campbell couldn’t quite get his body turned and his one-timer rolled harmlessly to Ferraz.

Jack Sheldon forced Ferraz into a leaping save in the 24th minute on a tight angle shot, but the ensuing corner didn’t result in a chance.

Chris Lawrence’s long throw-in found Nikiciuk inside the box in the 33rd minute, but his low bid from in close skidded wide at the near post.

Matt Alvarado sent a tempting cross into the box that bounced to the far post but Sheldon was just a step late and his touch went wide into the near post side netting.

“First half almost seemed like a continuation of the second half of the first game,” Barata said. “Then in the second half they were more physical and kind of took us out of our element. But we adjusted. [Mansfield’s] a good team. We really focused on a couple players, and one of them created their two best chances. We had to prepare for this like it was a state tournament game and that’s how we played it today.”

The game, and the chances, evened out more in the second half as the Hornets came out with a more physical game plan. The style worked, as the Tigers struggled to get their offense going as they did in the first half.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Nonetheless, both sides had chances. Campbell laced a shot just over the bar after hitting it on the bounce in the 47th minute.

Cullin Anastasia did well to track down a clearance for the Hornets in the 54th minute, playing Sean Lanzillo wide, but his service to the back post was gobbled up by OA keeper Jack Carroll.

Just a minute later, Sam Hyland jumped onto a loose ball for the Hornets but his low bid was covered by Carroll.

OA senior Cam Vella connected on a header in the 61st minute, but Ferraz had plenty of time to adjust on the bounce and make the stop.

The best chance of the game for either side came in the 62nd minute when Jackson Murphy played a perfectly weighted through ball to Lanzillo on the left wing, and he centered to a wide open Anastasia inside the six, but his sliding bid went over the bar.

“For us right now, we believe defense wins championships,” Barata said. “We’ve done well not giving up goals overall this year. I’m happier with the shutout than if we would have won 4-3 because I don’t want to be giving up goals right now. If we can score one, we know we can win any game. And if it goes 0-0, we are confident with PKs.”

Mansfield kept the pressure up as Harry Braidt sent a free kick into the area in the 66th minute but it bounced through without a recipient. Hyland had another chance in the 69th minute when his long throw was cleared back out to him, but his hard show sailed over the bar at the far post.

With the Hornets – who needed a win to clinch the division title – pushing numbers forward, OA had some chances on the counter-attack. Alvarado slipped a pass in behind for Nikiciuk but Ferraz made his biggest stop of the game with a point-blank save on a shot from inside the area.

The Hornets had a chance on a scramble in the area when Luke Savoie’s free kick was dropped by Carroll, but as Nick Hyland put a header on frame, Carroll recovered quickly to make the stop.

Nikicuk nearly had the winner with the final chance of the game, again taking a pass from Alvarado but Mansfield’s Matt O’Donnell had a perfectly timed slide to just put him off and allow Ferraz to collect.

“If we have more of those chances [long throws, corner kicks]…we just couldn’t get anything going offensively, especially in the first half,” Sheridan said. “In the first half we couldn’t string together three passes. We knew what we had to do defensively. It just goes to show you our defense can hold it, we just have to get our offense clicking.”

Oliver Ames boys soccer finishes the season with an overall record of 11-2-4 and will likely be a top-four seed in D2 South when the brackets are released on Wednesday. Mansfield finishes 10-2-6 and will also likely have a home game to start the D1 South tournament.

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OA Breaks Through Late To Earn Draw With Mansfield

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Matt Alvarado (left) takes a shot past Mansfield’s Derek Mueth while goalie Nick Ferraz looks on. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Oliver Ames head coach John Barata was starting to run out of fingers to count his side’s chances in the second half alone.

And as the chances went calling, and the minutes ticked by, Barata began to wonder if his side would be shut out for the first time in league play this year.

“I’ll be honest, we didn’t know if it was just going to be one of those nights,” Barata said. “I believe in these kids, but I wasn’t sure if it just was going to be one of those nights. Mansfield is a very good team but I believe we were the better team tonight.

“We had an unbelievable amount of chances. They cleared some off the line, they blocked shots in the area. It was a high-intensity atmosphere. Steve [Sheridan] does a great job, they’re such a good team.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers had complete control of the match for the first 25 minutes of the second half, but all they had to show for it was four corner kicks and four long attacking throws that were thwarted by Mansfield defense. And a 1-0 deficit to the Hornets, who scored midway through the first half.

But finally in the 68th minute, on the team’s fifth long throw in the attacking third, there was a breakthrough. Chris Lawrence’s toss was cleared away by Mansfield’s defense, but only to just outside the top of the area. OA senior Mason Galbato put his laces on the ball, driving a low line drive through traffic and into the back of the net, helping OA finish 1-1 with the Hornets.

“It was a great tie,” MHS head coach Steve Sheridan said. “I was hoping to get two points, but they pressuring too much in the second half so we’ll take the point. [Oliver Ames] is a great team.”

The first half was a bit more even, with Mansfield even having the better chances in the opening half hour. Senior Sean Lanzillo tested OA early, ripping a right footed shot in the fourth minute from just outside the area but Tigers’ goalie Jack Carroll was up to the task at the near post.

OA registered its first chance 10 minutes later, when the Tigers forced a turnover in the attacking third. James Gillespie was quick to play senior Nick Bloumbas, and Bloumbas’ shot from distance forced a diving save.

Mansfield finally broke through in the 21st minute. Nick Wisnieski centered a pass that was partially cleared by OA, but not past Mansfield senior Sam Hyland just a step inside the area. When the ball fell to him, he buried his shot into the upper corner at the far post, giving the Hornets a 1-0 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets nearly doubled their lead inside the same minute when Lanzillo dropped a pass in behind OA’s defense, leaving Hyland in alone on goal. But Carroll came out and made the big stop, with Colin Evin first to the rebound to make the clearance.

The Tigers had a chance just before half, again on the back of a long throw from Lawrence. This time senior Michael Nikiciuk got a touch at the near post but Mansfield’s Jackson Murphy did well to clear the loose ball.

“It’s a great tie,” Barata said. “The boys weren’t happy with the tie because we felt we were the better team. However…on the road, a D1 team, they are undefeated, we go down early. Coming back showed a lot of maturity.”

The second half was full of chances for OA.

In the 44th minute, Nathaniel Cardoza – who shined in midfield for OA – got his head to a throw, but it was over the bar.

In the 54th minute, Jack Sheldon played a short corner to Matt Alvarado, but his low shot to the near post was saved by Mansfield keeper Nick Ferraz.

In the 56th minute, Cam Vella got his head to a long throw, giving Gillespie a chance inside the box but Mansfield’s Derek Mueth came up with a key block.

Three minutes later, a long throw put the ball into the area but both Cardoza and Alvarado had shots from inside the area blocked away.

In the 66th minute, Gillespie played a low cross to the near post that found Matt Campbell, but his bid was blocked by right in front by Mansfield’s Sam Nugent.

“We did good defensively,” Sheridan said. “I have to look at the tape to see exactly what happened on their goal. My goal was to stay undefeated after tonight, and we still are. So we still control our own destiny.”

Oliver Ames finally broke through two minutes later on Galbato’s strike.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Each team had a chance in the final five minutes. For OA, Campbell played a low cross to the near post, but Ferraz made the charging save before Cardoza could get a touch.

And for Mansfield, Mueth played a ball in behind the OA defense but the spin on the bounce fooled Carroll and ended up just wide at the far post.

Oliver Ames boys soccer (6-1-2 overall, 6-0-2 Hockomock) returns to action on Wednesday when it starts the second half of its crossover games with Milford coming to visit. Mansfield (6-0-3, 6-0-2) will entertain Sharon on Wednesday afternoon.

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.”