MEDFIELD, Mass. – It was the type of game that left spectators thinking it was a shame that either side had to lose. It was a game with wild swings of emotion and momentum. It had a coach with arms raised dancing down the sideline and it caused tears on both the winning and losing benches.
Twice Foxboro had the game in its grasp and both times Medfield managed to stave off defeat. A headed goal with only four minutes remaining forced overtime and then backup goalie Emma Hilvert became the hero, saving a penalty to stay alive and then saving a second to get the win.
For the third time in the past four seasons, Medfield knocked Foxboro out of the playoffs, winning 5-4 in a shootout following a breathless 2-2 draw Monday night at Calvin Fisher Field.
“Unfortunately with PKs it stinks,” said Foxboro coach Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn after the game. “It’s exciting, but it is what it is. It was a pretty good matchup between the two of us and when you get to PKs it’s anybody’s game.”
Foxboro led 2-1 inside the final five minutes when Medfield earned a corner kick. The ball was played into the middle by junior Maggie McCarthy and Sophia Ouimette out-jumped the Foxboro defense to head home from close range. Medfield almost won it in the final seconds of regulation but Alanna Cooney shot it right at Foxboro keeper Hallie Canfield.
In the second overtime, Medfield had the chances for the golden goal winner, but Allison Petit saw her long-range effort land on top of the goal and Canfield came through with a clutch save, denying Cooney with a sliding block a few yards outside of the box as the Medfield forward raced onto a through ball.
“Hallie had an amazing game,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “She came out when she needed to come out, she was directing players, I mean she’s made great saves the past two games.”
The game would be decided by penalty kicks. Both teams made each of the first three (Kristen Bortolotti, Lily Sykes, and Canfield scoring for Foxboro). On the fourth Medfield kick, Canfield got down well to her right to make the save and put Foxboro once again on the verge of the Div. 2 South semifinal.
Jamie Gorham added the fourth kick for the visitors and that was matched by Medfield. Lauren Flahive had a shot at the win, but Hilvert used her full reach to tip the shot away. After Medfield added a fifth off the fingertips of Canfield and just inside the post, Hilvert again went full stretch to deny Collins to seal the win.
“It’s a tough one, especially with 11 seniors,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “We’re losing a lot, so it’s hard.”
She added, “We’ve played them, we knew they were a senior team, we knew what they had, so that helped too. As much as I don’t want to see them, we know what we’re up against…I just kind of wish we would get someone new.”
Foxboro had started the game well, creating chances and denying Medfield time and space in the midfield and playing a high defensive line that caught star striker Taylor Sherman offsides several times in the first half. The partnership of Gorham and Flahive with help from Alexandra Stamatos on the left side managed to keep the hosts under wraps.
“We have great speed back there with the three of them,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “[Medfield] had tons of speed and having them back there was big for us because we would have been blown out of the water if we didn’t have that kind of speed.”
Maling had Foxboro’s first chance with a looping shot that hit the crossbar and she provided a consistent outlet on the right wing running off center forwards Bortolotti and Olivia Dantona. On the opposite side was Collins and she had several chances, including a shot that was kicked aside at the back post after an angled cross by Sykes.
Lamothe-Vaughn said, “Hailey and Riley both had great runs up the sidelines…We were getting lost in the kick-and-run game, which if we had the ball down a little bit more and we were possessing it then we would’ve had even more opportunities with Riley and Kristen up top.”
Bortolotti opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a shot from 25 yards that took a bounce in front of the keeper and slipped through the five-hole for a fortuitous 1-0 lead. It would last until 10 minutes after the break when Sherman responded for Medfield, holding off two defenders before sliding a shot into the bottom corner.
Seven minutes later, Sherman almost gave Medfield he lead with another run down the right channel but her powerful shot smacked off the post. Almost immediately back down the other end, Bortolotti ran at the Medfield back line and opened space for a drop off pass to Maling who hit it first time and curled it past the static keeper.
The lead lasted 20 minutes, until Medfield’s late heroics snatched an equalizer. Despite the defeat, Lamothe-Vaughn was proud of the way her team finished the season against tough opponents like Notre Dame Academy and Medfield.
“We play in an extremely good league,” she said. “Our season is preparing us for tournament and even though our record is not what we want it to be it prepared us for Notre Dame and Medfield, some of the best teams in our division.”