Canton Leaves It Late, Steals Win Over Stoughton

Canton girls soccer
Emily McCabe (19) celebrates Mekhala Costello’s last second goal that secured a win for Canton, despite the Bulldogs trailing Stoughton by a goal with just three minutes remaining. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


CANTON, Mass. – For about 77 minutes, Stoughton had yet to put a foot wrong. The Black Knights were organized, compact, and keeping Canton’s dynamic attack at arm’s length. Unfortunately for Stoughton, all it took was three minutes for the Bulldogs to finally find a way through and pull out an unlikely victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Stoughton led Monday’s game at WWII Veterans Memorial Field for more than 50 minutes following Shayla Ford’s opener, but in the closing moments Emily McCabe finally found space in behind the defense to equalize. With nearly the last kick of the game, McCabe played a one-two with Mekhala Costello, who curled a shot inside the far post to break Stoughton’s hearts and snare a 2-1 victory.

“I think it was good that we fought all the way to the end and we were able to grind a result out,” Canton coach Idris Senyonjo said. “That’s the league, the games are coming thick and fast now and you have to respond to what’s in front of you and hope that you can get a good result out of it.”

The Black Knights have shown a lot of resiliency so far this season, having lost close games to Oliver Ames and King Philip, and came into Monday on the back of two straight wins. They were intent on making sure it wouldn’t be easy for Canton, which went with a rotated lineup as the Bulldogs were playing their fifth game in 10 days.

Canton still had some good early moments. Gisella Berardi played a nice cross from the wing that found Lauren Shatkin in the middle, but the shot went wide. A minute later, Caira McKinney cross clipped off the head of a Stoughton defender and fell to Shatkin, but the shot was blazed over the bar.

Stoughton grew into the game. Ford played a give-and-go with Morgan Cook on the edge of the box, but Cook hit her shot straight at Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere.

In the 21st minute, the visitors went in front. A clearance out of defense was played up the far sideline towards Ford. The senior speedster felt the defender on her back and was able to spin her, racing onto the ball and into space in the right channel. With a full head of steam and at an acute angle, Ford fired her shot just inside the near post.

“I’m waiting for a team to realize you can’t play high on her and you’ve got to drop somebody back,” said first-year Stoughton coach Jon Grant. “Canton did have somebody dropping back in the first 10-15 minutes but I think they got antsy, they wanted to push, push, push, and Shayla was able to turn that girl and get past her.”

The goal gave the Black Knight confidence with Emma Tran pulling the strings in midfield and Ford and Cook regularly combining. Sofia Issa had a go from distance, but Staffiere was right behind it for the save.

Canton went to some of its regular starters following the goal, notably McCabe and Costello, to try and turn the tide. McCabe, who came into Monday with eight goals in her first four games, nearly equalized with her first touch. Shatkin’s ball into the box ricocheted off a pair of defenders before falling to McCabe, who poked a shot just wide.

Emma Cahill passed the ball from the left wing to Shatkin, whose nice first touch played the ball into the path of McCabe, but Stoughton keeper Katrina Varnum was off her line quickly and bravely got down at the forward’s feet to deny the shot.

“We stayed organized for I’d say 77 minutes and they kind of caught us with that last three minutes,” Grant explained. “They played great coming out of the gates, staying organized, shutting them down, not letting them through us. They got around us, a few dangerous crosses, but other than that we played a great first half.”

The game started to fall into a familiar pattern. Canton was able to have the lion’s share of the possession, while Stoughton worked hard to keep its shape and not allow any great chances. Costello nearly opened things up with a cross from the right to McCabe but Emma Tremblay got across to block.

Tran tried to double the lead with a long free kick, but it was right at Staffiere, who held onto it comfortably. Two minutes later, McCabe was given a chance with a 30-yard free kick, but Varnum used her long reach to safely tip it over the bar.

“They boxed all our forwards in in the right areas and they knew exactly what to do and when to do it,” Senyonjo said of the Stoughton defense. “The goalkeeper is also very commanding in the air, so nothing was going past her easily, which is credit to them.”

Costello played a ball into McKinney, who teed it up for Han Hong, whose second attempt was held by Varnum. It was hardly one-way traffic, as Stoughton showed its ability to counter quickly. Ella Derby played a give-and-go with Tran to find room to run in the right channel, but as she bore down on goal Kristina Keefe recovered to make the block.

McCabe had a shot closed down by Isabella Rodrigues on one end and on the other Tran’s free kick was glanced wide by Makenzie O’Connor. Stoughton had one golden chance to double the lead with four minutes to play. Ford broke free again, getting behind the Canton defense but Staffiere closed the angle and was able to make the kick save. The ball came out to O’Connor, who spun and fired but curled it just wide.

Grant said, “Shayla had that opportunity and then it bounced out and Kenzie was able to get a shot off as well that just went wide. Even after they scored, right off the kickoff, we went back down and I love that mentality they have, let’s just go.”

After being so close to sealing the win, it was shocking to see what happened next. Costello played an angled ball in behind the Stoughton back line. McCabe ran onto it, getting the slightest touch to take it past Varnum, and then slid in to get the ball across the line ahead of two Stoughton defenders.

“The middle was so clogged up,” Senyonjo said. “I just said let’s move Mekhala somewhere else because you know she’s going to be dangerous wherever you put her and as long as there’s half a chance in the box you know Emily will take it.”

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors. As time was just about out, Costello passed it into McCabe on the edge of the box and she slid a perfect pass inside the right back. Costello collected it, picked her spot, and coolly bent her shot around Varnum and into the bottom far corner to win it.

“The nature of the game, coming off the game we played Saturday (against Norwell), how well everyone played, the morale was up,” said Senyonjo. “This would’ve deflated us going into the next couple games, but the way they fought until the end could actually elevate us even a little bit more.”

Canton (4-0-1) will continue its busy start to the season on Wednesday with a trip to Milford. Stoughton (2-3-0) will try to bounce back when it visits North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/17/22

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
Taunton, 41 vs. Durfee, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (T) Jacob Leonard 24-yard pass to Braden Mullen, Elias Foreman XP good; (T) J. Leonard 20-yard pass to Jose Touron, E. Foreman XP good.
2nd Quarter: (T) J. Leonard 40-yard pass to J. Touron, E. Foreman XP good; (T) Peter Moor 15-yard fumble recovery, E. Foreman XP good; (T) Malachi Johnson 15-yard rush, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (T) M. Johnson 60-yard rush, E. Foreman XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

Boys Soccer
Oliver Ames, 1 vs. Needham, 1 – Final

Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 2 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 1 – Freshman Tatum O’Brien scored in the final five minutes of the game to lift the Bombardiers to a non-league road win over a fellow D1 state tournament contender. The game was scoreless at the break and Attleboro goalie Alexis Campbell saved a penalty to keep it that way. Midway through the second half Emily Dunlea opened the scoring for Attleboro. B-R responded with an equalizer, but O’Brien struck late for a big bounce back victory. Attleboro coach Steve Santos praised his back line and midfield for putting in a strong defensive performance.

Canton, 1 @ Norwell, 1 – FinalIn a high-tempo game from start to finish, Emily McCabe scored a late goal, her eighth of the season, to secure the Bulldogs a point against the defending Div. 3 state champs. Canton had chances to take the lead, but the game remained scoreless until the final 15 minutes. Against the run of play, Norwell pounced on a goal kick to grab the lead. Canton didn’t drop its intensity and kept fighting for an equalizer. Kristina Keefe played a cross into the box and McCabe was able to get a piece to even the score. Canton coach Idris Senyonjo said, “It was a great game of soccer to watch.”

Sharon, 3 @ Milton, 0 – FinalSharon continued its strong start to the season with a non-league win at Milton. Jessica Li, Autumn Simon, and Amber Marcus-Blank each found the back of the net for the Eagles to secure a second straight victory. Olivia Soby, Sofia Goclowski, and Taylor Standring each recorded assists.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 0 @ Bishop Feehan, 4 – Final

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview
Franklin will be one of the top teams in the league again this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2021 Record: 10-8-2
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32
Coach: Steve Santos
Attleboro ended its long wait for a return to the postseason in 2021 and head coach Steve Santos is hoping that success will breed more winning for the program. The Bombardiers will have a strong foundation this season because of a big senior class and experience across the pitch. If Attleboro can overcome some early season injuries and illnesses, they could be in the mix for another postseason spot.

With 34 goals as a team last year, Attleboro wasn’t one of the league’s most prolific attacking groups, but the Bombardiers have talented players who can make an impact in the final third. Junior Jamie Davies had a breakout sophomore year with nine goals and two assists and will be expected to lead the line this fall. Senior midfielder Kahlan Gray, who is dealing with an injury, can add to the attack either in the center of the field or out on the wing and freshman Tatum O’Brien is a newcomer to the lineup that has a good soccer IQ and will provide playmaking from the center of the pitch. Sophomore Tatum Leahy will give the team a boost after a year on JV.

The Bombardiers are going to be experimenting with defensive groups early in the season. Senior Emily Dunlea is a versatile player who can impact play no matter where she slots in and could be used in the defense at the start. Senior Ella Stromfors is battling illness but will give the team good experience and aggressiveness in the back line and junior Bethany Alves had an impressive sophomore season at the back and can also step into midfield. Junior Presley Biller will also add depth in the defensive unit. Senior Alexis Campbell is back in goal and her composure and vocal leadership will be important to keep things organized while the team gets healthy.

“We’ve had a good preseason,” Santos said. “We have a lot of seniors who are a good group of friends who all look out for each other. We had a good season and now they expect more this year. We want to not just get into the tournament, but win a couple of games.”

Canton

2021 Record: 6-7-5
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32
Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Canton battled through injuries for much of last season, but the Bulldogs were able to rally and made a playoff push. Entering his third season as coach, Idris Senyonjo has a roster filled with players that understand his style of play and he believes that the Bulldogs will be ready to push on and challenge the top teams in the division.

Senior midfielder Emily McCabe had a breakout season in 2021, becoming the team’s leading scorer and playmaker, and her leadership will be a key to the team’s success this fall. Senior Han Hong and sophomore Paige Sullivan add more experience in the center of the pitch. Up front, sophomores Emma Cahill and Caira McKinney (who missed last season with an injury) will be the top forward options.

Defensively, the Bulldogs graduated several starters, but seniors Kristine Keefe and Sarah Dempster are back and will provide the foundation for the back line. Junior Ava Gilmore is a versatile player who can help out in the midfield or drop into the defense, giving the Bulldogs options in the lineup. Junior Mekhala Costello took a year off to shine on the golf course, but she is back on the pitch this fall and is another dynamic player who can line up in multiple spots.

“Yes we have had multiple players graduate over the past couple of years but this is the first time in my tenure that most of the players from last year will be returning and my hope is that it brings a sense of continuity going into this season,” said Senyonjo. “The best we can do now is prepare to the best of our ability and we will be taking it game by game.”







Foxboro

2021 Record: 16-2-4
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 3 Final Four
Coach: Jen Lippolis
Despite an injury to All-American Kailee McCabe, Foxboro made a historic run to the Div. 3 state semifinal last fall, and the Warriors will try to use that experience to put together another tournament run this season. In addition to the graduation of McCabe, who set a program record with 32 goals in 2021, the Warriors will also be making a change on the sideline with assistant Jen Lippolis taking over for Katie Stalcup.

Foxboro will be young this season but many of those players got valuable experience last fall. Seniors Lauren Miley and Jaclyn Vecchione will be back in the middle of the pitch this season, as junior Erin Foley will be moved further forward to try and bolster the attack. Sophomore Neve Taylor had a strong rookie campaign and will step into a bigger midfield role this year, while senior Grace Riley will give the Warriors a boost when she returns from a preseason injury.

The Warriors were known as an attack-minded team last season, but the defense was excellent, allowing only 20 goals in 22 games and recording three clean sheets in the tournament. Junior sweeper Lindsey Resnick will be back in the heart of the defense and sophomore Sophia Auclair is coming off an impressive freshman season. Sophomore Maddy Luck is another young defender who should be ready for a big step up in responsibility this season. Foxboro should be strong in goal with senior Maddie Maher joined by junior Allie Sougaris, fresh off her playoff heroics.

“We’re excited to be back on the soccer field,” Lippolis said. “We are a young team this year. With the leadership of our returning varsity players, we’re excited for a fun, competitive season.”

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Franklin

2021 Record: 14-2-2 (Kelley-Rex champion)
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 16
Coach: Tom Geysen

In 2021, under interim coach Jodi Klein, Franklin continued its success in the Kelley-Rex winning a second straight league title. Head coach Tom Geysen is back on the sidelines this fall and the Panthers have a lineup loaded with experience that looks ready to make a challenge for a three-peat.

Defense has long been a strength for the program and last year was no different. The Panthers allowed only 11 goals in 18 matches and bring back one of the league’s top center back pairings. Senior Norah Anderson is a four-year starter in defense and she will be partnered by junior Maddie Horton, who had a breakout sophomore campaign. Junior Rachel Welch will be back in goal behind them and has proven to be one of the league’s top shot-stoppers. Junior Lily Deforge is a versatile player who can also help out at the back.

The Franklin attack took a big step forward last year. Junior Anya Zub moved from the wing to center forward and the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year put together a 20-goal season. Sophomore Kelly O’Connor was a breakout star on the wing who could take over a game. There were a few graduations in the midfield, but seniors Bridget Leo and Avery Greco can control the game in the center of the pitch and create scoring chances for the forward group.

“They have worked incredibly hard all year and done all the things necessary for success,” Geysen said. “All that is left is putting it all together on the field.”




2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

King Philip

2021 Record: 12-7-1
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 16
Coach: Gary Pichel
Despite being very young in 2021, King Philip was in contention for the Kelley-Rex title until the final weeks of the regular season and took highly ranked Bishop Feehan to overtime in the Round of 16. With a more experienced roster this year, the Warriors will be looking to take the next step and get back on top of the division for the first time since 2019 and make a deep tournament run.

The Warriors were the third-highest scoring team in the league last year with 57 goals and offense should be a strength again with senior Ella Pisani back to run things in attack. The team’s leading scorer in 2021, Pisani had 19 goals and eight assists last fall and she will be the focal point on offense. KP has talent on the wings that can take advantage of any space defenses leave open. Junior Eilish McGowen and sophomores Danielle Lomuscio and Mikayla Thompson have the pace and skill to create scoring chances as well. The forward line is also boosted by the return of junior forward Heidi Lawrence and senior Danielle Gresham will shore up the midfield.

The defense has plenty of experience from last season. Senior Grace Lawler will be the leader of the back line and continues to be called upon to mark the opposition’s top attacker. Junior Rylie Wesley and sophomores Rihanna Mason and Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn give KP a lot of athleticism in the defensive third of the field. There will be experience in net as well with the return of senior Lauren Casper and junior Makenna Norrman, who both saw action in 2021.

“I am really looking forward to competing this season with all the great Hockomock teams,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “We were very young last year. With a year under our belt, we should see improvements across the board in every facet of our game.”

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Mansfield

2021 Record: 12-5-1
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16
Coach: Kevin Smith
Mansfield was in the running for the Kelley-Rex title into the final weeks of the regular season and this year the Hornets will be hoping that their first fall in the Davenport will feature a similar title challenge. With a young roster that features four freshmen and four sophomores, the Hornets will be relying on the upperclassmen to keep the team heading in the right direction in what promises to be a very competitive division.

The Hornets are without their top three scorers from last season (Tarynn Smith, Katie Miller, and Gabby Smith) so there will be room for other players to step in and provide an attacking threat. Senior forward Olivia Homsi will lead the line and junior Carly Devine is a skilled forward who can play up top or just behind the strikers, while senior Abby Jean gives Mansfield speed on the wing. Senior Bridget Hanley is coming off a breakout season in a holding midfield role and could be asked to get forward a little more this season to help support the offense.

Defense was a significant strength for the Hornets last year, allowing only 17 goals in 18 games, including a shutout of Canton in the opening round of the playoffs. Junior Kara Santos is back for her third year in the heart of defense and, although she will have her third center back partner in three years, gives the Hornets a strong foundation. She is also the team’s top returning scorer with seven goals and is a threat on any set piece opportunity. Senior goalie Olivia Salisbury has become one of the league’s top shot-stoppers. They’ll provide vocal leadership for the younger players at the back.

“We have a very young team with many first-year varsity players,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith. “We will be leaning on our seniors and returning players to provide leadership as we grow as a team.”

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Milford

2021 Record: 3-14-1
2021 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Lou Colabello

Milford is coming off a three-win season in 2021, but the Hawks are hoping that an influx of young talent from a successful JV team will help them climb the league standings and make a playoff push. The Hawks have 10 seniors and have added seven freshmen who can contribute right away in their first varsity seasons.

The key for Milford this season will be the play of leading scorer Dani Atherton. The four-year starter has been the focal point of Milford’s attack since she jumped on the team and this year head coach Lou Colabello is counting on a move to outside midfield to give her more chances to get on the ball and run at defenders. Freshman Ava Baglione will step in up top and there is hope she can add firepower to the Hawks’ attack. Sophomore Paige Caldon had a good season in attack as a freshman and this year will drop back to help out in the center of the pitch.

Senior Serena Borges will be moved further up in midfield so that she can produce more in the attack, but classmate Brooke Ferreira will be pushed from midfield to the back line to cover for preseason injuries. Ferreira will be joined by senior Evalysse Pierce, who is coming back from an injury that kept her out of last season. Freshman Kayleigh Tourtellot is another rookie who should be ready for the physical test of the Hockomock League, while classmate Chloe Murdock will step between the pipes after a strong season as an eighth grader on JV.

“It’s a fun team,” Colabello said about the mix of veterans and talented newcomers. “There is a lot of talent there. We’re deeper than we were last year. We’ll hold our own. We’re hoping to get out of the blocks well and build some confidence.”




North Attleboro

2021 Record: 8-10-2
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32
Coach: Geoff Burgess
North Attleboro is making the move back to the Kelley-Rex division this fall and the Rocketeers will be turning to a familiar face on the sidelines, as Geoff Burgess moves back to the girls’ program after coaching the boys for the past few seasons. After graduating 12 players, North will have a lot of new faces implementing a new style this season.

Up top, North will be counting on senior Emma Pratt. After scoring nine goals last year, Pratt is the team’s top returning scorer and will be counted on to give the Rocketeers the firepower to compete with the league’s best. Senior Caroline Ferrin will be one of the key playmakers in the center of the pitch and will help Burgess bring in a more possession-based approach.

The North boys have been known as a strong defensive team and Burgess will hope that solidity carries over to his work with the girls as well. Senior Haley Sinacola will be the team’s leader at the back. Sinacola was the team’s MVP last season and gives North a strong foundation in the defensive third, as well as a constant threat on set pieces. Senior Maddie Ferrin is back in goal for the Rocketeers and adds experience to the back line.

“Lots of changes to the team, the philosophy and the style of play,” said Burgess. “We are still learning about ourselves and who we can be this season. We are going to try and possess the ball and build attacks rather than kick and chase.”

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Oliver Ames

2021 Record: 14-2-2 (Davenport champion)
2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16
Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Even after graduating 10 players from last season, Oliver Ames looks prepared to defend its Davenport division title. Many of the younger players got experience on the pitch in 2021 and could be poised for big years as they step into larger roles.

OA was second in the league with 68 goals last year and the attack will continue to utilize the speedy wings that have become a signature of the Tigers’ style. Junior Lucinda Li Cotter and senior Jenna Gilman will continue to provide width and service into the box. Senior Carly Gibson will move into the forward line to give additional creativity in the final third.

The midfield will continue to be strong, physical, and direct. Senior Mary Cross will move forward from defense and give leadership in the middle of the field. Sophomore Emma Gavin impressed during her rookie season and gives another weapon in the midfield. Seniors Sophia Byron and Molly Capace will be leaders in a back line that allowed only 11 goals in 18 games last year. Sophomore Taylor deVos is a versatile player who can line up on the wing or at outside back. Sophomore Janiya Matier will be the team’s new keeper this season.

“Even graduating seven senior starters (10 total) we feel we have a competitive team returning this year,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “The key will be returning taking on larger roles and new players having an impact for a successful season.”

Sharon

2021 Record: 3-14-1
2021 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Sharon went through a tough 2021 season, with only three wins, but the Eagles are another team returning the bulk of its roster, and the experience that they have from back to front promises the potential for more positive results in 2022.

The key for Sharon will be senior Sofia Goclowski. The team’s top playmaker, Goclowski is a back-to-box midfielder who will contribute on both ends of the field and, as she continues to develop her finishing, could be ready to lead the Sharon attack. The Eagles will also lean on a pair of underclassmen in the forward line. Sophomore Autumn Simon, who also played in goal last season, makes good runs behind the back line and is one of the team’s top returning scorers. Freshman Jessica Li is an exciting newcomer that will add speed and athleticism on the wing.

Defense will be bolstered by the return of senior Sally Brouhard. After missing all of last season with an injury, Brouhard provides reliability in the back line and is a leader that will keep things organized. Senior Carly Pinnix is another technically proficient midfielder that gives Sharon composure in the midfield and can jump into the attack when she gets the chance.

“With so many returning varsity players, we have strength across every line this season and we have the potential to be very good,” said Sharon coach Catherine Sullivan. “We will need to stay focused and committed to continuous improvement if we are going to be competitive in the challenging Hockomock, but I am excited to see what this talented group can do together.”

Stoughton

2021 Record: 3-15-0
2021 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Jon Grant
Stoughton had three wins in 2021, but the Black Knights also displayed potential for a brighter future with a host of underclassmen that looked ready to start competing with the top teams. Former boys coach Jon Grant has taken over the girls’ program this season and he will be focusing on the defensive side of the ball, hoping to shore things up at the back to help secure more positive results.

The Black Knights should be dynamic in the final third this season. Senior Shayla Ford is back for her fourth varsity season and her speed and ability to find space make her a constant threat to the opposition defense. Sophomores Makenzie O’Connor and Bianca Casna both had strong freshman seasons and can cause problems with the ball at their feet. Sophomores Morgan Cook and Emma Tran showed good chemistry in the midfield last year and will help provide the killer pass to the forwards.

After allowing 86 goals last year, defense will be a priority for the Black Knights this year and there were several players who will be leaning on the valuable experience they got in 2021. Senior Sabrina Rodrigues will add a veteran presence, while junior Ally Lada and sophomore Lauren Mitchell will anchor the middle of the back line. Junior Katrina Varnum is a vocal leader in goal.

“This season we are focusing on team and individual defending,” said Grant. “I’m excited to watch this group grow throughout the season and compete in such an extremely competitive league. Everything I’ve thrown at them so far has been received positively. This group is very coachable and has such a passion to learn and get better.”

2022 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview

Taunton

2021 Record: 2-15-1
2021 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Danny Borges
Taunton is coming off a difficult 2021 season, after just two wins, but there is optimism in the squad with many younger players gaining valuable experience last season. The Tigers will have a new face on the sideline this fall, with Dan Borges taking over. Although new to the Hockomock, Borges spent 34 years as the coach of the boy’s team at Coyle-Cassidy and he is excited about the progress the team has made in picking up his system in the preseason.

Goals were hard to come by at times last season, as Taunton scored only 14 overall and just eight in league play. Senior midfielder Emily Calderon returns to be the team’s primary playmaker and will be counted on to get the Tigers moving upfield into the attack. Junior forwards Jenna Pereira and Ava Alves will be the main targets up top, as Taunton is looking to add more firepower at that end of the field.

On the other side, the Tigers have a question mark in goal with several younger players looking to replace Izzy Anslow, who was impressive between the sticks for the past couple of seasons. Senior Christina Da Costa and junior Cali Melo will give Taunton athleticism and leadership in the back line to try and shore things up and limit the opposition.

“Our team spirit is high, the girls have been working very hard and adjusting to a new game model,” Borges said. “I believe we have a good mix of experience and youth, and we hope to be more competitive in the traditionally strong Hockomock League.”

Foxboro Attack Too Much to Handle for the Bulldogs

Foxboro girls soccer
Foxboro players celebrate with Erin Foley after her goal put the Warriors up 2-1 on Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


CANTON, Mass. – Inside the opening 10 minutes of Wednesday night’s game at WWII Veterans Memorial Field, Foxboro saw itself go behind. A bad bounce (or fortuitous if you were on the Canton side) left the Warriors down, but far from out. The league’s second-highest scorer, Foxboro was confident that it could find one goal in the next 70 minutes.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

As it turned out, the Warriors got five. Behind a Kailee McCabe hat trick, Foxboro turned around the early deficit to run out 5-2 winners at Canton, once again moving into a first-place tie with Oliver Ames atop the Davenport division.

“After we got down by that one goal, I could just see that they knew they were going to come back and win this game,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I have that confidence in them and I think we’ve just come together so strongly as a team that they just have that faith in each other that they’re going to make it work.”

Foxboro nearly opened the scoring after seven minutes. Jordan Carman’s pass from the left wing picked out McCabe on the edge of the box. Elyse Broderick was able to get two hands to the shot and tip it over the bar. Just two minutes later, Canton found the opener. Sarah Dempster’s free kick from midfield took a huge bounce in the box, stranding Foxboro keeper Alexis Sougaris and ending up in the back of the net.

The Bulldogs were absorbing pressure but seemed buoyed by the early goal and were getting some success attacking down the wings. Fay Gallery won the ball in midfield and fed it to Emily McCabe, who in turn found Emma Cahill streaking down the right wing. The freshman’s cross just eluded Gallery at the back post. A few minutes later, it was McCabe on the right wing crossing but again Gallery couldn’t make contact on the far side.

Two goals in two minutes turned the game on its head and sophomore Erin Foley was the impetus behind both. First, she made a smart run in the box and was brought down by Broderick to earn a penalty that McCabe coolly put away. Just two minutes later, Foley pressured Dempster, forcing a turnover, and hit a curling, first-time shot over Broderick and under the bar from a tight angle.

“She’s just a grinder,” Stalcup said of Foley. “She just has so much competitive energy. I told her the other day that’s something I can’t coach. She just has so much emotion and passion and competitiveness that it fuels so much of her game.”

Canton continued to hold its own. Injuries have taken their toll for the Bulldogs, forcing Ava Gilmore to move out of defense into the midfield, but Allie McCabe was handling the Foxboro attacks and it remained a one-goal game for another 10 minutes.

Then Kailee McCabe made a goal out of nothing. The league’s leading scorer and reigning MVP, fired a shot from 35 yards out on the right side of the box and placed it into the far bottom corner to make it 3-1.

“Where we’re getting hurt most in the midfield,” said Senyonjo, who was missing two starters to injuries and had several other players banged up. “If we can put on this same performance with a few more healthy bodies then we might be able to get something out of the next few games and hopefully we can squeeze into the playoffs.”

With two minutes to go until halftime, Canton had a chance to get back within one. Gabriella Herivaux played a pass into Cahill charging down the right. The freshman cut back onto her left foot, but her shot from the edge of the box was parried at full stretch by Sougaris.

Momentum remained with the visitors coming out of the break. A cross from Brooke Barreira nearly found Foley for her second but the redirected shot went wide. Canton came close after a cross from deep by Kristina Keefe found Anne Hoban on the far side of the box. The senior’s glancing header went narrowly wide, possibly clipping the post on its way past the corner.

McCabe continued to be a thorn in the side of the Canton defense, finding little pockets of space on the edge of the area. Twice she forced great diving saves out of Broderick before finally completing her hat trick in the 63rd minute with a perfectly-placed shot from the edge of the box into the corner.

“She’s just this gift that was given to Foxboro and we’re just so thankful and grateful to have her,” Stalcup said. The pairing of McCabe with Carman up top has proved very fruitful for the Warriors. Stalcup explained, “That goal when Jordan passed it back to her and Kailee finished it, they just read each other so well and they’re just so quick on the ball. It’s just beautiful soccer.”

Like in the first half, Foxboro wasted no time adding another. A long ball from sweeper Lindsey Resnick found Carman behind the defense and she rounded Broderick before firing home from an acute angle.

Carman nearly added a second on a similar play a few minutes later, but this time her shot flashed through the box and out the other side. Just a minute before that shot, Cahill had gotten free on a rare foray into the attacking third and clipped the bar with a cross from the right.

McCabe forced another save out of Broderick in the 74th minute and the Canton keeper reacted quickly to clean up the rebound in front of Neve Taylor.

Canton would get a second goal in the closing minutes. Emily McCabe’s corner to the back post was met by Gallery, whose firm header from close range gave the keeper no chance.

“When you have a player that can make goals out of nothing, it’s just a killer,” said Senyonjo. “We had a game plan coming in, we stuck to it for the most part, and it worked. I still think the 5-2 scoreline doesn’t reflect how well we played but that’s the nature of the business we’re in. A couple mistakes here or there we could’ve avoided, we started well, but that’s a tough team.”

With the win, Foxboro (9-1-1) extended its unbeaten run to 10 games heading into Friday’s visit of state power Bishop Feehan. Canton (3-5-3) will get a few days off to heal before a visit from Attleboro on Tuesday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.