HANSON, Mass. – Two years ago, Corcoran, then a sophomore, and the King Philip girls soccer team suffered an injury-plagued season, winning just two games while nine of its 11 starters missed major time with injury.
Fast forward to Saturday night and Corcoran, now a senior, scored her first goal of the season and anchored a defensive unit that withstood a strong Newton South attack in a 3-2 win in double overtime in the D1 South Final.
Sophomore Makayla Griffin scored the golden goal in the 95th minute to deliver the Warriors the win, as well as the D1 South Sectional title.
“I think having the rough year helped humble us,” Corcoran said. “We know what it’s like to be on the other side of things, we know what its like to lose. So we don’t take any games for granted. We just go in as hard as we can and have a great time together on the field. It was the best feeling ever to see that goal go in.”
Newton South held a 1-0 lead in the first half, King Philip responded with a pair of goals in a two-minute span to take the lead late in the first half, and then the Lions found the equalizer midway through the second half.
After a scoreless 10 minute overtime period, Griffin made a run down the left wing. With sophomore Avery Snead battling for possession, she beat off two defenders and connected with, junior Abby Baker, who continued to switch the direction of attack, laying a pass off for Griffin. The sophomore took a touch and then placed her low shot into the far post to send the Warriors into a frenzy.
“We always talk about making that outside run, our teammates help to get the ball across,” Griffin said. “I just took a touch and I didn’t even see it go in. The whole team just works together as one and we make things happen.”
The winner came just a minute after two of Griffin’s teammates created near chances. First, Snead launched a shot from 25 yards out that was saved by Newton South freshman goalie Olivia Dubin. In the same minute, Chloe Layne looped a ball over the defense that Snead ran onto, but under pressure of two defenders, her bid went just wide.
“That was packed from start to finish with back and forth action,” King Philip head coach Gary Pichel said. “That was one of the best soccer games I’ve seen in a long time. Natick was really good but this one even eclipsed that game. It was just horses going back and forth, back and forth. I’m so proud of my team for just not stopping. That’s been there M.O. the entire season, they just keep coming. To give Newton South credit, they kept coming today too. I thought they might tire out but they never did, they just made it so difficult for us.”
Chances were aplenty early on. Jordan Briney sent Newton South’s first chance just wide of the far post from outside the area in the second minute. Julian Massarone found Griffin on the left side, and her near post cross was touched onto goal by Snead but Dubin covered nicely.
Layne had a chance in the seventh minute after a long throw was flicked, but her shot rolled just wide. The Lions had a golden chance in the ninth minute on a defensive error, leaving Lucy Jenks open in front of goal all alone, but she put her shot wide.
Newton South broke through in the 19th minute, A free kick from Bella Ertel went to the near post and Larissa Williams rose up and nodded the ball in to make it 1-0.
The lead lasted just over 10 minutes. Corcoran stood over a free kick from 35 yards out in the center of the pitch. She placed the ball perfectly into the top right corner, just out of the reach of Dubin, to tie the game 1-1.
“We just don’t really give up, we never feel like we’re out of the game,” Corcoran said. “I just tried my best to put the shot on frame.”
And the game didn’t stay level for long. King Philip earned a corner kick just two minutes later in the 32nd minute. Corcoran once against set the play in motion, with her service headed down by Snead. The ball went right to Layne who, with her back to goal, use a simple flick over her shoulder to find the back of the net to make it 2-1.
“It was unbelievable,” Pichel said of the two quick strikes. “I was hoping the goal that South got would wake us up a little bit, and it did. It was just boom, boom…they just keep coming. They make it so difficult for defenses. They never ever think they’re out of it. They’re still smiling at the end, encouraging each other.”
Newton South didn’t have much of the play over the first 20 minutes of the second half but capitalized on its first chance. Audrey Lavey took possession just outside the top of the area on the left side, took a touch and placed a shot at the far post. Emma Durant (six saves) got a piece of the shot but it snuck in at the far post to make it 2-2.
King Philip nearly had the game-winner on two occasions in the final five minutes. Snead played Layne in, who took a nice extra touch to get free from her defender. But her shot to the far post, which beat the keeper, was cleared off the line by a defender.
In the final seconds, Layne nearly linked up with Griffin inside the area, but it was just off.
“It was a battle of the defenses at the end because we were both employing the same strategy,” Pichel said. “We were both putting it over the top to our best strikers and see if someone flinches. We finally got them to flinch just a little bit. It wasn’t much, it was just a crack, but we were able to get it. Our defensive line stood tough the whole time. [Newton South] has some real good players.”
King Philip girls soccer (20-1-2) advances to the D1 State Semifinal to take on D1 North winner, Westford Academy (16-1-2) on Tuesday, November 14th at Brockton High. The game is currently scheduled for 5:15.