Rocketeers Counter Late To Claim Leach & Garner Cup

North Attleboro boys soccer
Attleboro’s Nathan LaPlume and North Attleboro’s Joe Hilf battle for possession in the 34th annual Leach and Garner Cup. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For nearly 80 minutes, Attleboro continue to knock on the door, but couldn’t break through.

And in a flash, just when it looked like the Bombardiers had a chance to find a way in, North Attleboro delivered a knockout punch on the counter attack, scoring the lone goal of the game in the 79th minute to secure its fourth straight Leach and Garner Cup.

In the 34th addition of the rivalry game between Big Blue and Big Red, it was the hosts that had a lion’s share of possession, though not a tremendous amount of scoring chances.

It looked like they might have something going with an attacking free kick late in the game. The service came in from the right flank but North Attleboro junior goalie Kyle Briere came flying out to punch the ball free.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Rocketeers quickly cleared the ball up field, where senior Joe Hilf did his job by holding the ball up right at midfield. That allowed North sophomore Matt Conley to come flying down the wing. Hilf played a ball in behind and Conley tracked it down. The sophomore delivered a hard cross to the far post where junior Alex Pfeffer connected on a one-timer. The shot bounced right off the ground and bounced over the outreach of Attleboro keeper Andre Mendard for the game-winning strike.

“When we started thinking about that situation was against Mansfield,” said North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess of the quick counter against opponents’ set pieces. “We knew when they go forward for set pieces, they push everyone but one defender up. And I think our chances with a 1-v-1 and if we get Matt Conley or one of the other guys on the outside running hard, not many teams are going to get enough numbers back in time. We hit Mansfield a couple of times with that exact situation so we started talking about using it more. Kyle knows when he comes out and catches a ball, find Joe and then everyone runs and we hit the counter.

“The first 10-15 minutes we played really well and moved the ball well but the first time we played them, we dropped hard and sat deep, and they ran out of ideas. They kept bombing it forward, we’d win the second ball and counter. And that’s how that game continued to go. It worked really well in the first game. This is what we’ve decided to play like because we’re pretty fast up front, Matt Conley on the outside is lightning, Joe Hilf is lightning. [Goalie] Kyle Briere is a stud back there, we trust him and we play out of his hands a lot. So we’ve bought into a defense first mentality so it’s just kind of what we expect now.”

While playing the counter is a dangerous weapon for the Rocketeers, it allows their opponents to mostly control the game. And that’s exactly what the Bombardiers did.

The challenge was the Attleboro couldn’t solve the Rocketeer back line of Remy Folan, Gavin O’Malley, Evan Rosenberg, and James Bush.

In the 18th minute, junior defender Josh Smith ventured into the offensive third and latched onto a cross from Colin Levis, but the difficult shot was wide. Six minutes later, the Bombardiers had their first bid on goal when Brady Holander placed a free kick from 30 yards out on frame but it was right at Briere.

While Attleboro controlled the play, North Attleboro nearly stole the lead right before half. On a corner from Joey Coscarella, a low service was dummied before Hilf ran onto it and delivered a hard shot on frame. Menard, who was going the other way, made a diving save back to his left and made a one-handed save to keep it out.

Hilf had another chance on the next corner but Menard pushed the header over the bar.
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While Hilf had a pair of chances to find the back of the net, it was ultimately his hold up play late in the game that led to the game-winning, something that the senior has worked on to add to his game this year.

“He’s been working really hard on that,” Burgess said. “He’s a player that prefers the flicks and touches to himself but we’ve been working hard on having him bring it down, let the other guys come forward and playing it. He does a nice job with his flicks to keep the offense honest but having him bring it down and let the offense run up, we can create some chances that way.”

In the 63rd minute, Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster saw his low shot from atop the area roll wide. North nearly countered an Attleboro corner in the 70th minute when Hilf played Matt Mordini in behind the defense by Menard came charging off his line for the clearance.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro senior Will Halben had a bid saved by Briere in the 72nd minutes, and two minutes later Levis’ low shot off a corner kick went just wide of the post.

“That’s been our entire season,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira. “We’ve outplayed a lot of teams but we don’t have a true finisher. We had some shots but nothing too dangerous. This is like the sixth game where we’ve made one mistake, in this case not coming back to cover, and we lose. It’s tough because the kids were looking forward to this one. Second half I thought we were better, played some good soccer but they have a good defense, a good goalie…they hold on, hold on, and then they get the break at the end but that’s why you play 80 minutes.”

North Attleboro boys soccer (6-3-8 overall, 5-3-7 Hockomock) finishes the regular season at home against Sharon on Tuesday afternoon as it tries to improve its seeding for the D2 South bracket. Attleboro (5-9-3, 5-8-3) closes its season on Monday afternoon against New Bedford.

“We think we’ll be a tough out in the tournament,” Burgess said. “We don’t give up many goes and if we can counter and hit you once, it could be enough. It’s real important to know we can strike late. I was selling this style at the beginning of the year and now they’ve bought into. So now they have the confidence they can sit, play defense and then all they need is one chance and it can be a game-winner.”

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/15/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Canton, 1 @ Braintree, 1 – Final

Foxboro, 3 vs. Milton, 3 – Final

King Philip, 0 vs. Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final

North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.North Attleboro found the back of the net three times in the first half and went on to add one more in the second half to beat Stoughton. Alex Pfeffer opened the scoring in the 7th minute, one-timing a cross from Andrew Tolfa. Five minutes later, Joe Hilf and Joey Coscarella combined at the top of the area, the latter converting his chance inside the box. Matt Mordini set up the third goal with great hustle, tracking down a ball right on the end line and finding Alvaro Martinez-Calvo at the far post. James Sales added a fourth goal on a rebound in the second half. Nolan Gerome had 21 saves in net for the Black Knights.

Oliver Ames, 4 @ Taunton, 2 – FinalOliver Ames outscored Taunton 3-1 in the second half to earn two points on the road. OA opened the scoring when Jimmy Keane found the back of the net on an assist from Brady deVos. Taunton tied the game just before the break to make it 1-1 heading into the second half. Niko Byron opened his account for the season to put OA ahead, finishing a service from Colin Milliken. Sean Flaherty (assisted by Kevin Louhis) put the visiting Tigers up 3-1 but Taunton cut the deficit to just one with 16 minutes to play. But Milliken iced the game, converting a penalty kick to make it 4-2.

Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 5 – Final

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 4 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – FinalAttleboro scored three goals in the second half to pull away from the Tigers, avenging a shutout loss to the Tigers earlier this season. The Bombardiers led 1-0 at the break before OA tied it early in the second. Anna Beck, Hannah Webster, Emelia Westwater and Emma Briggs each scored once for Attleboro.

Canton, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.

Foxboro, 5 @ Milford, 0 – FinalLily Daly and Sophia Lowe each scored twice as the Warriors pulled away from the Scarlet Hawks in the second half. Sophia DiCenso also scored for Foxboro, which led 1-0 at half.

Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – FinalFranklin set the tone early, scoring twice in the opening five minutes, in a big 5-0 win over Mansfield. Victoria Quinn had both of the first two goals, the first assisted by Amanda Lewandowski just 86 seconds into the contest. Quinn made it 2-0 on assists from Ashley Reutlinger and Regan Paterson just before the five minute mark. Lewandowski (from Reutlinger) made it 3-0 at the midway point of the first half. Paterson (from Lewandowski) made it 4-0 in the 36th minute and Quinn completed the hat trick with an unassisted tally in the 39th minute. Christina Luccini made nine saves for the shutout and FHS head coach Michelle Hess said Maeve Ledwith had a fantastic game defensively and Cassi Ronan had a great game controlling the field from the center mid position.

Sharon @ North Attleboro, 6:30

King Philip, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalKing Philip scored a pair of goals in each half to earn a shutout win on the road at Taunton. Claire Lawler scored both of KP’s first half tallies, both off assists from Alli Meehan, Lawler opened the scoring in the 7th minute and then made it 2-0 in the 10th minute. Cristina Gifun (assisted by Meehan) struck less than five minutes into the second half to make it 3-0 and Meehan capped the scoring in the 46th minute, converting a pass from Nicole Connor.

Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames senior Sadie Homer recorded her 1,000th career dig as the Tigers rolled to a win at home (25-16, 25-19, 25-10). Homer, who had 37 digs, is just the second player in program history to reach the 1,000-point club. Caitlin Cavanaugh had 12 kills, Jordan Bosse added 10 kills, and Grace McCallum chipped in with six aces for OA. Attleboro’s Amanda Kadisveskis had five kills, three blocks, and an ace, Chelsea Calgagni finished with 11 kills and six digs, and Jessica Matheson had 13 digs for the Bombardiers.

Canton, 3 @ Stoughton, 2 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Foxboro, 1 @ Milford, 3 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery of this game.

Mansfield, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – FinalMansfield became just the third team to take a set against the Panthers this year, winning the second set to make it 1-1 but Franklin notched convincing wins in the next two sets to get the win (25-19, 23-25, 25-14, 25-13). For the Hornets, Greenly Kelly had nine kills and eight service points, Sam Sternberg had eight digs and eight service points, and Ashley Santos chipped in with five kills.

King Philip, 3 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalTaunton won a tight second set but King Philip didn’t let the momentum swing to the home team, taking the match 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-10, 25-13). For the Warriors, Catherine Waldeck had 15 kills and a block, Nicole Coughlan added seven kills and two blocks, Shayla Weitzman finished with eight digs and two aces.

Sharon, 1 @ North Attleboro, 3 – FinalAfter splitting the first two sets, North Attleboro earned the win by taking the next two sets against Sharon (25-10, 21-25, 25-14, 25-20). Hayley Gaskin set the offense in motion with 40 assists while Tatiana Sotelo had a career-high 22 kills for the Rocketeers.

Golf
Attleboro @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 3:30

Franklin, 162 @ Stoughton, 187 – FinalFranklin was led by medalist Quentin Faro, who carded a low-round of 37. Matt D’Errico added a 39 for Franklin, and Gerard Collins and Jake Peterson each shot a 43. Stoughton was led by Josh Hough win a 42.

Sharon, 175 @ Stoughton, 187 – FinalSharon’s Corey Carter earned medalist honors, shooting a 37 to pace the Eagles to a win over Stoughton at Easton Country Club. Max Brody added a 42 for the Eagles and Nathan Daley carded a round of 45. Josh Hough led the Black Knights with a round of 42.

Oliver Ames, 158 @ Mansfield, 154 – FinalMansfield earned its biggest win of the season by upsetting visiting Oliver Ames. OA’s Nolan Donze had a medalist round of 35 but Mansfield got contributions from Nate Morreale (36), Jason See (37), Joseph Gormley (40) and Ryan Dow (41) to get the win. Thomas Walsh added a round of 39 for the Tigers and Tate Hadges and Sam Becker each shot a 42.

Milford, 173 @ Mansfield, 154 – FinalNate Morreale carded a round of 36 and Jason See shot a 37 to pace the Hornets to a win over visiting Milford. Joseph Gormley added a round of 40 while Ryan Dow chipped in with a 41.

Strong Start Lifts North Past Foxboro in Divisional Battle

North Attleboro Boys Soccer
Joe Hilf (11) celebrates what turned out to be the game-winning goal for North Attleboro in a big 2-1 victory over Foxboro at Beaupre Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – When the calendar turns to October, teams start keeping an eye on their rivals in the league standings and two points become even more important. North Attleboro started the night just three points back of Davenport-leading Canton, which was playing second place Milford, so the Rocketeers understood the importance of two points on Thursday night at Beaupre Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

North dominated the first half, scoring twice, and then held off a Foxboro charge after the break, keeping the Warriors off the board until the final two minutes of the game, to walk away with a 2-1 victory that moves within one of the Bulldogs and Hawks in the league standings.

“Especially going forward, we’ve got an idea where we want to go with it now,” said North coach Geoff Burgess. “We have a plan and in the first half we executed it really well. We were able to counter them quickly, with speed.”

The hosts took that to heart on Thursday and gave an early warning to the Foxboro defense when Joe Hilf played Matt Conley in behind the Foxboro left back just two minutes into the game. There was contact, but not enough for the official to give the penalty. Hilf almost opened the scoring a minute later but dragged his shot from the edge of the box just wide.

Both teams settled into their styles after that, with North loading the midfield and looking for the quick outlet in transition and the Warriors trying to play out of the back. It was the Rocketeers that controlled the action in the opening half, limiting Foxboro to only a couple of weak shots on goal and constantly putting pressure on the visitors’ back line.

Hilf sparked North into the lead after 19 minutes. He made a long run down the far sideline, rode a sliding challenge from Brian Gardner, and got free on the right side of the box. His cut back into Conley was blocked by a couple of Warriors but the ball popped out to Alex Pfeffer in the middle and he side-footed his shot into the empty net.

Just four minutes later and the Rocketeers doubled the lead. This time it was Matt Mordini that got free down the right channel. The junior cut it back into middle for Hilf, who was left free on the edge of the box, and he hit it first time into the far corner.

Foxboro’s best look of the opening half fell to Shane Vandenboom, who hit the outside side-netting with a curling effort from 18 yards. It was about all the North defense gave up in the opening half, as center backs Evan Rosenberg and Gavin O’Malley kept the Warriors out of dangerous areas.

“They’re a great partnership,” said Burgess. “Evan especially, he was JV last year, didn’t play a minute, and I think he’s now one of the best center backs in the league. The way he plays positionally, he’s always covering in the right places, he’s quarterbacking the team.”

Foxboro coach Joe Franchino admitted, “Everybody was just on their own page…We weren’t shooting in the first half, just lumping balls in and playing right into their hands.”

In the 29th minute, North could have put the game away when James Sales’ free kick from 28 yards came back off the crossbar. Hilf almost sealed the win in the 35th minute when he nodded a long clearance by right back James Bush past his marker and got a free run on goal, but his shot went over the bar.

“He had a really good matchup in the first half,” Burgess said of Hilf. “Normally, I’d yell at him for trying to flick it snd take it himself but I think he realized that it was probably the right play. Everything kind of revolves around a target and he’s embraced that.”

Foxboro needed to make some changes at halftime and came out with more intensity, but Hilf nearly hit the Warriors on the counter when his clever dummy beat his marker, but Foxboro keeper Nick Penders was out quick to smother it.

The visitors started to get a foothold going forward, particularly through midfielder Joe Cusack, who kept popping up in between the lines and finding pockets of space where he could dictate play. He had Foxboro’s first good look that went just wide.

Chances started to flow for the Warriors. A throw-in from the left found Vandenboom, who laid it off for Daniel Basler, but his shot from 20 yards went high. A minute later, a long free kick from Daniel Lowey found Dylan Barreira’s head in the box and he nodded it down to Nic Beigel but the shot was saved.

Barreira also forced North keeper Kyle Briere into a save with a 28-yard free kick. Briere made his best stop just a few minutes later to deny Cusack at full stretch at the midway point of the half. It kept Foxboro off the board when the Warriors were clearly on top in the game.

Burgess said of his keeper, “Kyle is this great safety blanket we have because he does come up with the good when we need him to. Today he was mostly calm but he had that one good one.”

Cusack had a free kick from just outside of the box that was saved comfortably and Foxboro nearly fashioned an opener with five minutes left when Matt Garcia played the ball through to Barreira, whose header found Vandenboom but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

“Even at Franklin, we go down a goal, two goals, and we’re trying to fight back into the game,” Franchino said. “The game’s only 80 minutes long, so you’ve got to start quicker and it’s just not happening right now.”

North had one more chance with a late free kick that was played straight across the box by Joey Coscarella, but Pfeffer couldn’t put his shot on frame when he met it at the far post.

Foxboro did get one to make for an interesting final two minutes. Beigel’s free kick from the left corner of the box went through a sea of bodies in front, and possibly got a touch off a North defender, before sneaking in the far side. But, it turned out to be only a consolation for the Warriors.

“The loss Friday to Canton woke us up a little bit,” said Burgess. “We lost 3-1 but in the second half we had four almost breakaways and didn’t convert on any of them. It was very much a winnable game but I think they realized if they don’t go out and actually put the ball in the back of the net, 0-0 isn’t going to get it done.”

North Attleboro (4-1-6, 4-1-5) will next face Kelley-Rex leader Mansfield on Wednesday, while Foxboro (3-5-1, 3-5-1) will be back in action on Saturday at Bishop Feehan.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.