King Philip Reigns Supreme In Battle of Division Leaders

King Philip boys soccer
King Philip’s Cam Mullins (in front of #2) heads in his second goal of the game against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – In a battle of division leaders, King Philip reigned supreme with a dominating performance and a convincing 5-0 win over Sharon.

The Kelley-Rex division leading Warriors netted a pair of first half goals a minute apart and then tacked on three more goals in the second half to take down the Davenport division leading Eagles.

“I have to give major props to my midfield,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “I thought Connor [Mullins] had an awesome, awesome game. Our goal was to build up through our midfield whenever possible and Connor’s a huge cog to that. And he had three assists today. He was a major factor today in our success today.

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“I thought our ability to keep possession against obviously a good, first-place Davenport team, our guys tried to meet that challenge. I told the guys we had to start to focus on what we do well and to do it consistently. I thought our possession game was phenomenal and they built it up really well and created a lot of opportunities in the final third.”

Mike Rowe registered the first shot of the game, his tough angle shot by Sharon keeper Ethan Kantorin the 4th minute. A nice sequence between Tyler Mann and Anthony Bozza in the 13th minute resulted in another save from Kantor at the near post. Thomas Lugten latched onto a shot in the 21st minute but Kantor notched another save.

“I thought a lot of our offense had to do with Colby [Koch], Lugten and Bozza starting to build a lot of chemistry together,” Gale said. “I don’t know what the shot totals were but I thought we attacked their goalie quite a bit. I thought the guys did an awesome job start to finish.”

Finally in the 29th minute, the Warriors broke through. Connor Mullins dropped a corner kick onto the six yard box that Kantor dove out and got a paw to off the bounce. The ball went right to Cam Mullins, who buried it with his head for a 1-0 lead.

Exactly a minute later, Connor Mullins played a ball over the top to senior Colby Koch. Koch took a touch and blasted a shot from just inside the area to double King Philip’s lead in the 30th minute.

“One goal makes a huge difference in a game, for the opponent as well as for you,” Gale said. “Once we scored one, I don’t know it was a burden lifted but I think it was a self-belief they could go out there and have that success. Right off the bat, they were hungry for a second one and I think we scored within two minutes. You obviously like to see that, since you build a first half lead. It helps set the tone.”

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Sharon’s first chance came in the 34th minute when Oliver Hu‘s touch beat charging KP keeper Eli O’Neill but senior defender Ryan Coulter cleared it away before any harm could be done.

The Warriors took advantage of another corner in the 52nd minute with the Mullins’ brothers linking again. Connor’s service found the head of Cam, who looped his header to the far post and under the bar to make it 3-0.

Less than 10 minutes later, junior outside back Larsen Keys was first to a 50/50 ball and his touch turned into a perfect through ball. Mann ran onto the ball alone and buried his shot at the far post to put King Philip up 4-0.

“Going into the latter half of the season and into the tournament, you have to balanced team,” Gale said. “You have to be able to score in the run of play and off of set pieces, whether it be a long throw, a direct kick or corner. We have the size to take advantage of them but we haven’t done it a ton yet this year so it was nice to see a couple of set pieces work out for us today.”

King Philip capped the scoring in the 76th minute, cashing in on another set piece. Cam Mullins’ service from midfield found the head of Coulter at the far post but Kantor made an acrobatic save to keep it out. However, the rebound fell to Cameron McGovern, who tucked his shot into the side netting from close range to make it 5-0.

“They’re extremely disciplined,” Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly said of KP. “They know where they are supposed to be at all times, they know where each other are and they use one, two touch passes. It’s stuff we’ve been working on the last few weeks. We haven’t played since last Wednesday and then we had two days off this week for the Jewish holidays, we can’t practice then – that really hurts. It’s tough to get the game mentality back. I’m not going to take anything away from KP. My guys didn’t step up today.”

King Philip boys soccer (11-0-1, 9-0-1) now has a four point lead in the Kelley-Rex division and will travel to North Attleboro for a league match on Thursday. Sharon (4-3-2, 4-3-2) hold a one point lead in the Davenport division and will return to action on Monday when they host Norwood for a non-league contest.

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Two First Half Goals Lift King Philip Over Milford

King Philip boys soccer
King Philip junior Tyler Mann was all smiles after putting the Warriors up in the 13th minute against Milford. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – The new turf field at King Philip has made a lot of people happy in the region, but maybe none more than boys soccer head coach Nick Gale.

The field is among the widest in the Hockomock and the Warriors showed they’re willing to use as much space as they have at their disposal.

KP scored a pair of first half goals less than 10 minutes apart, coming away with a 2-0 win over Milford. KP’s first goal came using a counter attack on the wings and the second was finished off of a corner kick.

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“We attacked heavily through our width and at the end of the day, it opens up our spine, which is where all of our strength is,” KP head coach Nick Gale. “We do work with the width well but we also have to be able to adapt if a team takes away the wings, we have to recognize that and play through the middle. I think we’re balanced enough to do it but today I thought we exposed the wings very nicely.”

The Warriors were on the attack from the opening whistle, combining nicely down both wings before trying to penetrate Milford’s defense. The breakthrough came in the 13th minute, when a blocked pass fell to the feet of senior Colby Koch on the left wing just over midfield. Koch took a couple of touches forward before springing junior Tyler Mann with a through ball. Mann reached it with a diagonal run, took a touch toward goal and tucked it under the oncoming keeper for the first goal.

“He’s very creative in his runs, he’s a strong player, and he creates a lot of gaps for other players to work in behind him,” Gale said of Mann.

King Philip kept its foot on the gas, with sophomore Anthony Bozza’s shot from the top of the area forcing Milford goalie Danny Zwonik into a diving save. On the ensuing corner kick, junior Connor Mullins sent a service to the back post where his brother, senior Cam Mullins, headed it back across the goal and into the far corner to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute.

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“We have a lot of offensive minded kids that are willing to attack forward and we link up well,” Gale said. “We’re not afraid to transition, just as much as we do south to north, we’re looking to go east to west as well. We have the players to transition quickly.”

The Warriors kept possession for the majority of the first half, but the teams battled evenly for most of the second half. The Warriors nearly added onto their lead in the 47th minute after a corner kick was bounced around in the area, eventually deflected onto frame but Zwonik was positioned well and made the top.

King Philip threatened once more in the 65th minute when Koch chipped a ball into Thomas Lugten, who quickly flicked a header on behind him to Michael Rowe but Zwonik was quick to cut the space down and covered.

“Danny Zwonik played great, he kept us in this game honestly,” said first-year Milford head coach Brian Edwards. “I thought the second half we played a little better and limited their chances but we have some things we need to improve on. I’m not too worried, it’s the first game out and there’s a lot of room to improve. These guys have a good attitude and they didn’t give up – that’s very promising as a coach.

“Part of that was we weren’t ready, we weren’t prepared. I have to do a better job of getting these guys ready and we need to be more focused on the road. King Philip is a really skilled team and they can punish you. Their #10 [Tyler Mann], that kid is the real deal, that was a real tough finish. You just can’t give guys like that chances. They were very organized and credit to them and their coaching staff, they’re really talented and well coached.”

King Philip boys soccer (1-0-0) will look to make it two straight to start the season with a trip to Foxboro (0-0-1) on Tuesday. Milford (0-1-0) will try to earn their first points of the season when Franklin (1-0-0) makes a visit on Wednesday.

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