SHARON, Mass. – In the past couple seasons, Attleboro and Sharon have been in a number of close games, including a one-goal victory for the Eagles in the first meeting this year, and Friday afternoon overtime was needed (for the second time in two years) to decide a winner.
Attleboro senior goalie Amy Cadle made two big saves in the sudden death period to keep the Bombardiers in the game but in the final minute of the second OT, her outlet pass was intercepted by Anna Crosby and the junior midfielder raced in alone to score the game-winning goal.
Crosby’s heads-up steal and goal lifted Sharon to a 10-9 win that pushed the Eagles back above .500 on the season and secured a season sweep of the Bombardiers.
“She works hard every game and every practice, so I can count on her,” said Sharon coach Colleen Manning. When asked about her team’s response to the pressure of an overtime game, Manning added, “They handled it for sure.”
Attleboro coach Jackie Beland was left shaking her head at the end of the game after a second close loss to Sharon this spring. The Bombardiers were shorthanded on Friday, missing four attackers for the non-league contest, and Beland praised the team’s effort.
“We just couldn’t pull through the shots that we want,” said Beland, “but the kids gave everything they had and we’ve been fighting through a lot of adversity this season with injuries and kids not around for the games.
“I told the kids that adversity is just the name of the game right now, go out there, and give it all you’ve got and that’s what they did. Unfortunately, the last shot didn’t fall our way.”
Sharon junior attacker Alex Rabb scored the first three goals of the game for the Eagles with freshman Kyra Lyons getting one back for the Bombardiers. Rabb would finish with six goals in the game.
Meg Dotzenrod scored from eight meters to cut the lead back to one, but Crosby answered by winning the next draw and driving straight down the middle for the first of her three goals.
Attleboro got one back before the break on a lefty shot bounced into the corner by Hannah Lamothe but Sharon goalie Kathryn Derry (10 saves) preserved the 4-3 lead with a big save on Lamothe seconds later.
“It definitely helps out the defense for sure and I think it helps it the team as a whole,” said Manning of Derry’s impact on the team. “She usually steps up to the plate when we need her most.”
Derry started the second half with another save on Lamothe and the ball quickly transitioned forward to Rabb for her fourth goal of the game. Seventeen seconds later, Crosby pushed the lead to 6-3 after winning the draw control (Sharon won 13-of-21 draws) and again racing straight down the middle.
Beland called timeout to settle the team down. The talk worked, as the Bombardiers would score the next four goals over a stretch of 2:24 to take their first lead of the game.
Junior Mish Logie was left wide open in the middle and Dotzenrod picked her out on the edge of the crease to make it 6-4. Dotzenrod followed that with a free position goal and Lamothe scored in traffic, bouncing a shot in while falling to the ground, to tie it. Kayla Merritt put Attleboro in front with a head fake and spin move for a close-range finish.
“I have three captains who always know what to say when they’re on the field,” said Beland, “and when we have timeouts I have them talk too so they’re not just hearing from me. They’re phenomenal leaders and they know how to get through to each other.”
When Sharon needed a goal it turned to Rabb. She scored on an eight-meter chance to tie the game at 7-7 and after Dotzenrod gave Attleboro back the lead with a man-down goal Rabb answered again with a goal in transition.
Rabb has already passed the 100-goal mark for her career and when asked what makes the attacker such a potent weapon for the Eagles, Manning explained, “She’s our top scorer. She’s fast and unpredictable.”
Just 49 seconds after tying the game, Sharon took the lead. Senior midfielder Heather Seggelin went five-hole on an eight-meter chance to put the Eagles ahead 9-8. But, Attleboro had an answer with 6:09 to play, as Dotzenrod scored her fourth of the game with a nifty, low-angle backhand shot on a cut through the middle.
The tension was ratcheted up a notch in the final six minutes as the teams tried to find a winning goal. Both teams had long spells of possession spurred on by their increasingly excited benches, but neither could find an opening.
In the overtime period, Cadle (10 saves) was called into action inside the first minute to get a piece of a free position opportunity for Rabb. Derry then came right back with a big stop of her own on an eight-meter shot by Merritt. Just before the first OT period ended, Cadle again came through to prevent Crosby for winning it on a point-blank try.
“She was phenomenal all game,” said Beland of Cadle. “She made adjustments in the second half and we tried to make adjustments on defense to take away their drives.
“She had great saves at the end, but it’s just one of those things we talk about that you can’t clear the ball up the middle.”
With 56 seconds left to play, Cadle attempted to get the ball into transition but Crosby was quickest to the pass and turned it into a game-winner. Manning is hopeful that this type of win could be a huge boost for the Eagles’ playoff hunt.
“It better,” she joked. “My biggest concern is Canton right now, which I know isn’t until next week, but if we can hold onto these guys than we could beat Canton.”
Sharon (6-5, 2-3) will host Norton on Monday, while Attleboro (5-8, 2-5) will host Oliver Ames on Wednesday.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.