The Tigers can check that off the list for 2016.
Oliver Ames scored a pair of second half goals and senior Ben Kemp made a couple of big saves as the Tigers landed a 2-0 win over Attleboro. The win gives Oliver Ames 17 points on the season, qualifying them for the D2 MIAA South Tournament. The win was also Barata’s 100th career win.
“We’re happy, we finally got in,” Barata said. “It took a little longer than I think I might have expected after I saw us play early in the season. But we struggled to score goals. On a positive note, it’s good to start getting these goals as we’re going into the tournament, it’s better than peaking too soon. We’re pretty happy with the way it worked out and very happy to be in the tournament now.”
In a relatively even first half, both OA and the visiting Bombardiers had decent scoring chances. A corner kick in the 11th minute fell to the feet of OA senior Joe LaBrosse but his low chance was blocked by a defender at the post.
In the 18th minute, Attleboro senior Tyler Treichler denied OA of two solid scoring chances. First, it looked as though OA sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza would have an open look from the left side of the area but a slide tackle from Treichler denied the bid. Less than a minute later, LaBrosse had a chance from inside the area but once again Treichler got his leg in the way.
Attleboro registered it’s first real chance in the 29th minute as Nick Lawrence was given some space for a shot from just outside the area but Kemp got a piece of it and smothered the rebound. A minute later, McCormick had a go from just outside the area but OA but Hasenfus was quick to get down and handle it.
Oliver Ames was content to sit back for the majority of the half, and did so to start the second half. The team’s patience paid off less than 10 minutes into the second half, as Oliver Ames saw an opportune time to press.
Cardoza chested down a clearance and took a touch towards the final third. He was able to push the ball past a defender towards the touchline, forcing Hasenfus to come out. Cardoza slipped the ball back to the middle where McCormick was able to tap it in to make it 1-0.
“I think the challenge is they don’t expect it from OA, because we’ve always pressed high and kind of run and gun and get forward, possess a little bit and then get forward again. By us sitting back, opponents have to make adjustments,” Barata said. “We like it because control the tempo, we can go slow, we can go fast, we can go in between. The best part about is, teams just give it to us sometimes because they try to go over the top or through the middle and then our guys are good when we have the ball. It can be frustrating to try and beat. So far, we’ve been successful doing it.
“We talk about trigger points on when to press, when to get forward. It’s not me shouting out when to press, it’s the kids recognizing triggers. It wasn’t perfect but it’s added an element to our game.”
“We have everything but the final third,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We can’t get the ball up and find the guys there. I have some of young guys trying to do some running but the final third, nothing got going. First half was kind of an even game. Second half they came out a little bit hungry, they had a couple of chances and they took it to us. We’re not a team that can come back, we don’t have the fire power. We can win the close ones but once they got the second goal, it was difficult to come back.”
The Bombardiers had their best chance in the 57th minute. Zach White’s free kick spilled to the right side of the area where senior Harry Lancaster was able to track it down. He launched a service back in front of goal where freshman Michael Russo put a header right on frame but Kemp came flying back into position to stop it.
“Ben made a huge save for us there,” Barata said. “He came out several times to deny some chances too, he has been great all season. All of our seniors have been great. They have really worked hard and helped accomplish our first goal, which is to qualify for the tournament.”
Oliver Ames doubled the lead just four minutes later in the 61st minute. Lawrence launched a throw in in the attacking third that found Cardoza in the area. The junior flicked the ball on, right to the head of classmate Cam Vella for an easy header into the net.
“We’re happy to put that [set piece] away,” Barata said. “The kids were joking how it was such a great sub because Vella had just gone in, it was his first touch. It’s something we’ve tried to work on, so many teams in this league can do it, and we have some kids who can too. So might as well work on a flick and it worked out for us tonight.”
Attleboro drops to 5-5-5 overall, with 15 points. The Bombardiers need to get 18 points to qualify for the postseason and have three games left to get those three points.
“We need three points in three games,” Pereira said. “We should be able to get it but everyone wants points now. The kids are working are, I’m sure we’ll do it. We’ve played all the big boys now we need to get some points from the final games.”
Oliver Ames boys soccer (7-4-3) is headed back to the postseason after going to the D2 State Final the last two years – winning it all a year ago. The Tigers’ seventh win of the season was also Barata’s – and assistant coach Fred Kurtz’s – 100th career win.
“I’m thrilled because it’s about parent support, school support – the administrators have been very supportive – and then my boys,” Barata said. “The kids are awesome, it’s their wins, they’ve won 100. I’m here to guide them along the way. Coach Kurtz and I have been here for almost eight seasons. It’s a wonderful honor for the school, for the kids and for the Easton soccer program. It’s a wonderful milestone but now it’s over with but it’s been a lot of fun.”