Foxboro Rides Strong Second Half Past King Philip

Foxboro boys soccer
King Philip’s Ian Zimmerman jumps in front of Foxboro’s Nic Beigel to intercept a pass. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – After Foxboro opened the scoring in the first half, it took King Philip just two minutes to respond and erase any momentum the host Warriors had.

But in the second half, the Foxboro retook the lead, it made sure it didn’t let its foot off the gas.

The host Warriors scored three goals inside the first 20 minutes of the second half, blowing open what was a tie game into a 4-1 victory over KP on the turf at Southeastern Regional High School.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We had a lot of positives in the first half so we needed just to keep going,” said Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino. ” One thing we stressed was that we can’t concede goals right after we score, that was a main focus for us. We just kept going at them in the second half, started knocking the ball around out of the back.

“We knew it was going to come, we just had to stay positive and continue to knock the ball around. I thought we were the better team tonight and fortunately, we were able to put some in the back of the net.”

After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, Foxboro jumped ahead in the 11th minute. Nic Beigel won a ball in the area at midfield and played it up to senior Shane VandenBoom. VandenBoom took a touch and then latched onto a volley on the bounce, getting enough pace on it to catch the KP keeper just off his line for a 1-0 advantage.

But Foxboro’s lead didn’t last long as King Philip netted the equalizer in the 13th minute. Sophomore Cam Lawrence delivered a near post service, and senior Gavon Fox did a nice job challenging for it, causing the ball to bounce free. Senior John Cullen got a touch to the loose ball, forcing a low save from Foxboro keeper Nick Penders but the rebound fell right to Fox, and he buried it into the open net to make it 1-1.

“I was really impressed with our ability to respond,” said KP head coach Nick Gale. “Gavon and John did a nice job in the box to create something, and that’s something we’ve expected of ourselves but haven’t done frequently, so I was happy about that. It was just about keeping up that momentum and energy, and we didn’t capitalize on it.

“Foxboro was prepared, they found great ways of combining, getting it over us and getting it through. Set pieces are something we still obviously have to work because they exposed us there too. [Foxboro] played well and took it right too us. They scored early in both halves and the second half kind of took some life out of us.”

Although neither side found the back of the net by the time half rolled around, it wasn’t for lack of chances.

Foxboro junior Joe Cusack nearly scored twice in a two-minute span while KP’s Tony Bozza nearly gave the visitors the advantage in the final seconds of the opening frame.

In the 37th minute, Will Morrison‘s big switch to VandemBoom was partially cleared, with Cusack knocking the ball down and unleashing a shot that forced KP keeper Nick Beltramini to lunging stop. Two minutes later, after a clearance on a corner, Cusack fired a laser to the far post, but once again Beltramini was there for the top.

And in the 40th minute, KP nearly cashed in on the counter attack. Cullen took possession over midfield and found Bozza darting up field. The senior went central with his first touch and ripped a low shot from outside the area, but it slid wide of the post.

It didn’t take long for the chances to come in the second half. In the 47th minute, Cusack delivered a corner that Beltramini got his hands to but wasn’t able to clear. The ball bounced back into the middle of the area, and junior Tim Behn was the first one there and knocked his first career goal in from in close.

“Having our right back score, I think that certainly sparked us,” Franchino said. “The guys were all excited for him, and it got everyone going.”

Foxboro didn’t let King Philip come back with an equalizer this time. Just five minutes later, the host Warriors added to their lead. Cusack played VandenBoom down the left side, and he delivered a perfectly weighted cross to the penalty spot and junior Dylan Barreira one-timed his bid into the back of the net.

“Between Boom’s injury and Dylan missing a couple of games after being sent off, they haven’t played a lot together,” Franchino said. “They’re starting to gel together at the right time. Dylan had the two goals tonight, but I thought Boom had a great night, he was getting in behind and creating havoc. This was the best game I’ve seen Boom since he came back from the injury. Hopefully, we continue to roll with it.”

And seven minutes after that, Foxboro’s pressure turned into another goal. Barreira’s high press resulted in a turnover and a breakaway. KP’s defender went in with a slide tackle and got some of the ball but more of Barreira, leading to a penalty kick. Barreira got his second goal of the game by sliding his shot low right.

“Getting that second goal and coming back and scoring right away, it deflated us,” Gale said. “They did a nice job of doing what they had to do, and we need to work on that so we can prevent that from happening again.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With the win, Foxboro boys soccer moves back to .500 overall (5-5-1, 4-5-1 Hock). The Warriors need seven points from their final seven games to qualify for the state tournament. They next play on Monday night against Milton back at Southeastern.

“Historically we’ve made good pushes at the end of the year so hopefully we can build off that and that trend will continue,” Franchino said. “It’s good to get back to .500, and hopefully, we continue to get better.”

King Philip (3-8-1 overall, 3-7-1 Hock) returns home on Friday afternoon and will entertain Franklin.

Pair of Set Piece Goals Lift Franklin Over King Philip

Franklin boys soccer
Franklin senior Nitin Chaudhury makes a move on the sideline during the first half of Franklin’s 2-0 win over KP. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a game that featured hectic action in the midfield and few chances from open play, Franklin got a huge double save and a pair of goals from set pieces to beat King Philip 2-0 in the mist on Wednesday night at Pisini Field, earning the Panthers their first two points in the league this season.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was a good win,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis. “I have a tremendous respect for (KP coach) Nick Gale. I think his teams are always well-coached, they play hard, play good soccer, and it’s been a while since we beat KP (since Oct. 2015), so it was a really good win for us.”

Not surprisingly, the game started with the ball largely confined to the midfield area. It took nearly 15 minutes before either team would fashion a shot on goal and it was the Warriors who had the first good chance.

Senior Anthony Bozza dropped deep into the space in front of the Franklin back line and played an inch-perfect through ball to John Cullen. Franklin goalie Jack Rudolph was quick off his line to cut down the angle and was able to block Cullen’s first chipped shot and then also get a hand to keep out the rebound.

“Tony brought it from a wide area in and John made a nice backside run and we got him in,” said Gale. “Everybody says that the first goal probably changes the game, so John maybe could’ve changed the game if he had scored that.”

A minute later, KP had another go from the edge of the area with a low drive by junior Matthew Clarke, but Rudolph was able to get behind it and make the save.

Franklin took its time getting into the game but soon was closing down all over the pitch, compressing the space and not giving KP much time on the ball, particularly outside backs Kevin Flynn and Matt Szczepanowski. The pressure eventually paid dividends when the Panthers earned a corner with a half hour gone in the match.

Junior Donny Tappin played a cross into the center of the box and freshman defender Terry O’Neill nodded the ball down into the turf and over sprawling KP keeper Nick Beltramini. It was O’Neill’s second goal in as many games and he has already shown his worth on the defensive side too, forming a solid partnership with junior Sam Stowell.

“He definitely doesn’t play like a freshman,” said Bositis of O’Neill, who also scored Franklin’s goal in the loss to Milford last time out. “He’s just very steady.”

The Panthers added a second goal 12 minutes into the second half. A free kick from just inside the KP half by Stowell angled towards the edge of the box. Beltramini came a long way to get the ball, but senior Nick Barry rose highest and was able to get his head to the pass just before the keeper was able to punch. The brave flicked header doubled the Franklin lead, but Barry took a blow from the keeper in the process and was unable to return to the game.

“We’re going to have to be more disciplined giving up throws or set pieces deep in our own end,” Gale said about the defending on set pieces. “We’re going to have to do a better job recognizing where we are on the field and giving up fouls deeper in their end, not ours.”

Beltramini kept the Warriors in the game down the stretch as Lucas Moura tested him with a one-timer following a turnover and another free kick was headed down by Jacob Cummings into the path of Sam Molloy, who forced a diving save from the KP keeper.

The Warriors were struggling to create scoring opportunities for most of the second half. While the ball flowed through midfield, particularly through the feet of Zac White, the ball did not get to the forwards very often.

“I ask my guys to be courageous in trying to play our style and really dissect defensive structures,” Gale explained. “I really want them to see the game in a different way, but at the same time we find that we’re over-patient. Then you’re not really creating any chemistry up top, whether playing the ball in behind or into the strikers, so we struggled doing that for most of the game.”

KP did create a couple of chances late in the game to try and cut into the deficit. Sophomore Evan McEvoy fired a shot from long distance that drew a save from Rudoplph and then had another go from outside the box with two minutes to play, but it was also saved.

While content with the win, Bositis admitted that there is still a lot for the Panthers to work on. He said, “We’re still very much a work in progress, but I feel like everyone in the league feels the same way. We’ve missed a lot of practice time or its been cut short…because of the weather. We had a good game tonight.”

Franklin (2-1-0, 1-1-0) will travel to Canton on Friday night, while King Philip (1-2-0, 1-1-0) will be on the road to face Milford.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Soccer: 2018 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2018 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Taunton’s Colby Fernandes and Franklin’ Nitin Chaudhury battle for possession last season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-9-5
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Peter Pereira

Attleboro is aiming to use a strong nucleus of returning players to get back into the state tournament after a couple of years of being on the outside looking in.

“We are excited about the team and looking forward to doing well in the Hockomock, which is not an easy task since there is a lot of talent and good teams in the league,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira.

The Bombardiers bring back a seasoned group of defenders that will hopefully give them stability in the back. Colin Levis brings the most varsity experience to the group and will be joined by Connor Dunn, Josh Smith, and Nathan LaPlume. Senior transfer Aaron Flynn and classmates Jared Cooper and Alex Naughton give the Bombardiers a solid group of veterans in the back. Seniors Andre Menard and Tyler Biller are candidates for the starting goalie position.

Pereira has a lot of options to work with in the midfield, including senior Aidan Lancaster. Lancaster has experience playing defense as well so can provide an extra layer of defense when needed. Another familiar face back in midfield will be Michael Russo, who showed flashes of great skill during his sophomore season. Russo and Lancaster will be joined by Brady Holander, Hugo Henriquez, Kevin Raczkowski and Patrick Raczkowski.

There will be another familiar face up front as Will Halben returns as the feature striker. Halben has been Attleboro’s leading scorer the past two seasons and will be a major factor up front again this year. Eli Araujo, Joey Soucy, Justin Lurssen, and Guilherme Machado are expected to provide help up top as well.

Franklin

2017 Record: 5-9-4
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Fran Bositis

After going through some growing pains throughout the 2017 season, the Panthers are looking to make it back to the state tournament.

It all starts with the Panthers’ three senior captains, who will be relied upon to help Franklin compete in a very talented Kelley-Rex division.

Nitin Chaudhury, Nick Barry, and Sam Stowell are all veteran players and will be joined by 10 other returners from last year’s team that got better as the season went on. The Panthers must replace talented goalie Freddie Beckmann but head coach Fran Bositis is expecting good things from junior Jack Rudolph because of his excellent athletic ability.

Chaudhury will once again be the engine of the team from the midfield position while Stowell is back for his third year in the heart of the Panthers’ defense. Jacob Cummings will be another weapon for Franklin in the midfield while senior Tim Duval and junior Donny Tappin return up top.

“As always we are looking forward to competing in the very competitive Hockomock League,” Bositis said.

King Philip

2017 Record: 11-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Nick Gale

The Warriors have had back-to-back successful seasons and are looking to make it three straight, despite losing six experienced starters to graduation.

While King Philip certainly has some shoes to fill, head coach Nick Gale has a lot of options to work with and is aiming to make another appearance in the state tournament.

Senior captains Zac White, Tony Bozza, and John Cullen have all seen plenty of varsity minutes over the past couple of seasons and are ready to lead the 2018 Warriors. White and Cullen will be major factors in the midfield while Bozza gives the Warriors some pace up top. White and Cullen will be joined in the midfield by a trio of sophomores – Evan McEvoy, Camron Lawrence, and Ajae Olsen – all of whom saw some minutes as freshmen a year ago.

KP’s defense has been among the best in the league over the past two seasons but will need some new faces to step up to continue that trend this year. The Warriors do have some experience with senior Andrew Thompson and juniors Brian McCarthy and Wesley Orzell all expected to step up in the back for KP.

“We’re a much smaller team this year, but we haven’t lost our willingness to fight while defending,” Gale said. “Our focus will be on improving team defending and our ability to press intelligently. We have defenders returning with varsity experience and they’re committed to working together to ensure we’re organized and defending as a team.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 10-3-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Steve Sheridan

Although Mansfield graduated over a dozen seniors, and the majority of its starting lineup, the Hornets have a strong presence in the middle of the pitch and are looking to build off that to compete for the Kelley-Rex title.

The Hornets bring back EMass All Star Sam Nugent at center back and he’ll be joined by Ethan Brill-Cass, who had a bright sophomore season but missed all of last year due to injury. Mansfield’s defense will feature all seniors as Derek Meuth and Matt O’Donnell fill out the back four for the Hornets. Tony Salisbury and Cam Bovey are competing for the starting spot in goal.

Mansfield also has seniors Luke Savoie and Luke Devine back in the center of the pitch to patrol the midfield. Both Savoie and Devine were key pieces for last year’s Hornets team, which came within one point from earning a share of the league title with OA. One spot that Mansfield is looking for new faces is up top, but options include Colin Caridi, Owen Mullahy, and Raffi Marzella.

“Having to fill the loss of 14 seniors from last season is going to be challenging,” said MHS head coach Steve Sheridan. “We have a variety of guys on offense that I’ll be expecting big things from, time will tell who will step up.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 15-3-4 (Kelley-Rex Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D2 State Final
Coach: John Barata

It’s not often a team graduates its entire starting lineup and then some, but that’s the situation defending Kelley-Rex champions Oliver Ames finds itself in.

The Tigers lost a whopping 20 seniors to graduation and return just four players from last year’s roster so it there will be a completely new look for OA in 2018. But that doesn’t mean the standards will be any lower for the Tigers, who have made three state final appearances in the last four years.

“We have a completely new team and we are looking forward to working hard,” said OA head coach John Barata. “Our primary objective is to get better every day and try to compete in a very difficult and talented Hockomock League.”

OA’s defense was among the best in the entire state last season, allowing just 15 goals in 22 games played. Barata will be looking for Aaron MacDonald, Andrew Leite, Harry Ahearn, Matthew Nosalek, and Jon Freeman to step up and fill in the spots along the back line. Senior Jacob Lerman and sophomore Drew Nickla are battling for the starting spot in goal.

On the offensive side of the ball, Barata is looking for contributions from Colin Milliken, Anthony DaCosta, Matt Nikiciuk, Sean Flaherty, Niko Byron, Kevin Louhis and Haendal Louhis to carry to load.

Taunton

2017 Record: 3-14-2
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

A solid nucleus returning from last season and more cohesiveness are two of the top reasons for optimism for the Taunton High boys soccer team.

The Tigers have players back all over the field and are hoping that the combination of experience and some fresh faces leads to a competitive season in a very competitive division. Junior Nolan Melo made a splash last season when he took over as starting keeper and looks to be one of the top players at that position in the league.

Senior Evan Melo will be tasked with anchoring the defense from his center back position while Taunton will look for some new faces to step alongside him. Colby Fernandes returns to his defensive midfield spot and Liam Crowley is back as the attacking midfielder in the middle to give the Tigers a nice steady presence up the center of the pitch.

Leading scorer Brett Beaulieu (nine goals, four assists) is back as the featured striker while Alec Nunes can either pair with Beaulieu up top or drop into the midfield when needed. Kyle Aubin is another returning midfield option for the Tigers.

“We have seven returning starters this season and a team with solid technical ability as well as great team chemistry and athleticism,” said Taunton head coach Taylor Whitters.

Boys Soccer: 2017 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Cam Vella (left) and King Philip’s Mike Rowe are back for their senior seasons. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 8-6-6
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Peter Pereira

Even though Attleboro graduated some key pieces, the Bombardiers have a lot of experienced and talented players back for the 2017 season. The biggest challenge will be replacing center backs Harry Lancaster (Best XI selection) and Tyler Treichler (Second XI selection) in the heart of the defense.

Juniors Colin Levis and Aidan Lancaster are both back on the defensive line after gaining plenty of experience a season ago. They’ll look to work with Brandon Lewis and Connor Dunn to solidify the back four in front senior goalie Nick Hasenfus (2016 Best XI selection). In the midfield, Zach White is back and will be relied upon as one of the team’s top playmakers once healthy. He’ll have the help of Brady Holander, Nathan LaPlume, Devin Andre, Eli Araujo and Keith Thompson.

After breaking out as one of the league’s bright young stars a season ago, Will Halben is back to lead the attack alongside sophomores Mike Russo and David Medeiros.

“We are hoping to do a bit better than last year with a bit more depth,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira.

Franklin

2016 Record: 6-9-3
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Fran Bositis

It looks like there is a chance of growing pains in the forecast for the 2017 Panthers. After graduating over a dozen seniors from last year’s team, there will be some inexperience in the lineup for Fran Bositis.

Senior Freddie Beckmann returns as the team’s starting goalie to give the defensive end some familiarity, but it will be a brand new back four in front of him. Sophomore Sam Stowell saw some minutes a year ago and will anchor the defense alongside senior Andrew DiLeo. Senior Connor O’Rourke, who also played some last year, will man the outside along with junior Sam Malloy.

In the midfield, Nitin Chaudhury will take over as the holding mid in the center of the pitch but could also move around depending on need. He’ll have the help of sophomores Jacob Cummings and Donny Tappin. Up front, there are mainutes up for grabs with junior Tim Duval in the running to likely grab one of the spots.

“We’re going to be young and inexperienced,” Bositis said. “We have a handful of seniors back but a youth movement is happening. But overall, the kids are really working hard and have great attitudes. We’re looking for improvement each day.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 17-2-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champion)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Nick Gale

It will be hard to top the historic season the Warriors had a year ago, winning the division title and allowing just eight goals all season. But Nick Gale and his squad are focused on 2017, not last Fall.

Even though 2016 Best XI selections Cam Mullin and Colby Koch, and Second XI selections Ryan Coulter and Eli O’Neill all graduated, the Warriors still return some of the top talent in the league this year. Tyler Mann, the 2016 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, is just one of many talented players back for Gale. Senior Connor Mullins will be a key piece in the midfield, senior Larsen Keys started all of last year on the back line and senior Mike Rowe is a dangerous player inside the 18. Thomas Lugten, Anthony Bozza and Zac White are all back as well after playing plenty of minutes last year.

Junior Nick Beltramini and sophomore Tristan Stephani are battling for minutes in goal.

“Our focus continues to be on developing players and improving our team,” Gale said. “We understand that opposing teams will be after us, but we won’t take our attention away from training, competing, and focusing on the smaller details that will help us continue to move forward. The league will be good, and we know we will need to be as well.

Mansfield

2016 Record: 11-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Steve Sheridan

Mansfield will be relying on a mix of experience and new faces in an effort to get back to the postseason for another year. The Hornets have the challenge of trying to fill the shoes of two-time Best XI selection Max Gurnon, and as well as the void left by the injury to Ethan Brill-Cass, a two year varsity starter.

However, with Sean Lanzillo, Nick Hyland, Sam Hyland and Harry Braidt back, the Hornets have a solid core to work on. Lanzillo’s speed makes him one of the toughest marks in the league while Sam Hyland emerged as a top midfielder last season. Nick Hyland and Braidt will be back to anchor the back line. Head coach Steve Sheridan expects junior Sam Nugent to step in and make an impact early on defensively, as well as junior midfield Luke Savoie on the offensive end.

Senior Nick Ferraz is battling with sophomore Anthony Salisbury for the starting position in net.

“I’m hoping some of the younger guys can step up on offense, and with the departure of Max along with the injury to Ethan and graduation of Jed in goal, our defense is going to have some new faces,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan.

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 10-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames returns plenty of talent and will be looking to challenge King Philip for supremacy in the Kelley-Rex division. Two-time HockomockSports.com Best XI selection Nathaniel Cardoza is back to anchor the Tigers from the middle of the field. His ability to play defense, as well as get forward, gives OA a boost.

Other returning starters back this year include Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Cam Vella, Mason Galbato and Jack Sheldon. Mike Braga and Chris Lawrence bring experience to the back line in front keeper Jack Carroll, who is in his third year in net.

With the graduation of three-year starter Thomas McCormick, the Tigers have a void to fill at the striker position. Senior James Gillespie saw time last year off the bench and proved a capable option up top while Alvarado also showed his ability to finish. Senior Brandin Osborne transferred in from Coyle and will also be an attacking option for OA. Nick Bloumbas, Sean Flaherty and Niko Byron will all likely see time off this season as well.

“We are looking to build a solid team that will play well in a very competitive environment,” OA head coach John Barata said. “We know that to succeed we will need to play our best soccer everyday. The boys are working hard – we need to turn our effort into results. I feel confident that we will find our way and make an effort to qualify for the MIAA State tourney.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 1-16-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

Taunton brings back eight starters from last year’s team and head coach Taylor Whitters is hoping that experience will translate into an improved season in 2017. On top of of those eight starters, the Tigers will have Marc deSousa back in net after a missing his junior season battling cancer.

Senior Liam Crowley is back again with more experience to anchor the back line along with junior Kyle Aubin. DaeShawn Duffie and Hasan Farahat both return to give the Tigers a solid duo in the middle of the pitch while junior Liam Crowley also adds experience to the midfield. Jake DeAndrade, Brett Beaulieu and Alec Nunes are also back in the mix this year as well.

The Tigers got a boost from their rival as Ian Soderbom traded his Warrior blue and gold in from Coyle for Tiger black and orange. Soderbom will be a key piece on defense while Francois Hennaux, an exchange student from Belgium, will add depth to Taunton’s offense.

“Our team is already looking stronger and better,” said Whitters. “They say the tougher the set back the stronger the comeback. We are going to be one of those teams.”

King Philip Edges BC High In Quarterfinals

King Philip boys soccer
King Philip players celebrate Thomas Lugten’s (3) goal in the first half against BC High. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – It was a tale of two halves between top seeded King Philip and ninth seeded BC High at Mactaz Field on Monday evening.

The difference ended up being the Warriors converting in the half they had the majority of control while its defense kept the Eagles at bay when the visitors dictated the pace; King Philip picking up a 1-0 decision in the D1 South Quarterfinals.

“We struggled to score a little bit today but you expect a battle at this point in the season,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “I think if a couple of those went in, we would have been better off but I have a lot of respect for BC High. They are a good program historically and they were a good program again this year.

“We were prepared to battle. We made it a little bit more difficult on ourselves but not scoring more goals but at the same time, I love the heart and character my guys had today.”

King Philip was in control from the opening whistle, notching a pair of serious scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the game and adding good looks on a pair of corner kicks.

In the sixth minute, Larsen Keys and Anthony Bozza connected with a one-two sequence before Keys delivered a service into the area. Thomas Lugten rose up and met the cross with his head, forcing BC High keeper Mike Ball to leap and tip the ball just over the bar.

In the 15th minute, Bozza served in a corner that senior Cam Mullins jumped up to meet, nodding his header towards the near post but Ball was quick to get down and make the stop.

In the 28th minute, senior Colby Koch did well to get some space from his defender, took a touch to his left and hit a low shot that was deflected but Ball did well to recover and make the diving save.

Finally, after a handful of early chances, the Warriors were able to break through just before the half hour mark. The ball bounced out to the top of the area in front of Lugten and he connected on a volley. The ball hit the bottom of a BC High defender who had jumped to block the shot. That deflection put the ball right inside the far post, sneaking under Ball to put KP up 1-0.

The Warriors were unable to find a second before the halftime break. From the opening whistle of the second half, the Eagles seized control of the game. Using a kick and run direct style of play, BC High tried to expose a weakness in KP’s defense but were unable to.

“We made defense a priority today because we’re going to have to be a good defensive team to keep good opponents from scoring goals,” Gale said. “We tried to create as many transitional opportunities by winning the ball back quickly. Defense was definitely a priority.

“[BC High] played direct balls quite a bit [against Quincy] – we knew that’d be tough to defend against all the time. That late offsides call was a blessing. Overall we defended well though. At this point in the season, you have to be able to defend the direct play.”

King Philip’s defense was strong in the air, continually clearing away long balls from the Eagles.

The Warriors did have some chances in the second half, but Ball was fantastic in net for BC High.

In the 58th minute, a long throw fell to the feet of Koch, who was on the edge of the six yard box. Koch tried to turn and shoot but Ball made the save in close. In the 60th minute, Keys flashed a header just wide off a corner kick from Bozza.

BC High finally had a service sneak through King Philip’s defense in the 63rd minute but Warrior goalie Eli O’Neill was quick off his line and gobbled the loose ball before an Eagle could get a touch.

Mike Rowe made a nice cut inside the area to get free in the 67th minute but his shot was denied by Ball. The rebound fell to the feet of Koch but he was unable to get around it before BC High cleared it.

As the final minutes ticked away, BC High pushed number forward, allowing KP to get off on a break. Tyler Mann fed Koch in alone on goal. Koch did well to wait for Ball to make his slide and tried to elevate the ball over the keeper but an impressive one hand saved knocked the ball down. The rebound fell to Koch but before he could slot it in, Ball dove back into position and handled the follow up.

Seconds after Ball’s double save, it looked as though BC High had found the equalizer. After a service was cleared out, the Eagles dropped another ball back in behind the defense. The ball deflected its way to a wide open Ryan Cuozzo behind the defense, who buried the ball at the far post but the refs whistled for offsides. KP was able to kill off the last minute without another threat.

“It was a little frustrating at times but I told the guys they had to be disciplined,” Gale said. “At this point in the tournament, it’s going to be frustrating sometimes, you’re not going to win every single battle. It’s important to continue to make sure your disciplined in what has brought you success all season long.

King Philip boys soccer (17-1-2) advances to the D1 South Semifinal to take on #4 Braintree on Wednesday at 5:30 at Brockton High School. The Wamps beat Attleboro 2-1 on a goal late in the game to reach the semifinal.

KP Secures Kelley-Rex Crown With Win Over Hornets

King Philip boys soccer
King Philip’s Colby Koch scored a golazo in the first half to lift KP to a win. (Ryan Lanigan/File Photo)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip boys soccer has scored in a variety of ways throughout the 2016 season. From free kicks to corner kicks, and in the run of play, the Warriors have crafted some impressive goals this year.

But the Warriors saved their best goal for the most important game of the season.

Senior Colby Koch uncorked an absolute stunner just moments before halftime that proved to be the game-winner in King Philip’s 2-0 win over Mansfield – a victory that clinched the Warriors’ first ever outright league title and first Kelley-Rex crown since 2010.

“A lot of hear of heart, a lot of grit and a lot of passion, which I think plays into it and they were heavily disciplined, which is something against a good team like Mansfield you have to be because they’ll expose you in a moment the second you break down,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. “Their work ethic, they earned this one tonight.”

The Warriors entered the game with a three point lead in the division over Mansfield and came out with the better of chances early on. Junior Tyler Mann intercepted a clearance from the Hornets and quickly found Koch for a shot just outside the area but Mansfield keeper Jed Tolbert did well to time his jump for the save.

Five minutes later, Jack Bush’s long throw was deflected to the back post where KP sophomore Anthony Bozza latched onto it but his shot was blocked wide. In the 33rd minute, Larsen Keys cleared a Mansfield free kick and Mann quickly sent Koch forward. The senior connected with Nils van den Boogaard for a shot from just outside the area but Tolbert was positioned well for the stop.

Mansfield finally registered its first serious scoring chance in the 36th minute when Cullin Anastasia was able to win a 50/50 ball, putting it down for a shot from Sam Hyland from just outside the area but KP keeper Eli O’Neill smothered the low shot.

Just a minute before halftime is when the fireworks finally went off. Koch gained possession in the attacking third. A couple of touches forward, Koch was given just enough space the the senior didn’t hesitate, unleashing a shot from just a couple of steps over 30 yards out that ripped through the air to the upper corner at the far post to put the Warriors up 1-0.

“Everyone was just making incredible runs, when I had the ball I was going to try and find Tyler on a run but the defender angled his body so I couldn’t,” Koch said. “I faked it, the defender went right, I went left and the goalie shifted so I just shot to the far post.

“You have to take opportunity you get. I think it was Wayne Gretzky that said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. The guys on the team encourage me to shoot, and they all can finish as well so if we have the space it can be dangerous.”

“Even the shots before and after, you could tell he was on his game tonight,” Gale said. “He’s been very focused as of late. He’s stepped up from an outside back position [last year] to a striker and he’s somehow managed 14 points. When you switch positions, you don’t just do that often. For that moment, we needed something big for us and no one else I’d rather have than Colby taking that shot and he got a good shot off.”

The goal gave the Warriors the momentum heading into the break but KP couldn’t break through Mansfield’s defense and capitalize to start the second half.

Mansfield had the first chance of the second stanza in the 55th minute when James Chotkowski hit an off-balance shot inside the area but it curled high and wide. Four minutes later, KP had a chance to double the lead by was stuffed by Mansfield captain Max Gurnon. Mann found Koch, who returned the pass but the shot from Mann in the area was blocked by Gurnon.

Two minutes later, the Hornets nearly used their bread and butter – set pieces – to cash in and tie the game. A free kick from Gurnon dropped into the area, met by sliding O’Neill but the ball bounced loose in the area. Anastasia had a go on the rebound but his chance was blocked away.

Mansfield had another bid in the 64th minute to try and tie the game when Hyland dropped a free kick to the far post but Gurnon was well marked and couldn’t get a clean touch.

“My backline and goalie have been the strength all year but Mansfield is extremely dangerous in the final third with their set pieces,” Gale said. “They have players who are fearless and can finish so I have to give props to my back four and keeper for being able to handle that pressure nonstop throughout the game. Going into the game it was important to not allow them many opportunities and we did a good job defending them.”

King Philip secured the win in the 79th minute as Thomas Lugten gained some separation on the left wing, firing a shot that Tolbert got a piece of. The rebound rolled to the far post where Mann sprinted onto it and buried it from in close to make it 2-0.

“Nothing, we just can’t score on them,” Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan said when asked what it is about KP that gives the Hornets trouble. Mansfield’s lone two losses are to KP. “We played them tough. We had one mistake on that first goal, we let Colby get away and get the shot off…it was a beautiful goal, just a beautiful goal. We were pressing up at the end, we went with three forwards, four forwards. We were going for the tie and then we wanted the win, it just didn’t happen.

“[King Philip] is a good team, they’re very disciplined. They are going to be a tough out in the tourney – but I hope we see them like we did last year.”

With the win, King Philip moves to 15-1-2 overall and 13-1-1 in league play, which clinched the league title.

“They pay attention, I can’t even hide it,” Gale said when asked if his players were aware of the possibility of clinching with the win. “I think that’s what played into how well they played. They wanted it. It doesn’t happen here very often. We had someone come up that won the title in 1999 and they shared it with Oliver Ames. I couldn’t tell you the last time that KP has won it outright in soccer.”

“It’s incredible,” Koch said of winning the division. “You just know you’re never going to get this chance again so you just have to live it up and take it for what it is, it’s awesome. I love it.”

King Philip boys soccer closes the regular season when Franklin comes to Macktaz Field on Thursday at 3:45. Mansfield has two games left in the regular season, first a visit from OA on Thursday and then a date with Canton at Gillette Stadium on Friday at 6:00.

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)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Strong First Half Helps King Philip Snap OA’s Streak

King Philip boys soccer
King Philip junior Larsen Keys scores his first goal of the season in the first half against OA. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – It’s no secret that if you want a chance at beating a top team in the state, you have to play a near perfect game.

King Philip scored a pair of goals in a flawless first half, kept Oliver Ames at bay for the first 20 minutes of the second half and held of a furious charge at the end to pick up a 2-1 win over the Tigers. KP’s win snapped Oliver Ames 25-game unbeaten streak that spanned the entire 2015 season and the start of this year.

“It was all on the players, it wasn’t any coaching changes,” King Philip head coach Nick Gale said. It was a simple elevation in energy and focus. These guys are coming off back to back games, it’s their sixth game in 14 days, so they thoroughly exhausted and they emptied the tank today, with whatever they had left. That’s probably the best first half we’ve played this season. It was hard to find anything wrong with it.”

The Warriors had full control in the first half, with the majority of possession and chances. KP was content to keep possession in its own third but worked nicely into the midfield and into the final third to create chances.

The first chance came in the 6th when Jack Bush found Colby Koch, whose cross was touched to Tyler Mann in the center of the area, but his shot was deflected wide. Two minutes later, Thomas Lugten and Koch combined for a 1-2 but OA goalie Ben Kemp stopped Lugten’s point blank shot.

OA’s best chance in the first half came in the 18th minute when junior Cam Vella was able to find some space at the top of the area but his shot flashed wide.

King Philip continued the pressure and was able to breakthrough in the 26th minute. Bush, from his outside back position, was able to get up field and had time on the ball. He picked out Koch with a perfect pass and Koch used a class one-time finish with his left foot to find the back of the net to put the Warriors up 1-0.

Koch clanked the post with a shot from just inside the area in the 32nd minute but less than a minute later, the Warriors doubled the lead. Mann, who was dropped deeper in a midfielder role rather than his normal striker spot, lifted a perfect ball over the top of the defense, finding a streaking Larsen Keys – KP’s other outside back – and the junior calmly finished one on one with the keeper to make it 2-0.

“We got two points coming from outside backs, which is phenomenal.” Gale said. “It was something we thought they were going to take away from us but we found a way to get around it and get some points. The thing I was most proud of in the first half was our focus on finishing, which is something that against a phenomenal team I thought we were going to struggle with and we found a way to get it done. I’m proud as hell of my guys.

“Tyler had a phenomenal ball on the backside to Larsen and Larsen did what he’s done in the past and he finished it. He picked his spot nicely and finished it from 20 yards out. Jack Bush’s cross, he picked out Colby and it was an absolute class shot. We found a way to get it done which is the most important thing against one of the best teams in the state.”

Oliver Ames amped its pressure up to start the second half. After Mike Rowe had his shot in the 48th minute saved by Kemp for KP’s first chance of the second half, Oliver Ames’ Thomas McCormick registered the Tigers’ first scoring chance of the second half, but his shot hit the crossbar and stayed out.

Ten minutes after McCormick hit the bar, Oliver Ames had another chance in the 69th minute when Matt Campbell’s corner found Vella, but his header was saved by KP keeper Eli O’Neill, who went full stretch to get the stop.

The Tigers finally broke through in the 75th minute, as Campbell played James Gillespie in alone on goal and the junior finished to pull OA within one.

OA kept the pressure up the final five minutes, but KP’s defense was able to clear off the danger.

“They cashed in on two chances, which is what they wanted to do and they were successful.” Barata said. “We have a lot to work on but we’re young, we’re figuring it out, it’s still a young season. I think we’re in a good position. I think the last 20 minutes – if that’s how we play, I think a lot more teams will be concerned about playing us. Right now they’re not because we’re soft but we’re young, I’m not too worried about it.

“It will be nice for us to get another chance at them at home. I think it will be a little bit different. But we’ll see how it goes – they are a very good team, and today the better team won.”

Gale’s decision to drop Mann into the midfield paid big dividends as the junior paired with classmate Connor Mullins to help the Warriors control the midfield. Meanwhile, KP’s center back pair of Ryan Coulter and Cam Mullins helped the Warriors keep possession along with Keys and Bush.

“I told our guys before the game that whoever could win the midfield would win the game today,” Gale said. “I dropped Tyler back in there to kind of complete it. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do to try and take Tyler out of the game either but Tyler is such a versatile player we could drop him in the midfield to solidify it. I thought at least in the first half, we definitely played better in the midfield and I think that showed. Tyler was a big impact player for sure.”

King Philip boys soccer (6-0-1, 4-0-1) moves into a tie with Mansfield for first place in the Kelley-Rex division. The Warriors will be back in action on Monday when they host Taunton. Oliver Ames (3-1-1, 3-1-1) will try to bounce back the same day with a trip to Attleboro.

Defense Leads The Way As King Philip Beats Feehan

King Philip's Zac White (8) watches as his shot finds the back of the net for the lone goal. (Jaron May/HockomockSports.com
King Philip’s Zac White (8) watches as his shot finds the back of the net for the lone goal. (Jaron May/HockomockSports.com

By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Defense wins championships and that was the mentality of the King Philip Warriors on Thursday afternoon as they hosted a talented Bishop Feehan team.

In the end, the defense and Zac White’s second half goal were the big reasons King Philip came away with a 1-0 win over the Shamrocks.

The Shamrocks came out fast and aggressive and looked for their offense very quickly. They attacked the ball and tried to exploit the cracks in the defense, but King Philip did the job in closing those gaps and playing good team defense.

KP head coach Nick Gale noticed his defense’s hard work and had nothing but praise for them.

“It was one of their best games, the back four played amazing,” Gale said.

The back four, made up of Cam Mullins, Ryan Coulter, Larsen Keys, and Jack Bush, proved why they are one of the strongest defenses in the Hockomock. Although they did allow ten shots on goal, they were able to minimize and shut down many of the opposition’s attacks, with Bush thwarting a handful of Feehan opportunities.

Senior Eli O’Neill had a strong game in goal behind the back four. O’Neill, who has only played three varsity games in his career, looked like a veteran in net, stopping 10 shots and influencing a handful more.

“Eli had his best game today,” Gale said. “He was smart and very vocal.”

The Warriors spent most of the game on the defensive side of the ball, but when they advanced it, they took advantage of their opportunities.

In the 23rd minute, there was a glimpse of hope followed by a crash of disappointment. Bush fired from about 25 yards out and his shot seemed to be going right over the goalie’s head into the back of the net, but at the very last second, Feehan’s goal rose up and just got a fingertip on it.

KP’s offense kept pounding away at the Feehan defense and finally broke through in the 47th minute. The ball bounced around from Warrior to Warrior and ended up at Tony Bozza’s feet in the left corner. He centered the ball to a wide open White, who tapped it right over the outstretched Bishop Feehan goalie for the sole point of the game.

When asked, Gale made it a priority to point out that both Bozza and White are sophomores who have very bright futures and will be able to lead the team in the upcoming years.

After the King Philip goal, Feehan became even more aggressive on offense and had some late game pushes. The Warrior defense stood strong though and didn’t allow any attacks to get too far.

With the win, King Philip improves to 3-0 overall. The Warriors will try to ride this momentum into their next game against Canton on Friday afternoon.