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.
“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.
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.”
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.