Rocketeers Counter Late To Claim Leach & Garner Cup

North Attleboro boys soccer
Attleboro’s Nathan LaPlume and North Attleboro’s Joe Hilf battle for possession in the 34th annual Leach and Garner Cup. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For nearly 80 minutes, Attleboro continue to knock on the door, but couldn’t break through.

And in a flash, just when it looked like the Bombardiers had a chance to find a way in, North Attleboro delivered a knockout punch on the counter attack, scoring the lone goal of the game in the 79th minute to secure its fourth straight Leach and Garner Cup.

In the 34th addition of the rivalry game between Big Blue and Big Red, it was the hosts that had a lion’s share of possession, though not a tremendous amount of scoring chances.

It looked like they might have something going with an attacking free kick late in the game. The service came in from the right flank but North Attleboro junior goalie Kyle Briere came flying out to punch the ball free.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Rocketeers quickly cleared the ball up field, where senior Joe Hilf did his job by holding the ball up right at midfield. That allowed North sophomore Matt Conley to come flying down the wing. Hilf played a ball in behind and Conley tracked it down. The sophomore delivered a hard cross to the far post where junior Alex Pfeffer connected on a one-timer. The shot bounced right off the ground and bounced over the outreach of Attleboro keeper Andre Mendard for the game-winning strike.

“When we started thinking about that situation was against Mansfield,” said North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess of the quick counter against opponents’ set pieces. “We knew when they go forward for set pieces, they push everyone but one defender up. And I think our chances with a 1-v-1 and if we get Matt Conley or one of the other guys on the outside running hard, not many teams are going to get enough numbers back in time. We hit Mansfield a couple of times with that exact situation so we started talking about using it more. Kyle knows when he comes out and catches a ball, find Joe and then everyone runs and we hit the counter.

“The first 10-15 minutes we played really well and moved the ball well but the first time we played them, we dropped hard and sat deep, and they ran out of ideas. They kept bombing it forward, we’d win the second ball and counter. And that’s how that game continued to go. It worked really well in the first game. This is what we’ve decided to play like because we’re pretty fast up front, Matt Conley on the outside is lightning, Joe Hilf is lightning. [Goalie] Kyle Briere is a stud back there, we trust him and we play out of his hands a lot. So we’ve bought into a defense first mentality so it’s just kind of what we expect now.”

While playing the counter is a dangerous weapon for the Rocketeers, it allows their opponents to mostly control the game. And that’s exactly what the Bombardiers did.

The challenge was the Attleboro couldn’t solve the Rocketeer back line of Remy Folan, Gavin O’Malley, Evan Rosenberg, and James Bush.

In the 18th minute, junior defender Josh Smith ventured into the offensive third and latched onto a cross from Colin Levis, but the difficult shot was wide. Six minutes later, the Bombardiers had their first bid on goal when Brady Holander placed a free kick from 30 yards out on frame but it was right at Briere.

While Attleboro controlled the play, North Attleboro nearly stole the lead right before half. On a corner from Joey Coscarella, a low service was dummied before Hilf ran onto it and delivered a hard shot on frame. Menard, who was going the other way, made a diving save back to his left and made a one-handed save to keep it out.

Hilf had another chance on the next corner but Menard pushed the header over the bar.
c
While Hilf had a pair of chances to find the back of the net, it was ultimately his hold up play late in the game that led to the game-winning, something that the senior has worked on to add to his game this year.

“He’s been working really hard on that,” Burgess said. “He’s a player that prefers the flicks and touches to himself but we’ve been working hard on having him bring it down, let the other guys come forward and playing it. He does a nice job with his flicks to keep the offense honest but having him bring it down and let the offense run up, we can create some chances that way.”

In the 63rd minute, Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster saw his low shot from atop the area roll wide. North nearly countered an Attleboro corner in the 70th minute when Hilf played Matt Mordini in behind the defense by Menard came charging off his line for the clearance.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro senior Will Halben had a bid saved by Briere in the 72nd minutes, and two minutes later Levis’ low shot off a corner kick went just wide of the post.

“That’s been our entire season,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira. “We’ve outplayed a lot of teams but we don’t have a true finisher. We had some shots but nothing too dangerous. This is like the sixth game where we’ve made one mistake, in this case not coming back to cover, and we lose. It’s tough because the kids were looking forward to this one. Second half I thought we were better, played some good soccer but they have a good defense, a good goalie…they hold on, hold on, and then they get the break at the end but that’s why you play 80 minutes.”

North Attleboro boys soccer (6-3-8 overall, 5-3-7 Hockomock) finishes the regular season at home against Sharon on Tuesday afternoon as it tries to improve its seeding for the D2 South bracket. Attleboro (5-9-3, 5-8-3) closes its season on Monday afternoon against New Bedford.

“We think we’ll be a tough out in the tournament,” Burgess said. “We don’t give up many goes and if we can counter and hit you once, it could be enough. It’s real important to know we can strike late. I was selling this style at the beginning of the year and now they’ve bought into. So now they have the confidence they can sit, play defense and then all they need is one chance and it can be a game-winner.”

Attleboro Cashes In Late To Take Down Canton

Attleboro boys soccer
Canton’s Paul Corcoran (left) challenges Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira knew he needed junior outside back Josh Smith to have a strong game defensively.

Not only did Smith deliver, he gave a little extra.

Smith scored his first career goal in the 71st minute to break open a scoreless game to help the Bombardiers take a 2-0 decision over Canton in their season opener.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“More importantly than the goal, he defended their best player,” Pereira said. “We were trying to find someone to finish, we tried subbing too. It was good for Josh to get it. He’s a solid player, he’s not a flashy player but he’s very smart.”

For the majority of the game, Smith was tasked with dealing with a Bulldogs’ offense that scored four goals in their season opener just days earlier against Marshfield. But he was able to give Attleboro the lead just inside the final 10 minutes.

After a free kick was partially cleared by the Bulldogs’ defense, junior Michael Russo delivers a service back into the area. Sophomore Joey Soucy ran onto it and fired a one-time shot from in close. Canton keeper Alejandro Correal made a terrific first save but the rebound popped loose and Smith was there to tap it in for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a good win, the kids are excited,” Pereira said. Attleboro was the last of the 12 Hockomock teams to kickoff its 2018 campaign. “They’ve been ready to go, everyone else has been playing. They were nervous in the first half but then we settled down and it was a totally different team out there for us in the second half.”

The game was loaded was chances for both sides but it wasn’t until Smith’s goal in the final 10 minutes either side broke through.

With Canton down a goal and pushing for an equalizer, Attleboro senior Will Halben gained possession just over half after a turnover. He went at the defense with pace, getting by his mark and rifling a shot into the far corner to make it 2-0 in the 77th minute.

“Towards the end of the game, when you’re up by a goal, he can be deadly,” Pereira said of Halben, who has been the Bombardiers’ leading scorer for the past two years. “He had a couple of chances earlier too and he’ll get a couple of those each game, but it was nice to have him finish.”

The Bulldogs had the better of play for the first 40 minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net. Griffin Roach had a header off Paul Corcoran’s throw-in saved by Attleboro keeper Andre Menard in the opening 15 minutes.

The best chance came off the foot of TJ McCabe. After winning possession near midfield, the sophomore beat off two defenders to gain some space before ripping a hard shot from 25 yards out that just sailed over the crossbar.

“You can’t play 40 minutes of the first half where you’re really on your front foot dominating and not score a goal and think you’re going to win a game, you can’t do that in the Hockomock League,” said Canton head coach Danny Erickson, now in his 26th season at the helm of the Bulldogs.

“Attleboro is too good a team for that. I thought we played great soccer today, pretty much start to finish. I thought the second half was even, we both had some chances. I thought we dominated the first half but Attleboro was clean with a couple finishes in the end and that was the difference. But that was a great Hockomock League game. We could have come out on top but Attleboro deserved it today.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The first half hour of the second half was full of goal scoring chances, including two from Canton inside the first 15 minutes. Corcoran linked up with McCabe, who found Cruz but his chance was turned aside. Two minutes later, Roach once again got his head on a throw by Corcoran but it went just over the bar.

Attleboro countered two minutes later when Brady Holander’s service connected to Justin Lurssen but Correal made a nice diving save to keep the game level.

The Bombardiers next best chance came 10 minutes later when Eli Araujo played Halben into space behind the defense and the senior got past Correal but was forced wide enough by the keeper where his tough angle shot went high.

“The first half, they had the play and then in the second half I thought we outplayed them a little bit,” Pereira said. “They are a good team, they play physical, they play quick, they have size. That was a good game. You knew whoever got the first goal was going to get the win. We ended up with two nice ones.”

Attleboro boys soccer (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) faces another stiff challenge on Wednesday when it welcomes Mansfield (2-0) to Tozier-Cassidy Field. Canton (0-1, 1-1) will try to bounce back when it hits the road to take on Foxboro on the same day.

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.

Lanzillo Nets Two in Mansfield Shutout of Attleboro

Mansfield boys soccer
Mansfield senior Sean Lanzillo (17) scored a pair of first half goals to help the Hornets beat Attleboro and stay within three points of first place OA. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


MANSFIELD, Mass. – For the opening 15 minutes, the visiting Bombardiers controlled the play, dominating the midfield and pushing Mansfield back on its heels. In the 10th minute, Will Halben cut inside on his right foot and found space on the edge of the box. His shot beat Mansfield goalie Nick Ferraz, but not the post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Five minutes later, Hornets senior midfielder Sam Hyland had the ball bounce to his foot inside the 18-yard-box and also saw his shot carom off the post, but the rebound went straight to classmate Sean Lanzillo and he buried his shot into the open net.

The opening goal changed the entire outlook of the game and propelled the Hornets to a 3-0 victory over Attleboro that moves Mansfield within three points of division-leading Oliver Ames with three games remaining in the regular season.

“Our first 15 minutes, I don’t think we played well at all,” admitted Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan. “We were lucky on that goal and that’s why I called a timeout after it to settle everybody down. After that first 15 minutes, I thought we played great. They were attacking us and we played good defense, it was a great game.”

Attleboro coach Peter Pereira said, “Us hitting the bar right away was tough. If he had gotten that then it would’ve been a totally different game. The first 20 minutes we ran and we denied them from playing so they couldn’t get going.”

Following Sheridan’s timeout, the Hornets settled into the game, started to possess the ball better, and played through the midfield. In the 28th minute, the hosts almost doubled the lead when Cullin Anastasia started a break with an outlet pass to Lanzillo, who then fed Hyland but the shot was saved by Nick Hasenfus. Seconds later Anastasia beat the offside trap but again Hasenfus made the stop.

“You can’t sustain it that long, it’s just too much running,” said Pereira about his team’s drop off after the midway point of the half. “You go a goal down and your energy level disappears.”

In the 29th minute, Mansfield got another break on a deflection. Luke Devine’s run was cut off by Attleboro center backs Aidan Lancaster and Colin Levis, but the ball bounced out to Lanzillo who hit a perfect, first time shot from 19 yards that curled over Hasenfus for a 2-0 lead.

“He curled it in,” said Sheridan with a laugh. “That was nice, I can’t wait to watch it.”

In the second half, Mansfield pressed its advantage and created a series of chances. Lanzillo’s cross from the right wing was headed on target by Anastasia but saved by Attleboro back-up keeper Andre Menard and two minutes later another low cross into the middle to Hyland was cut out by a sliding Levis.

In the 55th minute, central defender Sam Nugent slid a pass to spring Lanzillo down the touchline, but his cross was just behind Hyland in the middle. That turned out to be a warning for the Attleboro defense, as just a minute later Lanzillo played in Anastasia on the right and he picked out Hyland with a low cross that was side-footed in.

Pereira said, “We work hard and even after that we continued to work hard. We can play touch, but it gets into your head. Losing breeds losing and winning breads winning, we’re not confident.”

It could have been more for the Hornets. Jared Gabrilowitz cut in from the left side and had his right-footed shot saved by Menard at full stretch. From the ensuing corner, Michael Russo was forced to clear a shot off the line.

“We should’ve had more goals but…we can’t finish,” said Sheridan. ”To have that many opportunities, especially in that second half, and we’ve got to finish them.”

Attleboro struggled to sustain a consistent attack. Russo had a shot saved early in the second half and David Medeiros had an 18-yard shot comfortably saved by Ferraz (four saves).

The best chance for the Bombardiers came in the 70th minute, as Russo got forward down the left wing and sent an inch-perfect cross to Halben at the back post only to see the shot come back off the crossbar.

“The good news is this is a two-year project,” said Pereira about his young roster. “The starting lineup is back. Now we’re going to have some fun, work hard, get better as individuals and if they do that then we’ll be a better team.”

For Sheridan, it was a positive to see his team get on the score sheet multiple times, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. He joked, “Oh yeah, it was nice. I liked it. I would like to score more than three goals a game but we’re stubborn and we like to make it hard on ourselves.”

Mansfield (8-2-5, 8-1-4) will host Franklin on Thursday, while Attleboro (1-8-4, 1-8-4) will try to play spoiler when it hosts league-leading Oliver Ames.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.”

Former Attleboro Keeper Makes His Mark at Adelphi

Spenser Powell
Former Attleboro keeper Spenser Powell too the starting job at Adekphi this season and the senior helped the Panthers win the NE-10 title and reach the NCAA tournament Elite Eight. (Adelphi Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


With one game remaining in the 2015 regular season, Adelphi lost its starting goalkeeper to an injury. Waiting in the wings for the Panthers was junior keeper Spenser Powell and the Attleboro High alum took advantage of his chance to wear the No. 1 jersey by helping Adelphi reach the NE-10 tournament final and the NCAA tournament.

Entering his senior year, Powell knew that he would once again have to fight to keep his spot in goal. Not only did he win the starting job, but he was the backstop for a team that finished 19-1-2 overall, clinched the program’s first NE-10 tournament title (in its fourth year in the league), and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1975.

“On the back line, I think the youngest guy we had was a junior, so we all kind of knew what we were doing and that really translated well to the whole team,” said Powell a couple weeks after the season ended with a dramatic shootout against Charleston (W.Va.).

He continued, “My senior year was really the culmination of everything I’ve done from youth soccer in Attleboro to now. Everything I’ve worked for and everything I’ve ever dreamed of was going true…This is what I’ve worked on for so long and it was nice to have it pay off in the long run.”

Unlike other positions on the pitch, there is only one goalie and substitutions are rare. Teams tend to favor continuity and building a relationship between the goalie and the defense, so, barring an injury, it is difficult to usurp the man with the gloves during the season. Even so, it is imperative to stay ready and be able to step in if needed. Powell, it turned out, was ready.

“Coach just trusted me,” he explained. “He knew that I wasn’t too nervous going in and he could trust me. I had been there for three years and he knew what I could do. I just had to put everything I was working on to use.

“The practices that we have, in my opinion are tougher than the game. When we get to game day, we know that there’s something that needs to be done and we know that we’ve already been through it before. It’s just another day in the office for us really.”

Even though he felt prepared to play, jumping in for just the second start of his career in a conference tournament game brings with it plenty of pressure. Each mistake is magnified because of the stakes. With Powell in goal, Adelphi won a pair of games, both by shutout, and advanced to take on top seed Southern New Hampshire in the final.

Although the Penmen ended up claiming the title and Adelphi lost in overtime in the NCAA first round, Powell used that experience to build his confidence heading into the preseason this fall and the renewed competition for the starting spot.

“Coming in this year, the regular season was just another day in the office,” Powell said. “It was kind of nice being in a situation where I could say that I played in an NE-10 final, I had the experience of playing in an NCAA game, so there was a reason I’m out there. I think it was more just reassurance to myself.”

He continued, “Nothing comes easy, especially here. We have such a great group of goalies that anyone could start on a given day. I just think that I proved myself day-in, day-out as the No. 1 and I kind of carried myself as such.”

Coming into 2016 with an experienced lineup and motivated by the loss in the NE-10 final, Powell and the Panthers put together a remarkable season, finishing with the NE-10 regular season title, a final ranking of No. 5 in the country, and setting a program record with 14 clean sheets.

Powell was named NE-10 Goalkeeper of the Week four times in the regular season and was named second team all-conference. He credited the training he received from Attleboro coach Peter Pereira and former Attleboro and Lafayette goalie Phil Nelson for the footwork he displays in goal. He also grew as a leader on the pitch.

“I was always the one screaming my head off and yelling and that’s how I was known,” said Powell. “When I was in high school I was always focused a lot on can I keep talking and staying engaged in game, where now I’m more about am I giving out the proper information.”

When asked what he enjoys about playing goalie, Powell answered, “I used to love scoring goals, but now I get more satisfaction from pissing other people off and just robbing their goals. It’s always a great feeling when they walk away just a little more upset than when they came in.”

In the NE-10 final, Powell did just that to Le Moyne, making five saves, including four in the final 25 minutes, as Adelphi pulled out a come from behind 2-1 victory to bring home the title and set off celebrations on the pitch.

“Being that we had a lot of older guys,” Powell said, “we all knew that we had unfinished business from making it to the final last year and falling short by one goal. Everybody was just hungry to get back there and get the championship this year.”

The Panthers added another impressive win in the NCAA tournament, beating crosstown rival LIU-Post for the first time since 1989. Adelphi rolled to a 4-0 victory that sent it to the Elite Eight.

In the quarterfinal, Charleston jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Adelphi battled back in the final 10 minutes of regulation to force overtime. Powell got the comeback started with an assist. His long ball forward to NE-10 Player of the Year Federico De Oliveira, who settled it and cut the lead to one. A penalty tied the game at 2-2, which is where it stood until Charleston got the edged in a shootout.

Despite the loss, Powell insisted that the Charleston game was indicative of the spirit within the Adelphi team this season. He remarked, “We never gave up, never backed down, and that was the culmination of our season. It was just the identity of this team that we’re not going to let you win this game; you’re not going to win it without a fight.”

Powell explained that every day he passes a plaque honoring the 1975 team that won the national title. After helping the program to a record-breaking season and its deepest NCAA tournament run since that title-winning season, the senior is hopeful that he has added to a long legacy of success at Adelphi.

“There’s always been a great legacy of goalkeepers at Adelphi,” Powell said, “and I just tried to add what I could to that. I wanted to live up to their high expectations.”

Halben Sends Attleboro Past Mansfield in Double OT

Attleboro boys soccer
Attleboro players mob sophomore Will Halben (center) after his game winning goal in double overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – For Attleboro, the third time playing Hockomock rival Mansfield proved to be the charm.

The Bombardiers suffered a 3-0 loss to the Hornets early in the season and settled for a 1-1 draw in mid October.

But on Saturday night, Big Blue picked up the win in the game that mattered most, walking away from Alumni Field with a 1-0 win in double overtime in the MIAA D1 South First Round.

Eighty minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of the first overtime period wasn’t enough to separate the two but it took less than a minute of the second overtime period for Attleboro to find the winner.

Sophomore Colin Levis blocked a clearance on the right wing, raced to the ball and delivered a cross into the area. Mansfield goalie Nick Ferraz dove out, getting a hand to the service. The ball fell to sophomore Will Halben, who calmly cut the ball back and used his toe poke with his left foot to find the back of the net for the winner.

“When it got to me, I cut it outside and toe poked it with my left foot and megged the goalie and it got in,” Halben said. “I was really off balance but I was able to get enough power to get it through. I kind of forgot it was golden goal but everyone jumped on me and I was crushed at that bottom but it was a great feeling.”

It’s the third time in the last four games that Halben has scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win for Attleboro.

“He’s got the speed around the net, he’s been pretty good,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “He missed his first one and just pushed it in with his toe. It was a good game, Mansfield kind of carries the play a little bit. Those throw ins are deadly. We’ve been practicing defending them but they are so hard to defend because of Mansfield’s height. Even though they had most of the possession, we needed a break and that’s what we got. The boys played well.

“Playing a team from the same league for a third time, it’s really difficult. The good thing was my kids were relaxed because they knew who the enemy was. But we also knew they had beaten us earlier in the season but we had tied them the second time so that really helped our conference. We’re 1-1-1 this year [against Mansfield] but we’ll take this one.”

The Hornets had over a dozen attacking throw ins and nearly 10 free kick opportunities that put the ball into the area but the results included either hitting the post, a save from Bombardier goalie Nick Hasenfus, a shot wide or a clearance from Attleboro’s defense.

The effort off the post came early in the game when Cullin Anastasia rose up to meet a throw from Max Gurnon. His header bounced once before hitting the post and staying out. Rebound chances from Brendan Sullivan and Anastasia were blocked by defenders.

Ten minutes later, a service into the area eventually bounced out to the top of the 18, but Sullivan had his shot on target saved by Hasenfus.

Mansfield had the two first chances of the second half as well when Max Gurnon ripped a shot from the left wing that went to the far post but Sean Lanzillo’s touch went just over the bar. Five minutes later, James Chotkowski’s header off a corner from Kevin Bouck bounced wide at the far post.

“We’re strong on those throw ins and those free kicks but just couldn’t find the back of the net today,” Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan said. “[Attleboro] played great, I knew they’d pack it in and play tight defense. And their goalie played phenomenal. My hats off to them. We had more than enough chances in regulation, never mind overtime, and we just didn’t do it.”

Attleboro finally had a chance in the 61st minute with Halben blocking a clearance, racing around a defender and going in at goal at a tight angle but Ferraz did well to come out and cut the angle down, holding onto the ball after sliding out. Two minutes later, AHS freshman Mike Russo lofted a cross into the area but Halben’s header went wide of the far post.

Anastasia got his head to a throw from Gurnon in the 72nd minute but Attleboro defender Tyler Treichler was positioned well and headed the ball clear before it could get through to Hasenfus.

“They got four goals against us during the regular season and three of the four were from throw ins,” Pereira said. “They’ve got the height to flick it. We tried to work on stepping in front of them and get to it first. They are very good with those throws, the free kicks. Their defense is very good, Max [Gurnon] is a horse back there and they won most of the balls. But we’ll take it and we’ll go on and see what happens next.”

Hasenfus made the biggest stop of the game in the 78th minute. Gurnon dropped a free kick into the area that fell between Sullivan and Anastasia. Anastasia was the one to pounce, unleashing a shot from inside the 6 yard box but Hasenfus was positioned perfectly and knocked the bid aside.

“He’s been very solid, he’s grown all year long, the team has confidence in him,” Pereira said of Hasenfus. “We weren’t sure what to expect but he’s been solid, he’s a Hockomock All Star…he hasn’t made mistakes. We have not lost games because of him. Today – that one late was a big save – and the others he was sweeping them up and there were no drops. My defense played well, Harry [Lancaster] and Treichler played very well and the outside backs were strong too.”

Attleboro boys soccer (8-5-6) will take on #4 Braintree in the D1 South Quarterfinal. The Bombardiers will visit the Wamps on Monday at 6:00. Mansfield finishes the season 11-5-3.

Halben Lifts Attleboro Past Taunton and Into Tourney

Attleboro boys soccer
Sophomore Will Halben scored the lone goal of the game to lift Attleboro to a second straight 1-0 win and book the Bombardiers a spot in the state tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro attack has been far from potent this fall, scoring only 13 goals through the opening 16 games of the season and more than one goal in a game just twice, but on Wednesday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field a young Bombardiers team still had the opportunity to book its place in the state tournament.

Not surprisingly, Attleboro would only get one goal, but it turned out to be all it needed against Taunton. Sophomore Will Halben scored the winner for the second straight game, as the Bombardiers held off the Tigers 1-0 to qualify for the postseason.

“We got to the tournament that was really positive,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira, who also celebrated his 250th career victory on Wednesday. “I really wanted it for the younger kids because we got two big years coming up and I really wanted them to get a taste of it and see what it’s like.”

For two teams that had combined for only 22 goals coming into the game, Taunton and Attleboro started wide open with chances coming thick and fast in the opening half hour.

Ahijah Joseph got the attack going just two minutes in when he ran onto a through ball from Nick Lawrence, but his shot sliced wide of the post and into the side-netting. Two minutes later, Taunton had its first chance with Sean Crowley getting space in the right channel but sending a shot over the bar.

Joseph had a header on a corner cleared off the line by Taunton defender Jake DeAndrade and on the other end Crowley got hold of a volley but hit is straight at Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus. Taunton keeper Tim Gambaradella was then called into action for his first save when Zach White’s pass bounced into the path of Michael Russo but the goalie smothered the shot.

The game’s lone goal came in the 23rd minute. Devin Andre slid a pass behind the Taunton defense for Halben to run onto and the sophomore showed poise to calmly slide the ball inside the far post and past Gambaradella (four saves).

“It’s the young guys, the freshmen, the sophomores, they’ve got speed and they’re going to be really good in the future but right now it’s a learning curve,” said Pereira, who is in his 37th year in charge of the program. He added, “We don’t get too many goals, so we have to take them where we can.”

Taunton almost answered back immediately, but another shot found the side-netting. The Bombardiers could have doubled the advantage in the 28th minute when Russo found Nathan Laplume for a scoring chance only to be denied by Gambaradella at full stretch. The rebound fell kindly to Halben but he smashed his shot off the crossbar of the goalposts just above the net.

The next chance for either team would not come until nine minutes after the break when Lawrence had a shot saved and then his follow up was blocked out for a corner by Dan DeAndrade. That would be the last clear-cut chance for either team until the final three minutes of the game.

As end-to-end as the first half of the game was, the second turned into a midfield stalemate with both teams clogging up the middle of the pitch and limiting the opposition’s ability to get the ball into the final third. First-year Taunton coach Taylor Whitters credited the Tigers defense for closing the gaps and taking away space in the second half.

She added, “It’s just a matter of trying to stick with and learn our shape and try to be quicker with transitioning. That’s something we’ve been working on and I think they did a really good job of it in the second half especially.”

With a chance to secure a tournament spot on the line, Attleboro started to look a little nervous in the second half and passes started to go astray. Pereira said, “It was an ugly game but we’ll take it. We didn’t want to make mistakes and we were making mistakes.”

At the back, senior Harry Lancaster was there to clean up most of the mistakes, alongside fellow center back Tyler Treichler, and keep Taunton from taking advantage. “Harry’s been solid every game,” Pereira said. “He has absolutely saved our butts. He’s our top player. He’s a great captain and his soccer has been great at the back.”

Joseph nearly set up Lawrence in the closing minutes but the cross just missed the forward at the back post. With the clock stopped in the final two minutes, Russo had a chance blocked on the slide by Liam Crowley and then Lawrence flicked a pass to Russo who pushed it on to Austin Champagne, but Gambaradella came through with a stellar dive down to his left to deny the second goal.

“We missed a couple opportunities to out the game away,” said Pereira, “but what are you going to do? We’ll take it, we’ll organize and get ready for our last game, which is big for them because it’s for the cup.”

Assessing her first year in charge, after three years with the freshman program, Whitters said, “We have a very, very young team, so I’m very proud of all the accomplishments they’ve had this year. We’ve made lots of little victories along the way and I’m really excited for next year.”

Attleboro (7-5-5, 7-4-5) will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon in the annual Leach and Garner Cup against North Attleboro.

Oliver Ames Earns Playoff Berth In Barata’s 100th Win

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Nathaniel Cardoza (left) and Ned Donovan (right) go up for a ball with Attleboro’s Ahijah Joseph. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSportscom)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Each year, Oliver Ames head John Barata says goal number one for his squad is to make the tournament.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

In the 23rd minute, OA’s Matt Campbell played a ball over the top for Thomas McCormick, who tried to chip the keeper but Attleboro’s Nick Hasenfus got a paw to it and pushed it wide.

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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro sophomore Will Halben had a chance to level the game a minute later, taking a shot from the left side of the area. Kemp got a piece of it and Chris Lawrence cleared the loose ball.

“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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro, Attleboro Each Grab A Point In Scoreless Draw

Foxboro boys soccer
Attleboro junior Nick Hasenfus picked up his sixth shutout of the season in the draw. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – As teams enter the final weeks of the regular season and points are at a premium, Foxboro and Attleboro settled for one apiece as they fought to a 0-0 draw at Sam Berns Community Field.

Despite dominating the majority of the first half, and recording more scoring chances in the second half, Foxboro was unable to find the back of the net, hitting the crossbar once and being stopped by Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus on other attempts. Meanwhile, the Bombardiers continued to be frustrated by the Warriors’ high pressure and their lone serious chance of the second half was blocked away before Bobby Harrison was forced into a save.

“We have to pick up points,” Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino said. “The guys fought hard, I thought we were the better team today. We were knocking it around, we had the possession and we had the chances. You just have to keep grinding, it’s been the nature of the season so far. The boys aren’t quitting though, it was just unfortunate we didn’t get a goal.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After Attleboro registered the first scoring game in the 13th minute – a sequence between Aidan Lancaster and Ahijah Joseph resulting in a shot over the bar from Nick Lawrence – it was essentially all Foxboro for the final half hour of the opening stanza.

In the 17th minute, Anthony Barreira played Colin Spinney wide and his low cross was met by a one time shot from Nic Beigel but his shot skipped wide.

In the 25th minute, Beigel sent in a low service to the near post where freshman Joe Cusack got a touch to it but Hasenfus cut the angle down and got just enough to keep it out.

Three minutes later, after a corner was partially cleared, a service from Will Regan eventually was deflected to Barreira, who volleyed a rocket right off the crossbar and out.

The Warriors had two chances in the final minute with Spinney finding Cusack at the near post but his shot was wide and then Cusack returned the favor by playing Spinney in but Hasenfus denied his shot to send the teams into the halftime break scoreless.

“The first ten minutes is a feeling out period, looking at the formation they are playing, matching up players, have to be defensive minded in that first ten minutes,” Franchino said. “But once we got in a groove, we pushed players on and I thought we had the better play and the better opportunities.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’ll take any tie because our goal is to get points,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We need points, we have four left so any point is great. Obviously [Foxboro] played better than we did, we got lucky because they hit the bar and they had a few opportunities. But we’re going home with a point so that’s excellent. It was one of our weakest games. We just had our best game last game and it was 0-0 then too. We dominated that game but here today, no. Foxboro was hungry, they were winning the 50/50 balls and had opportunities. The first half was all them. I don’t usually call timeouts but Foxboro was just putting pressure on us.

“The second half was more even but they still won more of the 50/50 balls. Anthony [Barreira] is deadly around the area. He’s a big boy, he’s got a good touch so he’s difficult. Harry [Lancaster] does a good job with anybody and he did with him.”

The Bombardiers registered the first chance of the second half when Austin Champagne pounced on a loose ball off a corner kick but his bid was blocked.

Foxboro’s AJ Bubencik had a shot from just outside the area saved by Hasenfus in the 57th minute and Barreira had a similar shot smothered by Hasenfus in the 61st minute.

“He’s been solid,” Pereira said of Hasenfus, who notched his sixth shutout of the season. “He talks, he gets the kids going, the kids have confidence in him now. He’s been a total surprise, I had no idea. He’s been playing JV. He’s been playing ODP for the last couple of years so he’s been getting the training and he’s been absolutely awesome for us. And with Harry [Lancaster] and Tyler [Treichler], they play solid, Harry’s been our MVP for the season.”

The Warriors continued its pressure and it resulted in another good bid. Barreira played Spinney wide but his shot just rolled wide at the far post in the 67th minute.

“I think that’s the difference from where we were at the beginning of the year to now is the pressure in the center of the park,” Franchino said. “We’re not letting teams play. It’s just getting the right mixture of the right players. Even our outside backs stepped up and our backline was pushing players on. We’re not just winning balls in the defensive third, we’re winning them in the attacking third and middle third which makes a huge difference. We just have to keep grinding.”

Attleboro had its best chance in the 70th minute when Joseph sprang Will Halbem in behind the defense but before he could uncork a shot in the area, Foxboro’s Shawn McNamara slid in and pushed the ball out for a corner kick.

Foxboro boys soccer (2-7-3, 1-7-3), which has earned at least a point in four of its last five games, will look to continue that trend when they travel to Sharon on Monday. Attleboro (5-3-4, 5-2-4) travels to Wrentham to take on Kelley-Rex leading King Philip the same day.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.