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)

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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.

Boys Soccer: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Thomas McCormick and King Philip’s Cam Mullins battle for possession last season. OA and KP will battle for the same division title this season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 4-10-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Peter Pereira

Attleboro is only returning three starters from last year’s squad but the Bombardiers are hopeful that its incoming players will keep them competitive in the Kelley-Rex this season.

Senior captain Harry Lancaster will anchor the back line, showing his versatility by playing yet another position in his fourth year on varsity. Senior captain Ahijah Joseph will see time at both forward as well as some time in the midfield, alongside junior Zach White, another returnee. Junior Nick Hasenfus will take over as the starting goalie while seniors Tyler Treichler and Nick Lawrence will also emerge as key contributors this season. Head coach Peter Pereira also expects to get contributions from underclassmen including sophomore Will Halben and freshmen Mike Russo and Nathan LaPlume.

“We will be a hard working team that should get better every game,” Pereira said. “I think we will surprise some teams.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 12-7-1
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Fran Bositis

Franklin has some big holes to fill around the field but returning nearly a dozen varsity players is a good start. Around 10 returning players saw valuable varsity minutes last season and that is something the Panthers will rely on.

The Panthers have to find replacements for midfielders Austin Kent and Nick Parent, along with defender Dan Geraci and goalie Henri Guilmette. However, Franklin doesn’t need to find any replacements for its strikers with both Farley Asmath and Kevin Hall back this year. Hall was second on the team with seven goals a season ago and Asmath is speedy, strong player that could add a lot to the attack. Hatim Brahimi (five goals, three assists in 2015) is one of the top returning players in the league and will lead the midfield for the Panthers this season. Franklin’s defense will consist of a rotation of five or six players, including Wesley Kozil and Noah Scafati. Senior Joe Kroon and junior Fred Beckmann will battle for the starting goalie spot.

“We’ve got a bunch of great athletes that are pretty good soccer players that work really hard,” head coach Fran Bositis said.

King Philip

2015 Record: 8-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Second Round
Coach: Nick Gale

The Kelley-Rex division title race expects to be a very contested one and King Philip looks like they’ll be right in the mix this season because of a strong balance of returning players.

Senior captains Cam Mullins and Ryan Coulter are returning to anchor the back line, which had a strong showing in 2015 with the fourth least goals surrendered in the Hockomock. Both have proved in the past to be reliable defenders, especially in the air against set pieces. Although the Warriors will have to replace the versatile Joe Kellett, KP has a handful of young players that saw valuable minutes on varsity and can make an impact this year. Tyler Mann will lead the attack, a year after scoring a team-high eight goals as a sophomore. Senior Colby Koch has shown his versatility in the past and will also be a factor for KP again this this. Juniors Connor Mullins, Larsen Keys and Mike Rowe also will be key players for the Warriors this season after each of them played meaningful minutes as sophomores.

“Our goal is to build off last year’s successes, continue to improve everyday, and compete hard,” head coach Nick Gale said.
“We know what we want, but we also know we have to earn it.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 13-4-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Steve Sheridan

The defending Kelley-Rex champions will look to try to win back-to-back league titles for the first time in program history and they have a large amount of returning players that could help accomplish that goal.

Captain Max Gurnon, a 2015 HockomockSports.com Best XI selection, returns for his senior campaign to anchor an experienced back line that allowed just 15 goals last season. While Mansfield must overcome the graduation of Chris Elsner, juniors Nick Hyland and Harry Braidt both started on the back line last year while sophomore Ethan Brill-Cass looks to be the final piece to the defense. Mansfield will have to find a replacement for goalie Mike Kirejczyk but head coach Steve Sheridan said senior Jed Tolbert and junior Nick Ferraz will battle for the starting spot.

“As far as our strengths go, our defense should be strong,” Sheridan said. “Losing [Chris] Elsner is a big loss, but Ethan [Brill-Cass] saw a lot of time as a freshman last season and learned a lot from Chris. I’m hoping our offense is much improved over last season.”

The Hornets finished fifth in the league in scoring last year and graduated its top four scorers. However, there is a group of attacking players back that saw plenty of minutes. Senior captain Brendan Sullivan will be a speedy option up top while classmates Kevin Bouck and Ryan Amaral will figure into the offense. Senior captain James Chotkowski will lead a midfield unit along with Jackson Murphy, Cullin Anastasia and Sean Lanzillo.

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 18-0-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Division 2 State Champions
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames has had a target on its back for the last couple of years as they claimed four of the last five Davenport titles but after winning the program’s first ever Division 2 State Title last Fall, it’s bigger than ever.

The Tigers will have to replace two All-State players in Chris Romero and Keegan Nutt, as well as three seniors from their league-best defense last season. However, OA does return a good chunk of starters as well as experienced bench players from the state championship team.

Senior Thomas McCormick has been causing havoc for defenses for two years and will be relied upon to do so again this year. Nathaniel Cardoza, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will be back to control the middle of the pitch alongside Cam Vella, who showed his ability to get forward last season. Juniors Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Jack Sheldon and Mason Galbato all saw time in the midfield last season and look to be contributors this year. Junior Jack Carroll is back in net again this year.

“We will try to be competitive this season and make another run at qualifying for the postseason,” head coach John Barata said. “Our path to the state tourney is extremely difficult this season as we join the Kelley-Rex. We look forward to a great season and hope to be in a position to qualify for the state tournament in late October.”

Barata noted that losing the back line, one that surrendered just 12 goals all season, will be a major challenge for the Tigers this season.

Taunton

2015 Record: 2-13-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

With a new coach at the helm in Taylor Whitters, the Taunton Tigers are looking to build a new foundation for years to come. Whitters, who was previously the boys freshmen coach, is hoping the Tigers can rise up to the challenge of the very talented Kelley-Rex division.

Two key returning players include sophomore Hasan Farahat and junior Daeshawn Duffie. Both players possess strong soccer skills and will be vital parts for Taunton both ways as they patrol the midfield. Senior Sean Crowley will be tasked with pacing the scoring for the Tigers while freshman Colton Madeira, senior Dan DeAndreade and junior Jake DeAndrade will all be factors as Taunton pushes forward. Junior Liam Crowley will factor into Taunton’s defense and sophomore Liam Crowley will play a role in Taunton’s midfield.

“We are going to rise up in our league with respect, integrity,encouragement, unity and pride,” Whitters said.

Warriors Set Tone Early in Division Win Over Taunton

King Philip's Ryan Ackles and Taunton's Luke Figueira battle for possession. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
King Philip’s Ryan Ackles and Taunton’s Luke Figueira battle for possession. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
NORFOLK, Mass. – King Philip first year head coach Nick Gale strived for continuity through the program’s first six games this season and the team went 3-3.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gale decided to switch it up and it paid off in a big way as the Warriors picked up their biggest win of the season, a 4-0 win over divisional rival Taunton.
“You try to have some continuity in what you do and we’ve kind of kept things the same the last five or six games,” Gale said. “And I thought this would be a good game to switch things up, spice things up.”
KP senior captain Joe Kellett has seen time at center back and in the center midfield but was pushed higher up in a more attacking role against the Tigers. The switch paid off as he put a shot on frame inside the first 30 seconds as the Warriors set their attacking tone early.
“We’ve struggled to score goals so we had to try set a tone early,” Gale said. “Even right off the opening play we wanted to be offensive. I think Joe was a good adjustment up there and he took advantage of his opportunities. You can put him anywhere and he’s going to be a threat.”
Kellett had the first serious scoring chance for the Warriors in the 10th minute. Sophomore Tyler Mann cut a pass back to Clayton Geuss and he centered to Kellett but a sprawling effort from Taunton sophomore goalie Marc DeSousa pushed the shot wide.
But it didn’t take long for the Warriors to create another chance and this one found the back of the net. A short free kick from Taunton in the defensive third turned into turnover when Kellett pressed high and came away with the ball. Kellett took control of possession and found Mann wide open in the middle of the area and the sophomore buried his chance.
Junior Sean Crowley had a chance to level the game for Taunton in the 14th minute. Crowley gathered the ball with his back to goal along the left flank and cut into the middle. He was about to get around his defender and ripped a low shot from outside the 18 but KP goalie Brandon Ziolkowski.
Four minutes later, Mansfield was able to double their lead, this time Mann returning the favor to Kellett. On a corner kick, Mann put his service towards the back post and Kellett came sliding in to connect and find the back of the net.
The Warriors were able to make it 3-0 just over the half hour mark. Will Weir picked up a loss ball and lifted a shot that just went through the finger tips of DeSousa and found the back of the net.
““We set a tone very early,” Gale said. “We wanted to be very offensive today and very direct and we got that result early, which is the first time we’ve really gotten an early lead and held onto it. And I think that really sucks the wind out of your opponent. They challenged a lot, especially in the second half, but we set the tone early and that was awesome.”
Though the three lead felt comfortable heading into the second half, King Philip was able to tack one more on inside the first five minutes of the second half. Taunton was whistled for a foul about 30 yards from its own net. The ref whistled for King Philip to push the ball back and as DeSousa hugged the near post to try and set up a wall, King Philip’s Cam Mullins ripped a shot that floated into the back of the open net. Despite the lack of a restart whistle, the ref allowed the goal to count.
“You can try to set things up [on a free kick] but he’s an offensive minded defender I guess you can say,” Gale said. “He has a nose for goal even as a center back. He took advantage of the open goal and it was a good heads up play.”
Both teams pushed to try and find the back of the net for the rest of the half but neither was able to create a serious scoring threat.
With the win, King Philip improved to 4-3 overall and 4-3 in the division, which puts them in second at the time. The Warriors will be back in action on Friday when they host Franklin. Taunton drops to 1-4-2 overall and in division play and will look to bounce back with a trip to division leading Mansfield.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Wednesday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/09/15

Below are today’s games.
Boys Soccer
Foxboro, 5 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Foxboro took a 3-1 lead into half before the Bombardiers came back to tie things up with just over 10 minutes to play on a goal from Zach Rodrigues. However, Foxboro’s Devante Teixeira scored his third and fourth goals inside the final 10 minutes to lift the Warriors. Anthony Barreira assisted on all four of Teixeira’s goals and scored a goal himself. 
Canton, 2 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – The Rocketeers rallied from a two goal deficit with a goal midway through the second half and then in the final seconds to secure a point. Canton senior Joey Basile put the Bulldogs up on an assist from sophomore Ben Waterhouse just over 10 minutes into the game and then freshman Griffin Roach netted his first career goal to make it 2-0 Canton. North replied just two minutes later behind a goal from Zach Matracia and then Gabe Pinhancos knotted the score at two in the final seconds on a free kick.

Oliver Ames, 2 @ Franklin, 0 – Final OA sophomore Cameron Vella and senior Chris Romero scored second half goals to lift the Tigers. Max Bamford and Romero each had an assist in the game. Head coach John Barata said Keegan Nutt and Nathaniel Cardoza played great in the middle. Jack Carroll recorded his first career shutout for OA.
Sharon, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip’s Tyler Mann opened the scoring on an assist from Clay Geuss and then added another goal to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead at the break. Will Weir had the other first half goal for KP on an assist from Cam Mullins. KP’s Paul Kelley scored the lone goal of the second half. 
Milford, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Mansfield’s Jack Reilly scored the lone goal of the game for the Hornets to open the season with a win. Six minutes into the second half, Mansfield’s Brad Eames’ corner found Chris Elsner, who deflected it on to Reilly for the tap in. 
Stoughton, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton’s Sean Crowley put home side up a goal in the 13th minute. Stoughton’s Will Peoples converted from the penalty spot for the Black Knights in the 40th minute to level the game. 
Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Hannah Burns opened the scoring for the Warriors and Hailey Maling added a second goal on an assist from Kristen Bortolotti. 
North Attleboro, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final Riley Duserick, Julia Hamilton and Casey Bradley all scored for the Bulldogs. North Attleboro’s Haley Guertin scored to cut the deficit to 2-1 on an assist from Grace Guertin. Emily Schramm scored North’s second goal on an assist from Haley Guertin. 

Franklin, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – Sharon’s Victoria Zambello opened the scoring for the Eagles just over 10 minutes into the game and Ally Steinberg added a second-half tally for the Eagles. Natalie Gray made nine saves in goal for Sharon. KP’s Maggie Hall recorded four saves. 
Mansfield, 2 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Mansfield’s Jen Kemp scored a brace as the Hornets opened the season with a shutout win. Kemp headed home a corner in the first half and then chipped the keeper for the second goal. Milford coach Jay Mastaj said Nichole Dahlgren played well defensively and Emily Duquette made eight saves in net.

Taunton, 1 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Abby Small scored her first goal of the season and the Tigers picked up a season-opening win. Kayla Wentworth had eight saves for the shutout in net. Stoughton’s goalie Marissa Williams also made eight saves in goal. 
Volleyball
Foxboro, 3 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final

Canton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro picked up a win 28-26 in the first set but the Bulldogs rallied to get care of business the next three sets (25-8, 25-15, 25-16). Elizabeth Hamilton slammed home 15 kills and had 14 digs, Rye Verille had seven kills and four blocks, Nicole Poole had 34 assists in her first start at setter and head coach Pat Cawley said Olivia Devoe had an “outstanding” debut at libero with 24 digs. 

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin senior Hannah Chase had six aces and three kills, Aubrie Kutil had six kills, sophomore Meaghan Maguire collected four blocks and Dayna McCue had six digs and an ace. 
King Philip, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – King Philip swept 25-17, 25-18, 25-30. Josie Rowean had 11 kills and a pair of aces, Gwen Uyrus had 10 kills and four aces and Carly Adams had 11 assists. 
Milford, 1 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Mansfield won 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 25-12. Cathryn Heavey had 14 service points and 13 assists for the Hornets and Sarah Mullahy added six kills and seven service points. Milford sophomore Julianna Tracy had five kills and four blocks for the Scarlet Hawks.

Stoughton, 0 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Emily Moor had 14 kills and five aces, Tatum Speicher had 26 assists, a pair of kills and a pair of aces and Aimee Kistner had a good day at the net with three blocks, two kills and added three aces. Stoughton’s Bianca DeSousa had nine assists and five aces. 
Golf
Stoughton, 186 @ Milford, 160 – Final – Anthony Arcudi had the best day for the Scarlet Hawks, shooting a 37. Ryan Tomaso shot a 38 and Zach Tammaro carded a 39 for Milford. 
Taunton, 160 @ Canton, 155 – Final – Senior Jim Jenkins carded a match-low 36 for the Bulldogs while sophomore Jack Goyetch shot a 39 for Canton. Taunton’s Ryan O’Berg and Mario Wilson each shot a 39 for the Tigers.
Sharon, 164 @ Oliver Ames, 148 – Final – OA’s Brady Allbritton shot a team-low 35 for the Tigers while Brian Lambert and Mark Bissonette each carded a 37. Sharon’s Max Avartin shot a round of 35 for the Eagles.