Scoring Struggles Continue For Sharon At Gillette

Matt Lowerre
Matt Lowerre (8) goes up for a header against Shepherd Hill on Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FOXBORO, Mass. – Sharon dominated the ball for long stretches of the second half of Monday night’s non-league matchup with Shepherd Hill at Gillette Stadium but managed only two shots on target and neither shot troubled the Rams keepers.

Frustration mounted on the Sharon sidelines as head coach Bryan Kelly stood with his hands on his head after another attack dwindled away on the sidelines or another free kick failed to make its way into the box.

The Rams may not have had the ball much, but they were dangerous when they did get it with rapid counterattacks and long punts into the Sharon box that created several scoring chances, including one in the final seconds of the first half that produced the winner.

One mistake at the back, one moment of indecision, was all it took for Shepherd Hill to walk away with a 1-0 victory.

“The fact is we make a mistake a game or two mistakes a game,” said Kelly. “We’re solid but the fact of the matter is if we put the ball in the back of the net then we’re not facing these dilemmas.”

He added bluntly, “This team needs to start scoring.”

The first half was a contrast in styles with Sharon looking to keep the ball down and play through the midfield, which is one of the reasons Kelly moved senior Dan Bender into the back four alongside Sam Weidig. The Rams wanted to move it quickly from front to back and looked for long angled balls into striker Mark Wilding.

It only took six minuted for the Rams to show the effectiveness of the strategy when a long pass found Wilding in behind the defense but Andrew Filipkowski got a piece of the shot, which was then cleared off the line.

Chances for either team were few and far between. Sharon forced two saves, but both were comfortable ones on shots from distance.

On the brink of halftime, the game changed. Ben Boudreau sent a long ball over the top and there was hesitation between the back four as well as Filipkowski. Tyler Fagan took advantage to sneak in and then finish it over the top of the keeper for a 1-0 lead with practically the last kick of the half.

“It kind of deflated us,” admitted Kelly. “We knew they were going to just kick and run and that’s where they got all their chances from was kicking it as far as they could and running on to their fast striker. It hurt us.”

“He had one chance, we made a mistake, and they capitalized. That’s the name of the game; that’s soccer.”

The Eagles came out with renewed vigor in the second half and dominated possession and pushed the Shepherd Hill defense back into its defending third of the pitch. It was there that every attack seemed to break down. The ball would cycle to Sonny Somdah down the left touchline or Lucas Allaria on the right and the ball failed to get into the middle where Kelly argued the Eagles are their most potent.

“I think this big, wide field hurt us to be honest with you,” Kelly explained. “We’re a middle of the field kind of team and that’s where our strength is and we kept pushing to the sideline, pushing to the sideline and then we had nothing to do with it.”

“That’s not where we score from – we score in the middle of the field.”

The Eagles kept the ball well with James Dunlea, Matt Lowerre, and Stephen Higgins consistently winning the ball back and getting it back into the attack, but they failed to find openings to take a shot. It was not until the 71st minute off a free kick that Sharon managed to test the keeper in the second half.

“They wanted to keep running straight,” said Kelly. “We talk about making angled runs all the time – looping around your defender, making overlapping runs and we just didn’t do that tonight.”

The best chance of the second half actually fell to the Rams who once again created havoc with a ball over the top of the defense. This time it was Widing that got on the end of it after beating Weidig in the air, but his shot was narrowly over the bar.

Despite pushing to the final whistle, Sharon could not find the chance it needed for an equalizer. The Eagles (4-6, 3-5) will return home to face Taunton on Wednesday

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Thursday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/01/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Soccer
Canton, 0 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – Jake Goloboy opened the scoring for the Eagles off an assist from Shane Brandes in the 15th minute and Sonny Somdah added an unassisted goal 15 minutes later to double the lead. 
Girls Soccer
Sharon, 5 vs. Norwood, 2 – FinalAmanda Klayman, Victoria Zambello, Ally Filipkowski, Ally Steinberg, and Alex Rabb all scored goals for the Eagles in the non-league win. Freshman Lydia Chase made 11 saves in her second varsity appearance.
Volleyball
Canton, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Canton picked up a 25-18, 25-8, 25-13 division sweep. Elizabeth Hamilton led an entire team effort with 13 kills. Head coach Pat Cawley said Kaitlin McCarthy played great two way ball and Maria Mackie, Julia Panico, Kehla Minkin and Erika Lum all played great defense. 
Field Hockey
North Attleboro, 1 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Dimitra Efremidis set up Nicole Walker for Oliver Ames’ lone goal, which came in the first half. Foxboro freshman Lily Daly tied the game off an assist from Meri Cronin late in the second half. 

Franklin,1 @ King Philip, 0 – Final – Christina Quinn scored nine minutes into the game and it turned out to be the game-winner for the Panthers. KP goalie Abby Campbell made 14 saves to keep the Warriors in the game in the second half. Franklin goalie Sam Jones made a save with 1:30 left to preserve the win.
Canton @ Sharon, 3:45

Milford, 0 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Courtney Campbell scored with five minutes left in the game off an assist from Mia Russell to lift the Black Knights. Kara Ploss had the shutout in goal for Stoughton while Milford goalie Emily Smith also had a strong game.
Golf
Oliver Ames, 157 @ Stoughton, 185 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Jack Green shot a match-low 37 to lead the Tigers while Steven Tasho, Ryan McGarry and Mark Bissonette each carded a 40. Josh Roos shot a 44 for the Black Knights.
Milford, 6 @ Hopedale, 3 – Final – In a non-league game against rival Hopedale, the Scarlet Hawks picked up a 6-3 win in match play format. Ryan Tomaso led Milford with a 33 while Anthony Arcudi and Zach Tammaro each shot 38. 
Canton, 168 @ Foxboro, 190 – Final

Franklin, 174 @ Taunton, 162 – Final – Taunton’s Mario Wilson carded a match low round of 37 for the Tigers.

King Philip, 161 @ North Attleboro, 166 – Final – Todd Bushway and Sebastian Ladoulis led the way for the Warriors, each shooting 39. Robbie Congdon shot a team-low 39 for the Rocketeers.

Attleboro, 187 @ Sharon, 170 – Final – Ryan Crooks and Max Avratin both carded a 40 on the day, which was the low score for the match. 

Romero’s Disputed Goal the Winner for OA at Sharon

Chris Romero
OA senior Chris Romero scored the lone goal at Sharon as the Tigers improved to 6-0 on the season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Click HERE for a photo gallery from the game.

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

SHARON, Mass. – As Shalin Patel chased the ball over the top in the 38th minute, he had position on Oliver Ames forward Chris Romero and it seemed as though the chance was gone for the Tigers.

Then the Sharon right back went to ground, seemingly after having his heel clipped. But the whistle never blew and Romero never hesitated on his path to the ball before coolly finishing it under the bar.

The Eagles bench exploded, arguing that it  was a clear foul on the defender. The referees came together for a quick conversation at midfield but there was no changing the call and the goal stood.

It turned out to be enough for the Tigers for a 1-0 road victory. OA’s record improved to 6-0 and the Tigers have allowed only one goal all season, but in the team talk after the final whistle OA coach John Barata let his team know that there was plenty of room for improvement.

“It wasn’t our best game, by any means, but at least we were able to get a result,” he explained. “We’ve got a lot to build on but we’re just focused on the present.”

Sharon coach Bryan Kelly was pleased with his team’s performance, if not what turned out to be the decisive moment. He said, “They had the one chance and that’s all they needed. We played really well and I thought we controlled the tempo in both halves.”

Sharon started the game with most of the possession on its familiar grass field. The Tigers were backing off to protect the box and then countered quickly and created a number of good chances in the opening 40 minutes, while the Eagles did not put a shot on target in the first half.

The first chance fell to Romero, who was left unmarked in the box and was picked out with a cross by Thomas McCormick but headed wide. McCormick had the next chance off a pass by Keegan Nutt but his shot sailed over the bar.

Vella had another chance int he 21st minute. His shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Filipkowski but the Sharon keeper was quick to block the rebound chance by Tylor Jones. Three minutes later, he was off his line quickly again to make a sliding save on Cam Vella.

“Andrew is just solid,” said Kelly, while also praising his back four, including three-year starter Samuel Weldig. “My defense in front of him is really strong, but Andrew has been a rock back there.”

In the 38th minute, the game changed with the Tigers taking the lead. Barata said, “Yes, we had plenty of chances. We didn’t give up a lot of chances but in soccer it’s the one who finishes that wins and we got one…finally.”

The halftime team talk was crucial for the Eagles and seemed to work as Sharon came out of the break with renewed energy. Midfielders Dan Bender, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and James Dunlea got the ball into the channels quicker to give Sonny Somdah the chance to run at the OA defense.

Three minutes into the second half, Somdah created Sharon’s first real scoring chance when he raced to the byline and cut it back to Lucas Allaria, but his shot from six yards went wide.

“He’s a player to watch as we come down the end of the season,” said Kelly. “He hurt his ankle early this season but he’s starting to create chances.”

OA managed a pair of chances to double its lead on the counter. Romero quickly played the ball forward to Nutt who found Matt Campbell, but his shot flew over the bar. Romero then took advantage of a misplayed back pass to create space for his left foot but again the shot was narrowly off frame.

In the 68th minute, Sharon had its best chance of the game. Somdah was again the player that the opportunity fell to when he ran onto a through ball but OA keeper Jack Carroll came off his line to smother the chance.

“That’s the fun thing about a goalkeeper,” said Barata. “You can have nothing for 60 minutes but when you’re called upon that one moment are you going to make the save? And he made the save.”

Kelly remarked, “When we pass it we can spin people around. I have no complaints about the way we played. But it’s all about putting the ball in the net and that was shown again today.”

Two minutes after Carroll’s save, Filipkowski came up with another huge stop when he was down low to his left to stop a shot from Nutt with 10 minutes remaining.

It was a sixth straight win for the Tigers to start the season, but Barata admitted that his team had to grind out Thursday’s result.

He said, “It’s always wonderful to see these teams go at it and I always tell people that this is good tournament prep. The Hock may not win all the championships but we are ready to go come tournament time because of games like this.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.