Gilman Header Lifts OA to Win Over Mansfield

Oliver Ames girls soccer
OA senior Camryn O’Connor set up the game-winning goal with a long run and pinpoint cross, as the Tiger remain in a first-place tie. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Sometimes it takes just one moment to separate two good teams. On Wednesday night at Muscato Stadium, the moment came right before halftime when Oliver Ames senior Camryn O’Connor burst out of midfield and crossed to junior Jenna Gilman at the back post. Making her first start of the season up top, Gilman made no mistake from a few yards out to put the Tigers back in front.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA was able to hold onto its halftime lead, beating Mansfield 2-1 in a game that had the proper intensity for two teams fighting for first place in their respective divisions, battling for higher rankings in the state tournament, and getting prepared for making deep playoff runs next month.

“I preach all the time that a great game is 2-1,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “Someone is going to make a mistake, someone is going to hit a brilliant goal, and you need two [goals] to win. That’s two games in a row that this team has shown some growth since the Foxboro game where we had a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes to go and it kind of slipped away.

“It’s one of our best games of the year, so I’m pleased because Mansfield’s always tough to break down.”

The first half was largely dominated by the hosts. OA’s pressure on the ball was forcing turnovers high up the pitch and forcing Mansfield to resort to long balls over the top. There was very little time to take a touch and the Hornets struggled early.

Just six minutes into the game, OA had its first chance on a set piece. An in-swinging corner was only partially cleared and Ella McDonough got a foot to it. The shot was blocked onto the post and then a goal-bound rebound effort was blocked by Carly Devine.

In the 12th minute, another set piece would provide the opener. Mansfield keeper Olivia Salisbury did really well to prevent Katie Gibson’s corner from heading straight in, clawing the ball out from under the bar. Alexa Lane was there to knock the rebound back at goal but it was blocked out to Mary Cross. Third time was the charm, as the senior defender poked it home.

Lyla Nappa would have Mansfield’s first shot on goal in the 18th minute and it was comfortably saved by Emily Meyers. At the half-hour mark, the Hornets equalized out of nothing. Abby Jean and Tarynn Smith played a nice one-two about 35 yards from goal. Smith looked up and, for once, had no pressure on her so decided to have a go. The shot slid just under the bar and over the fingers of Meyers to make it 1-1.

“She’s starting to and we need it,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said of Tarynn Smith finding the back of the net more often in recent games. “We’re built on a team offense. We don’t have the Steph Kemp or the Cam O’Connor or the Kailee McCabe, so we have to get contributions from everybody.”

The remainder of the half was largely controlled by O’Connor. The Boston University-commit was proving difficult to contain, even as the Hornets threw multiple defenders on her. After sending one just wide from 25 yards, O’Connor dribbled past a pair of defenders into the box taking advantage of a Gabby Smith clearance ricocheting off Kara Santos for another chance that went just wide.

In the 39th minute, Lucinda Li Cotter teed up O’Connor from 20 yards that forced Salisbury into a full stretch save, tipping it around the post.

With the clock stopped at the end of the half, O’Connor had her moment. She rode a challenge near midfield and then carried the ball a full 40 yards down the left channel, got to the end line, and sent over a pinpoint, left-footed cross to Gilman ghosting in unmarked at the back post.

“Cam had the big play that we need every game from her,” said Sellmayer. “She is one of those rare players that has pace on the ball. Sometimes there will be a tackle and it ends up on your foot, ends up on my foot, well it usually ends up on her foot a little more often.”

The second half would feature very few chances for either team, but the Hornets made significant improvements in how they played out of the pressure. Smith admitted that it had little to do with his team talk at the break.

He explained, “Got to halftime and said what do you guys think? They were like, coach we were playing scared a little bit. They actually self-reflected and they figured out how to break it down. It’s what I love about these kids, they really think about the game and we’re growing.”

OA had a chance of yet another corner early in the second half but McDonough didn’t catch it cleanly and Santos was in the way to block and clear. In the 64th minute, Katie Gibson had a deflected cross find her at the back post but she couldn’t make clean contact and hit it right at Salisbury. A minute later, Carly Gibson set up O’Connor on her right foot but it was a tame effort that Salisbury snagged.

Those were the only chances for the Tigers after the break, but they were also limiting Mansfield, who was playing better and getting into advanced areas down the wings but still not troubling Meyers. The foursome of McDonough (making her first start), Cross, Allison Evin, and Sophia Byron largely held the Hornets at arm’s length.

“We really didn’t give them many chances inside the 18 and that’s something they’ve worked on,” said Sellmayer. “I thought Kyla [Melton] playing in the midfield gave us another edge on those headers that we didn’t have in the Foxboro game.”

Still, in a one-goal game, all it takes is a single chance to turn two points into one. Mansfield finally got that look in the 70th minute. Santos won the ball at the back and hit a quick outlet to Anna Darlington down the right wing leading to a corner. Smith curled one into the six-yard box and Devine was there but unable to keep her header down.

OA was able to run out the final nine minutes to secure the win and stay level with Foxboro in the Davenport title race

“I keep saying we’re young and learning and we are,” said Smith. “It’s been our mantra all year and it’s a great opportunity to learn about those little things and how to play against a team that’s, in the power rankings, No. 4 four in the state. It was good for us, I’m proud of my girls.”

Oliver Ames (9-1-1) will travel to Canton on Friday. Mansfield (8-3-0), which is four points behind Franklin in the Kelley-Rex with game in hand, will be on the road at Milford on Friday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Oliver Ames Claims Challenge Cup With Win At Canton

Oliver Ames girls soccer
The Oliver Ames girls soccer team poses with the Challenge Cup trophy after beating Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 CANTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames girls soccer team started the season without a win in its first four games.

The Lady Tigers ended the 2020 campaign as the hottest team in the Hockomock League, earning a pair of trophies including the Hockomock Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win over Davenport division champion Canton.

Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer

After defeating King Philip on Tuesday to win the Hockomock Cup, the Tigers avenged their only loss of the entire season by taking down the Bulldogs in the Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup was created after Canton was forced to quarantine out of an abundance of caution after playing a team that had a positive COVID test. It gave the Bulldogs, the top seed out of the Davenport, a chance to play in the postseason after having to forfeit their first round of the Hockomock Cup.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’re a young team and it’s also about a coach learning who can do what,” said Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer of the turnaround from the start of the season. “We’re not playing the same positions that we were the first couple of games. COVID put everybody behind but for us, it was just a little bit more because we were younger. When you have experience, when you come back you get rolling a little bit sooner. We peaked at the right time, I’m very proud of the girls for how they played at the end of the year.

“Canton got a chance to play another game, they are a great, great team that I really feel like taking two weeks off didn’t help their cause. They were on a roll themselves when they were playing. They have some super players and the coach has done a great job in his first year. But it’s tough to sit out for two weeks and come out and play a team that’s hot, and we’re playing well, and we’ve been playing every three days for the past two weeks. I think that kind of hindered them a bit. I don’t want to take anything away from them being a great team.”

The Tigers started with four straight ties, finally breaking into the win column in their fifth game with a 2-0 decision over Sharon. Canton and OA tied in their first meeting of the season, and the Bulldogs handed the Tigers their only loss (3-1) in the second meeting.

OA caught fire after that loss, winning five straight to win the Hockomock Cup, and earned its sixth straight victory with the win on Thursday evening.

“We weren’t overly excited about [playing again] at first but then we looked at what it meant for Canton,” Sellmayer said. “And I said to my seniors ‘this is it, this is a chance to play one more game’ and we talked about playing for the seniors. We made sure all the seniors played.”










Although the result wasn’t what Canton, who had just one loss in the regular season, had hoped, the Bulldogs relished in the opportunity to get back on the field. The Bulldogs hadn’t played or practiced since the final week of the regular season, getting one training session in on Wednesday evening.

“It was amazing to least get out there to have one more chance to compete…a team that was having such a great season only to be cut short by, unfortunately, unforeseen events,” said first-year Canton head coach Idris Senyonjo. “Our seniors, especially, they needed this. Of course it didn’t end how we wanted it, but they needed to finish the season. They’ve worked so hard to be able to get there.

Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer

“A big layoff is such a big difference in this spot, it means everything. Even if you only take a couple of days, but you take 10 days …that’s a long time not kicking the ball. We practiced for the first time just last night out in the cold. [OA] had a gameplan, they stuck to it and they were the better team today, so you can’t take that away from them. You just hope we could have done better on a couple of chances in the first half but that’s how the game goes. If you don’t take your chances, the other team will.”

The Tigers scored in each the first and second quarters, and tacked on a key insurance goal in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled one back in the final minutes.

Before Oliver Ames opened the scoring late in the first quarter, Canton had a pair of chances to take the lead. Just nine minutes in, Gabriella Herivaux played a through ball into the area for Olivia Rodman but her chance from in close was met with a terrific stop from OA keeper Emma O’Donnell. Minutes later, Rodman returned the favor for Herivaux but her bid skipped wide at the far post.

Off a kick-in in the attacking third, Katie Gibson knocked down a service into the area. Alexa Lane was the first to pounce on the loose ball, a quick touch past the keeper from in close to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going into the second quarter.

At the midway point of the second quarter, OA senior Emma Pereira took down a clearance and used her time and space to turn and fire a rocket inside the far post from 25 yards out to double the Tigers’ advantage.

Canton opened the second half with a pair of chances to get back into it but Mia Gilmore’s free kick a minute in was just off frame, and an intercepted pass by Elisa Diletizia led to a chance but her shot was over the bar.

Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer




COVID restrictions nearly led to a goal for the Tigers in the 50th minute when Pereira’s cross was met with a good take off Carly Gibson’s shoulder but it was right at the keeper.

Canton’s Allie McCabe came up with a big stop on the goal line to deny a shot from Lane to keep the score at 2-0 at the end of the third quarter, but the score didn’t stay that long at the start of the fourth.

Oliver Ames was quick to clear a Canton corner and sophomore Jenna Gilman latched into the loose ball and used her speed to race up the right wing. Her cross into the area was cleared away by a defender but only as far as Pereira, who brought it down and laid it off to junior Lauren Sellmayer. Sellmayer took a touch to put it on her left foot and fired a perfectly placed shot off the far post and in to make it 3-0.

“Emma had a great goal, Lauren had a great goal, and Alexa’s scored two games in a row coming off the bench for us, and her work and her speed has helped with pressure,” Britt Sellmayer said. “We’re not the most skilled team but I think we’ve outworked everybody the last four games. Our work rate in the midfield, contesting every 50-50 ball. They showed a lot of heart. Canton is definitely more skilled than us but I think we had a little more work rate today and maybe our team is a little bit deeper. But we’re also fresher, those two weeks off is huge. I tip my hat to [Canton], they are a great team, and congrats on being Hockomock champs.

“We definitely connected a lot more passes today than the first two times we played Canton. We started playing better as a team, the communication came together. Plus, finding the right role for everybody. Sometimes as a coach, it takes a while to put people in the right spot where they can be successful.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton continued to fight back against OA’s back four of Sophia Byron, Mary Cross, Allison Evin, and Madeleine Taylor. After coming close on a couple of chances before, Gilmore blasted a free kick from 30 yards out just under the bar to get the Bulldogs on the board.

“It’s been a rollercoaster for us, having to start late and then cut the season short, only to go back again,” Senyonjo said. “The team had a new coaching staff so they had to adjust to the new system, the way we want to play. So kudos to them, it speaks volumes the kind of kids that are here. I’m definitely looking forward to going again next year.”

Oliver Ames girls soccer finishes the season at 8-1-5 and won both the Hockomock Cup and the Challenge Cup. Canton’s record finishes at 8-3-1, though one loss was via forfeit at the start of the Hockomock Cup.

Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/17/20

Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Soccer
Hockomock Cup Final

#KR3 King Philip, 0 @ #D3 Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalTaking a 1-0 lead into the second half, Oliver Ames scored twice in the third quarter and recorded its sixth shutout of the season, and fourth in the last six games. Junior Katie Gibson opened the scoring just minutes into the contest, an advantage that would last to the halftime break. Alexa Lane doubled the lead in the third quarter, and Carly Gibson added to the lead just minutes later to help secure the Hockomock Cup. Lauren Sellmayer and Sophia Byron had assists for the Tigers.

Field Hockey
Hockomock Cup Final

#KR2 King Philip, 0 @ #KR1 Franklin, 1 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.