In the very competitive Hockomock League, any team has to put together two great halves in a game to have a chance to win.
For the Stoughton High , through its first two contests, it has been one good half and one lackluster half in each game and it has led to a 0-2 start for the Black Knights.
In the this past Friday at home, Stoughton played a strong Foxboro team to a scoreless tie through the first half, but gave up three goals in the second half to lose 3-0.
On Monday afternoon, also at home, Stoughton reversed itself and came out with a sluggish performance in the first half, giving up four goals to Hockomock foe Franklin (Kelly Rex—large schools Division), and then played a solid second half, but again was shutout, this time, 4-0.
“There is no difference what half you play well; if you don’t play well in both halves you end up losing and that’s what has happened to us,” Stoughton coach Dan Mark said.
“We’re playing very strong teams and we need to play a complete game. We’re getting beat to the loose balls and then making mental mistakes in the defensive zone. We’re getting some great individual efforts, but we need to make it a collective and team effort and that’s what we’re not doing yet.”
Stoughton failed to get a shot on net or a corner hit in the first half against Franklin. The Black Knights played much better in the second half, controlling the game territorially and forcing three corner hits and getting two shots on net.
“The halves in each of our first two games that we’ve played well is due to playing hard and not hesitating and making the right decisions,” Mark said. “We’ve proved in these halves that we can play with anyone, so we know what we’re capable of.”
Franklin, with only two senior starters, improved to 3-0 and has outscored its opponents, 17-1 through the first three games of the season. The Panthers were led by senior captain Katy Cronin, who had two goals and two assists. She has led the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons.
“We’re off to a great start both offensively and defensively, but we need to maintain it and not rely on just one person,” Franklin coach Lisa Cropper said.
“So far we’ve been getting contributions from everyone and that makes it more difficult for our opposition to defend Katy. Our goal is not only to qualify for the [postseason] tournament, but to advance past the first round.”
Franklin started the scoring just nine minutes into the game, when Cronin scored with an assist from junior Kaitlyn Spillane. With 13 minutes remaining before halftime, Cronin and Spillane assisted on a goal by junior Brenna Spolidoro.
The Panthers then put the game out of reach in the final three minutes of the first half thanks to defensive lapses by Stoughton. Kelly Dubowski, a sophomore, scored with an assist by Cronin, and then Cronin added another goal, with only two seconds left in the first half, with assists from junior Hannah Magerman and Tara Doherty.
Stoughton did get solid efforts from senior forwards Kayla Floro, Brittany Mahan and Amanda Crean who helped lead a spirited second half attack for the Black Knights. Senior goaltender Christina Bacon had eight saves for Stoughton.
The Black Knights are next in action with back-to-back games Wednesday at North Attleboro and Thursday, at home, against Oliver Ames.