NORTH EASTON, Mass – During the 2011 season, the Oliver Ames boys’ soccer team shared the Davenport Division title with Canton despite scoring only 18 goals all year.
Through two games in the 2012 campaign, the Tigers are already halfway to last year’s total.
Two days after its season opening 6-0 victory over Whitman-Hanson, OA got off to another hot start thanks to a goal by sophomore Chris Goncalves 1:25 into the contest and earned a 3-0 victory over King Philip in its Hockomock League opener.
Midfielders David Stapleton and Kyle Hayes added to the Tiger tally with goals in the 55th and 58th minutes, respectively.
“It was a good performance today,” OA coach John Barata said. “Last year, we only scored 18 goals all season, so having nine goals now…is nice that we can score and get some offense.”
Defensively, OA has been equally impressive through the first two games.
KP’s best chance came in the 20th minute on a corner kick, but MacKinnon was able to make a diving save on Nick Uvanovic to keep the 1-0 Tiger advantage.
“I thought we possessed the ball well in the first half,” said Warrior coach Kip Lewis. “It was a shame that we gave up the first goal, because we had to play from behind the rest of the game, but I thought we really recovered well and played well the latter part of the first half.”
After that surge, the Tigers regained the momentum and KP was held to very few scoring opportunities during the last 40 minutes.
“We had a good second half,” Barata said about his team’s adjustments at halftime. “KP is a very good, strong team and they are going to do very well this season. But we caught them on their first game of the season.
"We were able to jump on them and they got right back on us. MacKinnon made one big save all game, but it was huge. That game would have changed if it were 1-1.”
Despite hitting the crossbar twice in the second half, OA kept its foot on the pedal. Eventually, Stapleton and Hayes scored less than three minutes apart to put a dagger to KP’s chances in its first game of Autumn.
“We gave up a really sloppy goal [by Stapleton] in the second half and it cost us the game,” Lewis said. “It gave them the momentum and opened up the game for them. They came at us hard and we had a hard time recovering from that.”
OA, the top team in the preseason Hock 5 rankings, faces another test Monday night when they travel to Mansfield for an inter-division matchup at 5:45 p.m.
KP also returns Monday afternoon against the Hockomock newcomers from Milford – ranked fifth in the Hock 5 – for a 3:45 p.m. contest.