It certainly wasn't easy, but the Oliver Ames girls' soccer team was able to squeak by Brockton Sunday evening in a thrilling MIAA South Sectional first round match-up.
Propelled by Clarissa Romero's second goal of the game with 8:41 remaining, Oliver Ames beat Brockton 3-2 and advanced to the South Sectional quarterfinals where they'll play Whitman Hanson Tuesday night.
"They gave us all we could handle," OA coach Britt Sellmayer said. "We got one more chance than they did and we took care of it. Both teams had a lot of chances."
The Tigers took advantage of their chances in the first half. Freshman Delaney Benton scored with an assist from Nikki Taylor at the 24:43 mark of the first half to give the Tigers a 1-0. Shortly after, at the 28:26 mark, Romero nailed her first goal of the game. Kendall Andrew earned the assist.
A 2-0 halftime lead wasn't enough to stay comfortable, though.
Brockton retaliated in the 9th minute of the second half with a 30-yard free kick off the foot of Kaelyn Da Costa. She repeated the same feat from 27 yards out seven minutes later to tie the game.
Da Costa almost gave the Boxers the lead shortly after but couldn't find the net.
"We were flat but we said at halftime, We need to get the third goal. We need to get the first goal at the second half and it’s a game changer,'" Brockton coach Andrea Tassinari. "For Kaelyn to step up and nail that, you couldn’t ask for such a picture perfect goal. Then to repeat, then she got a bid on a third one – then we started to get our engines running again."
Romero's goal with 8:41 remaining was just enough to quell the Boxer momentum and give the No. 6 Tigers a win.
"Brockton showed a lot of heart to come back," Sellmayer said. "They’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of skill. You can’t look at the record of 8-8. I know they had some injuries during the season that affected how things run for them."
Sellmayer pointed to Kate Holleran's presence in the middle as integral in OA's win. He also complimented a strong Tiger defense led by Lexi Soucie, Kelsey Bliss and Nikki Taylor.
The Tigers will look to keep the momentum going during Tuesday's 6 p.m. game against No. 3 Whitman-Hanson. Coming off a 2-1 win over Notre Dame, W-H is 15-1-2 overall.