Canton’s Malloy Sets Scoring Record at St. Anselm

Maggie Malloy
Former Canton ice and field hockey standout Maggie Malloy (13) set a new goals and points record this season at St. Anselm. (Jim Stankiewicz/St. Anselm Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

Partway through soccer tryouts before her sophomore year at Canton, Maggie Malloy sensed that things weren’t going well and it might be better to try something different. Her younger sister knew the field hockey coaches, so she asked to join their tryouts instead. Although she had played ice hockey since the first year that she was old enough (which is pretty common for Canton), Malloy had never played field hockey competitively before picking up a stick that fall.

She made an instant impact on the Bulldogs, becoming one of the Hockomock League’s top scorers that year and tallying more than 20 goals in each of her junior and senior seasons, being named to the First Team all three times. Malloy went from never playing the sport to fulfilling a dream and playing at nationally ranked St. Anselm (the college where her parents met and the school her brother and sister both attend).

Malloy is in the midst of a breakthrough senior season for the Hawks. With her fourth hat trick of the year in the penultimate game of the regular season, Malloy broke a decade-old record for goals in a season. The following day, she scored twice more and broke the single-season scoring record as well (which she added to with an assist in the NE-10 Tournament opener against Southern New Hampshire).

This week, she was named the NE-10 Player of the Week, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Div. II Offensive Player of the Week, and the NE-10 Player of the Year.

“Playing here was a goal of mine for a very long time,” Malloy said the afternoon before the Hawks kicked off the conference tournament. “This isn’t something that I aimed for, but I think having these opportunities that led me here, it feels absolutely wonderful getting to this spot.”

When asked what allowed her to jump from five career goals and two career assists after her freshman and junior years (COVID took away her sophomore campaign) to 19 goals and seven assists (45 points) this fall, Malloy joked, “I wish I had an answer for that because I think it would be very valuable to tell people.”

She added, “Sometimes it just works, and I think a lot of that is off-the-field team cohesion and and off-the-field unity towards a goal and I’ve been very fortunate to be at the end piece of a lot of our success. I think it’s an intangible thing. It’s not something you can do, you just need to put all the pieces together of being a successful team to have that ultimate personal success.”

The season hasn’t been perfect. St. Anselm started with three straight losses, including to the top team in the country and defending national champion Shippensburg. After back-to-back wins in league play, the Hawks lost in overtime to Adelphi, who they met again in the NE-10 semifinal.

Staring at a 2-4 record, the Hawks turned things around with one loss in the final 13 games of the regular season and an 11-2 record in the NE-10. Malloy believed the seeds for that turnaround were planted in the spring season.

“The weather was cold and rainy for like three months and you’re exhausted,” she explained. “You just did a year of school and sports and we were able to persevere through all of that and stay together as a team. Things stayed positive on the field and off the field, even through challenges, and I think I was like, this team can do hard things.”

“I think that losing is a really important part of learning and growing, especially on a team like this. When we look at the mistakes or shortcomings that we’ve had, collectively we know that we can do better, we can do anything we need to accomplish our goals.”

It also helped that Malloy started finding the net as often as she did at Canton. She scored her first hat trick against Southern Connecticut State and started a six-game scoring streak (including two more hat tricks) with a goal and assist against Southern New Hampshire.

She is third in NCAA DII with 2.37 points per game and is the nation’s second-highest scorer at a goal per game. This massive season has moved her up to a tie for seventh all-time in points at St. A’s, as well as a tie for sixth in goals and just outside the top 10 for assists. All of that was accomplished with limited playing time as a freshman and the pandemic taking away her sophomore season.

“I think everything happens for a reason and for me that was a huge year where I did skill development,” Malloy said about 2020. “It taught me so much to not take anything for granted. I’m not going to say I’m happy it happened, but I’m happy with the lessons that I ultimately learned from it. Losing a year just makes you even more grateful for every moment that you get.”

In addition to her family legacy at St. Anselm, Malloy is also continuing one for Canton field hockey, with former Bulldogs Andrea McNeil and Mary Nee among the players who Malloy played with in high school and college. (There is also a significant Hockomock legacy at St. A’s with former Oliver Ames standout Hannah Friend the program’s all-time leading scorer and former Franklin standout Amanda Lewandowski among the current Hawks.)

“It just speaks to how much investment that our coaches back in high school put into us,” she said. “I hadn’t even considered playing field hockey in college because I didn’t know most of the rules back in high school. Having the coaches believe in me and push me to do things I didn’t think I could do, and I know they’ve done that for so many other people back in Canton, that’s huge.”

While she is focused on the conference tournament and a potential spot in the NCAA Tournament, Malloy was also reflecting on how far she had come as a player and how far sports had brought her in the nearly two decades since she laced up her skates for youth hockey.

“It’s really cool that I get to do all these things right now, but what I think is best is looking inside and seeing how I couldn’t have done anything without all the incredible people who’ve supported me along the way and taught me,” Malloy said. “The experiences that I’ve gotten to share with my teammates and my family…I’m really grateful for all of that and it’s just incredible, at the end, to see all that went into it. You can see all the support you have in your life through the outlet of sports.”

She added, “I think I have graduation glasses for everything, so even the things that sometimes aren’t the most fun to do, I’m just like, ‘Oh my God, last time doing this,’ and I think it’s helping with the physical aspect of getting through the storm of the season and playoffs. It’s easier when you can see the end in sight to give it all you’ve got.”

Graduation glasses or not, Malloy sees a huge opportunity for the Hawks to close out the season, and her career, with silverware.

“It would mean so much, Malloy said about an NE-10 title or an NCAA Tournament berth. “It’s one of those things, I really, really want to do it, but all we can focus on is putting our best foot forward, so that’s what I’m going to focus on. It would be awesome to bring home a trophy, but we need to focus on playing the best field hockey that we can.”

Ed. Note – St. Anselm lost 2-1 in overtime to Adelphi in the NE-10 semifinal on Friday afternoon. Amanda Lewandowski (Franklin) scored the go-ahead goal in the second half but Adelphi was able to equalize and found a winner in OT. The Hawks (14-6) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA DII Tournament and will be the No. 5 seed in the six-team field. They were the national runner-up in 2019.

Franklin’s McGrath Adds Another Title to Her Resume

Lauren McGrath
Former Franklin standout Lauren McGrath (18) helped Endicott go on the road and win its third straight CCC Tournament title. (David Le/Endicott Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

The Endicott women’s volleyball team hadn’t lost a conference match since the 2018 season, so it came as a bit of a shock when the Gulls dropped a 3-1 result at neighboring Gordon in the final week of the regular season. It meant that Gordon would host the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament and maybe deny Endicott a third straight trip to the NCAA DIII Tournament.

“We definitely did not like losing to them,” said senior setter Lauren McGrath. “I think we’re definitely motivated since that was such a tough loss and everyone knew, you could see on our faces how upset we were. We just need to improve and fix our mistakes and we know what we need to do now.”

The former Franklin standout and 2018 Player of the Year noted how much fun it would be to celebrate the conference title on Gordon’s court and, a week later, she got to do just that.

Endicott swept Nichols and Western New England in the first two rounds to get a rematch with Gordon in the CCC final. McGrath finished with 35 assists, eight digs, two aces, and a kill, as the Gulls swept aside their rivals to win a third straight CCC crown and fifth in the past six years. It also secured a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance for McGrath.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride but I think we’ve shown out and beaten some good competition,” McGrath said in a phone conversation before the Gulls opened the CCC Tournament against Nichols. “I think we’ve put a lot of effort, us as upperclassmen, we’ve grown with the underclassmen a lot and it’s been really fun. Everyone is working so hard.”

Success is nothing new for McGrath, who started at setter for Franklin as a sophomore and her senior year helped the Panthers win the Kelley-Rex division title and win the Div. 1 Central/West title for the first time. She was also a standout for her club teams, Smash and Envy. In her final season at Endicott, McGrath was determined to add another title to her impressive resume.

“I think that winning at Gordon would make the season amazing,” she said. “To prove that we can beat them and win the championship would be a great feeling. Winning at home with everyone you know, a big crowd, is amazing, but I think winning on the road in the championship would be awesome. Celebrate on their court, and we will for sure.”

Sports have been an integral part of McGrath’s life. She played multiple sports growing up, picking up volleyball in seventh grade. When she arrived at Franklin, McGrath chose volleyball over field hockey that fall, a decision that has carried her all the way to the NCAA Tournament and to be among the career leaders in assists at Endicott.

Although volleyball was a serious commitment in high school, playing at the collegiate level was a new challenge. Combining a tough practice schedule with lifting and with classes took things to another level.

“It’s time-consuming and you have to manage your time well,” she explained. “College is a different culture, I’d say it’s more of a family. We’re all very close, we hang out all the time outside of volleyball. It’s a different feeling because it means so much more than playing in high school. I know it’s DIII, but it is very important to all of us and we all depend on each other. It’s a lot of work but work that I’m willing to put in.”

As a freshman at Endicott, McGrath didn’t get many opportunities to be the setter. She took on a role as a defensive specialist, only getting the chance to set against some of the weaker teams on the schedule. Her sophomore year was going to be the first chance for McGrath to take the reins of the offense, but then COVID hit and the pandemic shut down the season.

“We had to split up practices,” McGrath recalled. “Only some of us could go on one side of the court and it was half and half, they called it pods. It was difficult because we were separated from our own team and you would get close to the people you were with every day. It was a little hard to even get motivation because practice was all over the place, we didn’t even know what was going to happen next, who had COVID, it put a damper on us”

The pandemic was a reminder of how short the college career is and added an extra layer of conviction to come out strong for the 2021 season.

“We did get really close because we quarantined in the same hotel together,” McGrath said. “We were all just joking around, talking because we were all in one hotel room, so it was kind of fun. We all love volleyball and we all want to play as much as we can, so we got captain’s practices in the spring and we tried to play as much as we could.”

In high school, McGrath was the lone setter, bearing the responsibility for the Panthers’ attack. At Endicott, McGrath has shared that burden and she appreciates being able to lean on her fellow setters, sophomore Amelia Beigel and freshman Ella Koelb, during practices and matches.

“In high school I kind of felt like I was alone, like it was all up to me,” she said. “There was a lot of pressure and I just had to figure it out myself. It’s nice to have other setters who understand what you’re going through and how to go about the game.”

McGrath added, “Being a setter we have a special, unique bond with each other. During our warmups we have this one part where everyone gets off the court and it’s just the setters, all three of us do it for two minutes each and we give feedback the whole time. We’re looking out for each other.”

After a decade of playing volleyball, and despite being only 22, McGrath is feeling the wear and tear of her career and said that this is likely her final season. As she looked ahead to her final college games, McGrath was focused on making the most of the experience, especially pushing to get a win in the NCAA Tournament.

“I love volleyball more than anything,” she said. “I think it’s the best sport to play, the best sport to watch, as much as I’m going to hate life without volleyball and without playing a sport, I definitely think it’s my time to throw in the towel.”

“It made me who I am today,” McGrath said. “I have that sports mentality, the motivation for everything because of sports. I think sports led me to be successful. Even though it’s a lot of time and effort, I think it’s made me a hard-working person and I think I realize what’s most important to me now.”

Endicott will face Salisbury (Md.) in the first round of the NCAA DIII Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Silloway Gymnasium on the campus of Wesleyan University.

North’s Gaulin Twins Ending Soccer Careers Together

Ashlyn Gaulin Emma Gaulin
North Attleboro’s Ashlyn Gaulin (left) and Emma Gaulin are finishing up their collegiate soccer careers by each other’s side. (Joshua McKee)
Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

It is rare enough for two players from the same high school team to get the chance to play collegiate soccer. Even rarer is the opportunity for family members to move onto the next level together. Rarer still, twin sisters playing together from three years old in North Attleboro parks and recreation leagues, through the same club soccer and high school teams, all the way to the NCAA Div. III tournament.

North Attleboro’s Ashlyn Gaulin and Emma Gaulin have shared almost all of their experiences on the pitch together (Ashlyn chuckles remembering that one year in middle school where Emma made their club’s ‘A’ team and she didn’t). From the age of three to this weekend, and possibly into grad school, the two are by their own admission inseparable on and off the field.

Last Sunday, when Mt. St. Mary’s (N.Y.) visited Hamilton’s Love Field, Ashlyn assisted on the first Continentals goal with a throw-in and Emma sent in a ball to the top of the six for the team’s sixth goal. It was one of their last chances to play together at Hamilton and both got on the scoresheet with their second assists of the season.

“Even just from high school, if Emma scored or got an assist, I was the loudest one cheering,” Ashlyn explained the day after the Mt. St. Mary’s game. “For both of us to get one yesterday was awesome. It’s just fun playing with her. Seeing her be aggressive pushes me to be aggressive. It’s a lot of fun, especially when we win and get points together.”

It may seem difficult to be around a sibling all the time, but for the Gaulins it has become second nature to have the other there and neither would have it any other way.

“We always tried to be on the same team,” Ashlyn said. “Especially, once we narrowed it down to schools over four hours away, we were like okay we want to go to school together. We’re best friends. We don’t want to be separate.”

“There was one day I can remember where I didn’t want to go to the same school,” Emma said with a laugh. “There was one day in high school where someone couldn’t tell us apart and it was someone we’d been going to school with since elementary school. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy can’t tell us apart, I won’t have my own identity,’ but then, after that 24 hours, I got over it.”

She continued, “Ashlyn is my best friend and nothing really can take me from her. We’re attached at the hip so I always knew wherever she went I would go and wherever I was going to go she would probably follow.”

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for any incoming freshman, but having a twin sister to lean on during the difficult moments, like summer conditioning, helped Ashlyn and Emma assimilate to their new environment, four hours from home, much quicker.

“Having my sister there, a familiar face in a group of 30, gave me security that I was never alone,” Emma reflected. “It was always great knowing that someone was going through it the same way and had the same background as me. She was always just there, if I needed someone to rant to. She was just an outlet that I had.”

Ashlyn, who was the 2018 Player of the Year, was recruited as a forward out of North Attleboro, while Emma was a midfielder. In college, Emma almost immediately moved to outside back and this year has spent time in a defensive midfield role. Ashlyn started as a forward at Hamilton, spent all of last season at outside back, and this year has split between the two positions.

The connection that they’ve developed on the pitch has never been more important than while adapting to new roles at the collegiate level.

“I would pass the ball up to Ashlyn and make an overlapping run and she would take a step and leave the ball behind her and I would run onto it,” Emma said. “It was cool, that twin connection that we have. I know her playing style and we can be really blunt with each other – in a good critiquing, positive way.”

Emma and Ashlyn Gaulin firing up the team before the game against Colby College. (Josh McKee/Hamilton College Athletics)

Off the pitch, their connection has also been tested. Like most colleges, Hamilton was forced to cancel its 2020 season because of the COVID pandemic. Without soccer to bring them together, the twins, who were living in separate dorms, had to find excuses to meet up outdoors to avoid breaking the school’s distancing protocols.

“My whole life has revolved around soccer since I was three and suddenly that was taken away from me,” Ashlyn said. “The way Hamilton set up the Covid protocols, we weren’t able to see people in different dorms. It made it challenging because it made me realize how much I depended on her. The amount of outdoor walks we did was insane, just so I could get to see her.”

Emma added, “Taking soccer away, we had to find different ways to fill the time and entertain us and I think having my twin there we could rely on each other to be there and do something fun. It’s what made me look back and realize that even though Covid was tough it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been if she wasn’t there.”

Because of the pandemic, college athletes have the opportunity to use an extra year of eligibility. Emma is looking to go to graduate school for secondary education and Ashlyn is considering a gap year before she applies for medical school, so there is a possibility that this might not be the last season where the Gaulins take the pitch together.

For now, with one final weekend to play, the twins, who are both captains this season, are focused on the present. The busy schedule of an in-season college athlete hasn’t afforded them a lot of time to reflect on the path that got them here or the uniqueness of them sharing this long road together.

“I’m super grateful for the opportunity to be playing with my best friend for my whole life,” Emma said. “Whenever we’re officially done, I’ll be equally sad and grateful that we’ve been able to have this experience. It’s pretty unique to say that you can live your whole life and play the sport that you love with not only a family member but your best friend.”

“I wouldn’t want it any other way because she is my best friend and partner for life and it’s like having a second part of you and if she wasn’t there it would’ve felt like something was missing,” said Ashlyn. “The fact that we’ve made it this far going from three years old as I was picking dandelions on the side of the field to helping Emma beat me on the ‘A’ team and thinking I really need to step it up to playing collegiate soccer together. It’s just been amazing memories that I’ll never forget and I’ll always be grateful for.”

Hamilton (6-4-4), which reached the NESCAC semifinal and the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2021, closes out its season with a non-league match at Cazenovia on Sunday afternoon.

OA Grad MacKinnon Records First MLB Hit, RBI

David MacKinnon

By Staff

Oliver Ames grad and former Hockomock League MVP David MacKinnon record his first career hit and first career RBI for the Los Angeles Angels in a win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

MacKinnon, who was the league MVP in both soccer and baseball during his senior year, made his MLB debut over the weekend in Seattle after the Angels purchased his contract earlier in the day. He started in the game, and then made an appearance in the first two games against the Royals as a pinch hitter in the following two games.

He started at first base on Wednesday evening and his first career RBI gave the Angels the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, MacKinnon hit one deep enough to right field for a sacrifice fly to score Taylor Ward to make it 1-0.

“It’s so awesome to help the team and get two RBIs,” MacKinnon told the LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna. “It’s wild that I’m in the Show. It’s just crazy to me. I’ll probably be awestruck for the rest of my career that I’m here, because I’ve dreamed about this forever.”

MacKinnon got his first career hit in the bottom of the seventh, coming through two outs and a runner on second. On a 2-2 count, he got just enough of a 95.3 fastball from Royals reliever Amir Garrett, sneaking a ground ball through the right side to bring the run in for a 3-0 lead. The Angels won the game, 5-0, behind a career-high 13 strikeouts from star pitcher Shohei Ohtani.

He was a 32nd round pick in the 2017 draft (955 overall) out of the University of Hartford and went on to play for a handful of teams in the minor leagues, including the Rocket City Pandas last year and the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate the Salt Lake Bees this season. He was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Month for May after hitting .344 with 33 hits, 25 RBI, seven home runs, and 16 walks. He was also selected as the PCL Player of the Week on May 23.

Sharon’s Robbins Looks to Close Career with Pac 12 Crown

Sabrina Robbins
Former Sharon standout Sabrina Robbins carries the ball out of defense for the University of Colorado in a recent game against Ohio State. (University of Colorado Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

During her high school career, former Sharon standout Sabrina Robbins was a dominant presence in the midfield, scoring 175 goals and racking up 78 assists over her four-year varsity career. When she walked onto the field for her first practice as a freshman, it was a little surprising that she found herself lining up as a defender.

Colorado coach Ann Elliott Whidden saw something in Robbins’ game that made her a fit on the defensive end of the field and four years later that instinct has proved to be correct. Robbins started the first game of her career against Florida and played in four other games that season. By her sophomore season, she was a starter and last season helped Colorado put together one of the stingiest defenses in the Pac 12.

“You have to understand that you’re not the best player on the field when you walk in as a freshman,” Robbins said. “My coach saw the value in putting me at defense and I trusted my coach because she could see my strengths, my weaknesses and see where I was best.” She laughed and admitted, “I would still love to get my first goal in college maybe this year but I was never the person who cared about being the flashy goal scorer so I didn’t mind being moved to defense.”

When asked what characteristics the coaches saw in her game that would make her a good defender, Robbins laughed again, “I’m very loud and I’m able to get people to listen to me on the field and that’s very helpful on defense. You need that one anchor and communicating where the slides are and where the ball is at. I also saw the field really well.”

Robbins started 12-of-14 games as a junior and was tied for third on the team with 10 caused turnovers and tied for sixth with 15 ground balls. Colorado allowed 10.93 goals per game, which was second best in the conference.

This season, Robbins has been even better. A senior captain, she has started all 11 games and helped Colorado put together an 8-3 start. She leads the team with 23 ground balls (fifth in the Pac 12) and is third on the Buffaloes with eight caused turnovers. Following a loss at league-leading Stanford, Colorado is currently third in the Pac 12 standings and has rematches coming up against both Arizona State and USC.

“The two losses were tough on the road to USC and ASU,” Robbins said, “but if you said we were going to be 5-2 after seven games, I would’ve been happy with that. The good thing about our league is we get to play everyone twice, so we get a redemption game against them both.”

Colorado responded to those losses by going on a three-game win streak, which included a home win over the Cardinals. The Buffaloes are one of only three programs west of the Mississippi to be ranked in the top 25 (No. 23).

“It’s fairly new, so now I think we’re seeing a lot more kids come to visit and taking a serious look at these schools,” said Robbins about playing in the Pac 12, which only started conference play in 2018. Colorado’s program began in March 2012. “I’ve seen a lot of changes since coming in as a freshman, and good changes I think. It’s great that we have three, four, or five teams that can win it every year. It’s really a toss-up. It really helps that competitive mindset.”

Prior to recent changes in the rules, college lacrosse started the recruiting process early. Robbins joked, “Before I got my permit, I was committed to college.” Introduced to the program by a club coach, Robbins, who had several options locally, took a visit to Boulder and felt a connection with the school, the city, and the team.

“Once I got out here and realized what the school and the city itself has to offer, it was obviously different from anything I had experienced back home,” she explained. “The team, the coach, and the school was a perfect mixture. just had a feeling when I was here that this was a school I wanted to play for.”

Sharon’s program was going through a strong period at that time. With Samantha and Alex Rabb both going to Ithaca, Emma Eberhardt at Lehigh, and Jenna Goldstein playing at Colby College, the Eagles went through a cycle of producing talented college recruits and became a regular in the state tournament.

Robbins said, “I had contemplated, in order to get recruited, do I need to go to a different school, but I think the decision to stay was probably one of the smartest for me because I was able to be that strong midfielder, that strong goal scorer, which I think it helped a lot of my field IQ. It allowed to me to step up as a leader, even as a freshman.”

The transition from Sharon to a Div. I college program was obviously going to be a challenge, although it was less about the on-the-field transition than the amount of time dedicated to the sport. From practices to lifting to mandatory study halls to the travel necessary to play in the Pac 12, lacrosse is a full-time commitment, which made it even more jarring when COVID took that away in the spring of 2020.

“When we got the call that season was going to be canceled, it was jaw-dropping,” Robbins said, remembering that Whidden took a rare phone call in practice to receive the news. “We were working since August that year to start Pac 12 play and to see it get taken away was heartbreaking.

“For us, you always think lacrosse is a constant. You go to practice every day, you lift every day, almost having the same routine, and to get it taken away by something you can’t control made you realize how time is precious in college sports.”

With her senior season reaching the halfway mark, Robbins is confident that the Buffaloes are on the right path to get back into the Pac 12 Tournament and make a run at the title that has eluded them in the past couple of seasons.

“We don’t lack in experience and that helps all over the field,” she said, adding that Colorado also wants to make a mark in the NCAA Tournament this spring. “We have kind of high goals but really excited about where our team can go.”

Robbins reflected on what it would mean to close out her career by winning Colorado’s first Pac 12 title, “Being able to lead your team to one of those championships would probably be the best feeling in the world. To have a ring and to work so hard and to have it pay off with a championship would be incredible. That would be the icing on the cake before graduation.”

Sharon’s Mello-Klein Still Dancing in the Elite Eight

Jordan Mello-Klein
Jordan Mello-Klein was named the MOP of the East Regional after leading Bentley to three wins and its first berth in the Div. II Elite Eight since 2010. (SportsPix)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

Although the 2020-21 season was canceled due to the pandemic, the core of Bentley’s team remained committed to practicing as often as allowed. With an extra year of eligibility offered to the seniors, including Sharon’s Jordan Mello-Klein, the focus was on returning to the court and making the most of one final season.

So far, it has worked out even better than the Falcons could have imagined.

With an 82-75 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) at the Dana Center, top seed Bentley (25-4) earned its fourth Div. II East Regional title in program history and its first since 2010. Mello-Klein, who played two years at Sharon before transferring to Thayer Academy, led the Falcons with 17 points and added eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists in the regional final and was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player (MOP).

The Falcons, reseeded as No. 4, will now face No. 5 Northwest Missouri State, the two-time defending national champions, in the Elite Eight.

“I don’t really have any words for it, it’s incredible,” Mello-Klein explained. “It’s something that we’ve kind of talked about since I came in but to see it really happen is incredible and to do it with the guys that I came in with who are now my best friends and coaches who have meant so much to me and put so much trust in me it’s incredible to see it come full circle.”

It has been a dream season for the Falcons, who claimed the NE-10 regular season title and, avenging a pair of losses to Franklin Pierce during the season, won the conference tournament as well. Now, Bentley is trying to put the final touches by getting to the Final Four for the third time in its history.

“We knew that we had chemistry from all of us playing together but to accomplish the regular season, the NE-10 playoffs, and the regional, I would never have said that,” Mello-Klein explained. “Even one of those things is extremely hard.”

A fifth-year senior point guard, Mello-Klein has been racking up the individual awards this season as well. In addition to being named the MOP of the regional, he was named first team All-NE-10 and the MOP of the NE-10 Tournament. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 steals and 37.7 minutes this season, finishing third in the NE-10 in rebounds, assist, and steals and leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Mello-Klein also scored his 1,000th career point earlier this season (he had 1,130 as of the end of the regular season). “In all honesty, it doesn’t matter as much as winning everything,” he said about the individual accolades. “They’re fun to get, just certifies what I’ve been doing for all these I can’t even tell you how many years, but to win the stuff with your best friends means so much more than anything.”

He credits the experience on the roster as one of the major factors for Bentley’s success this season, and the willingness of the players to continue putting in the hard work last year even when there was no promise of games being played.

“The whole class came back with hopes that we could accomplish something,” he said. “We sat down a year ago and made it a priority to make it happen this year and we did it.”

The pandemic and the loss of a season added a new perspective to getting on the court every day, one that has fueled the Falcons’ upperclassmen.

“When basketball is taken away from you, and I’m a guy who’s never gone a day without it, when you’re getting a week or two taken away from you, it makes you understand that this is a finite time that we have playing college basketball,” Mello-Klein reflected.

“When this season started, every single thing we took advantage of, every single practice, every single game. We didn’t look forward at all because it’s my last season, so selfishly I don’t want this to end and I want to prolong my career as long as possible. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.”

Mello-Klein played two seasons at Sharon, earning Underclassman of the Year honors as a sophomore, before transferring to Thayer. It was a sacrifice of time and the chance to play with hometown friends, but also a commitment to playing at a higher level of basketball. He also admitted that he missed the atmosphere of a high school gym during a playoff run.

“It’s a completely different atmosphere at prep school,” he explained. “When I was at Sharon, we were pretty decent, so we’d get a pretty good crowd and everything but at prep school it’s non-existent.”

The crowds have come out to cheer on the Falcons in the postseason and Mello-Klein is looking forward to keeping this run going as long as possible and add themselves to a select list of Bentley teams under head coach Jay Lawson, who is in his 29th season, to make a tournament run.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “Bentley is a historic program. To be one of the groups that he talks about as those special teams, it’s incredible, and we’ve got another chance to do something even more special on Tuesday and hopefully that will continue on.”

Bentley will face Northwest Missouri State on Tuesday at 1:00 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.

Milford’s Reichert Ready to Defend MASCAC Title

Kelley Reichert
Former Milford standout Kelley Reichert pitches for Bridgewater State in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Reichert helped the Bears win the MASCAC title. (Bridgewater State Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

Coming off a junior season in which she helped Bridgewater State claim the MASCAC title, pitched in the NCAA Tournament, was named to the All-MASCAC First Team, and earned the conference’s Pitcher of the Year award, former Milford standout Kelley Reichert wasted no time, just two games, to add another honor to that list.

Reichert was named the MASCAC Player of the Week after helping BSU split two games of The Spring Games in Florida. Reichert went 4-for-5 with a double, stolen base and two runs scored and went 1-0 in the circle, striking out five over nine innings of work, as the Bears beat Penn State – Altoona and lost to Muskingum University (Ohio).

Bridgewater State won its first two games of its trip to Florida and, although the Bears lost the next three, Reichert was fully confident that the team could replicate its championship form from a year ago.

“I think we’ve grown as a program every single year and we look better and better each day,” she said a couple of days before leaving for spring training. “We show up and try to do our best and I think we’ve all developed really good relationships on and off the field and I think that’s really helpful. I think we’re going to have an even more successful season than last year.”

Expectations are high for the Bears this spring, the first full schedule they will be playing in three years. Bridgewater State was picked first in the MASCAC in the preseason softball coaches poll and will struggle to play the underdog this season following its win over Framingham State in last year’s conference championship series.

“As a captain and a pitcher, I stress taking it literally pitch-by-pitch, inning-by-inning,” Reichert explained. “You can’t rush 10 steps forward, you have to focus on that one thing you’re doing at that one moment. I think we know at the end of the day, we want to get to the MASCAC championship but you can’t look that far ahead.”

With a new season a couple of days away, Reichert took some time to look back. The Bears reached the championship series her freshman year, falling in three games to Framingham. The 2020 season held plenty of promise for a Bears side that felt it could win the title that had eluded it the year before, but only 12 games in the spring was wiped away by the pandemic.

Having a season taken away gave Reichert a different perspective as she entered her junior season.

“It’s just the difficulty of realizing that with COVID anything can change at any moment,” she said. “We worked hard for two and a half months to go down to Florida, give our everything for 12 games, and then be told on our last day that we’re not going to be playing any more softball for that year. You look at all that hard work we did in that preseason to then only play those 12 games, we’re grateful for those 12 games, but we had so much potential.”

According to Reichert, it wasn’t obvious that the Bears were going to be a championship team in the 2021 preseason. The team had struggled during the fall and was still trying to come together when the season kicked off. A pandemic schedule didn’t help.

Rather than playing a typical schedule that would see the Bears facing multiple teams in a week, the pandemic forced teams to play one team in a weekend series. Reichert could pitch against the same team four times in the span of 24 hours, requiring a lot of work between herself, catcher Madison Synan, and the coaching staff to keep things fresh.

“Just changing up the sequences, changing up our signs so they wouldn’t catch onto them, just the little things to try and come out on top,” Reichert said.

She had special praise for Synan, her “battery buddy,” who is back as a fifth-year senior this spring. “We work so well together,” Reichert said. “She always pushes me to be better and she has the smallest strike zone known to man, making me work 10 times harder so when it comes to games it’s a lot easier.”

The Bears entered the 2021 championship series on a roll, winning 13 of their final 14 games of the regular season, but they had to go through Framingham to win the title. The Rams won all six meetings in the regular season and then took the opening game of the best-of-three series 6-1.

Bridgewater rallied, winning the second game of the Friday doubleheader 3-2 to set up a winner-take-all finale the following day. Reichert threw a complete game five-hitter, striking out one, and not allowing an earned run, as the Bears completed the comeback to win the MASCAC title and book a place in the NCAA DIII Tournament.

“I think we all just wanted it so so bad,” she reflected. “I was emotional after the first game because sometimes when you want something so bad you try too hard to accomplish it. I didn’t have my best first game but my teammates were there for me and my coaching staff was great and we just dug deep.

“Just wanting it for our teammates and wanting it for our team as a whole, I think we were all selfless at that point, wanting to prove to people that we could do it because we were sick of people saying that Framingham was better. It was just big, giant relief. All those days and all that time spent working hard to perfect something, literally blood, sweat, and tears, we had finally done it.”

Now the Bears are looking to experience that winning feeling again and this time to carry that over into the NCAA Tournament. After coming close and falling short and then having a season taken away, Reichert, who has a 25-18 record with 32 complete games and 180 strikeouts in her career, doesn’t want to let an opportunity to win more silverware slip away.

“You just have to show up and work hard and be there for each other,” she remarked. “That’s how we’re going to be successful. We’re super grateful for our opportunities and the time we get to spend with each other. We don’t want to waste that.

“I think we look really good. Our skills are growing every day and we’ve been really focusing on our mentality. Not only will we have the skills for the season ahead but we’ll have that mental strength.”

Franklin’s Noviello Aims to Ace Final Season at Fairfield

Jake Noviello
Former Franklin standout Jake Noviello and Fairfield head into a new season looking to build on the history they made in 2021’s first-ever run to the regional final. (Fairfield Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

How do you follow up a historic season? Former Franklin star Jake Noviello admits that he gets questioned about it a lot on the Fairfield campus. After winning 39 games last spring, becoming the first MAAC team to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, beating Arizona State, and reaching the program’s first regional final, what do the Stags do for an encore?

“People at school keep asking me are you guys going to be undefeated again and I keep saying probably not,” Noviello, a senior pitcher, said with a laugh, “but I think the best way to try and get back to where we were is to not focus on the big picture but just compete every day at practice. Do everything you can to just win.”

It isn’t just the team success that will be difficult to replicate. Noviello went 9-0 as a starter last season, tying the program record for wins and leading the conference. He was named to the All-MAAC First Team and All-Tournament Team and the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team. His 1.47 ERA led the MAAC, was fourth-best in the nation, and was the second lowest in program history. He also led the MAAC and was top 10 in the country in WHIP (0.88) and walks per nine innings (1.20).

Not a bad season considering Noviello went into 2021 unsure of his spot in the rotation.

“That whole winter, I was fighting for the fourth starter spot,” he explained. “I really had to focus on how to be a college starter and really developing three pitches that I could throw for strikes and really getting myself back into what I was doing my senior year of high school.”

The preparation paid off. Fairfield started the season with a four-game sweep of conference rival Canisius, outscoring the Griffs 34-11. The Stags had several fifth-year seniors return (following the loss of the 2020 season due to COVID), added several experienced transfers, and looked every bit a team that could make a run at a league title. That sweep of Canisius added belief and confidence to the team’s obvious talent.

“We were confident and we played with nothing to lose,” Noviello recalled. “We knew we were a good team and we knew we had good pitching and good hitting and it was going to take someone’s perfect game to beat us.”

Fairfield won its opening 28 games of the season and started to get national recognition, something that can sometimes be hard for teams from a smaller conference in the Northeast. Although Siena would eventually put an end to the Stags’ long winning streak, Fairfield lost only once in the regular season.

A tough loss to Rider in the MAAC championship series meant that Fairfield had to wait and see if its name would be called for the NCAA Tournament. It was jubilation for the Stags when they saw that they would be heading to Texas for the regional.

“That was incredibly special,” Novielle said. “I think we thought we deserved it. We all jumped out of our seats and started hugging each other and it was just a culmination of a lot of hard work that went into it and the struggles of a COVID year and all the stuff we had to go through. It was a really cool moment for us.”

There were of course the naysayers who felt that because Fairfield had only played a conference schedule it didn’t have the strength of schedule to compete with the best in the country. After a one-run loss to Arizona State in the opener, the Stags beat Southern (with Noviello picking up the win) and then came back from 5-0 down to knock out the Sun Devils and advance to the regional final against Texas.

“For being a small school, it showed we could compete with the big dogs,” Noviello said about the tournament win.

What made last year’s team special? Noviello said, “Being really good friends with each other, pulling for one another, and just competing hard together, I think that’s the biggest part of a winning team. We had a lot of gritty guys who were willing to do their job and I think that’s why we were so successful.”

Noviello, who enters this spring as a two-time team captain, also praised his teammates for his success on the mound. “I credit all of our success as pitchers last year to throwing against our hitters for five or six weeks prior to the season starting because those guys were some of the best hitters we saw all year.”

He added, “I tried not to look at the numbers too much. My job was just to go out there and make it so our team was winning the game when I came out. I ended up pitching most of the nine-inning games for us last year so if I could go six, seven innings and come out with us having the lead then I did my job.”

This season poses a lot of different challenges for Noviello. While he has established himself as one of the team’s top starters, expectations are going to be much higher coming off a historic season, he is garnering attention from MLB teams, and most importantly is his months-long rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Only a couple of weeks after the excitement of the regional final and three days into his stint in the Cape League, Noviello had surgery to deal with a blood clot. He said that there were three surgeries and he was in the hospital for seven days. His recovery took most of his off-season, although he said his velocity was back to the low-90s and he should be able to go five of six innings as the season gets underway.

“I’m lucky to be back and have full mobility,” Noviello explained. “I’ve got to worry about competing and being as good as I was but I’ve also got to worry about getting my feet back under me and being 100 percent. But for a couple of gnarly scars you’d have no idea that anything happened.

“It’s definitely given me a greater appreciation for being able to tie up my cleats and go out there and even do our conditioning. I used to hate running but I couldn’t walk for those seven days in the hospital so just being able to put my feet on the ground and walk and run and just throw to batters. Getting back to the little things you don’t really think about.”

Fairfield opened its season with a trip to the South, facing Elon in North Carolina in the opening series and then traveling to Georgia to face Kennesaw State. The Stags were 2-2 through the first four games, with Noviello picking up a no decision in his first start. It isn’t quite the same as a 28-0 start, but will be good preparation for MAAC competition.

Noviello said he is grateful for all of the success of 2021 and the accolades that went with it. He said that he has reached out to former North Attleboro and University of Maine star Nick Sinacola for advice on preparing for the MLB draft (Sinacola was selected in the seventh round last year by the San Francisco Giants). He feels healthy and ready to attack his senior season.

“I really did work my butt off to get in those positions and I would train to think about big games and big pitches I had to make,” Noviello said. “It’s kind of nice to be cemented in and know where you’re at coming into a season. Team looks great, I’m throwing really well, feel great and getting built up. No hiccups as of yet and poised for another great year.”

Injury Leads Canton’s Link On a Path to the Big XII

Hannah link
Canton grad Hannah Link changed directions after an injury at Merrimack, going from a sprinter to a thrower, and now has the fourth best weight throw in Baylor history. (Baylor Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

It is nearly impossible to know where a change of circumstances may lead. For instance, how could you know that an unexpectedly lengthy injury would be the impetus for a freshman sprinter at Merrimack to try out the hammer throw and three years later be placing her name on the all-time leaderboard at Baylor?

Canton grad Hannah Link had a frustrating start to her collegiate career, but tried something different almost on a whim, found a new event that she loved, and it has carried her all the way to the Big XII and competing against some of the country’s best athletes.

“If you told me my freshman year of college at Merrimack this is where I’d be, I would literally tell you to shut up,” Link said when asked to reflect on the journey that took her from North Andover to Waco. “When I first walked on Baylor’s campus, I was like why am I here right now, this is so crazy. I am still kind of shocked that it ended up this way but I couldn’t be happier.”

She added, “It shows that literally everything happens for a reason. It’s crazy. Life throws you curveballs and in the moment you don’t know why it happened but then a couple years later you’re like I’m literally the happiest I’ve ever been and now it makes sense.”

Link is not only a part of the Baylor team, but she stepped up in her first meet of the indoor season and set a personal best in the weight, the indoor equivalent of the hammer throw. In her first appearance for the Bears, at the Corky Classic, Link recorded a throw of 56-6, which was good for fifth place and put her in fourth place all-time among weight throwers at Baylor.

Link explained, “I was honestly just a little bit terrified because I was around all these incredible throwers who have been doing this for years and years and here I am, kind of still new to the sport, and I’m trying to compete with them. But then on my last throw, I popped one.

“It was a pretty cool moment and it showed me, ‘Hey, you can do this.’”

At Canton, Link was all about speed. She was a forward on the soccer team and a sprinter in indoor and outdoor track. She was recruited to Merrimack to run the 200 and 400 meters, but before her career really got going, she suffered a foot injury that left her in a boot for far longer than she anticipated. Even after the boot was removed, Link struggled to get back to her top sprinting shape.

For fun and to stay active during her recovery, Link decided to give throwing a shot. “I explored a couple of throwing events,” she said, “and it really was for fun more than anything because I always thought I was going to get back into sprinting.” What started as fun became a passion and, after a season was wiped out because of COVID, Link started training more seriously, meeting with friends that she knew on Long Island and working on her form every day. After graduating a year early from Merrimack and with an extra year of eligibility from the COVID season, she explored new places to compete.

With help from Merrimack coach Mark Connolly, Link got in contact with the coaches at Baylor. Not only was Baylor a top track program, but it also had a strong business school for Link to get her MBA (with the exact concentration, entrepreneurship, that she was looking for), and also, Link admitted with a laugh, avoided the New England winters.

“It just kind of checked all the boxes, which is why it was the only place I applied to,” Link said. She also thanked her coaches at Merrimack for helping make this opportunity a reality. “They were super helpful and they always check up on me just to see how things are going,” she said. “We definitely stay in touch. I still have this Merrimack bumper sticker on my car because I can’t forget where I came from.”

From the outside, it doesn’t appear that there would be a lot of transferable skills from sprinting to throwing, and that may be true in some events, but Link found that her speed was an asset in the hammer. The small, technical adjustments that throwers make to find that extra couple of inches also appealed to her.

“I’m definitely a little smaller and shorter than what you’re used to seeing most throwers look like,” Link admitted, “but I think the speed that I have from being a sprinter and soccer is why I’m in a good spot for throwing hammer and throwing weight.”

She continued, “When you see these incredible throwers at the Olympics or wherever, just any high-level thrower, they make it look so easy. So, it’s easy for people who aren’t really familiar with the sport to just be like, ‘Oh, they’re just throwing a ball on a wire, it’s easy.’ It’s so fun to see, ‘I’m going to turn my foot this way or I’m going to put a little more weight on my left side rather than my right side’ and it’s going to improve my throw that much more because I made a small little change.”

After setting a new personal best in the weight, Link was frustrated that she didn’t build off that first meet, but last weekend she set a new PR with a throw of 56-11-1/2 and finished in sixth. She considers the hammer her best event, so weight is setting a foundation for the outdoor season and Link is trying to keep it in perspective. “It’s actually been going a lot better than my coach and I anticipated really,” she said.

Link continued, “That first meet, I was honestly freaking out and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in this new, really big conference, this is terrifying.’ It was kind of overwhelming but the second and third meet I learned to be a little more composed and confident and ready to go. So, even though the results don’t show it and the numbers don’t show it, there have been a lot of wins and a lot of good takeaways.”

She has been in Waco since the summer, so it is starting to feel more like home and it is clear that she is enjoying the work, her team, and the overall experience. While Link is comfortable at Baylor and looking forward to more success as she develops as a thrower, she never stops being amazed at how far she has come and how she got there.

“If I hadn’t gotten hurt freshman year, I want to say there’s a zero percent chance I would’ve gotten into throwing because that’s the only thing that pushed me into it,” Link said. “It’s just so wild because it was my first semester at this new school and I’m hurt and it was probably the lowest point I could’ve been in that situation.

“I was so bummed, I was so frustrated, because all I wanted to do was compete and I couldn’t. But it was definitely supposed to happen like that because here I am.”

OA’s Raymond Reaches Milestone and Nets Game-Winner

Kayla Raymond
Former OA star Kayla Raymond is lifted up by her teammates after scoring the game-winner against St. Anselm. Raymond scored her 1,000th career point earlier in the game. (Stonehill Athletics)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

The season didn’t start as expected for former Oliver Ames star Kayla Raymond. The senior forward had been named to the all-conference team in each of her first two seasons, was an honorable mention for DII All-American, led Stonehill to 23 wins and an NE-10 title as a sophomore and, after having last year wiped out because of the pandemic, seemed poised to add to her already impressive collection of accolades.

Instead, Raymond had to come off the bench at the start of the season, the Skyhawks got off to a 3-4 start before the Christmas break, and things looked out of sorts.

The holiday break came at just the right time. Raymond and the Skyhawks reset and have turned things around by winning five of six and going 6-3 overall since returning in the new year. Last week, Raymond provided the highlight of the season when she became the 33rd player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and then made the moment even more memorable by scoring a buzzer-beating basket to earn victory over St. Anselm’s.

“I knew I was struggling and I wasn’t happy with the way I was playing,” Raymond said about the start of the season. “I really reflected over Christmas break and came back and kind of changed my mentality a little bit. I think that’s really where it started and I think everyone came back, not just me, and we were ready to play.”

Kayla Raymond

Raymond talked a lot about the team’s improved mentality during the recent run, but health has also played a role in the turnaround. During her sophomore season at Stonehill, Raymond developed heart palpitations that would at times force her out of games. It was a scary situation, but one that she and the coaches have learned to manage.

“It’s something that I can feel right away and I know that if it does happen I just need to get my heart rate down in order for it to stop,” she explained. “It sucks, but that does have to come first before the game.”

A bout of COVID in the fall exacerbated the situation, bringing the palpitations back to the point that Raymond said she had to wear a heart monitor and had to stop all athletic activities for a month. She missed almost all of preseason and admitted that she wasn’t ready physically when the season tipped off.

“It’s definitely very difficult,” Raymond reflected. “I’ve missed a lot of games in my collegiate career, definitely more than I would’ve wanted to. We work so hard during practice and that’s your payment, that’s your reward, to play in the game and it stinks to just be sitting on the bench watching.”

The palpitations are still a concern (she recently had one during the overtime win against Bentley and needed to be subbed out right away to get her heart rate down before re-entering the game), but Raymond has overcome them, worked her way into shape, and is once again playing at the level that made her one of the stars of the NE-10.

“We talk about mental toughness all the time and mental health too,” Raymond said. “Everyone has their own struggles and just being able to come together as a team and being able to pick each other up and push through adversity every day, just being there for each other helps us a lot.”

Kayla Raymond

Raymond is leading the Skyhawks, and is fourth in scoring the conference, at 18.2 points per game. She also leads Stonehill in rebounding and, since the new year, has scored 32 in one game and 26 in two others. Last Saturday, against one of Stonehill’s biggest rivals and the team it beat in the NE-10 championship game two years ago, she reached the 1,000-point plateau in just her 60th career game.

“I tried not to look at the board to see where I was at, that wasn’t my main focus, I just wanted to win the game,” said Raymond, who reached the milestone with a layup late in the fourth quarter. “I scored that last basket and I was running back on defense and I couldn’t help but smile. It was an awesome feeling. I was feeling so many things the other day, I can’t even describe it.”

After a timeout, Raymond was able to be recognized for her accomplishment and take a second to let it sink in, but only a second because there was still a game that needed to be won. With less than a second remaining, Stonehill had an inbounds under the basket and the ball was thrown up to Raymond in the paint. She caught it in mid-air and was able to finish over a crowd of players at the buzzer.

“We huddled up and knew exactly what play we were running,” she said. “Coach didn’t even need to call timeout, we knew. That was a perfect pass by Emily (Bramanti) and a perfect screen by Bella (Isabella Santoro). That was an unbelievable feeling. The game winner, that was unbelievable. I’ll take winning a game over scoring 1,000 any day.”

She added, “I could not have scored 1,000 points or won the game the other day if it wasn’t for my teammate who passed me the ball or my teammate who set the screen for me. I owe it all to them, I really do. As much success as I have out there, I can’t take all the credit for that.”

After being lifted up by her teammates at center court, Raymond went to the stands to see her family. She said that one of the reasons she chose Stonehill and to stay in Easton was that her family could easily come see her play and this was a moment to share with them.

“I walked up the stairs and the crowd was up there and I got cheers right away and it just felt amazing,” Raymond recalled. “I went over to them and gave them a hug and my mom had tears in her eyes and that made me have tears in my eyes. It was a great feeling.”

Kayla Raymond

In addition to her family, Raymond also shared the experience with her good friend and another former Hockomock star, Mansfield’s Meg Hill. They have played AAU together since their sophomore year of high school, held a signing ceremony together when they both chose Stonehill, and have been roommates in college. Hill’s mother made decorations to celebrate Raymond’s milestone basket.

“I love her like a sister,” Raymond said. “She’s my best friend and I’ve known her for so long and it’s just amazing to experience that with her. It’s a great relationship and I love the fact that she was there and I got to be able to experience this with her.”

From health concerns to all that the pandemic has thrown at them over the past two years to just navigating life at college, Raymond said she is grateful to have Hill (a 1,000-point scorer while at Mansfield) there through it all. “She definitely knows me better than anyone else and we’re able to talk to each other and completely open up. If I’m struggling, she’s always there for me. It’s awesome just to have someone like that here with me.”

Although the Skyhawks, who are currently ranked No. 9 in the D2SIDA East Region poll, suffered a setback against Pace this week (in a game that Raymond missed), there is renewed confidence in the team. Stonehill bounced back yesterday with a win over Assumption, powered by Raymond’s game-high 26 points. Raymond believes Stonehill is coming together at the right time to make a run and can compete with anyone in the NE-10.

“I think we all feel like we’re in a really good spot right now,” she explained. “We’re all so locked in and we want to win and we know we can win.”

Ed. Note – Raymond was back in the lineup on Saturday, scoring 26 points to lead Stonehill to a win against Assumption, improving the Skyhawks’ record to 10-7 on the season. It was the third time in the last four games that Raymond scored 20-plus points.