Warriors Win Key Road Game At Oliver Ames

Foxboro girls soccer Jordyn Collins
Foxboro’s Jordyn Collins tries to get past Oliver Ames’ Leah Johnson (6) in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames was seconds away from escaping the first half unscathed, just moments away from going into the halftime break scoreless against a Foxboro side that had a plethora of chances through the opening 40 minutes.

But just before the halftime whistle, the Warriors were finally able to solve Oliver Ames goalie Emily Meyers (12 saves), who had denied bid after bid from Foxboro.

That goal, off of the foot of sophomore Kailee McCabe, proved to be the game-winner and Foxboro added an insurance tally just over midway through the second half to secure a 2-0 win over the Tigers on the new turf field at Val Muscato Stadium.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We were ready for this one,” said Foxboro head coach Katie Stalcup. “We knew they were undefeated just like we are, Britt [Sellmayer] is a great coach, he always puts together a great team. They are dangerous on corners, they always press hard. So we knew we had to come out ready to play today.”

Both sides had good chances in the opening minutes as OA’s Camryn O’Connor dispossessed a Foxboro defender but had her shot go wide. The Warriors had a similar chance on the other end but Jordyn Collins’ bid was just off frame.

From there, it was mostly chances for Foxboro for the rest of the half. Katelyn Mollica forced Meyers into a diving save on a shot from 25 yards out in the 10th minute. Two minutes later, McCabe and Alyssa VandenBoom combined with the latter being denied by Meyers.

Foxboro’s opportunities continued to pile up as sophomore Jordan Carman found Mollica inside the 18 but Meyers made a leaping stop to tip the shot over the bar. Two minutes later, Meyers made a pair of stops, denying Carman point-blank from in close, and then handling a shot from Lizzy Davis on the bounce.

Meyers’ best save came in the 25th minute as Mollica connected with Carman, who put a shot labeled for the back of the net but a great one-handed stop kept the ball from crossing the line.

“Emily Meyer played great for us,” Sellmayer said. “We have two great goalies, with Emma O’Donnell coming back from an injury. Emily really stepped up today and made a lot of great saves, she kept us in the game.

“[Foxboro] is just so strong, I think they have a legitimate chance to make a run in D2. You have to play a perfect game to beat them. We’re young from everywhere from the midfield to up front and it showed today. I thought my back four played as best as they could. We’ll learn from this and get better from it.”

Davis had another chance in the 28th minute but had her shot go over the ball after good pressure from OA defenders Abby Hodges and Leah Johnson, who both had strong performances along with outside backs Emma Pereira and Olivia Carroll. A corner kick in the 38th led to a chance by McCabe but Carroll was well-positioned at the far post.

McCabe started the sequence that led to the goal by winning a challenge near midfield. After Mollica played a ball wide for Davis, McCabe made a darting run through the defense and Davis played her in behind. She took a touch, was able to shield off a pair of defenders and slotted her shot in at the far post to make it 1-0.

“The chemistry is there with the girls. We’ve been working a lot in the preseason and so far during the season offensively, just about switching up our runs, using quick passes, and playing off each other well. And I feel like it’s clicking, it’s working.

“We had a frustrating result the other day so it was nice to get the win. We had a lot of chances like we did the other game but something felt different about this one. I think the girls learned a lot from the Milford game so I think they did a good job of turning things around quickly.”

Oliver Ames looked like a different team coming out of the halftime break, applying a lot of pressure on the Warriors’ defense over the first 10 minutes. O’Connor and Allison Evin combined to get into the area but Foxboro’s Kendra Wentling disrupted the chance.

Despite a strong push to open the half, Foxboro’s defense stood tall and preserved the lead.

“We didn’t have Yara [Fawaz] today and she’s our starting center back, she’s our rock on defense,” Stalcup said. “So I was a little nervous on how we’d respond but I was happy with how they played. Grace, my other center back, stepped up for us, and Emma [Dahl] came in and they held it, they did an awesome job.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro added a second goal in the 64th minute as junior Ryan Sullivan won a foot race to a loose pass, eluding the oncoming keeper and burying a shot into the open net to make it 2-0.

OA had one final push late but Warriors’ goalie Morgan Sylvestre did well to come off her line and make the clearance.

Foxboro girls soccer (4-0-1 Hockomock, 4-0-1 overall) has a big non-league test on Monday with a trip to Medfield. Oliver Ames (4-1-0, 5-1-0) renews acquaintances with rival Mansfield on Tuesday night.

Hawks Hang On For Win Over Hornets

Milford volleyball Elise Fauerbach
Milford’s Elise Fauerbach tries to hit around a Mansfield block in the third set. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MILFORD, Mass. – There wasn’t much that could separate the Mansfield and Milford volleyball teams on Wednesday evening.

Entering the contest with identical 3-1 records, the Hawks and Hornets split the first four sets evenly, with the hosts grabbing the first and third while the visitors came back to level things twice, forcing a winner-take-all fifth set.

And even then, the two sides were nearly even. After a back-and-forth start, Milford went on an 8-1 run that put them a point away from one point away from clinching the game. That final point didn’t come easy, though, as Mansfield recorded four straight points to half the deficit.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But in the end, the Hawks got that final point to earn a hard-fought 3-2 (25-19, 19-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-10) win over the Hornets.

“I just told them to keep playing their game, and to take care of themselves,” said Milford coach Tammy Webber of her message to her team as Mansfield battled back late. “Obviously it’s a team game but if they all took care of their own jobs, things would work out and we were able to end it.”

While the Hawks didn’t register an ace in the fifth set, their serving proved to be a vital asset and a key to the win. After service errors on their first two chances, Milford put Mansfield under a lot of pressure with strong serving.

After taking a 6-5 lead on a block from Allison Corsini (nine kills, seven blocks), Mansfield’s defense had a hard time dealing with a strong serve from Elise Fauerbach. Two more strong serves from Fauerbach led to easy kills from Corsini as she slammed down a pair of open looks that popped up from the Hornets’ serve receive, putting the Hawks up 9-5.

Corsini and Alyssa Williamson (12 kills, two aces) had back-to-back kills coming out of a Hornet timeout, and a Mansfield hitting error combined with another Corsini kill (off another loose receive from Mansfield) put the Hawks on the verge of the win at 14-6.

Mansfield picked up some momentum when Olivia McGrath (13 kills, eight service points) put down a kill and registered an ace, and Julia Kelly slammed down a kill to make it 14-10 before a play error gave Milford the final point for the win.

“We picked up our serving in that fifth set,” Webber said. “Our serving is our first line of offense and we depend on it a lot. When it’s off, we feel it, you could see if some of the first sets. But it was on in that tight situation which was good.

We talked about [Allison] making her presence known at the net and taking control, between her and her sister [Lauren] at the net.”

The first game set the tone for the rest of the match, as neither side was able to generate a large lead. Milford had a 5-0 burst that featured a back row kill from Fauerbach to take a 16-11 lead but Mansfield battled back to make it a two-point game at 18-16 on a nice tip from Alina Nowakowski (11 kills) after a nice dig from Sam Sternburg (19 digs, 10 service points).

Milford sophomore Sarah Brogioli (five kills, seven aces) landed back-to-back aces while Williamson landed two big kills down the stretch to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

Mansfield used a 7-1 run early in the second set to take its largest lead of the match. Nowakowski had back-to-back kills, McGrath landed a big kill from the middle, and Julia Busier had an ace to put the Hornets ahead 13-7. The run continued with two aces from McGrath and one from Olivia Fernando to make it 19-10. Milford made a mini-run but McGrath grabbed another kill to make it 1-1.

“In our last game, we weren’t talking consistently so I was really happy about being better at that today, I was really proud of that,” said Mansfield coach Melissa Heeden. “This is the first time we went to a fifth set, and I feel having back-to-back challenging games and another on Friday, it will benefit us. We just switched the rotation and it’s starting to gel. The girls are upset but I’m thrilled with where we are at.

“It’s still early in the season and I’m happy with where we are at. Of course I wish we won but I’m happy with how they fought back and how they played, it was a good team effort.”

Williamson had a pair of big kills in succession and Lauren Corsini (five kills, four blocks) added one of her own on a nice set from Julia Riordan (20 assists) to highlight a quick 7-2 burst in the third set for the Hawks. That little run made the difference and Brogioli landed a kill late to give Milford a 2-1 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield used a similar run in the fourth set as it had in the second, creating separation early. A pair of aces from Brogioli closed the game and two Hornet errors made it a tie game at 19-19. Mansfield kept the advantage thanks to two kills from McGrath and a key block from Emily Dardinski on a hit that would have tied the game. Kelly clinched the fourth set win with a nicely placed tip.

“I can’t believe how evenly matched that entire match was,” Webber said. “They had their ups, we had our ups, they had their downs, we had our downs, it was crazy. The fifth set started with two missed serves and it was just a matter of who was going to react better after that and we responded much better than we usually do.”

Milford volleyball (4-1 Hockomock, 4-1 overall) will look to make it three straight wins when it travels to North Attleboro on Friday. Mansfield (3-2, 3-2) will try and get back into the win column when it travels to Oliver Ames on Friday.

Teams of the Decade Project Announcement

Franklin baseball
Franklin poses with its 2018 MIAA D1A State Championship trophy after beating Central Catholic. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
There has been a lot of talent in the Hockomock League over the past decade, and we’ve seen first hand the ups and downs that happen throughout each season. Some of my favorite memories from covering high school sports are the moments following state championship games, seeing all of the hard work from the athletes pay off. I’ve always said it takes a perfect storm for teams to win a state title, it’s an incredible achievement.

We are excited to announce a new feature that we will be working on with the goal of publishing by the end of the school year: The HockomockSports Teams of the Decade Project. This website has covered the league for nearly the entire decade, but both Josh and I were freelancing with other publications in the area prior to that. We have covered countless games, interviews hundreds of coaches and athletes, and covered some incredible teams during the last decade and we’re hoping this will be a fun project for all involved.

This is going to be one list, roughly 15-20 teams, with all sports considered. That means we’ll be comparing baseball teams with field hockey teams, football teams with softball teams, lacrosse teams with gymnastics teams, and so on. The only requirements are that the team competed in the Hockomock League and competed between Fall 2010 and Spring 2020 (yes, this school years teams are eligible). This will be a list of specific teams (e.g. 2018 Franklin baseball), not just a program. Some squads will have state championship trophies, but it isn’t a requirement. There are a lot of great teams that came up short for a variety of reasons. Of course, it’s tough to judge different sports against one another, and there are a lot of factors we’ll be considering as we construct this list.

We started the project over the summer, and from our research, there were over 30 teams that won state titles in this decade alone, so there will be tough decisions to make. We’re creating this list in good fun and there is no right or wrong. We’ll have a group of honorable mentions and a write up on each team that makes the list; it will be a fun trip down memory lane. We are hoping to do something a little more in-depth for the top three or five teams.

While we are making the final choices on our list, we want to hear from you. Use the contact form below to let us know which team you think should be on the list and how high up. Make sure to include some details and any info you think we should know. You can always contact us through our social media platforms, @HockomockSports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And of course, shoot us an email info@hockomocksports.com if that is best for you.

Let the debate begin!

Oliver Ames Bests Attleboro In Five-Goal Thriller

Oliver Ames boys soccer Anthony DaCosta
Oliver Ames junior Anthony DaCosta gets his shot off for the first goal just before Attleboro’s Kevin Raczkowski could get a foot in. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – In an early-season showdown between division favorites, Oliver Ames boys soccer ended up on the winning side of a five-goal thriller against visiting Attleboro.

The teams went back-and-forth with all five goals coming in the second half. Twice the hosts took a one-goal lead, and twice the Bombardiers erased the deficit to tie the game. But OA junior Jimmy Keane nodded in the game-winner goal inside the final five minutes to secure the 3-2 win for the Tigers.

OA opened the scoring just over 10 minutes into the second half but Attleboro equalized six minutes later. The Tigers once again went ahead but that lead lasted just a minute when the Bombardiers equalized just over 60 seconds later.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The winning tally came in the 76th minute after a free kick from junior Matt Nikiciuk. Nikiciuk’s service from just beyond midfield dropped into the center of the area, was originally knocked up in the air, drawing the keeper out. The ball was partially cleared but only as far as Keane, who looped a header over the scrum and into the open net.

“We were able to play with a strong team, we were happy to play with them and compete, and that we could score against them,” said Oliver Ames coach John Barata. “And it was nice to see that we could bounce back after a couple of mental letdowns, and we continued to bounce back too. It was a good maturity test for the guys because we really haven’t had that yet.”

The Tigers dominated the opening 40 minutes but had nothing to show for it after the teams went into the halftime break scoreless. While the second half was a bit more even, Oliver Ames still created chances early and was able to break through in the 51st minute.

Junior Colin Milliken collected the ball and quickly switched fields, playing classmate Kevin Louhis in behind the defense. Louhis’ speed forced the keeper off his line, and he quickly cut inside around the charging keeper and centered to classmate Anthony DaCosta, who got his shot off just before a defender could get there to bury it into an open net for a 1-0 lead.

The hold up play of Attleboro junior Jackson Singer helped the Bombardiers find the equalizer. His ability to hold possession allowed Joey Soucy to make a run in and Singer found him streaking into the area. Soucy was fouled right on the edge of the box, giving Attleboro a penalty kick.

Senior Michael Russo confidently buried his chance from the spot to bring the visitors level at 1-1 in the 57th minute.

The Tigers continued to press though and went back ahead in the 61st minute. After a corner was cleared, Nikiciuk tracked it down and found Milliken on the sideline, who dropped a cross to the far post and Louhis finished on the bounce at the post to make it 2-1.

“We had dominated the entire first half, outshot them by a large margin and have a couple balls cleared off the line,” Barata said. “If you can stay in the game, you get more confident and comfortable so it was good for us to come out and get some goals in the second. We were kind of stretched trying to go for the goals so it opened the game up and it went back and forth.

“It was a good game for us, [Attleboro] is a very good team that I think will do very well. I thought it was a good game for the boys, I was happy with how we played we just have to make some adjustments.”

But Attleboro was back level just a minute later. The Bombardiers earned a throw in the attacking third, and senior Josh Smith launched a toss to the six yard line. With the keeper coming out to play the ball, it was deflected to the back post and freshman Esvin Morales was all alone to nod the ball in to make it 2-2 in the 62nd minute.

“That was a good thing, we came back and we hung around,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira. “After they scored, we came back, and we did it a second time so that was a positive. But they were a better team than we were today. Hopefully next time we are more organized and play our game. These were critical points.

“First half, [Oliver Ames] was all over us, they were playing their game. In the second half, we adjusted and were playing better balls to feet and we created some opportunities. A couple of mistakes cost us a couple of goals and their speed hurt us too. They have more experience and they have some depth that we don’t have.”

OA’s chances in the first half started early when Keane blasted a shot from in close off Milliken’s corner that had the keeper beat but Russo was positioned on the line to block his bid. Five minutes later, Louhis connected with Milliken open in the area and he tucked a header inside the post, but was ruled offside.

The best chance of the first half came in the 17th minute when Milliken labeled a free kick for the upper 90 but Attleboro keeper Zackary Brown made a terrific leaping one-handed stop to keep it out.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Keane saw another chance blocked by an Attleboro defender, this time Kevin Raczkowski came up with the goal line stop.

Attleboro had its best chance in the final 10 minutes of the opening half as a pass from Nathan LaPlume ended with a volley from Morales that forced OA keeper Drew Nickla to make a low diving stop to keep the game scoreless heading into the half.

Oliver Ames boys soccer (4-0 Hockomock, 4-0 overall) visits Foxboro on Thursday afternoon. Attleboro (2-2, 2-2) hosts rival North Attleboro on the same day.

Mansfield Slips Past Sharon For First Win

Sharon’s Brian Higgins (7) tries to avoid a tackle from Mansfield’s Tommy Lanzillo (left) in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Behind a new-look defensive unit, the Mansfield boys soccer posted its first shutout of the season, which helped the Hornets break into the win column for the first time in 2019.

After surrendering an uncharacteristic nine goals through the first three games, Hornets’ head coach Steve Sheridan elected to put junior Evan Eames into a sweeper role and senior captain Colin Caridi in front of him as a stopper.

Flanked by Cam Eddu on the left side, and juniors Ethan Scholes and Stephen Saba alternating at right back, and all-league goalie Anthony Salisbury behind them, the duo anchored Mansfield to their first shutout in a 1-0 win over visiting Sharon.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“The biggest difference for me was the defense,” Sheridan said. “We’ve been having trouble with that and we tried a different group today. I took Colin out of the middle and put him in the back. And Evan has played everywhere for me this year and I just haven’t found a spot but I think we did today.”

After losing junior Michael Jeans to an injury in the season opener, Sheridan has shuffled pieces in the back before going with the duo of Eames and Caridi in the heart of the defense. That duo helped limit Sharon to a handful of quality chances.

The lone goal of the contest came just before the midway point of the season second. With a long throw in the attacking third, the Hornets loaded the box with attacking players. Eddy launched a long throw from the right sideline. Senior Peter Oldow got just enough of a touch to redirect the ball onto goal, where it hit off the post and just crossed the goal line to make it 1-0.

The teams took turns controlling the game, with the hosts dictating the pace early on. Mansfield sophomore Dylan Buchanan saw his shot from a tough angle go wide at the near post in the 8th minute, and two minutes later, he flashed a header just wide off service from Tommy Lanzillo.

The Hornets’ best chance of the opening half came off the foot of Caridi. With some space just over midfield, Caridi ripped a shot from distance that hit the crossbar and bounced out.

Sharon took control over the final 10 minutes of the first half and nearly took the lead. With seniors Brian Higgins, Isaiah Stessman, and Michael Baur combining in the midfield, the Eagles were able to move the ball and generate its best offense.

In the 37th minute, Baur connected with Stessman, who held used strong hold up play to allow the Eagles to get upfield. Higgins latched onto a loose ball forcing Salisbury into a save on the bounce.

And just before halftime, Stessman connected with Viktor Schneider, who set up Higgins for a blast on the volley but his shot whistled wide and the refs whistled for halftime.

The Eagles started the second half strong as well, as Schneider ripped a shot just wide a minute in, and Stessman and Higgins combined to force Salisbury into a diving save.

“Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t finish,” said Sharon coach Bryan Kelly. “We got caught up playing kick and run soccer. We dominated the end of the first half by keeping the ball on the ground and we lost that in the second half. We have a couple of guys that are hurt, and on a field like this, when you try to run as fast as you possibly can constantly, it’s tough. We slowed it down in the first half and that’s why we had the advantage.

“In all honesty, their only game is kick and run, long throws, and corners. That’s the only thing that team has to it. You don’t see any build-up play in the middle, you don’t see guys making effective runs in.”

Sharon freshman goalie Matthew Baur made a stop on a Mansfield corner kick in the 48th minute, smothering a redirection. But the Hornets cashed in with a long throw in the 56th minute.

“We draw up the plays, we go over them one day and they have to know them,” Sheridan said of the long throws. “We very rarely work on them in terms of practice. We will go over sometimes at the end of practice to make sure they know them. We have a couple of guys that can throw it long this year so we can move Dylan into the box and have a dangerous striker there.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Both teams had chances over the final 20 minutes. In the 64th minute, Lanzillo hit a free kick from 20 yards out that looked destined for the top corner but Baur made a leaping one-handed stop to keep the deficit at one.

And in the 75th minute, Sharon nearly found the equalizer. Higgins played a free kick quick to Michael Baur, who took a touch and uncorked a bullet but the shot from distance went just over the crossbar.

Mansfield boys soccer (1-2 Hockomock, 1-3 overall) is back in action on Monday when they visit Franklin. Sharon (0-3-0, 0-3-1) will look to break into the win column with a trip to North Attleboro on Tuesday.

Canton Prevails In Tight Contest With Franklin

Canton’s Taylor Harris (right) hits an attack against Franklin in the first set. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The battle between defending division champions Franklin and Canton lived up to the billing on Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers, reigning champions of the Kelley-Rex division, and the Bulldogs, who won their eighth Davenport crown last season, went back-and-forth, trading wins in the first two sets before Canton pulled away for a 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18) win.

Over the course of the first three sets, the teams were never separated by more than six points, and only once in each set did the lead reach that high. And the leads all came early as the teams were within a point (19-18) in all three of those sets.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After the Bulldogs finished the third set with a 7-4 run to get a 2-1 lead in the match, they came out and played their best set in the fourth game to clinch the win.

“I think we played the best [in the fourth game] because we had confidence because we were up 2-1, and we were in the driver’s seat,” said Canton head coach Pat Cawley. “We played better because we had that confidence. It was a great match, it could have gone either way easily. I felt like both teams were pretty evenly matched.”

After an even start to the fourth set, the Bulldogs pulled ahead after putting pressure on the Panthers’ defense, forcing a couple of errors. Claire Quinn (nine kills, five aces) came up with a big dig on a Franklin hit that helped Canton keep the play alive and eventually win the point to go up 12-5.

After Franklin closed the gap some, Franklin rattled off a quick 6-3 burst that featured a kill from Liz Bickett (10 kills, three blocks) and an ace from Olivia Chinsen to take a commanding 20-10 lead, the largest of the entire match.

The Panthers battled back to make it a six-point game at 22-16 but Bickett dropped in another kill and Taylor Harris (23 kills) slammed down the final point with a kill.

“I think at too many times we let an error turn into two, and then two errors turn into another one,” said Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth. “And that seemed to take a hit on our confidence. We’re inconsistent right now, and we have a young team with some inexperience at some spots.”

Canton built a slight lead in the opening set as Harris slammed a shot down the line to go up 8-4, and Bickett tipped a ball over for a kill for a 10-5 lead. Another Harris kill gave the Bulldogs a 15-6 lead but Franklin rallied to make it a one-point game on an ace from Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (nine kills, 11 digs) at 18-17.

The Bulldogs finished strong with Bickett and Harris getting kills, sandwiched around an ace from Quinn for a 25-20 win.

“Taylor is a reliable option,” Cawley said. “She’s coming into her own, feeling the pressure a little bit of being the senior leader on the team. But we’re trying to take that pressure off of her because we have some good options. She’s doing a nice job, you know, if she makes an error she comes back strong.”

Franklin evened the match with a win in the second set. The Panthers jumped ahead 20-18 on back-to-back Canton errors but the Bulldogs rallied by winnings five of the next six points to take a 23-21 lead. A pair of errors helped Franklin pull level, sophomore Cailyn Mackintosh (30 assists) landed an ace to put the Panthers ahead, and Bridget Jackson (11 kills, three aces, two blocks) slammed down a hard kill to even the match at 1-1.

Bonnet-Eymard and Harris traded back-to-back kills early in the third set, the latter from Harris putting the Bulldogs up 12-7. After a Franklin timeout, the Panthers rallied to tie the set (15-15) on a kill from Brigid Early and their first lead on an ace from Mackintosh. Harris landed two kills to give Canton a 21-18 lead but back-to-back Canton errors helped Franklin get within one at 22-21.

A service error, a kill from Quinn, another Franklin error, and another kill from Quinn secured a 25-22 win in the third set.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Today was Claire’s first start of the year playing outside and she did a super job,” Cawley said. “Angie [Elias] usually plays outside but we put her at the weak side and I think that helped us a lot because she had a lot of touches on the block.

“We switched to a 5-1 [rotation] in the second set and I think it just took a little time getting used to having the one setter. All of the setters are new to varsity, but I think that changed worked for us because the kids seemed to know what to expect, and they didn’t have to figure out who was setting.”

Canton volleyball (3-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) is back in action on Monday with a trip to the brand new Stoughton High School. Franklin (1-2, 1-2) will host Mansfield on the same day.

Layne Lifts King Philip Over Franklin With Early Goal

King Philip girls soccer Chloe Layne
King Philip’s Chloe Layne and Franklin’s Carissa Alers battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Franklin girls soccer team put on a nearly flawless defensive performance against visiting King Philip on Tuesday afternoon.

But the potent Warriors’ offense only needs one chance to punish teams.

Such was the case at Pisini Field as senior Chloe Layne scored inside the opening 10 minutes, the 100th point of her career, and the Warriors walked away with a hard-earned 1-0 decision over the Panthers.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While King Philip’s lone goal came early, the Warriors had chances throughout the game that were either thwarted by the Panthers’ defense or denied by senior goalie Bre Atwood.

“Defensively, [Franklin head coach Tom Geysen] always comes up with a good scheme, you just have to try and work and work and work until you break through,” said King Philip head coach Gary Pichel.

The Warriors started on the front foot, keeping possession as they built towards their goal. In the eighth minute, senior Avery Snead controlled a service and linked up with Layne. Layne first carried towards the end line but cut back inside and fired a left-footed blast that powered through defenders and into the back of the net. The assist was also the 100th point for Snead in her KP career.

“You can’t let Chloe get in that deep, and all she needs is a little space,” Pichel said. “She just knocks it in with a lot of firepower. I thought Franklin did a good job [defensively] on Chloe and Avery, they were all over them, made it very difficult to get decent shots off. But that’s what you expect, a close game against Franklin.”

Minutes later, Snead nearly doubled the lead. She took a pass from classmate Jenna Hitchen and rifled a one-timer from just inside the 18 but her low shot was wide as Franklin senior Sam Powderly applied pressure.

The Warriors best chance to add onto their advantage in the first half came in the 22nd minute. Junior Paige Varvarigos lofted a corner kick that Snead rose up to meet but her header flashed just wide at the near post.

Although Franklin defended for the majority of the half, it did have some breaks that turned into looks offensively. In the 20th minute, Carly Alston served a corner kick to the near post. Anna Balkus was the first to the bar, getting a touch that eluded the keeper but the ball was cleared in front of goal by the KP defense.

King Philip had two great chances to add onto the lead in the opening 10 minutes of the second half but Atwood came up big for the Panthers on both occasions. In the 45th minute, Snead blocked a clearance attempt but Atwood quickly closed down and turned away her shot.

Four minutes later, Makayla Griffin found Ally Stanton with a corner kick, and Stanton’s header looked destined for the back of the net before Atwood made a terrific diving save to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

“I thought their goalie made some really good stops, especially on that corner it looked like Ally Stanton had taken care of it, it was going right in, and she got there right in the nick of time,” Pichel said. “We knew coming in that, the trouble they had with Milford, you forget about it. It’s KP against Franklin and it’s always a dogfight.”

Franklin got strong defensive performances from Powderly, senior Sabrina Addi, junior Carissa Alers, junior Erin Quaile, and freshman Norah Anderson.

“You have Snead, Layne, and Stanton…that’s a lot of firepower,” Geysen said of the KP attack. “When you look at their scoring, goals and assists, it all goes through the three of them. So we just tried to make it a little bit harder, tried to be in their face, and when you have the opportunity, double team them.

“Just one chance, that’s all it takes. And that’s what happens when you don’t score.”

Anderson applied pressure so Snead couldn’t get off a clean one-timer in the 63rd minute. Less than a minute later, Jenny Montville blasted a shot from 25 yards out but Atwood handled it on the bounce. And in the 69th minute, Stanton’s cross found Montville but good defending from Addi prevented a serious chance.

Franklin had its best chance of the second half come in the 73rd minute on a near post corner kick but KP keeper Taylor Butler came off the line and disrupted the service.

“I told Taylor she did a fantastic job of coming out when she needed to and taking care of business,” Pichel said. “I thought Grace Lawler did a fantastic job on defense, picking up some of their runs. Jenny Montville and Ava Tormey, things changed drastically when I put those two in the middle. They really picked it up for us and gave us a lot of energy.

We’re a work in progress. Who’s going to step up, who’s going to be consistent…and you just do the best you can. We don’t think we’re fantastic but we’re more of a meat and potatoes type team, just keeping fighting.

Hitchen intercepted a clearance in the 76th minute to give the Warriors one final chance, but the near post service was knocked away by Atwood before Layne could get a touch.

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“Bre played extremely well in the second half after being a little passive in the first half,” Geysen said. “Same thing with Sabrina [Addi], she had a great second half. They were both better today and it worked well.

“We beat Milford but we didn’t play very well, they physically knocked us all over the place and took advantage of our lack of aggressiveness. We needed to be more physical and aggressive today, that was the goal for today. I don’t care what the score was, we needed to play better. And I was very proud that they did that today.”

King Philip girls soccer (3-0 overall, 2-0 Hockomock) is back in action on Friday with a trip to Milford. Franklin (1-1, 1-1) is on the road at Canton on Thursday afternoon.

Panthers Push Past King Philip In Division Showdown

Franklin’s Amanda Lewandowski and King Philip’s Christina Gifun battle for possession in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Monday afternoon’s field hockey contest between host King Philip and visiting Franklin will be a learning experience for both sides.

An experienced Panthers squad, who earned a 3-0 win in the game, will look to fine tune their offense, mainly their shot selection. And the Warriors, with a roster filled with mostly new faces to the varsity level, will be looking to get to the same level as the visitors.

Franklin controlled the play for the majority of the game, peppering the King Philip net from start to finish. However, thanks to a terrific performance from KP junior goalie Makenzie Manning (22 saves), the Panthers only celebrated three goals.

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But three goals was all the Panthers needed, as they held the hosts to just one shot on goal with one penalty corner. Meanwhile, Franklin racked up 14 penalty corners and placed 27 shots on goal throughout the contest.

“We are a little green out there, most of them are juniors and sophomores but most of them haven’t played varsity yet,” said first-year KP head coach Lisa Cropper. Cropper previously coached Franklin for nine years (2009-2017). “[Franklin] has a lot of experienced kids. We looked good in some scrimmages when everything is calm, but as soon as it ramped up, we reverted some and played a little scared.

“We weren’t playing our angles correctly, they were exploiting that. And we were ball watching and worried about individual stuff instead of playing as a team. Now we have to transfer what we talk about in practice to the game, that’s the next step.”

The chances came often and early for the visitors, as junior Stephanie Bell sent a deflection just wide off a feed from freshman Kaitlyn Carney just seconds into the game. Manning was forced into a double said just minutes later as Carney set up Amanda Lewandowski for a shot.

Two minutes later, Manning came charging out to deny a bid from Hanna Richardson and defender Sammy Robison blocked the follow-up shot off the line to keep the game scoreless.

The Panthers finally broke through in the 16th minute with a little extra huddle. After a strong clear, Lewandowski hustled to win a foot race and went in alone towards good. Manning came charging off the line and forced Lewandowski to play the ball towards goal. Junior Leila Frankina pounced on the loose ball and buried it from in close.

Franklin continued the pressure early in the second half. Just over five minutes into the second frame, Manning made a nice stop on a shot from Bell and denied a rebound chance from Lewandowski. The Panthers were rewarded a penalty stroke after the second save but Manning came up big again with a blocker stop to keep the deficit at one.

“She’s phenomenal, she played even better than I expected,” Cropper said of Manning. “Our defense did channel things so she had a good look at the shot but we didn’t know what to do after the save. We marked for the initial shot but not after. I told them there’s no losing, just learning…and we did a lot of learning today.”

Robison once again deflected a shot away to keep the Warriors in the game but the pressure paid off for the Panthers, scoring back-to-back goals in a four-minute span.

Carney smacked a hard low shot from 12 yards out that took a slight deflection off a KP stick and into the back of the net to make it 2-0. After a corner, Carney got another look from a similar spot and lofted a bouncing shot through traffic that smacked the back of the cage.

“Their goalie played phenomenal but we have to do a better job picking our corners,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “That’s part of the early season learning curve. It’s hard because the goalie can become a target, so we have to get them shooting away from the goalie, but it’s a fixable issue. We had some issues at the beginning of last year and got things sorted out.

“We’ve got to mix up our shot selection, with some aerials and some hard shots. One of the hardest shot is the slow push that’s bouncing that can be hard for a goalie to time.”

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Since the Panthers had the majority of the possession, King Philip’s best offense spells came on the counter-attack. But chances were limited as the Franklin defense thwarted the Warriors’ bid to counter.

“Having Maeve [Ledwith] back there, she’s a brick wall back there, she’s not letting anyone by,” Hess said. “And my other captain Elizabeth Clark has really stepped up, she’s been playing well too. We’re pretty deep defensively which is good.”

Franklin field hockey (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) will entertain Milford on the same day.

Mansfield Opens Season With Big Win Over BC High

Mansfield football Cincere Gill
Mansfield’s Cincere Gill tries to avoid being tackled in the second half against BC High. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – All Cincere Gill wanted was a second chance, and he didn’t have to wait very long to get one.

On the first offensive series after seeing a potential touchdown pass slip through his hands, Gill took the first handoff 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Hornets a two-touchdown lead and sparked Mansfield to a 31-10 win over visiting BC High.

Locked in a tight game, senior quarterback Jack Moussette delivered a perfect pass over the top to Gill, who had beat two defenders. But instead of a long touchdown pass, the Hornets had to punt.

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As it did all night, Mansfield’s defense came through on the ensuing drive by forcing a three and out and getting the Hornets the ball back at thrown 36-yard line. Hornet head coach Mike Redding gave Gill the chance to redeem himself, and the junior back turned on the jets to get around the right side and sprinted to the end zone.

“I told the guys to go pat him on the back, get him back into it,” Redding said after the drop. “And the next series, he pops the big run. That’s a sign of maturity…last year he might have struggled to get the confidence back. But he got the big touchdown the next drive. I like the way he responded, had the big run which I thought was the turning point of the second half. We were struggling [offensively] but getting stops. It was still 10-3 or a close ball game there so popping that long run gave us breathing room.

“With Cincere, if you make a mistake and don’t have a guy to slow him down, he gets momentum and it’s going to be tough to track him down.”

Gill finished with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns while senior Michael DeBolt (148 all-purpose yards) accounted for 19 points for the Hornets, scoring two rushing touchdowns, kicking a field goal, and connecting on four extra points.

While the Hornets finished with 31 points, it wasn’t until the second half that the offense really clicked. On the opening drive and on fourth down, Gill scored on a 29 yard run with a major assist to Nico Holmes, who came up with a huge block to create some space.

Mansfield only had two more drives in the first half: a 14-play, 52-yard drive ended with a missed field goal. And just before the half, Mansfield settled for a buzzer-beating field goal despite strong starting field position.

Meanwhile, the defense came up with some big stops to prevent the Eagles from tying the game. BC High’s second drive of the game even had a first and goal at the Hornet 2-yard line but had to settle for a field goal. Junior Matt Boen had a sack on first down and a pass break up on second down. After a rushed throw on third down, Cormac Kennelly connected on a 25-yard field goal to make it 7-3.

Two series later, BC High went for it on 4th and 4 from their own 41-yard line but junior Jake McCoy came through with an 11-yard sack. That allowed the Hornets to grab a field goal as time expired and a 10-3 lead at half.

“The defense had a great preseason,” Redding said. “People have talked about our skill guys on offense but the defense has a lot of guys back. We’re not very big at all but we get after the ball, we’re good tacklers. I thought [the defense] held us together because we had some offensive struggles at times, some bad series. When we did that, the defense got us the ball back until we got into a rhythm. That’s big, getting stops when you’re struggling on offense.”

After Gill’s big run put the Hornets ahead 17-3, the flood gates seemed to open up a bit for Mansfield.

The Hornets needed just five plays to score on their next drive. Vinnie Holmes helped the Hornets move the chains early in the drive, but facing 3rd and 10, Moussette hit DeBolt on a screen and he went the rest of the way, scampering 48 yards for a touchdown with Danny Rapoza coming up with a key block downfield.

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After BC High found the end zone for the first time, Mansfield needed just two plays to respond. DeBolt cut into some space along the left side and raced past the defense for a 79-yard touchdown.

“We are [a big play offense], we might get stuffed a play or two but if you can get Cincere or Mike in open space, you can go 60 yards in a hurry,” Redding said. “We might not be able to grind it out on a regular basis, but if the defense makes a mistake, we’re able to pop one. I thought the offensive line played well tonight against a really big, physical front. We threw well enough to keep them honest. I didn’t think we’d score 31 against them but we had a pretty good night offensively.”

Mansfield football (1-0) hits the road for an out of state clash in Ohio next week, taking on LaSalle on Friday night at 7:00.

Fast Start, Strong Finish Helps Milford Beat Franklin

Milford’s Pedro Araujo fires a shot while under pressure from Franklin’s in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MILFORD, Mass. – It doesn’t matter the sport, coaches always preach getting off to a strong start each season.

Such was the case for the Milford boys soccer team on Friday afternoon.

The Hawks needed less than two minutes to find the back of the net and then capitalized on a pair of second half chances to earn a 3-1 decision over Franklin in the season opener for both squads.

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“I think that’s an incredible Franklin team, I just told [Franklin coach] Fran [Bositis] I haven’t seen a team close down space as quickly and efficiently as they do,” said Milford head coach Brian Edwards. “I was very happy with how we were able to move the ball at times against them. The score is great but we have a lot of work to do. We made some mistakes, I thought we were fortunate in how we scored. I think we showed flashes of what we can do but we’ll need to keep getting better each game.

“But anytime you can get a result against a good team like that, we’ll take it.”

Junior Leo Coelho turned some heads with a terrific individual run, beating multiple Panthers before depositing a perfect shot just under the bar to give Milford a lead in the second minute.

Franklin tied the game in the 17th but Milford scored a pair of goals in the final half hour of play to emerge with the victory.

After Coelho’s strike, the Hawks continued to pressure early and had a couple of chances at doubling the lead. In the 9th minute, senior Pedro Moura played Coelho in behind the defense but Franklin keeper Jack Rudolph (eight saves) came charging off his line and Coelho’s touch was just wide of the post.

It wouldn’t be the last time Rudolph would deny the Hawks on a good goal scoring chance.

The Panthers equalized in the 17th minute on one of their few chances in the contest. Senior Donny Tappin made a darting run down the left side, centering with a low cross. Junior Ben Moccia was able to slide and beat his defender, tapping the pass into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Thanks to Rudolph, that was the scoreline heading into the half. In the 20th minute, Moura connected with Lucas Da Silva, who flicked it back but Moura’s low left-footed shot was swallowed up by Rudolph.

And then just minutes before halftime, Coelho hit one from distance that forced Rudolph into a diving save, getting his fingertips to the shot to force it to hit the post and out for a corner.

Milford regained the lead in the 52nd minute. Senior captain Nuno Mestre looped a throw into the box where Moura was taken down for a penalty kid. Moura hit one down the middle, and Rudolph was able to get the original stop but Moura was alert to the rebound and sprinted up and tapped it in to make it 2-1.

The Hawks had a couple of other chances to add to the lead but couldn’t solve Rudolph. In the 56th minute, Moura tracked down a ball over the top and had an open chance but was denied by Rudolph and the rebound rolled wide. In the 60th minute, Joao Pedro Da Silva connected with Coelho but his shot sizzled just over the bar. Senior Jordan Borges cracked one off the corner of the crossbar and post on a 30-yard free kick in the 64th minute.

The Hawks stifled any efforts from the Panthers to get forward over the final 10 minutes. Coelho moved back from forward to a center defensive midfield position and helped shore up the defense.

“Jack bailed us out, I thought he played great today,” Bositis said. “[Milford] is very crafty, quick, well-skilled…they are good. For us, it was similar to Xaverian where we just aren’t getting it done in the final third.”

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Just before the final whistle, won a challenge in the attacking third, catching Rudolph off his line and he calmly dropped a shot into the far post to make it 3-1. Moura nearly made it 4-1 in the final seconds but Rudolph came off his line to deny a partial breakaway chance.

“You want to play a team like that because they test you,” Edwards said. “They’re so well-coached, they’re so athletic, they are good at every position. When you play Franklin, you know every guy is going to be a good athlete and each guy can defend well. So it was a good litmus test for us. We want to be able to move the ball on the ground quickly against big, strong physical teams.”

Milford boys soccer (1-0 overall, 1-0 Hockomock) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Sharon while Franklin (0-1, 0-1) heads to King Philip on Monday night.