Teams of the Decade #6: 2018 Foxboro Girls Basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Team: Foxboro girls basketball
Year: 2017-2018
Record: 26-2
2018 Davenport Division Champions
2018 Division 2 State Champions


Over the course of the 2017-18 season, the Foxboro girls basketball team had its first-ever perfect run through Hockomock League play. The Warriors twice won by more than 50 points, seven times by more than 40, four times by more than 30, and three other games were decided by more than 20. Only six games all season were decided by single digits.

However, the season wouldn’t be remembered for the blowouts, but rather for the comebacks. Foxboro rallied from 20 points down in the second half of the state semifinal and from 14 down in the final to reach the team’s lofty preseason expectations and secure the program’s first state title since 1995.

“The scrutiny was on us every game,” said head coach Lisa Downs, who earned her 100th career win that season. “The Hockomock League doesn’t always have easy games and we were expected to win all of them. The expectations were so high that it felt like there was a magnifying glass on you at all times.”

Expectations were sky high because the team was coming off a Div. 2 South title and brought back a core of four talented seniors, who had played together long before they got to high school. Guards Lily Sykes and Ashley Sampson, forward Grace Tamulionis, and center Shannon Smally had helped the Warriors get to a South final as freshmen and their final season together was supposed to be the culmination of it all.

It was also a motivated group, as the 2017 season ended with a disappointing loss at the TD Garden. Sykes said, “My whole senior year I remembered that game and it was just a sour taste in my mouth and we needed to get past the Garden.”

An overtime loss to eventual Div. 4 state champion Coyle-Cassidy opened the season, followed by a win against Mansfield, which reached the D1 South semifinal. Wins over Hopkinton and Coyle around Christmas gave the Warriors a boost of confidence and started to confirm the preseason hype.

In addition to the seniors, the rotation started to take shape with sophomore forward Abby Hassman giving the team energy and rebounding and freshman Katelyn Mollica making an instant impact on the program as the first player off the bench. Mollica averaged more than 10 points per game as a rookie and gave the team a spark in some of its biggest games.

“It was pretty cool because as much as we were the fearless leaders, I guess, Katelyn and Abby came into every game and gave as much as they could and they never seemed scared,” Sykes explained.

Downs added, “We had a lot of different pieces. We didn’t have a deep bench but the five or six that we put out there could go against anyone.”

Foxboro suffered a one-point loss at Hopkinton at the end of January. It turned out to be the final loss of the season.

The playoffs started in comfortable fashion, as the Warriors beat Milton and Stoughton by a combined 71 points, but Smally suffered an injury in the second round that would cost her the rest of the season. It forced a change to the rotation, thrusting Mollica into the starting lineup, and also added a new dynamic to the bench, as Smally became a vocal presence on the sidelines.

“I feel like we didn’t have that leader on the bench,” said Sykes. “Katelyn came off the bench but there wasn’t always someone there yelling and giving support and I think Shannon definitely amped it up.”

Silver Lake was beaten by 26 in the South semifinal and then the Warriors clinched a second straight sectional title by holding Nauset to just 24 points (on six made field goals) in the final. Experience at that stage and experience playing together was proving too much for opponents to handle.

“We’ve been playing together since we were in what, third or fourth grade?” Sykes remarked.
“So, like me and Ashley, whether it was me or her bringing the ball down, we knew that if we gave it up that we were going to go backdoor. That was our play, just give each other the head nod and it was game over.”

Weather had played its part during the playoff run, as the state semifinal was forced from the TD Garden to Woburn High. Snow storms and power outages made for an interesting lead into the game against North champ Pentucket.

“We ended up practicing at King Philip one of the days because our school didn’t have power,” said Hassman. “Obviously Lisa was focused on getting the practice time and staying in the routine because we couldn’t afford to take a day off right before a huge game.”

The semifinal was the most memorable game of that season. Pentucket jumped out to an early lead and led 29-14 at halftime. The lead stretched to as many as 20 points in the second half, but the Warriors never panicked. Changing to a 2-3 zone took away some of Pentucket’s driving lanes and Foxboro started to chip away at the lead.

“As much as man is our bread-and-butter at the time, the 2-3 with me and Katelyn up top really rattled them and once we could see the panic in their eyes, it was like oh my god this is definitely our game,” Sykes recalled.

“At halftime, we had a real heart-to-heart, and maybe a little yelling, and then the seniors definitely took it upon themselves to rally the troops,” said Downs. Each timeout I was saying just two or three points at time, get a stop and turn around and get a basket, and then we’ll just chip away. Our confidence started to grow and maybe Pentucket got a little tight with their game and then everything started to go our way.”

Sykes knocked down a pair of huge threes in the fourth quarter and her diving scramble to force a jump ball saved a final possession for Foxboro. Meanwhile, Sampson was showing why she was league MVP as a junior and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year that season. She scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including 19 of the team’s final 20 points and the tying layup in the final seconds to force OT.

“She was a coach’s dream,” Downs said of Sampson. “She’s a 5-foot-10 point guard who has the strength to post up. She was a really tough matchup for teams, so they wouldn’t know whether to put a guard on her that might be small or a forward on her that wouldn’t be quick enough.”

Sampson added 14 points in the extra frame and the Warriors walked away with an improbable 58-54 win. Downs said, “I’ll even watch every once in a while now and I still get goosebumps because it was just such an incredible game.”

Of course, getting to the final was only part of the goal. The Warriors needed to complete the job in their third meeting of the season with Hopkinton, this time at Springfield’s MassMutual Center. Like the semifinal, Foxboro needed to turn things around in the second half.

Hassman, who would go on to win a second state title as a senior this past winter, credited the seniors for providing the underclassmen with the confidence to perform even while trailing in a final. She explained, “ I was looking at them and seeing how they were going to deal with it and I just remember them not being affected by it all. In the locker room, they were just like, ‘We’ll change these things in the next half,’ and stayed focused and we weren’t flustered at all.

“Their focus and poise just really helped me not get flustered. Without them I would’ve crumbled a little bit.”

Behind a 32-14 second half run, sparked by the three seniors, the Warriors overcame a 10-point halftime deficit and secured the title with a 49-41 win.

“That was probably the most special moment I had in high school,” said Sykes. “Each year we just built more and more and more and it was finally our year and we finally got the job done. It was the most amazing experience ever.”

Downs added, “There’s pictures of me and I’m crying in every one because it’s just such an emotional thing. You’re holding your breath all season long, can we do it, can we do it, and then you can finally just breathe. That exhale as all of the emotions come through and you’re just so happy that these girls can remember this because they deserved it.”






Foxboro girls basketball
Foxboro girls basketball

Opponent
Result
Coyle & CassidyL, 50-40 (OT)
MansfieldW, 43-37
King PhilipW, 65-21
FranklinW, 64-33 (Recap)
HopkintonW, 52-38
Coyle & CassidyW, 42-41
SharonW, 69-28
StoughtonW, 74-46
MilfordW, 67-47
CantonW, 79-34
North AttleboroW, 75-26
HopkintonL, 55-54
TauntonW, 85-27 (Recap)
Oliver AmesW, 61-39 (Recap)
AttleboroW, 67-37
SharonW, 72-30
StoughtonW, 74-19
MilfordW, 80-26
CantonW, 81-32
North AttleboroW, 66-41
HanoverW, 66-59 (Recap)
NatickW, 58-45
MiltonW, 64-30
StoughtonW, 75-38
Silver LakeW, 63-37 (Recap)
NausetW, 40-23 (Recap)
PentucketW, 58-54 (OT) (Recap)
HopkintonW, 49-41 (Recap)






Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball


Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball

Foxboro girls basketball


Teams of the Decade #7: 2011 King Philip Softball

King Philip softball

Team: King Philip softball
Year: 2011
Record: 26-0
2011 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2011 Division 1 State Champions


King Philip softball has dominated the Hockomock League for the past 10-plus years, having won the league title in 11 of the past 13 seasons. Amidst all of that success, one KP team stands out above the rest and it was the one that kicked off the new decade.

In the spring of 2011, the Warriors were coming off a state title and the return of junior pitcher Meg Rico, who had come off the bench to win the final four games of the previous season, made them one of the favorites to repeat. Not only did the Warriors win back-to-back titles, but they went one better than 2010, completing a perfect, 26-0 season.

“We kind of had no doubt in our minds that we were going to take it as far as we could go and there was nobody that was going to stand in our way,” said former Canton coach Jennifer Robillard, who was a senior shortstop and leadoff hitter on the 2011 team. “We knew that as much as we were going to miss the talent that we had lost, we had people that could come in and step up.”

Former KP coach Jim Leonard said of coming off a state title, “It’s always hard to repeat. You come through and you have a championship season and you’re through and the table has shifted and sometimes it’s harder to live up to those expectations that are raised from the year before.”

The Warriors certainly appeared to be comfortable with the target on their backs. Led by Rico and fellow pitcher Megan Carnase, KP outscored its opponents 146-0 during the regular season. It took until the sixth inning of the Div. 1 South final before Norwood scored the first runs of the season by a KP opponent. The pitching staff combined for 264 strikeouts.

Rico became the standout player of the season. After stepping into the circle in the South semifinal the year before, following an injury to star pitcher Maggie Quealy, Rico struck out three of the five hitters she faced against Dighton-Rehoboth, including two with the tying run on third, and then allowed only two runs over the final three games.

In 2011, Rico’s dominance gave the Warriors extra confidence that they were the team to beat.

“It gives a team a huge confidence,” said Robillard. “Mistakes are going to happen and we knew that in the field, as much as we wanted to be strong for her, you can make a mistake and it doesn’t feel like the end of the world because your pitcher is going to come in and shut it down.”

Even a dominant pitcher can’t win every game on her own and the Warriors developed a fearsome lineup as well. Senior third baseman Anna Kelley was a big bat in the middle of the order, senior right fielder Kelsey Gray could always be counted on to get on base, juniors Olivia Godin and Carnase both emerged as tough outs.

The stats make it seem like an easy run through the season, but the Warriors had their share of challenges, including a pair of tough games with North Attleboro and Mansfield and two non-league encounters with a strong Coyle-Cassidy team (which KP beat 3-0 and 9-0). The highlight of the regular season was a state final rematch with Milford, which was the only team to beat KP in 2010. KP won that 1-0 to confirm its status as title favorite.

“We never said we’re going to run the schedule and that gets harder the deeper you get into the season, it’s always about the next game,” said Leonard. “It was a great group of kids. They were dedicated, they came every day to practice and worked hard, and put in all those extra hours. Any time a girl was at the plate or in the field, everyone had everyone else’s back.”

While KP rarely lacks for talent on the field, Robillard also credited Leonard’s approach in the dugout for keeping things light and not allowing the pressure of expectations to overwhelm the team. Our practices were fun and I absolutely love having him as a coach,” she said. “He was an awesome guy.”

Leonard explained, “These girls have all played enough softball with enough pressure already on them. I just wanted them to play loose, be relaxed. They’d been part of that culture for a number of years, so from that perspective we knew how hard we worked and trained and the game will take care of itself.”

Things got no easier in the tournament, as KP started its playoff run wins against perennial powers Taunton and D-R before easily dispatching with Weymouth in the South semifinal. Senior captain Alyssa Siegmann drove in one and scored twice and junior first baseman Cayleigh McCarthy drilled a clutch sixth inning homer, as KP made it two straight South titles with a 4-2 win against previously unbeaten Norwood.

“There is that little bit of pressure there that you’re supposed to do this, you’re supposed to win the South,” Robillard reflected. “I think that gave us more confidence than it did nervousness. When you’re able to take that anxiety and flip it into excitement, that’s the fine line. I think our team had a lot of maturity and there really wasn’t a panic mode.”

After taking a 3-0 lead against Acton-Boxboro in the state semifinal, the Colonials broke up Rico’s no-hitter and struck for a pair of runs to make it a nervy finish. KP finished off a 3-2 win and continued its run with another title game appearance, this time against Amherst.

For the second year in a row, Rico out-dueled the Gatorade Player of the Year (Milford’s Shannon Smith in 2010 and Amherst’s Emma Mendoker) to win the championship. Leonard joked, “I think that Rico’s season and what she brought to the game in the circle, she would have been the obvious choice but if you ask her would you rather have Gatorade Player of the Year or a state championship [laughs]…”

It was a game dominated by the two stars in the circle. Mendoker held KP hitless until the sixth inning when Rico got the first hit for the Warriors. Robillard reached on a bunt and courtesy runner Hailey Mullen went from first-to-third. The bases were loaded when Siegmann was hit by a pitch. Carnase had the big hit with a fly ball that dropped in deep left center, allowing all three runs to come across. After an appeal by the Amherst coach, Robillard was deemed to have missed third, so only one run counted.

It proved to be enough. Amherst had its chances to score, putting runners on base several times, but Rico always managed to find another gear and get out of the jam. She finished with a career-high 19 strikeouts.

“Rico remained really calm during that and just knew it was about the next pitch and she and Olivia Godin were kind of a perfectly matched tandem where they trusted each other, worked it all out together, and they worked as one unit,” said Leonard. Robillard added, “Bottom line is we put runners in scoring position and we executed when we needed to execute, whether it was one or three runs didn’t really matter to us. It was all about the final outcome.”

When asked to put into perspective the 2011 season, Leonard replied, “Those girls deserve an awful lot of credit for committing themselves and working hard and staying with each other. The best part of that year is the time you spent in practice laughing and these girls knew how to keep it light. That helped us when things would’ve gotten tight for many other teams, they were cool as could be.”

Robillard had more state championships than losses over the final two seasons of her high school career. The former Sacred Heart University player and current Bentley assistant said, “The only thing we could possibly do to improve on [2010] was to not have any losses and the fact that we could kind of come in and not just win the states but also have a perfect season, you couldn’t ask for a better way to cap off your high school career.

“We didn’t expect to go in and dominate every game, but it was sort of the cherry on the cake.”






King Philip softball
King Philip softball

Playoff Games

Opponent
Result
#17 TauntonW, 2-0
#8 Dighton-RehobothW, 5-0
#21 WeymouthW, 15-0
#2 NorwoodW, 4-2
Acton-Boxborough (State Semifinal)W, 3-2
Amherst (State Final)W, 1-0






Teams of the Decade #8: 2015 Franklin Boys Hockey

Franklin boys hockey

Team: Franklin Boys Hockey
Year: 2014-2015
Record: 17-4-3
2015 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
First Ever Hockomock Super 8 Selection


Following three straight appearances in the Div. 2 state title game at the TD Garden, Franklin hockey found itself bumped up to Div. 1. It was a new challenge for the program, but one that it met head on. After reaching the South quarterfinal in year one, the Panthers brought back a team loaded with experience and that group not only made Franklin history but broke new ground for the league as well.

In just its second season as a Div. 1 team, the 2014-15 Franklin hockey team became the first Hock team to get an invite to the prestigious Super 8 tournament.

“At that time, it was our second year in Div. 1, so we had a lot of doubters,” said Ryan Spillane, a senior forward on the 2014-15 team. “It felt great to put Franklin hockey on the map and to prove people wrong. I remember the entire school was behind us, so it was definitely a special time to be wearing a Franklin hockey jersey.”

Even for a program accustomed to success, there were high expectations for that year’s team, largely because the Panthers were returning 21 seniors who had grown up through the town’s youth hockey program and had been playing together for the better part of a decade.

“They had tremendous coaching in youth hockey that gave them the basics and when they got to me it was basically just fine-tuning some lines and stuff like that,” said head coach Chris Spillane. “We didn’t know how special it would be but we knew we had a team that if it all came together right could have a great season.”

The Panthers opened with a tie against perennial power Springfield Cathedral, sending an early message about their potential, and followed it with a win against rival Canton. Franklin went 1-1-1 in the annual Mount St. Charles tournament, finishing with a win against LaSalle Academy (Pa.). That win, and the start of league play, seemed to spark Franklin into life, as the Panthers would lose only once more in the regular season.

“We played as a team,” Ryan said. “We didn’t really have any big individuals. There were no egos on the team, nothing like that. We moved the puck around and the camaraderie we had playing as a group for so long together and having that many seniors we had a whole lot of leaders.”

A lot of that attitude came from the coaching staff. Ryan explained, “He’s definitely that type of coach that he wants the game to revolve around the team and not a player. He wants a full team effort. If you played selfish, then you were getting sat. He’d bench anyone.”

Chris added, “I knew they were a tight locker room. Everyone knew their role on that team and no matter who we played we were going to rally and we were going to be competitive.”

Franklin went 10-0 in the league, including a second one-goal win against Canton, to secure the Kelley-Rex division title. In the middle of that run, the Panthers added non-league wins against St. John’s Shrewsbury and Newburyport, and the conversation around possibly getting a Super 8 bid started to pick up momentum.

When the Panthers played at Maden Catholic in the second week of February, they twice grabbed a lead in the first period and were hanging tough with the defending Super 8 champions. Following the game, Chris spoke with one of the tournament committee members who was on hand scouting and was told that the Panthers had been impressive.

“At that point, the coaches started to get together and say we need to get in front of this with the kids and have a discussion,” he said. “They all sort of bought into my philosophy that if you’re an athlete then you want to be challenged at the highest level. So, if we get an offer and we do get through the whole process, then you can’t say no to that. That’s something you’ve got to buy into.”

Nothing was set in stone, as the tournament watch lists indicated, but the team felt that a good showing at the end of season tournament in Barnstable could decide it. A pair of 5-1 wins against Marshfield and Westfield put the Panthers at 16-2-3 on the season and 15-1-1 over their final 17 games.

“We were definitely just focused on what was in our control,” Ryan said. “If we didn’t get that bid for the Super 8, then we would have been focused on playing for a state championship going into D1 South. It didn’t really matter to us.”

Being new to the Super 8 process, Chris almost missed out on the coaches association meeting and a chance to talk up his team. A timely tweet by the Boston Herald’s Bruce Lerch got him away from chipping ice off his roof just in time. While Franklin wasn’t included on the recommendation from the coaches association, the main committee had a different outlook.

The Panthers beat out perennial contenders Hingham and Arlington Catholic to earn the 10th and final spot in the tournament and got a play-in game with Xaverian.

“I think we were down a goal with like two minutes left and looking back I don’t even remember that we were down with that little time to go,” said Ryan about the Xaverian game. “We were playing stress-free. We were just trying to put the puck in the net in the last two minutes but it wasn’t as stressful as other playoff games I’ve been in because we knew we had nothing to lose.”

DJ Shea tied the game at 1-1 with less than 10 minutes to play. It was just his fifth goal of the season. After Xaverian regained the lead, Ryan Shea made a huge stop on a point-blank chance to keep the Panthers in it and then, with the goalie pulled and just 31.7 left on the clock, defenseman Nick Morris crashed the net and tipped in a pass from Alex Campbell to send it to overtime.

Two minutes into the OT period, Spillane sprung Alec Borkowski for a rush into the Xaverian zone. After a scrum in front, the puck popped out to Spillane, the league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, at the far post and he buried it, securing the Panthers a dramatic win and a chance to play in the Super 8 proper.

“Just to be part of the process was really special and the kids really enjoyed it,” Chris reflected. “People say you could’ve won a state title in Div. 1, but nah this is where we had to play and this is where we belonged.”

Franklin got a rematch with Malden Catholic in a best-of-three series and the Panthers more than held their own, especially in game one. Campbell scored to put Franklin ahead 1-0 in the second and Borkowski had a series of three breakaway chances to try and tie it but the Lancers pulled out the 2-1 win. Ryan Shea stopped 39 shots in the loss.

“Offensively, it was different guys scoring every night,” Chris explained. “Defensively, you could run six defensemen out there and every one of them was skilled, and then you had Ryan Shea in net and he was phenomenal. He was an extremely quiet kid but at practice you could see him come out of his shell and start talking smack to the players for not being able to score on him and it added to that practice environment where it got really competitive.”

Although the season came to a close in the second game against the eventual Super 8 champions, Franklin had put itself on the map and proved it belonged in the conversation of top teams in the state. It opened up the program to more non-league opponents, building its strength of schedule, and helped keep kids who might have otherwise chosen to play somewhere else.

It may not have been a state title, but it was a unique experience for the players and the program. Ryan said, “We were all-in on what we were doing that year and definitely no regrets for having that experience of the Super 8.

“It was fun to go through that with all those seniors on the team. We were all best friends and being able to enjoy that together was definitely a special time.”






Franklin boys hockey
Franklin boys hockey

Opponent
Result
Springfield CathedralT, 3-3
CantonW, 1-0 (Recap)
Bridgewater-RaynhamT, 1-1
Bishop HendrickenL, 5-1
LaSalle Academy (RI)T, 1-1
LaSalle Academy (PA)W, 6-2
MilfordW, 8-1
Oliver AmesW, 3-1
FoxboroW, 10-1
MansfieldW, 6-1 (Recap)
King PhilipW, 10-0
North AttleboroW, 7-2
CantonW, 2-1 (Recap)
StoughtonW, 11-1
St. John's ShrewsburyW, 3-1
NewburyportW, 1-0
Malden CatholicL, 6-2
AttleboroW, 10-0
TauntonW, 8-0
MarshfieldW, 5-1
WestfieldW, 5-1
#10 Xaverian (Super 8 Play-in)W, 3-2 (OT) (Recap)
#2 Malden Catholic (Super 8)L, 2-1 (Recap)
#2 Malden Catholic (Super 8)L, 5-1






Franklin boys hockey


Teams of the Decade #9: 2019 Mansfield Football

Mansfield football

Team: Mansfield Football
Year: 2019
Record: 11-1
2019 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2019 Division 2 State Champions


Even though the Mansfield football team walked off the field at Lancer Stadium in Ohio with a loss to La Salle in Week 2, longtime head coach Mike Redding still had a good feeling about his Hornets.

“I was talking to some of our coaches after that game and I said ‘this team can win a state championship,'” Redding said. “Here we are, just lost by 22, but the way we competed out there against a high-level team. It was probably one of the more talented teams we’ve played in 32 years and we came up short on the scoreboard, but if you look at the film play by play, we stood up pretty equally to them.

“The feeling walking off that field…when we go back home and get everybody back on board, we could have a pretty special group that can play against anyone in Massachusetts.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The Hornets bulldozed through their league schedule, grinding out a tough win at KP while outscoring the other four Kelley-Rex opponents 152-28. The playoffs were more of the same as the Hornets limited tournament foes to a total of 15 points through four games played, including a 41-0 rout in the D2 State Championship over Lincoln-Sudbury.

The Mansfield football team opened the season with a convincing win over BC High before hitting the road for a trip to Ohio against La Salle. The Lancers featured at least a dozen Division I commits at the time of the game, including Northwestern bound running back Cameron Porter. While the scoreboard favored the hosts, Mansfield walked away with plenty of positives, including an edge in yardage on offense, and its swarming defense limited Porter to 30 yards on the ground.

The dominance back in Massachusetts wasn’t a gigantic shock as the Hornets entered the season as one of the favorites in both the Hockomock League and in the state. It felt like three years in the making as Mansfield football returned a boatload of returning players with either one or two years experience. Two seasons prior, the Hornets were swept by rival King Philip, who went on to win the state championship. A year prior, Mansfield won the regular season matchup and took home the division title but the Warriors got the last laugh in the playoffs. This season, Mansfield won both meetings, the latter earning a spot in the south final.

“I think it was back in January before the season, we were pretty honest with them and told them they had a chance to compete for the league title, which is challenging enough, but when you get in the playoffs, this is a team that can make a run towards a state title,” Redding said. “The last couple of years, we’ve lost a couple of high-level kids due to injuries.

“I think it was a big motivation for a lot of guys in this group because they had come so close before but couldn’t finish on the field because of injuries so they were a pretty hungry group. As coaches, we just hold our breath hoping they stay healthy because they have worked so hard and they deserve a chance to compete, win or lose, and you just don’t want them sitting on the sidelines watching.”

The offense started with senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who was like a coach on the field for the Hornets with his ability to manage the game. It was a pick-your-poison backfield that featured seniors Vinnie Holmes (895 yards, 8 TD), Michael DeBolt (402 yards, 6 TD), and Nick Marciano (334 yards, 6 TD) along with star junior Cincere Gill (979 yards, 10 TD). With the help of a strong, talented offensive line featuring Andrew Cowles, TJ Guy, Jake McCoy, Noah Jellenik, and Jason Comeau, the Hornets could break out a big run on any given play. Moussette (914 yards, 11 TD) connected with receiver Danny Rapoza (4 TD) for a team-high 20 receptions. On top of that, DeBolt was one of the best kickers in the area with nine field goals and 38 successful PATs.

“From the first practice we all knew we had the opportunity to be a special team,” Holmes said. “I think that the first two games prepared us for how we need to play for the rest of the season, fast and physical. We all knew we were going to be faster and more physical than whoever lined up across from us, and the La Salle game sparked that intensity. Bringing that intensity into the league paid off as we were able to get another league title.

“Going into the playoffs we knew we had a great shot at winning a state title if we can keep up our level of play. I think we soared over our original expectations by a long shot outscoring our opponents 121-15 in a four-game span on our way to a state championship season. One thing that stood out to me that I think clicked in the playoff run is that everyone knew their roles and did exactly what they were supposed to and we executed extremely well.”

As dominant as the Hornets were on offense (29.8 points per game), Mansfield’s defense was equally as powerful as they allowed under 10 points per game against some of the best competition in the state. Massachusetts foes averaged just over seven points per game with Mansfield holding opponents to seven points or less in seven contests. Similar to the offense, it all started up front with the line play, including Guy, Chris Graham, Mark DeGirolamo, and Nico Holmes. To complement that group, Mansfield football had a loaded group of linebackers (Holmes, Joe Plath, Paden Palanza) and a very talented secondary (Makhi Baskin, Nick Bertolino).

“I think it was definitely one of the more talented teams I’ve had in the three decades plus that I’ve coached,” Redding said. “It was one of those teams that had the rare combination of being really good up front on the o-line and the d-line, which is usually enough to be competitive, but then you throw in a very, very talented group of skill players on both sides. We had the running backs and receivers, and the linebackers and secondary on defense.

“Top to bottom, it was really hard to find a weakness. So many of them had contributed the previous year or two so they came in with a pretty high level of experience. In high school, if you can put that package of skill, physical and tough kids up front, and a group that’s battle tested and confident, that’s usually a recipe for a championship run.”






Mansfield football
Mansfield football

Opponent
Result
BC HighW, 31-10 (Recap)
La Salle (OH)L, 38-16
TauntonW, 31-6
King PhilipW, 15-13 (Recap)
FranklinW, 39-9 (Recap)
Oliver AmesW, 36-6
AttleboroW, 46-7
MarshfieldW, 24-6
King PhilipW, 34-6 (Recap)
NatickW, 22-3 (Recap)
FoxboroW, 22-12
Lincoln-SudburyW, 41-0 (Recap)






Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football


Mansfield football
Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football

Mansfield football


Teams of the Decade #10: 2017 King Philip Football

King Philip football

Team: King Philip football
Year: 2017
Record: 12-0
2017 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2017 Division 2 State Champions


Following an undefeated season and the program’s first state title, the 2017 King Philip football team entered the new year with some question marks. Only two starters were back on offense and just three on the other side of the ball. While those outside the program were understandably wondering how so many new faces would be able to cope with the pressure of being defending champions, the players knew that they had what it took to go back-to-back.

It turned out that the players were absolutely right.

“It wasn’t going undefeated again and going back to the Super Bowl,” KP coach Brian Lee admitted when asked about his expectation heading into the 2017 season. “I think these guys just wanted to show that they could do it too. Once they knew how to get there, that it’s possible, those guys fully expected to go back. They knew their potential better than I did.”

The foundation for the second straight state title was built in the offseason with lifting in the spring and then summer workout programs that saw players get to the field at 6 a.m. every morning. In the preseason, the team spent a week of three-a-days in Maine. The hard work and the shared commitment permeated the roster.

“It just built us all into the team we were that season,” said Shane Frommer, the team’s star running back and linebacker. Being there at 6 in the morning, tired, grinding together, just built so much character in us and bonds that carried into the season to just keep working, to never stop, because you’re fighting for your brothers.”

Frommer was one of the key returning players, along with quarterback Brendan Lydon, defensive back Andrew Dittrich, defensive end Evan Rice, and receiver Dylan Leonard. Over the course of the season, players like linebackers Jack Webster and Max Armour, receiver Tom Madden, lineman Anthony Vahue, and tight end Jack Piller were some of the players that emerged as standouts, most of them on both sides of the ball.

King Philip football is a defense-first program and on that side of the ball, under the guidance of Lee and defensive coordinator Matt Wassell, the Warriors put up numbers that were even better than the 2016 team. The defense allowed only five teams to score in the second half that season, no team scored more than once after halftime, and only two opponents in the final nine weeks avoided a second half shutout.

“That’s our emphasis,” said Lee. “Let’s put our best dudes on defense, let’s spend more time in practice on defense, let’s do all the things that make other people spend time on offense.” He continued, “The defense just got better every week. We really relied on them a ton in 2017.”

Frommer credited the coaches for getting the team in the right spots. He added, “If we all know our assignments every play then we can all fly around and tackle the ball. If we’re doing our own jobs, then it’s just going to happen.”

The undefeated season may have come to an abrupt end in week four if not for a big play on defense by Frommer. Mansfield was dominating, already up 10-0, and with the ball in the red zone with a chance to break the game open before halftime. Dittrich got his hand to a pass that Frommer picked off and took 96 yards for a score that cut the lead to three. KP would score 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a Frommer touchdown and rolled to a 28-10 win.

“We were up against the ropes right there,” Lee said. “Now, we’re only down three and we can play and we’re only going to get better. Getting that win really launched us into, maybe we’ve got something special here.”

Over the course of its three straight trips to the Super Bowl, KP became known for its ability to come back in games and make the plays it needed down the stretch to secure a win. Lee said, “We really got good at playing under pressure. We were comfortable in tough situations. It was great to see, the tighter the game got the more confident they felt.”

That resilience showed again the week after coming back against the Hornets when Cole Baker’s field goal pulled out a 17-14 win against Franklin. It was on display again in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal when a rematch against Mansfield went down to the wire and the Warriors pulled out a 13-11 victory at Macktaz Field with all the points coming in the first half.

After beating Bridgewater-Raynham to win the South title, KP was back at Gillette Stadium to take on Lincoln-Sudbury and its high-flying offense. This time, the coaches were prepared for the unique challenges of playing in a Super Bowl and tried to take advantage of the rule changes, such as the shorter quarters, to slow down the L-S offense.

On KP’s first possession of the second half, trailing 7-0, Lydon stretched a play out to get a first down and in the process suffered an injury that sent him to the bench. Sophomore Robert Jarest was forced to step in under center. Not surprisingly, there were some jitters and the first snap was fumbled. Two plays later, Jarest made the play that may have turned the game around when he hit Madden for 38 yards down to the L-S 23.

Three Frommer carries later, KP had tied the game.

“We didn’t really know what, at that time, Robbie was going to be,” said Lee. “What he had was the same skill set as Brendan, in that he expected to have success and the moments weren’t too big for him. Once we scored, everything changed in that game in terms of our ability to totally believe that we’re going to win.”

Frommer rushed for more than 100 yards in the Super Bowl, despite playing with a painful hip pointer. He was named the HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and Kelley-Rex division MVP.

“He just had such a will about him to win and to compete and making himself better,” said Lee about Frommer. “It was one of those rare combinations where your best player is also your hardest working player. He really carried us there.”

A strip sack by Webster put the Warriors in position to grab the lead late in the fourth quarter. Baker set aside an earlier miss and split the uprights from 31 yards to put KP ahead to stay. Lee said of his sophomore kicker, “I don’t think it was a coincidence that in KP history that the one time we have a dude who can kick field goals are the three years we were in the Super Bowl.”

Fittingly, the defense completed another second half shutout to close out the state title and extend KP’s win streak to 25 games.

Lee tried to put into perspective how difficult it was to go unbeaten for two years. He said, “Everybody lifts now, everybody watches film, it’s so hard to gain an advantage on an opponent because everybody is working so hard. You’ve got to have a few breaks obviously and the way the playoffs are it’s about staying healthy.”

For Frommer and the rest of the King Philip football seniors, the championship was the culmination of the work that started in the weight room in the spring.

“Just thinking back, it was the best time of my life,” said Frommer, voice cracking as he reflected on the final moments of his high school football career. “Going back to Gillette with my buddies that I played Pop Warner with and just seeing it all pay off that senior year and all the work we put in. It was an unbelievable feeling. The bonds we built between all the people, you’re going to have those forever.”






King Philip football
King Philip football

Teams of the Decade
Teams of the Decade

Opponent
Result
North AttleboroW, 24-14 (Recap)
FoxboroW, 16-7 (Recap)
AttleboroW, 42-14
MansfieldW, 28-10 (Recap)
FranklinW, 17-14
Oliver AmesW, 42-0
TauntonW, 35-7
BarnstableW, 35-20
MansfieldW, 13-11 (Recap)
Bridgewater-RaynhamW, 29-19
FranklinW, 28-0
Lincoln-SudburyW, 10-7 (Recap)






Teams of the Decade
Teams of the Decade
King Philip football

King Philip football

King Philip football

King Philip football


King Philip football
King Philip football

King Philip football

King Philip football

King Philip football

King Philip football


Teams of the Decade
Teams of the Decade


Videos via Tim Crowley

Stoughton’s Ortiz, King Philip’s Roy Honored By PCA

Positive Coaching Alliance

Below is a release from the New England chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance. Stoughton’s Julia Ortiz (cross country, track) and King Philip’s Faith Roy (basketball) were two of five total students from New England selected as Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship winners.

Nixon, Sofia, Evan, Julia and Faith, selected from across New England as exceptional athletes and people, have endured challenges like no past PCA Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship winners. From Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, all five experienced a senior spring in lockdown with no sports, no proms, and no graduations. Senior spring is virtual, screen time is a burden, and those memories playing sports with friends are more precious than ever.

We cannot crown their senior spring by honoring them at our annual JEANS + JERSEYS: Positive Impact Celebration, which has been moved to a date TBD in the fall, so we are honoring them here, with the support of Insperity. An image, a quote, and a 1-minute video do not tell their whole stories, but know that all five have developed character, leadership, compassion, and resilience through sports, and that has helped them through life in this COVID-19 era. This group has resilience and more, making us hopeful for the future.

Join us in celebrating our 2020 Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship winners!

Teams of the Decade #11: 2013 Milford Softball

Milford softball

Team: Milford Softball
Year: 2013
Record: 26-1
2013 Davenport Division Champions
2013 Division 1 State Champions


Coming off a perfect season and a state championship the previous spring, the 2013 Milford softball team faced a new set of challenges. Not only were the Hawks facing the difficult task of trying to repeat while having a giant target on their backs, but were also trying to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the Hockomock League and the South sectional.

Led by its five seniors, Milford lived up to its preseason hype. Refocused by a midseason loss that ended their win streak at 35 games, the Hawks closed the season with 16 straight wins and sealed back-to-back titles with a 1-0 win over Amherst in the state title game.

“These seniors really from freshman year on, to see their growth not only as players but leaders and girls that set an atmosphere, set an expectation that others were going to follow,” said then head coach Brian Macchi about his senior class. “From losing a state championship game to losing a state semifinal to finally winning it and then wanting to go out and do it again, they weren’t going to settle for anything less.”

Once a team has reached the pinnacle and lifted the state championship trophy, it can be hard to come back the next season with the same focus and determination, but the Hawks faced a new challenge in 2013 that kept them motivated. That spring was Milford’s first in the Hockomock League.

Macchi explained, “It made it easy for me as a coach to motivate because you had that storyline of entering a new conference and the league we’re entering is the league you want to be in when you’re talking about softball in Massachusetts.”

Shannon Smith, the team’s standout senior pitcher, added, “We were just trying to take things one day at a time and one moment at a time because there was a lot of hype. There was a lot of new stuff, entering a new conference, but with a lot of the same girls we felt like we could do some good things again.”

Having Smith in the circle certainly gave the Hawks an edge, no matter what league they were playing in. The three-time Gatorade Player of the Year set a new state record for strikeouts that season, recording the 1,120th strikeout of her career in the next to last game of the regular season and ending with 1,216 for her career. She finished with 358 strikeouts that season and an ERA of 0.04. That is not a typo.

“She just exemplifies everything you want in a player and a teammate,” said Sam Bonvino, a junior first baseman on the 2013 team. “She was the first to cheer you on, always the first to make you happy and lift up the spirits of the team, and she was always the first to buckle down and get us back on track. When she stepped on that mound and she was ready to pitch, it all just fell into place. It was incredible to watch her drive and her passion.”

Macchi added, “To have a player like that and a pitcher like that you know going into every game, no matter who you’re playing, you’ve got a chance to win. That is an outstanding feeling to have.”

The Hawks were rolling at the start of the season, winning their first 10 games, but the dream of a second straight perfect season came to an end with a visit from North Attleboro. Despite a 17-strikeout, one-hitter from Smith, the Rocketeers were able to scratch out a run in the 10th inning and throw out a runner at the plate in the bottom half of the inning to escape to pull out a 1-0 win.

“I think it was a big reminder that it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbow but we have to put in the work,” said Smith. Bonvino noted, “I think that loss was kind of like a wake up call. We were devastated because it would’ve been pretty cool to go back-to-back undefeated but it showed to us that we can lose, we can bounce back, and pick right up where we left off.”

Macchi said that the team started the next day’s practice with a talk about the loss and how to move forward. Whatever was said in that conversation worked, as Milford softball won 10 straight to head into the playoffs as the second seed. That set up a quarterfinal with King Philip, a rematch of the 2010 state title game and a matchup between the teams that had won the last three state titles.

“The KP games, every time, no matter if it was the regular season, the playoffs, state title game, the atmosphere and the competitiveness between both teams was outstanding,” said Macchi. “It was just so fun to be a part of, and the girls absolutely loved it.”

It was a pitcher’s duel between Smith and KP’s Anna O’Neill and, fittingly for two of the top programs in the state, the game went into extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Lauren Hanna bunted for a single and Smith followed with a hit. A wild pitch moved the runners up and KP intentionally walked cleanup hitter Caroline Fairbanks. Senior Rachel Levine singled to left center setting off a wild celebration that included Macchi charging out to second base to lift up Levine.

“We were both so into it and it was like a state title game because we both had a lot riding on that game, not just the loss or the win but proving to each other that we’re really good teams,” said Bonvino.

Milford softball completed its run through the South by outsourcing Franklin and Bridgewater-Raynham 13-0. “Realizing the names and the teams that were in that bracket was a huge accomplishment but at the same time this group wasn’t ready to settle,” Macchi said. “That was more motivation to finish it off and finish up those last two games the way they wanted to.”

For the second year in a row, the Hawks needed only one run to seal the state title. Smith struck out 13, finishing her career with another shutout. She said, “You want the ball in those situations. A lot of pitchers who are competitive would love that situation. Just go for it and do whatever you can to win.”

With all the attention on the upperclassmen, it was freshman Jill Powers that provided the decisive hit, driving in sophomore Allie Piergustavo with a two-out double in the sixth inning. Smith struck out the side in the seventh and Milford softball was back on top.

“It’s very fulfilling because you see people practice year round and not get to that final game and not fully get to see what it’s made of,” said Bonvino. “To be able to do it twice and be able to feel the love and the gratitude and how amazing it is to be back there again, even just to stand on the field at the end and think about the games you’ve played to get to that point is really cool.”

Macchi said, “Getting to that day and winning that game, the smiles on their faces, it was just an outstanding feeling for me as a coach and something I’ll never forget. They had that moment realizing that, as they were running out to get the state championship trophy, the story for them in their high school careers was ending on such an unbelievable high.”






Milford softball
Milford softball

Opponent
Result
TauntonW, 8-0
King PhilipW, 3-0 (Recap)
MansfieldW, 5-1
CantonW, 16-0
Coyle & CassidyW, 4-0
SharonW, 13-0
HopkintonW, 10-0
FoxboroW, 9-0
StoughtonW, 15-0
Oliver AmesW, 7-0
North AttleboroL, 1-0 (10 inn.) (Recap)
AttleboroW, 13-0
FranklinW, 1-0 (Recap)
CantonW, 12-0
SharonW, 19-0
FoxboroW, 2-1
StoughtonW, 10-0
BraintreeW, 8-0
Oliver AmesW, 12-0
MarlboroughW, 2-0 (Recap)
ShrewsburyW, 4-0
#18 DartmouthW, 7-0
#7 King PhilipW, 1-0 (9 inn.) (Recap)
#11 FranklinW, 6-0 (Recap)
#1 Bridgewater-RaynhamW, 7-0
Central Catholic (State Semifinals)W, 3-0
Agawam (State Final)W, 1-0 (Recap)






Teams of the Decade #12: 2015 OA Boys Soccer

Oliver Ames boys soccer

Team: Oliver Ames Boys Soccer
Year: 2015
Record: 18-0-3
2015 Davenport Division Champions
2015 Division 2 State Champions


The pieces fit together perfectly during the 2015 season for the Oliver Ames boys soccer team. The Tigers received key contributions from three classes all season long en route to an undefeated season and a Division 2 State Championship.

The Tigers were made up of a talented senior class full of leaders, a group of juniors ready to make the most of their opportunities, and a skillful sophomore class that wasn’t afraid of the big moment. After coming up just short in the state final the year before, the Oliver Ames boys soccer team was determined to go all the way in 2015.

“I would say preseason we knew we were all locked in to push ourselves to have another great year,” said senior captain Keegan Nutt, who went on to have a successful four-year career at Stonehill. “We ended 2014 with a loss in the state championship and told ourselves we’re not letting this happen again. We made goals before our first Hockomock game and said first we want to win the league, then we want to win the south, and best of all we want to win our first state championship.”

Up top, junior Thomas McCormick was a menace inside the area, always quick to a loose ball to punish opposing teams. Nutt and sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza directed play from the center of the pitch while sophomores Matt Alvarado, Jack Sheldon, Mason Galbato, Cam Vella, and Matt Campbell applied pressure on opponents either up top or on the wings.

Defensively, the Tigers had 14 shutouts on the season with just eight goals against during the regular season. Sophomore Jack Carroll took over in net that season and was helped along by defenders Max Bamford, Max Ahearn, and Jared Mallers.

Senior captain Chris Romero did it all for the Tigers, anchoring the defensive unit at times while also getting minutes in the attack.

“This team was special from minute one,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “They trained at a high level all the time and never gave up. These players put in the extra time and never deviated from the plan we set during our preseason goals. We wanted to be dominant in every facet of the game and made a commitment to give everything we had to this team and the season.”

Oliver Ames went undefeated in the regular season to win its fourth Davenport division crown in a five-year span. The Tigers notched 13 wins, including an impressive 1-0 result against Kelley-Rex division champion Mansfield. Besides a draw with Sharon, OA tied a talented Foxboro side twice during the year. That Foxboro squad, featuring the likes of Anthony Barreira, Devante Teixeira, and Joe Morrison, was one of the most dangerous offensive groups from the Hock this decade.

The second meeting between the two featured a late equalizer from Cardoza that gave the Tigers a point and the division title. It was only a sign of things to come as this Oliver Ames team had a flair for the dramatic, especially in the state tournament.

“Players sacrificed social lives, free time and family time to put in extra effort for the Oliver Ames program,” Barata said. “This team had the X factor – the EXTRA something that is hard to quantify. I knew after our first game this group was going to be special. However, it was the Foxboro games that convinced me that we had the potential to go far in the tournament.”

OA grinded out a gutsy win in the opening round of the tournament, knocking off a tough Milton squad 1-0. Romero provided the heroics in the next round, depositing the game-winner in double-overtime with just seconds left to play. After a rout of the #2-seed Greater New Bedford (5-0), Vella and Cardoza scored in the South Sectional Final, the latter in overtime to give the Tigers a win over Medfield.

“We were playing with three in the back with the most relentless defense I had ever seen,” Nutt added. “And our offense was clicking too and teams couldn’t figure out how to stop us or score on us. We had great team chemistry but it’s all in coach Barata. He perfected a system and way of playing that was literally unbeatable, and it paid off.”

In the state final, OA fell behind 1-0 to Masconomet but responded with three straight goals to claim the title. After going down 1-0 in the 12th minute, Romero equalized just seven minutes later. Five minutes later, Cardoza buried a loose ball in the box off a corner kick, and the Tigers added an insurance goal in the 57th minute off of the head of McCormick on a cross from Alvarado. It marked the first state championship in program history.






Milford boys soccer
Milford boys soccer

2015 Oliver Ames Boys Soccer Schedule

Opponent
Result
FranklinW, 2-0
TauntonW, 3-0
North AttleboroW, 4-0
StoughtonW, 3-1 (Recap)
CantonW, 2-0
SharonW, 1-0 (Recap)
MilfordW, 2-0
MansfieldW, 1-0
King PhilipW, 1-0 (Recap)
AttleboroW, 3-1
FoxboroT, 2-2 (Recap)
StoughtonW, 4-0 (Recap)
CantonW, 3-1
SharonT, 1-1 (Recap)
MilfordW, 3-0
FoxboroT, 2-2 (Recap)
#19 MiltonW, 1-0 (Recap)
#6 HinghamW, 3-2 (OT) (Recap)
#2 Greater New BedfordW, 5-0
#16 MedfieldW, 2-1 (2OT) W, 3-2 (OT) (Recap)
Masconomet (State Final)W, 3-1 (Recap)






Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer

Milford boys soccer


Teams of the Decade #13: 2018 Franklin Volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Team: Franklin Volleyball
Year: 2018
Record: 20-1
2018 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2018 Division 1 Central-West Champions
2018 Division 1 State Semifinalists


With a strong group of returning players, the Franklin volleyball team entered the season as the top-ranked team in our Hock 5 rankings. But there were few, at least outside of the program, that expected the Panthers to be as good as they were.

While the Panthers graduated a couple of key pieces from the lineup a year before, first-year head coach Kelsey Weymouth inherited a talented, experienced group that looked primed to get back atop the Kelley-Rex division. There were signs very early of just how talented Franklin was, including a 3-0 sweep over non-league foe Bishop Feehan, a 3-0 sweep over defending division champ King Philip, and a 3-1 win on the road over Hockomock power Canton — all in a five-day span.

Senior Lauren McGrath returned for her third year as the team’s starting setter was a key piece in orchestrating the offense as well as an important part of the Panther defense. After dishing out 545 assists her junior year, McGrath crossed the 1,000-assist mark as a senior with 547 assists. McGrath had plenty of choices to work with offensively with four players reaching the 100-kill mark: Ellie Wisniewski (151), Maggie Doyle (135), Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (102), and Hailey Sanders (100).

“I knew from our first practice that we had the skillset and drive to go all the way,” Weymouth said. Weymouth was a former standout at Hock rival North Attleboro before a successful career at Stonehill. “I was coached hard while playing at Stonehill College and in doing so, we were successful. I wanted to bring the same drive to my girls at Franklin High School … I was not easy on this group because I knew they had what it took but they needed that push and confident booster! They worked so hard day in and day out and I could not be more proud of them and all of their hard work during our 2018 season! These ladies had natural-born talent and when they came together as a team they were unstoppable.”

What made Franklin’s offense so dangerous was their ability to hit successfully from all three spots at the net. It wasn’t just a rotation between two outside hitters or forcing to just one player. Not only did the Panthers have one of the best outside hitters in Wisniewski, but they also had two very good options in Doyle (middle) and Sanders (opposite). Bonnet-Eymard and Emma Chase, both sophomores that season, provided strong attacking depth for Franklin.

On the flip side, the Panthers were strong defensively at the net as well. Doyle led the charge with 65 total blocks while Sanders added 35 and McGrath stepped up defensively while in the front row with 16 blocks. Riley Marino was the team’s defensive specialist, recording 218 digs. Wisniewski, Bonnet-Eymard, McGrath, and Shannon Gray were all reliable in the back row as well.

“Our 2018 season was amazing,” McGrath said. “Undefeated in the Hock, a league championship, first Sectional Championship for Franklin High School Volleyball, and a team and coach that was hardworking, resilient, and a lot of fun to be around. It will be a season I remember forever.”

Only three teams avoided being swept by the Panthers during the regular season with Oliver Ames (3-1) and Mansfield (3-1) being able to take a set along with Canton. But the playoffs were a different story and the Panthers really showed their mettle during the postseason run.

Entering the D1 Central West bracket as the #2-seed at 17-0, the Panthers were tested right away by #7 Concord-Carlisle. In their first five-set match of the season, the Panthers pulled out a victory to advance to the sectional semifinals. Franklin fell behind 0-2 to #3 Hopkinton, who was the home team because of a predetermined site, but the Panthers rallied to force a fifth game. Once again Franklin prevailed to move on to the sectional final. Despite going up 2-0 on #4 Shrewsbury, Franklin was forced to a fifth set for the third straight playoff game. The pattern continued as Franklin won the fifth set and the match, this time to clinch its first ever sectional championship.

“The girls were out with vengeance [against Hopkinton], you could cut the tension with a knife and I wanted nothing more than a hard-fought win for them that night,” Weymouth said. “After being down 2-0, they had no choice but to fight. I made some drastic but necessary changes that match and they adapted the best that I’ve ever seen. Ending in yet, another deserving five-set victory!

“Ending up top four in the state is something every young athlete hopes of doing. I did not accomplish that during my high school career and I wanted nothing more than for this group to accomplish that. Words honestly cannot describe how proud I am of that group of young ladies. They deserved everything they accomplished and then some.”

In the state semifinals, the Franklin volleyball team faced off against the standard-bearer of volleyball in the state of Massachusetts in Barnstable. The Raiders won the match 3-0 but not without an incredible effort from Franklin, who fell 25-17, 25-22, 25-23.






Franklin volleyball
Franklin volleyball

2018 Franklin Volleyball Schedule

Opponent
Result
MilfordW, 3-0
Bishop FeehanW, 3-0
King PhilipW, 3-0
CantonW, 3-1
MansfieldW, 3-0
StoughtonW, 3-0
TauntonW, 3-0
North AttleboroW, 3-0
Oliver AmesW, 3-1
FoxboroW, 3-0
AttleboroW, 3-0
SharonW, 3-0
King PhilipW, 3-0
MansfieldW, 3-1
TauntonW, 3-0
Oliver AmesW, 3-0
AttleboroW, 3-0
#7 Concord-CarlisleW, 3-2
#3 HopkintonW, 3-2
#4 ShrewsburyW, 3-2
Barnstable (State Semifinal)L, 3-0






Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball

Franklin volleyball


Hockomock League Honors 2020 Scholar Athletes

Below is a release from the Hockomock League regarding the 2020 Scholar-Athletes as well as the event program with student photos.

The Hockomock League Principals and Athletic Directors proudly announce the Class of 2020 Scholar-Athletes. The global, national, and local struggle against COVID-19 continues, but our persistence and resilience grows in that fight. The unique social situation in which we find ourselves pushes us to find new ways to publicly recognize and salute our heroes. The Class of 2020 will have much to remember about this unprecedented year, and we salute all of our athletes who lost this Spring season.

This week the League would have celebrated its 30th Annual Hockomock League Scholar Athlete Awards Dinner. Today, we are proud to celebrate each of the twenty-four athletes that have earned this League’s honor. Each scholar-athlete has been selected by the Administration of their respective schools and represent the top student-athletes in the Hockomock League based on academics, athletic participation, sportsmanship, leadership, and citizenship. They have all successfully balanced a demanding academic schedule along with participation in athletics as well as many other extra-curricular activities during their high school career. To be selected for this award represents four years of dedication and commitment, and we are proud of all their accomplishments.

We hope that these student-athletes will put all of their experiences over the past four years to good use and that those experiences will help guide them through the challenges ahead. We congratulate the parents and guardians, too, for your contributions and guidance as you have enabled your child to reach this level of excellence. We are certain that the foundation you have given them will carry them through future endeavors.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2020 SCHOLAR-ATHLETES:

ATTLEBORO: Jacqueline Lynch-Bartek AND Nicholas McMahon
CANTON: Caroline Tourgee AND Nathan Quan
FOXBORO: Jaime Notarangelo AND Ryan Proulx
FRANKLIN: Sarah Spanek AND Rohan Herur
KING PHILIP: Samantha Robison AND Jack Cannon
MANSFIELD: Eliz Healy AND Peter Oldow
MILFORD: Annie Flanagan AND Maxwell Manor
NORTH ATTLEBORO: Abigail Gallagher AND Owen Harding
OLIVER AMES: Allison Kemp AND Sam Stevens
SHARON: Eliana Boxerman AND Cameron Baker
STOUGHTON: Emma McSweeney AND Joshua McNamara
TAUNTON: Kamryn Li AND Nolan Melo

2019-20_Hockomock_Scholar_Athletes