Canton’s Malloy Sets Scoring Record at St. Anselm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors Bucio, Williams Deliver In The Clutch For OA

Oliver Ames boys soccer Hector Bucio Jake Williams
Oliver Ames captains Hector Bucio (left) and Jake Williams (right) with head coach John Barata. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 WALPOLE, Mass. — Oliver Ames senior captains Jake Williams and Hector Bucio have been the heart and soul of the team all season long.

The senior center back duo anchored the best defensive unit in the Hockomock League and one of the best in the entire state.

And when their team needed them the most, they delivered in the clutch.

Bucio nodded in the game-tying goal for the Tigers in the 77th minute and Williams assisted on the game-winner just two minutes later to propel Oliver Ames to a stunning 3-2 win over Hopkinton and the Division 2 state championship.

“This team always fights through,” Williams said. “These are some of the strongest kids I know, some of the most talented kids I’ve met. They just don’t give up, and that’s what we did today.

“We knew what we had to do and we knew we were capable of doing it.”

It was fitting that Williams and Bucio, the only two seniors in Oliver Ames’ starting lineup, played such a big role in the win, albeit in a different fashion than anticipated.

Bucio is no stranger to scoring goals. He spent the majority of his career with the Tigers as an attacking player, scoring seven goals a season ago. But this season, head coach John Barata converted him to a center back and paired him with Williams to form one of the best duos in the region.

“I get some criticism about changing players, fitting my system but I’ve converted forwards to defense, defenders to forward,” Barata said. “Hector was an incredible move. He anchored this team in the back. Him and Jake Williams together made an incredible duo. We conceded less than 15 goals all year, and a few weren’t with our starters out there. They were so solid in the back. I can’t say enough about Hector. Jake was phenomenal as well. But Hector converted from a forward to a center back because we needed it and he didn’t complain once. For him to do what we did was amazing.”

Oliver Ames erased Hopkinton’s lead when sophomore Casey Milliken hit a one-timer from inside the area in the 62nd minute to make it 1-1. But it didn’t stay level long as the Hillers cashed in just six minutes later. Sean Golembiewski, who had the opening goal for Hopkinton, kept possession along the end line before sliding a low cross into the area that was smashed home by Peter DiMichele to make it 2-1.

Hector Bucio

With about five minutes to go, and OA’s chances of claiming a state title dwindling, Barata called a timeout. In order to create more chances in the attacking third, he moved Bucio back up to where he played in prior seasons.

Hector Bucio

The move paid dividends almost immediately. Sophomore Craig Churchill lofted a service to the back post and Bucio tracked it perfectly, rising up and connecting with a header that deflected off a defender and into the back of the net to make it 2-2 with just minutes left.

“With having the experience of playing up top, I know what coach wants me to do when he sends me up there,” Bucio said. “At the end of the day, it’s who wants it more. We just wanted it more.”

“Me and Jake know each other really well, we know each other’s style of play. We work well together and are able to get it done.”

Bucio’s selfless switch to center back didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

“[The seniors] all deserve it, Hector especially,” Milliken said. “That kid, he’s super talented and really sacrificed so much to play in the back for us to benefit the team. That says a lot about our team and him as a person.”

“It’s awesome, I’m proud of him,” Williams said of Bucio’s tying goal. “He lost a lot of goal-scoring chances by switching to center back this year but he did it for the team. So it’s great to see him pull this off in the state final.”

“He wanted that really bad because he felt like he conceded their second goal by not kicking it out,” Barata said. “I’m really happy for him, he’s been amazing for us all four years, like he’s been a phenomenal player.

Hector Bucio

Before the dust could settle from the equalizer, Williams set up the state championship game-winning goal. He stepped into the attack and dropped in a perfect ball in behind the defense where Milliken was. He used a deft touch to loop one just over the reach of the keeper to make it 3-2 with just seconds to play.

Jake Williams

“I just knew if I hit the ball the right way that [Casey] would get onto it,” Williams said. “He’s a special player, he’s one of the best I’ve ever played if not the best. He got it done.”

Williams and Bucio and the rest of the Tigers didn’t allow the Hillers a chance in the attacking third in the final seconds. The final whistle sent OA into a wild celebration.

“This is all I’ve ever dreamed of in high school soccer,” Williams said. “Ever since I joined as a freshman, this was all I ever wanted.”

Bucio and Williams certainly cemented their legacy in emphatic fashion with the state championship.

Jake Williams

Oliver Ames Wins D2 State Championship In Stunning Fashion

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames boys soccer poses for a team picture after capturing the Division 2 state championship. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 WALPOLE, Mass. — It was a scenario that Oliver Ames hadn’t been in this season, and one they didn’t want to be in either.

But yet, the Tigers were still prepared, and even more important, not panicked.

Trailing 2-1 with just minutes left in the game, Oliver Ames scored a pair of goals to earn a stunning 3-2 victory and clinched the Division 2 state championship.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Head coach John Barata called a timeout with about five minutes to play and OA’s chances of a state title dwindling. Barata made the decision to move senior center back Hector Bucio into an attacking role. The change paid off almost immediately as Bucio got on the end of a service from sophomore Craig Churchill and headed it off a defender and into the back of the net for a 77th minute equalizer.

“We’ve trained it all year, if we ever go down we’re going to put Hector up,” Barata said. “And then we wanted to keep pressing, pressing, pressing. Because once the momentum shifts, they’ll be nervous. We found a great ball over the top, Casey flips it over the goalie, and the rest is history.”

With just seconds to play, it looked like Bucio’s goal was enough to send the Tigers and the Hillers into overtime. But OA kept its foot on the gas and pushed forward again.

This time it was senior center back Jake Williams on the service as he lifted a ball over the defense and into a pocket of space occupied by sophomore Casey Milliken. Milliken used a class touch to lift it over the keeper and just under the bar to make it 3-2 in the 79th minute.

“There were so many emotions,” Milliken said. “I was scared, happy, thrilled, disappointed, confused…every word you could imagine. We really just fought through it and I think we deserve it. I can’t process it all right now, but I’m just proud of the boys because we deserve it.”

A scoreless half tilted in OA’s favor in terms of possession and chances as Hopkinton only threatened with a couple of long throw-ins. So it was a little bit of a shock when the Tigers — who had only allowed two goals in its first four playoff games, and only 12 goals through its first 22 contests — surrendered the first goal.

Just under two minutes into the second half, Sean Golembiewski was able to sneak into space behind the defense, and latched onto a ball over the top, taking a touch before depositing a low shot in for a 1-0 lead.

Oliver Ames battled back into the contest, finally getting on the board in the 62nd minute. After a handful of good chances throughout the first hour of play, the Tigers pulled level. It started with another strong defensive challenge from sophomore Luke Churchill, and transitioned into offense.

Junior Ryan Linhares took possession and played a ball wide for Joey Carney, who was able to shield off a defender and carry to the end line before firing in a low cross. Milliken found space in the defense and one-timed a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

It looked like the Tigers were on track to take the lead when Hopkinton created one of their few attacking chances. This time, Golembiewski kept the ball in along the end line and his low service was smashed home in front by Peter DeMichele, giving keeper Drew HAll no chance at a save.

“There’s always that little bit of doubt because I thought we should have scored many chances before then,” Barata said. “We were worried on the sidelines, is this not our luck? In the tournament, you need a lot of things to go your way. But the guys weren’t really worried, even with four minutes left.

“For this group with the sophomores and juniors, and our two seniors that start, to be mature enough to come back was amazing. In the last five minutes, we just said give it your all. We worked so hard all season to get to this point. They wanted this. We couldn’t give it away, try to the end so you know you gave it your all.”

OA’s chances started early, just five minutes in Carney laced a volley that looked good but was blocked by a defender. Sophomore Andrew Martins had a good look in the eighth minute on a feed from classmate Jackson Mercieri but his low shot at the near post was saved.

Linhares found Carney in the 24th minute, and after cutting back across the middle, Carney’s blast forced a diving stop. four minutes later, Milliken set up Churchill for a blast that skipped just wide.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And just before halftime, outside back Diego Rivera sent a big switch to Mercieri, who found Carney on a through ball. His low shot clanked off the post and stayed out to send the teams into the break level.

“All of the seniors, both on and off the field, they all led us this year and we can’t thank them enough,” Milliken said. “This was the least we could do for them, they all deserve it.”

Oliver Ames boys soccer finishes the season at 20-1-2 and with its second Division 2 crown since 2015.

Oliver Ames Edged By Silver Lake In State Championship

Oliver Ames girls soccer Lucinda Li Cotter
Oliver Ames junior Lucinda Li Cotter dribbles past a Silver Lake defender in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 WALPOLE, Mass. — The Oliver Ames girls soccer team only allowed one goal against throughout its impressive playoff run.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, it was the lone goal of the Division 2 state championship game.

OA’s impressive season came to a close with a 1-0 loss to Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We had four great games in a row and today we didn’t play our best, but that’s life and that’s soccer,” said longtime Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer. “You have to tip your hat to them. Everyone talks about Shea Kelleher, and how great she is, and she was today, but I think what gets overlooked is how great their back four is. Our front three is pretty good and their back four won the day, both halves. We generated some corner kicks but we didn’t generate any crosses into the area. They had some great players in the back that really shut us down.”

The Tigers rolled to a 4-0 win over Ludlow to start the postseason run and followed with a 3-0 decision over league rival Stoughton. After edging out Duxbury in the quarterfinals, the Tigers had a thrilling double overtime win over Grafton to reach the state championship game.

But this time out, Oliver Ames just couldn’t find its footing in the attack. They were limited on their through balls as Silver Lake’s center back combo did well to clear everything. The Tigers couldn’t get much going on the outside either. OA has had success getting down the wings and finding a target in the middle, but didn’t create many of those opportunities either.

“We also had an off day but that’s life,” Sellmayer said. “It’s a learning experience for our team. We’re young and we have a lot of players coming back, a lot to look forward to. Hanging around for 28 years, you keep things in perspective. Would it have been great to win? Yeah, but it was also great to be here. There’s a lot of teams that want to be here and we were.”

OA’s best two chances in the opening half were on corner kicks, but both of them were dealt with by Silver Lake keeper Abbey Cook.

Although OA keeper Janiya Matier was a bit busier, she wasn’t seriously tested much either, thanks to a strong defensive effort from the Tigers’ back four of Catie Wilson, Sophia Byron, Taylor deVos, and Molly Capece.

It was more of the same in the second half as Silver Lake continued to dictate play, but couldn’t get much through the back four, and when they did, Matier was there off her line. Senior Mary Cross also had a strong game in center mid, thwarting a handful of chances up the middle of the pitch.

“Sophia Byron and Taylor deVos did an outstanding job, Catie Wilson had a great game and has come a long way, and Molly Capece too,” Sellmayer said. “We made one mistake. I always talk about a great soccer game being 2-1…we didn’t get our two but they got their one.”

The Lakers finally broke the deadlock just past the midway point of the second half. Julia Lawrence connected with Grace Flaherty, and she played it wide for Cassidy Conroy. A service into the area dropped between the defense and the keeper, and Silver Lake freshman Avery DePaul raced to the ball first, touching around the keeper and firing a shot into the far post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA tried to mount a comeback in the final minutes with Lucinda Li Cotter, Emma Gavin, Jenna Gilman, and Carly Gibson all trying to find a shot but the Tigers couldn’t register a final chance at an equalizer.

“This was a great season and it’s all about keeping in perspective,” Sellmayer said. “We beat some very good teams in the playoffs and we only gave up one goal in a five-game run, we just gave it up in the wrong game.”

Oliver Ames girls soccer finishes the season at 16-4-1.

Foxboro’s Playoff Run Finishes In State Semifinals

Foxboro football Brandon Mazenkes-O’Grady
Foxboro junior Brandon Mazenkes-O’Grady tries to get past a pair of Grafton defenders after hauling in a pass in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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 BELLINGHAM, Mass. – Foxboro senior kicker Sam Carpenter couldn’t have put his kickoff any closer to the goal line without it being a touchback.

Following a 67-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Mike Marcucella to classmate Nolan Gordon that brought the Warriors within 14-12 with 5:29 to play in the game, Carpenter booted one that Grafton’s Liam Donagher originally let bounce. Instead of crossing the goal line, the ball stopped bouncing just before the goal line with the Warriors kickoff team barreling down the field.

Donagher was forced to pick it up and return it, and with a handful of Foxboro players chomping at the bit to make a big stop deep in Grafton territory, he was able to get out to the left sideline, got around one final block and then raced all the way for a 99-yard touchdown to restore a two-score lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Grafton’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the Warriors’ ensuing drive and had an interception to close out Foxboro’s last chance to secure a 21-12 win to advance to the Division 4 state championship game.

“That just took all of the wind out of our sails and any of the momentum we had built up to at that point,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “Sam kicked the ball perfectly, they were way up and we just didn’t make the play.

“You gotta make plays. Some days you make them, and some days you don’t.”

Foxboro fought back after going down a pair of touchdowns early. The Gators scored on their opening drive when quarterback Casey Jordan linked up with Donagher for an 11-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. The touchdown came two plays after a 34-yard connection between the two.

The Warriors’ second drive of the game came to a halt on an interception from Ryanne Chibani, who returned it into Foxboro territory. Three plays later, Jordan dropped a 26-yard touchdown pass just over the defensive back into Donagher’s arms right inside the pylon to make it 14-0 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

Foxboro’s defense didn’t surrender another score the rest of the game, and the Warriors went to work clawing their way back into it.

A booming punt from Carpenter pinned Grafton at their 2-yard line, and the defense forced a three-and-out. An 11-yard pass from Marcucella to Lincoln Moore jump-started the drive. Grafton thought they had an interception but a roughing the passer call kept the drive alive, but not much longer as Carpenter booted a 39-yard field goal to get Foxboro on the board with 39 seconds left in the half.

Foxboro’s defense came up with a big play on the opening drive of the second half. Grafton marched to the Warriors’ 21-yard line but a throw to the end zone was read perfectly by Kaden Hassett and he came down with the interception for the touchback.

The Warriors capitalized on the momentum as Marcucella hit Gordon for an 18-yard completion to move the sticks on third down. Marcucella sandwiched a pair of passes to Tony Sulham around a 15-yard scamper from Ben Angelini, and the Warriors were quickly in the red zone.

Marcucella got inside the five on an 8-yard keeper but the drive stalled there and Carpenter came out to drill a 24-yard field goal to make it a one-score game, 14-6, with 2:10 left in the third quarter.

Foxboro’s defense bent on the ensuing Grafton drive but didn’t break. Jordan scrambled for 26 yards on a key third down play but later in the drive, the Warriors stuffed a 4th and short sneak attempt to get the ball back.

“I thought we took the run away from them but give them credit, they took what they could do better than what I’ve seen them do, and that’s throw the football,” Martinelli said. “They’ve relied on the run for most of the season and we were able to keep that in check but we weren’t able to stop the deep quick scores in the first half. [Grafton] is a good team but I’m proud of my kids too. Nobody ever expected us to be here but when you get here, you wish you could win it.

“We thought we could do a pretty good job against the run but [11] hit [8] a couple of times and those were the early scores. We never really rebounded all the way back, close, but not all of the way.”

After some short yardage carries and completions, Marcucella hit Gordon down the left sideline, just out of the reach of the defensive back, and Gordon raced his way to a 67-yard touchdown. Foxboro’s two-point attempt came up a yard short of the goal line.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Although Foxboro came up short in its quest to reach Gillette Stadium, it was a terrific run from a squad that reached the state semifinals last year but graduated a lot of talent, including one of the best running backs in program history. Martinelli credited his senior class for helping this team – which lost the first three games of the season – for making this run.

“They are the glue that kept everything together,” Martinelli said. “We don’t have a whole lot of them but the ones we had kept the young kids going, kept themselves going. At 0-3, they never hung their heads and they just kept working.”

Foxboro football (6-5) will host rival Mansfield on Thanksgiving Day with the Davenport division title on the line.