KP’s Reign in D1 South Ends Against the Raiders

King Philip field hockey
King Philip freshman Meghan MacDonald chases down a ball on the sideline in front of Somerset-Berkley’s Alex Millar. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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TAUNTON, Mass. – It has been a remarkable two-year run for King Philip. The Warriors have won back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles in dominating fashion, leading the league in goals scored and fewest goals allowed both years, and won a Div. 1 South crown in 2018.

The quest to repeat as sectional champions came to an abrupt end on Thursday night in the semifinal at Taunton’s Tiger Aleixo Stadium, as the Warriors gave up three straight goals, including two in two minutes, against Somerset-Berkley and lost 3-1 in a rematch of last year’s South final.

“I think the girls were nervous coming in,” said Kim Meehan, who, along with Erin MacDonald, was one of King Philip’s two coaches this season. “There was so much hype around this game that we’ve tried to keep them focused on their game.”

There was plenty of excitement surrounding this matchup of two of the top programs in the state, and a little bit of controversy as well. The Raiders have two boys, Alex Millar and Lucas Crooks, in the starting lineup and there has been a debate raging about whether or not that is fair to other programs.

The question was put to the KP coaches after Millar scored the game-winning goal on Thursday and Crooks added the insurance goal that sealed the victory, but both wanted to focus on the play of their team and not on something that can’t be changed.

“I’m more concerned about the game,” said Meehan. MacDonald added, “We’ll talk about our team and the strategy. We don’t want to talk about the rest.”

It was an end-to-end game, played at a pace that few teams in the state would be able to match for a full 60 minutes. KP had an early chance to try and break the deadlock with Nicole Connor finding Alli Meehan off a corner and she quickly swung it to Katie Lindmark for a shot that was just wide of the post.

Somerset had a good look minutes later when Crook got in behind the KP defense off a pass from Megan Salsinha, but he couldn’t put his shot on target. Meehan again got going with a winding run through the defense and her shot into the middle was redirected just wide by freshman Meghan MacDonald.

Camryn Crook had a good look at goal in the 17th minute but pressure from KP defender Emma Izydorczak put her off enough that the shot went wide. Millar also went close with a powerful backhand shot off a corner.

Meehan drew a save with six minutes left in the first half and the rebound came to Connor but her effort hit the side of the goal. A minute later and the Raiders missed a golden opportunity when Salsinha stole the ball on the restart and broke free only to rifle a shot wide when clean through.

Lucas Crook had another good chance just after halftime when he stole the ball in the attacking zone, but Grace May came up with a big kick save. MacDonald nearly fashioned a good chance for KP when she took it off Millar’s stick and tried to hit Abby Nixon right in front, but again it went wide.

The breakthrough finally came in the 39th minute. Meehan picked out Claire Lawler on the left side of the goal. Lawler played it back to Meehan in space and she was able to draw a save our of Madison Ferrara. The rebound went right back across goal to the far post, where Lawler was ready for the tap in.

Rather than give KP a momentum boost, the goal seemed to spark the Raiders into life and Somerset-Berkley quickly turned the game on its head.

“I was a little surprised by that,” MacDonald admitted. “I thought scoring the goal would take us to the next level intensity-wise and I don’t know that it did.”

In the 45th minute, Camryn Crook forced May into a save and Millar drew another good save off the resulting corner but finally on the third try Salsinha managed to knock in a rebound and tie the game.

When asked about the play of May in goal, Meehan said, “She made a couple of great saves,” while MacDonald added, “She was like a super hero out there today.”

All the energy was with the Raiders and they quickly went back to work in the attacking half of the field, earning another corner. The ball was played out to Millar and he fired a shot into the mass of players in front of the goal. It took a deflection off a KP stick and looped into the top corner of the net for what turned out to be the game-winner.

KP tried to push and get back into the game, but the Warriors were struggling to create clear chances against the Somerset-Berkley defense. In the end, it was the Raiders that would add another goal. Lucas Crook drove across the crease onto his backhand and he fired a shot into the far corner.

“I’m super proud,” said Meehan. We have 10 athletes on the field who have given 100 percent all season long, six seniors, and they’ve just put in so much work. It wasn’t that we didn’t play well. We held our own.”

King Philip finishes the season at 18-2-1.

Panthers Minutes From Upset Win, Fall in Overtime

Franklin field hockey
Victoria Quinn (15) scored a pair of goals for the Panthers, who built a 3-1 lead with nine minutes left to go before Walpole rallied to pull out an overtime win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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TAUNTON, Mass. – Cassi Ronan picked up the ball inside the 30-yard-line and pushed the ball forward. She weaved her way past a pair of defenders and then touched it past a third to get clear on goal. The Walpole defender eventually caught up to Ronan, but not before she carried the ball nearly 70 yards.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The defender managed to slow her down but a foul was called, giving the Franklin senior a penalty stroke. She buried the shot, giving the goalie no chance and giving the Panthers a 3-1 lead over the No. 1 seed with just nine minutes remaining in Thursday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Taunton’s Tiger Aleixo Stadium.

It seemed like the Panthers, seeded 13th in the tournament, were finally going to end Walpole’s dominance in the rivalry and do it on the biggest stage. But, instead, the goal seemed to wake the Porkers up and they came storming back into the game.

Walpole scored twice in the closing minutes, including a goal with just two minutes left, to force overtime and then added a game-winner eight minutes later to stun Franklin 4-3 and advance to the South final.

“I thought we had it in the bag,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “I thought we completely dominated the first half, dominated 75 percent of the game and in control. They definitely needed to comeback and got a spark, which probably speaks to their experience in tournament play and getting this far.”

Franklin has struggled in recent years against the Porkers, who are a perennial state title contender, but the Panthers weren’t intimidated and played at least an even game through the opening 50 minutes.

The Porkers jumped in front after just three minutes. Christina Luccini (18 saves) stopped the first shot by Molly Weiand, but Emery Murphy was on hand to tap in the rebound. Rather than let their heads drop, the Panthers answered back just five minutes later when Victoria Quinn redirected a shot by Ashley Reutlinger after a quick restart.

Franklin nearly took the lead right away when Regan Paterson got loose behind the Walpole defense, but her shot was saved. A minute later, Paterson pressured the Walpole goal and had a clearance rebound off her and just wide of the post.

In the 18th minute, Quinn and Amanda Lewandowski battled to keep the ball in the attacking zone and it opened up a chance for Quinn but she was unable to put it on frame. A minute later, she had her second of the night by being the first to react on a loose ball in the middle of the crease.

Walpole nearly tied it right after halftime with a quick move from a corner but Luccini came up with a sliding save to keep it out. Maeve Ledwith showed off her game awareness shortly after when she got behind Luccini and cleared a goal-bound shot off the line.

The Panthers nearly doubled the lead with 10 minutes to go. Quinn started the move down the left side with a pass to Paterson, who drove the ball all the way to the end line. She sent a ball towards goal that was tipped at the near post by Reutlinger, but only into the side of the goal. One minute later, Ronan got a head of steam and went on her amazing run to make it 3-1.

“She’s a phenomenal player,” Hess said of Ronan. “She’s strong, smart, and she definitely leads by example. She shows that when you put your nose to the grindstone you can make it happen.”

The third goal seemed to wake Walpole up. The Porkers flipped a switch in the final 10 minutes to put Franklin back on its heels and open up chance after chance.

Murphy got the comeback started with her second goal of the night, tipping in a corner to make it 3-2. Luccini was doing everything she could to keep the Panthers in front. She made a pair of saves to deny the Porkers and the rebound was knocked into the outside of the net by Jessica Tosone.

“She absolutely killed it,” Hess said of Luccini. “She was steady for us during the season but she rose to the occasion and stood on her head in every playoff game. Today was the epitome. She was just lights out.”

With just two minutes remaining, Luccini came out to challenge on a pass through the middle, but Weiand got to the ball first and managed to pull it past the goalie and just inside the post for a tie game.

In overtime, Luccini continued to be the hero for the Panthers, stopping both Audra Tosone and Brooke Skulski from close-range.

“I called a timeout and tried to settle them down a little bit and it worked for a little bit but then I think the emotions just started to rise and we made a few little mistakes. I’m very, very proud of my team.

Unfortunately for Franklin, Walpole looked like it had another gear while the Panthers were tiring. Off a corner, Caileen Quinn ripped a shot from straightaway, through a crowd, and into the back of the net for the win.

“They’re a quick team,” said Hess. “We tried to have our first step to the ball but they definitely have speed. They definitely seemed like they had a little more pep in their step. We were playing a little defensive.”

It is the second straight year that Franklin (13-6-2) has been knocked out in overtime in the tournament. Last year, King Philip went on to win the South title, a feat that Walpole will look to replicate on Saturday afternoon.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Second Half Surge Sends King Philip Into South Semis

King Philip field hockey
King Philip’s Alli Meehan brings the ball up against Barnstable in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip field hockey dominated the first half, applying a lot of pressure and keeping the ball in its attacking half, but the Warriors had no success finding the back of the net.

Despite five penalty corners and three shots on goal — and one that hit the post, and one just over the crossbar — King Philip’s offense was stymied by a compact Barnstable defense and went into the halftime break scoreless.

So King Philip co-head coaches Erin MacDonald and Kim Meehan decided to even up the numbers to start the second half, bringing up sophomore Abby Nixon from the midfield to be a fourth forward.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The change paid off as King Philip’s offense finally broke through off the stick of Nixon, and from there the third-seeded Warriors rolled to a 4-0 win over #11 Barnstable.

“We had to put another forward up top,” MacDonald said of the adjustment. “We took a midfielder and moved her up because we weren’t getting through all of the players they had inside the circle. Abby Nixon getting the first goal started the momentum, that one goal changed everything.”

King Philip’s best chances of the first half came in a five-minute span. In the eighth minute, senior Nicole Connor hit a hard shot through traffic but it bounced off the post and hit off a teammate’s foot to give possession to the Raiders.

And four minutes later, Connor found senior classmate Kate Lindmark on a corner and Lindmark lofted a shot over the defense but the ball bounced just over the crossbar and on top of the cage.

The Warriors continued the pressure in the second half, and the adjustment of Nixon up top paid off in the 42nd minute. King Philip peppered the Barnstable keeper with four shots in a shot, first off the stick of Alli Meehan, then from Nixon, again from Meehan, and the final one from Nixon into the back of the cage to make it 1-0.

“We needed more forwards, we had so many opportunities in the beginning but we weren’t scoring.” Kim Meehan said. “So we made some adjustments to get another player forward. It felt like we got the right mix on the field and then we scored.”

After going scoreless for just over 40 minutes, King Philip’s offense needed less than a minute to double its lead.

The Warriors quickly pushed the ball up field and earned a corner. Off the corner, the ball worked its way around to freshman Meghan MacDonald and she used a nice back hand shot to beat the keeper to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

“When you have four forwards, it just changes the whole dynamic because you get more touches in the offensive end,” Kim Meehan said. “We’ve been playing with three forwards the whole season but we had to adjust to their line. They had everyone but one player back in the circle at times. It shows we’re doing something right on offense but we had to make an adjustment.”

The offense continued to click, converting another corner in the 50th minute. After Lindmark sent the ball into the circle, Alli Meehan and Connor executed a perfect give-and-go. Meehan found Connor, who dished it right back and Meehan smashed her shot in to make it 3-0.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With so many numbers back trying to stop KP’s offense, Barnstable’s best chance offensively was on the counter attack. One of the few chances they had going forward came in the 53rd minute. Barnstable’s forward came streaking up field but her counter bid was thwarted by Emma Izydorczak.

King Philip added one final tally in the 54th minute. The Warriors used its speed to get past the defense as Alli Meehan connected with Nixon right in front. But instead of shooting, Nixon used an extra pass to find Raegan Simeone all by herself in front of goal and the junior buried her chance to make it 4-0.

King Philip field hockey (18-1-1) advances to the D1 South Semifinal and will play #2 Somerset-Berkley (19-1) in a rematch of last year’s D1 South Final (KP won 1-0). The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 at Taunton High School.

Gritty Warriors Fight Back But Fall in Shootout

Foxboro field hockey
Foxboro celebrates a goal with 1:17 left in regulation that tied the game at 2-2 and forced overtime with Cohasset in the D2 South quarterfinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – It was a game of contrasting emotions for Foxboro (17-2-1). The Warriors went from euphoria, after scoring with 1:17 left in regulation to force overtime, to tears when Sunday night’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal against Cohasset at Mansfield’s Alumni Field ended in a remarkable shootout about an hour later.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Following a 2-2 tie in regulation and through two scoreless periods of 7-on-7 overtime, Cohasset edged out the Warriors 4-3 in a penalty shootout that featured several momentum shifts and several dips into the rule book.

Cohasset’s Jane Hansen, who scored both goals in regulation, missed the opening chance of the shootout when Foxboro goalie Julia Carangelo forced her to make an extra move and the ball hit her foot. Lily Daly, who scored the opening goal of the game and was dealing with a hand injury that she suffered in the first half, scored her penalty to put Foxboro ahead.

That was just the start of a crazy 20 minutes.

On Cohasset’s second shot, Carangelo forced Katherine Cunning wide and her shot smacked off the post, but the official ruled that while diving Carangelo had thrown her stick at the ball. This resulted in a penalty stroke (not a shootout-style attempt), which was dispatched by Emma Stephens. Sophia DiCenso regained the lead by taking contact from Cohasset goalie Caitlin Durkin and still finishing.

The shootout was 3-3 heading to Foxboro’s fourth shooter. Freshman Katherine Collins lost control as she got to Durkin and the goalie was able to clear it and keep the shootout tied heading into the fifth and final shooters. Stephens scored again on her penalty to get the lead.

Jamie Notarangelo was taken out by Durkin during her penalty attempt, which resulted in a penalty stroke opportunity. Foxboro turned to Daly, but her shot hit the inside of the post and stayed out.

“They didn’t give up,” Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri said of her team. “Going into a shootout is tough, it’s tough. I thought Julia did a great job…It’s just a sucky way to lose.”

The drama of this game started long before the shootout. Hansen’s second goal of the game put Cohasset into the lead and sent the Skippers bench into hysterics with 23 minutes left to play. The visitors held onto the lead and gave up very few scoring chances for the Warriors until the final 90 seconds.

Foxboro was up a player and drew a corner. Daly played the ball out top to Michaela Ames, who teed up DiCenso for a rip. The ball skidded into a crowd of players on the edge of the crease and Sophia Lowe redirected it inside the far post for a game-tying goal with just 1:17 on the clock.

“They’re so gritty,” said Bordieri. “They were fighting the entire time. We went into double overtime last time and listen you could see that they were weary but they were coming right back at it. They didn’t give up even one single time.”

In the overtime periods, Foxboro, which had advanced with a double overtime win in the first round, had a number of scoring chances to possibly win the game. Notarangelo tried to get on the end of one but it slid out of play, DiCenso picked out Daly on the break but the shot slid just wide, and then Daly again got open in the middle but Durkin stepped up to make the crucial save.

DiCenso nearly worked an opening in the second overtime, but her cross to Daly, who was wide open at the back post, was cut out by the Cohasset goalie. In the final minute, Meghan Currran was able to find Notarangelo but it was saved and then the Warriors were given a corner. On the set play, Daly sent a shot towards goal that hit a Cohasset player standing on the goal line in the chest.

Foxboro coaches were incensed when it was ruled dangerous play, despite the defender being behind the goalie, which would have meant a last-second penalty stroke.

“We couldn’t get the one touch,” Bordieri said. “We just needed to capitalize on our corners and today we didn’t. We had opportunities, balls going over the end line and opportunities we just didn’t finish and we typically do finish.”

After going to a second overtime before scoring against Falmouth in the opening round, Foxboro took only seven minutes to find the back of the net on Sunday. DiCenso fired in a backhand shot from straightaway that Daly was able to tip past the goalie for the early lead.

The first half was back-and-forth. Cohasset used its speed up top to create chances and both Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen were forced to stop breakaways. Whalen also cleared a shot off the line and Carangelo made two of her five saves. In the 19th minute, Cohasset tied it with a perfect give-and-go between Hansen and Maddie Donovan.

In the second half, Carangelo made a huge stop on a Hansen breakaway to keep the game level, but that only lasted two more minutes. Carangelo made another big diving save but the rebound went straight to Hansen and she made no mistake from close-range.

“They play a different type of field hockey than we do,” said Bordieri, “and I think it took us a little while to adjust to that, but I think towards the latter part of the second half we were able to adjust and move the ball on the outside.”

It was a physical, competitive end to the game and the Warriors battled to the final seconds to force overtime, but unfortunately for the hosts couldn’t capitalize on overtime chances and were forced into the coin flip of a shootout.

Bordieri said, “This team stayed in it, they’re fighters, they’re gritty, and that’s what has gotten us this far this season.”

She added, “This is tough. It’s very, very tough. This team had more in it than quarterfinals, without a doubt, but you win some, you lose some.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hockomock Field Hockey Playoff Seeds & Matchups

Below are the seeds for Hockomock teams in the MIAA playoffs. Times and dates are subject to change and we will update this post with any changes.

D1 South
#3 King Philip (16-1-1) will host the winner of #14 Norwood (10-5-3)/#19 Hingham (10-8-1) on Saturday, 11/3 at 6:00.

#7 Canton (14-3-1) will host #10 Duxbury (13-4-1) on Saturday, 11/3 at 7:00.

#13 Franklin (10-5-2) will host #20 Durfee (8-8-2) on Thursday, 11/1 at 3:45.

#16 Mansfield (9-7-2) will host #17 Scituate (8-6-4) on Thursday, 11/1 at 3:30.

#18 Taunton (8-6-4) will travel to #15 Wellesley (8-6-2) on Thursday, 11/1 at a time to be announced.

#21 Oliver Ames (8-8-2) will travel to #12 Braintree (11-5-2) on Thursday, 11/1 at 4:00.

D2 South
#1 Foxboro (16-1-1) will host the winner of #16 Falmouth (9-6-3)/#17 Monomoy (9-7-2) on Friday, 11/2 at a time and place to be announced.