By HockomockSports.com Staff
King Philip senior Alli Meehan has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Sept. 10 through Sept. 16. Meehan is the second player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year.
Meehan, King Philip’s top returning scorer from last season, has gotten off to a strong start to 2018 and has helped the Warriors to a perfect 5-0 start, including three wins in the last week. After a dominant 2017, KP has already established itself as the team to beat this fall and has outscored teams 29-1 over its first five games. Meehan scored five goals and assisted on three others in the three games this week.
“Alli has phenomenal stick work and excels at moving the ball around defenders, and is an extremely powerful shooter,” said King Philip co-head coach Erin MacDonald. “Alli also has a worth ethic that is unmatched – she always works hard and gives 110% effort.”
King Philip started the week against perennial North power Acton-Boxboro, which was ranked No. 4 in New England coming into the game. Meehan assisted on the opener, scored an unassisted goal, and then assisted on a goal by freshman Meghan MacDonald, as the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, eventually winning 4-1.
The following day, the Warriors beat Kelley-Rex division rival Franklin 4-0. Meehan scored a hat trick in the win over the Panthers, scoring unassisted goals midway through each half and then wrapping up the win with a goal off a Dana Truini assist. On Friday, KP completed a perfect week with a 5-0 shutout of Milford. Meehan had a goal and an assist in the victory.
The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.
In eighth grade, Mary McNeil had an important choice to make. She was preparing for her freshman year at Canton High and thinking about what fall sport she would choose to play. McNeil was a soccer player and had been throughout her youth, but that was the same season as field hockey.
McNeil had not played field hockey growing up, in fact she did not start the sport competitively until she got into high school, but after watching four sisters go through the Canton field hockey program, including her sister Michelle who was going to be a senior that fall, could she really end the family’s legacy in the sport?
As it turns out, no she could not. And she has no regrets for that decision to hang up the soccer cleats and pick up a field hockey stick.
“I kind of decided last minute [to switch] because my sisters were like, ‘You’re really going to decide to play soccer?’ But I love it and it was the best decision,” McNeil said in a phone conversation this week.
Eight years after making the decision to join the family tradition, which started with her mother Kathleen, who played field hockey at UMass Dartmouth, McNeil is now a standout at Merrimack College. The senior midfielder is a three-time all-conference selection, an All-American, and one of the top 10 scorers in Merrimack history. She also has the Warriors ranked No. 6 in the nation, according to the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Div. II poll.
“I just kind of picked it up,” McNeil said about her transition from soccer to field hockey. “My sister was a senior my freshman year of high school, so that summer I just kind of played knowing that I was going to start off preseason and I chose field hockey, we worked all summer together to get ready to go.”
Michelle went on to play Div. I field hockey at Holy Cross. Their older sisters Lisa and Patty both played in the Northeast-10 at Stonehill College, while Lauren also played at Merrimack. A sixth sister, Andrea, is now a freshman on the St. Anselm team.
“There was a lot of support,” McNeil replied when asked how it was having so many field hockey players in one family. “They all came to my games. It was pretty great.”
There was plenty of advice to go around, but McNeil said that it has helped her grow into the player that she has become and added that it was always positive criticism, especially from Michelle, who was closest to her age. “Field hockey has changed a lot,” McNeil said. “When my sisters played in college it was on grass, so it’s a way faster game now, but it all goes back to that.”
After three all-star seasons at Canton, which included a league title and a Div. 1 South title as a freshman, McNeil joined the Merrimack program, continuing another family legacy. She credited the time she spent watching her sister Lauren play (and attending Lauren’s husband’s football games) at Merrimack for helping make the decision to go to the North Andover campus easier.
McNeil made an instant impact for the Warriors, starting 21-of-22 games and leading the team in goals (14), assists (11), and points (38). She was second in the NE-10 in goals and was named to first team all-conference and an NFHCA Second Team All-American. With McNeil leading the way as just a freshman, Merrimack went 16-6 and reached the national championship game where they lost by a goal to East Stroudsburg (Pa.).
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” McNeil said of her freshman season. “I came in just being motivated to help the team and my individual goals were just to get better every day and help the team win. It was awesome but losing in that national championship has just made me want to get back there more.”
Over the last two seasons, the Warriors have failed to hit the same heights. The Warriors went 9-8 in 2016, despite McNeil again being named first team All-NE-10 for scoring seven goals and recording a team-high seven assists. Last fall, Merrimack went 11-7, but McNeil’s numbers dropped to just three goals and a team high-10 assists. She was named second team all-conference.
The Warriors are 3-1 to start the new season with the only loss coming to East Stroudsburg by a goal. McNeil is firing in the goals again with five on the season to go along with four assists. She credits a renewed team chemistry, and a large recruiting class, for helping get Merrimack on track in the early going.
“We had 10 freshmen come in and we had a transfer too,” she said. “So, we’ve had a lot more girls this year, which has been awesome. Everyone’s excited, everyone loves practice and the energy is there every day.”
In addition to the family legacy at Merrimack, there is starting to be a Canton legacy as well. Junior forward Lindsey Nolte, who also played ice hockey and lacrosse with McNeil in high school, and freshman goalie Riley Brown are on the roster. Former Milford standout Jessica Palmer is also part of Merrimack’s Hock contingent.
McNeil said that the familiarity helps get prepared for the season. She said, “Especially in the summer, training, being in the same town, just knowing what’s expected from our coach and working together.”
As the season progresses, McNeil continues to move up the program’s all-time rankings. She is currently eighth all-time in points and second all-time in assists. She shrugged off talk about what it would mean to set a new record, instead focusing on her desire to win titles this season.
“It’s awesome,” she said, “but at the same time I want to win. So, just doing anything I can to end our season getting to the goals we want to accomplish.
“Stepping on the field with energy, focusing at practice on getting better every single day, building off each game, working on what we have to, our ultimate goal is a national championship but we’d love to win an NE-10 championship as well.”
On Nov. 6, in the penultimate game of the regular season, the Warriors will host St. Anselm. It will be the final home game for McNeil, her senior night, and it will also be a family reunion, as it will be the opportunity to face her younger sister Andrea for the first time.
“I think it will be fun,” McNeil reflected. “Obviously, I want to win, but it will be fun to play against her too.”
Merrimack will get back on the field against Franklin Pierce on Tuesday and the quest for a conference title will begin with NE-10 play next weekend.
McNeil said, “We are where we want to be but at the same time there’s so much that we want to work on. We hope to peak at the right time.”
CANTON, Mass. – While the majority of Hockomock League teams have hit the field, court, or links over the past two weeks to get their seasons underway, the Canton field hockey team has been left watching.
Between hot weather and thunderstorms, the Bulldogs have had their first game pushed back on a couple of occasions.
Canton finally began its 2018 season on Friday afternoon and used a late surge in the second half to pick up a 2-1 win over visiting Franklin.
“It was our first game, had a very long preseason I think it took them a little while to get out of drill mode and get into game mode,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We made some changes on the field and once it kind of clicked, then they started to get more comfortable.
“The past few days have been tough, the longer you wait, it can get stale. Practices get a little boring and they just want to get out there and play. The first half they were figuring things out a bit and then the second half of the second half they really started to click and work well together.”
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the Bulldogs came to life at the midway point. After fending off pressure from Franklin over the first 15 minutes of the second half, Canton turned on the pressure.
After earning a penalty corner, Canton’s Meg Aldrich served a pass in. Maria Femia was able to put it back in, Molly Cummings deflected it along, and senior Maggie Malloy cleaned up the loose ball to make it 1-1 with 12:50 to play.
Canton kept its pressure up and found the back of the net again just over a minute later. Malloy had her first shot denied by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini but the Panthers defense was unable to get a clearance.
The ball popped back onto the stick of Malloy, who pushed it forward some and then unleashed a hard shot at the near post that put the Bulldogs up 2-1.
“She’s a gifted goal scorer but she’s always a great motivator,” O’Connor said of Malloy. “She’s a hard worker and she kind of brings everyone along with her. I think that energy will translate to the younger players and they’ll start picking it up a little bit just based on her play.”
Franklin’s best chance at an equalizer came with just over six minutes to go. Senior Cassi Ronan split a pair of defenders and sent a pass into the area to Ashley Reutlinger but Canton defender Allie Gefteas made the clear.
“We let down a little bit,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “That’s something we’ve been working on because we get a little too comfortable. We let down and [Canton] completely capitalized. We’re still learning to bounce back, we let down once and then again right away. Hopefully, we can work on some transition stuff and have them get right back in the game.
We have two starters out so we had a little bit of a different look today and for it being the first time, they did pretty well. But once we get healthy I think we’ll be more solid in the middle and in transition.
It was a back-and-forth contest early on but little chances for either side. The Bulldogs had the best two chances early but couldn’t get a chance on net.
A shot from Maggie Malloy was deflected in the 9th minute but freshman Erin Lane couldn’t get to the loose ball before it skipped over the end line. Ten minutes later, Kaitlyn Goyetch found Femia in front but Franklin freshman Kate O’Rourke did well to break the play up before a shot.
The first shot on goal came from Reutlinger in the 22nd minute, forcing a save from Canton sophomore goalie Riley O’Connor. On the ensuing corner, Reutlinger linked up with Ronan and the senior lofted a shot perfectly over the goalie and just under the bar for a 1-0 lead.
Canton nearly tied it just three minutes later when Goyetch found Malloy in the middle but Franklin goalie Anna Jardine closed the pads at the perfect time to deny the chance. Malloy had another chance two minutes later but Franklin’s Elizabeth Clark thwarted the bid.
Before Canton took momentum in the second half, Franklin was just inches away from doubling its lead. Ronan’s shot was deflected by Olivia Rondeau and found the stick of Stephanie Bell. But Canton’s Rose Malloy was positioned perfectly on the goal line to knock the shot away.
“We have a very young starting team, we lost some good talent last year.,” O’Connor said. “It’s about getting comfortable with each other and filling in some spots. Even coaching-wise, we’re figuring out where everyone fits. I think we spent part of that game doing that but we’re glad they were able to come through with the win.”
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2018 Hockomock League Field Hockey Preview
2017 Record: 5-13-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes
Attleboro is looking to bounce back from a five-win season in 2017 and make a push up the league standings by mixing experienced players with a talented group of underclassmen that could make instant contributions for the Bombardiers.
The midfield will be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with returning starters like senior Kyra Lyons and junior Anna Back. Up front, leading scorer Grace Mayer graduated but senior Alex Compton was second on the team in points and will be counted on to fire in the goals. Attleboro will be hoping for more consistency from the defensive group this season to cut down on the 76 goals it allowed last year and senior goalie Shealyn Harrison will help keep things organized.
Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes said, “We are looking forward to this season, as we have a lot of strong returning players throughout each line. We are fortunate to be pairing these returners with a very skilled and unsuspecting younger class, who I am certain will be instrumental in making a positive difference on our team.”
2017 Record: 16-4-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Davenport division champion Canton went to overtime against top seed Somerset Berkeley in last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal and was a goal away from setting up an all-Hock final. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of talent from last year’s squad and will be hoping to make a run at back-to-back titles.
Senior forward Maggie Malloy will once again be the focal point up top after leading the Bulldogs with 27 goals and eight assists last fall. Malloy will be joined up top by sophomore Maria Femia. Junior Kaitlyn Goyetch, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is back in the midfield and she will get helped out by sophomore Meghan Labelle. Senior Katie Trerice will be the leader of the defense and sophomore Rose Malloy will jump in and contribute as well. Sophomore Riley O’Connor will take over in goal this fall.
Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “We are looking forward to seeing the hard work and effort our players put in this pre-season pay off on the field.”
2017 Record: 15-4-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal.
Coach: Melissa Bordieri
With 14 seniors on the roster this season, Foxboro has set its sights on regaining the Davenport division crown that it lost by just two points to Canton last year. Two years removed from winning the Div. 2 South title, the Warriors seem poised to make another deep tournament run with a team loaded with talent, depth, and experience.
Senior forward Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer each of the past three seasons, will once again team up with classmate Sophia DiCenso to form one of the league’s most dynamic attacking units. Senior Molly Murphy and junior Jamie Notarangelo will add to an already formidable offense. Senior Meghan Curran will lead the midfield unit along with classmate Carly Stern and the defense will be guided by seniors Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen, while senior goalie Julia Carangelo.
After come narrowly short of the league title last season and reaching the sectional semifinal, expectations are typically sky high for one of the league’s perennial powers.
2017 Record: 10-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Michelle Hess
Michelle Hess returns to the Franklin bench this season after eight years away from the program and she inherits a team that has the talent to compete for a league title and expectations of being able to make a deep run in the state tournament as well.
Senior midfielder Cassi Ronan is the primary playmaker for the Panthers and was the team’s leading scorer last fall with 16 goals and eight assists. One of the league’s top players, Ronan will be the primary focus of the opposition, but senior Regan Paterson can take some of that pressure off and will chip in with goals from the forward position. Senior Emily Valentino and junior Maeve Ledwith will provide organization for the defensive unit and senior Christina Luccini will be back in goal to backstop the defense.
“We are looking to improve on last years record and would love to go further in the tournament,” said Hess.
2017 Record: 19-3-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald
King Philip had a dominating run through the 2017 season, winning the Kelley-Rex title while losing just two games in the Hock all season, and then claiming the Div. 1 South title for the first time. This year, KP has a new coaching staff, with Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald taking over the reigns, and high expectations with an experienced and talented roster.
The Warriors return six seniors, who will be counted on to keep the team focused in its quest for a second straight title. Alli Meehan will be the primary attacking threat again this season. The Northeastern University-commit scored 40 points last regular season, despite missing a couple of games. Senior Claire Lawlor will be on the left wing to support the attack, and senior Nicole Conner will jump into the attack from her midfield position as well. Three-year starter Dana Truini will run the midfield for the Warriors, providing support on both ends of the field. Defensively, senior Emma Izydorczak, a St. Anselm-commit, will be the leader of the back line to keep things organized. Fellow senior Kate Lindmark will also help out for a defense that last year allowed only 13 goals in 23 games.
Expectations remain high for the program this season and the new coaches “anticipate a very successful season led by their powerful seniors.”
2017 Record: 7-7-5
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhen
Mansfield reached the state tournament again last year and was the only team in the league to beat Kelley-Rex champion King Philip (twice, in fact), but the Hornets have their sights set on returning to the top of the league standings as they did in 2014 and 2015. With a balanced roster that has depth all over the field, the Hornets have a chance to unseat KP in the division.
The Hornets have 10 seniors and experience all over the field. The forward line will include seniors Lauren Clang, Tori Farrington, Alicia Hottleman, Brooke Downy and Hayleigh Crawford. The midfield unit will be led by seniors Maggie Danehy and Kelly Doherty, who showed her versatility last season in several positions. Senior goalie Kayla Hunter is also back to help keep the defense solid. Newcomers like sophomore forward Abby Varricchione and sophomore midfielder Stori Rounds will jump in and contribute as well.
“We have some speed, some strong and some finesse,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhen. “Mansfield field hockey is a team of heart and hustle. As a team, we still have lots of work to do but are looking forward to the fun competition in the Hockomock League.”
2017 Record: 3-15-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Katie Blackburn
New head coach Katie Blackburn will try to improve on Milford’s three wins from last season with a group that has a lot of experience, especially on the back line, and speedy forward line that will try to fire in the goals.
The defense is filled with upperclassmen with seniors Eliza Valente and Emily Haley anchoring the back line along with junior Paige Reisman. Juniors Bella Gonzalez and Kathryn Swineford will be key players in the midfield and sophomore Madison Carneiro is a player to watch in the Milford front line, which Blackburn said would include a number of players that have a variety of skill sets.
Blackburn added, “Each player is unique and it has been exciting to see them all learning how to play together. We have a lot of speed as well as ball handling skills that will help us move the ball up the field and into the attacking circle.”
2017 Record: 9-7-4
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Karen Folan
North Attleboro got back into the state tournament last fall, only to run into perennial power Walpole in the second round, and the Rocketeers have a deep roster to make another run this year and potentially challenge Canton and Foxboro at the top of the Davenport. The new turf at Beaupre Field should also help North utilize the team’s speed.
The Rocketeers have a ton of experience coming back this season, including seniors Abby Calistra, Julia Feid, Shaylee Maxcy, and Lizzie Frost, who will form a solid defensive corps in front of junior goalie Emma Strachan, who head coach Karen Folan said has improved her quickness in the off-season. Speedy midfielders Michelle Pothier and fellow junior Lindsay Robinson will join senior Jess Strachan, while senior Tara Nair and junior Faith Graveline will be up top.
Folan said, “We are looking forward to another year in the competitive Hockomock League. Our offense will start with our defense this season. We hope to use our cohesive ball movement to transition the ball quickly up the field and into the offensive circle to generate lots of shots on net.”
2017 Record: 9-7-3
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round.
Coach: Sharon Lawrence
Oliver Ames is coming off a strong regular season performance, tying for third place in the Kelley-Rex division with 18 points, but they had to go on the road to Taunton in the playoffs and lost an overtime heartbreaker. First-year coach Sharon Lawrence takes over this season and has a roster with 11 juniors and seniors to try and make another run at a postseason bid.
Senior Meghan Rockey is one of the players that the Tigers will turn to this year and she will try to control the middle of the field. Fellow senior Kayla Lozzi can step in at forward or midfield and scored 10 points (four goals and six assists) for OA last season, while senior Samantha Clapp adds a defensive presence whether in midfield or defense. Lawrence is also excited for the contributions from the younger players, including sophomore forward Hannah Stryke, who is the Tigers top returning scorer with seven goals and four assists as a freshman.
“As a first-year coach, my focus has been on learning and assessing our talent and athleticism to position our players as a team for optimal success,” Lawrence said. “We have returning starters as well as new young talent on both offense and defense, and look to be competitive this season.”
2017 Record: 0-18-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ashley Courville
First-year head coach Ashley Courville is looking to build the program from the ground up, and she is counting on a large roster and a core of returning players to get Sharon moving in the right direction this season. With only one sophomore on the roster, experience shouldn’t be an issue for the Eagles as they turn things around.
The defense will be led seniors Varsha Poreddy and Rebecca Clayman. Junior Blaize Hanna will also be part of that group this fall. The midfield has seniors Georgia Cheney and Lauren Yaffe to help out in the attack and also chip in on the defensive side of things. Sophomore Lauren Prenaveau is another player to watch in the Eagles midfield. Up top, senior forward Elizabeth Romantz will be counted on to add to Sharon’s goal tally.
Courville said, “We have a large team this year with a handful of returning players giving the team consistency and determination. Our defense has added strength and depth, while our offense has added speed.”
2017 Record: 7-12-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton graduated 13 players from last year’s team and then lost leading scorer Julia Russell to a knee injury, but there is hope for the Black Knights to make a run at a state tournament spot as the inexperienced players gain valuable minutes at the varsity level.
Defense will be a strength for Stoughton this fall, with returning seniors Katie Widrow and Jeanna Girolamo adding stability and keeping things organized at the back. Sophomore Kayla Lobby will start in goal for the Black Knights. In the midfield, senior Jordan Lyons is a strong two-way player and she will be looking to get the ball forward to the sticks of seniors Allie Howe and Alanna McCormick, who will both be trying to make up for the production that was expected from Russell.
Stoughton coach Dan Mark is hopeful that his team can meet its potential. He said, “We will be inexperienced in many areas, but do have several players who played regularly last year.”
2017 Record: 11-8-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway
Taunton had one of its best seasons in program history last year, winning 11 games and advancing in the playoffs for the first time by beating Oliver Ames in an overtime thriller. The Tigers will look to build on that success and compete with the top teams in the ultra-competitive Kelley-Rex division.
The Taunton midfield will be a strength this season, as it is filled with experienced players. Seniors Jillian Pagliuca, Lauren Torres, and Mabel Smith are all capable of making plays on both ends of the field and all read the game well to keep the Tigers moving in the right direction. Senior forward Ciera Bartel will be joined up front by last year’s playoff hero Alana Tavares. The sophomore forward scored the game-winner against OA and has the speed to cause defense lots of problems. The Tigers defense will be led by junior Kathryn Robinson and sophomore Jocelyn Pagliuca and if anyone gets through then senior goalie Emma Sheehan will be there to stop them.
Taunton coach Liz Hathaway said, “This team has come together and have a great on field bond that allows them to successfully execute plays and breakaways.”
By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
Alex Compton, Senior – Attleboro
Attleboro has an experienced group coming back this season and the Bombardiers will be looking to move up the league standings and make a run at a state tournament berth. One of the players that will be leading the way for Attleboro is senior forward Alex Compton. She led the Bombardiers in assists last season, with nine, and added seven goals as well. With leading scorer Grace Mayer graduated, Compton will be the focal point of the Attleboro attack this season and has the potential for a big year. With strong stick skills and game awareness, Compton consistently finds herself in the right spots around the goal but also has great vision to bring her teammates into the game. If Compton fires in the goals, Attleboro could make a run at the postseason this fall.
Foxboro has one of the top attacks in the league and Daly has been the leader of that offense for the past three years, helping the Warriors come within one game of back-to-back Davenport division titles and reach the Div. 2 South semifinal again. Daly was not only Foxboro’s top scorer last fall but also led the Hock with 40 points. She scored 26 goals and also had 14 assists in 2017 and is consistently one of the most dangerous players around the goal, using her strength and quick hands to finish plays in the circle and her game awareness means that she is always in the right place at the right time. Opposing defenses always have to keep track of Daly and she enters this season with the goal of getting the Warriors back to the top of the league and to the top of Div. 2 South.
Maggie Danehy, Senior – Mansfield
Mansfield is aiming for a return to the top of the league this season and Danehy is a key figure in the Hornets midfield, providing support on both ends of the field to drive the Hornets forward. Danehy is a relentless presence in the midfield, seemingly in the middle of everything that the Hornets are doing, from breaking up an opposing attack on one end and then pushing the ball forward on a counter attack. With her long strides and her long reach, Danehy is a tough player to get around in the middle of the field and she is able to burst past opposing defenders to create space in the attack. One of the team’s leaders, Danehy is hoping to get the Hornets, which handed King Philip its only two league losses last season, back to the top of the Kelley-Rex division for the first time in three years.
Sophia DiCenso, Senior – Foxboro
DiCenso is not only a standout on the lacrosse field, but has also been a major factor in Foxboro field hockey’s success over the past few seasons. She provided 18 goals and 12 assists last fall, keeping the Warriors in the hunt for a Davenport division title right up to the final game of the season and helped the Warriors get back to the Div. 2 South semifinal. Partnering in attack with Lily Daly, DiCenso is a creative player who can use her speed and stickhandling to break down opposing defenses, giving Foxboro one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. The University of Richmond lacrosse commit will be looking to bring home more silverware for the Warriors this fall to go along with the 2016 D2 South title.
Allie Howe, Senior – Stoughton
Stoughton is looking to bounce back after a seven-win season, and one of the players that the Black Knights will turn to is senior forward Allie Howe, who was the team’s second-leading scorer in 2017. Howe scored nine goals and had two assists last year, and with an injury to leading scorer Julia Russell that will keep her out for the season, Howe will have even more responsibility for the Stoughton offense this fall. Howe has the speed to beat defenders in transition and is clever in finding space in front of goal to finish off attacks. The Black Knights will be aiming for a return to the state tournament and Howe’s offensive production will be critical to a quick turnaround this season.
Emma Izydorczak, Senior – King Philip
While the 86 goals that King Philip scored last year will get a lot of attention, the Warriors title-winning season was also a product of a league-best defense that allowed only 13 goals in 23 games, including 14 shutouts. Izydorczak was one of the leaders of that stingy defensive unit and her experience and leadership will be a key to KP trying to repeat as league and South champions. Her ability to read the game and make quick decisions to break up attacks combined with good hands to time tackles helped keep the opposition at bay and limit the number of chances on the KP goal. She also seemed to always be in the right place when the opposing attack did get through, making a couple of important goal-line clearances in the playoffs. Izydorczak and the Warriors will have high expectations after a dominating 2017 and the defense could again be the key to KP’s success.
Maggie Malloy, Senior – Canton
After springing onto the stage two years ago as a novice to the sport of field hockey and becoming an instant scoring threat for the Bulldogs, Malloy has become one of the top forwards in the entire league and one of the reasons that Canton won the Davenport last season and nearly made it an all-Hock Div. 1 South final. Malloy led the Bulldogs with 27 goals and eight assists in 2017 and only an overtime loss to top seed Somerset-Berkeley kept Canton from reaching the sectional final to face fellow league champ King Philip. An aggressive player, who brings the energy, stickhandling, and physicality of ice hockey to the field, Malloy has increased her positional awareness and her all-around game to be a constant threat to any defense. Malloy’s nose for goal and tenacity will be counted on again this year in order for Canton to make a similar run as last fall.
Alli Meehan, Senior – King Philip
Unquestionably, King Philip was the league’s top team last fall, winning the Kelley-Rex division title as well as reaching the state semifinal, and Meehan was the team’s focal point on attack, leading the team with 40 points and more than 20 goals despite missing several games due to injury. With Meehan leading the attack, KP scored a league-best 86 goals. The Northeastern University-commit boasts great pace to make runs down either wing, but also the quickness with the ball on her stick to exploit even the smallest gaps in a defense. She is just as capable of pulling off a great finish on the run as picking out a defense-splitting pass that will set up a teammate in the crease and is someone that opposing defenses need to account for at all times. Meehan will be lead the KP attack again this fall and that puts the Warriors in a solid position to try and repeat last year’s dominant season.
Cassi Ronan, Senior – Franklin
Ronan was the key to Franklin’s resurgence from a difficult start to the 2017 season to taking second in the Kelley-Rex division and push eventual South (and league champion) King Philip to double overtime in the second round of the state tournament. Ronan, one of the top stickhandlers in the league, showcased her all-around game to get the Panthers back into the playoffs. She scored team highs in goals (20) and assists (10) and consistently created scoring chances for the Franklin attack, while also chipping in with defensive work in the midfield to limit counterattacks from the opposition. Ronan will be counted on again this fall, under a new coaching staff, to once again keep control of games for the Panthers and try to get Franklin back on top of the league.
Hannah Stryke, Sophomore – Oliver Ames
Just a sophomore, Stryke is one of the top scoring threats for Oliver Ames, as the Tigers battle for a return to the state tournament and to make a run up the league standings in the ultra-competitive Kelley-Rex division. Stryke was the team’s third-leading scorer last year, behind graduated seniors Liz Nuss and Sarah Stevens, scoring seven goals and assisting on four others. This year, much of the offense will flow through Stryke, who has already shown the stick-handling and awareness of a much more experienced forward. With the speed to take advantage of any space that a defense gives up, Stryke could be ready for a breakout season for the Tigers, who made the playoffs last season only to lose an overtime heartbreaker and have a new coach in Sharon Lawrence. Getting Stryke on the ball often will be a good way to create the offense the Tigers need.
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Field Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Grace Mayer, Attleboro
Andrea McNeil, Canton
Maggie Malloy, Canton
Riley Brown, Canton
Emily Campbell, Canton
Jackie Brion, Foxboro
Lily Daly, Foxboro
Sophia DiCenso, Foxboro
Catherine Luciano, Foxboro
Cassi Ronan, Franklin
Annie Walsh, Franklin
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Abby Campbell, King Philip
Elizabeth Furfari, King Philip
Alli Meehan, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Berluti, Mansfield
Shannon Cormier, Milford
Emilie Pothier, North Attleboro
Kaley Gorman, North Attleboro
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames
Hannah Stryke, Oliver Ames
Leora Levitt, Sharon
Kamryn Oliveira, Stoughton
Kya Enos, Taunton
Liana Duarte, Taunton