Sharon’s Rabb Twins Sharing Tourney Experience with Ithaca Lax

Alex and Sam Rabb
Former Sharon standouts Alex and Sam Rabb have started every game this season for the highly-ranked Ithaca College lacrosse team. (Ithaca College Athletics)

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On Monday morning, the Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team got the call to be one of three at-large bids to the Div. III NCAA Tournament. After being unsure if they would have a season at all, the Bombers will now have the opportunity to play for a national title. Former Sharon (soccer and lacrosse) standouts Samantha and Alex Rabb have played every game for Ithaca this season, leaning on each other during a tumultuous year, and enjoying the fact that they can share this experience of a senior season together.

“It’s a blessing every day that we get to go out there,” Alex explained. “We never know what’s going to happen, literally, tomorrow, so I know I make sure to have fun at every practice we have, leave it all on the field.”

Sam added, “It definitely makes you know how lucky you are to be on a lacrosse field, especially with everything going on in the world. Being able to step onto the field every day and put out your best effort, we’re always going 100 percent because you never know when it can be taken away.”

In the three previous seasons, the twins’ playing time had been inconsistent. Alex played 10 times as a freshman and seven as a sophomore. In her junior year, she scored three goals in the first four games before a knee injury cut short the season one game before the pandemic would shut the whole team down. Sam had played in seven games total over the first three seasons (all as a sophomore).

But at the final practice before the season opener against rival SUNY Cortland, Ithaca coach Karrie Moore read out the starting lineup. Both sisters were included.

“When I found out that I was starting, it was definitely very exciting because I have not gotten much playing time in the other seasons,” Sam said. “So, to know that my coach has a lot of trust in me to be on the field with all the other defenders, who are great, it feels really great.”

The excitement of getting a starting spot was amplified by being able to share the field with each other. Alex said, “[Coach] said Sam’s name last and I almost wanted to cry. I just felt so happy for her because I knew she’d been working so hard and she wanted it so badly. It’s pretty cool hearing both of our names get called before every game.”

 

Alex has started all 13 games for the Bombers, who entered the final week of the regular season as the seventh-ranked team in the country. Sam has started all but one game and appeared in all 13. Ithaca went undefeated in the regular season and advanced to the Liberty League final thanks to a five-goal outburst from Alex, including three goals in less than a minute.

There is the obvious connection that exists between sisters, even more so as twins, but also a connection forged by being on the field together for almost a decade, going back to their success in multiple sports at Sharon. Sam was a standout defender and Alex set the program scoring record (and was named HockomockSports.com Player of the Year), while leading the lacrosse program to its first two state tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017.

“We were kind of always playing together,” Sam explained. “Now, it’s higher stakes, it’s way more competitive, so when one of us does something really good, it just fires us up way more. On defense, I know that it makes everything so much better watching her play too, just being there. ”

Alex continued, “Being seniors this year, both starting, it’s just crazy because you know we actually earned our spot on the field. We both got here, we’re both good enough to play on a team that is highly-ranked. I am very confident in Sam, when she has the ball and I know she’s confident when I have the ball, so it’s just really fun to play with everyone on the field who’s just as good as you are.”

Sharing the college experience extends beyond the playing field and that support system has been critical in a year unlike any other.

“My major is athletic training and I have a lot of clinical hours that I have to make up from not being able to do them in the fall,” Alex said. “It was very questionable if I was even going to be allowed to play lacrosse this season. I’ve been pretty busy this semester, so yeah it’s been really helpful having Sam here to just bounce things off of if I need support.”

Sam added, “Especially with Covid, you know you can’t take anything for granted any more and being able to go to college with my sister and both being able to play on the lacrosse team and live with her here, we don’t take anything for granted.”

Whether it was injury or the pandemic, having a season taken away inevitably adds perspective to being able to get on the field every day. A senior-laden team, Ithaca has been strong from the outset, going 11-0 in the regular season and advancing to the conference tournament final for the third year running.

Despite a loss to William Smith, who the Bombers beat twice in the regular season, Ithaca is now 3-1 against teams that qualified for the tournament and has four wins against ranked teams. They open the tournament against Notre Dame of Maryland University on Sunday.

“We are expecting to go into the tournament and make it pretty far,” said Alex a few days before the Liberty League semifinal. “Everyone who’s starting right now is basically all seniors and that’s all we want. We just want to prove to everyone that we’ve been working hard.”

Sam added, “First we’re trying to win the Liberty League and then we’re trying to win a national championship. It’s scheduled for graduation weekend and all of us seniors are like, we don’t want to go to graduation. We want to win a championship.”

Teams of the Decade #16: 2014 Franklin Girls Lacrosse

Franklin girls lacrosse

Team: Franklin Girls Lacrosse
Year: 2014
Record: 19-4-0
2014 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2014 Division 1 East Champions & State Semifinalists


In the life of any top program, there is a moment that takes a team from being one with potential to one that should be considered a threat to win a title every season.

For the Franklin girls’ lacrosse program that moment came in 2014. The team not only reached its first sectional final but also won the program’s first trophy, a springboard to the Panthers being considered among the state’s top teams every season.

“We had talented players and players who really wanted to take it to the next level,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino, who was in her second year as the head coach in 2014. “They kind of got a taste the year before and then just set high goals and worked hard.”

In Igoe Guarino’s first season in charge, the Panthers went unbeaten in the league and won the Kelley-Rex division title outright (after sharing with King Philip the year before). Franklin was emerging as the dominant force in the Hockomock, which would be borne out by eight straight league titles and more than 80 straight league wins (and counting), but there was a desire to see the team compete at the state’s highest level against the likes of Westwood, Needham, Wellesley, and Notre Dame Academy.

The 2013 team reached the Div. 1 South semifinal but was beaten by Westwood, but left the season feeling like the program was on the brink of pushing through against the best teams. “The girls were confident in themselves, confident in their coaches, and vice versa,” said Igoe Guarino. “We kind of worked hard, saw improvements in the regular season, and we were just like, okay we can do this.”

It was a team loaded with talent. Senior midfielder Marta Versprille led the way in midfield and was both the league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year. Igoe Guarino explained, “Players like her and Maegan Schmauder, they weren’t just really good players but good people and good leaders and who really, really cared about the Franklin program and wanted to see it succeed and everyone just kind of fed off that.”

 

Franklin lost only three times in the regular season, by two to Needham, by 10 to Westwood, and by two to defending state champ NDA. It was the first season under the new realignment, which pushed the Panthers to the newly created East bracket and away from the only teams to be them in the regular season. They rolled to a win against Natick in the playoff opener.

In the semifinal against Lincoln-Sudbury, the Panthers battled back from 7-4 down at halftime thanks to a pair of goals from Emily Jeffries and one from Schmauder. Julia Jette had a chance to win it in regulation only to be denied with seconds left. L-S nearly took the lead in the final seconds of the first half of OT, but a free position goal was ruled after the horn. After Julia Bireley forced a turnover to get Franklin the ball late in the second half of OT, Schmauder scored from a free position with just six seconds left.

The final against Concord-Carlisle turned out to be even more dramatic.

Franklin led 10-9 and tried to hold the ball for the final four minutes. A turnover in the final minute turned into a tying goal and then the Patriots won the ensuing draw and raced upfield for the go-ahead score. The Panthers went from a goal up to a goal down in only 12 seconds and had only :31 left on the clock to try and save the season.

Franklin managed to get possession on the next draw and had a chance but Julianne Pisani’s shot was saved. Jeffries regained possession in midfield and was fouled. On the restart, she drew a triple-team as the clock ticked down but managed to squeeze a pass to sophomore Sheelagh Walsh, who angled towards goal and tied the game with just two seconds remaining.

“That game was back-and-forth the whole game then I think we tried to stall for a very long time and it didn’t work,” Igoe Guarino recalled. “It was right there and then it was gone and then it was tied again. That game was so up and down.”

After the Panthers forced a turnover in the first half of overtime, Schmauder scored what turned out to be the game-winner and sealed the first sectional title in program history. Although Franklin lost to Longmeadow in the state semifinal, bringing home a trophy added new goals and new expectations for the Panthers every spring.

“I think it was a huge springboard and a huge confidence boost,” said Igoe Guarino, who has won two more sectional titles since 2014. “I think a sectional title kind of justified all our work and efforts from the youth program up to the high school and kind of put us on the map.”






Franklin girls lacrosse
Franklin girls lacrosse

2014 Franklin Girls Lacrosse Schedule

Opponent
Result
MilfordW, 18-1
Oliver AmesW, 17-3
North AttleboroW, 19-4
King PhilipW, 10-1
King PhilipW, 12-7
FoxboroW, 14-6
MansfieldW, 20-4
HopkintonW, 10-5
NeedhamL, 9-6
AttleboroW, 19-1
WestwoodL, 14-4
SharonW, 13-4
Notre Dame AcademyL, 11-9
CantonW, 20-2
North AttleboroW, 19-3
DartmouthW, 9-5
MansfieldW, 17-6
NatickW, 14-7
AttleboroW, 20-2
#6 NatickW, 18-7
#2 Lincoln-SudburyW, 8-7 (OT)
#1 Concord-CarlisleW, 12-11 (OT)
Longmeadow (State Semifinal)L, 11-7






Franklin girls lacrosse
Franklin girls lacrosse

Franklin girls lacrosse
Franklin girls lacrosse

Franklin girls lacrosse

Franklin girls lacrosse


Former Foxboro Standout Takes Helm of Lax Program

Foxboro girls lacrosse
Former Foxboro standout Mary Beth Sweeney (8), pictured during her senior season with the Warriors, was recently announced as the program’s new head coach. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Foxboro High athletic director Joe Cusack announced last week that former Warriors standout Mary Beth Sweeney has been hired as the new girls lacrosse coach. Sweeney will replace Brittany Sherry, who coached Foxboro for eight seasons, winning the league championship each year, and last year led the Warriors to their first sectional title.

Sweeney was a freshman during Sherry’s first season in charge and as a sophomore in 2013 was named the first HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year for girls lacrosse. She played four years at Southern New Hampshire University, graduating last spring, and this is her first varsity coaching experience.

“I didn’t even think of it,” said Sweeney about jumping onto the sidelines so soon after college, “but the coaching job came up and I thought this is an opportunity I have to take, I’ll regret it if I don’t.”

While this will be her first high school coaching experience, Sweeney did help out with the club program Gold Star Lacrosse over the summer. Gold Star Lacrosse is run by Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino and the staff also includes current King Philip coach Kourtnie Wilder and former North Attleboro and Sharon coach Colleen Manning.

“I loved it, loved the girls, and everything,” Sweeney explained. “Then I found out the Foxboro position was hiring and I thought it was perfect timing. I just graduated, I know I’m young, but I feel like I can use that as an advantage, so I applied. I’m psyched.”

The Warriors graduated several key pieces from last year’s Central/East title-winning team, including two-time MVP Sophia DiCenso, but there was a strong core of players returning for Sweeney to work with.

She said, “I think it’s perfect timing. They graduated a bunch of talented, talented players but there’s still talented players who could easily take over those spots and it’s how they work together as a team that will matter in the long run.”

 

Sweeney is also excited to be taking over for her former high school coach, who helped turn the Warriors into a perennial power. “I think it’s kind of an honor,” she said. “I just hope to live up to her legacy.”

Sherry added, “I have always said Mary Beth’s class was my favorite class. She was my first group of freshmen when I started in Foxboro, one of my captains her senior year, one of my most passionate players, and her group of four graduating seniors really paved the way for the program and its success! There was never a dull moment with MB and her love for the game and desire to succeed was always my favorite thing about her!”

The duo will be able to see each other on the sidelines this spring, as the same day that Sweeney was announced as the new coach in Foxboro, Sherry was announced as the new coach at Mansfield. They are both looking forward to squaring off this season.

Sweeney is proud of how far the program has come over the past decade and is looking forward to continuing that progress.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “It’s crazy. I have an older sister and she played at Foxboro High too and from what it’s been even from her year to my year was crazy and from my year to now it’s just keeps getting better and better and better.”

2019 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Alana Tavares, Taunton

Hockomock League All Stars

Kyra Lyons, Attleboro
Caroline Tourgee, Canton
Sara Addeche, Foxboro
Meghan Curran, Foxboro
Sophia DiCenso, Foxboro
Jaime Notarangelo, Foxboro
Gianna Cameron, Franklin
Kelsey MacCallum, Franklin
Hailey Toolin, Franklin
Annie Walsh, Franklin
Erin Walsh, Franklin
Caroline Klim, King Philip
Jessica Sullivan, King Philip
Victoria Tormey, King Philip
Caroline Watson, King Philip
Katy Garvin, Mansfield
Savannah Rosado, Milford
Regan Fein, North Attleboro
Katie Lindstrom, North Attleboro
Lauren Pezzi, North Attleboro
Olivia Piazza, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Bridget McManus, Sharon
Alana Tavares, Taunton

First Half Run Puts End to Foxboro Season in Semifinal

Foxboro girls lacrosse
Foxboro junior Julia Kelley (27) scored three times and had an assist, but the Warriors couldn’t get past South champ Cohasset in the state semifinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WELLESLEY, Mass. – With back-to-back goals, Foxboro rallied to tie South champion Cohasset in Tuesday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Babson College’s MacDowell Field. The Skippers, who won the state title in 2017, took a timeout to regroup and proceeded to break the game wide open.

Cohasset scored five goals in the final 4:04 of the first half, propelling the Skippers on a game-closing 12-3 run and a 17-8 victory that ended the most successful season in the Foxboro program’s history.

“That four, five-goal lead they got going into half was killer,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “It’s too hard to dig yourself out of those. We’ve had games where we’ve been in positions where we’ve had to do it but we’ve never had the result that we needed. We’ve dug ourselves out but not enough.”

The Skippers had the first good look of the game but the shot caromed off the far post, after a loose ball was scooped up by the Warriors an outlet pass sent Molly Murphy on a break. She picked out Julia Kelley at the ‘X,’ who hesitated to draw a defender and open space for a pass to sophomore Lilly Vey for a close-range finish.

Northwestern University-bound Jane Hansen (five goals and two assists) cut through the Foxboro defense to tie the game, but the Warriors answered back. This time Vey played provider, setting up Sophia DiCenso as she cut across the front of goal and the University of Richmond-commit unleashed a side-arm shot under the bar to make it 2-2.

After three straight goals by the South champions, DiCenso scored her second goal of the night, this time with a lefty shot from a tight angle to bring the Warriors back within one.

Hansen assisted on Cohasset’s fifth of the night to restore the two goal lead, but Foxboro scored two in rapid fire to tie the game. Sara Addeche (four saves) made a big stop on a free position on one end and the Warriors again broke quickly with Meghan Curran getting the ball up the near sideline to Murphy, who bounced a shot through the five-hole to make it 5-4.

 

Right off the ensuing draw, DiCenso was inches away from tying it, but her shot came off the post. Kelley (three goals and one assist) was in the right spot to snag the rebound and finish.

It was the high point for the Warriors, as the favorites took control. Kate Cunning scored to break the deadlock and 12 seconds later assisted on a goal by fellow sophomore Gennie Littlejohn. Hansen scored back-to-back goals only 30 seconds apart to extend the lead to four and with just 22.9 left in the half Cunning got another assist on a Madie Donovan goal.

“Going into half, it was just about putting pressure on the ball and not letting them have a relaxed thought,” Sherry said about the frame of mind of the Warriors at the break. “I think we kind of did that but they had too much time to find their feet and hit their cutters. They got space and they got open, so that was an adjustment that we needed to make and we didn’t make it enough.”

The Warriors came out of the break with the right attitude and gave themselves hope of a comeback with the first goal of the second half. DiCenso was unlucky again, as another shot came off the post, but Curran chased down the ground ball to keep possession and seconds later Vey (two goals and two assists) combined with Kelley to bring the score to 10-6.

Foxboro had two opportunities to cut into the lead further, but the Cohasset defense forced a turnover and Hansen made it 11-6 with 19:30 to play. The Skippers added two straight, including a nice give-and-go between Hansen and Molly Greer, to push the lead up to seven.

Vey got a goal on a free position but another three-goal run by the Skippers eliminated any momentum that may have been gained by Foxboro. Jaime Notarangelo added the eighth and final goal for the Warriors from a free position with two minutes left.

Experience was a benefit for the Warriors in the East final against Medway and Foxboro (16-8) brought home its first-ever sectional title. It was the main goal of the season, Sherry explained, and she thinks it will help the returning players to have gotten a taste of the state semifinal atmosphere.

“They have so much exposure in this environment,” Sherry said about Cohasset. “I think we played really well. I think this was the best competition they’re going to see (outside the South). I think we gave them a fight and we hung in with them and it just wasn’t enough.”

Player of the Week: Sophia DiCenso, Foxboro Lacrosse

Morse Insurance
 

Sophia DiCenso
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Foxboro senior Sophia DiCenso has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for June 9 through June 15. DiCenso is the 34th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year and the 11th player in the spring season.

DiCenso had a busy week and one that featured success both with Foxboro and with her efforts to make the U.S. U-19 national team. The senior midfielder and University of Richmond-commit missed the Warriors opening playoff game to try out for the national team and this week found out that she had been selected to be part of the squad competing in the world championships. She then returned to Foxboro to score nine goals in two games and lead the Warriors to the program’s first-ever sectional title.

“It was an exciting week for both Soph and the team and I think hearing the news of making the national team was a weight lifted off her shoulder,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “Her performance on Friday was lights out! She wanted it for herself, her teammates, her coaches and her community. Her work ethic, passion and selflessness aided in getting us that tough win and our program’s first title!”

Against the top seed Wayland, DiCenso scored a hat trick, helping the Warriors hold on in a wild second half to pull the upset and advance to their second Div. 2 East final in three years. The day before the final, DiCenso found out that she had been chosen to be part of Team USA, and then she went out and scored six times against Medway, including the go-ahead goal with three minutes remaining, to lead Foxboro to the title.

DiCenso, a two-time Hockomock League MVP, eclipsed the 50-goal mark for the season with her nine this week in the playoffs and she is right on the edge of the top 10 in scoring. The Warriors will face South champion Cohasset in the state semifinal.

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.

Morse Insurance

Warriors Use Experience to Bring Home Sectional Title

Foxboro Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro captains Molly Murphy (9) and Sophia DiCenso (1) lift the Div. 2 East trophy, the first sectional title in the program’s history. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WALPOLE, Mass. – With seven minutes to go in Friday night’s Div. 2 East final at Walpole High, Medway scored its second straight goal and grabbed its first lead since midway through the first half. Having managed to pull out close wins in each of the first two rounds, Foxboro needed to keep its composure and find a way to make it three in a row.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors could call on the experience of 14 seniors who were part of the program’s first sectional final appearance two years ago, a disappointing loss in the East quarterfinal last season, and a regular season that featured many of the state’s best teams. All of that came into play on Friday.

Of course, it also helps having a player like senior midfielder Sophia DiCenso. The University of Richmond-commit, and recently announced member of the U.S. U-19 national team, split the defense to tie the game and then scored her sixth goal of the night with three minutes to play to put Foxboro ahead for good. Julia Kelley tacked on another goal with 1:05 left and the Warriors celebrated an 11-9 win and the program’s first East title.

“She’s on cloud nine,” Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry said of DiCenso. “She puts the weight of the world on her shoulders. She carries this team and we really look to her to get it done and she got it done.”

DiCenso said, “I feel like everyone’s just been wanting it since we lost to Walpole our sophomore year and every day at practice we talk about this is our year, we’re going to win a trophy, and we did it. Everyone’s literally on top of the world right now.”

Similar to the semifinal against top seed Wayland, it took a while for someone to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore Lilly Vey cut though the defense and put Foxboro ahead 10 minutes into the game. Medway scored twice over the next five minutes to grab the lead, while Foxboro was struggling to finish off the chances that it was creating.

 

Senior Meghan Curran hit the post twice on free positions and Molly Murphy smacked the post with a shot on a fast break. Curran also had a chance in the final second of the half that bounced up off the turf and kissed the bar.

“If we’re hitting the post then it means we’re placing the ball, we’re not throwing it randomly, but they needed to drop eventually,” said Sherry. “Wayland [in the East semifinal] really helped us knowing that we could make mistakes offensively and still prevail.”

DiCenso finally got a chance with three minutes left in the half and she made it look easy from a free position. A little more than a minute later, DiCenso added her second of the night, again from a free position, to make it 3-2 at the break.

Abby Hassman had an early free position opportunity saved and Medway raced down field to tie the game at 3-3 just two minutes into the second half. DiCenso completed her hat trick from a free position but then had one miss the net and Medway took advantage to tie the game again at 4-4.

Curran came through with her next direct opportunity, picking the top corner with an unstoppable shot. Ninety seconds later, DiCenso cut across the defense from the left and went side-arm to rip a shot under the bar for a two-goal lead, the largest lead of the game for either team.

Medway bounced back with two straight goals to tie it again. Foxboro once again had the response to avoid allowing the Mustangs to grab the lead. Curran scored her second of the night, going side-arm after spinning back to her left.

The lead was short-lived and the Mustangs scored back-to-back goals to put Foxboro on its heels and take its first lead since the score was 2-1. No surprise to anyone, but the Warriors again turned to DiCenso. She showed good patience as she worked her way across goal, making the goalie commit before firing in the tying goal.

With the clock winding down on three minutes to play, Medway was inches from tying the game, but a shot came flying back off the post and ricocheted out towards midfield. Senior Molly Murphy reacted first and chased the ground ball down at the near sideline and got possession for the Warriors.

DiCenso drove towards the back of the cage but then spun back on her marker, tried to split two defenders, and earned a free position and a yellow card for her opponent. She made no mistake on the big opportunity and put the Warriors ahead 10-9 with 2:58 to play.

Foxboro got the ball back and tried to run out the clock. With a minute to play, Kelley drove to the cage and finished from close-range to make it a two-goal game. The Warriors won the next draw and proceeded to run the clock down, smiles stretching across their faces as they realized that the dream that started two years ago, the chance to make history for the program, was coming to fruition.

“It feels amazing,” said Sherry, who may have had the biggest smile on the field at the final whistle. “Even in the semifinals when they started picking away at leads, I think that exposure of playing top D1 teams, we do it because we learn from it every single time.” She added, “We’ve battled and we’ve gotten tested and we prevailed because of it.”

When asked about playing a schedule with perennial D1 powers like Notre Dame Academy, Longmeadow, Walpole, Franklin, and others, DiCenso joked, “At first we saw it and were like what is she doing but honestly now I can say it was so worth it.”

She added, “I think there were moments when we were like, wow we’re getting beat pretty bad by these teams and going into tournament we need to step our game up, but I feel like those losses were more motivators. Our schedule prepares us for 30 seconds left and we’re up by one or two and we’re so composed on the field because of the competition that we face.”

Foxboro (16-7) will play South champion Cohasset in the state semifinal on Tuesday night at Babson College.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.