Player of the Week – Ashlyn Gaulin, North Soccer

Morse Insurance
 

Ashlyn Gaulin
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

North Attleboro senior Ashlyn Gaulin has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Sept. 17 through Sept. 23. Gaulin is the third player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year.

Gaulin, who led North Attleboro in scoring last season, has been on fire at the start of the year and scored seven goals and recorded four assists in three games last week. With Gaulin leading the line, North earned seven points as a team. The Rocketeers remain unbeaten (3-0-2) on the season and the two-time defending Davenport champs are tied with Foxboro at the top of the division standings.

North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace said of Gaulin, “Ashlyn has taken on a leadership role this season, and her play on the field reflects this. She knows we lost a lot to graduation and she is working hard to keep our play at the same level!”

North started the week against Sharon and Gaulin recorded six points for the second time this season, as the Rocketeers rolled to an 8-0 win. Gaulin had four goals and two assists against the Eagles. Two days later, Gaulin set up Kayla Pasquel for the opening goal in a 1-1 tie with Attleboro.

On Saturday, Gaulin recorded her third hat trick of the season and added an assist as well in a 9-0 victory over Taunton. Gaulin currently has 17 points (11 goals and six assists), which puts her two ahead of King Philip’s Chloe Layne for top scorer in the league. North currently has 26 goals as a team, which is just one behind the league-leading Warriors.

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.

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Second Half Goal Earns Bombardiers a Point at North

Attleboro girls soccer
Julia Reyes (20) tries to beat North defender Morgan Silver during the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Beaupre Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It may have only been the second week of the season and both teams had yet to even play a handful of games this fall, but the intensity of the play on the pitch Wednesday night was reminiscent of a playoff game or at least when these teams meet with the Blue-Red Cup on the line.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It was tight, it was physical, and in the end it was tied. Briley Harnois scored with 15 minutes left in the game to cancel out Kayla Pasquel’s first half strike and earn Attleboro a point in a 1-1 draw with North Attleboro on the Beaupre Field turf.

“We’ve been a slow starting team and I challenged them today to really start right off the opening whistle,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “They worked hard. We knew it was going to be a physical game. They have a lot of speed up top and on the wings and we knew we had to slow them down.”

The Rocketeers created enough chances over the course of the game that on another day, with more composed finishing, they could have pulled out the victory. But, for all the chances created by the hosts, the two goalies finished with the same amount of saves because North struggled to put the ball on frame.

North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace said, “We had some chances. A lot of shots we were leaning back on and they were going high, but this is a completely different team than last year and these kids are working real hard. It’s been a crazy preseason, crazy start to the season, and we’re starting to find ourselves.”

Ashlyn Gaulin was the primary focus of the Attleboro defense, with several players taking turns to man-mark the senior forward (who has accounted for six points in a game twice already this season), but she was still able to work scoring opportunities.

Just seven minutes in, Gaulin’s nifty footwork opened up the Attleboro defense but her shot from the right side of the box was right at Bombardiers goalie Tayla Drape. Seven minutes later, Gaulin flicked a pass through the defense to Pasquel, who then gave it right back but the shot went over the bar.

North found its breakthrough in the 23rd minute. Again it was Gaulin who opened up the Attleboro back line, showing off her skill to get space on the left side and then deftly chipping a cross to the back post. Pasquel beat her defender to the ball and bundled it over the line for a 1-0 advantage.

While Attleboro was not getting as many shots on goal, the Bombardiers were giving North’s defense something to worry about on the break with the speed of Harnois and fellow sophomore Isabella Salviati keeping the Rocketeers on their toes. Senior defenders Sam Hawkins and Bishop Feehan transfer Olivia Bishop both had to cut out chances.

After Julia Reyes had a shot from the right wing that went into the side netting, Attleboro got its first shot on target in the 35th minute. A Harnois free kick from 25 yards was saved under the bar by a leaping Emma Noreck.

Just a minute later, Emma Gaulin sent in an angled free kick from nearly midfield that found the head of Haley Ferrin, but the header was right at Drape. North had one more chance before halftime, as Emma Gaulin played the ball through to Lydia Santos, who picked out Ashlyn Gaulin, who then fed Pasquel, but again the final shot was too high and off target.

The Rocketeers continued to get shots off early in the second half. Pasquel teed up Alex Moulson racing in from the left side but she could not keep the shot down under pressure from Ashley Lauzier and Gaulin and Pasquel combined again for a chance only to have the shot smack off the football goalposts.

“I rotated a few defenders on Ashlyn to keep her man-marked,” Santos explained, “and in the second half we had to push a few more up and create more chances, put pressure on their backs. They had some chances early that I’m sure they wish they had back.”

As long as the game stayed 1-0, Attleboro felt like it had a shot. In the 55th minute, Jessica Gates got free on the right and her cross went all the way across the box to Reyes, who had her shot blocked. The rebound bounced to Salviati but again the shot found the leg of a North defender. Three minutes later, Gates had a long free kick that Noreck was able to catch.

In the 65th minute, the Bombardiers found an equalizer. Salviati ran onto a bouncing ball down the right side and played a clever, one-touch pass in behind the North defense that Harnois was able to run onto. With Noreck racing off her line to cut down the angle, Harnois made no mistake with a rasping finish into the far corner.

“It was a good finish,” Santos said. “I thought she had one more chance when she came down here and she just mis-struck it. When you show up at North Attleboro, you know it’s going to be a battle.”

After the goal, Attleboro had momentum and nearly took the lead but Reyes’ cross was just in front of Salviati on the edge of the six-yard-box. North had one last chance in the final six minutes, but Gaulin saw her line drive free kick held by Drape.

“We’re beginning to be a little more offensive,” said Santos. “We have some girls who are feisty and they’re willing to be scrappy. The girls are starting to believe in themselves and that’s what you need to compete in the Hock.”

Wallace added, “This was a good motivational game for them because the intensity was there. We hadn’t faced this kind of intensity yet this year. At this point in the season, we’ll take the point and move on, but hopefully we’ll finish those chances.”

Attleboro (1-2-1) will try to build on the draw when it hosts defending league champ King Philip on Monday. North Attleboro (2-0-2), which moved into a one-point lead in the Davenport, will host Taunton on Saturday morning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

McMahon Goal Gives Hornets Win in Battle at Franklin

Mansfield Girls Soccer
Mansfield senior defender Mikaela Maughn (9) battles with Franklin forward Sydney St. Marie during Monday’s divisional battle at Pisini Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a game where chances are at a premium, with physical battles being waged all over the pitch, and with defenses largely coming out on top, finishing is the difference between taking home the points or leaving with none.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield had one great chance in the box and put it away. Franklin had two chances in the box and both went narrowly off target. So, on Monday night at Pisini Field, the Hornets walked away with a hard-fought 1-0 win and stayed unbeaten, while, for the second time in a week, the Panthers lost a close game with one of the two defending Kelley-Rex division champions.

“It’s such a tough opponent, such a tough place, a great coaching staff, so it’s a good win,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith.

The first scoring chance of the game fell to the Panthers. Junior Carly Alston sprung senior Hailey Toolin down the right wing and she crossed the ball into the six-yard-box. Junior Anna Balkus had made a late run from midfield and got free right in the center but she tried to redirect the ball with her right foot and could only touch it wide.

Mansfield took a while to get going in the game. Franklin’s pressing in the midfield was causing problems for the first 15 minutes, but eventually the Hornets started to string passes together and create looks on goal.

“They pinched their four midfielders together, so it was 4-on-3,” said Smith. “They went forward and brought more people up and then it was man-up or man-even and we were able to take advantage of that or finally go wide and then find a passing angle. Sometimes it takes a while to see what they’re doing and readjust.”

Melissa Reef had the first shot from distance but it was easily saved by Franklin goalie Breanna Atwood. Bryn Anderson nearly opened the scoring with a free kick from 18 yards out, just to the right of the box. Her shot to the near post was only a foot over the bar.

Franklin continued to worry the Mansfield defense with cutting passes in behind. Calen Frongillo was able to slide a pass through the right channel to again get Toolin, who just beat the offside trap, into space but she could only play a ball through the box that was in between a shot and a cross and that Balkus could not get on the end of.

Alston also freed up freshman Stella Regan to make a run at goal, but Mansfield defender Emily Vigeant showed off her pace (and long reach) to get a toe to the ball just before a shot could be taken. Franklin’s young forwards were giving the Hornets back line a fight, but Vigeant and fellow senior Mikaela Maughn were solid throughout.

“She’s so good. She’s been such an unsung player for us for years,” said Smith about Maughn. About Vigeant, he added, “She’s got great soccer IQ. If she has a lack of speed compared to what she’s up against, she reads it quicker than the other person and it makes her look even faster than she is.”

In the 24th minute, Mansfield struck. A giveaway at the back gifted possession to Steph Kemp in the attacking third and she quickly played the ball out to the left toCassidy McMahon. The duo played a quick give-and-go to isolate the last defender and get McMahon free on goal and the senior picked the bottom corner with a cool finish.

Mansfield had two chances to double the lead in the opening five minutes of the second half. Anderson sprayed a pass out to McMahon on the left wing and she squared the ball into Kemp inside the six, but the senior forward could not get the right contact and it was an easy save for Atwood. Anderson again played provider shortly after to set up Sydney Mulkern, but her chipped shot went over the bar.

Just two minutes later, Franklin had another golden opportunity to get on the board. Sophomore Sydney St. Marie got space to attack down the left wing and she played a perfect low cross into the middle to pick out Balkus, but her side-foot effort was again just inches wide of the bottom corner.

“It was the same thing against KP,” Franklin coach Tom Geysen explained. “I thought our kids handled the pressure pretty well, moved the ball pretty decent, made good choices up front, but when you have it wide open and can’t put it in the back of the net…”

Kemp nearly added a second for Mansfield in the 53rd minute only to be denied by Atwood. After making a tackle on the edge of the box, the forward found room to unleash a shot that looked destined for the top corner, but the keeper was able to get fingertips to it and tip it around the bar at full stretch.

Franklin continued to push until the final whistle, with the physicality from both teams ratcheting up as the seconds ticked down. In the end, Mansfield keeper Caty DeMassi made a couple of routine saves, but was well-protected by the defense in front of her and the Hornets headed home with the two points.

While disappointed to not come away with a result, Geysen was still pleased with the effort of the Panthers against one of the league title favorites.

He said, “I don’t think they (Mansfield) were expecting what they got from us after last year. When we played them the second time last year, we had nobody, but we’ve got kids that if we can just take one more step then we’ll score the goals to be competitive with everybody.”

Mansfield (4-0-1) will next travel to Milford on Friday afternoon, while Franklin (2-2-0) will travel to Stoughton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Hockomock Girls Soccer: Players to Watch in 2018

2018 Girls Soccer Players to Watch
Defending Hockomock MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Avery Snead will be one of the players to watch again this fall in a typically competitive league campaign. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Anna Balkus, Junior – Franklin

Franklin had a rough 2017, dealing with a number of injuries over the course of the season, but the Panthers got a lot of experience for younger players and several players showed that they are capable of stepping up to the challenge of playing in the Hock. One of those was Balkus, who emerged as a threat up top, while also being able to drop back into midfield and act as a playmaker. Her versatility gives the Panthers options and flexibility in terms of formations and being able to match up with opponents. Balkus has speed to run at defenders, vision to pick out the right passes, and isn’t afraid to get stuck into a challenge and defend from the front. The Panthers will be counting on Balkus to create scoring chances and help them make a move back up the league standings.

Juliana France, Junior – Milford

Milford is one of several teams that comes into a new season hoping that a young roster will improve after gaining experience last year and new coach Lou Colabello will be counting on France to provide leadership and drive the Hawks forward from her midfield position. France is an energetic player who covers a lot of ground in the center of the pitch and provides a physical presence because she can get stuck into challenges to break up opposing attacks. A league all-star last season, France is also capable of picking out a pass to get Milford into the attack and sparking the Hawks in transition. She can also provide a threat from set pieces. The Hawks will have a new system this season and France will be a key piece of the midfield setup.

Ashlyn Gaulin, Senior – North Attleboro

If North Attleboro is going to three-peat as Davenport division champion and make a run in the state tournament, the Rocketeers are going to need another stellar season from Gaulin. The senior forward is coming off team-highs in goals (18), assists (11), and points (29) and was third-best in the league in scoring last fall. A speedy and skillful player, Gaulin is a terror for defenses running from her wide forward position and can also slot into the center forward position and create for her teammates. With the graduation of 100-point scorer Haley Guertin, North is going to look to Gaulin for even more creativity this season and she will have to be ready for increased attention from opposing defenses.

Chloe Layne, Junior – King Philip

Layne leads the line for the league’s most dynamic offense and she exploded last spring with 28 goals and 13 assists, which were both second only to classmate Avery Snead on the team and in the Hock. With Layne firing in goals and finding openings for teammates, the Warriors ended a 15-year wait by winning the Kelley-Rex division title and claimed the Div. 1 South crown as well. The University of Hartford-commit, who is the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is one of the most talented players in the league with the ball at her feet and she can make even the best defenders look silly, as she gets into the box or creates a killer pass for a teammate. The developing partnership between Layne and Snead has KP ready for another big season.

Melissa Reef, Senior – Mansfield

One of the league’s top box-to-box midfielders, Reef has been one of the catalysts for Mansfield winning back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles and this year the Hornets will be relying on the University of Massachusetts-commit to add tournament success to their strong regular season showings. Reef sits in front of the Mansfield defense and covers a lot of ground breaking up opposition attacks or marking the opposition’s top midfield creator. She can also push into the attack and her ability to pick out the right pass sparks the Hornets’ impressive transitions. Mansfield coach Kevin Smith called Reef the team’s “engine” and she will be expected to again get the Hornets in gear as they make a run at a three-peat.

Olivia Rodman, Sophomore – Canton

Rodman made her debut for the Bulldogs last fall and had an instant impact on the Davenport division runners-up, showcasing her speed and skill on the left wing to put opposing defenders on their heels. Rodman led the team with 14 goals and seven assists and her partnership with fellow rookie Elisa Diletizia helped Canton put together the league’s fifth best attacking unit in 2017. With a season of varsity experience under her belt, Rodman should be even more comfortable with the league’s physical play and opponents will be wary of giving her any room to maneuver, especially in transition where Canton is particularly dangerous. The Bulldogs have come close to a league title in recent seasons and with Rodman leading the line, the potential is there for a big fall.

Isabella Salvati, Sophomore – Attleboro

Going into last season. Attleboro coach Steve Santos put an emphasis on creating more scoring opportunities as a team and the Bombardiers responded with 18 goals for the year. Salviati was one of the reasons that Attleboro became more proactive in front of goal, as she turned in a solid rookie campaign as an attacker and midfield playmaker. Salviati added a burst of pace and creativity for the Bombardiers and it opened up more scoring chances for the team and with a year under her belt the hope is that she can continue to develop into a consistent attacking weapon as Attleboro continues its push to try and get back into tournament contention. Along with her older sister Sophia (a junior midfielder), Salviati is part of a young group that has raised expectations for the Bombardiers.

Avery Snead, Junior – King Philip

The King Philip standout, who can play up top as a striker or be dropped back into the center of the midfield, doubled her goal-scoring las spring, finding the back of the net 31 times to lead the league. Snead also led the Hock with 17 assists and 48 points, while helping the Warriors a share of their first league title since 2002 and the Div. 1 South title. The partnership between Snead, a Providence College-commit, and classmate Chloe Layne is the league’s most dynamic combination and one of the best in the state. With the ability to pick out a defense-splitting pass, the size and touch to finish in the box, and the power and accuracy to score from distance, the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and league MVP is poised for an even bigger 2018, as KP goes in search of a state title.

Alex Stamatos, Senior – Foxboro

Foxboro has a young roster again this year, but Stamatos gives the Warriors much needed consistency and experience in the heart of the defense. An intelligent defender who reads the play well and has the athleticism to stay with the league’s top attackers, Stamatos is a leader for a team that has much higher expectations for this fall under second-year head coach Katie Stalcup. Even with a number of new faces, Foxboro allowed only 34 goals last year, which was tied for fifth best in the Hock and Stamatos was a main reason for that. Her ability to organize the back line keeps Foxboro solid and she can also turn defense into attack with accurate outlet passes to spring the speedy Warriors forwards into counterattacks.

Emily Vigeant, Senior – Mansfield

Mansfield owned the league’s top defense last fall, allowing only 14 goals all season, and Vigeant was at the heart of the effort to stop opposing attacks. A tall, quick central defender, Vigeant is the vocal leader at the back and can match up with the league’s top forwards. She matches her speed with quick thinking to read the play and anticipate where a pass is heading and can also lean in and win physical battles when necessary. Vigeant also chips in on the other end of the field, scoring 10 goals and providing two assists as one of the league’s top set piece specialists. With Vigeant at the back, the Hornets will try to clamp down a third straight division title.

Girls Soccer: 2018 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2018 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
King Philip and Mansfield shared the league title last season and look like being favorites to make another run at the crown this fall. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-13-1
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Steve Santos

Attleboro improved last season, scoring 18 goals and showing signs of an improved passing game, which head coach Steve Santos has been trying to build over the past few years. An exciting group of younger players added speed to the Bombardiers and the team’s increased depth allowed them to be competitive against even the league’s best teams.

That group has continued to develop and sophomore forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois will be counted on to provide a consistent threat to the opposition defense. The midfield should be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with a group of versatile players that will set the foundation for the Attleboro passing game. Senior Sam Fasoldt will be joined by juniors Julia Reyes and Ashley Dame, who returns after missing 2017 with a knee injury, and sophomore Jessica Gates. Junior Sophia Salviati will help out in midfield and defense, where Attleboro returns just one starter from last year. Seniors Felicia Laguerre and Ashley Lauzier will be at the heart of the defense in front of goalies Taylor Drake (senior) or Ashley Macia (junior).

“The team looks good and is playing some good passing soccer,” said Santos about the Bombardiers in the preseason. “As a team, our speed is where we need it to be to keep teams on their heels and not let them dictate play.”

Franklin

2017 Record: 10-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Tom Geysen

Franklin battled injuries throughout the 2017 season and those injuries tested the Panthers depth, but heading into a new season head coach Tom Geysen is confident that this year’s squad can withstand the rigors of Hockomock play. The Panthers will be tested early, with King Philip, Mansfield, and Canton in the opening four games.

Versatility will be a key for the Panthers this season with players capable of slotting into different positions. One of those players is junior Anna Balkus, who can play up top or drop back into the midfield depending on the formation. Sophomore Sydney St. Marie will also play up top and Geysen said that she has shown real progress from last year. Junior Carly Alston will be in the heart of the midfield, while senior Halle Atkinson will give Franklin an outlet on one wing and sophomore Erin Qualie, fresh off an impressive rookie campaign, will be on the other. Defensively, Franklin will count on third-year center back Grace Gallo, fellow senior Maddie Stewart, and junior Sabrina Addi, who moved from the midfield to defense last fall. Athletic junior Breanna Atwood will jump into goal and continue Franklin’s run of strong goalkeepers.

“We have a good nucleus of kids coming back and kids moving around to new positions,” said Geysen. “There are a lot of freshmen with potential to develop into strong players. Everyone had a good attitude and has been working hard.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 20-2-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 state semifinal.
Coach: Gary Pichel

King Philip put together a dominant season in 2017, winning a league title for the first time since 2002 and then winning the Div. 1 South title as well. The Warriors scored 18 more goals than any other team in the Hockomock last year and also allowed fewer goals than all but two teams. With a loaded roster back this fall, KP has its sights set on even more in 2018.

Expectations are sky high for the Warriors this season because of the return of junior forwards Chloe Layne and Avery Snead, the reigning league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year. Layne and Snead were the top two scorers in the Hock last season and they continue to develop and improve. KP wasn’t a two-player team and they will also count on senior Abby Baker in the midfield along with wingers Makayla Griffin and Ally Stanton to provide outlets when defenses crowd the forwards and close down the middle of the park. Junior Olivia Berry will be in the heart of the defense and look to provide the leadership and physical play of graduated defender Emma Corcoran. Junior Faye Veilleux also stepped in at the end of last season and showed her growth as a defensive presence in midfield.

KP coach Gary Pichel said, “The team’s strength’s lie in the ability of our offense to create a great deal of scoring opportunities. There is a relentless desire to push hard up top and keep it there through pressure on ball at all times. We are fortunate to have players that have the ability to do so on a consistent basis.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 13-2-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Kevin Smith

While King Philip earned a lot of attention for their run to the state semifinal, Mansfield was equally as strong in the league last year. The Hornets matched the Warriors step for step and earned a share of their second straight Kelley-Rex division title. With a number of players back again this year, Mansfield looks ready to battle for a three-peat and make a deep tournament run.

The Hornets feature 13 seniors on this year’s roster, so experience won’t be an issue. Melissa Reef and Bryn Anderson headline the midfield group, with Reef providing cover for the back line and Anderson acting as the fulcrum that gets the offense in motion. The defense will be spearheaded by Emily Vigeant, who has been on the top defenders in the league for the past couple of seasons. She is joined by versatile and physical defenders like Mikaela Maughn, Kerina Geminiani, and Erin Daniel. Goalkeeper Lauren Whitman will be back between the sticks this season.

There will be plenty of depth in the Mansfield attack this fall with Stephanie Kemp, Sydney Mulkern, Amanda Mangano, Cassidy McMahon, and freshman Maria Sevastos all expected to contribute. “We will be hoping to spread out the offense amongst multiple attackers,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith.

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 11-8-0
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Britt Sellmayer

Oliver Ames had a number of new faces last year, but the Tigers were still able to earn a postseason appearance and were the only team in the league to beat King Philip during the regular season. With another year of experience, OA should be ready for another postseason run.

Defense should be a strength for the Tigers this season with plenty of varsity experience on the back line, including seniors Gabriele McLaughlin, Maeve Hogan, and Brianna Gibson. The defensive unit will help sophomores Emma O’Donnell and Emily Meyers get comfortable in goal, as they try to replace EMass all-star Regan Benton. Junior Abby Hodges will be a key component in the OA midfield this season. Junior Erin Holmberg and senior Maggie Ault will be up front for the Tigers, who will hope to improve on the 31 goals they scored last year.

OA coach Britt Sellmayer said, “We have a good mix of experienced players and younger players that have potential to develop into a good team. The key will be replacing one of the best keepers in EMass in Regan Benton. We are counting on the seniors in the back line staying healthy and providing leadership.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 5-13-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs.
Coach: Edith Dixon

It has been a few seasons since Taunton made history with a trip to the postseason and a road playoff win at Wellesley, but the program is continuing to build and head coach Edith Dixon expects the Tigers to be an “interesting” team in 2018 with a mix of youth and experience.

Taunton will clearly miss leading scorer Sam Tichelaar and defensive stalwart Kayla Felix, who both graduated after last season, but there is a lot of talent for the Tigers to build around. Grace Pimenta will be back between the pipes and her aggressiveness off her line will help the Taunton defense. Maggie Sullivan will be counted on to be the field general in midfield and Dixon praised her “never-ending motor.” Up front, speed will be a strength for the Tigers, who are hoping to use it to create numerous chances in transition and being aggressive attacking the opposition goal.

Dixon said, “ The best part about this team is their amazing attitude as a group. Everyone has bought into the team concepts and wants to contribute everything they have towards the team goals. This is the first season I’ve had at Taunton where there are no superstars, just 11 players all working together with great synergy.”

Girls Soccer: 2018 Davenport Division Preview

2018 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview
Canton and Milford will be among the teams looking to dethrone North Attleboro at the top of the Davenport division this fall. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview

Canton

2017 Record: 10-6-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round.
Coach: Kate Howarth

Canton has been on the cusp of getting back to the top of the Davenport division in recent seasons and on their day the Bulldogs can be very difficult to play against. As one of the favorites for the league title this fall, consistency will be the biggest challenge for Canton as it tries to unseat North Attleboro at the top of the Davenport standings.

To get the attack in gear, Canton will be turning again to its youth. The Bulldogs will look to sophomores Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia to run at opposing defenses and continue developing a partnership that was one of the most potent in the league last fall. Senior defender Sarah Collins will be the leader of the Canton defense, which will look to improve on the 34 goals allowed from last season. Junior Morgan McCabe will be stepping into a larger role this season, with her versatility as a forward or midfielder, and senior Julia Hamilton adds tenacity in the center of the pitch.

“I think this is going to be an exciting year for us, with strong players returning and some exciting new talent stepping in,” said Canton coach Kate Howarth. “Our goal as a group is to push passed being a really good team and become the great team we know we can be. The Hock is such a strong league and every team pushes each other to become better.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 10-9-0
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round.
Coach: Katie Stalcup

Last year was a transition season for Foxboro under first-year head coach Katie Stalcup, as a group of talented young players made their debuts at the varsity level. The Warriors improved over the course of the season, made the playoffs, and now with a year of experience for a young squad there is a lot of buzz about Foxboro this fall.

The graduation of Lily Sykes, who was one of the league’s top players for all four years of her career, leaves big shoes to fill, but Foxboro has a number of players with potential to make up some of her production. Senior Mackenzi Fraser will be the main striker for Foxboro this year but sophomore Jordyn Collins will add speed on the wing and freshman Kaitryn Franchino will contribute up top as well. Junior Kendra Wentling returns in the midfield and freshman Kailee McCabe is a player to watch in the center of the pitch. Defensively, Foxboro has a lot of experience in senior Alex Stamatos, who will be joined in the back line by junior Yara Fawaz. Sophomore Morgan Sylvestre will be in net again this fall.

Stalcup praised the team’s tenacity and speed. She added, “I am very excited about this season. Even though we are still a young team, I think we will do very well. We have a team full of hard workers and great attitudes.”

Milford

2017 Record: 6-10-2
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Lou Colabello

For the past several seasons, Milford has been on the verge of getting back to the playoffs and now new coach Lou Colabello, who formerly coached at Douglas, will look to push the Hawks up the league standings with a number of experienced players in key positions.

The midfield will be patrolled by seniors Siena Pierce and Cassie Probert and junior playmaker Juliana France, who was named a league all-star as a sophomore and demonstrated the ability to cover a lot of ground in the middle of the pitch. The Hawks scored only 24 goals last season, so the attacking unit will be hoping to step it up this year, including senior Hannah Martin and junior Ashleigh Starks. The defense also has plenty of experience with junior Olivia Marshall back in goal and her classmates Maddie Boyle and Annie Flanagan in front of her to keep things organized at the back.

Colabello said, “We should have a solid midfield and many other players who can play different positions,and we expect big things from our returning goalkeeper. I feel this team is capable of competing with some of the elite teams in the league. There work ethics and attitude have been outstanding,thus I expect it will be a rewarding season and hopefully a playoff berth.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 14-3-3
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal.
Coach: Bill Wallace

North Attleboro will need a number of players to step into bigger roles this season, if the Rocketeers are going to make it three league titles in a row. North graduated 14 seniors and eight starters from last year’s team, but there are a number of familiar names and big contributors who are back and aiming for a three-peat.

The Rocketeers scored 60 goals last year and senior Ashlyn Gaulin contributed on 27 of those (17 goals and 10 assists). She will be the focal point of the attack this season, after the graduation of 100-point scorer Haley Guertin, and her sister Emma will try to provide the assists from the midfield. Seniors Kayla Pasquel and Haley Ferris will add to the experience in the center of the pitch for North and classmates Morgan Silver, Liz Smahi, Lexi Sinacola, and Lauren Pezzi will add depth in the midfield and defense. Seniors Sam Hawkins and Brieann Westcott will be at heart of the defensive unit with classmate Emma Noreck in goal.

North coach Bill Wallace said that sophomores Lydia Santos and Tess Collins will be contributors this season in midfield and attack. He added, “This group is a pleasure to work with, they want to work hard and get better.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 3-13-2
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Catherine Sullivan

Sharon alum Catherine Sullivan takes over the program this season, as the Eagles look to rebuild and work towards a return to the state tournament. With the graduation of Ali Filipkowski, Sharon lost a lot of firepower but Sullivan is excited about the potential and the growth of the team during the preseason.

One of the key returning players is senior goalie Lydia Chase, who is a fearless shot stopper and her distribution will be important for the Eagles’ transition game. In front of Chase, senior Rose Wald is back in the heart of the defense and will partner with sophomore Molly McAlevey, who is a newcomer to the varsity but already showing a lot of composure on the ball. The midfield engine is senior Maxine Gordon, who will drive the Eagles forward, and junior Bella Berger will add playmaking and vision in the center of the pitch. Senior Bridget McManus will be the main forward and she will be expected to not only provide goals but also set up her teammates and get others involved in the attack.

“As a Sharon graduate, I’m really excited about the opportunity to once again represent the maroon and gold,” said Sullivan. “I think this team has a lot of talent and athleticism, and we will be striving to create a cohesive group that can consistently compete at a higher level.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 0-15-3
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Tara Daniels

Although Stoughton was unable to pick up an elusive league win last season, Black Knights coach Tara Daniels felt that there was progress from the team, particularly in attack. A group of speedy, young attackers made Stoughton a more dangerous team and that experience has Daniels hopeful for even more in 2018.

Speed on the edges is going to be a key strength for the Black Knights this season led by senior outside back Cintia Khouzami and sophomore Nikki Anderson, who has gained a lot of confidence after playing a lot of minutes as a freshman. In the heart of the defense, senior Corina Kavanagh will be the leader of the group, ensuring everyone is organized. Sophomore Mackenzie Manning is another player who grew a lot over the course of her rookie season and will again be the primary playmaker for the Black Knights and a key to keeping possession. Senior Gabriela Diaz played a lot at the back last season, but this year her speed will be utilized up front to create even more opportunities.

Daniels said, “Our strength this year is our speed; our team has many players that excel on the track in the off-season. Last year we made big strides offensively and this year we plan on using the speed of many players to help us continue the offensive push we need.”