Below are the official 20020 Hockomock League Field Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Shae Salisbury, Attleboro
Madison Ellis, Attleboro
Amanda Lewandowski, Franklin
Kaitlyn Carney, Franklin
Stephanie Bell, Franklin
Makenzie Manning, King Philip
Abby Nixon, King Philip
Grace Crocker, King Philip
Isabelle Crocker, King Philip
Lindsay Devine, Mansfield
Bella Deberghes, Mansfield
Ashley Amaro, Taunton
Alana Tavares, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Maria Femia, Canton
Davenport Division All Stars
Maria Femia, Canton
Riley O’Connor, Canton
Allie Gefteas, Canton
Meghan LaBelle, Canton
Ella Waryas, Foxboro
Dylan Rappoli, Foxboro
Shannon Egan, Foxboro
Julia Puccio, North Attleboro
Emily Han, Oliver Ames
Maggie Woods, Oliver Ames
Georgia Costello, Oliver Ames
Haley Nelson, Stoughton
Zofia Bangs, Stoughton
Amanda Burns, Attleboro
Lizzie Tassinari, Canton
Molly McElhinney, Foxboro
Sara Carney, Franklin
Alli Beltramini, King Philip
Abby Varricchione, Mansfield
Olyvia Whyte, Milford
Lauren Abusheery, North Attleboro
Peyton Phillips, Oliver Ames
Yesha Sharma, Sharon
Lena Allie, Stoughton
Emily Gannon, Taunton
FRANKLIN, Mass. – With its second straight Kelley-Rex division title already in-hand, the Franklin field hockey team had their sights set on proving they were the best team in the league through the Hockomock Cup.
But just before the final week of the regular season, the Panthers’ season came to an abrupt halt when the high school went completely remote, forcing a two-week hiatus for athletics.
Not only did that mean Franklin’s final two games were canceled, it looked like the Panthers wouldn’t be able to compete in the league’s postseason tournament.
But the Franklin school committee and administrators from FHS came together, organized COVID testing for varsity athletes, and — after all the tests came back negative — athletics was back on.
The Panthers took advantage of their so-called second chance, capping their postseason run with a 1-0 win over King Philip in the Hockomock Cup final on their home turf field at Beaver Street.
“The fact that we got our season back was huge,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “It would have been super disappointing because this is probably one of the best teams I’ve had in years. It would have crushed me and the rest of the team if we weren’t able to continue so we are very grateful we were able to play tonight.
“I’ve actually coached a lot of this group since they were in the rec program. So to celebrate this and have them play the way they did tonight just makes me super proud as a coach.”
Franklin field hockey King Philip field hockey
The only separation between the top two teams in the Kelley-Rex division came off the stick of Franklin senior Amanda Lewandowski, finishing off a pass from classmate Sara Carney with just seconds left in the third quarter.
And when the Warriors threatened to equalize, Franklin senior goalie Neilee Hess came charging off her line to deny a partial breakaway chance from KP’s Grace Crocker midway through the fourth quarter to help secure the one-goal win.
“We made one mistake on defense,” said King Philip head coach Lisa Cropper. “We were trying to force everything to our right, their left, which is our strong side. The one time we didn’t, they got it in and deflected it in. But we had our chances, we had that breakaway in the fourth and couldn’t quite slip it past her, Neilee came up big on that one. We marked [Lewandowski] and we marked [Kaitlyn Carney] and we were trying to force to our strong side to keep them away from their strong side. Any time anyone was winding up for a shot, we had to have a stick on it and we did. But we just had one mistake, we didn’t quite force them [the way we wanted].
“I was hoping we could get to overtime. I felt like we had the advantage going into overtime or a shootout but we didn’t get that far so congratulations to [Franklin].”
After it a scoreless first half, it looked like the teams would head to the final 15 minutes without a goal but the Panthers finally broke through with 20.9 seconds to go. After a restart from the 25-yard line, Carney tossed a pass into the mix in front of goal and Lewandowski finished for a 1-0 lead.
Franklin field hockey King Philip field hockey
The Panthers had a good chance to double the lead in the 51st minute as sophomore Kaitlyn Carney intercepted a pass with the Warriors pushing numbers forward. Carney sprinted into the attacking half but KP’s last defender Ally Beltramini was able to break up the play, and then came in and cleared the ball before Lewandowski could latch onto it.
That defensive stop led the KP’s best chance to level the match as Isabelle Crocker raced onto a loose ball before firing a pass ahead for her sister Grace, who used her speed to get by the defense. With pressure from Franklin defender Molly Collins, Crocker unleashed a shot as Hess came charging out to close down the angle. Hess made the stop with the pad and Isabelle Crocker’s rebound attempt was just wide of the post.
“I think that just showcased her skills and how hard she’s worked as a goalie,” Michelle Hess said of her daughter Neilee. “She’s very lucky this season to have the players in front of her that she did. So she didn’t face as many shots as some of the other goalies in the league but when it was crunch time, when it was critical, Neilee stepped up and got the job done.”
Both teams opened the contest with a chance to score right away. First it was Kaitlyn Carney, weaving her way through the KP defense but her shot was denied by KP keeper Makenzie Manning (13 saves). On the other end, Abby Nixon knocked down an aerial clearance attempt but her shot from in close was turned aside.
Both defenses stole the spotlight throughout the first half, limiting the opposing offenses to few genuine scoring chances, allowing their keeper to see any shots from distance.
“If you can stop their transition…their forwards are so fast,” Hess said of the defensive gameplan. “But my fullbacks kind of matched them speed-wise so we kind of knew we were pretty safe there with them trying to get through the midfield and pushing forward.
“Their defense was very good. We talked at halftime about how we were trying to do a lot of things individually, we were trying to penetrate the defense individually. That’s not our strength, we’re much better when we play together as a team so we had to go to our passing game. We were getting into the circle and they had three girls on them right away. We tried getting it down low…and one of our strengths is using Sara Carney at the top. So we tried to get it down low to shift the defense and then get it back out to Sara, and sure enough, that’s how we scored the goal.”
Just seconds before the halftime whistle, Manning stood tall on a rocket of a shot from Kaitlyn Carney to keep things scoreless. Five minutes into the second half, Sara Carney had a big shot kicked away as well. Alongside Beltramini, Morgan Cunningham, Lily Brown, and Kelly Holmes anchored the KP defense.
It was just the third time this season that Franklin was limited to two or fewer goals; the first two times also came against KP back in week two of the regular season.
“I’m extremely proud of how they progressed and how well they played in this big game,” Cropper said. “There was a lot of adversity that everyone had to deal with and the kids did a phenomenal job. And I’m so appreciative of the ADs for their efforts to put this all together.”
Franklin field hockey finishes the season at 11-0-2 while King Philip finishes at 8-3-3.
The hosts, the second-seed from the Kelley-Rex division, went on to score once in each the third and fourth quarters to earn a 3-2 decision over the Davenport division’s third-seed Foxboro.
King Philip field hockey Foxboro field hockey
“We tried to make that a lesson in adversity and wanted to bounce back from it, and they did so very nicely,” said King Philip head coach Lisa Cropper. “We had a goal taken away, that should fire them up and they should want to go out and get another one, and they did. I’m really happy with how they responded.”
King Philip had a handful of chances throughout the first as a result of strong passing sequences. Just over five minutes into the second half, Lauren Barierro started an attack with a pass to Sydney O’Shea — a duo that would link up again later for the game-winner — who quickly passed the ball along to Paige Berdos but Foxboro goalie Hannah Trombly was quick off her line to divert the breakaway bid.
Just minutes later, KP seniors Grace Crocker and Abby Nixon linked up on a perfect give-and-go with the former firing a shot from in close that was denied point-blank by Trombly to keep the game level late in the third.
But the host Warriors were persistent, and Crocker and Nixon combined again just minutes later but this time Crocker stayed with the loose ball in front after Trombly’s first save and buried the rebound to make it 2-1.
“We totally knew this would be a close game, back-and-forth, 100-percent,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “Their speed definitely made a difference. Our mids played a little high and I think they were a little gassed and they were able to get by. I have a good defender which is great, but you can only give them so many chances. But also had how many opportunities to make something happen in the circle? You have to take advantage of those opportunities.”
King Philip field hockey Foxboro field hockey
Foxboro’s best chance to equalize came in the final minute of the third off the stick of senior Ella Waryas but her bid slid just wide of the post.
King Philip struck again just before the midway point of the fourth, what looked to be a key insurance goal turned into the game-winner for the hosts. This time O’Shea raced up field and rifled a low pass across the face of goal and found Barierro alone for a one-time hit into the back of the net.
“I think we wore them down a bit,” Cropper said. “My top line is really coming together with Grace, Abby, and Izzy. They are getting to be like sonar…they know where each other are going to be. Their goalie played pretty well, she came out nicely and did a good job. I was a little concerned our kids would get worn out playing that style but we’ve been running hard for over a week to get ready for this because I knew it was going to be a track meet.”
Foxboro didn’t go down without a fight, cutting the deficit back down to one less than two minutes after Barierro’s goal. Freshman Mary Collins, who had the opening goal in the first quarter, centered and sophomore Dylan Rappoli deflected the chance into the back of the net to make it 3-2.
“We were playing very good defense,” Cropper said. “We were marking where we were supposed to be, pressing where we were supposed to be. The two times they scored, we kind of mishandled the ball and got into the circle and created a crazy shot, a crazy bounce…it’s one of those things that you see in a tournament game. So you have to make good on your chances so that those types of things don’t kill you.”
Collins gave Foxboro the lead with a goal in the ninth minute. A restart from Molly McElhinney found Waryas, who used her speed to race past a pair of defenders and lifted a shot towards goal where Collins was able to redirect the shot with her stick over the goal line.
King Philip answered just two minutes into the second quarter to level the game. A great effort from Nixon tracking back led to an interception, and she quickly passed it wide to Isabelle Crocker, who raced down the right side before firing a cross into the circle. The ball came back out to Crocker, who had her first shot denied but then tucked the rebound in to make it 1-1.
King Philip advances to the semifinal round of the Hockomock Cup and will take on Davenport division champion Oliver Ames, who took down Mansfield in the opening round. KP and OA will clash later this week on a date and time to be announced.
King Philip, 4 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – King Philip senior captain Abby Nixon scored once and had two assists to lead all scorers in a 4-2 non-league win over Attleboro. Senior Paige Berdos added a goal (game-winner) and an assist while senior Isabelle Crocker notched two assists. Junior Sydney O’Shea scored her first varsity goal on an assist from freshman Kelly Holmes and senior captain Grace Crocker also found the back of the net once. Seniors Makenzie Manning (10 saves) and Maddie Paradis (four saves) combined for the win in net.
Foxboro, 1 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton scored a pair of late goals to secure a win over visiting Foxboro, locking up second place in the Davenport division. Maria Femia scored twice for the Bulldogs while Payton McDonough scored once in the win. Riley O’Connor had a stellar game in goal with 14 saves for Canton.
Sharon @ North Attleboro, 5:30
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Oliver Ames freshman Erin Cottam scored four goals to lead the Tigers to a win at home, clinching sole possession of the Davenport division title. Maggie Woods added two assists in the win, setting up Sofia Anestam and Georgia Costello for goals for the Tigers, who won their first division title since 2015. Ava Costello and Julia Maclaine had strong games in the midfield for OA.
Attleboro, 1 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip seniors came through in the clutch on Senior Day, leading the Warriors to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Bombardiers of Attleboro. Senior Abby Nixon put the hosts ahead midway through the second quarter but Attleboro answered just before the halftime whistle to knot the score at 1-1. In the second half, senior Grace Crocker netted the game-winning goal on an assist from classmate Paige Berdos, putting KP ahead 2-1 midway through the third. Isabelle Crocker (from Grace Crocker) tacked on an insurance goal in the final minutes. Senior Makenzie Manning made 10 saves in net including three point-blank stops in the fourth to deny the Bombardiers from equalizing. Senior defenders Cat Spellman and Alli Beltramini also had strong games for KP.
Canton @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Saturday, 10/31 at 11:30.
Foxboro @ North Attleboro, 3:45
Franklin @ Mansfield – Postponed to Monday, 11/9 at 3:45.
King Philip, 0 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – King Philip goalie Makenzie Manning and Attleboro keeper Ava Haggerty both stood tall in net, denying any and all chances as the Warriors and Bombardiers battled to a scoreless draw. Both Manning and Haggerty finished with 13 saves apiece in the tie. KP senior Alli Beltramini hand a standout game defensively while the Warriors also had strong showings from Morgan Cunningham, Lauren Barreiro, Kayla O’Brien, and Kelly Holmes. Abby Nixon, Grace Crocker, and Isabelle Crocker created several scoring chances for the Warriors but couldn’t solve Haggerty.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 7 – Final – Franklin poured in five goals in the first half and never looked back in a win over visiting Mansfield. Both Amanda Lewandowski and Kaitlyn Carney scored a hat trick in the Panthers’ win, each scoring twice in the first half and adding third quarter goals as well. Stephanie Bell (from Sara Carney) scored late in the second quarter to give Franklin a 5-0 advantage at the break. Neilee Hess made seven saves in net for the shutout.
Sharon, 0 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Stoughton earned its first shutout win of the season, blanking Sharon in a victory at home. Zofia Bangs scored a pair of goals to the pace the Black Knights’ offense while Morgan Lessa scored once.
Attleboro, 174 @ King Philip, 153 – Final
Canton, 154 @ Oliver Ames, 157 – Final – Canton went on the road and earned a close win over Oliver Ames at Pine Oaks, securing its fourth straight outright Davenport division title. Will Gefteas and Owen Donovan led the way for the Bulldogs, each shooting a team-low round of 38 while Conor Hunter and Nate MacDonald chipped in with a pair of 39s in the win. OA senior Logan Domenico was the match medalist, shooting a low-round of 37 for the Tigers. Kosta Spiliakos and David Rogers each chipped in with a 39 for OA while Jo Jo Gaultier, Jake Kaplan, and Will Gianni each finish with a 42.
North Attleboro, 173 @ Foxboro, 163 – Final – Junior Jack Watts was the lone golfer to shoot under 40, earning match medalist honors and leading Foxboro to a win at home. Watts carded a match-low round of 39, Dylan Quinn added a 40, and both Jack Rounds and Luke Davies finished with a 42 for Foxboro. Tyler DeMattio paced the Rocketeers with a 40, Aidan Weir shot a 43, Sam Gallagher added a 44, and Dillon Harding came in with a 47 for North Attleboro.
Stoughton, 181 @ Sharon, 176 – Final – Sharon earned a close win at home at the Cape Club of Sharon over visiting Stoughton. Nathan Daley earned match medalist honors with a low-round of 40 to pace the Eagles while Eric Carter added a 44 and Owen Kevorkian chipped in with a 45. Max Huminik led Stoughton with a 43 and Anthony Hern finished with a 44 for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 20 @ King Philip, 37 – Final
Foxboro, 48 @ North Attleboro, 15 – Final
Franklin, 26 @ Mansfield, 30 – Final
Stoughton, 46 @ Sharon, 15 – Final
Attleboro, 26 @ King Philip, 30 – Final
Foxboro, 36 @ North Attleboro, 17 – Final
Franklin, 29 @ Mansfield, 30 – Final
Stoughton, 38 @ Sharon, 19 – Final
King Philip, 4 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Ella Pisani’s hat trick helped the Warriors rally from a one-goal deficit and pull out the road win. Pisani scored once in each of the last three quarters, with Ava Tormey, Charlotte Majer, and Paige Varvarigos recording the assists. She also assisted on Majer’s second quarter goal, as KP came back from a 1-0 deficit at the first break. Dani Atherton scored both goals for the Hawks, putting Milford ahead in the first and adding one in the third quarter that kept it a one-goal game heading to the final 20 minutes, before Pisani’s third of the day sealed the points for the visitors. Catherine Madden and Brooke Ferreira had the assists for Milford and head coach Lou Colabello said that Brianna Franzini played well in the loss.
Mansfield, 2 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final
North Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 7 – Final
Foxboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Freshman Valerie Beigel and sophomore Dylan Rappoli each scored twice as the Warriors went on the road and earned a win over Stoughton. Freshman Mary Collins also scored in the Warriors’ win while Haley Nelson found the back of the net for the Black Knights.
Franklin, 6 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Franklin scored all six goals in the second half, including four in the fourth quarter, to pull away from Taunton. The teams battled through a scoreless first half before the Panthers broke through just over a minute into the third. Amanda Lewandowski opened the scoring with an unassisted strike, adding two more in the fourth quarter for a hat trick. Kaitlyn Carney scored to make it 2-0 in the third quarter and Stephanie Bell tacked on two fourth quarter goals. Natalie Blasie had a standout play defensively, preserving the shutout for Franklin.
King Philip, 8 @ Milford, 2 – Final – King Philip senior Grace Crocker led all scorers with her first hat trick with three different players setting her up for assists in a win over Milford. Isabell Crocker, Emma Naggar, and Charlotte Raymond each recorded an assist to Crocker while Paige Berdos added a pair of goals for KP. Kelly Holmes, Margo Riley, and Abby Nixon each found the back of the net once while senior Maddie Paradis picked up her second straight win in goal.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames scored twice in the first quarter and that held up the rest of the way as the Tigers picked up a win on the road. Haley Gilman (from Maggie Woods) opened the scoring just over five minutes in and freshman Erin Cottam (from Lily Gaskill) doubled the lead with just under three minutes left in the opening quarter. Haley Gilman and Ava Costello had strong performances for OA.
Mansfield, 145 @ Attleboro, 168 – Final – Mansfield earned a win on the road at Stone-E-Lea to stay unbeaten in division action, setting up a two-match showdown against Franklin for next week. Ryan Dow led the way for the Hornets (8-0 in Kelley-Rex), firing a match-medalist round of 35. Nate Morreale and Joe Gormley each chipped in with a pair 36’s while Ryan Doherty carded a 38 in the win.
Oliver Ames, 169 @ Sharon, 175 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Kosta Spiliakos earned match medalist honors, lead the Tigers to a close win on the road over Sharon. Spiliakos shot a match-low round of 39 while classmate Logan Domenico added a 41 in the win. Junior Jake Kaplan added a round of 44 and freshman Sean Kearns added a 45 for OA. Sharon’s Nathan Daley had a team low score of 40, Eric Carter added a 44, James Spoto chipped in with a 45, and Noah Glassman finished with a 46.
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Attleboro scored very early in the game but Mansfield answered with a goal in the fourth quarter as the Bombardiers and Hornets split the points in a 1-1 tie. Madison Ellis gave the visitors in the lead just three minutes into the contest but Mansfield’s Stori Rounds found the back of the net in the fourth quarter to bring the Hornets level.
Canton, 4 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Ellie Bohane scored a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the second half to break open a two-goal game and help Canton remain perfect on the season. Bohane’s first came on a rebound after North goalie Hannah Bachand (14 saves) stopped a Maria Femia breakaway. Bohane added a second when she stole and outlet pass and drove across the face of goal. Femia opened the scoring for Canton with a first quarter goal and Samantha Vrabel doubled the lead with her first varsity goal in the second quarter.
Stoughton, 2 @ Foxboro, 6 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Foxboro scored twice in each the second and fourth quarters to pull away from an upset-minded Stoughton squad. Sophomore Dylan Rappoli scoed a hat trick for the Warriors, including the opening goal of the game. Stoughton equalized to knot the score 1-1 after a quarter of play. But freshman Mary Collins and Rappoli scored back-to-back goals in the second to give Foxboro a 3-1 edge at the halftime break. Kate Collins, Rappoli, and Mya Waryas added second half goals in the win.
Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin celebrated Senior Night with a shutout win over visiting Taunton. Holding a 1-0 lead through two quarters of play, the Panthers scored twice in a one-minute span in the third quarter to pull away from the Tigers. Kaitlyn Carney scored an unassisted goal in the second quarter and then tacked on a big insurance goal in the third quarter. Stephanie Bell (from Sara Carney) scored just over eight minutes into the third to make it 2-0. Neilee Hess made eight saves in net for the shutout.
Milford, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip raced out to a 3-0 lead by halftime and never looked back in a win at home over Milford. Senior captain Abby Nixon scored the first two goals of the game while junior Margo Riley added a third for the Warriors. Senior Paige Bergos (from captain Grace Crocker) and freshman Kelly Holmes (first career goal) scored in the second half for KP. Senior goalie Maddie Paradis (three saves) earned her first shutout in her first career start. Milford goalie Madison Hunt (23 saves) and Olyvia Whyte had strong games for the Hawks.
Sharon, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final
Attleboro, 182 @ Mansfield, 152 – Final – Mansfield got back into the win column with a victory at home over visiting Attleboro. Nate Morreale was the match medalist, shooting a low-round of 36 to pace the Hornets. Ryan Dow added a 37, Joseph Gormley shot a 39, and Ryan Doherty carded a 40. Brendan Raymond led the Bombardiers with a team-low round of 42.
North Attleboro, 159 @ Canton, 146 – Final – Canton junior Will Gefteas fired a one-over round of 35 to pace the Bulldogs to a key division win at home over visiting North Attleboro. Thomas Singleton, Owen Donovan, and Andrew Middleton all shot 37 in the win. North Attleboro’s Sam Gallagher had a team-low round of 37, Jordan Paradis added a 39, Jake Gaskin carded a 41, and Dillon Harding finish with a 42.
Franklin, 161 @ Taunton, 198 – Final – Franklin went on the road and picked up a win over Taunton at Segregansett Country Club. Jack Paterson and Nolan Norton led the way for the Panthers, each carding a low-round of 39. Sean Connelly added a 41 and CJ Steel chipped in with a 42 for Franklin. Spencer Andrews had a team-low round of 44 for the Tigers.
Milford, 178 @ King Philip, 168 – Final
Stoughton, 185 @ Foxboro, 152 – Final
Boys Cross Country
Mansfield @ Attleboro, 3:45
North Attleboro, 24 @ Canton, 31 – Final
Foxboro @ Stoughton, 3:45
King Philip @ Milford, 3:45
Oliver Ames @ Sharon, 3:45
Franklin, 27 @ Taunton, 28 – Final – Franklin had five of the top nine runners, edging out a one-point win over host Taunton. Nicholas Calitri was the race’s winner, clocking in with a first-place time of 16:55. Declan Walmsley secured key points for the Panthers with a fourth-place finish (17:29). Griffin Sieczkiewicz (6th – 17:37), Josh Anderson (7th – 17:38), and Clancy Golden (9th – 18:07) rounded out Franklin’s scoring.
Girls Cross Country
Mansfield @ Attleboro, 3:45
North Attleboro, 24 @ Canton, 31 – Final
Foxboro @ Stoughton, 3:45
King Philip, 28 @ Milford, 28 – Final – The teams were tied at 28-28 through five scorers but King Philip won the tiebreaker with its sixth runner coming in before the Hawks’ sixth runner to give the Warriors the win. Milford’s Emma Lawrence won her third consecutive race, clocking in at 20:01 on her home course. Sophomore Sydney Kalil was second at 20:55 but KP had the next three runners, plus seventh and ninth overall.
Oliver Ames @ Sharon, 3:45
Franklin, 19 @ Taunton, 42 – Final – Franklin took the top three spots on its way to a win on the road at Taunton. Senior Angelina Perez crossed the finish line at 21:10 to win the race while freshman Angelina Batla was right behind (21:13) to take second overall. Senior Sydney Hawkins took third place for the Panthers (21:26). Taunton senior Lily Valcovic (21:45) was the top runner for the Tigers, taking fourth overall, while eighth grader Colby Dunham (22:04) was fifth overall.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – With the modified 7-on-7 rules for field hockey this season, and all the space that leaves on the field, speed is more important than ever. It’s just two games into the season, but King Philip has wasted no time finding top gear.
Behind two goals apiece from Isabelle and Grace Crocker, the Warriors rolled to a 5-1 win against Mansfield on Thursday afternoon at Macktaz Field, sweeping the home-and-home against the Hornets ahead of next week’s matchup with defending league champion Franklin.
“It starts from the defense,” said KP coach Lisa Cropper. “With only six field players, you can’t chase all the way to the corners, so we kind of took the protect the house, protect the circle, and just shadow them. You’re also not running as much that way. Then we work it out just like a fast break. You outlet the ball and go right down the sideline into space.”
She added, “Our kids are so fast, if we just dump it into space no one is going to catch them.”
The teams played a tight, one-goal game on Tuesday and the second encounter started in similar fashion with Mansfield having a several early chances denied by KP goalie Makenzie Manning (seven saves). Once KP settled into its style of play, the Warriors took off and never looked back.
Abby Nixon (three assists) caused problems on the left wing all game and it was her run into the circle that led to the opening goal. The senior hit a cross just in front of goal that Kelly Holmes had first crack at but the ball slid to Isabelle Crocker at the far post for a tap in.
Sydney O’Shea also found room on the left to test Mansfield goalie Lily Danehy, as KP was able to keep the majority of the pressure in its attacking half of the field. Mansfield managed a couple of breakouts down the right with Grace Danehy and Abby Varricchione heavily involved, but Manning kicked aside a shot from Lindsay Devine on the only ball that got through on net.
KP doubled its lead just three minutes into the second when Nixon got free on the left and put a ball into the middle. Grace Crocker reacted first to the loose ball and knocked it through a crowd and in. Nixon was proving to be a handful. She made a long run and had a shot cleared off the line then was able to make a run from half, with Grace Fernandez on her shoulder the whole way, and force a save out of Danehy.
“Abby Nixon is doing phenomenal,” said Cropper. “She’s the one creating a lot of havoc out there with her speed and her stick work and the others are picking up the loose ends.”
With just two minutes to go before halftime, Isabelle Crocker got free on the right side and fired a shot to the far corner to make it 3-0. It was her fourth goal of the young season.
Cropper explained, “She’s so fast and she has a quick release and I’ve been telling the kids as soon as you have daylight in the circle then shoot it. I don’t care if it hits the goalie, she can’t smother it in this game, so then someone’s going to get a rebound.”
Any hope of a second half comeback was dashed just two minutes after the break when Nixon blocked an attempted clearance and found Grace Crocker alone in front. Danehy made the first stop but Crocker was able to get the rebound and finish for a four-goal advantage. KP was peppering the Mansfield goalie but Danehy came up big in the third quarter to keep it 4-0. Eight of her 11 saves came in the second half.
The Hornets got on the board with two minutes left in the third. Caitlin Dumouchel picked out Lola Varricchione right in front of goal and the freshman managed to squeeze it past Manning and just over the line for her first varsity goal.
Grace Danehy set up Abby Varricchione for a chance in the first minute of the fourth quarter but the shot went just wide. Six minutes later, KP put the game away. Nixon was again the playmaker, slipping a pass to Paige Berdos and she blasted it into the back of the net.
“You have to sub at the right time because if someone makes the run, then they can’t quite make the run back and if they’re in too long then they can’t get there,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhan about defending with the new rules. “The defense is hard.”
Mansfield kept going even as legs were starting to tire. A nice passing combination from Alexandra Burnham to Lilly O’Brien to Celia Puleo forced Manning into a good save. Then Dumouchel teed up Emma Kelly but her quick shot smacked the post and stayed out.
Nyhan added, “We had chances early. KP had all six kids in the circle, so it’s just foul, back to the 25, foul, back to the 25, and we were not smart with our 25-yard hit options. We’ll be working on that at practice. They certainly took advantage of their opportunities.”
King Philip (2-0) will host undefeated Franklin on Tuesday in a battle of the first place teams in the Kelley-Rex. Mansfield (0-2) will host Taunton on Tuesday.
2019 Record: 9-8-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lindsay Antunes
The Bombardiers had one of their best years in recent memory during the 2019 season and with a strong group of returning players, are looking to carry that success over to 2020.
While replacing HockomockSports Player of the Year Anna Beck will certainly be a tough task, the Bombardiers have a lot of talented players back ready to take advantage of the pace and space that comes with 7v7 field hockey — a new rule modification this season. There is a lot of firepower in the Attleboro offense, a group that has played together before and is always looking to set each other up. Senior captains Amanda Burns (five goals, nine assists), Campbell Compton, and Hannah Webster will spearhead the attack alongside junior Madison Ellis (seven goals, six assists).
Attleboro’s defensive unit is coming along, showing plenty of progress in preseason alone. With some open spots up for grabs on defense, potential candidates took advantage of offseason club teams to improve their game. Senior Kiara Murray will be an important part of the backline while junior Ava Haggerty returns in net after a stellar sophomore season.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the accomplishments and success of this team this season,” said Attleboro head coach Lindsay Antunes. “The strong leadership skills, the positive attitudes and the confidence my players have this season is amazing to see given the nature of this season and all of the changes and challenges. We have a lot of returning players with tremendous skill, paired with new additions to our roster who are sure to make an impact this season.”
2019 Record: 12-4-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Expectations are high in Canton as the Bulldogs, one of the perennial league powers year in and year out, will be looking to repeat as Davenport division champions. A big reason for that optimism is the amount of returners from last year’s squad that had 12 wins, just one league loss, and a division-best 61 goals scored.
Senior captain Maria Femia played a part in nearly half of those goals, finding the back of the net five times while recording a Hockomock-best 27 assists. She’ll work alongside Meghan LaBelle (nine goals, eight assists) to form one of the most dangerous attacking units in the Hockomock League.
Beyond Foxboro, one of the biggest challenges the Dogs will face this year is the new rule modifications. Just six players plus a goalie will grace the field at one time, meaning a lot more space to cover. Add in the fact the girls have to wear a mask while wearing a mouthguard.
Allie Gefteas and Lizzie Tassinari will be key pieces in the Canton lineup as well. While defending will look a bit different this year with breakaways more of a concern than penalty corners (which aren’t allowed), the Dogs have senior Riley O’Connor back in net. O’Connor has been one of the top goalies in the Hock the past two seasons and is very aggressive off her line.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to be back on the field this season,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Our team has worked hard to be here and they do not take it for granted. Our seniors who have played together since a young age deserve to have a competitive and fun season. We look forward to getting started with games next week.”
2019 Record: 13-2-5 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Last year’s Davenport division race came down to just one game, with Canton taking the title with two more points than Foxboro. With just 10 games on tap this season, the Warriors know each point is vital if they want to try and knock off the Bulldogs atop the division.
Replacing Jaime Notarangelo won’t be easy but the Warriors have options and depth as they navigate the new rules of 2020. Foxboro is coming off a 13-win season that ended in the D2 South Quarterfinal round.
Senior Ella Waryas will be a key piece in the middle of the field for the Warriors this season. Her ability to play strong defense and then transition into a key piece of the offense will be vital in the new 7v7 style. Sophomore Mya Waryas (seven goals in 2019) had a breakout season and could be an important part of the Foxboro attack in 2019. The Warriors will also see production from senior Molly McElhinney, juniors Kate Collins and Mikayla Doherty, and sophomore Dylan Rappoli (four goals, four assists in 2019).
All-Hockomock selection Shannon Egan is back to anchor a defensive unit that was the best in the Hockomock League last season with just 11 goals allowed. And on top of that, senior Hannah Trombley is back in the cage to anchor the defensive unit.
2019 Record: 15-3-2 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Michelle Hess
When you look at the talent the Panthers possess on their roster this season, it’s hard not to immediately think what kind of run they could go on in the postseason. Unfortunately, there aren’t any playoffs this season so Franklin’s focus zeroes in on one thing: repeating as Hock champs.
A year removed from going undefeated against league opponents, the Panthers enter the 2020 season as the favorites to take home another Kelley-Rex title. For starters, Franklin has its top three scorers back from last year’s team that scored a Hockomock-best 91 goals. Amanda Lewandowski (20 goals, 10 assists), Stephanie Bell (14 goals, eight assists), and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Kaitlyn Carney (14 goals, eight assists) combine to make the Panthers one of the most lethal teams in the region.
Franklin’s offense even more of a boost with the return of senior captain Sara Carney (who missed last season with an injury) and junior forward Jill Fenerty.
Senior captain Neilee Hess anchors the defensive unit as the starting goalie. Hess’ experience will be vital as Franklin has some new faces on its defensive unit, including Molly Collins, Kendall Jones, and Kate O’Rourke. Freshman midfield Sophia Cuneo could make an impact right away.
“I am extremely proud of my team and how they have adapted to the modifications,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “They have taken a situation that could have put a damper on their enthusiasm and shared with me that they are just ready to get to work. They have a Hock Title to defend and these modifications are not going to stop them from accomplishing their goal of a Back to Back Kelley-Rex Title!”
2019 Record: 10-7-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lisa Cropper
King Philip had a lot of new faces last year, but there wasn’t a huge drop-off from the team’s success of the back-to-back title-winning seasons, as the Warriors finished in second place in the Kelley-Rex division and picked up a win in the postseason. With returning players all over the field, KP has high expectations to challenge Franklin for a league title this fall.
Speed will be one of the strengths for the Warriors, who will try to take advantage of experience on the wings in the new 7-on-7 format. Seniors Abby Nixon and Paige Berdos are both coming off strong seasons in the attack and senior midfielders Grace and Isabelle Crocker will push forward to add more threats in front of goal.
Experience will be a key to the defensive effort this year, starting in goal with senior Makenzie Manning, who has been on of the league’s top shot stoppers (and showed it in the season-opening win against Mansfield). Junior Molly Piller had a very strong sophomore season and will be the team’s sweeper, while juniors Christina Gifun and Morgan Cunningham and senior Alli Beltramini are all back as part of the defensive unit.
“We have a lot of experience, but I’m not sure how much that will help us with no penalty corners and only six field players,” said KP coach Lisa Cropper. “Hopefully our depth and overall team speed will help to cover all that empty space out there this year.”
2019 Record: 12-7-2 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Longtime Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan is excited to see what the 2020 version of the Hornets can do on the field this season. The new rule modifications have taken some players off the field, making it 7-v-7, but that opens up a lot of space on the field.
That space benefits the Hornets as Nyhan says her squad has speed in both the attacking and defending ends of the field. But the new rules also bring a pair of intriguing challenges. First will be figuring out a new substitution pattern that keeps players fresh for 60 minutes, and the other is adjusting the offense without penalty corners — not only for gameplan purposes but for the active rest players can get while setting up.
The Hornets have a large number of seniors and juniors on the team this year, hoping that experience will translate to success on the field. Tai-captains Abby Varracchione, Alex Burnham, and Grace Danehy lead the way for the Hornets and will be vital to the success of the squad. Seniors Fiona Katz, Stori Rounds, and Emma Kelly will bolster the forward group, Lindsay Devine, Grace Fernandez, and Ally McDevitt provide depth to the midfield, and Bella Deberghes, Lily O’Brien, and Leah Sheehan are important pieces to the defensive puzzle.
Juniors Caitlin Dumouchel, Celia Puleo, Maddy Brown, and Grace Bertolino should factor in this season while sophomore Lilly Danehy will take over as the starting goalie. Nyhan expects freshman Lola Varracchione to be an impact player at the varsity level right away.
“The Mansfield field hockey community wants to thank all who have worked long and hard to make a season possible,” Nyhan said. “We are grateful seniors have a “senior season” and look forward to competing!’
2019 Record: 4-12-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Tim Dowd
The Scarlet Hawks saw improvement during the 2019 season and are hoping that upward trajectory continues into 2020 under new head coach Tim Dowd.
Milford will be leaning on its three captains to lead the way: Maddy Carneiro, Olivia Macleod, and Olyvia Whyte. All three have been cornerstones of the program and will be leaders both on and off the field.
Maddy Hunt will start in the cage for the Hawks, who will be putting a lot of importance into the defensive side of the ball. With the new rule modifications meaning there will be more breakaways, the Hawks are hoping to have good numbers defensively to give Hunt as much help as possible.
Offensively, the Hawks will turn to speedy juniors Emma Tredeau and Stephanie Wong to try and take advantage of all of the space on the field. With just six field players, conditioning and positioning are going to be of the utmost importance.
“It’s certainly going to be an interesting season as we all try to adjust to the modifications and a new way of approaching the game,” Dowd said. “We’re just focusing on working hard and keeping a positive attitude.”
2019 Record: 6-8-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Karen Folan
North Attleboro finished third in the Davenport division last season, just two points out of a playoff spot, but will not only have to contend with the typical top two of Canton and Foxboro but will also have Oliver Ames in the division this year and the modified 7-on-7 rules, which should make this an interesting fall.
The Rocketeers have a strong group of returning players that they can count on and expectations of being competitive in every game, but also are trying to adapt to new positioning and the much quicker transitions that come from having fewer players and more space on the field. Senior forwards Lauren Abusheery and Emma Bailey will look to take advantage of those openings to create scoring chances, while sophomores Ava Spencer and Caroline Folan are newcomers that have shown a scoring touch in the preseason.
In the midfield, senior Nora Dluhy is a consistent performer wherever she lines up and sophomore Julia Puccio has the speed and ball control to weave through defenders. Senior Emily Daby will lead the defensive unit and can also step up into the midfield and carry possession, which will be a big help with the new rules. Senior Hannah Bachand will take over in goal this season.
The team is excited to start games this week,” said North coach Karen Folan. “I’ve told them to enjoy each minute on the field and to make the most of the shortened season and the unique situation.”
2019 Record: 9-10-0 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Rou Coach: Sharon Lawrence
There are a lot of familiar names on Oliver Ames’ roster this season, highlighted by 11 seniors and eight returning starters from last year’s team. The Tigers have experience all over the field and could be a dark horse in the Davenport division title race.
With the game reduced to six field players due to the rule modifications, there is plenty of space on the field. That fits right into OA’s gameplan as the Tigers are looking to utilize their speed and passing game to jump-start their offense. Like many teams in the league, Oliver Ames will be shifting to lines similar to an ice hockey team. With a total of 24 players on the team, there is plenty of depth so head coach Sharon Lawrence will be using her deep bench to keep fresh legs on the field throughout the game.
“We are all just happy to be together and have a season,” Lawrence said. ”They have all worked so hard and deserve it! Getting outside to play together is a mental and physical win for all.”
The heart of the team lies in the midfield as the Tigers have a strong mix of talent and experience. Senior captain Maggie Woods, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last season, gets it done on both ends of the field, a big part of getting Oliver Ames transitioned from defense to offense. She will be joined by senior Sofia Anestam, junior Ava Costello, and sophomore Julia Maclaine in the midfield.
The Tigers return two dangerous attacking players in junior Georgia Costello (nine goals, five assists in 2019) and senior Haley Gilman (five goals, one assist). Without penalty corners, OA will lean on its speed up front to try and beat the defense and score in the run of play. The defense will be anchored by senior captain Emily Han, who has a lot of experience at the varsity level and senior Abbey Boyce.
2019 Record: 2-13-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paulina Kosmadakis
Former Sharon standout Paulina Kosmadakis is back with the program, this time taking over as new head coach. And after an improved 2019 season, Kosmadakis is hoping the program continues heading in the right direction in 2020.
The Eagles broke into the win column last season and Kosmadakis has liked what she’s seen from her team so far in the preseason. It starts with the team’s four captains: Sam Sherman, Ashley Young, Jill Parker, and Yesha Sharma. Kosmadakis said that the group has brought a new, competitive edge to the program.
Offensively, the Eagles strength is on fast breaks. Improved passing has led to some odd-man rushes and the opportunity to go one-on-one with defenders. It also comes as a result of a lot of space on the field due to the modifications to the rules. On the flip side, the Eagles are adjusting to the new intensity that 7v7 field hockey brings. Kosmadakis plans on using as much of her bench as possible with a lot of subbing throughout the game.
“I believe that the team is really stepping up their competitive edge and going to “Shock the Hock” both defensively and offensively,” Kosmadakis said. “I am excited for this season and the seasons to come!”
2019 Record: 2-15-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Mark
After a two-win season in 2019, Stoughton will look to bounce back this fall with an experienced group, with 20 seniors on the roster, which faces the tough test of trying to compete with the top teams in the Davenport division, and it starts right away with two games against defending league champ Canton in the first week.
The Black Knights should be capable of scoring goals this year with a speedy forward line getting extra space to work with the new 7-on-7 rules. Senior forwards Haley Nelson and Morgan Lessa will be the leaders in the attack and have the skills to put defenders on the back foot. Juniors Zofia Bangs and Mia Allie are new forwards that add depth to the attack this season.
Seniors Sarah McGrath and Kat Billo will shore things up in the midfield and try to help cover for the backline. Senior Lena Allie jumps in goal this season after a solid year with the JV team last fall.
“The biggest obstacle with the modifications is only having six field players and a goalie on the field,” said Stoughton coach Dan Mark. “I plan on using line shifts like in ice hockey. We have a large senior-dominated team, so hopefully that experience should help us.”
2019 Record: 5-12-1 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Liz Hathaway
Looking back at last year’s standings, if there’s one team’s record that isn’t indicative of how good a team was, it’s Taunton. The Tigers had a stellar defense, allowing just 30 goals in total, playing close games against some of the top teams in the league including KP, Foxboro, and Canton.
Defense will be a strong suit of the Tigers once again this season. Even with the changes to the game with the new rule modifications, Taunton will hang its hat on the defensive end. Junior Emily Gannon is a major part of that, returning as the starting goalie after a breakout sophomore season. Gannon had over 100 saves last season, five shutouts, and allowed one or fewer goals in 10 of the 18 games played.
Gannon will have a familiar face in front of her as Jocelyn Pagliuca enters her third season as a key piece of the Tigers’ defense. With that much experience in the defensive end, expect Taunton to be among the toughest groups to break down.
The Tigers are hoping to find the back of the net more during the 2020 season. With last year’s leading scorer back in Alana Tavares, there’s a good chance that happens. Tavares, who has been on the team since eighth grade, will be among the top threats in the league. Having more space will allow Tavares to use her speed to get behind the defense and attack the net. Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway is expecting big contributions from junior Ashley Amaro and senior Skylar Rheaume as well.
“This season will be different but we are up for the challenge and we are grateful to have a season,” Hathaway said. “The girls have been working hard to keep the season going. They are also working hard and embracing the 7 vs. 7 format.”