TAUNTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames won both meeting with Taunton during the regular season. but Taunton turned the tables in the postseason to even the the season series. First, Taunton won the coin toss on Tuesday (it was actually names picked out of a hat) so that Thursday night’s Div. 1 South playoff game, the first for Taunton in 27 years, would be at Aleixo Stadium.
Cheered on by a large, partisan crowd, freshman Alana Tavares scored her second goal in as many games (and second of the season) three minutes into the seven-on-seven overtime to break a scoreless deadlock and hand Taunton its first postseason win in program history.
“We came out with energy that I’ve never seen before,” said Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway. “They just wanted it. I think they wanted it more.”
OA coach Abby Tepper echoed Hathaway’s sentiments, giving credit to the desire and urgency of the hosts. “The fact that they were home,” she said, “they had the adrenaline, the crowd, the first time in 27 years, I mean that’s got to get them going and it did.”
The first attack of the overtime period went to OA, but the Taunton defense made the stop and quickly transitioned down the other end of the field. Senior Liana Duartebullied her way past three OA defenders to create the scoring chance and on the third rebound Tavares was on hand to knock in the loose ball.
“That kid is definitely a spark plug,” Hathaway said of Duarte. “She has the biggest heart and talk about wanting it…she definitely wants it.”
Taunton assistant Mike Fox, who took over for Hathaway after the birth of her child during the season, added, “Graduation is coming in June and…three very vital seniors in the program are leaving us to go forward in college and it was a nice opportunity to maybe have a freshman take that torch and start carrying it.”
OA senior goalie Caitlin Grant nearly kept out Taunton in overtime, sliding out and using her whole body to stop not only Duarte’s initial shot but also the first rebound. In fact, OA would not have even gotten to the overtime, if Grant had not come through with a kick save in the final seconds of regulation to deny Diana Brens off a Tavares assist.
Tepper said, “I told her before the game, ‘You’re a top goalie in the league and you need to play like that. Play on your toes, be ready,’ and she was ready. She had two saves before the goal went in, so not her fault at all. We just didn’t clear it off the pads quick enough.”
What made the victory even more impressive for Taunton is that the Tigers were playing without leading scorer Kya Enos. The senior forward was sidelined with a concussion and forced to miss the playoff game, but for Hathaway and Fox this was a sign of the team’s depth.
“That just goes to show how much they all want it and how much of a team sport this is, not just heavily relying on one player,” said Hathaway. Fox noted, “We spoke about how we could use her injury as a scapegoat and play down or as a springboard and play better and we saw how the girls used it for 60-plus minutes.”
It was a game that featured back-and-forth action, but few clear-cut chances for either team. In the first half, neither team was able to put a shot on target and the two goalies only combined for three saves in regulation.
In the 17th minute, Sarah Stevens set up Hannah Stryke, but the freshman’s first-time shot was just wide of the post. Ten minutes later, Taunton nearly created an opening goal with a straightaway shot by Cierra Bartel off a Brens pass that also went wide.
Off a second half corner, Murphy blasted a shot that Grant blocked aside and off the post, but the official’s whistle called off the effort. Six minutes later, Taunton again had a good chance when Lauren Torres crossed for Brens but the senior was unable to get a touch to the pass.
The visitors were next to create chances with Maggie Woods got to a loose ball right in front but the shot missed wide and then Woods was fed by Stevens in front but her shot was kicked aside by Taunton goalie Emma Sheehan.
Jillian Pagliuca fired a long-range shot at the OA goal and Hannah Blackwell was open on the post but was unable to make contact and knock it in during the final, frenetic moments of regulation.
“I think they beat us to 50-50 balls and, as you can tell they wanted it more,” said Tepper, as the Taunton team and its fans celebrated after the game. “I think we were playing on our heels a little bit, we were reluctant, and they were aggressive.”
In the end, it was Tavares, who scored 64 goals for the lacrosse team as an eighth grader, that came through in the clutch with the winning touch. It was just her second career field hockey goal, but it was a memorable one, sending Taunton into the second round for the first time.
“They’ve got to execute and they did,” said Fox, “but it doesn’t hurt to have home-field advantage and I think you can feel the energy especially when we got to overtime. The girls are pumped up, they’re in front of the student body, they’re in front of their families and friends, and it was a pretty special night.”
Taunton (11-7-1, 8-7-1), the No. 16 seed, will advance to face undefeated top seed Somerset-Berkeley on Saturday afternoon at 3:00. Oliver Ames finishes the season at (9-7-3, 8-6-2).
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – It was only five minutes into the game, and Oliver Ames had the ball in the attacking half for most of that time, but Tigers’ second-year head coach Abby Tepper didn’t like what she saw, and burned one of her timeouts.
“We talked about our body language, communication…it was the controllables more than anything,” Tepper said. “I thought it was important to call it that early, and it did turn things around. It was all about the controllables more than the actual tactical skills.”
The result of the timeout was a spirited effort from the Tigers, scoring four goals in the next 20 minutes and walking away from Muscato Stadium with a 5-0 decision over visiting Milford.
OA created two great scoring chances just moments after the timeout. Junior Kayla Lozzi fed Liz Nuss up the middle, but Milford’s Emily Haley made a nice defensive play just in front of goal. A minute later, freshman Hannah Stryke ripped a shot that was tipped by Nuss, but Milford keeper Paige Reisman made the stop.
The Tigers kept up the pressure, earning their third corner of the game just over the midway point of the first half. Freshman Emily Han connected with Sarah Stevens on the corner, who passed back to Cristina Boudreau. The senior ripped a shot from distance and found the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The goal seemed to give Oliver Ames more confidence, as they kept pressuring the Hawks.
Just two minutes after the opening tally, sophomore Maura Kiernan was in the right place in front of goal, getting a slid touch on Stevens’ long shot, deflecting it into the cage to make it 2-0.
“I think we started off a little bit flat and I had to call a timeout early on,” Tepper said. “We really want the players to lead, I think the captains are good leaders and they got everyone going. Once we started scoring, that kind of opened up the floodgates more for us.”
OA added another goal just a minute later, converting on another one of their eight first half corner chances. This time, junior Meaghan Rockey found Boudreau for a shot. With Stryke perfectly positioned for a screen, Boudreau’s shot found its way through traffic and into the back of the net.
The Tigers capped their first half scoring with just over five minutes to play in the first half. Boudreau carried possession up the right side of the field and then drilled a cross through the area to the back post. Junior Katie Bosse corralled the pass and then placed her shot into the back of the net to make it 4-0.
Oliver Ames controlled the second half as well, earning 10 corners and putting 11 shots on net, but only converted once.
Five minutes into the second half, the Tigers earned a penalty stroke when the ball was covered in the area. Lozzi took the shot and drilled into to the left side of the cage to make it 5-0.
Milford had chances on the counter-attack, especially with the speed of senior Shannon Cormier. But Oliver Ames’ defense played a high line and continually thwarted the Scarlet Hawks’ attempts to break out.
“For this game, we wanted our defense to be marking,” Tepper said. “Sometimes we have the defense go low and be ready to recover. But we wanted to mark this game and deny them, we wanted to stop the ball before it even got into our end. Our defense did a nice job of forcing them wide and keeping them out of the circle.”
The Hawks finally did break out in the 54th minute, registering their first chance on goal. Bella Gonzalez sent a pass in behind the defense that Cormier raced onto, but Oliver Ames goalie Caitlin Grant came charging out and made a sliding save, double stacking her pads.
Milford earned its first corner of the game in the final minutes but OA’s defense denied a scoring chance.
“I think we’re playing pretty well right now but I think the schedule gets a lot tougher next week with Foxboro and Canton,” Tepper said. “I think there are some games we could capitalize a bit more but the team chemistry is good and the morale is up.”
Oliver Ames field hockey (7-1-2 overall, 6-1-2 Hockomock) returns to action on Tuesday when Tepper makes her first trip back to her alma mater, Foxboro. Milford (2-7-0, 2-7-0) will try to bounce back when it entertains Attleboro on the same day.
After registering just four wins a season ago, Big Blue is hoping for a big bounce back year in 2017. The toughest task will be finding replacements for the large amount of seniors that have graduated over the past two seasons. A big reason for hope to get back towards state tournament competition is four-year varsity player Grace Mayer. Mayer has been one of the top players in the Hock over the past couple of the seasons and led the Bombardiers with six goals and three assists for nine points. She will be joined on the forward line by junior Alexis Compton and junior transfer Takara Keele. Head coach Lindsay Antunes said her midfield has been strengthened “immensely” by sophomore Anna Beck, who was pulled up mid-season last year.
“There is an immense amount of unity on this team, and an outpouring of teamwork,” Antunes said. “Under the leadership of our current captains, many girls have assumed these roles [left by graduation] and are taking over the field. Some girls have been forced to transition into roles that are similar to ones they played in in the past, but not quite exact.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton is returning a strong core of players from a 13-win team a year ago and will be in the hunt for the Davenport title. Key returning players include senior forward Andrea McNeil and junior forward Maggie Malloy, who will be back to pace the Bulldogs’ offense, as well as senior midfielders Emily Campbell and Maggie Wade. With experience back in the mid, the Bulldogs expect to have a strong passing game and strong ball control. Senior Riley Brown will step in as the starting goalie and freshman Maria Femia could make an impact as a rookie.
“Coming into our second season we look to strengthen our passing game and game sense,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We look forward to another competitive season in the Hockomock League!”
Coming off its best season in program history, Foxboro is now focused on 2017 and trying to write its owm chapter in the history books. While the Warriors graduated over a half a dozen seniors, they return last year’s Hockomock League MVP in goalie Kelli McCarthy as well as 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Lily Daly. With experience on both ends of the field, Foxboro is set up nicely for 2017. Daly has led the Warriors in scoring in each of the past two seasons.
The middle of the field will look most familiar from last season with seniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano, and juniors Meghan Curran and Sophia DiCenso all returning after playing valuable minutes last season. The biggest challenge for the Warriors could be replacing starting defenders Kelly Fisher and Angela VandenBoom, who both graduated.
2016 Record: 12-4-4 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Lisa Cropper
The defending Kelley-Rex division champions are in a good spot with so many returning players from last year’s squad. Leading the way is HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Annie Walsh, who led the Hockomock League with 25 points a season ago. Cassi Ronan (16 points) and Erin Walsh (10 points) are also back as Franklin returns its top three scorers. Another positive is that Franklin has some experience back on the defensive end as well. Kate Morse is back to anchor the unit after an impressive junior season and will be joined by Meri Gendreau and Emily Valentino in front of goalie Christina Luccini. Head coach Lisa Cropper expects senior Maddie Hinckley and freshman Victoria Quinn to also play big roles for the Panthers.
“Our biggest asset this season is depth,” Cropper said. “We are hoping to wear down our opponents and utilize our speed late in games.”
After coming just a point shy of splitting the league title with Franklin a season ago, King Philip returns a strong core that will look to make another push for the Kelley-Rex crown. One big reason that the Warriors will be in the mix is because senior goalie Abby Campbell is back in the cage this season. And in front of Campbell, KP returns senior Christina Hathaway – two big reasons why the Warriors allowed only 13 goals all season in 2016. The offense will look very familiar with senior Liz Furfari (13 points) and junior Alli Meehan (25 points) back in the fold. Juniors Kate Lindmark and Caroline Klim will help bolster the defense while Nicole Connor and Dana Truini will be important players in the midfield.
“We have speed and can create a quick transition game with our passing game and formation,” said KP head coach Liz Hathaway. “We also have a couple of big hitters which should help us generate getting the ball inside the offensive 25 and to execute on corners.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield is relying on seven returning seniors and a mix of young players as they look to get back to the state tournament yet again this season. The Hornets have senior leadership all over the field, which will be important in a very deep and talented league. Up top, Mansfield had Heather D’Amdra and Kristina O’Connell, while seniors Emily Ierardo and Ann Maher will lead the way from the midfield. On the defensive end, seniors Nicole Berluti, Julia Burhman and Brittany Lam will anchor the back line.
“As a unit we are looking to move the ball at pace,” said Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan. “We have speed at all levels and look to transition quickly.”
2016 Record: 3-15-2 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kim Danish
Although the Hawks graduated 11 seniors from last year’s squad, they return some key pieces that head coach Kim Danish is hoping will help Milford take a step forward. The Hawks will lean on tri-captains Shannon Cormier (the team’s leading scorer last season), Danielle Fokas (who will start on the wing) and Emily Condon (a returning member of the Hawks’ defense) to pave the way this season. Kate Wimette, Colby Bowers and Megan Larouco will see time in the midfield while Julie Rabinowitz would see time all over the field, depending on need. Milford is looking to rely on speed on offense to try and get the offense going.
“We have a strong mix of seven returning seniors who are fantastic leaders and a great core group from last year’s JV team who will step up and make an immediate impact on the field,” Danish said. “Overall, the motivation and work ethic among this group has been top notch! We are looking forward to a great season.”
After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back years, Big Red field hockey is hoping to make a run at the Davenport crown and get back to the MIAA playoffs. One tough task will be replacing 14 seniors, including all-league goalie Liz Morehouse, all-star Mary Kummer and all-league honorable mention Teresa Bagarella. But head coach Karen Folan is confident she has the pieces to compete in a deep Hockomock League this year. Senior captains Emilie Pothier, Olivia Gedgaudus and Camille Pizarro return to make up the majority of the midfield. Senior Katherine Munley is also back on the wing, giving Big Red some speed on the outside. Sophomore Emma Strachan takes over in net this season, with Folan describing her as “quick and aggressive.”
“The returning members of the varsity team have shown they are ready to fill in any gaps our line up may have after graduating 14 seniors,” Folan said. “And our new team members are eager to step onto the varsity playing field.”
2016 Record: 11-6-3 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames will be relying on a mix of experience and youth as they try to stay competitive in a deep Kelley-Rex division. It starts with senior captain Sarah Stevens in the midfield, who will be the “quarterback” of the midfield according to head coach Abby Tepper. Senior Cristina Boudreau and junior Kayla Lozzi will bolster that midfield while senior Liz Nuss will provide speed to the attacking group. OA’s defense will be anchored by senior captain Sarah Tetrault while senior Caitlin Grant will be the starting goalie. Freshman Brynna Courneen has impressed defensively early on.
“This year our offense will be quick and have speed,” Tepper said. “We have some young players filling the wing spots and we are working on being hungry inside the circle. We want to be a scrappy team and get the ball in the bucket no matter what it takes. Our defense does a solid job recovering for one another in the circle and stepping to ball without hesitation. As a team we want to build a positive culture and work hard day in and day out.”
2016 Record: 1-17-0 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Vandette
Now in her third year at the helm of the Sharon Eagles, head coach Andrea Vandette is confident that her squad is ready to take the next step and find some more success. The Eagles are led by three captains: Elyse Korn, Abbi Solomon and Grace Leavitt. Leavitt started to come on strong at the end of the year last season and will be the anchor for the Eagles’ defensive unit this season. Senior Lindsay Moses will be be in the cage and has a good amount of varsity experience under her belt. In the midfield, Leora Leavitt will be in the center of the field and one of the Eagles’ most reliable players. Vandette is also expecting juniors Veronica Wallace and Stephanie Edwards to continue their growth after picking up the sport a season ago.
“My main goal for the girls this season is to compete,” Vendette said. “Being that this is my third year with the program, I believe they know my expectations and the seniors have a good understanding of how to move the ball on the field and how to be successful. We certainly have enough talent to put a few more wins on the board this season!”
2016 Record: 8-9-3 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Dan Mark
Despite graduating a handful of talented players, including 2015 Hockomock League MVP Angela Connolly, Stoughton head coach Dan Mark is bringing back several key players for the 2017 version of the Black Knights. The Black Knights’ offense will look the most similar to last season’s team that qualified for the state tournament. Julia Russell, Kamryn Oliveira and Jackie Evangelista are returning forwards who played regularly last year. Lisa Ramanauskas is a returning midfielder, and Haley Bushlow is back to anchor the back line. Gianna Barbosa will be the starting goalie again this season.
“We have several returning players who played many minutes last year and are expected to step in as starters this year,” Mark said.
2016 Record: 2-15-1 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway
With a strong core of experienced players back, and a couple of young talents looking to make an impression, the Tigers are hoping to improve on last year’s season. Senior Kya Enos has been a steady presence for the Tigers for the past four seasons and will be relied upon to lead the attack long with senior Liana Duarte. Juniors Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will be tasked with controlling the midfield along with freshman Alana Tavares. Sophomore Kathryn Robinson will be a key piece of Taunton’s defensive unit this season
“Our strength will be the ability of the forwards and mids to move the ball up the field,” said Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway. “Speed is also a factor that will help our offensive attacks.”
Players to Watch
Players are listed alphabetically
Abby Campbell, King Philip – Campbell has been one of the top goalies in the league for the past two seasons and helped KP come within a point of sharing the league title with Franklin last season and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. She had 11 shutouts in 2016 and saved 130-of-143 shots that she faced, finishing with a goals against average of 0.619.
Emily Campbell, Canton – Campbell was a versatile weapon for the Bulldogs, helping out both in midfield and defense to help Canton win 13 games and achieve a plus-40 goal differential for the season. With Campbell playing a critical role, Canton allowed only 14 goals on the year, which was second best in the league. She also chipped in with three goals and seven assists.
Lily Daly, Foxboro – Daly has been the leading scorer for the Warriors in each of her two varsity seasons, helping Foxboro win its first league title in 11 years and its first ever Div. 2 South title. Daly is a force near the net and was chosen as the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after scoring 16 goals and recording 11 assists.
Emily Ierardo, Mansfield – Ierardo emerged last season as one of the top offensive weapons for the Hornets, helping Mansfield make another run at the league title and reach the second round of the state tournament. She played five different positions in the forward and midfield areas and she scored nine goals and recorded six assists last fall.
Maggie Malloy, Canton – Malloy made quite the impact in her first season playing field hockey. She jumped onto the Canton varsity squad early in the season and finished as the league’s top goal scorer with 16 tallies for the year. She was a big reason for Canton’s improvement offensively and this year, with a season of experience, Malloy could have even bigger numbers.
Kelli McCarthy, Foxboro – Voted Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, McCarthy was the backstop for a Warriors defense that was one of the best in the league and helped Foxboro claim a Davenport division title and its first ever Div. 2 South title. She finished with 115 saves on the season and recorded 15 shutouts in 23 games, allowing only 13 goals total.
Alli Meehan, King Philip – Meehan was integral to KP making a run at the league title last season, holding a lead into the final week of the regular season, and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. Meehan scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists to tie for the league-high in points. She also assisted on the goal that forced overtime against Somerset-Berkeley in a state tournament win.
Cassi Ronan, Franklin – Ronan was a versatile cog in Franklin’s league championship season in 2016, playing both midfield and forward for the Panthers. She finished with 10 goals and seven assists, while being named to the HockomockSports.com First Team, but also did a lot of the defensive work that didn’t show up in the box score.
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames – Stevens had a strong season for Oliver Ames in 2016 and the senior will be counted on to create scoring opportunities for the Tigers again this fall. She scored six goals and recorded nine assists for OA last season, helping the Tigers get to 11 wins on the season, beat Durfee in the first round of the playoffs, and push perennial power Walpole to overtime.
Annie Walsh, Franklin – Walsh is the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year (she was also Player of the Year in girls’ lacrosse) after leading the Panthers to a Kelley-Rex division title. A year after being named Underclassman of the Year, Walsh took her game to another level with 14 goals and 11 assists for a league-high 25 points.
2016 Record: 6-12 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.
One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.
In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.
“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”
2016 Record: 8-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Christine O’Connor
Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.
Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.
One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.
“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”
Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.
Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.
Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.
“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”
2016 Record: 19-5 2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino
Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.
There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.
Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.
“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”
King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.
Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.
KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.
“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”
Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.
Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.
Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman
“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”
2016 Record: 3-15 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Tim Dowd
It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.
Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.
Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.
“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”
2016 Record: 13-7 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal Coach: Mike Vitelli
Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.
North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.
Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.
“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”
2016 Record: 8-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.
Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.
Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.
“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”
2016 Record: 10-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Colleen Carchedi
In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.
Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”
Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.
“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”
With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.
The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.
Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.
“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Heading into the postseason, Oliver Ames first year head coach Abby Tepper was ready to switch things up.
The Tigers had won just two of their final fives games so Tepper elected to meet with her captains and come up with a formation change.
The change worked as Oliver Ames put in a strong performance and came away with a 2-0 win over Durfee in the MIAA D1 South Preliminary Round. The Tigers will now take on #2 Walpole.
“We knew [Durfee] would be scrappy, we knew they’d be playing hard,” Tepper said. “They just won their league [Big 3] so we knew they’d be pumped. We had a really good practice yesterday. We’ve changed our formation three times now for the postseason. This one I think is clicking so hopefully third time is the charm.”
Tepper elected to go with four defenders instead of the three that the Tigers had deployed throughout the regular season. Tepper brought Sydney Hedrick, who had played forward during the regular season, to the back line. That switch limited the visiting Hilltoppers to just a single shot on goal throughout the entire game and limited offensively opportunities beyond that.
“Sydney has been playing forward this season, she’s one of the changes in the formations,” Tepper said. “I sat with the captains [Kendall Clifford and Katie Davenport] and told them I wanted to change the formation. I wanted to collaborate with them. Sometimes I can’t see or hear things that they can on the field.
“Katie mentioned having Sydney on defense. Sydney has played defense in the past, she knows the position and she talks a lot so it adds even more leadership. I think it helped us a lot today and having four in the back helped instead of three, which we used to have.”
Oliver Ames nearly got on the board less than two minutes into the game off a penalty corner. Sarah Stevens dished the ball out to Dimitra Efremidis, who chipped her shot but the ball looped off the crossbar and stayed out.
While the Tigers controlled the majority of play, thanks in part of Davenport and Hedrick thwarting any Durfee attack, it took until the midway point of the first half for Oliver Ames to break through.
It looked like Durfee had stopped another Tiger attack and tried to clear the ball but Efremidis positioned herself well and took position of the ball. She ripped a shot into the area where Cristina Boudreau deflected the shot perfectly into the back of the cage to make it 1-0.
The Tigers registered one more chance with just over seven minutes to play in the first half, again using a penalty corner. Stevens dealt the pass to Kendall Clifford but her shot went just wide at the far post.
Early in the second half, the Tigers had to do without Clifford after an injury. Five minutes later, Durfee found its best chance of the game. The ball was knocked into the attacking area for the Hilltoppers and freshman Julia Kelly had an open look from in close but OA goalie Katie Vamosi came up with a point blank kick save to preserve the lead.
Just over five minutes after that save, Oliver Ames field hockey was able to get its second goal of the game. After Durfee’s goalie made a diving save to deny a chance at the near post, the ball popped out to Sarah Stevens on the right side of the area. She quickly centered it back to the middle where Efremidis swatted it in for a 2-0 lead.
Efrremidis finished with a goal and assist in the game.
“I was really proud of her, I even talked to her after the game about it,” Tepper said of Efremidis. “She’s one of those players that always keeps her head in it, she’s always in the zone. You watch her, she’s constantly in the zone and you can’t get her out of it. She’ll go from end line to end line, she plays 100%, I love it.”
Even with Durfee pushing numbers forward over the final 10 minutes, the Hilltoppers were unable to register a serious scoring chance thanks to Oliver Ames’ defense.
Next up, the Tigers will travel to #2 Walpole on Friday at 4:00. The Porkers are the defending D1 South Sectional champions and have been, historically, the top program in the area.
“I told the girls after the game that nothing negative can come out of our mouths – we’re going in and going to play our best,” Tepper said. “We’ll bring it to practice tomorrow and then we’ll go into Walpole believing we can win that game.”
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames senior Dimitra Efremidis thought for sure that she had tied Wednesday evening’s division matchup with King Philip, but with 14 minutes to go her shot through traffic rang against the inside of the post and sliced across the face of the goal.
That thin of a margin separated the Warriors and Tigers at Muscato Stadium, with KP holding on for a 2-1 victory. The margins are that thin in the race for the Kelley-Rex title as well, as the victory keeps the Warriors ahead of rival Franklin by a solitary point with just three games remaining in the regular season.
“I don’t have to motivate this group. They want it,” said KP coach Liz Hathaway of the team’s quest for its first league title since 2008. “We have that one loss on the season (to Stoughton) and they did not like it, so since then they’ve been on a tear. They know what’s at stake, I don’t even have to say it.”
Despite suffering a fourth loss in the past five games, first-year OA coach Abby Tepper was upbeat about the effort that the Tigers showed on senior night, pushing KP right to the final horn.
“This was one of the best games that I’ve seen them play so far,” said Tepper. “When we played Mansfield, we beat them but we had let downs, but this game I feel like they played the whole game and we had chances at the end.”
The Tigers had plenty of chances throughout an entertaining game that saw both teams create scoring opportunities. It was the home team that cashed in first with Kendall Clifford’s cross from the right tipped in at the near post by Cristina Boudreau, through the five-hole of KP goalie Abby Campbell (six saves), just seven minutes in.
KP nearly answered right back when a looping shot from Christina Hathaway was cleared off the goal line by Sarah Tetrault, who knocked the aerial ball down from shoulder height. A minute later and the Warriors did tie the game when OA goalie Katie Vamosi(six saves) was caught off her line and Alli Meehan found space to slide in a shot.
Vamosi would make amends two minutes later with a sliding save to stop Caitlin Donahue’s shot from distance. After OA had a tying goal wiped away for a whistle, Efremidis would be denied not once but twice by Campbell. The first was on a diving save down low to the junior’s right and the second when Campbell managed to get a stick to a high, dipping shot off a penalty corner.
“They have that beautiful aerial corner that we knew about,” said Hathaway. “Abby knew it was going to go there and she’s great at the aerials. She made a great save.”
The save looked even bigger with two minutes left until halftime. Again from a corner, KP worked the ball through the crease in front of goal and Elizabeth Furfari worked space in front to flick an off-hand shot inside the far post for what turned out to be the game-winner.
In the second half, OA pushed for an equalizing goal and the Warriors pressed to limit the space for Efremidis and the Tigers attackers to work in. Hathaway praised the effort of sweeper Emma Izydorczak and left back Kate Lindmark for closing up the space in front of goal and stopping the cross from the right that OA used to score the opening goal.
“We knew that we had to press them and try to keep Dimitra down,” said Hathaway about the defensive strategy. “We had to press and stop the cutters up the middle and their crosses from left to right are huge and my left back and sweep did an awesome job to get the ball out.”
The Warriors also created chances on the counterattack but were denied by Vamosi, who made four saves in the second half, and by defender Katie Davenport, who was a constant presence in the middle.
The Tigers had already seen a shot get tipped just wide of the post, smacking the boarding on the outside of the goal and sending up a premature cheer from the bleachers, when Efremidis got free in the left channel and fired a low shot that looked destined for the corner. The senior could not mark her final regular season game under the lights at Muscato Stadium with a goal, as the ball clanged off the post and stayed out.
“Hitting the post and tipping outside wide…that’s unlucky,” said Tepper. “I told them before the game to have each other’s back and give 100 percent and I’ll be proud and that’s what they did. From what I saw…they left it all on the field.”
The close call keeps KP in front by the slimmest of margins and the Warriors hold their own destiny. Win the final three games and they will be champions. “
King Philip (11-1-3, 10-1-2) will begin its final stretch at Taunton on Friday, before closing with Mansfield and Franklin. Oliver Ames (8-4-3, 6-4-3) will look to get back on track on Friday at home against Attleboro.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – A biting wind was whipping across Muscato Stadium on Wednesday evening and blowing a cold mist around the field. Rather than having her team sit in the weather waiting for the start of the varsity game, first-year Oliver Ames coach Abby Tepper moved the Tigers inside to warm up.
“I had them go into the team room before because they were sitting out watching the JV game,” said Tepper. “I usually try to give them a good pregame speech…I think they took it well.”
Whatever happened prior to the start of the game, once the whistle blew the Tigers were fired up and raced out to a 3-0 lead inside the first eight minutes. Junior Elizabeth Nuss scored two goals in that stretch and added a third with nine minutes remaining to clinch a 6-4 victory for the Tigers over division rival Mansfield.
“Liz is very quick,” said Tepper. “At practice I have her get on pads the whole time. We work all offense at practice because that’s what I knew and we do a ton of drills, a ton of tipping. She just knows to get on pads because I throw her on there all the time.”
Nuss was right on the pads of Mansfield goalie Molly Norton (six saves) just two minutes in to tap in a rebound after Norton saved two shots from the Tigers. Just two minutes later and Nuss scored from further away as her shot from the right side slipped through a traffic jam in front of goal and found the back of the net.
OA added a third in the eight minute when Sarah Stevens teed up Dimitra efremidis at the edge of the circle off a penalty corner. The senior buried the chance and forced the Hornets to take an early timeout.
“They came out strong, but actually we did too,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhan. “The difference was the way they positioned the player in front of the goalie. It kind of threw us for a loop.
“It kind of threw our goalie off and then once we got that straightened out I thought it was a pretty even game. It’s just too bad that we started in the deficit.”
Katherine Vamosi made six of her nine saves in the first half and denied several Mansfield chances, but in the 13th minute the Hornets got on the board. Jill Hobaica was in the right place in front of goal to tip home a centering pass from Caitlin Whitman. The momentum only lasted four minutes before OA answered back on another long-range shot from Efremidis that snuck through a tangle of legs in front to make it 4-1.
With the lead, OA started to sit back a little deeper and Mansfield took advantage to get back into the game. A ball knocked in from the edge of the circle was tipped by Heather D’Amrab and flicked over the goalie’s pads by sophomore Maggie Danehy. Three minutes later and the lead was cut to just one when Whitman’s cross was redirected by Danehy into the path of Emily Ierardo at the back stick to tap in.
The scoring was not done with Sydney Hedrickredirecting Cristina Boudreau’s near post cross to widen the gap to two goals. Vamosi came up with a big sliding stop on Olivia Horn in the final seconds of the half to keep it 5-3.
“I think at the end of the first half we were back on our heels,” said Tepper. “We played with a lead and we weren’t playing aggressive… I told them that they had to keep the same intensity that they had at the beginning.”
The Hornets did come out of the break with renewed energy and eight minutes into the second half had cut the lead back to one. Ierardo was denied on a penalty corner by a point-blank save, but Mansfield kept the pressure up and Horn’s shot rebounded to the stick of Kristina O’Connell to make it 5-4.
OA did not sit back on the lead but continued to counter quickly and had several chances on the break. The Hornets continued to pressure and create openings in an entertaining end-to-end half.
“It was a fun game,” said Nyhan. “We needed enthusiasm and we brought it today. They played great, Oliver Ames played great…take away those first two, three goals and it was anybody’s game.”
With the Hornets chasing the tying goal, the Tigers were able to strike and put the game away. Efremidis had a restart on the left side and it was tipped Boudreau into the path of Nuss to close out her hat trick and seal the win.
“That was a reassurance one, for sure,” Tepper said. “But still anything could have happened in 10 minutes.”
Nyhan said, “I thought we had a shot but by that point, you know, we had key people who were tired and we just couldn’t quite pull the trigger. It was tough to do it at the end.”
Oliver Ames (6-0-3, 5-0-3) will try to keep the momentum going against Milford on Friday before having a week to prepare for the visit of Tepper’s alma mater, Foxboro. Mansfield (4-3-1, 4-3-1) will try to bounce back on the grass at Sharon on Friday.
2015 Record: 10-8-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lindsay Antunes
After a year off from the postseason, Attleboro made its way back to the postseason in 2015 and is looking to continue that trend in 2015. The Bombardiers are returning a handful of playoff experienced players and also have spots open for players to step into and make a name for themselves. Some of the experienced players will also shift positions to help voids left. Marissa Dias is back to anchor the defense again this year while three year varsity player Grace Mayer’s versatility has shined as she’s played all over the field. Sophomore Alexis Compton will get minutes at forward and could be a breakout player for the Bombardiers this year.
“I have returners who have filled deficits on the field by transitioning into new roles,” Attleboro head coach Lindsay Antunes said. “The players who are sliding into new positions are facing these challenges with eagerness. Their willingness and immense capability are a large part of the reason behind the changes being made. I have a great deal of confidence in this newly built team, and are certain that they are going to work hard to compete with the high level of competitiveness within this league.”
With a good amount of returning varsity players, Canton is hoping it can return to the top of the Hockomock League. It also helps that coach Chrissy O’Connor – who won a D2 State Championship with Canton in 2004 – is back at the helm. O’Connor coached for over a decade, capping her final year with an undefeated season. Senior Julia Ezepik is back to anchor the defense while Taylor Carrington returns in the cage with starting varsity experience. Juniors Maggie Wade and Andrea McNeil are also back and will be key pieces in Canton’s midfield this season. Senior Caroline Hagan will be an important piece of the attack as well.
“With a new coaching staff this season Canton is looking to continue its tradition of being a competitive force in the Hockomock League,” O’Connor said.
2015 Record: 10-6-3 2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Expectations are high once again in Foxboro this season. The Warriors have made the postseason for 14 straight years and are looking to extend it to 15 straight seasons this year. Foxboro has a large amount of returning starters and players that had varsity experience, which bodes well for another playoff berth. Things start with Foxboro’s offense as they bring back three forwards that can all score consistently. Sophomore Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer and MVP last year, is back alongside seniors Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly. Foxboro’s midfield will also have some familiar faces, including Ally Curran and Caroline Wheatley. The Warriors will have a new goalie between the pipes this year as Kelly McCarthy takes over for Jill Delaney. After two years as the understudy, head coach Melissa Bordieri is confident in McCarthy to take over.
“I’m confident we can achieve a lot of things,” Bordieri said. “We’ve set our sights on winning the division. We always want to get back to the tournament. This is one of those years I strongly feel a lot of girls can contribute because of our depth.”
2015 Record: 16-3-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Lisa Cropper
Franklin has six returning starters back and a total of 10 seniors, setting the Panthers up for another successful season. It’s a mix of all grades for the Panthers, with seniors and captains Caroline Lounsbury, Dana Lewandowski and Kayla Marshall leading the way. Lounsbury and Lewandowski will patrol the midfield along with sophomore Cassie Ronan. Marshall will be a key piece in the defense along with junior Kate Morse. Sophomore Annie Walsh, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will lead a potent attack along with freshmen Maeve Ledwith and Erin Walsh.
“We have a solid group of field players with some young scoring talent and some depth on the bench,” head coach Lisa Cropper said. “Losing two-time Hock All-Star Samantha Jones to graduation leaves a hole in goal to fill, but if our defense plays strong while our inexperienced goalies develop, we should be able to contend for the league title.”
2015 Record: 10-8-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Liz Hathaway
King Philip has a bounce back year in 2015 and is hoping to continue that success this season. The Warriors are returning key players all over the field while new players are likely to help fill some voids. Senior captain Caitlin Donahue will be one of the main pieces of the attack while senior captain and junior captain Monica Harvey and Christina Hathaway will anchor the defense. Hathaway will also see time in the midfield while Abby Campbell returns to the cage after a standout sophomore year. Sophomore Alli Meehan is back in the attack after a breakout rookie campaign in 2015.
“We are a young team with some good athletes to build around,” head coach Liz Hathaway said. “Key players have really put in a lot of work in the offseason and summer and are looking fundamentally sound, fast and strong.”
2015 Record: 20-2-0 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield took one of the most storied programs to the limit a year ago, forcing double overtime against Walpole in the D1 South Final. The Hornets are looking to continue that success in 2016. Mansfield will need to replace some key pieces if they hope to compete at the same level this year. Julia Todesco Caroline Maher graduated but the Hornets do have league all-stars Amalia Todesco and Caitlin Whitman are back this season. Todesco and fellow senior captain Jen McCabe will be key pieces of Mansfield’s defensive unit while Todesco will also see time in the midfield. Whitman will be a key cog in the Hornets’ midfield as well. Junior Emily Ierardo and senior Olivia Horn are two returners that should help bolster Manfield’s attack this year.
2015 Record: 3-11-3 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kim Danish
The Scarlet Hawks are hoping senior leadership will help right the ship after just three wins a year ago. Milford has 13 seniors on the team, including some key experienced players in different parts of the field. Senior Emily Smith returns as the starting goalie again this year, which is already a good start for Milford. Senior captain Kaitlyn DeCapua will anchor the defense with her versatility, senior captain Tina Capone will bring speed to the midfield and senior captain Ali Atherton will relied upon to pace Milford’s offense. Shannon Cormier will also be a player to watch for the Scarlet Hawks this season.
“The 2016 Milford Hawks are persistent, determined, and resilient,” head coach Kim Danish said. “We have quickly come together as a team, and we are looking to battle through our Hock schedule.”
After missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro is looking to find its way back in 2016 and will try to do so by working from the back up. Senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella, who both have a lot of varsity experience, will anchor the back line. Senior Liz Morehouse takes over the starting job in the cage for North this season. Their defense will be the catalyst for the Rocketeers’ offense this season. seniors Kaleigh Cole and Jamie Cromidas, along with juniors Olivia Gedgaudas, Kaley Gorman, Emilie Pothier and Olivia Horricks will look to link up as the Rocketeers transition from defense to offense and go on the attack.
“We are a team that will get better with each game,” head coach Karen Folan said.
Oliver Ames has experienced a lot of success in recent seasons and the goal remains the same this year, despite a coaching change. Former Foxboro and Salve Regina standout Abby Tepper has taken over at the helm and Oliver Ames is now competing in the Kelley-Rex division. Senior captains Kendall Clifford and Katie Davenport will be the leaders for the Tigers this season. Clifford will anchor the midfield unit while Davenport will continue as a top defensive player in the Hockomock. Dimitra Efremidis will be a key part of Oliver Ames’ offense this season, with the ability to set up teammates and find the back of the net herself.
“I am very proud of the girls so far during preseason putting in extra work even outside of practice times,” Tepper said.
2015 Record: 0-16-0 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Vandette
The Eagles are hoping some added depth will lead to a turnaround season and a step in the right direction for the future. Sharon has three senior captains, Georgia Salvatore, Shafali Reddy and Michelle Lu, all of which are returning varsity players with experience. All three are defenders so Sharon is relying on a solid defensive foundation to lead the way in 2016. Lindsey Moses will be the starting goalie this season after seeing some minutes a year ago. Erica Dougherty and Stephanie Wasserman will be new options at forward this season alongside returning varsity player, Emily Locke.
“We made a lot of progress last year and I feel like we are picking up right where we left off,” head coach Andrea Vandette said. “This years squad is a lot bigger than last year and that depth on the bench is much appreciated.”
2015 Record: 10-8-3 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton has been on the rise over the last three seasons and after an appearance in the D1 South tournament, the Black Knights will look to continue the upward trajectory in 2016. Reigning Hockomock League MVP and Northeastern-commit Angela Connelly is back to control the midfield for the Black Knights. Olivia Schlehuber and Mia Russell are both returning starters at the forward position, which bodes well for Stoughton’s attack. Kayla Oliviera, Kelly Corrigan and Kelly Joyce all saw plenty of playing time last season and will be important pieces in the midfield this season. Senior Meghan McSweeney and sophomore Gianna Barbosa will battle for the starting job in the cage.
“We are looking forward to a good season with a mix of veteran and new players,” head coach Dan Mark said.
2015 Record: 1-15-2 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway
After finding the win column just one year ago, Taunton is looking to make a big step forward in 2016. The Tigers, playing in the incredibly competitive Kelley-Rex division, will have some experience to rely on in some parts of the field but will be looking to youth in others. Senior’s Katie Van Zandt and Bre Conlon will be key pieces on defense for the Tigers this season. Junior’s Kya Enos and Liana Duarte are returners that will pace Taunton’s offense this season. Both proved to be key pieces of the attack a season ago. Taunton will rely on youth in the middle of the field as sophomores Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will both play important roles at midfield.
“We are a young team, hoping to use speed and space to our advantage in offensive play,” head coach Liz Hathaway said.
Players to Watch
Players are listed alphabetically
Abby Campbell, King Philip – The class of 2016 included a lot of the top goalies in the league. However, Campbell emerged as one of the top netminders during her sophomore year and could be the top goalie in league in 2016.
Kendall Clifford, Oliver Ames – The Tigers have had a strong run as of late and will need another strong season to compete in the Kelley-Rex. Clifford’s presence in the midfield will be key for the Tigers as she helps the team transition from defense to offense.
Angela Connolly, Stoughton – The reigning Hockomock League MVP is back after helping Stoughton to the playoffs last year. She scored 11 goals and added 15 assists and will be a true double threat for the Black Knights this year.
Lily Daly, Foxboro – It’s rare that a freshman leads a team and scoring but that’s exactly what Daly did a year ago, being named team MVP. With forwards Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly back as well, Foxboro should have a potent attack.
Mary Kummer/Teresa Bagarella, North Attleboro – The Rocketeers should have a strong defense this season with senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella. The duo has a lot of experience and that bodes well for North Attleboro this season.
Dana Lewandowski, Franklin – The senior captain midfielder has a large presence on the field for the Panthers. Lewandowski controls the midfield, has the ability to get forward and score and can set up teammates at the same time.
Grace Mayer, Attleboro – Attleboro made a trip to the postseason in 2015 and Mayer’s 11 goals and three assists were a big reason. The Bombardiers will have a lot of competition in the Kelley-Rex but Mayer will be a top offensive producer again this year.
Jen McCabe, Mansfield – The Hornets had a historic run to the sectional final and the offense got a lot of attention but the back line was rock solid throughout the year. McCabe was one of the center pieces to that defense and is back as a senior captain this year.
Annie Walsh, Franklin – The defending HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year is back after a breakout rookie season. Walsh will be looking to produce numbers (nine goals and seven assists) like she did a season ago.
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final– Seniors Francesca Calabraro, Kiana Lozzi and Lauren Wright each scored a goal in the first half as Oliver Ames built a 3-0 lead by halftime. Head coach Britt Sellmayer said Emily Freeman and Zoe Chazan had solid defensive games for the Tigers.
Taunton, 1 @ New Bedford, 1 – Final– Olivia Sweeney scored Taunton’s goal, on an assist from Alexis Faria. Grace Pimenta had four saves in net for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. West Bridgewater, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames built a three goal lead by halftime and held off West Bridgewater in the second half to hand new head coach Abby Tepper her first career win. Dimitra Efremidis scored once and had an assistwhile Sarah Steves and Kendall and Clifford each scored once. Meaghan Rockey added an assist for the Tigers.
Milford, 0 vs. Nipmuc, 3 – Final – Milford head coach Kim Danish noted Kaitlyn DeCapua had a strong game for the Scarlet Hawks.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – The Panthers rallied from a six point deficit in the first set to set the tone and earn the win. Erin Skidmore rattled off nine straight service points, turning a 20-14 North Attleboro lead into a 23-20 lead for the Panthers in the first set. Skidmore finished with 16 service points, seven aces, five kills and two blocks. Junior Meaghan Maguire led Franklin with 10 kills and three blocks while sophomore Lauren McGrath had 17 Assists and five aces for the Panthers.
Milford @ Foxboro – Postponed to 9/12
Franklin, 165 @ Mansfield, 174 – Final – Franklin junior Bryan Woelfel was the match medalist, shooting a 37 to lead the Panthers. Senior Matt Dao also had a strong day for Franklin, carding a 41. Mansfield senior Jason Hindham shot a team-best 38 for the Hornets.
Taunton, 179 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 198 – Final– Taunton started the season off with a win over rival Coyle, behind a match-low 41 from Mike Volkmann. Justin Proto shot a 43 for Taunton while Jake Crawford had a 46 and Ryan Maloney carded a 49.
Hockomock League XC Jamboree (@ Borderland), 3:45
Below is an update on former Hockomock League athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.
Last week, USA Baseball announced its 60-man Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List and former Sharon star and current Union College junior pitcher Jake Fishman was among those listed. Fishman is one of only two non-Div. I players that were on the list, which includes 18 preseason picks and 42 players that were added over the course of the season.
Fishman is currently leading Union with a .383 batting average and has driven in 10 runs. He has also been a star on the mound with a miniscule ERA of 0.51 and a record of 4-0. He has thrown three complete games in five starts and has struck out 51 batters and allowed only two earned runs in 35 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .211 against Fishman this season.
The semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award will be announced by USA Baseball on June 1.
Former Attleboro High outfielder Matt Elliot went 4-5 in a doubleheader against Suffolk over the weekend. The Anna Maria College freshman is batting .294 this year with seven RBI and an OPS of .805. He is also 1-4 on the mound over six starts and has struck out 12 in 33-2/3 innings for the AMCATS.
Brendan Skidmore of Franklin has a seven-game hit streak going for Binghamton University. The junior infielder is batting a team-high .344 with seven homers and 28 RBI this season. His OPS is .983 and he has also been strong with the glove, boasting a fielding percentage of .994.
Former Oliver Ames pitcher David Holmes threw a complete game for Bridgewater State in the opening game of a doubleheader with Mass. College of Liberal Arts to pick up a 1-0 victory. Holmes struck out seven and allowed only four hits and improved to 4-1 on the season. He has an ERA of 3.00 on the season and batter are hitting only .247 against him this year. Also for the Bears, former Taunton player Travis Ritchie went 2-5 in the second game of the MCLA doubleheader and is currently batting .286 on the season, good for third on the team. He also has a homer and nine RBI.
J.J. Branch suffered his first loss of the season at Endicott in a 5-0 loss to Salve Regina on Sunday. Branch allowed three earned runs in seven innings and struck out a pair of hitters. For the season, the former Milford pitcher leads the Gulls with an ERA of 2.50 and is now 5-1 overall. He has struck out 33 batters in 57-2/3 innings pitched.
David MacKinnon went 3-4 and drew a pair of walks for Hartford in an 11-5 victory over Quinnipiac on Tuesday. The Oliver Ames star is now batting a team-high .372 with two homers and 22 RBI this season and is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. MacKinnon has struck out a team-low 11 times in 148 at bats this year.
MacKinnon’s former teammate at Oliver Ames, Mike Ferrara, came through with a clutch at bat for Worcester State to help the Lancers beat Becker College in extra innings. Ferrara came through with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to tie it, before the Lancers added another for a 10-9 win. Ferrara was 2-4 with a pair of RBI in the game. The freshman is now hitting .279 on the season and has hit one homer and drive in 13 runs.
Former Foxboro player Connor Longley went 1-4 with an RBI and former Sharon pitcher Nate Pederson picked up the win with 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief as Keene State beat Western New England on Monday. Longley, a freshman first baseman, has stepped right into the lineup and is batting .310 with a homer and 19 RBI. Pederson, also a freshman, is now 1-1 and has struck out six batters in 13-2/3 innings this season.
Junior third baseman Mike Slaby went 3-6 and scored a pair of runs for Lesley University in an 11-4 win against Mitchell College on Sunday that clinched the Lynx the fourth seed in the upcoming NECC Baseball Championship. In 34 games this season, the former Foxboro High player is batting .388 (good for second on the team), has scored 19 runs and picked up 16 RBI.
Former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Max Lancaster went 3-9 for MIT in a doubleheader sweep of Wheaton College that earned the Engineers their second straight NEWMAC regular season title and top seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Attleboro grad is batting .278 on the season and has three homers and 17 RBI in 20 games played.
Former North Attleboro player Dylon Grzenda drove in a pair of runs with a single to left as part of a four-run fourth inning that lifted the University of New Haven to a win against Saint Anselm on Monday. The freshman infielder has hits in five of his last eight appearances.
Another former Rocketeer, Matt Hardy, went 1-3 with a pair of RBI to help Nichols College earn a spilt of a doubleheader with Western New England on Sunday. The junior has a team-high .395 average and has driven in 19 runs this year for the Bisons. He has struck out only five times in 124 at bats and has scored 27 runs.
Junior pitcher Matt Nunes allowed three earned runs in 5-1/3 innings on Saturday to help Westfield State split a doubleheader with Fitchburg State. With the win, the former Taunton player improved to 2-1 on the season with an ERA of 5.04. Nunes also has one save this year and has struck out 29 batters in 25 innings of work.
Freshman pitcher Renee Poirier was named the Army Athletic Association Athlete of the Week and the Patriot League Rookie of the Week after going 2-0 in the last week with no earned runs allowed. The former King Philip player threw a pair of complete games for the Black Knights to beat Quinnipiac and Holy Cross. For the season, Poirier is 7-5 with an ERA of 2.21 and has struck out 60 batters. Opponents are only hitting .231 against her. Army has won 30 games and reached 10 league wins for the first time since 2013.
Last year’s Hockomock League MVP Kelly Reading went 2-4 with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases on Saturday to help Cedar Crest College (Pa.) to a 9-2 win in the second game of a doubleheader with Keystone College. The former Taunton and Franklin player is batting .355 this season with an OBP of .418. She also leads the team with 14 steals and has driven in 16 runs.
Former Mansfield player Bri Chiusano, a senior at Coastal Carolina, was named the Big South Player of the Week on Monday. Chiusano batted .619 last week, going 13-21, with two RBI and nine runs scored. In the process, Chiusano set a Big South career mark with 196 runs scored. She has at least one hit in 30 of the past 32 games and is now third in the league with a .394 batting average and second with 71 hits and 49 runs scored. She is also among the nation’s best in stealing bases with 141 for her career, including 25 this season.
Franklin Pierce ended its softball season with a loss to Stonehill on Sunday and a couple of Hock alumni closed out strong seasons for the Ravens. Senior Patricia Hansen, a former Mansfield player, finished with a record of 6-4 and an ERA of 3.16. She struck out 39 in 75-1/3 innings and threw eight complete games. Sophomore Samantha Bonvino, a Milford alum, batted .293 with a homer and 13 RBI.
Another former Scarlet Hawk continues to pitch well for the University of Kentucky. Former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Shannon Smith has made 14 appearances and nine starts for the Wildcats this season and has a record of 3-0 with an impressive ERA of 1.83. Smith, who won a pair of state titles for Milford, has struck out 72 batters in 42 innings and opponents are batting only .147 against her.
Senior Nicole LeBlanc became Lasell College’s all-time hits leader on Saturday with the 163rd base hit of her career during a doubleheader split with Rivier. LeBlanc, an Oliver Ames alum, had three hits and drove in four runs during a 9-1 victory in the opener and then added another RBI, the 100th of her career, in a 9-3 game two loss. LeBlanc is second on the Lasers in hitting this season with a .355 batting average and tops in slugging at .548. She has two of the team’s three homers and driven in a team-high 19 runs.
Former Oliver Ames player Lexi Soucie had a big day for Salve Regina against UMass Boston. On Monday, Soucie went 3-3 with two solo homers and drove in three runs to lead the Seahawks to a 7-5 extra innings win. She also went 1-3 with an RBI in the second game of the doubleheader. Soucie now has a team-leading four homers on the season and is batting .289. In the same game, Taunton grad Lauren Mitsiaris went 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored for the Beacons and in the second game added a hit and another RBI. In the second game, Sharon alum Kelsey Whiting pitched three innings of relief for UMass Boston, her longest outing of the season.
Although Simmons was swept in a doubleheader by Johnson and Wales, former Milford catcher Taylor LeBrun had a big day with a double and homer. She went 1-3 in game two and drove in three runs. Former North Attleboro player Mikaela Caracciolo also went 1-3 in game two with a bunt single. Caracciolo is hitting .375 this season and has driven in 19 runs. LeBrun has hit .317 in her freshman season with a pair of homers and 16 RBI and a .537 slugging percentage.
Sophomore Meg Colleran was named the Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week and UMass Co-Athlete of the Week after picking up a 4-0 record in five appearances in the circle with an ERA of .62. She tossed her sixth shutout of the season against George Washington and matched her career-high with eight strikeouts. She struck out 23 in batters in 22-2/3 innings. Colleran is 16-14 on the season with a 2.04 ERA and 112 strikeouts.
Hannah Smith of Attleboro tossed a complete game in a 2-1 loss for UMass Dartmouth against Keene State. Smith struck out four in the loss and moved her season record to 11-7 with an ERA of 2.59. In the second game of the doubleheader King Philip alum Maddie O’Gryzek went 2-4 for the Corsairs with a run scored and an RBI. She is batting .319 in her rookie season.
Former Milford player Caroline Fairbanks went 5-8 as Wheaton College split a doubleheader with Smith College on Sunday. She went 2-4 in the opening game (an 8-6 loss) and drove in a pair of runs. In the second game, Fairbanks went 3-4 and drove in another three runs. Fairbanks is hitting .427 this year with nine homers and 31 RBI. In the same game former Franklin player Rebecca Seifert went 1-3 with an RBI, as Wheaton rolled to an 8-1 win.
Former King Philip attacker Brandon King scored a hat trick for Clark University in a 14-8 win over Mass. Maritime that helped the Cougars reach nine wins in a season for the first time in program history. He added another goal on Wednesday in a loss to Springfield College. King, a freshman, is among the team leaders with 12 goals this season and he has also recorded an assist for Clark.
Former Franklin player Connor Trainor made 10 saves for St. Joseph’s College of Maine in a loss to Mount Ida. Trainor, a sophomore, has started all 15 games this year and has made 182 saves, including twice making 18 saves in a game (in losses to Johnson and Wales and the University of New England).
Former Sharon player Jake Rotman has played in 15 games this season for Salisbury University and has scored 15 goals and assisted on 11 others for the country’s No. 1 ranked Div. III team, according to LaxMagazine and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches poll. The senior midfielder has jumped from 12 points last year to 26 this season, as the Sea Gulls get set for the conference tournament final.
Alex Pacitti scored a first half goal for St. Anselm in a 14-8 win over Bentley that clinched the team a berth in the NE-10 tournament for the third time in the past four seasons. Pacitti, a junior midfielder from Foxboro, is tied for second on the team with 20 goals and has also chipped in with five assists in 12 games.
Nicole Ellin had a goal and assist, three draw controls, and forced two turnovers in Bard College’s loss to Rochester on Friday. The former Franklin lax and soccer star added a goal and three ground balls in a loss to RIT on Saturday. Ellin led the team with 25 goals and 31 points this season. She added 44 draw controls and 36 ground balls for the Raptors.
Mansfield alum Kristen Tuleja had two goals and three assists for Emmanuel College in a 20-8 win over Rivier last Saturday, Heading into the regular season finale this weekend, the senior midfielder has a team-high 54 goals and added 15 assists. In her four-year career, Tuleja has scored 206 goals and has recorded 77 assists.
Sophomore Jaimee Lutz has been on a scoring streak for Fitchburg State. The Foxboro grad has scored at least one goal in her last nine games, eight of those were wins for the Falcons. Lutz has 23 goals and eight assists on the season. Her former Foxboro teammate Carrie Long has also had a strOng sophomore season for the Falcons with 10 goals and an assist. Long scored two goals in a game twice, including two against Worcester State on Saturday, and has played in all 17 games.
Another former Foxboro player, Katie Notarangelo, had three draw controls in MIT’s loss to Babson College on Wednesday. Notarangelo, a sophomore midfielder, is fourth on the team with 41 points this season (35 goals and six assists). She is also third on the team with 29 ground balls and second with 45 draw controls.
Former King Philip player Alyssa DeLuca has scored 16 goals in the last five games for Illinois Tech, including four against Concordia Chicago and then a hat trick against Benedictine on Wednesday. DeLuca has scored 49 goals this season, 17 more than the team’s next top scorer, and also has four assists. She is also third on the team with 25 draw controls despite missing a pair of games in midseason.
Bridget Doherty scored a hat trick and added an assist for Lasell College in a big win over Albert Magnus on Tuesday. It was the second straight hat trick for the Franklin alum, a senior midfielder, who also scored three goals against Johnson and Wales. Doherty has scored 20 goals in 15 games this season and also has 16 assists.
Canton grad Sam Sullivan scored five goals in Plymouth State’s 13-7 win over Southern Maine on Wednesday. The sophomore attacker has scored a team-high 40 goals this season and added five assists for the Panthers. It was the second time this season that Sullivan notched five goals in a game and she also scored six against Lasell in March. Fellow sophomore Jordyn Kim of Sharon has played in 12 games this season and has chipped in with a goal.
Two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Marta Versprille scored a pair of goals for St. Anselm College against Assumption on Wednesday. It was the fourth straight game with at least one goal for the sophomore midfielder, who is fourth on the team with 13 goals this season. She also has four assists and is second on the team with 24 draw controls, tied for third with 17 ground balls, and tied for the team lead with 17 caused turnovers.
Salve Regina senior Abby Tepper closed out her collegiate career with two goals and two assist in a loss to UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday. Tepper was tied for second on the team with 23 goals and added five assists. She was also second on the team with 35 ground balls and tied for fourth with 10 caused turnovers. Former Attleboro player Kerri Beland started nine games this season for Salve and had 18 ground balls and six draw controls.
Foxboro alum Ellen Decker scored a pair of goals and had two assists in Southern New Hampshire’s loss to New Haven on Wednesday. The junior midfielder has scored 24 goals and assisted on 18 others this season, good for fourth on the team in scoring. She is also third on the team with 39 draw controls. Another former Foxboro player, freshman Mary Beth Sweeney, has played in all 16 games for SHNU this year and has scored seven goals and had three assists in her rookie campaign.
Westfield State senior captain Blair Smith of Milford scored from 10 yards out with 1:10 left in overtime to hand the Owls a 12-11 victory over Bridgewater State on April 19. Smith is tied for second on the team with 20 goals this season. Olivia Overdahl, another former Milford player, has played 14 games and scored two goals in her freshman season. Liz Navoni, a freshman from Mansfield, has scored four goals in 13 games this year and Maria Woodall, a freshman goalie from King Philip, has played in six games and made 11 saves.
Providence College senior Alana Prinos, a Foxboro grad, closed out the regular season by helping the Friars top doubles team earn a point in 6-1 loss to Seton Hall that closed out the regular season. Heading into the Big East Championships, Prinos has a career singles record of 46-44 and doubles record of 46-43.
Emma Prinos of Foxboro picked up a point at second doubles for Stonehill in a narrow win against Hartford on April 17. Prinos teamed with fellow sophomore Victoria Barbetta for a 7-5 win in the final regular season match.