By HockomockSports.com Staff
2021 Hockomock League Girls Soccer Preview
2020 Record: 5-5-5
Coach: Steve Santos
Attleboro has been on the brink of tournament qualification for the past several seasons, but narrowly missed out. Last fall’s team had the potential to end head coach Steve Santos’ wait to get back into the playoffs only for the pandemic to force an abbreviated season. After graduating the team’s leading scorers and playmakers (Bella Salviati, Jessica Gates, and Briley Harnois), the Bombardiers will count on new faces stepping in and giving them a chance to taste the postseason.
The Bombardiers will be hoping to build on a strong defense. Senior Olivia Calderone and junior Ella Stromfors will be the anchors in the heart of the back line and their leadership will be critical. Attleboro will miss senior Olivia Cook, who had a strong preseason at outside back but suffered an injury that will keep her out for the season. Junior goalie Alexis Campbell also has an injury at the start of the season but will hopefully be back soon to take over in net.
In midfield, Attleboro has several returning players who will be looking at slightly different roles this year. Junior Emily Dunlea is a dynamic and versatile midfielder and could be the team’s playmaker this season. She will get help from senior Emily Khang, who missed the 2020 season. Another skillful midfielder, Khang will give Attleboro an attacking boost. Sophomore Bethany Alves can play as a holding or attacking midfielder, depending on the situation. Up top, junior Kacey Parker and sophomore Jamie Davies will be counted on to make up some of the goals that were lost to graduations.
“We graduated a solid core of players who brought a lot to the team, so we’re trying to figure out who’s going to embrace those roles,” said Santos. “We have some good talented players who can keep the ball on the ground and play some solid soccer. We have some more to grow on and learning how to play aggressive, Hockomock soccer.”
2020 Record: 8-3-1
Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Last season, Canton edged Foxboro by a single point to win its first league title since 2012. The Bulldogs graduated a strong class of seniors, particularly in the midfield and the attack, but there is plenty of returning talent on both ends of the pitch and second-year coach Idris Seyonjo to feel confident of another title challenge this fall.
The attack will look very different this season after graduating prolific forward Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia (17 goals combined in 2020), but senior Gabriella Herivaux returns after scoring five times last year and could be poised for a breakout season as the primary target up top. Seniors Fay Gallery and Anne Hoban (who played at outside back last season) will also join in the attack and freshman Emma Cahill is a newcomer that could provide creativity in the final third. Sophomore Emily McCabe will step into the attacking midfield role and try to provide the killer pass from the center of the pitch.
Defense should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season with a mix of veterans and several incoming freshmen who could step in right away and contribute. Senior Allie McCabe continues to be the lynchpin of the Canton defense, commanding the heart of the back line with her strong play and leadership. There is plenty of experience in goal as well with senior Elyse Broderick back and healthy and junior Marissa Staffiere ready to step in, after being the starter all of 2020.
Seyonjo said, “Most important thing about this season is that I believe all teams are looking forward to what will hopefully be a normal season. I am excited. I look forward to my first full season as head coach. Every game will be different and we hope to be able to match or even better our performances from last season.”
2020 Record: 7-2-2
Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro was just a single point short of a three-peat last season, dropping to second in the Davenport behind Canton, and the Warriors will have a lot of new faces this fall as they try to get back on top in the division. The Warriors graduated 10 seniors, but still have a lot of varsity experience, especially in the midfield, that will make them a tough challenge for their title rivals.
Senior Kailee McCabe, the reigning league MVP, is back in the middle for the Warriors this season. The four-year starter tied for the team (and league) lead with 11 goals in 2020 but she may have to take on a bigger scoring role this fall with Jordyn Collins now at Bryant. She should have a lot of help in the middle of the pitch. Senior Brooke Barreira, junior Lauren Milley, and sophomore Erin Foley all played significant minutes last year and capable of the quick combination passing that has been a hallmark of Foxboro’s play. Senior Jordan Carman will bring her versatility to the forward line this season, after playing pretty much every position (including goalie) last year.
Defensively, senior Meghan Burke will be the leader in the back line. An aggressive, solid defender, Burke has regularly been tasked with marking the opponent’s best attacker. Sophomore Lindsey Resnick had a strong rookie season and will add some game experience to the defense. Senior Maddie Maher and sophomore Alexis Sougaris will be the goalies tasked with replacing Morgan Sylvestre between the posts.
Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said, “We had some major losses with our 10 graduating seniors last year, but I am very excited about this team and what I have seen from them so far and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do against the tough competition in this league.”
2020 Record: 6-4-2
Interim Coach: Jodi Klein
Long-time head coach Tom Geysen is dealing with a medical issue, so former JV coach Jodi Klein will take over this season and is emphasizing pressure high up the pitch and keeping possession in attack. Franklin returned to the top of the Kelley-Rex last season and Klein has an experienced squad to work with this fall, as they look to go back-to-back in what should be a wide-open title race.
The Panthers have built a lot of their recent success on a strong defense. This season should be no different. Junior Norah Anderson has been a mainstay in the heart of the back line for the past two seasons and she’ll be joined by junior Reilly Lorenzo and sophomore Maddie Horton. Senior Izzy Arnold and junior Katie Ewald give the Panthers speedy outside backs to provide width in attack and cover in the defensive third. Sophomore Rachel Welch will get the nod in goal after splitting time as a freshman and her reading of the game will help direct the defensive unit.
Franklin’s midfield has the potential to control games. Seniors Stella Regan and Chloe Barca and junior Bridget Leo bring plenty of experience to the middle of the pitch. Each are quick and solid in possession. Juniors Avery Greco and Chloe Stavely and sophomore Selene Hammad will step into the midfield to add depth. The Panthers will be looking to use the speed of the forward line to create chances. Senior Riley Fitzpatrick is the most experienced player up top and sophomore Anya Zub had three goals and four assists as a freshman. Freshman Kelly O’Connor is a new player to watch out for in the forward line.
“This is an exciting season for all of us,” said Klein. “I am a new coach to all of our returning varsity players and any of these girls who have played for me in the past have never played at the varsity level before. We are working through a brand-new system and style of play and we’re all very eager to see what we can accomplish together this season.”
2020 Record: 7-5-2
Coach: Gary Pichel
After graduating a large, talented group of seniors, including the top two scorers in program history, last year was bound to be transitional for King Philip, but it was also an opportunity for several players to step up into bigger roles. As it turned out, the Warriors had plenty of talent still on the squad and stayed in the hunt for a league title right to the final week.
The Warriors will be hoping last year’s game experience will pay off with a title challenge this season. The midfield should be a strength for KP. Junior Ella Pisani had a breakout 2020 season, showing off her skills as both a forward and midfielder and leading the team in scoring. She will be at the center of the KP attack again this year. Senior Paulina Baczkowski will give the Warriors width on the outside and delivers accurate crosses. Senior Morgan Norrman is an accurate passer who can push the Warriors into quick counterattacks.
Senior Brooke Mullins has improved every year in the KP defense, and she adds aggression and a willingness to get the ball forward quickly. After an impressive rookie year, junior Grace Lawler missed all of 2020 with an injury, but she is back and gives KP an instant upgrade in the back line with her ability to mark the opposing team’s best attacker. Freshmen Dani Lamuscio (midfield), Mikayla Thompson (defense), and Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn (defense) should make an instant impact and add extra energy for the Warriors this season.
“I see this team keeping up with our KP tradition of good old-fashioned hard work and dedication to the cause,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “Our team will be competitive in every game as we go through the gauntlet of the Hockomock League.”
2020 Record: 6-4-3
Coach: Kevin Smith
Mansfield entered the abbreviated 2020 season with a relatively inexperienced group, and it showed during the early parts of the fall, but the Hornets put things together quickly and finished only a point back of Franklin for the division title. With nine starters returning, including most of the defensive corps, the Hornets should be in the mix for the title again this year.
Although the Hornets will definitely miss the on-field leadership and versatility of senior Maria Sevastos, who was injured in the spring, Mansfield has plenty of experience in the back line. Senior Anna Darlington will be the leader in the defense alongside sophomore Kara Santos, who is coming off an impressive rookie season at centerback. Junior goalkeeper Olivia Salisbury brings two years of experience in net and classmate Caitlin Zajac is a capable backup.
Senior Katie Miller will control the middle of the field. A four-year starter, Miller provides an extra layer of protection for the back line and can get the Hornets into the attack as well. Up front, senior forward Tarynn Smith is a willing runner, who can give opposing defenses a physical challenge. Sophomore Carly Devine is a creative playmaker that will give the Hornets an offensive spark.
“We are still very young with only four returning seniors,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained, “but it’s a good core of players who have multiple years of varsity experience already.”
2020 Record: 3-6-3
Coach: Lou Colabello
Milford closed the 2020 season on a strong run, going 2-1-1 over its final four games that included two hard-fought games with Mansfield. Only three seniors are returning from last year’s roster, so the Hawks will be young this fall, but not necessarily inexperienced since many of the underclassmen stepped into the lineup last year.
The key to the Milford attack is junior Dani Atherton. She was the team’s leading scorer with eight goals last season (more than half of the team’s total) and most of the offense will flow through her feet. The Hawks will hope for more creativity and goals from the rest of the team, including juniors Brooke Ferreira and Amy Oliveira, a pair of players who can start up top or in the midfield. Junior Brianna Guerreiro is also back in the center of the pitch.
At the back, seniors Aubrey Korpi and Aislinn Bennett will provide much-needed leadership for this young crew and senior Jill Araujo can jump into the back line or help supply cover from the midfield. Junior Catarina Mestre is another returning defender from last season’s squad.
2020 Record: 5-5-3
Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro battled to a .500 record in 2020 and did it thanks to a strong defensive foundation. The Rocketeers allowed only 11 goals in 13 games last year and had five clean sheets. After graduating 15 players from that squad, and losing a starter to an injury, North coach Bill Wallace is enthusiastic about the potential for this year’s team to make a playoff push.
The Rocketeers return both of last year’s leading scorers. Senior Steph McKenna and junior Emma Pratt each scored five times last season and they will be counted on to improve those numbers with a full season (and without the restrictions that were in place in 2020). Behind the strikers, North’s midfield got a lot of experience last year. Senior Brayden Rice and junior Caroline Ferrin will be in the middle, while senior Autumn Hewitt and juniors Brooke Sullivan and Lily Adams provide the width.
Defense was a strength last year and it should be again in 2021. Senior Summer Doherty returns after missing a lot of last season with an injury. Her leadership and athleticism will be important in the middle of the back line. Seniors Meaghan Dowd and Charlotte Moynihan and junior Haley Sinacola make up the rest of the starting back four with junior Maddie Ferrin in goal.
“Right now, we are organized and making opponents work hard to develop their offense,” Wallace said. “Our goal is to play faster and with more urgency. The work rate is high, and the girls are looking forward to competing in the always tough Hockomock League!”
2020 Record: 8-1-5
Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames lost only once in 2020 and avenged that defeat by beating Canton in the Hock Cup final. The Tigers did draw five matches last season, but with eight starters returning, and several younger players who got valuable experience, OA will hope to turn those single points into two and bring home its first league title since 2016.
The Tigers pride themselves on being a tough team to break down and the defense should be stout again this fall. Senior Emily Meyers is back in goal and will be a vocal leader at the back. Senior Allison Evin moved from up top to the heart of the defense last season and her speed and understanding of the game made her a tough marker for opposing forwards to get away from, while juniors Mary Cross and Sophia Byron are looking to build off strong sophomore seasons. Senior Kyla Melton has transferred in from Milton Academy and her versatility will be a boost to the back line or in midfield.
Midfield will continue to provide cover for the back line with the likes of seniors Katie Gibson and Lauren Sellmayer not only giving the Tigers a physical, aerial presence, but also consistent delivery on set pieces. Senior Camryn O’Connor, a Boston University-commit, adds creativity to OA’s bite in the center of the pitch and will be a key to turning defense into attack. Junior Jenna Gilman will also provide playmaking and width and speedy sophomore forward Lucinda Cotter has been in good scoring form during the preseason.
“We have eight starters returning from last season, plus some younger players pushing for playing time,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “We are hoping our depth will be an advantage for our team this year.”
2020 Record: 2-8-2
Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Sharon won a pair of games in 2020, but was also competitive in several losses that showed there was potential for improvement heading into the new season. The Eagles will be young this year, particularly after a pair of preseason injuries cost them returning starters, including junior Sally Brouhard, but there is still reason for optimism about the athleticism in the squad.
The Eagles will lean on the midfield, as the most experienced group. Junior Sofia Goclowski stepped in last year and had an all-star-caliber season and will be the primary playmaker in the center of the pitch. Junior Amber Marcus-Blank is moving up from the back line and her aggression will be key to shielding the defense. Junior Olivia Soby combines physical presence with technical skills and will be an important piece to the attack.
Senior forward Wendy Wooden will be the team’s primary threat up top and her speed will stretch opposition defenses to open space for the midfielders. On the other end of the field, the Eagles will be very young. Senior Amanda Hu is the only returning player in the back line and she’ll be counted on to keep everything organized. Sophomore Jordanna Morris will add much needed speed and athleticism to the defense and already looks comfortable at the varsity level.
“We have a very young squad this year, but I am excited about our mix of talent and athleticism,” said Sharon coach Catherine Sullivan. “As always, the league looks to be extremely competitive, but we welcome the challenging matches that help us grow and continue to move our program in the right direction.
Hockomock League Girls Soccer
2020 Record: 0-11-1
Coach: Hermes Lima
Second-year Stoughton coach Hermes Lima is still looking for his first win, but he is confident that this year’s team has the right combination of skill and speed to give teams problems. The Black Knights are counting on increased depth and the pairing of experienced players and talented newcomers to get back in the win column.
One of the key players for Stoughton this season is junior Shayla Ford. Blessed with great speed, Ford can either stretch the opposition and attack the space behind the defense or drop into the Stoughton back line and give cover for her teammates. Freshman Makenzie O’Connor is going to step in up top and will add another dynamic element to the attack, while classmate Morgan Cook can slot in as a forward or in the back line to add aggression and a physical element. Junior Isabella Rodrigues gives the Black Knights speed on the wings and gives more speed for the forwards to run into.
The Black Knights will have experience in defense. Senior Abigail Durand is back in goal and provides vocal leadership for the back line. Senior Samantha Tran can play anywhere across the back line and her versatility is important. Junior Emma Tremblay and freshman Lauren Mitchell will both play in the center of midfield and can protect the back line or facilitate the Stoughton counter attack. Both can also slot in at central defense when needed. Junior Sabrina Rodrigues is another versatile player, jumping in at wingback or in the heart of the midfield.
“Every player bought into the culture last year and the new/returning players have bought in to every word/thing said and given to them this year!” said Lima. “The players are ready to fight for one another, represent their school and make this program proud of every achievement in their path. As a coach, I cannot ask anything else of them! This will be an intriguing but yet good step in the right direction for this program.”
2020 Record: 0-3-7
Coach: Mike Couture
Taunton coach Mike Couture only got four games to assess his team in 2020 before the season came to an abrupt end. Now in his second year, Couture is building around a young roster, composed mostly of sophomores, and is excited about the talent and the potential. The Tigers will be hoping to get off to a good start and end their wait for a nearly two-year wait for a league win.
Senior Isabella Anslow will be the leader of the defensive unit. She has been a busy goalkeeper in the past but has come up with several big games against big opponents. An example of that was being able to hold Mansfield to a scoreless draw in the first meeting between the teams last year. Junior Emily Calderon will lead the Tigers on the other end of the field. The forward is quick and experienced and she’ll be counted on to give Taunton a cutting edge in attack.
“This is a strong group and how quickly this good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start,” said Couture.