2018 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

2018 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview
Franklin won another league title in 2017 and the rest of the Hockomock will be trying to bring down the Panthers as a new season gets underway. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 2-16
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Kevin Patton

Attleboro went into 2017 with an inexperienced lineup and first-year head coach Kevin Patton tried to bring together a roster that had essentially never played together at the varsity level. With all but two players back for this spring, Patton is expecting the Bombardiers to be improved in all facets of the game and to be more competitive in the league.

Leading scorer Kyra Lyons is back for her third varsity season and the junior midfielder will be a key player, as the Bombardiers look to improve on last season’s league-low 88 goals. The offense will be bolstered by senior Emily Patton, who is a four-year varsity player, and fellow senior Alison Wall. Junior Alex Compton will also be back for a third season to make an impact for Attleboro. On defense, seniors Graycen Cassidy and Kim White will provide much-needed leadership for a unit that allowed 273 goals last year.

“Because we only lost two players to graduation last year, we have a lot of varsity experience on both sides of the field,” Patton said. “I am looking for the upperclassmen to take a leadership role and am looking forward to seeing the girls in essentially their second year all playing together on varsity.”

Canton

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Laurie Chabot

Canton has a new coaching staff this season that will try to build on a talented crop of underclassmen to get the Bulldogs back into the postseason. Laurie Chabot has taken over this spring and the coaching staff is excited to get the season underway and see what this Bulldogs roster, which has only three seniors, can accomplish.

Senior midfielder Molly Colburn will be the leader for the Canton attack this season, while fellow captain Colleen Boucher provides vocal leadership in the defensive zone to keep everything in check. Senior Jess Powers is still battling an injury, but Canton has a host of younger players that can step in, including juniors Maggie Connolly, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Maggie Malloy, and Leah McLellan and sophomore Alexa Maffeo, who all had success with their winter teams.

Chabot said, “With three seniors (all captains) we are looking at a young but skilled and talented group of girls. With speed and a strong stick skillset our girls are ready to compete.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 17-5
2017 Finish: Reached D2 East Final
Coach: Brittany Sherry

Last season, Foxboro reached the Div. 2 East final for the first time in program history, continuing the program’s upward trend as one of the top D2 teams in the state. The loss to Walpole in the final has left the Warriors, who had only four seniors on last year’s roster and return 10 starters, wanting more and the team comes into a new season experienced, battle-tested, and loaded with talent, including 2017 league MVP Sophia DiCenso, who in her two varsity seasons has already made quite an impression with her all-around game.

Joining DiCenso in the potent Foxboro attack is fellow junior Meghan Curran, who is coming off a breakout season and is capable of finishing against the best defenses. Senior Caroline Boudreau returns as one of Foxboro’s biggest threats on the draw and classmate Christina Rogers is back to lead the defensive unit, which is an aggressive group that puts a lot of pressure on the opposition. Sophomore Sara Addeche is back in goal after a very strong rookie season.

“Going into this year we’re looking to pick up where we left off,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “Losing to Walpole in the sectional finals left us wanting more. These girls are ready to progress to the next level. They’ve dedicated their off-season and preseason to preparing our comeback.”

Franklin

2017 Record: 22-2
2017 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

Franklin has emerged not only as the top program in the Hockomock League but in recent seasons as one of the top programs in the state. The Panthers have won the Div. 1 East title in three of the past four seasons, although they have yet to find a way past the state semifinal and get the opportunity to play for a state championship. Despite being a team loaded with underclassmen again this spring, Franklin comes into the new season once again as the team to beat in the league and with state title aspirations.

Reigning Underclassman of the Year Annie Walsh is back to spearhead the Franklin attack and create scoring opportunities for herself and for her teammates. One of the teammates that benefits is her sister Erin. The sophomore is a creative finisher around the crease and will be a top scoring threat again this year. Sophomore Gianna Cameron is back in goal for the Panthers after an impressive rookie campaign and senior Grace MacCallum is back to lead Franklin’s stingy defensive unit. Sophomore Kelsey MacCallum will be a player to watch in the midfield, while freshman Katie Jones is a newcomer that could make an instant contribution.

“We are definitely still young, but now our youth has experience,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “The team is doing a great job so far of playing fast, smart and together. We have some excellent leadership in our senior class, and we are working hard every day to get better!”

King Philip

2017 Record: 10-11
2017 Finish: Reached D1 East Semifinal
Coach: Kourtnie Wilder

It was an up-and-down spring for King Philip in 2017, but it certainly finished on a high as the Warriors pulled off a pair of upsets in the state tournament to reach the Div. 1 East semifinal and a rematch with rival Franklin. The Warriors will have a new coach, Kourtnie Wilder takes over this season, and a number of returning players to make a run at unseating the Panthers from the top of the Kelley-Rex division, including senior attacker Katie Crowther, who comes into the season with more than 200 goals for her career.

One of the strengths for KP this season will be the defense, which is loaded with experience and vocal leaders. Christina Hathaway and Victoria Tormey will be the key defensive returners along with Caroline Watson, who has been one of the league’s top goalies for the past two seasons. The midfield will chip in on defense and help Crowther in the attack. Dana Truini, Alli Meehan, and Caroline Klim will all be back to solidify the midfield unit.

“We are going into the season with a clean slate and working to improve each week and being focused at practice,” said Wilder. “This is a hard-working and dedicated team and it will be exciting to see their hard work pay off.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 10-9
2017 Finish: Reached D1 East First Round
Coach: Alexis Kobey

Mansfield got back into the tournament last season and gave Bishop Feehan all it could handle in the first round. The Hornets come into this spring motivated by unfinished business, as they look to not only get back to the postseason but also to make a deep tournament run. The first week of the season will provide a good early test with Mansfield facing Natick, Sharon, and North Attleboro, all 2017 playoff teams, right out of the gates.

The Hornets return four seniors from last year’s team and they will be expected to provide the leadership to push a talented group of juniors. Ann Maher will be back to add steel to the midfield and will try to get the ball forward to senior attacker Lauren Whitman and junior Katie Garvin. The defense will be as strong as its ever been, according to head coach Alexis Kobey, anchored by senior Danielle Skinner and with senior Hannah Sternberg back in goal.

“Making the tournament last year but losing by two to Bishop Feehan, we are definitely coming into the season with a bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Kobey, “and want to improve on our record from last year and want to make it deeper into the playoffs.”

Milford

2017 Record: 4-14
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Tim Dowd

In his second year in charge, Milford head coach Tim Dowd said that his team is focused on trying to outwork teams this season and to be “scrappy on the field,” as the Hawks look to make a move up the standings and compete with what has developed into a very deep league. The Hawks return several key players and have a few freshmen that will be added to the mix and given the opportunity to contribute right away.

Junior Emily Haley is the leader of the attack and Dowd said that he is expecting her to “have an incredible season.” Joining Haley in the midfield and attack are senior Jadyn White, junior Brianna Maietta, and sophomore Annie Flanagan. The defense has several players back from last season, including seniors Emily Condon and Alexa Lancisi, who provide the necessary vocal leadership to keep the defensive unit organized. Dowd added that there are a number of underclassmen that will play important roles this season, as the Hawks use their team speed to cause problems.

“We’re looking to be the team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field,” said Dowd. “One of the things I’m looking for is improvement every day. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 13-7
2017 Finish: Reached D2 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Colleen Carchedi

North Attleboro has achieved quite a bit in the past few seasons, including its first home playoff game and its first playoff victories, and new coach Colleen Carchedi, who comes over from Sharon after achieving similar success in building that program up, is hoping to continue the Rocketeers’ upward trajectory. North will have a tough non-league schedule to prepare itself to make a deep tournament run.

One of the key players that North will rely on this season is senior midfielder Mackenzie Rosenberg, who was in the league MVP conversation last season and has been one of the league’s top scorers for the past two seasons. Senior Alaina Mello and senior goalie Kayla Moulin will lead the defensive effort along with classmate Caroline Vigorito. North will have plenty of speed to call on in the midfield this season with senior Julia Tolfa and sophomores Katie Lindstrom and Lindsey Spratt. The attack will be led by seniors Camille Pizarro and Julia Dakin, who are part of a very experienced roster that wants to lift North beyond the second round for the first time.

“These girls have been working really hard in the off-season and we are not willing to settle,” said Carchedi. “I have found that this team plays with passion and if we can continue to play with that energy and determination we are up for a great season.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 8-12
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Nicole Lang

Oliver Ames is another developing program that has added depth to the Hockomock League in recent seasons and the Tigers are poised to make a breakthrough into the postseason as first-year coach Nicole Lang takes over this spring. While the coach is one of several new faces for the Tigers this season, Lang believes that OA will be able to build on its successes from the past few years to continue building the program.

Senior goalie Ariana Waldorf, fresh off a trip to Israel this winter to help spread the game of lacrosse, will be back between the pipes this spring for the Tigers, one of many talented goalies across the league. Chloe Kilkelly and Olivia Piazza, who was named to the HockomockSports.com Second Team last year, will provide leadership and be counted on to step up in all phases this year.

Lang said, “Our girls have been preparing harder than ever for the upcoming season. We have a lot of new faces to the team and are looking to our seasoned players to lead the way to a potential playoff berth.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 15-5
2017 Finish: Reached D1 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Shara Ginthwain

Sharon has been a program on the rise for the past several seasons, including best-ever second-place finishes in the Davenport division, the program’s first playoff appearance, and last spring the Eagles added a first playoff win as well. While Sharon will move on this year with a new coach and without leading scorer Alex Rabb, the Eagles still have the talent to make a run at the postseason and new coach Shara Ginthwain has been an assistant at Sharon for the last three years, so it should be a smooth transition for the players.

Senior Sabrina Robbins is back to add dynamism to the midfield in both defense and attack and she will be joined by junior Emma Eberhardt, who adds speed, size and finishing ability from the middle of the field. Senior Abbi Solomon is back in the attack and junior Bridget McManus will be back in the heart of the defense. With 10 returning players, experience will be a strength for the Eagles, particularly on the defensive side where goalie Rose Wald also returns. Freshman midfielder Jenna Goldstein is a newcomer to watch for Sharon this year.

“Having our first playoff win in program history last season really lit a fire for a lot of these girls, it’s clear that the girls put in a lot of work in the off-season and they are ready to go!” Ginthwain said. “The girls are really motivated to work hard and to win. They are determined to be competitive in the Hock and into playoffs.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 7-11
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Kerry Northup

Taunton is still a relatively young program and it enjoyed its best season in 2017 with seven wins, including a pair of wins in the league, and now the Tigers are going to try to build on that despite the loss of several players that had significant impacts. The focal point for Taunton this spring will be freshman midfielder Alana Tavares, who put together a stellar rookie campaign as an eighth grader and was one of the league’s leading scorers.

While much of the attention will, deservedly, be on Tavares and the attack, senior goalie Lorna Li is also back to give the defense some solidity after a really strong junior season. Seniors Hannah Moniz, Diana Brens, and Kayla Phillips will also be back to try and chip in with goals and leadership, while sophomore Kamryn Li could take on a larger role after the graduations of Abbey Kingman and Delaney Powell. Freshmen Anastasia Lajoie and Rosemary McGrath also saw time with Tavares as eighth graders last year and could step in to contribute more this season.

“We lost some talented seniors but have a lot of promise in some of our younger players,” said Taunton coach Kerry Northup. “We are excited to see what they can bring to the team this year.”

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview
Sophomore attacker Sophia DiCenso (1) and Foxboro will be favorites for a sixth straight Davenport division crown this season but will face tough challenges from North Attleboro, Sharon, and Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

Attleboro

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.”

Canton

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

2016 Record: 16-5
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Semifinal
Coach: Brittany Sherry

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.”

Franklin

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

2016 Record: 12-10
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Julie Boudreau

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

2016 Record: 5-11
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Alexis Kobey

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.”

Milford

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.”

North Attleboro

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.”

Oliver Ames

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.”

Sharon

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.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 2-16
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Kerry Northup

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.”

Maher, Todesco Help Mansfield Ice Canton

Mansfield girls lacrosse
Julia Todesco (right) scored three goals and made several defensive plays to help Mansfield improve to 2-0 on the season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry

MANSFIELD, Mass. – The wind was whipping across Alumni Field on Wednesday afternoon and it felt more like the middle of the winter than the start of spring, but the turf was clear of snow and so Mansfield and Canton each took the field for the second time this season.

It took a little longer than usual for the two teams to warm up, the first half was dominated by turnovers and misplaced passes, but in the end the teams went right down to the wire. Seniors Caroline Maher and Julia Todesco each scored hat tricks for the Hornets to pull out a 10-8 victory and push Mansfield to 2-0 on the season.

Mansfield coach Alexis Kobey was not surprised that her upperclassmen led the way on Wednesday. She said, “Both Julia and Caroline played amazing. Claire Maroney anchored our defense back there…Those three are really the backbone of our team. They anchor everything for us.”

Things did not start well for the hosts. Canton opened the scoring nearly four minutes in when Caroline Hagen bounced a shot past Mansfield goalie Tori Lawlor. Jill Pulutchko answered off a feed from Katie Garvin to tie it for the Hornets two minutes later, but Canton came right back with the first of two goals by senior Casey Bradley, on an assist by Abby Colburn.

Todesco and then Maher went back-to-back for Mansfield to give the Hornets their first lead of the game at 3-2 but then Bradley tied the game and classmate Mary Nee smacked the post on a quick break. On her next chance, Nee went over the top of Lawlor (10 saves, seven in first half) to make it 4-3 Bulldogs.

Midway through the first half, Kobey made a change on the draws. She put Todesco on the initial draw and moved Maher up to the edge of the circle with Maggie Dunn and occasionally freshman Emily Vigeant to try and gain control. The switch worked and the Hornets won 8-11 draw controls in the first half and 14-20 for the game.

“We kind of switched it around to get different looks and Emily Vigeant, a freshman, we were trying to get her some looks on the draw,” said Kobey. “But Caroline is so good with those one-handed catches, she has such a good eye.”

Lawlor made a huge kick save to block a chance from Bradley with 9:25 left in the half and two minutes later Maher spun past her marker to tie the game at 4-4. Vigeant put Mansfield ahead at halftime, 6-4, with a pair of goals, the first of her career.

The first came off a turnover that she forced directly in front of Canton goalie Kathryn Doody and the second after she had earned a free position opportunity.

“Her first varsity goals, so that’s big for her,” said Kobey. “She was excited. Her and Katie Garvin are our two freshmen and they came right in and made an impact on the game.”

Canton came out of halftime with renewed energy and immediately got back into the game. Just 1:43 after the break, Colburn took advantage of a restart with Lawlor out of the cage and found Rebecca Eckler alone in front to make it 6-5.

Mansfield pressed forward looking to extend the lead but was denied by Doody, who made seven of her 12 saves in the second half, including four in the opening six minutes. Her stops allowed the Bulldogs to tie the game with 19:48 left on Nee’s second of the game.

“She had a great game; a few big saves,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor of Doody. “She really stepped up and had a great game.”

O’Connor added, “I thought they did a good job in the second half of kind of pulling it together. We’re still kind of early on in the season, so we’re still trying to work some things out.”

Mansfield took less than a minute to regain the lead. Todesco forced a turnover in the defensive zone and started a quick transition that went from Mary Folan to Dunn for a 7-6 lead.

Olivia Devoe answered right back for Canton from a free position chance, but then Todesco scored two in a row, both slicing across the Bulldogs’ defense, to put the Hornets ahead 9-7.

Maroney picked up a card and Canton had an extra player on the field, but the Bulldogs struggled to make the advantage pay. Finally, Nee made a steal on defense and sparked a quick transition. Bradley picked out Hagen in the middle and she cut the lead to just one with 10:57 left.

O’Connor said, “I think it took us a little while to figure out to double team on the man down, but they did a good job of starting to pressure. Our shooting – we hit the post a couple of times, had a couple of overthrows but overall I’m happy with how they played.”

As the clock wound down under six minutes remaining, Canton was probing for the tying goal. The Bulldogs had more than a minute of sustained pressure, but the Mansfield defense was staying with cutters and not allowing good looks. The one chance that the Bulldogs had was stopped by Lawlor.

“I think that’s what really saved us, making that save that gave them the extra confidence,” said Kobey. “When the goalie saved, they’re like yeah! When we went to the timeout, we had the lead and I told them it’s our game.”

Todesco made another play, this time on the defensive side of the game, when she scooped up a ground ball to end Canton’s possession. The play transitioned into the attack and Maher capped her hat trick with a finish that made it 10-8 with 5:17 to play.

The game was sloppy at times, but Kobey admitted that the conditions were at least partly to blame. She explained, “The cold conditions are tough because the blood’s not flowing a much and your hands are freezing and you can’t feel the stick.”

O’Connor is in her first year as head coach and has started with back-to-back losses to perennial power Franklin and now Mansfield. Despite the defeats, she is pleased with how the team is coming together.

She said, “Starting off with Franklin is difficult, but I was happy with how they came back and stayed in this game. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I was happy with the fight the whole game…baby steps.”

Mansfield will put its perfect (2-0) record on the line on Friday against King Philip. Canton will be looking for its first win on Friday when it hosts Taunton for the first time.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Girls Lacrosse: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2016

Kelley-Rex girls lacrosse
Franklin is once again the favorite in the Kelley-Rex with senior midfielder Emily Spath one of the key returning players. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 6-11
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jackie Beland

Attleboro comes into its third season of varsity play after winning  pair of Hockomock games last spring and six games overall. As the Bombardiers continue to develop, head coach Jackie Beland will be hoping that Attleboro can start climbing the standings and be competitive with the strong teams above it in the Kelley-Rex as well as with Taunton, which is beginning its first season in the league.

Attleboro will be led by its senior captains Katie Patton and Hannah Lamothe in attack and Sam Spaziano and Kayla Merritt in the midfield. Mish Logie will highlight the juniors, who will be stepping in to fill the void left by Kerri Beland’s graduation, and senior Amy Cadle will be back in goal this spring. Sophomore Grace Mayer saw some time last year as a freshman and could be ready for a breakout year.

FRANKLIN
2015 Record: 15-5
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

Franklin enters this season as it does just about every season, as the heavy favorite to win another Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers will need to replace the scoring and all-around game of Emily Jeffries, but have plenty of players that can step in to fill that production.

Senior midfielders Kenzie Pleshaw and Emily Spath will continue Franklin’s strength in the middle of the field and Sam Jones will be back to lead the defense. University of New Haven-commit Julia Jette will spearhead the attack along with junior Kendall Reardon, last year’s Underclassman of the Year.

Freshmen Annie Walsh and Halle Atkinson will also step into the lineup and show the future remains bright for the league’s top program.

Head coach Kristin Igoe, who has loaded the schedule this year with six of the top seven teams in the state, said, “We have a lot of talent, and when we put all the little pieces together, it is fun to watch. Our goal is to win the Hock and make it back to the sectional final.”

KING PHILIP
2015 Record: 10-11
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East first round
Coach: Julie Bourdeau

King Philip has been a perennial power in the Kelley-Rex division and will be hoping that a large pool of players that came out this spring will help the Warriors get back on top for the first time since it shared the title with Franklin in 2012. The key for KP this season is the senior class, especially in the midfield.

Jen Lacroix is back after a season in which she scored 60 goals and has been a four-year starter and draw control specialist for the Warriors. While Lacroix gets forward to score the goals, fellow captains Abigial Buchanan and Olivia Dort provide the defensive coverage in midfield. Defensively, KP will miss Rylie Dalzell, who is out injured, but Makenzie Nickerson is back after missing most of last season with an injury and fellow seniors Meghan Reilly and Francesca Tonelli will try to keep things away from KP’s freshman goalie.

In the attack the Warriors will turn to their underclassmen Katie Crowther and Angela Vellante and will also be bringing senior Katharine Yetman from defense to add another weapon up front. Head coach Julie Boudreau said, “We have a strong team this year, we are just looking to pull together a dynamic attack with multiple goal scorers…Last year we had a small team and didn’t have the opportunity to sub much-this year we will many different players in the midfield and on attack.”

MANSFIELD
2015 Record: 6-11
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Alexis Kobey

Mansfield got off to a strong start to last season, including an overtime win over Hingham that was later turned into a tie, but the Hornets could not sustain it and missed the playoffs. This year, Mansfield is looking to build on that and get back into the tournament behind senior attacker Caroline Maher, who was one of the league’s top scorers last year.

In addition the Hornets will count on seniors Julia Todesco and Claire Maroney and juniors Maggie Dunn, Maire Foley, Meg Lydon and Tori Lawlor. Head coach Alexis Kobey is also hoping that freshmen Emily Vigeant and Katie Garvin can steo right in and contribute this year.

Kobey said, “We missed out on the tournament and are ready to get back there (to the tournament) as well as really compete with a tough Hockomock league. Our key returning players are all seasoned veterans and we will be looking to them as the backbone of the squad.”

NORTH ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 13-6
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East first round
Coach: Mike Vitelli

Last year, North Attleboro had the program’s best ever season with 13 wins and a trip to the state tournament. The Rocketeers were knocked out in the first round, but come back this season with renewed energy and high expectations under first-year coach Mike Vitelli, who won five straight league titles and a sectional championship while at King Philip.

The Rocketeers will lean on UMass Lowell-commit Hana Caster for offense and senior goalie Brooke Ebert will be a key for the North defense, which promises to be much-improved this spring. Sophomore Kenzie Rosenberg has drawn praise from opposing coaches and will be a solid addition to the attack along with classmates Chloe Olsen, Julia Tolfa and Julia Dakin. Emily Schromm and Sam Taggart will join sophomore Alaina Mello to try and lock things down at the back.

Vitelli said, “There’s a lot to digest, but as I’ve told the kids it’s a marathon not a sprint. Mistakes we’ll make in March, April and early May should turn into great results come mid May and hopefully beyond.”

TAUNTON
2015 Record: n/a
2015 Finish: n/a
Coach: Kerry Northup

Taunton is opening its first season of varsity play (and already has recorded its first win with a blowout of Bristol-Plymouth), so its entire roster is filled with newcomers that will be learning on the job. Head coach Kerry Northup admits there will be bumps in the road, but that there is also a chance for the Tigers to “make a name” for themselves in the Hock.

Layne and Abbey Kingman and Delaney Powell will be the key players for Taunton in the first season and combined for 10 goals in the season opener. Hannah Moniz will be another player that the Tigers will be counting on this season. 

Northup said, “My goal for what I want my girls to accomplish this season is to come out hard and showcase what they’ve got…We know it may be a difficult season being our first year, so we are staying positive, keeping up the morale, and maintaining our resilience.”