Franklin Edges King Philip To Win Hockomock Cup

Franklin field hockey
The Franklin field hockey team poses with the Hockomock Cup after beating King Philip in the final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 FRANKLIN, Mass. – With its second straight Kelley-Rex division title already in-hand, the Franklin field hockey team had their sights set on proving they were the best team in the league through the Hockomock Cup.

But just before the final week of the regular season, the Panthers’ season came to an abrupt halt when the high school went completely remote, forcing a two-week hiatus for athletics.

Not only did that mean Franklin’s final two games were canceled, it looked like the Panthers wouldn’t be able to compete in the league’s postseason tournament.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But the Franklin school committee and administrators from FHS came together, organized COVID testing for varsity athletes, and — after all the tests came back negative — athletics was back on.

The Panthers took advantage of their so-called second chance, capping their postseason run with a 1-0 win over King Philip in the Hockomock Cup final on their home turf field at Beaver Street.

“The fact that we got our season back was huge,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “It would have been super disappointing because this is probably one of the best teams I’ve had in years. It would have crushed me and the rest of the team if we weren’t able to continue so we are very grateful we were able to play tonight.

“I’ve actually coached a lot of this group since they were in the rec program. So to celebrate this and have them play the way they did tonight just makes me super proud as a coach.”

Franklin field hockey King Philip field hockey

The only separation between the top two teams in the Kelley-Rex division came off the stick of Franklin senior Amanda Lewandowski, finishing off a pass from classmate Sara Carney with just seconds left in the third quarter.










And when the Warriors threatened to equalize, Franklin senior goalie Neilee Hess came charging off her line to deny a partial breakaway chance from KP’s Grace Crocker midway through the fourth quarter to help secure the one-goal win.

“We made one mistake on defense,” said King Philip head coach Lisa Cropper. “We were trying to force everything to our right, their left, which is our strong side. The one time we didn’t, they got it in and deflected it in. But we had our chances, we had that breakaway in the fourth and couldn’t quite slip it past her, Neilee came up big on that one. We marked [Lewandowski] and we marked [Kaitlyn Carney] and we were trying to force to our strong side to keep them away from their strong side. Any time anyone was winding up for a shot, we had to have a stick on it and we did. But we just had one mistake, we didn’t quite force them [the way we wanted].

“I was hoping we could get to overtime. I felt like we had the advantage going into overtime or a shootout but we didn’t get that far so congratulations to [Franklin].”

After it a scoreless first half, it looked like the teams would head to the final 15 minutes without a goal but the Panthers finally broke through with 20.9 seconds to go. After a restart from the 25-yard line, Carney tossed a pass into the mix in front of goal and Lewandowski finished for a 1-0 lead.

Franklin field hockey King Philip field hockey

The Panthers had a good chance to double the lead in the 51st minute as sophomore Kaitlyn Carney intercepted a pass with the Warriors pushing numbers forward. Carney sprinted into the attacking half but KP’s last defender Ally Beltramini was able to break up the play, and then came in and cleared the ball before Lewandowski could latch onto it.

That defensive stop led the KP’s best chance to level the match as Isabelle Crocker raced onto a loose ball before firing a pass ahead for her sister Grace, who used her speed to get by the defense. With pressure from Franklin defender Molly Collins, Crocker unleashed a shot as Hess came charging out to close down the angle. Hess made the stop with the pad and Isabelle Crocker’s rebound attempt was just wide of the post.




“I think that just showcased her skills and how hard she’s worked as a goalie,” Michelle Hess said of her daughter Neilee. “She’s very lucky this season to have the players in front of her that she did. So she didn’t face as many shots as some of the other goalies in the league but when it was crunch time, when it was critical, Neilee stepped up and got the job done.”

Both teams opened the contest with a chance to score right away. First it was Kaitlyn Carney, weaving her way through the KP defense but her shot was denied by KP keeper Makenzie Manning (13 saves). On the other end, Abby Nixon knocked down an aerial clearance attempt but her shot from in close was turned aside.

Both defenses stole the spotlight throughout the first half, limiting the opposing offenses to few genuine scoring chances, allowing their keeper to see any shots from distance.

“If you can stop their transition…their forwards are so fast,” Hess said of the defensive gameplan. “But my fullbacks kind of matched them speed-wise so we kind of knew we were pretty safe there with them trying to get through the midfield and pushing forward.

“Their defense was very good. We talked at halftime about how we were trying to do a lot of things individually, we were trying to penetrate the defense individually. That’s not our strength, we’re much better when we play together as a team so we had to go to our passing game. We were getting into the circle and they had three girls on them right away. We tried getting it down low…and one of our strengths is using Sara Carney at the top. So we tried to get it down low to shift the defense and then get it back out to Sara, and sure enough, that’s how we scored the goal.”

Just seconds before the halftime whistle, Manning stood tall on a rocket of a shot from Kaitlyn Carney to keep things scoreless. Five minutes into the second half, Sara Carney had a big shot kicked away as well. Alongside Beltramini, Morgan Cunningham, Lily Brown, and Kelly Holmes anchored the KP defense.

On the other side, juniors Kendall Jones and Kate O’Rourke were rocks in the back for the Panthers.

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It was just the third time this season that Franklin was limited to two or fewer goals; the first two times also came against KP back in week two of the regular season.

“I’m extremely proud of how they progressed and how well they played in this big game,” Cropper said. “There was a lot of adversity that everyone had to deal with and the kids did a phenomenal job. And I’m so appreciative of the ADs for their efforts to put this all together.”

Franklin field hockey finishes the season at 11-0-2 while King Philip finishes at 8-3-3.

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King Philip Edges Foxboro In Hock Cup Opening Round

King Philip field hockey Mary Collins Ally Beltramini
Foxboro’s Mary Collins (left) battles for possession with King Philip’s Ally Beltramini. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 WRENTHAM, Mass. – The King Philip field hockey team was awarded a penalty stroke with just over a minute to go in the first half, and appeared to take the lead on Abby Nixon’s shot from the spot.

But the ball ended up on the outside of the cage, dropping through an open spot in the net and the officials disallowed the goal, and the teams headed into the halftime break in a 1-1 stalemate.

That was all the motivation that King Philip needed.

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The hosts, the second-seed from the Kelley-Rex division, went on to score once in each the third and fourth quarters to earn a 3-2 decision over the Davenport division’s third-seed Foxboro.

King Philip field hockey Foxboro field hockey

“We tried to make that a lesson in adversity and wanted to bounce back from it, and they did so very nicely,” said King Philip head coach Lisa Cropper. “We had a goal taken away, that should fire them up and they should want to go out and get another one, and they did. I’m really happy with how they responded.”

King Philip had a handful of chances throughout the first as a result of strong passing sequences. Just over five minutes into the second half, Lauren Barierro started an attack with a pass to Sydney O’Shea — a duo that would link up again later for the game-winner — who quickly passed the ball along to Paige Berdos but Foxboro goalie Hannah Trombly was quick off her line to divert the breakaway bid.

Just minutes later, KP seniors Grace Crocker and Abby Nixon linked up on a perfect give-and-go with the former firing a shot from in close that was denied point-blank by Trombly to keep the game level late in the third.

But the host Warriors were persistent, and Crocker and Nixon combined again just minutes later but this time Crocker stayed with the loose ball in front after Trombly’s first save and buried the rebound to make it 2-1.










“We totally knew this would be a close game, back-and-forth, 100-percent,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “Their speed definitely made a difference. Our mids played a little high and I think they were a little gassed and they were able to get by. I have a good defender which is great, but you can only give them so many chances. But also had how many opportunities to make something happen in the circle? You have to take advantage of those opportunities.”

King Philip field hockey Foxboro field hockey

Foxboro’s best chance to equalize came in the final minute of the third off the stick of senior Ella Waryas but her bid slid just wide of the post.

King Philip struck again just before the midway point of the fourth, what looked to be a key insurance goal turned into the game-winner for the hosts. This time O’Shea raced up field and rifled a low pass across the face of goal and found Barierro alone for a one-time hit into the back of the net.

“I think we wore them down a bit,” Cropper said. “My top line is really coming together with Grace, Abby, and Izzy. They are getting to be like sonar…they know where each other are going to be. Their goalie played pretty well, she came out nicely and did a good job. I was a little concerned our kids would get worn out playing that style but we’ve been running hard for over a week to get ready for this because I knew it was going to be a track meet.”

Foxboro didn’t go down without a fight, cutting the deficit back down to one less than two minutes after Barierro’s goal. Freshman Mary Collins, who had the opening goal in the first quarter, centered and sophomore Dylan Rappoli deflected the chance into the back of the net to make it 3-2.

But from there, it was a lockdown effort by the King Philip defense, anchored by Ally Beltramini, Morgan Cunningham, and Kelly Holmes, in front of goalie Makenzie Manning.

King Philip field hockey Foxboro field hockey

“We were playing very good defense,” Cropper said. “We were marking where we were supposed to be, pressing where we were supposed to be. The two times they scored, we kind of mishandled the ball and got into the circle and created a crazy shot, a crazy bounce…it’s one of those things that you see in a tournament game. So you have to make good on your chances so that those types of things don’t kill you.”

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Collins gave Foxboro the lead with a goal in the ninth minute. A restart from Molly McElhinney found Waryas, who used her speed to race past a pair of defenders and lifted a shot towards goal where Collins was able to redirect the shot with her stick over the goal line.

King Philip answered just two minutes into the second quarter to level the game. A great effort from Nixon tracking back led to an interception, and she quickly passed it wide to Isabelle Crocker, who raced down the right side before firing a cross into the circle. The ball came back out to Crocker, who had her first shot denied but then tucked the rebound in to make it 1-1.

King Philip advances to the semifinal round of the Hockomock Cup and will take on Davenport division champion Oliver Ames, who took down Mansfield in the opening round. KP and OA will clash later this week on a date and time to be announced.

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