Franklin Falls To Barnstable In D1 State Semifinal

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Franklin’s Lily Galluccio (7) and Maggie Doyle go up for a block against Barnstable’s Riley James. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a battle of two of the top teams in the state of Massachusetts, the Franklin volleyball team gave everything the Barnstable Raiders could handle.

The Panthers, who secured the Central-West sectional title in a dramatic five-set win, push the Raiders, champions of the South sectional, to the limit. But ultimately, Barnstable made one final run to come away with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) win and a return trip to the D1 State Final.

“I couldn’t really ask for more,” said first-year Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth. “They knew they’d have to be matched up with [Barnstable] eventually so why not the state semifinals? We prepared them the best we could for them, and for [Barnstable outside hitter] Riley James. We knew blocking was going to be key today, and we had some really good moments for our blocks, we just needed a little bit more. But honestly, what the girls did, how hard they worked, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Raiders are a perennial power in the state, having won the D1 State title 13 times since 2000 and entered Tuesday night’s match without having lost a single set this year. While that didn’t change, Franklin gave Barnstable its toughest test of the season and scored more points (62) against the Raiders than any other team has in 2018.

“They are a good team,” said Barnstable head coach Tom Turco of the Panthers. “They have quick, fast athletes and they have nine seniors. We haven’t been pressed like that [this season]. We’ve played a lot of really good teams and they are one of them.”

Barnstable skated to a win in the South Sectional Final, beating New Bedford 25-3, 25-8, 25-16. It didn’t take long to see that Franklin was going to be a much bigger challenge.

Each time the Raiders tried to pull away in the first set, Franklin stuck around. Kills from Ellie Wisniewski, Allyson Bonnet-Eymard, and Hailey Sanders each answered a point from Barnstable to keep the deficit at three. Barnstable built a six point lead at 16-10, but a 4-1 run from the Panthers again made the lead three points.

But Barnstable senior Riley James, the state’s all-time leader in kills, showed off her skill. She had four kills (in the final eight points, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. James finished with a season-high 24 kills in the match.

Franklin continued to battle in the second set, with six ties over the first 16 points, including at 8-8. Barnstable attempted to pull away at 12-9 but Franklin responded with a 4-1 run to knot the score at 13, getting a big kill from Maggie Doyle.

The Panthers got a nice kill from Wisniewski from the back row after a nice dig from Riley Marino to pull within one at 18-17 but were forced to call timeout when the Raiders won the next point. Barnstable went up 22-19 on a kill from Ingrid Murphy (16 kills) but Sanders landed a kill from the middle to get within two. After Barnstable went back up by three, the Panthers forced a hitting error to make it a two pint game again.

But once again, James was in the front row when the Raiders needed her most and she had two kills over the final three points to put Barnstable up 2-0.

“We wanted to have four hands on [James] at all times,” Weymouth said, We wanted two girls to block her wherever she went. We were right there…right there. But it is what it is, the girls worked so hard, they did great.

Barnstable went up 3-0 early in the third set but Franklin refused to fold. Franklin won seven of the next eight points to seize a 7-4 lead, highlighted by kills from Doyle, Sanders and Bonnet-Eymard — all on assists from senior Lauren McGrath.

Franklin kept its lead, and stretched it to 14-10 on a big block from senior Lily Galluccio to force Turco to take a timeout. The Panthers let Barnstable back in the game with three errors over the next four points to knot the score.

But Bonnet-Eymard sandwiched a pair of kills around a nice kill from McGrath to give Franklin a 19-16 lead, and again forcing a timeout from the Raiders.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Panthers led 22-19 after a kill from Doyle, and 23-21 after a service error from the Raiders, and were on the verge of giving Barnstable its first set loss of the season. Franklin’s Doyle and Sanders found a lot of success attacking from the middle spot.

“We knew coming that [Barnstable] wasn’t very effective from the middle,” Weymouth said. “Our middles were super effective I thought. You can only run your offense so well if your serve receive is in system. There were times when we wanted to run the middle but the serve receive was a little off and we were forced to go outside. But our middles were huge, they were unstoppable when they were swinging. I’m so proud of these girls for making it this far.”

A kill from Murphy and a Franklin hitting error tied the game, and Murphy used a perfectly place push just over the net for the final point and the win.

Franklin volleyball finishes the season at 20-1.

Franklin Goes Five Sets to Win First-Ever Sectional Title

Franklin volleyball
Libero Riley Marino (5) jumps for joy after a Franklin point during the D1 Central/West final at Wellesley High. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WELLESLEY, Mass. – During a dominant regular season, Franklin was not pushed to five sets even once. In fact, the Panthers had only dropped three sets overall heading into the state tournament.

In three postseason games, Franklin has gone to five sets all three times and has won all three of them.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

That pattern held again in the Div. 1 Central/West final on Saturday evening at Wellesley High. Franklin cruised through the first two sets, demonstrating why the Panthers are still unbeaten, but then Shrewsbury rallied to win two straight and force a decisive final set. Franklin jumped out early to win the fifth set 15-5 and secure the program’s first-ever sectional title.

“You just have to work harder than the girls on the other side of the net, just want it, and I think it showed in the fifth set that they wanted it,” said first-year Franklin coach Kelsey Weymouth. “I’m beyond proud.”

Junior setter Lauren McGrath said, “We always have the energy but sometimes we doubt ourselves and we have to pick ourselves back up. We really proved that tonight in the fifth set; we came out strong.”

When asked how she felt to be the first Franklin team to win a sectional title, McGrath replied, “Amazing, I can’t even think right now. I’m blown away.”

Franklin was on a roll at the start of the match. The Panthers took their first lead at 8-7 of the opening set and never relinquished it, winning 25-22 to get the early advantage in the final. Defensively, the Panthers were tenacious, led by libero RRiley Marino, and didn’t allow the Colonials to find any rhythm.

“She’s a little spitball of fire,” Weymouth said of Marino. “Riley is probably one of the best defensive girls that I’ve seen in high school. She hustles every single ball, she’s always talking, she is always moving. Her heart is always in it.”

The dominant play continued in the second set, as Franklin took the lead at 9-8 and carried the lead all the way to a 25-21 win. Shrewsbury was struggling to keep up with the balance in the Panthers attack, which featured streaks from a number of hitters, including five kills in the second from Ellie Wisniewski and strong hitting in the middle from Maggie Doyle and Hailey Sanders.

The key to the Franklin attack was McGrath, who not only spread the ball around to all the hitters but always seemed to make the right decision as to who had the hot hand or who had the best look to beat the defense.

Weymouth said, “Lauren is good enough that she’ll put the ball to whoever is on. She does a very good job of spreading out the offense and knowing what time is right to go to what player.”

McGrath was asked how it feels to have so many weapons at her disposal as a setter and she responded, “It is the greatest thing in my life. I always get so excited. It’s awesome.”

Everything was going to plan for the Panthers until the start of the third set. It was as though a switch had been flipped and suddenly it was Shrewsbury dominating, the Colonials that never allowed a ball to hit the floor, and hitting every seam.

Franklin kept it close at first, trailing only 7-5, but then the Colonials rattled off five straight points to take control of the set. Peyton Arone subbed in for the Panthers to give the briefest of sparks, but Shrewsbury kept adding to its lead and won the set 25-17.

Any hope of the fourth set being different was put to rest quickly, as Shrewsbury raced out to a 9-2 lead. Serve-receive was a struggle, the Colonials were contesting every hit, and the Panthers couldn’t stem the momentum. Twice with Franklin hanging around, down by a handful of points, the teams put together long rallies filled with digs and great plays, but each time it was the Colonials that ended up with the point.

After Shrewsbury won the fourth 25-15, Weymouth gathered the team to refocus it on the task at hand – being the first to 15 points in the fifth. Whatever was said in that huddle seemed to work.

When the final set started, it was the Panthers from the start of the match that took the floor. Franklin pulled ahead 5-0 behind solid serving by Wisniewski and a kill from Allyson Bonnet-Eymard. Back-to-back kills by Doyle were followed by back-to-back kills by Lily Gallucio and a kill from Sanders. Suddenly it was 10-1 and it was Shrewsbury struggling to find any momentum.

“Having that first one under our belt gave them the confidence that we can do it,” said Weymouth. “I know going into a fifth set that we can do it. It was all on them.”

Wisniewski set up match point with a kill and Doyle finished it off with one of her own. The Panthers won the fifth set, the match, and the championship at a gallop.

Franklin (20-0) will advance to the state semifinal and will host perennial state power Barnstable.

Weymouth never won a sectional title as a player during a standout career at North Attleboro. The closest that she came was as a junior, when the Rocketeers lost to Barnstable in the South final. Although it is a different experience as a coach, she is enjoying every minute.

“It feels pretty great,” she explained. “I had been in their shoes and I wanted it for them. It’s huge and they deserve it more than anything.”

Facing a team widely considered the best in the state is a challenge, but McGrath is relishing the chance to show that Franklin belongs in the conversation.

“It’s the craziest thing,” she said. “We want it so bad. At the beginning of the season, we knew we’d be that strong team and we’re going to go out there and prove that we’re a damn good team.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Sunday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/04/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
D2 South

#5 Canton, 0 vs. #12 Dartmouth, 1 – Final

#6 Oliver Ames, 1 vs. #11 Walpole, 2 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

#9 North Attleboro, 0 @ #8 Hopkinton, 2 – Final

#13 Foxboro, 2 @ #4 Quincy, 1 – FinalFoxboro scored a pair of goals in the first five minutes of the second half to earn an upset on the road at Quincy. After a scoreless first half, Shane VandenBoom opened the scoring by heading in a cross from Matt Garcia just a minute into the second half. In the 45th minute, VandenBoom got his second goal by heading in a corner from Joe Cusack. Quincy scored in the 74th minute. Foxboro advances to the D2 South Quarterfinal and will visit #12 Dartmouth (10-8-1) on Tuesday at 6:00.

Girls Soccer
D1 South

#11 Franklin, 0 @ #6 Hingham, 1 – Final

D2 South
#3 Foxboro, 1 vs. #14 Medfield, 0 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Field Hockey
D2 South

#1 Foxboro, 2 vs. #8 Cohasset, 2 – Final (Cohasset wins 4-3 in shootout)Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Volleyball
D1 Central/West

#2 Franklin, 3 vs. #7 Concord-Carlisle, 2 – FinalFranklin survived an upset bid from Concord-Carlisle, escaping with 3-2 win to advance (25-10, 25-15, 21-25, 24-26, 15-13). Lauren McGrath set a program-record with 55 assists to put the offense in motion while Ellie Wisniewski (11 digs, three aces) had a strong game at the net with 21 kills. Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (eight digs) added 15 kills, Hailey Sanders finished with 11 kills, Maggie Doyle (four blocks) chipped in with eight kills, and Riley Marino anchored the defense with 21 digs. Franklin advances to the D1 Central-West Semifinal and will play the winner of #3 Hopkinton and #11 Shephard Hill on a date and time to be determined.

Franklin Clinches Kelley-Rex Crown With Sweep Of KP

Franklin volleyball
Franklin players celebrate after winning the first set over King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – First-year Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth didn’t talk about her team’s chance to clinch a league title before its big showdown with King Philip, so she wasn’t quite sure if they knew.

But based on how the Panthers played, especially early, it didn’t take long to figure out how prepared they were.

“That was the best volleyball I’ve seen them play,” Weymouth said. “I wanted them to just play volleyball today, so I didn’t say anything. The first time we played KP was a competitive match, so we knew it would be even more competitive this time around. We focused our practice yesterday to gameplan for [King Philip], we tailored it to their strengths we so we’d be prepared today.

“I just told them to play to have fun and play to win, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While Franklin had a dominant showing in the first set, the Panthers had to rally past a resilient King Philip squad in the second set, and fight through a close battle in the third set to secure the 3-0 win (25-11, 25-21, 25-16).

With the win, Franklin clinched the Kelley-Rex division title. It marks the program’s first Hock title since 2015 and first outright title since 2011.

After a back-and-forth opening, Franklin used a 9-2 run to break the game open. Leading 6-5, the Panthers got contributions from all over to take the lead.

Sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard had an ace early in the run, Maggie Doyle (six kills) and Ellie Wisniewski added a kill apiece, Lauren McGrath (24 assists) landed an ace, and Doyle and Hailey Sanders (nine kills, two blocks) up with an emphatic block to put the Panthers ahead 15-7.

After some back-and-forth, the Panthers went on another big run (10-4) to close out the first set. Bonnet-Eymard and Doyle had back-to-back kills, and Sanders and Emma Chase combined for a block to give Franklin the momentum. After consecutive KP errors, Franklin emerged with a 25-11 win.

That momentum carried over into the second set with Franklin jumping out to a 7-1 lead, but King Philip responded with some nice swings and a 10-4 run to tie the game at 11-11 on a kill from Catherine Waldeck.

With the teams tied at 16 apiece, KP rattled off three straight points, including a kill from Nicole Coughlan, to take a 19-16 lead and force a timeout from Franklin.

“We talk a lot about our side out percentage, and not letting one mistake bother us too much,” Weymouth said. “We can’t let one point against us turn into two, and two to turn into three. It’s all about focusing on the next play, and even if you don’t win that one, you move on to the next one. When we were down a couple of points, they didn’t let that get to them, and I think that helped us be able to come back.”

The Panthers came out of the timeout and quickly tied the game with Sanders sandwiching a pair of kills around a nice push from McGrath to knot the score 19-19.

Despite a timeout from KP, Sanders continued to have the hot hand and had a kill and a block kill (along with Chase) right out of the timeout to keep the momentum with the Panthers.

“Hailey played phenomenal for us,” Weymouth said. “She finished with nine kills total, and we’ve been working with her this season to get her to hit like that. We knew coming in she was a strong hitter, and now she’s taking what we’ve taught her and using it. I saw a new player in her today, the confidence was there, she was smiling, and she was swinging away.

KP tied the game with two straight points (21-21), but KP closed with five straight, including a kill from Peyton Arone (five kills) and an ace from Shannon Gray (three aces), to notch a 25-21 win and take a 2-0 lead.

The third set started 4-4, but Franklin went on another big run to create the separation it needed. The Panthers won 11 of the next 14 points to build a 15-7 advantage. Sanders, Arone, and Wisniewski had three straight kills, Gray had back-to-back aces, and McGrath got in on the action as well with a kill.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

A big block from Waldeck helped King Philip get within three (down 19-16), but that would be the final points for the Warriors. Franklin finished with a 6-0 run, including three aces from Bonnet-Eymard to ice the game.

“We knew KP had some good hitters coming in, so our net play was going to be important, we needed to dominate there,” Weymouth said. “We practiced on our double blocks, and we had to use those tonight. And on top of that, our defense needed to be strong, and it was.”

Franklin volleyball (12-0 Hock, 13-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when they host Mansfield. King Philip (7-5, 7-6) will try to bounce right back as they return to the court on Friday against Walpole.

Balanced Attack Leads Franklin Past King Philip

Franklin volleyball
Franklin’s Hailey Sanders connects on an attack in the second set against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – It doesn’t matter where Franklin volleyball is in its rotation on the court, first-year Panthers head coach Kelsey Weymouth is confident the offense can get it done.

Franklin’s balanced offense was on full display on Wednesday evening, with five players registering at least four kills to help the Panthers sweep visiting King Philip, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-16).

Senior Ellie Wisniewski (three aces) and sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (seven digs) tied for a team-high eight kills from the outside hitter spot, senior Hailey Sanders (two blocks) added five kills from the right side, and senior middle Maggie Doyle (three blocks) was responsible for four kills.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And on top of that, setter Lauren McGrath (27 assists, two aces) provided an extra offensive punch with five kills.

“No matter who is in the front row, I have confidence in them,” Weymouth said. “It’s a reassuring feeling knowing that whoever is up there, I have confidence they will put the balls down.

“And Lauren is a versatile setter, she knows how to run an offense, she knows when to put the ball to a certain player. Those four hitters [Sanders, Wisniewski, Doyle, Bonnet-Eymard] know how to work hard, find spots and put the ball down.”

The balance came in handy in an incredibly tight first set. Franklin’s largest lead was four points (three occasions) while King Philip led by three (9-6) early on. The set was tied on eight occasions, including at 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.

Bonnet-Eymard, Wisniewski, and Sanders each had two kills in the opening set. Holding a 21-20 lead, Bonnet-Eymard smashed down a kill to put the Panthers up by two. Back-to-back errors from KP pushed Franklin near set point. The Panthers had two errors of their own but clinched the set with a net infraction.

“In this environment, against a team like that, for the girls to come out and win that first was a big confidence booster,” Weymouth said. “We knew this wouldn’t be an easy game against KP, it never is. I told the girls that as long as they push every single point and make them do the work, we’ll be fine. We had to be ready for them to come back but the girls did a nice job staying on the attack.”

When KP had its largest lead of the opening set (9-6), Franklin responded with a 7-0 run to force a King Philip timeout. Two Warrior errors sandwiched a kill from Franklin’s Emma Chase to knot it 9-9.

McGrath caught the defense with a dump on the second touch for a kill, Bonnet-Eymard followed with an ace, and Wisniewski slammed down back-to-back shots for a 13-9 advantage.

“We were making too many errors early and we’re too good of a team to do that,” Weymouth said. “I think they just needed a deep breath and they did a nice job to rally back. We want our side out percentage to be high, we don’t want teams to go on runs.”

For Warrior head coach Kristen Guess, it was all about unforced errors in the opening set (12 errors).

“I definitely think the first two games we beat ourselves,” Guess said. “We made a lot of unforced errors, especially in the first game. It could have been a lot closer and it could have gone either way. We had a lot of miscommunication errors that we normally don’t do. We have a couple of young players on the floor that don’t have a lot of experience and I think that could have had an impact. I definitely think we need to communicate more.

“If we take the first game, then the momentum is with us and maybe we take the second game. But Franklin is a good team, they played well. You can’t take anything away from them. We could have played better, but it just wasn’t our night.”

The second set was just as close as the first one. A kill from McGrath and a KP error gave Franklin its largest lead of the match to that point (11-6). But the Warriors quickly rattled off a 5-1 run, including an ace from Grace Ely and a kill and ace from Nicole Coughlan to bring the Warriors within one (12-11).

But the Panthers responded by winning six of the next eight points. Wisniewski looked to have a kill an original attack but it was popped back up on a nice defensive play by KP libero Olivia Atkins. The ball floated back up by the net and Wisniewski reacted quickly, slamming the free ball back down for an 18-13 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Bonnet-Eymard ended the set with back-to-back kills to give the Panthers a 25-18 win and a 2-0 advantage.

The Warriors kept close through the early stages of the third set but Franklin was able to create enough separation with a 4-1 burst midway through. Doyle and Bonnet-Eymard had back-to-back kills, and the latter added an ace for an 18-11 lead. KP got within four (19-15) but the home side was able to finish the game off.

Riley Marino anchored the Panther defense with 10 digs. Ely had a team-high eight kills for the Warriors, Coughlan added seven kills, and Catherine Waldeck finished with six kills.

Franklin volleyball (2-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) hits the road on Friday to take on Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) is back in action on the same day when it visits Milford.