ATTLEBORO, Mass. – After two weeks off, first-year Attleboro coach Bri Bracken kept reminding her team that they needed to come out with energy on Tuesday night. She knew that the Bombardiers couldn’t be sluggish if they wanted to earn their first win over Foxboro since 2015.
Attleboro heeded its coach’s warning, pressuring the ball defensively, being aggressive on the glass, and attacking the paint on offense. With three players in double figures, Attleboro’s balance paid dividends in a 57-47 victory.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Bracken admitted. “I think in nine days we had two practices. I shot them a text them today and was like, we need energy. It’s our home court, it’s our first game in a while, we need this energy. If we don’t have it, then it’s going to be a tough game. Their energy was awesome.”
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs admitted that her team was “out-worked” in its first game back from the long layoff. “We just didn’t play with any urgency,” she explained. “When we play defense with a little bit of fire underneath us, then we’re okay but we were down by 15 at one point and we were playing like we were tied. There was no urgency at all.”
Meghan Gordon got Attleboro off to a great start by scoring 17 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, showing off her ability to create around the basket as well as improved range. She knocked down three from beyond the arc in the opening half, while adding 10 rebounds, four blocks, four assists, and three steals.
“She’s a hard matchup for us because she’s not a big but she’s not a guard,” Downs said of Gordon. “I think we didn’t respect her as much as we should have being a perimeter shooter at the beginning, thinking she was mostly going to be in the paint, and that’s not the case.”
Kayla Goldrick (12 points and nine rebounds) got Attleboro on the board with a three, but Foxboro came right back and led 8-7 after a Camryn Collins’ steal under the basket and assist for a Kailey Sullivan layup. It would be the last lead of the game for the Warriors. Lindsey Perry (12 points, six assists, and four steals) drove to the basket to put Attleboro back in front.
Then Gordon knocked down a jumper, tipped a pass that Perry picked off and turned into a Gordon layup, and then drilled a three to close out the quarter with Attleboro up 18-10.
A technical because of a player missing from the book gave Foxboro two free points to start the second (Ava Hill knocking down both free throws) and Collins (12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists) added a reverse to cut the lead to four. Attleboro kept a possession alive with a pair of rebounds and Riley Camacho buried a big three from the wing to keep the Warriors at arm’s length.
Hill hit a three at one end, but Gordon came down and nailed one at the other. Sullivan (seven points) got into the lane and scored plus the foul, but again Perry kicked it out to Gordon for another one from deep. Goldrick then drove down the lane and scored with the lefthand to push the lead to 10. Sullivan and Collins both scored in the paint, but it was Attleboro leading 32-25 going into the locker room.
Foxboro got off to a quick start to the third with Collins scoring on a put-back and then assisting Hannah Blake (11 points and six rebounds) for a bucket. Erin Foley (10 points and eight rebounds) nailed a three and the lead was just 37-32.
While Gordon wasn’t finding her own offense, she was dishing out assists, finding Perry for a big three, Lily Routhier for a baseline jumper, and Goldrick for a layup with a good look-ahead pass.
“They’re going to come out firing and we still have to play our basketball, our tempo, and come out fighting still,” Bracken said of her message at halftime. “The score is probably 0-0 in their head, you’ve got to come out firing, and they did. Everyone contributed. It was a great team win. Bench energy was amazing, it was awesome.”
“I think they outworked us,” Downs remarked. “We need to get a little more physical, not just on the glass, but in general.”
Despite its leading scorer being held scoreless in the third, Attleboro didn’t slow down. Perry kept making plays, driving to the basket for a tough layup, kicking it out to Camacho for her second three of the night, and then drilling a three of her own to put the Bombardiers in front 49-34. She had eight of her 12 points in the third.
“She controls the tempo,” Bracken said of Perry. “I always say to everyone, she’s a kid you want out there all the time. We can’t take her out.”
Foxboro wasn’t going to go quietly and started to cut into the lead in the fourth. Blake scored seven of her 11 in the final quarter, knocking down a couple tough jumpers and grabbing an offensive rebound. Foley also added four in the fourth, but the Warriors were never able to get any closer than 10.
Routhier hit a big shot off a Gordon assist and then Perry went flying down the lane, fighting through contact to bank in a left-handed runner. Gordon sealed the win with a runner of her own, her only points of the half, to put Attleboro up a dozen in the final minute.
“It’s a huge win, just to get that under their belt,” Bracken said of earning a rare victory against Foxboro. “I told them they can celebrate tonight but tomorrow we’ve got to be ready for another game.”
Attleboro (4-3) has a quick turnaround, traveling to Milford on Wednesday night. Foxboro (3-2) will host Sharon on Friday.
North Attleboro, 52 @ Attleboro, 64 – Final – Attleboro established an early lead and never let it slip away to knock off rival North Attleboro. Sophomore Neo Franco hit a pair of threes in the first and Evan Houle (17 points) added five to give the hosts a 17-12 lead. The lead grew from there with senior Colin Morais adding seven second quarter points to give the Bombardiers a 29-20 halftime edge. Attleboro, who was without junior forward Trevor White, had its best offensive quarter in the third, scoring 23 points with contributions from Joe Francois-Annevil (seven of his 11 points), Jake Struminski (six of his eight points), and Alvin Harrison (half of his eight points). Brody Rosenberg led the Rocketeers with 15 points while Givany Carney chipped in with 12 points.
Canton, 45 @ Milford, 30 – Final – Canton delivered first year coach Eric MacKinnon his first career win, limiting the Hawks to 12 points in the second half for the win. The Bulldogs built a six-point lead after a quarter and kept the Hawks at a distance the rest of the way. Conor Hunter hit a pair of threes in the second quarter as the visitors carried a 23-18 lead into halftime. Canton had its biggest offensive quarter of the game, nearly doubling their lead going into the final quarter (36-27). Hunter finished with 13 points while Matt Chafin added 12 points in the win.
Foxboro, 26 @ Mansfield, 66 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Mansfield built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a big win over visiting Foxboro. The Hornets were clicking on all cylinders on the offensive end, getting 11 players into the scoring column. Senior Matt Hyland scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed five rebounds while junior Chris had a strong showing with 15 points and seven rebounds. Mansfield helped force 18 turnovers from the Warriors, who couldn’t get it going on offensively. Mansfield led 34-11 at halftime.
Stoughton, 72 @ King Philip, 64 – Final (OT) – King Philip battled back throughout the game, forcing overtime but couldn’t keep pace with the visiting Black Knights in the extra period. Stoughton built a double-digit lead (22-12) after a quarter with six players factoring into the scoring. The Knights kept the lead all the way to the fourth, but King Philip cut into it each quarter. Stoughton took a 38-30 lead into halftime but was held to just six points in the third as KP surged back to make it a one-possession game (44-41). The teams battled back-and-forth in the final quarter before Stoughton’s last second shot was off the mark. In overtime, Connor Andrews (game-high 22 points), Jayden Costa Heyward (12 points), Liam Pearl (nine points) and Cashmere Mathurin (six points) all scored to help the Knights outscore the Warriors, 11-3. Freshman Matt Greenspoon added 10 points in the win. Danny Clancy led King Philip with 16 points while Braeden Sottile added 15 points.
Oliver Ames, 48 @ Franklin 64 – Final – Franklin saw its 22-point halftime lead shrink to single digits going into the fourth quarter, but the Panthers bounced back and closed out strong to get a win over visiting Oliver Ames. Franklin built a 37-15 lead by the break behind a balanced scoring attack and strong defense. Franklin hit half of its 12 three-pointers in the second quarter alone, two apiece from Geino Scaringello and Justin Allen (team-high 12 points) and one each from Andrew O’Neil and Hansy Jacques, to take a commanding lead. OA came roaring back in the third as Zach Tagliamonte scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the third and Dan Reilly had nine of his 12 points to make it 46-37 going into the fourth. Ben Harvey had half of his eight points in the fourth, Henry Digiorgio scored five of his seven, and Allen added another three to pull away.
Sharon, 71 @ Taunton, 89 – Final – Taunton senior Trent Santos caught fire early and never cooled off, dropping a career-high 41 points to lead the Tigers to a win over visiting Sharon. Santos hit four threes on his way to 20 points in the first quarter as Taunton jumped out ahead 28-12 after a quarter. Faisal Mass (14 points) and Matt Small (nine points) scored six points and five points, respectively, in the second for a 46-25 advantage at the break. Santos picked it back up in the second with 14 points, keeping the hosts ahead throughout. Tyson Carter scored all eight of his points in the third and Troy Santos added all seven of his to give Taunton a 68-47 lead going into the fourth. Sharon junior Matt Baur scored a team-high 26 points, hitting on six three-pointers. Sam Cohen added four threes for 12 points as the Eagles finished with 15 three-pointers made.
Attleboro, 41 @ North Attleboro, 30 – Final – Attleboro knocked down its outside shots and played solid defense to pull out a first win for head coach Bri Bracken. The game was tied at 9-9 after one quarter but Attleboro was able to build a six-point lead by halftime and extended it to 11 in the second half. North continues to struggle at times to find consistency on offense, but got eight points from Ava McKeon, who was back after missing a game with injury, and seven points apiece from freshmen Sam Sweeney and Maryellen Charette.
Milford, 17 @ Canton, 71 – Final – Canton got off to a great start and broke the game away in the second quarter to earn its first win of the season. Kiara Cerruti scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the opening half, including 10 in the second quarter. Fay Gallery scored 17 points and added nine before halftime, as the Bulldogs ran out to a 36-9 lead. Sydney Gallery chipped in with 13 points and Han Hong added nine. Maddalena Mannucci Pacini scored four points for Milford, which also got three points apiece from Jess Douglas, Jill Araujo, and Khatrina Leger.
Mansfield, 43 @ Foxboro, 56 – Final – Foxboro got big nights from a pair of freshmen to earn its second straight win and hand Mansfield its first loss of the season. Kailey Sullivan set a new career-high with 16 points, 11 in the second half, and Ava Hill set a career mark with 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. The Warriors broke the game open in the second, extending a one-point lead out to a dozen by halftime. After Foxboro won the third quarter 14-11, Mansfield battled to win a fourth quarter shootout 19-17. Kara Santos was the top scorer for the Hornets with 13 and Abby Wager added 11 points, all in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter alone. Olivia Salisbury had five points, all in the final eight minutes. Foxboro was able to get clutch rebounding from Andrea Slattery and Lauren Miley down the stretch to keep a big lead. Camryn Collins scored nine points and Erin Foley scored eight points to go along with her aggressive defending.
King Philip, 65 @ Stoughton, 41 – Final – Stoughton kept it close in the first half behind a strong defensive effort but the visiting Warriors put together a big run in the third to turn a 6-point lead at half (30-24) into a double-digit advantage (47-30) going into the fourth. Seniors Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and Jess Maddalena combined for 16 points for the Black Knights.
Taunton @ Sharon – Postponed to TBD.
Franklin, 6 vs. St. John’s Shrewsbury, 3 – Final – Franklin saw its three-goal lead evaporate in a three-minute span in the second period but the Panthers bounced back with a big third period, scoring three more times to get the win over St. John’s Shrewsbury. Adam Quinn (from Ben Jarosz and Ben Paterson) and Ryan Sicchio (from Logan Marchand) scored for a 2-0 lead at the midway point of the first, and Paterson (from Dylan Marchand and Quinn) scored just over two minutes into the second to make it 3-0. SJS scored three times within the next four minutes to tie the contest 3-3 through two periods. In the third, Quinn got his second of the day (from Paterson and Sicchio) at the midway point of the third and Dom Lampasona (from Anthony Lampasona) added a key insurance goal less than a minute later. Anthony Lampasona tacked on a key empty net goal (margin of victory) in the final seconds on an assist from Christian Shabbick. Cole Porter made 31 saves in net for the Panthers.
King Philip, 1 vs. Medway, 4 – Final
Stoughton, 7 vs. Bellingham, 2 – Final – Stoughton broke into the win column in a big way, knocking off visiting Bellingham, 7-2. Charlie Caputo led the offense with three goals while Colin Alessi added a pair of goals. Brendan Twohig and Aidan Obrock scored a goal each while Anthony Hern recorded the win in net.
King Philip, 2 @ Wayland/Weston, 1 – Final (OT)
WRENTHAM, Mass. – In Tuesday night’s season opener at the Wooden Gym, King Philip was struggling to find a rhythm on offense midway through the third quarter. The Warriors only had 19 points and looked flustered by Foxboro’s typical pressure defense. Trailing by 11, KP turned to a very different strategy than the one that the Warriors had used the past two seasons, and they slowed down.
KP finished the game on a 31-12 run, holding Foxboro to just six points in the fourth quarter, and got balanced scoring from its experienced players, with four Warriors scoring nine points apiece, to pull out a 50-42 victory. It was a debut win for new head coach Jeff Miszkiewicz, who has only had a short time to implement a system that is drastically different than the high-octane style of his predecessor.
“They’re a very well-coached team and we had trouble adjusting to the pressure both on offense and defense and I’ve been preaching all week that they need to slow it down,” Miszkiewicz explained. “We can’t allow them to speed it up. I think we finally got comfortable with that pace and we were able to set the tempo in [the fourth] quarter.”
The game was sloppy from the start, as both team played aggressive defense, both teams turned to younger, less experienced rosters, and both teams struggled to get open looks at the basket.
Foxboro grabbed the early lead, as Hannah Blake (team-high nine points) scored five in the first, including a jumper off a feed from freshman Kailey Sullivan. Sophomore Erin Foley also had five of her eight points in the first, including a steal and layup that made it 9-2.
KP battled back with a 7-0 run that tied the game. Liv Lafond, who recently committed to Carnegie Mellon, scored five in the first, including a big three off an assist from classmate Julia Marsden. After Jackie Bonner knocked down two at the line, KP was tied. A technical foul (one of three in the game) allowed Foley to hit one at the line to regain the lead and Blake added two more from the charity stripe for a 12-9 lead after one.
Sophomore Camryn Collins (six points and four steals) opened the second by grabbing a defensive rebound and going the length of the floor but both teams continued to struggle in the halfcourt. A jumper by Blake off a pass from Ava Hill opened the lead to seven and Hill added her first varsity points with a drive. Emily Sawyer got into the game in the second, scoring off a feed from Lafond and then grabbing an offensive rebound for two more. She finished with nine points and 18 rebounds.
Jordan Bennett got two back for KP with a drive, but the Warriors went 0-for-5 from the line and headed into halftime down 23-17. Foxboro also left points out there, going 9-of-16 from the line in the opening half.
Early in the third quarter, Collins gave Foxboro an instant spark. The sophomore guard sat a lot of the first half in foul trouble but her defense led to easy baskets and helped the visitors start to pull away. She dished to an open Sullivan for a three and then her steal led to a transition basket for Foley. After another Collins steal and layup, Foxboro was up 30-19.
“She’s our best player, so to have her on the bench for the majority of the game hurts,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs about Collins playing in foul trouble all game. “She’s very aggressive and she may be able get away with that in AAU but that’s a habit she’s got to break because we need her on the court every minute of every game.”
KP started its rally with free throws, two from Marsden and a pair from Bonner. Marsden then started to give the bench life with a drive to basket that cut the lead to 32-25. Blake answered with a step-back jumper but Bennett made a nice cut and took a feed from Marsden for a layup and Marsden answered Lauren Miley’s steal and layup with two more at the line.
It was 36-31 heading to the fourth. KP had only chipped one point off the halftime deficit but the hosts seemed to have momentum to start the final quarter. Maddie Paschke scored off a nice block-to-block pass from Sawyer that made it 37-33 but time was ticking away and neither team was able to score. Finally, with 2:43 left to play, Elizabeth Molla grabbed a pass from Leah Santoro and beat the shot clock buzzer with a three to make it a one-point game.
“We weren’t able to run our offense the way we wanted to until the second half,” said Miszkiewicz. “Once we got more comfortable that’s when things opened up for us.”
Out of a Foxboro timeout, Lafond got her only basket of the second half with a drive down the lane, plus a foul. Although she missed the free throw, Sawyer fought for the rebound and the put-back and suddenly it was 40-37. The lead didn’t last long, as Foxboro came right back down and Hill drilled a three from the wing to tie the game.
With Collins on the bench with her fifth foul, Molla made one of two at the line (the team’s combined to go 2-for-13 from the line in the fourth to that point) and with 1:16 left Marsden made 1-of-2 to make it 42-40.
With Foxboro pressuring full-court, KP caught the visitors with a ball over the top, Lafond picking out Marsden on the fly for a layup. Molla followed that with a drive and finish and a six-point advantage that KP wouldn’t relinquish. She added three more free throws, scoring all nine of her points in the fourth.
“Liz had a tough shooting night then she came up and hit three free throws at the end there,” said Miszkiewicz. “A great senior captain, pressure free throws, those are the plays that win games.”
“We played young and we played inexperienced,” Downs admitted. “I just think we lost our composure. When our defense was clicking and we were able to get steals, we got some momentum going, but we weren’t able to sustain it because we’d pick up a stupid foul and offensively we kept shooting in the paint where the shots weren’t open.”
King Philip (1-0) will host Taunton, which picked up a big win in its opener, on Friday. Foxboro (0-1) will be on the road against Stoughton, which has started off with a pair of losses.
2020-2021 Record: 9-4 Coach: Brianna Bracken
Attleboro finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last year and, despite only returning one starter, have an experienced corps that will be looking to push the Bombardiers back to postseason contention this season. There was a big change a few weeks ago when Marty Crowley stepped down as coach (after taking the athletic director job at Cumberland High) and former player and freshman coach Brianna Bracken was promoted to take over.
The change in coach won’t change the emphasis on defense and trying to use the roster’s athleticism to get easy baskets in transition. Attleboro’s lone returning starter is senior forward Meghan Gordon, who has improved every season on varsity and averaged nearly 17 points per game last year. Gordon will get help from classmates Lindsey Perry and Lillian Froio, who have both improved offensively and will help the Bombardiers take some of the pressure off Gordon on that end of the floor.
Injuries and transfers will have an impact as well. Senior Hailey Perry suffered a knee injury that will keep her out and last year’s freshman point guard Narissa Smith transferred to Rivers. Junior Lily Routhier has transferred in this year from Wheeler School and will help out on the boards. Sophomores Kayla Goldrick and Rylie Camacho will add to the Attleboro attack after getting experience as freshmen and senior Avery Vieira and sophomore Sarah Maher will try to fill Perry’s role in the backcourt. Sophomore Merry Bosh and Molly Moore and freshman Vanessa Ellis have had impressive preseasons as well.
“We have a great mix of experience and youth,” said Bracken. “We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been intense and the kids have been working really hard.”
2020-2021 Record: 7-5 Coach: James Choquette
Canton could be poised for a big season with a mix of talented underclassmen and an experienced group of seniors who have played together on varsity for four years. The Bulldogs went 7-5 in the shortened 2020-21 season, but expectations are higher this winter, with hopes of challenging the top teams in the Davenport and putting together a playoff run.
Kiara Cerrutiis the team’s top returning scorer and the senior winger will be counted on to provide scoring punch with her mix of inside-outside skills. Fay Gallery is back to run the point for the Bulldogs, getting the team out in transition and finding ways to create good looks for teammates in the halfcourt. Sydney Gallery is also back to give Canton a strong post presence and scoring inside the arc. The three players combined to average 38 points per game last season and give the Bulldogs a strong foundation to build on and help spread the floor for a team that has the potential to be one of the top shooting teams in the league.
Marissa Staffiere and Carly Fitzgerald return to help run the point and give strong defensive effort in the backcourt and junior Samya DaSilva has stepped in to add another versatile weapon on the offensive end. If the Bulldogs can continue to improve defensively, they have the firepower to compete with anyone. Offensively, it will be about ball movement and making sure the ball doesn’t stick on the perimeter.
“Our program continues to grow and improve,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “With a strong senior class and a great group of underclassmen, we hope to improve each day we’re in the gym together and achieve the results we desire. Everyone knows how hard it is to win, but this group is willing to do whatever it takes and we’re so excited to see how this season unfolds.”
2020-2021 Record: 9-2 Coach: Lisa Downs
Foxboro had its four-year reign at the top of the Davenport division come to an end last season, as the Warriors came second to Oliver Ames. With a relatively young roster, Foxboro improved over the course of the shortened season and seemed to be peaking as it headed into what would have been the second half of a normal winter. The hope for this season is that those younger players will build on that experience to make another title challenge and playoff run.
With the graduation of the league’s leading scorer, Katelyn Mollica, the Warriors will have a lot of points to make up but have several players capable of taking on bigger roles this year. Senior forward Hannah Blake could help provide some of that scoring with her solid post-up game and mid-range jumper. Sophomore guards Erin Foley and Camryn Collins both had impressive rookie campaigns and showed versatile offensive games and both are aggressive and athletic defenders, who fit into Foxboro’s typical style.
Senior Andrea Slattery and junior Lauren Miley are under-sized forwards but both bring a lot of energy and aggression to the defensive end and hitting the glass. Freshmen Kaley Sullivan and Ava Hill will jump right into the varsity lineup this season and both could be ready to make instant impacts. Juniors Michelle Brandt and Maddie Maher and sophomore Isabelle Chamberlin will give the Warriors plenty of depth to call on this season, especially with their effort on the defensive end.
“Although we are young and have new faces, I am excited to see the potential and look forward to seeing the improvement every time they step onto the court,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs.
2020-2021 Record: 10-0 Coach: John Leighton
Franklin returns eight players, including six seniors, from last year’s team, which extended the Panthers’ win streak to 35 games and clinched a third straight Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers will be leaning on that experience as they seek to continue their reign at the top of the league and defend the Div. 1 state title that they won in 2019-20.
Senior forward Olivia Quinn will be the focal point of the Franklin offense this year after leading the team in scoring last winter and emerging as one of the top players in the Hock over the past two years. The reigning Kelley-Rex MVP will have plenty of help, particularly in the paint. While Franklin doesn’t have someone with Ali Brigham’s size, the Panthers have seven players on their roster that are listed at 5-foot-9 or taller. Senior Brigid Earley was the team’s leading rebounder last year and junior Katie Peterson is an athletic forward with a versatile game. Senior Emma Sousa is another experienced forward that gives depth in the post.
On the perimeter, Franklin has graduated a lot of its ball-handlers and shooters but senior Stefany Padula, a Springfield College-commit, is back and will help stretch the floor. Junior Bridget Leo is coming off a strong soccer season and could step in at point guard along with seniors Julia White and Jessica Pingeton, who saw some time last year. Sophomore guard Sasha Tracey is the lone underclassman on the roster this season.
“I am very excited to get back on the court with this team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “There is a lot of work ahead of us but there has also been many glimpses of what we could develop into. We have a very strong senior class who has set the bar high for the team. We hope to develop into a close-knit, supportive team that can win in different ways and also play defense that will limit our opponents’ options.”
2020-2021 Record: 5-6 Coach: Jeff Miszkiewicz
There is going to be a transition period for King Philip this season, as the Warriors will be moving from former head coach Dan Nagle’s unique, non-stop pressure, quick-shot system to a new system brought in by first-year coach Jeff Miszkiewicz (who comes from LaSalle Academy in Rhode Island). With seven returning players, including five seniors, the Warriors should have the experience to adjust to the new style and be in the mix in the Kelley-Rex division.
Junior Emily Sawyer will be a major weapon for the Warriors on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-3 center may be the biggest beneficiary of a change in system and is poised for a breakout year in the paint. Her classmate Jackie Bonner will move into a starting role this season, with her ability to create instant offense and be a pest on the defensive side of the game.
Seniors Liv Lafond, Julia Marsden, and Elizabeth Molla also project to be starters for the Warriors this season. All three are versatile wings that can space the floor and attack in transition. Lafond may be the best off-the-dribble player for KP this season and her ability to get into the paint and create will be key. Marsden is a smart player who always seems to be in the right spot and a solid scorer at the rim or out on the perimeter. Molla is a knockdown shooter from the outside and can punish teams that sink down into the paint to guard Sawyer or prevent driving lanes.
“The team plays really hard and is very coachable,” said Miszkiewicz. “I think that’s why we have seen so much improvement over the first week of practice. You’ll see us take full advantage of our athleticism on both offense and defense. We’re going to be a fun team to watch.”
2020-2021 Record: 9-4 Coach: Heather McPherson
Mansfield closed out the shortened 2020-21 season with five straight wins and will hope to keep that momentum rolling into this winter, although the Hornets will need a lot of players to step into bigger roles. Six seniors graduated from last year’s team, including the bulk of the team’s frontcourt and two of its three leading scorers. New players will need the early part of the season to adjust to the pace of the varsity level.
The Hornets will be hoping that junior guard Abby Wager’s growing offensive game will allow her to improve on the nine points per game she averaged as a sophomore. Senior Anna Darlington brings tenacity on defense and will make it tough for teams to get into their half court sets. Seniors Kayla Doherty and Sophia Allen will also need to add experience to a lineup that is growing into the season.
Junior guard Olivia Salisbury and sophomore forward Kara Santos are going to be stepping up from utility roles into core pieces of the Mansfield offense this season. Salisbury has good vision and can create chances for teammates, while Santos will be a threat in the paint, making up for some of the size that graduated from last year’s team.
“After a shortened season under my belt I feel confident in the adjustments that the girls have made into a slightly different system than previous years,” said second-year Mansfield coach Heather McPherson. “We are emphasizing good fundamental defense and hoping that we can use it to create transition offense.”
2020-2021 Record: 3-8 Coach: TJ Dolliver
Milford ended last season with three wins in its final five games, building a little momentum that the Hawks are going to hope can get them off to a good start this winter. There will be a lot of changes from last year’s squad, as Milford graduated seven players, including a few four-year members of the team, so there may be some growing pains as new faces adjust to a new level.
Four seniors return to add experience and leadership to this year’s team. Guards Jess Douglas, Olivia Morelli, and Aubrey Korpi, and forward Jill Araujo are all back and will give Milford a foundation to build around. With so many new faces in the team this year, head coach TJ Dolliver will be leaning on his upperclassmen to help the younger players adjust, as the coaches work through the best way to utilize everyone’s skills on the court.
Junior forward Emily Croteau and guard Brooke Ferreira will be key players as well. The team’s top two returning scorers, Croteau and Ferreira will have to take on bigger roles this year and may be asked to carry a lot of the scoring punch. A three-year starter at point guard, Ferreira is the team’s top ball-handler and will be expected to get the Hawks into their sets while also looking for her own shot. An undersized forward, Croteau gives the team energy and rebounding, keeping possessions alive and getting chances thanks to her work rate.
“We are making a lot of changes this season,” Dolliver said. “It will be very important how we approach practice in regards to how successful we are this season. We have a lot of potential and I am excited to see where it goes.”
2020-2021 Record: 4-9 Coach: Nikki Correia
North Attleboro had a tough finish to the 2020-21 season, losing five straight to close it out, but all five were against teams with winning records, including two against division champ Oliver Ames. With a full season ahead, North has two of its top scorers back and has added more size in the frontcourt to try and make a postseason push.
The two key returning players will be senior Summer Doherty and junior Ava McKeon. The two aggressive guards give North extra energy on both ends of the floor and push the Rocketeers into the transition game that head coach Nikki Correia prefers. Their defensive effort will be critical for North this season. Senior forward Taylor McMath has improved each year and adds scoring in the paint and is an aggressive rebounder on both ends.
Size hasn’t been a strength for North the past few seasons but freshman Maryellen Charette will be an important addition in the paint. Despite being just a rookie, Charette has shown good footwork with back to the basket and is a strong rebounder. Sam Sweeney is the other freshman on the roster, while North has seven seniors on the roster to provide necessary experience for the younger players.
“I am looking forward to this season with a full schedule and many returning players, so lots of familiarity with each other and playing more under control and trusting each other more,” said Correia. “They are already showing more confidence and being in the right spots, running the offense, and letting the game come to them instead of forcing it.”
2020-2021 Record: 10-0 Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames finished unbeaten and won the Davenport division title last season, but the Tigers will be disappointed to have missed out on a potentially deep tournament run. Coming into this year, expectations remain high with a good mix of experienced players and youth that will be getting their first taste of a full Hockomock League campaign.
Senior guard Caroline Peper is a four-year starter for the Tigers and has always been one of the league’s top long-range shooters, but continues adding to her game and her scoring will be critical. Senior Hailey Bourne is another four-year regular and one of the top defensive players in the league, capable of guarding multiple positions. Their leadership will be a key to OA’s success this winter. Senior forward Anna Murphy has improved each year and has a solid all-around game, making an impact on both ends of the floor, and junior guard Maddie Homer is a quick, tenacious defender and her improved offensive game will be important.
In addition to the more experienced players, OA is excited about the potential of the trio of sophomores who made cameos last year. Forwards Jasmyn Cooper, Kaydance Derba, and Sarah Hilliard all had good rookie seasons that gave a taste of their capabilities. Cooper and Hilliard provide size and scoring in the paint and both are excellent rebounders. Derba also has good size to be a tough matchup on the defensive end and is a dangerous three-point shooter who can stretch the floor.
“The Hockomock League, as always brings its share of tough competition, which will help us better prepare for the new standards established for the power rankings needed for the state tournament,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “The thing that I am most proud of is the fact that my players have worked tirelessly to improve themselves as players and we are ready to give it our best fight.”
2020-2021 Record: 1-10 Coach: Sandy Lombardi
It is hard to predict what type of season this will be for Sharon because the Eagles will be incorporating so many new faces and many of the players will be experiencing their first full season on varsity. After one win in 2020-21, the Eagles return only one senior on this year’s roster, so there is the potential to spring a few surprises on teams this season.
Trinity Payne is the lone senior for the Eagles. The four-year varsity player is a strong defensive presence and can control the glass, especially on the defensive end. Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi is looking for more offensive punch from Payne this season. Junior point guard Tess Lentendre returns after missing a few games last winter. A leader in the backcourt, Letendre is a three-year varsity player and will help control things on the offensive end.
The rest of the starting five for Sharon will be sophomores. Rachel Hager and Eva Poulton both saw time on varsity last season and play out on the wings. Jasmine Davis didn’t play last year but will start at center and should give Sharon extra size in the middle and should be a force on both ends of the court. Junior forward Emily Freeman is back from last year, but the rest of the Sharon roster are newcomers to the varsity team, although Lombardi is expecting good contributions from the bench.
“The girls have been working hard,” Lombardi said. “We are excited for the season and hopefully we can make some noise in the Hock this year.”
2020-2021 Record: 1-9 Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Last year was a little bit of a transition season for Stoughton, as the Black Knights graduated a lot from a team that was a win away from tournament qualification. An inexperienced Stoughton roster had some growing pains in 2020-21, but with five seniors this year head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan is hoping that last year will set a foundation for this year’s team to build on.
Senior Jess Maddalena is an important returning player for Stoughton. After missing her junior season to an injury, Maddalena will give the Black Knights additional scoring and depth on the wing. Senior guard Kate Bulger will be back to run the offense and provide strong perimeter defense. Senior Vanessa Philemond adds athleticism, energy, and rebounding and her length can be a weapon on both ends of the floor.
In addition to their three captains, the Black Knights will also be hoping for big seasons and lots of leadership from senior guards Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and Evie Lam. Stoughton also has three sophomores, Katrina Varnum, Alyssa Edwards, and Maiya Merritt, and freshman Raina Tat, who will be handling their first full season of varsity basketball this season.
“It’s so good to be back on the hardwood to compete this season,” said Steele Jordan. “We will continue to play hard on both ends of the court this season. I am looking forward to the five seniors taking charge and setting the pace for us. We will play tough, be gritty, and battle until the final buzzer sounds each night in the Hock.”
2020-2021 Record: 0-10 Coach: Amy Siggens
Taunton coach Amy Siggens is in her third year in charge of the program (and second season on the sidelines after not coaching last winter) and she will have a very different looking roster to the one that she first inherited. The Tigers graduated six seniors from last year’s team and there will be a lot of untested players getting their first taste of varsity action this season.
There is excitement about the return of junior guard Kameron St. Pierre. After a breakout rookie season in which she averaged more than 14 points per game, St. Pierre sat out last winter and will be back to carry a heavy load for the Taunton offense. The lefty point guard will get the Tigers into their sets and her long-range shooting should open the floor for teammates.
In addition to St. Pierre, the Tigers will have a host of guards to rotate through. Seniors Braeley McDonald, Kyanna Barros, and Abby Souza will give the Tigers plenty of energy on both ends of the floor and could benefit from the attention paid to St. Pierre to get decent looks from the perimeter. Sophomores Cali Melo and Lexi Haywood also have experience at the varsity level. Inside, Taunton will have several new faces but senior forward Olivia Gannon and junior Sayla DePina bring some size in the paint.
“As we look toward the beginning of this basketball season, caution and patience are the words that ring true for us,” said Siggens. “Baptism under fire is an appropriate description for our girls this season but with enthusiasm, hard work, and a commitment to improving, we have a chance to be competitive in a typically demanding Hockomock League.”
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro has been working all season to build a lineup that from top-to-bottom can make teams pay. On Friday afternoon, all of that work paid off as the Warriors got a total team effort in the Div. 2 South preliminary round game against Medfield.
The bottom four in the Foxboro order combined for six hits, seven runs scored, and three RBI as the Warriors rolled to a 12-0, five-inning victory.
“You need that,” said Foxboro coach Mark Maguire. He praised the influence of former Foxboro star (and league MVP) Hannah Davis, who has been helping out this season. He added, “The end of the order, I’m really happy for them because at first it was the Peyton [Feldman] and Morgan [Sylvestre] show and now the end of the order is getting involved. They’re making the plays in the field more because of it too.”
There has been a youth movement with the Foxboro program this season, as three eighth graders are in the starting lineup, including starting pitcher Emma Callahan, who allowed a lead-off single and then retired the next 15 batters she faced to earn the win. Nine-hitter Jillian Slattery also stepped up with two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored and first baseman Ava Hill reached base twice and scored once.
Sylvestre said, “From the youth to the high school, there’s a step but they’ve adjusted well. The three eighth graders we have, they play club so they’re already at the level we need them at, but they’re just going to be studs when they’re older.”
Maguire noted, “Jill has been made maybe the biggest leap. She’s really getting the barrel on the ball, really helping the bottom of our lineup. We didn’t know whether these kids could play at this level or not. All three of them have been a blessing. If we don’t have the eighth grade waiver, we’re not competing in the league.”
Medfield started the game well, as Brooke Lyons lined a single into left field, but Callahan came right back to strikeout the next hitter, snagged a pop up in the circle, and then got a fly ball to Nicole Theriault in center to get out of the inning unscathed.
After putting two on with two outs in the bottom of the first but not getting a run against Medfield starter Chloe Hunt, Foxboro broke the deadlock in the second.
Theriault, the No. 6 hitter, led off the inning with an infield single and Fiona Dunn followed with a single to right. Hill dropped a bunt in front of the plate and reached when Medfield catcher Bitsy Crowley held the ball to keep Theriault at third. A one-out error scored the first run and two-out walks to Sylvestre and Kaylee Bruce (0-for-1, three walks) made it 3-0.
It could’ve been more for Foxboro, but Alexandra Willis’ line drive to right was snagged by Jess Coletti to end the rally.
Callahan sat down the side in order in the top of the third, with help from a nice play by Sylvestre, who showed off her range at short to end the inning. In the bottom half, Foxboro broke the game wide open.
Again the offense was sparked by the bottom half of the order. Theriault (3-for-3, walk, two runs) singled to left and stole second. Dunn reached on an error and then Hill was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Slattery (2-for-3) stepped up and drilled a double over Coletti’s head in right to bring in two.
Although Hill was cut down at the plate, Callahan doubled to score the third run of the inning and Sylvestre (1-for-3, three RBI) scored two with a double to left. Foxboro led 8-0 and was cruising into the first round.
The Warriors put the game away in the fourth. With one out, Slattery doubled to the base of the wall in right. Feldman, who had reached base twice previously, got her first hit of the day on an infield single and, with Slattery on third, got caught in a run down. After the throw went into center, she moved up to second and Slattery came home with Foxboro’s ninth run.
Callahan helped her own cause with her second hit and second RBI of the game, forcing a pitching chance, as Medfield turned to Kaelyn Larkin. After Sylvestre popped up to third, Bruce reached on an error. Willis kept the rally going with an RBI single to score Callahan and then Theriault got her third hit, a single to center to plate Bruce.
With then chance to put an early end to the game, Callahan continued to keep the Medfield lineup under control. After a grounder to the sure-handed Sylvestre at short and Callahan’s third strikeout of the game, Willis capped the win by quickly getting out from behind the plate to make a sliding grab on a pop up in foul ground.
“Right when I saw Emma pitch, after the 5-0 win over Franklin in the first game of the season,” said Maguire about the moment when he realized his team’s potential. “She goes in there with that attitude and we’re just going to keep on working. Right when I saw that, I’m like we’re good.”
In 2018, Foxboro made a run to the D2 South quarterfinal and Sylvestre, who was a freshman on that team, thinks the Warriors have the talent to make a similar playoff push this spring. She said, “We definitely feel confident coming in because this is like as good a team as we’ve had since Hannah’s senior year. I think this is the best team we’ve had since, maybe it’s even better because our picthing is really good. We can definitely make a run.”
Foxboro (9-5) will now travel to Fall River to take on fifth-seed Diman Voke in the next round.
2019 Record: 11-11 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Mark Homer
The Bombardiers will be fielding one of the most balanced lineups the program has seen in recent memory. Head coach Mark Homer believes his group of enthusiastic, hard-working, and motivated players can compete for the division title in what is always a very competitive division.
2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
It will start with a strong group of returners that picked up valuable experience two years ago during the 2019 season. Senior captains Brenna Morse and Lora Woyton have been leaders both on and off the field during the offseason and so far during the preseason. Homer credits their commitment for setting the tone for the entire program. Juniors Lindsey Perry, Hailey Perry, and Meghan Gordon all burst onto the scene as freshmen during the 2019 season and will be key pieces this year.
Homer is going to lean heavily on his senior class, which also features Natalie Mansur, Gabby Bosh, Nina Campbell, and Janie Hillman. The Bombardiers are set to get a boost from a strong core of underclassmen as well, including sophomores Lauren Eby and Sarah Mayer as well as freshmen Rylie Camacho and Kayla Goldrick.
“This year’s team represents one of the most balanced groups we’ve had here at AHS in a while,” Homer said. “Win, lose, or draw this year’s team is about working hard and having fun doing it.”
2019 Record: 6-14 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Dave Bohane
With four seniors returning and five sophomore and freshmen making their varsity debuts, Canton has a good mix of youth and experience to build on this season. It will be the senior class that the Bulldogs hope will provide the leadership to make a move up the standings and maybe challenge the top teams in the Davenport.
Senior center fielder Liz Bickett has been a star for the Bulldogs, earning all-star honors as a sophomore, and is a power bat in the middle of the lineup. Senior Steph Trendell can play both corner infield positions or jump behind the plate and senior Sarah Kelly can step in at either middle infield spot. Both will be setting the table at the top of the order. Senior Amanda Vrabel will start at catcher and work with Canton’s younger pitchers including juniors Gillian Gordon and Sophia Santos and freshman Jess Wright.
2019 Record: 8-13 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Mark Maguire
Youth will be the story for Foxboro this season, as the Warriors will be relying on players seeing their first varsity action in several positions, including a pair of eighth-graders who have been called up for the spring. Still, confidence is high that the Warriors have the talent to compete with the top teams in the Davenport and make a push up the standings.
2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
Senior shortstop Morgan Sylvestre gives the Warriors a good foundation to build on, batting third and giving them a strong arm at short. Junior Peyton Feldman will see time at both third and second and will bat leadoff. Senior Nicole Theriault will play second and center, one of the few outfielders on the roster with any varsity experience, and Fiona Dunn can also jump in at second as well. Eighth-grader Ava Hill has impressed in preseason and will play first. Junior Alexandra Willis will be behind the plate and working with a young pitching staff led by eighth-grader Emma Callahan. The Warriors will also count on Dunn, Juliana Pettigrew, and Lucy Mulkern as pitchers. Andrea and Jill Slattery, Sadie Calabrese, Kaylee Bruce, Ellie Smith, and Grace Pisarczyk will all get the chance in the outfield this season.
Foxboro coach Mark Maguire said, “I’m expecting the girls to compete hard, and really feed off the energy that Peyton and Morgan bring to the top of our order. With strong leadership from our captains, we’re looking for this team to come together quickly and, hopefully compete for the Davenport.”
After coming within a game of sharing the league title with Taunton in 2019 (and within one run of facing the Tigers in the South semifinal), Franklin returns only two players and has a new coaching staff with Katie Holbrook taking over this season. Despite all the new faces, the Panthers expect to be in the mix for the league title again this year.
Senior Gabby Colace is the lone player on the roster with significant varsity experience and she will be counted on to be a run producer. Fellow senior Molly Collins will join Colace in the middle infield positions and the Panthers have players who are versatile to play multiple positions. Franklin has a potentially strong lineup with Libby Carter, Georgia Harvey, and Lauren Cote all capable of coming up with big hits and driving in a lot of runs. Juniors Julia White and Aislinn Lavery, and senior Jenny Maciel give Franklin good pitching depth and will try to keep the opposition off-balance and allow the defense to make plays behind them. Sophomore Hailey Fales will get the call behind the plate.
“They have already shown in just one scrimmage and a couple of practices great strides in gelling as a team and their commitment to team unity,” said Holbrook. “What we lack in experience we are making up for in determination and commitment to growth. I am impressed with the depth and solid foundation of all the players and it will give us a lot of options with lineups.”
2019 Record: 13-9 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Kate Fallon-Comeau
The Warriors will have a new coach this season with former Mansfield standout player and former Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau takes over at the helm.
King Philip will have a relatively young and inexperienced group at the varsity level so Fallon-Comeau will lean on her four seniors to lead the way. Paige Berdos is a three-year starter and a captain for the Warriors, a member of the varsity team since her freshman season. She’s joined by classmate Anna Bradley as captain and that duo will look to provide excellent leadership to the young Warriors. Seniors Libby Curran and Rubi Butler round out the class of 2021.
Berdos will anchor the outfield from center field and will be the spark for the offense from the leadoff spot. Bradley returns to her spot at first base and provides some pop to the lineup. From there, the Warriors will feature a lot of faces new to the varsity level. Junior Meg Sherwood and sophomore Charlotte Raymond will round out the outside for KP while junior Mia Bennett takes over at second base. Sophomore Libby Walsh brings a big bat to the lineup and will be a reliable option defensively at shortstop while freshman Maddie Paschke is slated to start at the hot corner. Junior Lauren Hooper provides depth and can fit into multiple spots in the lineup.
2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
Junior Emma Sheehan and freshman Jordan Bennett are both options to start in the circle for Fallon-Comeau. Both will be new to the varsity level this season so the Warriors will look to play strong defense to help out the pitchers. Sophomore Sarah Cullen will do the bulk of the catching for KP.
“We’re excited to be back out on the field and looking forward to having a successful season,” Fallon-Comeau said.
2019 Record: 12-9 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Lori Letendre
Mansfield has consistently been a playoff team and competitive in the Kelley-Rex division but, with only two players returning from 2019, the Hornets enter the spring as a little bit of a mystery. With four freshmen and a sophomore on the roster, and only two seniors, Mansfield will be looking to put talented players in the right spots to keep battling the league’s top teams.
Senior pitcher Ashlyn Conley is one of the few players with any varsity experience and will be back in the circle this year. Junior first baseman Casey Moussette is the other returning player, after a strong freshman season at the plate in 2019. Abby DeCoste is the only other senior on varsity this season, while Jill Koppy, Molly Kucharski, Callie Lake, and Liv Madeira are all rookies who could step in and make instant impacts. Sophomore Olivia Harnden is another underclassman stepping right into the varsity team this year.
“We have a lot of talent but are still trying to learn to work together at new positions,” said Mansfield coach Lori Letendre. “It has been great to be on the field playing again and we are looking forward to the season.”
2019 Record: 2-18 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Steve DiVitto
Milford is turning the page on a tough 2019. The Hawks have been a powerhouse since joining the Hock but have gone through a transition period after graduating the core of the last state title-winning team. That transition won’t be helped by moving into the Kelley-Rex division this season, but head coach Steve DiVitto is hoping his seniors can build a foundation for several talented underclassmen that are excited about their first opportunity on varsity.
2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
The Hawks return five players from the 2019 team. Junior Olivia Morelli will be in the circle this season and can also play shortstop. Seniors Erin McEvoy and Carly Ferreira will be at the corner infield spots and senior Natalie Casilli will be back in the outfield. Senior Elise Fauerbach can play behind the plate or in the outfield. Junior Gianna Cacciola is a new face to watch at third base. Freshman Maeve Driscoll could see time at pitcher or at short and her classmate Camille Bonina will see time at first and in the outfield.
“This year’s team is focused on the here and now and not the past,” said DiVitto. “Keeping our awesome team chemistry will be an important part of this season. We’re excited for the challenges of playing in the Hock!”
2019 Record: 16-6 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro ended a two-decade wait for a league title in 2019 and had the potential to be even better last season, but the Rocketeers will come into this spring having graduated seven starters, with only three players returning with varsity experience, and looking for a new crop of players to search for a second straight Davenport crown.
Senior second baseman Emily Nardelli has been a starter since her freshman year and will be an impact player in the lineup and in the field. Senior Belle Clarkin adds versatility with her ability to play catcher, outfield, and first base, and junior Mandi Hanewich will step into center field. Pitching should remain a strength for North with a pair of promising sophomores, Kelly Colleran and Zoey McDonough, jumping into the circle. Colleran will also see time at shortstop and McDonough at first. Junior Ally Levine will be the new starter at catcher and juniors Chloe Mearn and Shaelyn Burns can play corner infield spots. Emma Bailey and Grace Simmons will add to the outfield, while there are a host of young players, including the lone freshman on the roster, Aubrey Amado, who can play multiple positions and add useful depth.
“I feel like a new coach this year after missing last year,” said North coach Bill Wallace, who also notched his 200th career win in 2019. “Since the last time we had softball I have graduated seven starters.”
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division and has a small roster, but it is one that has coach Lindsey Allison excited about its potential and versatility. The Tigers will hope that a change of scenery and a speedy, athletic lineup will see a jump up the standings to put pressure on the top teams in the division this season.
2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
The Tigers will have a pair of pitchers this season as senior Emma Varella will be joined by sophomore Katie Melendy. Both have multiple pitches to keep batters off-balance and both can play other positions when they’re not in the circle. Senior Grace Simone will provide leadership for the pitching staff and a big bat in the middle of the lineup. Her leadership will be important as the Tigers will be carrying four sophomores and a freshman along with its five seniors.
Allison said, “As a coaching staff, we are looking forward to a season with a versatile team that works together and picks each other up. These kids work hard every day, strive for greatness, and are hungry for wins. Looking forward to a great season.”
Sharon is filled with upperclassman so experience will be key as the Eagles look to compete in a wide-open Davenport division. The three captains this year are shortstop Julia Earley, second baseman Sneha Kini, — both seniors — and junior pitcher Trinity Payne so the Eagles will lean on their strength up the middle of the field.
Payne picked up plenty of experience during her freshman year so will be battle-tested for the 2021 season. Earley and Kini give the Eagles a strong defensive foundation and will provide leadership both in the field and at the plate. Of the 11 players on the roster, 10 are upperclassman so head coach Heather Poliferno has an experienced group at her disposal. Poliferno believes her team has a strong mix of power and contact hitters so versatility throughout the lineup will be key.
The one underclassman on the roster is sophomore Ally Foulsham, who could make an immediate impact in her first season with the program. Foulsham can also toe the rubber in the pitcher’s circle so the Eagles have options to work with in the pitching department. After missing out on last season, the Eagles are eager to get back on the field and compete for a division title.
“My high school coach always used to say ‘why not us?’ and I would say the same thing – Why not us? Our players work hard to be the best they can be,” Poliferno said. “They can compete in any setting. We are hungry to play and we have the skill set to do it. So, why not us?”
2019 Record: 15-7 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Deb Parker
Stoughton had an impressive 2019, finishing in second place in the Davenport behind North Attleboro and winning its opening playoff game on a walk-off against Somerset-Berkley. With five returning starters, the Black Knights will be looking to carry momentum into this spring and make another push for a league title.
One of the keys for Stoughton’s high hopes for the season is the return of senior pitcher Nicole Baker, who had a breakout sophomore campaign and emerged as one of the top arms in the league. Baker is the lone infielder returning but senior Julia Driscoll will take over at third and senior Sarah McGrath will be behind the plate. Junior Sydney Menz, who batted over .400 as a freshman, will start in center, while junior Melody Casna takes over at short. Junior Kate Bulger will get the nod in left and senior Lauren Turner starts in right. Sophomore Kerry Driscoll adds depth in the circle and Stoughton has a crop of freshmen who could contribute right away, including Alyssa Edwards, Maddie Hinds, and Julie Powers.
“It’s a little surreal coming back to the field after losing an entire season,” said Stoughton coach Deb Parker. “If we’ve learned anything from last year it’s that nothing is promised, and we have to take advantage of every opportunity we have on and off the field. These young women work hard, and I believe we have the depth, drive, and talent this year to have a great showing in this very competitive league.”
Taunton is one of the few teams that is coming back from the two-year layoff with a lineup that looks pretty similar to the one from 2019. The biggest change for the Tigers will be on the bench with long-time coach Dave Lewry retiring at the end of the 2019 season and Carrie Consalvi taking over. Consalvi goes into her first spring with a team loaded with talent that looks ready to defend its Kelley-Rex title.
Senior pitcher Kelsey White is back healthy following an injury that would’ve kept her out of last season. The reigning league MVP looks back to the form that helped Taunton win a state title three years ago. Reigning HockomockSports.com Hanna Aldrich is back for her senior season at shortstop and as one of the top power hitters in the Hock. Aldrich is joined up the middle by senior second baseman McKenzie McAloon. All three will be playing DI softball next year. Senior Skylar Rheaume and Tayah Decosta add to the leadership on the team and Taunton will have enviable depth with sophomore Olivia Mendonca back after playing as an eighth-grader and freshman Sam Lincoln looking like Taunton’s next pitching prospect.
“These players have had just about every challenge thrown at them over the past year, but if there was one group that could take all of this and rise to the occasion it is this group,” said Consalvi. “They are hungry to win, and I am hopeful my senior leadership will recall what it took to win that state championship back in 2018 and impart their wisdom with this group of younger players, as it will take every single one of them to make something so special to happen again.”