SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Sometimes it takes just one moment to separate two good teams. On Wednesday night at Muscato Stadium, the moment came right before halftime when Oliver Ames senior Camryn O’Connor burst out of midfield and crossed to junior Jenna Gilman at the back post. Making her first start of the season up top, Gilman made no mistake from a few yards out to put the Tigers back in front.
OA was able to hold onto its halftime lead, beating Mansfield 2-1 in a game that had the proper intensity for two teams fighting for first place in their respective divisions, battling for higher rankings in the state tournament, and getting prepared for making deep playoff runs next month.
“I preach all the time that a great game is 2-1,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “Someone is going to make a mistake, someone is going to hit a brilliant goal, and you need two [goals] to win. That’s two games in a row that this team has shown some growth since the Foxboro game where we had a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes to go and it kind of slipped away.
“It’s one of our best games of the year, so I’m pleased because Mansfield’s always tough to break down.”
The first half was largely dominated by the hosts. OA’s pressure on the ball was forcing turnovers high up the pitch and forcing Mansfield to resort to long balls over the top. There was very little time to take a touch and the Hornets struggled early.
Just six minutes into the game, OA had its first chance on a set piece. An in-swinging corner was only partially cleared and Ella McDonough got a foot to it. The shot was blocked onto the post and then a goal-bound rebound effort was blocked by Carly Devine.
In the 12th minute, another set piece would provide the opener. Mansfield keeper Olivia Salisbury did really well to prevent Katie Gibson’s corner from heading straight in, clawing the ball out from under the bar. Alexa Lane was there to knock the rebound back at goal but it was blocked out to Mary Cross. Third time was the charm, as the senior defender poked it home.
Lyla Nappa would have Mansfield’s first shot on goal in the 18th minute and it was comfortably saved by Emily Meyers. At the half-hour mark, the Hornets equalized out of nothing. Abby Jean and Tarynn Smith played a nice one-two about 35 yards from goal. Smith looked up and, for once, had no pressure on her so decided to have a go. The shot slid just under the bar and over the fingers of Meyers to make it 1-1.
“She’s starting to and we need it,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said of Tarynn Smith finding the back of the net more often in recent games. “We’re built on a team offense. We don’t have the Steph Kemp or the Cam O’Connor or the Kailee McCabe, so we have to get contributions from everybody.”
The remainder of the half was largely controlled by O’Connor. The Boston University-commit was proving difficult to contain, even as the Hornets threw multiple defenders on her. After sending one just wide from 25 yards, O’Connor dribbled past a pair of defenders into the box taking advantage of a Gabby Smith clearance ricocheting off Kara Santos for another chance that went just wide.
In the 39th minute, Lucinda Li Cotter teed up O’Connor from 20 yards that forced Salisbury into a full stretch save, tipping it around the post.
With the clock stopped at the end of the half, O’Connor had her moment. She rode a challenge near midfield and then carried the ball a full 40 yards down the left channel, got to the end line, and sent over a pinpoint, left-footed cross to Gilman ghosting in unmarked at the back post.
“Cam had the big play that we need every game from her,” said Sellmayer. “She is one of those rare players that has pace on the ball. Sometimes there will be a tackle and it ends up on your foot, ends up on my foot, well it usually ends up on her foot a little more often.”
The second half would feature very few chances for either team, but the Hornets made significant improvements in how they played out of the pressure. Smith admitted that it had little to do with his team talk at the break.
He explained, “Got to halftime and said what do you guys think? They were like, coach we were playing scared a little bit. They actually self-reflected and they figured out how to break it down. It’s what I love about these kids, they really think about the game and we’re growing.”
OA had a chance of yet another corner early in the second half but McDonough didn’t catch it cleanly and Santos was in the way to block and clear. In the 64th minute, Katie Gibson had a deflected cross find her at the back post but she couldn’t make clean contact and hit it right at Salisbury. A minute later, Carly Gibson set up O’Connor on her right foot but it was a tame effort that Salisbury snagged.
Those were the only chances for the Tigers after the break, but they were also limiting Mansfield, who was playing better and getting into advanced areas down the wings but still not troubling Meyers. The foursome of McDonough (making her first start), Cross, Allison Evin, and Sophia Byron largely held the Hornets at arm’s length.
“We really didn’t give them many chances inside the 18 and that’s something they’ve worked on,” said Sellmayer. “I thought Kyla [Melton] playing in the midfield gave us another edge on those headers that we didn’t have in the Foxboro game.”
Still, in a one-goal game, all it takes is a single chance to turn two points into one. Mansfield finally got that look in the 70th minute. Santos won the ball at the back and hit a quick outlet to Anna Darlington down the right wing leading to a corner. Smith curled one into the six-yard box and Devine was there but unable to keep her header down.
OA was able to run out the final nine minutes to secure the win and stay level with Foxboro in the Davenport title race
“I keep saying we’re young and learning and we are,” said Smith. “It’s been our mantra all year and it’s a great opportunity to learn about those little things and how to play against a team that’s, in the power rankings, No. 4 four in the state. It was good for us, I’m proud of my girls.”
Oliver Ames (9-1-1) will travel to Canton on Friday. Mansfield (8-3-0), which is four points behind Franklin in the Kelley-Rex with game in hand, will be on the road at Milford on Friday.
Taunton, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Mansfield built a 2-0 lead by halftime and then doubled its advantage inside a five-minute span in the second half to land a big win over visiting Taunton. Danny Rowe, Andrew Bain, Dan Checkoway, and Matt Hyland all scored, getting on the end of a service into the area. Rowe opened the scoring off of a feed from Hyland in the 12th minute, and then Hyland set up Bain off a throw-in from Michael Caridi in the 28th minute. Checkoway scored the first goal of the second half on a cross from Bain, and Hyland made it 4-0 four minutes later on another service from Bain. Jack Lasbury-Casey recorded the shutout with eight saves.
Mansfield, 7 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Tarynn Smith recorded a brace for the third time in a week and helped Mansfield to its fourth straight win. Katie Miller, Avery Hawthorne, Carly Devine, Kara Santos, and Aniela Diieso (first varsity goal) also found the back of the net for the Hornets. Abby Jean had a pair of assists.
Attleboro, 9 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Canton scored midway through the first half and the Bulldogs turned in one of their best defensive performances of the season to knock off King Philip. Carolyn Durand posted the shutout in net while senior Carly Fitzgerald, Junior Sierra Abbott, and Sophomore Laura Valkanas all played well defensively. Sarah Cunningham finished off a pass from Erin Lane for the lone goal of the game.
Franklin, 6 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Franklin found the back of the cage three times in each half to pick up a win on the road in Foxboro. The Panthers built a 2-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Raena Crandall and Shaw Downing (from Crandall), and extended the advantage to 3-0 on a goal from Kaitlyn Carney (from Ella Mahoney) midway through the second quarter. Payten Crandall, Haley Wernig, and Downing all scored goals in the second half.
Mansfield, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final
Milford @ North Attleboro, 6:00
Taunton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Georgia Costello scored twice and added an assist as the host Tigers took care of business against visiting Taunton. Erin Cottam opened the scoring in the first quarter for OA, who scored once in each quarter, with Lily Gaskill on the assist. Costello tacked on an unassisted goal int he second and then set up Gaskill for a goal in the third. Costello made it 4-1 by scoring in the fourth on a pass from Cottam. Sophomore Casey O’Leary scored for Taunton with an assist from senior Braeley MacDonald.
Attleboro, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Attleboro picked up its sixth win of the season after taking a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-21, 25-15) on the road at Stoughton. Freshman Julia Leonardo led the way for the Bombardiers with 11 kills and four aces while Brianna Frissora had a standout game at the net. Lilly Boedeker anchored the defense for the visitors.
Franklin, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin rolled to its seventh win of the season, this time in the form a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-20, 25-6) win on the road at Foxboro. The Panthers, which have only dropped one set all year, were led by Lindsey Tarantola, who had 10 kills and three blocks in the win.
Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames defended its home court by taking down visiting Taunton with a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-15, 25-14). Sophomore Sarah Hilliard led the charge for the host Tigers with a strong all-around game with 10 kills, 12 serve receptions, and 16 digs. Senior Hadley Rhodes added 18 assists and four kills, junior Maddie Homer notched 22 digs, and sophomore Claire O’Rourke recorded nine kills.
King Philip, 27 @ Mansfield, 28 – Final – Mansfield had the top two runners but King Philip’s depth was on display by taking third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth to edge out the Hornets. Chris Leonard was first overall (17:46) with teammate Collin Stevens (17:47) finishing second.
Oliver Ames @ Canton – Postponed to Thursday, 9/30 at 3:45.
Stoughton @ North Attleboro, 3:45
Sharon, 19 @ Foxboro, 44 – Final
Milford @ Attleboro, 4:30
King Philip, 25 @ Mansfield, 30 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Canton – Postponed to Thursday, 9/30 at 3:45.
Stoughton @ North Attleboro, 3:45
Sharon, 27 @ Foxboro, 28 – Final
Milford @ Attleboro, 4:30
Attleboro, 157 @ North Attleboro, 158 – Final – After losing its last two matches by a combined three strokes, Attleboro ended on the right side of a close match with a win over rival North Attleboro at Heather Hill. Leo Lombardo led the way for the Bombardiers with a team-low round of 37, Carter Shelton added a 39, and Brendan Raymond and Parker Sackett each shot 41 in the win. Tyson Laviano was the match medalist with a low-round of 36, Aaron Levesque came in with a 40, Jake Gaskin added a 41, and Dillon Harding shot a 42 for the Rocketeers.
Foxboro, 158 @ Stoughton, 188 – Final – Foxboro’s Jack Rounds fired a medalist round of 38 and the Warriors went on the road and picked up a win at Easton County Club. Jack Watts added a 39 for Foxboro, Dylan Pothier added a 40, and Matt Fossella finished with a 41 in the win. Joseph Rush shot a team-low round of 44 for the Black Knights.
Canton, 154 @ Sharon, 173 – Final – Mike Leonetti was the match medalist for the Bulldogs and Canton stayed undefeated with a win on the road at the Cape Club of Sharon. Leonetti’s low-round of 37 led the way while Mekhala Costello added a 38, Will Gefteas shot a 39, and Conor Hunter came in with a 40. Nathan Daley paced the Eagles with a 40, Eric Carer and Noah Glassman each shot a 44, and Rosie Leonard chipped in with a 45.
Taunton, 197 @ Mansfield, 164 – Final – In the front end of a home-and-home matchup with Taunton, the Hornets secured a win at Norton Country Club over the Tigers. Hunter Tang was the match medalist with a round of 39, Cian Goulet added a 40 for the Hornets, Ryan Doherty chipped in with a 42, and Brendan Vokey added a 43.
Milford, 175 @ Franklin, 165 – Final – Junior Jack Hagerty birded on the seventh hole to help earn medalist honors and help the Panthers take care of Milford at Franklin Country Club. Hagerty finished with a low-round of 39 while sophomores CJ Steel and Brendan Collins, along with freshman Ben Paterson, all came in at 42. Nate Lawrence led Milford with a round of 40.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – When Mansfield and King Philip square off on the pitch, it is inevitable that the game will be close, physical, fast-paced, and usually come down to a single bounce of the ball in either direction.
On Monday night under the lights at Alumni Field, it was the Warriors that got the bounce. Morgan Norrman was able to chase down a long ball over the top, getting enough on it to push it into the path of freshman Mikayla Thompson to apply the finish. Despite Mansfield pressure throughout the second half, particularly on set pieces off the left foot of freshman Gabby Smith, Thompson’s goal held up and KP moved back into first place in the division with a 1-0 win.
“Another Mansfield/KP classic,” said KP coach Gary Pichel after the game. Mansfield coach Kevin Smith agreed. He said, “It was one heck of a game. There is a lot of talent in this league. Great coaching, great players, and the atmosphere was great.”
Pichel added, “We got the first bounce and I was looking for more bounces in the second half. I thought my keeper was outstanding. She came out and made some fantastic plays under pressure. It was a battle of the midfields again, like it usually is with us, and we were just lucky to get the right break at the right time.”
The goal came against the run of play, as the Hornets started brightly. A loose ball in the box gave the hosts two chances to put the ball on target but freshman defender Rihanna Mason, just called up from the JV team, was back on the line to block both efforts. In the 11th minute, Olivia Homsi cut inside from the right wing onto her left foot, but her shot was right at KP keeper Lauren Casper.
Although it was Mansfield that started on the front foot, in the 12th minute it was KP that was ahead on the scoreboard. A long ball over the top put the Mansfield back line under pressure. Normann gave chase and managed to squeeze between the defender and keeper Olivia Salisbury. A toe poke pushed the ball past the onrushing goalie and Thompson kept running to be there for the tap in into an empty net.
It was a first half of few clear-cut chances. Smith, the freshman defender, had a go from 25 yards on a free kick but sent it over the bar. Another Smith free kick in the final minute was only partially cleared and Carly Devine had a half-volley from the edge of the box that also went high.
Mansfield continued to put pressure on the KP defense, but the Warriors held firm with Casper controlling the penalty area, Grace Lawler sweeping up behind the back line, and Rylie Wesley holding up well as the Hornets consistently went down her wing.
“They were picking on our left side,” Pichel explained, “but Rylie played like it was our strong spot. She fought tooth and nail. It was a good battle. She held them off.”
Tarynn Smith had a chance early in the second half, but Casper was able to tip it over her head and then catch. Another cross from the right nearly picked out Smith at the back post, but again the keeper was in the way. Gabby Smith had another good look with a free kick on the right corner of the box and the shot curled inches over the bar.
The Warriors were trying to get forward quickly. Freshman Dani Lomuscio had a solid game in the midfield, sending angled balls out to the wings. It was her through ball that sent Ella Pisani clear down the right channel. KP’s leading scorer put her shot on target but Salisbury was able to palm it over the bar.
It was a rare chance for the visitors. The Mansfield defensive pairing of Smith and Kara Santos managed to repel most of KP’s attacks and leave Salisbury largely untroubled in goal.
“Except for that one long, over the top ball, we clamped down on them really well,” Smith said. When asked about the free kicks from his freshman center back, Smith added, “She’s learning and she’s growing. Her set piece delivery is fantastic.”
As the second half wore on, spurred on by a large crowd on both sides, the game became more frenetic. Mansfield continued to press, trying to avoid a second straight defeat. Devine sent in a low corner from the left that Smith volleyed just wide at the near post. Smith fired in a long free kick that was headed straight across goal. Anna Darlington met it at the far post, but the angle was tight and she only found the side netting.
Smith continued to play provider out of the back. Her ball over the top gave Darlington something to chase. The senior was able to get a toe on it at the edge of the box, but Casper was out quickly and smothered the shot.
It looked like the Hornets may have equalized with four minutes to go. Smith’s free kick was caught by Casper in traffic, but then the ball popped loose and went across the line. Celebrations were immediately cut short, as the official blew for a foul on the keeper.
Smith said, “We found a lot of space between their lines, we were playing quickly, we were finding gaps in their back line and credit to their keeper and their back line, I thought Grace Lawler had a great game, every time we got close they just had that last little touch.”
King Philip (4-1-0) will try to remain unbeaten in league play when it hosts Sharon on Wednesday. Mansfield (2-2-0) hosts Stoughton, trying to end its two-game skid.
Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to TBD.
King Philip, 4 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final – Foxboro scored three goals in the opening 20 minutes but had to hold off a furious second half rally from the visitors to get the two points. Junior Alex Penders opened the scoring in the first minute off a cross from Matt Angelini, and Foxboro newcomer Jorge Sanchez made it 2-0 in the third minute. Angelini scored on his own in the 20th minute before sophomore John Hollis pushed the lead to 4-0 less than five minutes into the second half. KP scored back-to-back goals but Cam Barreira scored what turned out to be the game-winner int he 65th minute. KP scored twice in the final 10 minutes to make it a one-goal game.
Mansfield, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Junior Connor Palinski’s looping shot from just over 30 yards out was the difference as Mansfield secured a win on the road in the season opener. Palinski took a pass from Ian Leeds and launched one from distance that found the back post. Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan praised his defensive unit of Leeds, Dylan Buchanan, Michael Caridi and Kevin McCarthy for their stellar play in front of Jack Lasbury-Casey (seven saves).
Taunton, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Itching to get on the field for the first time in nearly a year, Taunton exploded for five goals in a win on the road at Stoughton. The Tigers struck for a pair of first half goals before pumping in three more after the break, Devin Poe opened the scoring in the 17th minute before Conal Scully doubled the lead in the 31st minute. Riley Rebello made it 3-0 with a 49th minute strike, Scully bagged his second just two minutes later, and Quincy Jones-Sylvia capped the scoring in the 71st minute.
Oliver Ames @ Attleboro – Postponed to Friday, September 10 at 3:45.
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Anya Zub scored a pair of goals to lift Franklin to a win in a battle of last year’s league champs and give interim coach Jodi Klein a debut win. Riley Fitzpatrick opened the scoring for the Panthers, finishing off a pass from freshman Kelly O’Connor. Zub then doubled the lead after combining with Fitzpatrick and sealed the two points with her second goal with just five minutes to play. Izzy Arnold had the assist on Franklin’s third. Rachel Welch made nine saves to preserve the clean sheet. Klein praised the effort of defender Norah Anderson and midfielders Stella Regan, Bridget Leo, and Selene Hammad.
Foxboro, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – KP scored once in each half to pick up two points in the season opener. Sophomore Heidi Lawrence notched her first career goal when she took a nice pass from classmate Alyssa Legere and managed to squeeze a shot through a scrum in the box. Ella Pisani sealed the victory by firing a second-half free kick into the top corner for her first of the season. Lauren Casper stopped eight Foxboro shots to earn the clean sheet. KP coach Gary Pichel also praised freshman Dani Lomuscio, who made her varsity debut by marking reigning MVP Kailee McCabe. He also credited Legere for a great game in the midfield and the back line for doing its best to frustrate the Warriors attack.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Carly Devine was first to a rebound three minutes before halftime and scored the only goal of the game to lift the Hornets to a season-opening win. Olivia Homsi had the first shot and Devine reacted first to knock in the loose ball. Mansfield coach Kevin Smith praised the play of his back line, Gabby Smith, Kara Santos, Anna Darlington, and Kayla Doherty, for limiting North’s chances. Olivia Salisbury made four saves to record the clean sheet. North nearly had the equalizer on a shot from Steph McKenna but a Hornet defender made the goal line clearance. Haley Sinacola, Lily Adams and Charlotte Moynihan all played well defensively for North.
Sharon @ Milford – Postponed to Friday, September 10 at 3:45.
Stoughton, 2 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Stoughton coach Hermes Lima picked up his first win with the Black Knights thanks to goals from freshmen Makenzie O’Connor and Lauren Mitchell. Lima praised O’Connor and Shayla Ford for their aggressive play up top that made it difficult for Taunton to get out of the defensive third easily. Mitchell and classmate Morgan Cook both played well in the midfield, while freshman Emma Tran had a great varsity debut in central defense. Abigail Durand earned the shutout in goal.
Sharon vs. Norwell – Postponed to TBD.
Canton @ Nauset – Postponed to Friday, September 10 at 4:30.
Foxboro @ Attleboro – Postponed to Thursday, September 16 at 2:30.
King Philip @ Taunton, 3:00
Sharon @ Stoughton – Postponed to TBD.
2020 Record: 5-5-5 Coach: Steve Santos
Attleboro has been on the brink of tournament qualification for the past several seasons, but narrowly missed out. Last fall’s team had the potential to end head coach Steve Santos’ wait to get back into the playoffs only for the pandemic to force an abbreviated season. After graduating the team’s leading scorers and playmakers (Bella Salviati, Jessica Gates, and Briley Harnois), the Bombardiers will count on new faces stepping in and giving them a chance to taste the postseason.
The Bombardiers will be hoping to build on a strong defense. Senior Olivia Calderone and junior Ella Stromfors will be the anchors in the heart of the back line and their leadership will be critical. Attleboro will miss senior Olivia Cook, who had a strong preseason at outside back but suffered an injury that will keep her out for the season. Junior goalie Alexis Campbell also has an injury at the start of the season but will hopefully be back soon to take over in net.
In midfield, Attleboro has several returning players who will be looking at slightly different roles this year. Junior Emily Dunlea is a dynamic and versatile midfielder and could be the team’s playmaker this season. She will get help from senior Emily Khang, who missed the 2020 season. Another skillful midfielder, Khang will give Attleboro an attacking boost. Sophomore Bethany Alves can play as a holding or attacking midfielder, depending on the situation. Up top, junior Kacey Parker and sophomore Jamie Davies will be counted on to make up some of the goals that were lost to graduations.
“We graduated a solid core of players who brought a lot to the team, so we’re trying to figure out who’s going to embrace those roles,” said Santos. “We have some good talented players who can keep the ball on the ground and play some solid soccer. We have some more to grow on and learning how to play aggressive, Hockomock soccer.”
2020 Record: 8-3-1 Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Last season, Canton edged Foxboro by a single point to win its first league title since 2012. The Bulldogs graduated a strong class of seniors, particularly in the midfield and the attack, but there is plenty of returning talent on both ends of the pitch and second-year coach Idris Seyonjo to feel confident of another title challenge this fall.
The attack will look very different this season after graduating prolific forward Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia (17 goals combined in 2020), but senior Gabriella Herivaux returns after scoring five times last year and could be poised for a breakout season as the primary target up top. Seniors Fay Gallery and Anne Hoban (who played at outside back last season) will also join in the attack and freshman Emma Cahill is a newcomer that could provide creativity in the final third. Sophomore Emily McCabe will step into the attacking midfield role and try to provide the killer pass from the center of the pitch.
Defense should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season with a mix of veterans and several incoming freshmen who could step in right away and contribute. Senior Allie McCabe continues to be the lynchpin of the Canton defense, commanding the heart of the back line with her strong play and leadership. There is plenty of experience in goal as well with senior Elyse Broderick back and healthy and junior Marissa Staffiere ready to step in, after being the starter all of 2020.
Seyonjo said, “Most important thing about this season is that I believe all teams are looking forward to what will hopefully be a normal season. I am excited. I look forward to my first full season as head coach. Every game will be different and we hope to be able to match or even better our performances from last season.”
2020 Record: 7-2-2 Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro was just a single point short of a three-peat last season, dropping to second in the Davenport behind Canton, and the Warriors will have a lot of new faces this fall as they try to get back on top in the division. The Warriors graduated 10 seniors, but still have a lot of varsity experience, especially in the midfield, that will make them a tough challenge for their title rivals.
Senior Kailee McCabe, the reigning league MVP, is back in the middle for the Warriors this season. The four-year starter tied for the team (and league) lead with 11 goals in 2020 but she may have to take on a bigger scoring role this fall with Jordyn Collins now at Bryant. She should have a lot of help in the middle of the pitch. Senior Brooke Barreira, junior Lauren Milley, and sophomore Erin Foley all played significant minutes last year and capable of the quick combination passing that has been a hallmark of Foxboro’s play. Senior Jordan Carman will bring her versatility to the forward line this season, after playing pretty much every position (including goalie) last year.
Defensively, senior Meghan Burke will be the leader in the back line. An aggressive, solid defender, Burke has regularly been tasked with marking the opponent’s best attacker. Sophomore Lindsey Resnick had a strong rookie season and will add some game experience to the defense. Senior Maddie Maher and sophomore Alexis Sougaris will be the goalies tasked with replacing Morgan Sylvestre between the posts.
Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said, “We had some major losses with our 10 graduating seniors last year, but I am very excited about this team and what I have seen from them so far and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do against the tough competition in this league.”
2020 Record: 6-4-2 Interim Coach: Jodi Klein
Long-time head coach Tom Geysen is dealing with a medical issue, so former JV coach Jodi Klein will take over this season and is emphasizing pressure high up the pitch and keeping possession in attack. Franklin returned to the top of the Kelley-Rex last season and Klein has an experienced squad to work with this fall, as they look to go back-to-back in what should be a wide-open title race.
The Panthers have built a lot of their recent success on a strong defense. This season should be no different. Junior Norah Anderson has been a mainstay in the heart of the back line for the past two seasons and she’ll be joined by junior Reilly Lorenzo and sophomore Maddie Horton. Senior Izzy Arnold and junior Katie Ewald give the Panthers speedy outside backs to provide width in attack and cover in the defensive third. Sophomore Rachel Welch will get the nod in goal after splitting time as a freshman and her reading of the game will help direct the defensive unit.
Franklin’s midfield has the potential to control games. Seniors Stella Regan and Chloe Barca and junior Bridget Leo bring plenty of experience to the middle of the pitch. Each are quick and solid in possession. Juniors Avery Greco and Chloe Stavely and sophomore Selene Hammad will step into the midfield to add depth. The Panthers will be looking to use the speed of the forward line to create chances. Senior Riley Fitzpatrick is the most experienced player up top and sophomore Anya Zub had three goals and four assists as a freshman. Freshman Kelly O’Connor is a new player to watch out for in the forward line.
“This is an exciting season for all of us,” said Klein. “I am a new coach to all of our returning varsity players and any of these girls who have played for me in the past have never played at the varsity level before. We are working through a brand-new system and style of play and we’re all very eager to see what we can accomplish together this season.”
2020 Record: 7-5-2 Coach: Gary Pichel
After graduating a large, talented group of seniors, including the top two scorers in program history, last year was bound to be transitional for King Philip, but it was also an opportunity for several players to step up into bigger roles. As it turned out, the Warriors had plenty of talent still on the squad and stayed in the hunt for a league title right to the final week.
The Warriors will be hoping last year’s game experience will pay off with a title challenge this season. The midfield should be a strength for KP. Junior Ella Pisani had a breakout 2020 season, showing off her skills as both a forward and midfielder and leading the team in scoring. She will be at the center of the KP attack again this year. Senior Paulina Baczkowski will give the Warriors width on the outside and delivers accurate crosses. Senior Morgan Norrman is an accurate passer who can push the Warriors into quick counterattacks.
Senior Brooke Mullins has improved every year in the KP defense, and she adds aggression and a willingness to get the ball forward quickly. After an impressive rookie year, junior Grace Lawler missed all of 2020 with an injury, but she is back and gives KP an instant upgrade in the back line with her ability to mark the opposing team’s best attacker. Freshmen Dani Lamuscio (midfield), Mikayla Thompson (defense), and Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn (defense) should make an instant impact and add extra energy for the Warriors this season.
“I see this team keeping up with our KP tradition of good old-fashioned hard work and dedication to the cause,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “Our team will be competitive in every game as we go through the gauntlet of the Hockomock League.”
2020 Record: 6-4-3 Coach: Kevin Smith
Mansfield entered the abbreviated 2020 season with a relatively inexperienced group, and it showed during the early parts of the fall, but the Hornets put things together quickly and finished only a point back of Franklin for the division title. With nine starters returning, including most of the defensive corps, the Hornets should be in the mix for the title again this year.
Although the Hornets will definitely miss the on-field leadership and versatility of senior Maria Sevastos, who was injured in the spring, Mansfield has plenty of experience in the back line. Senior Anna Darlington will be the leader in the defense alongside sophomore Kara Santos, who is coming off an impressive rookie season at centerback. Junior goalkeeper Olivia Salisbury brings two years of experience in net and classmate Caitlin Zajac is a capable backup.
Senior Katie Miller will control the middle of the field. A four-year starter, Miller provides an extra layer of protection for the back line and can get the Hornets into the attack as well. Up front, senior forward Tarynn Smith is a willing runner, who can give opposing defenses a physical challenge. Sophomore Carly Devine is a creative playmaker that will give the Hornets an offensive spark.
“We are still very young with only four returning seniors,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained, “but it’s a good core of players who have multiple years of varsity experience already.”
2020 Record: 3-6-3 Coach: Lou Colabello
Milford closed the 2020 season on a strong run, going 2-1-1 over its final four games that included two hard-fought games with Mansfield. Only three seniors are returning from last year’s roster, so the Hawks will be young this fall, but not necessarily inexperienced since many of the underclassmen stepped into the lineup last year.
The key to the Milford attack is junior Dani Atherton. She was the team’s leading scorer with eight goals last season (more than half of the team’s total) and most of the offense will flow through her feet. The Hawks will hope for more creativity and goals from the rest of the team, including juniors Brooke Ferreira and Amy Oliveira, a pair of players who can start up top or in the midfield. Junior Brianna Guerreiro is also back in the center of the pitch.
At the back, seniors Aubrey Korpi and Aislinn Bennett will provide much-needed leadership for this young crew and senior Jill Araujo can jump into the back line or help supply cover from the midfield. Junior Catarina Mestre is another returning defender from last season’s squad.
2020 Record: 5-5-3 Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro battled to a .500 record in 2020 and did it thanks to a strong defensive foundation. The Rocketeers allowed only 11 goals in 13 games last year and had five clean sheets. After graduating 15 players from that squad, and losing a starter to an injury, North coach Bill Wallace is enthusiastic about the potential for this year’s team to make a playoff push.
The Rocketeers return both of last year’s leading scorers. Senior Steph McKenna and junior Emma Pratt each scored five times last season and they will be counted on to improve those numbers with a full season (and without the restrictions that were in place in 2020). Behind the strikers, North’s midfield got a lot of experience last year. Senior Brayden Rice and junior Caroline Ferrin will be in the middle, while senior Autumn Hewitt and juniors Brooke Sullivan and Lily Adams provide the width.
Defense was a strength last year and it should be again in 2021. Senior Summer Doherty returns after missing a lot of last season with an injury. Her leadership and athleticism will be important in the middle of the back line. Seniors Meaghan Dowd and Charlotte Moynihan and junior Haley Sinacola make up the rest of the starting back four with junior Maddie Ferrin in goal.
“Right now, we are organized and making opponents work hard to develop their offense,” Wallace said. “Our goal is to play faster and with more urgency. The work rate is high, and the girls are looking forward to competing in the always tough Hockomock League!”
2020 Record: 8-1-5 Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames lost only once in 2020 and avenged that defeat by beating Canton in the Hock Cup final. The Tigers did draw five matches last season, but with eight starters returning, and several younger players who got valuable experience, OA will hope to turn those single points into two and bring home its first league title since 2016.
The Tigers pride themselves on being a tough team to break down and the defense should be stout again this fall. Senior Emily Meyers is back in goal and will be a vocal leader at the back. Senior Allison Evin moved from up top to the heart of the defense last season and her speed and understanding of the game made her a tough marker for opposing forwards to get away from, while juniors Mary Cross and Sophia Byron are looking to build off strong sophomore seasons. Senior Kyla Melton has transferred in from Milton Academy and her versatility will be a boost to the back line or in midfield.
Midfield will continue to provide cover for the back line with the likes of seniors Katie Gibson and Lauren Sellmayer not only giving the Tigers a physical, aerial presence, but also consistent delivery on set pieces. Senior Camryn O’Connor, a Boston University-commit, adds creativity to OA’s bite in the center of the pitch and will be a key to turning defense into attack. Junior Jenna Gilman will also provide playmaking and width and speedy sophomore forward Lucinda Cotter has been in good scoring form during the preseason.
“We have eight starters returning from last season, plus some younger players pushing for playing time,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “We are hoping our depth will be an advantage for our team this year.”
2020 Record: 2-8-2 Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Sharon won a pair of games in 2020, but was also competitive in several losses that showed there was potential for improvement heading into the new season. The Eagles will be young this year, particularly after a pair of preseason injuries cost them returning starters, including junior Sally Brouhard, but there is still reason for optimism about the athleticism in the squad.
The Eagles will lean on the midfield, as the most experienced group. Junior Sofia Goclowski stepped in last year and had an all-star-caliber season and will be the primary playmaker in the center of the pitch. Junior Amber Marcus-Blank is moving up from the back line and her aggression will be key to shielding the defense. Junior Olivia Soby combines physical presence with technical skills and will be an important piece to the attack.
Senior forward Wendy Wooden will be the team’s primary threat up top and her speed will stretch opposition defenses to open space for the midfielders. On the other end of the field, the Eagles will be very young. Senior Amanda Hu is the only returning player in the back line and she’ll be counted on to keep everything organized. Sophomore Jordanna Morris will add much needed speed and athleticism to the defense and already looks comfortable at the varsity level.
“We have a very young squad this year, but I am excited about our mix of talent and athleticism,” said Sharon coach Catherine Sullivan. “As always, the league looks to be extremely competitive, but we welcome the challenging matches that help us grow and continue to move our program in the right direction.
2020 Record: 0-11-1 Coach: Hermes Lima
Second-year Stoughton coach Hermes Lima is still looking for his first win, but he is confident that this year’s team has the right combination of skill and speed to give teams problems. The Black Knights are counting on increased depth and the pairing of experienced players and talented newcomers to get back in the win column.
One of the key players for Stoughton this season is junior Shayla Ford. Blessed with great speed, Ford can either stretch the opposition and attack the space behind the defense or drop into the Stoughton back line and give cover for her teammates. Freshman Makenzie O’Connor is going to step in up top and will add another dynamic element to the attack, while classmate Morgan Cook can slot in as a forward or in the back line to add aggression and a physical element. Junior Isabella Rodrigues gives the Black Knights speed on the wings and gives more speed for the forwards to run into.
The Black Knights will have experience in defense. Senior Abigail Durand is back in goal and provides vocal leadership for the back line. Senior Samantha Tran can play anywhere across the back line and her versatility is important. Junior Emma Tremblay and freshman Lauren Mitchell will both play in the center of midfield and can protect the back line or facilitate the Stoughton counter attack. Both can also slot in at central defense when needed. Junior Sabrina Rodrigues is another versatile player, jumping in at wingback or in the heart of the midfield.
“Every player bought into the culture last year and the new/returning players have bought in to every word/thing said and given to them this year!” said Lima. “The players are ready to fight for one another, represent their school and make this program proud of every achievement in their path. As a coach, I cannot ask anything else of them! This will be an intriguing but yet good step in the right direction for this program.”
2020 Record: 0-3-7 Coach: Mike Couture
Taunton coach Mike Couture only got four games to assess his team in 2020 before the season came to an abrupt end. Now in his second year, Couture is building around a young roster, composed mostly of sophomores, and is excited about the talent and the potential. The Tigers will be hoping to get off to a good start and end their wait for a nearly two-year wait for a league win.
Senior Isabella Anslow will be the leader of the defensive unit. She has been a busy goalkeeper in the past but has come up with several big games against big opponents. An example of that was being able to hold Mansfield to a scoreless draw in the first meeting between the teams last year. Junior Emily Calderon will lead the Tigers on the other end of the field. The forward is quick and experienced and she’ll be counted on to give Taunton a cutting edge in attack.
“This is a strong group and how quickly this good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start,” said Couture.
Attleboro, 1 @ King Philip 2 – Final – King Philip senior Cole Breen completed his brace by scoring the game-winning goal in the 76th minute as the Warriors earned two points on Senior Night. Breen opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he tucked away a rebound chance after Evan McEvoy saw his shot smack off the crossbar. Attleboro sophomore Esvin Morales brought the visitors level in the 64th minute, scoring on a free kick from the top of the box. But Breen grabbed his second with under five minutes to play, finishing off a cross from Ajae Olsen. Aidan Lindmark made seven saves in net for KP.
Foxboro, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Foxboro senior Matt Angelini scored midway through the first quarter and that ended up holding up the rest of the way to give the Warriors a win on the road. Derek Axon had the shutout for Foxboro, making a pair of great saves in the second half to keep North off the board and preserve the win.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Mansfield scored just minutes into the second quarter and added an insurance tally with less than five minutes to play to earn a win over visiting Franklin. Tommy Lanzillo (from Ethan Scholes) scored on an indirect set piece on a shot from 25 yards out to put the hosts ahead in the 23rd minute. With just under five minutes to go, junior Matt Hyland sealed the win finishing off a flick from Colin True after the original service from Dan Rowe. Eric Sullivan and Jack Lansbury-Casey combined for the shutout, each making an outstanding save to preserve the shutout. Mansfield defender Evan Eames had a big stop to deny a goal in the second half as well.
Stoughton, 2 @ Sharon, 4 – Final
King Philip, 2 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final
North Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Jordyn Collins got the slightest touch on an Aislinn Servaes cross from a corner and it was just enough to slip past the onrushing keeper for the game’s only goal. With the win, unbeaten Foxboro moved within one point of league-leading Canton.
Mansfield, 1 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – Carly Devine scored the game’s only goal to power Mansfield to a rivalry win, handing Franklin its first loss of the season. The goal came off a fourth quarter counter attack. Tarynn Smith’s first shot was saved by Rachel Welch but Devine followed up and knocked in the rebound for the game-winner, giving the Hornets the edge in an evenly-played match.
Sharon, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Wendy Wooden had a hat trick and Sofia Goclowski added a brace to lead the Eagles to their first win of the season. Cass Barbera recorded the clean sheet.
Mansfield, 233 @ Franklin, 235 – Final (6 cards) – The battle between the top two teams in the Kelley-Rex certainly lived up to the hype, tied through both four and five cards before the Hornets prevailed on the sixth card to clinch at least a share of the division title. Mansfield’s Brian See and Nate Morreale each shot a team-low round of 36 to pace the visitors while Ryan Dow and Jason See each shot 39 in the win. Joe Gormley added a 41 to force it to a sixth card where Ryan Doherty and Cian Goulet helped earn the win, each shooting a 42. For Franklin, Nolan Norton was the match medalist with an even par round of 35. Jack paterson and Pat Dolan each shot 38 for the Panthers, Brian Sandham chipped in with a 39 and Jack Hagerty shot a 41 for the hosts.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The new rule modifications in place this season are meant to limit physical contact between players, but once Monday night’s game at Alumni Field kicked off neither Attleboro or Mansfield was going to shy away from a challenge or give their opponents an inch.
It led to a competitive, hard-fought match with chances to win it at both ends of the field. In the end, Eleanor Graber’s third quarter strike matched Amira Walcott’s second quarter opener and the teams walked away with a point apiece following a 1-1 draw.
Attleboro dominated the opening few minutes of the match, as Mansfield worked to meet the aggressiveness of the visitors. In the third minute, Emily Dunlea slid a pass into the run of Isabella Salviati but the Attleboro forward dragged her shot through the box.
Once the hosts settled down, Mansfield started to assert itself and take control of the game. Tarynn Smith had the first good look for the Hornets after nine minutes but Alexis Campbell was there for the save. Following a corner, Carly Devine teed up Cathryn Cooney but her shot was wide of the far post.
Cooney almost created an opener with a cross from the left but it was deflected out to defender Kayla Doherty, whose shot from distance was blocked into the path of Kaylee Smith. The senior took a touch and put a shot on target from eight yards, but it was right at Campbell.
“It was just a matter of weathering their first adrenaline rush and maintaining our compactness in the middle and at the back and absorbing it and completing a pass going out,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained. “Once we did we were able to get a foothold in the game.”
In the 27th minute, Attleboro got a look for Briley Harnois but the senior’s shot from 25 yards out went wide of the post.
Mansfield took the lead in the 33rd minute. Campbell went up in traffic to collect a long free kick from Maria Sevastos, but couldn’t handle it cleanly and Walcott was in the right place to knock in her second of the season.
The Hornets had several chances to double their lead before halftime. Cooney had an indirect kick inside the box blocked at the near post by Olivia Calderone and then Katie Miller played Tarynn Smith behind the right back but Campbell came up with a big save, palming the shot over the bar.
“We started off okay and we got away from our style of play and more into their style of play,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos, “and it felt like were trying to defend the long ball and the races, so we dropped our defense back a little bit in the second half and got a little more composed and the flow of the game got a little bit better.”
Campbell came up with another big stop to keep it a one-goal deficit in the 51st minute. A ball over the top picked out Abby Jean on the run. The Mansfield sophomore decided to cut it back onto her right foot and bring it to the center of the box, forcing a full-stretch save down to the keeper’s right.
Santos said, “Lexi played well. She came out at the right times, made a key save when we needed it. She just got unlucky on that transition bringing the ball down.”
That save proved to be crucial as just five minutes later Attleboro was level. Mansfield keeper Olivia Salisbury had an outlet pass intercepted by Graber just outside the box. The Attleboro midfielder drove forward and made the turnover count with a shot into the bottom corner.
“That was a great hustle play by Eleanor,” Santos said. “She was in the right spot at the right time, made the right moves, and finished it.”
Much like Campbell, Salisbury had the chance to atone for her mistake and came up with the save of the game. Graber picked out Cossandra Stuger in the middle, who split the lines with a pass into Harnois on the left side of the box. The Attleboro forward was clean through on goal but Salisbury came sliding out to make a game-saving block.
“We talked about that in the intermission (between quarters),” said Smith. “We said, alright so we made a mistake and it cost us a goal. What do we want to do? React. So, we want to have a good, positive reaction and I thought everyone did.”
Mansfield started to regain control after Attleboro’s post-goal surge, putting pressure with a series of long free kicks by Sevastos and freshman defender Kara Santos. Bridget Hanley’s through ball sent Devine free, but the shot was held by Campbell. Attleboro created one more notable chance after Graber and Jessica Gates played a one-two and Gates set up Harnois in the box but again Salisbury was held onto the shot.
Smith said, “We had a lot of good pressure, a lot of possession, and a lot of good passing movements, and once we broke that down in the second half then they started coming back at us. Then you get that goal, but the last 10 minutes we recovered.”
Attleboro (1-1-1) and Mansfield (1-2-2) will do it again in two days when the teams meet at Tozier-Cassidy Field. Expect the same level of intensity and physicality for round two.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – As the clock wound down in the fourth quarter, the field felt titled towards the home team. It seemed only a matter of time until Mansfield was able to turn its domination into an equalizing goal and salvage a point. With five minutes to play and the Hornets pushing numbers forward, King Philip countered and sealed the win.
Ella Pisani’s second goal of the night, coming against the run of play, clinched a 2-0 victory for the Warriors and a sweep of the season series with Mansfield, setting up a battle of unbeaten league leaders next week against Franklin.
“Against these guys it’s always the same deal,” said KP coach Gary Pichel about playing Mansfield. “We’re always fighting neck-and-neck and there’s no blowouts or anything. I’m happy.”
The Hornets got off to a slow start, struggling to create scoring chances in the first quarter, but they grew into the game and their depth proved important as they seemed to have more energy in the final 20 minutes.
Cathryn Cooney had a good look from 20 yards but KP keeper Emma Glaser made the save down to her right. Four minutes later, Cooney’s free kick nearly picked out Tarynn Smith at the back post, but she was unable to bring it down cleanly and Glaser was off her line quick to secure the loose ball. The pressure was mounting on the KP back line, but Mansfield just couldn’t find the final ball.
KP sprung a counter with five minutes left. Pisani slid a ball down the left channel, playing Jenny Montville in behind the Mansfield right back and clean on goal. Montville’s chance was smothered by Hornets keeper Olivia Salisbury but the rebound popped out to Pisani. She took a touch and calmly curled a shot over the keeper to wrap up the win. It was her third goal of the young season.
“We also went three at the back and really two at the back as I was pushing everybody up, so what’s the difference between losing 1-0 or 2-0?” asked Mansfield coach Kevin Smith. “We’ve got to take the risks.”
Mansfield almost cut the lead in half with two minutes to go, but Isabella Lennon shot off an indirect free kick in the box was sent wide of the post.
Pichel praised his defense for holding onto the clean sheet, even with Grace Lawler sidelined with injury. He explained, “I used a freshman midfielder, Kylie Menendez, because she’s been playing so well in the mid and I said I’ve got to put her back there and see if works and she did a fantastic job with Paige [Varvarigos]. She held her own in a big game.”
The Warriors started well. Freshman Ellish McGowen had a shot from 20 yards in the first minute and forced Salisbury (five saves) into a diving stop. Montville nearly took advantage of a mix-up between a pair of Mansfield defenders but her shot from 25 yards was comfortable for the keeper.
“We were both a little slow,” Smith admitted. “If you watched Wednesday’s game (a 2-1 KP win), it was brilliant. Both teams played awesome. I think we were both just tired. Neither of has played two games in three days since February, so we’re all going to be rusty.”
In the final minute of the opening quarter, KP grabbed the lead. Kiera Lindmark was fouled when jumping for a cross from a corner kick and Pisani made no mistake from the spot.
“Ella took Avery [Snead]’s number (No. 9) on purpose because she adores Avery and wants to be like her,” said Pichel of Pisani picking up the scoring slack left by the Warriors graduating the program’s two all-time leading scorers. “She’s got some good moves and a good shot. She’s off to a good start.”
While it wasn’t the best start for Mansfield, the Hornets looked much better after the quick timeout. Maria Sevastos had a chance only three minutes into the second, getting free down the left wing, but her shot skimmed the bar on its way over. Anna Darlington then played Carly Devine down the right channel but she was unable to get the shot off under pressure from Varvarigos.
“I’m very happy with the girls,” said Smith. “They took that first quarter and put it in the back of their heads and got rid of it and switched back on and played well.”
KP could have doubled its lead with two minutes to go before halftime. When Mansfield tried to play out of its own penalty area, Paulina Baczkowski forced a turnover but her shot from a tight angle was pushed aside by Salisbury.
Kara Santos’ long free kick in the final minute of the second was on target and Glaser spilled the shot, but the keeper bravely dove at Smith’s feet to ensure there was no rebound opportunity for the Hornets forward and keep KP in front at the break.
King Philip (2-0) will e back home next week to host also unbeaten Franklin with first place in the Kelley-Rex on the line. Mansfield (0-2) will be back at Alumni Field on Wednesday to host Taunton in the season opener for the Tigers.