WRENTHAM, Mass. – The King Philip volleyball team is clicking on all cylinders at the right time.
The Warriors, the 2-seed out of the Kelley-Rex division, extended their unbeaten streak to seven straight matches with a convincing 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-18) sweep of the Davenport 3-seed Oliver Ames in the first round of the Hockomock Cup. It’s the sixth straight sweep for King Philip.
King Philip volleyball
Buoyed by the strong serving from Emma Brooks in the first two sets, the powerful swings and blocks at the net from Nicole Coughlan from start to finish, the reliable defense of Lily Carlow, the consistent sets from Lauren Peterson and Stella Bailey, and the timely plays from every other player that stepped onto the court, King Philip was strong in all facets of the game in a match they trailed just once, albeit briefly in the second set.
“They’re working really well as a team right now,” said King Philip head coach Kristen Geuss. “I’ve got a lot of depth on the team so in practice, when we play 6-on-6, it’s very competitive. We’ve got two good groups and at any given time, I have someone I can throw out there and they’ll do a great job. I think that helps us the most. They’re talking a lot more, I think they are just more comfortable being out there. We have half the games so we’ve had half the time to get up to speed.”
It was Brooks’ serving that created the separation for the hosts in each of the first two sets. With the Warriors and Tigers locked in close competition, Brooks stepped to the service line and it resulted in an 8-0 run in both sets, turning a close set into a comfortable lead for the Warriors. She had just one service error in 19 attempts.
“She’s got a good floater,” Geuss said “When it’s moving around like that, it’s tough to [receive] and for them to watch it hit their arms. There’s a lot of movement and she puts a lot of speed on it.”
When Brooks reached the service line in the opening set, KP had just taken an 11-9 lead after a kill from sophomore middle Sami Shore. Brooks had four straight serves that never came back over, including an ace on the fourth attempt. When OA did get it back over, a nice hit from senior Camryn Buckley gave KP a 16-9 lead and forced the visitors into a timeout.
Coughlan smashed a kill out of the timeout to keep the run going and two more strong serves never made it back over; a net violation on KP finally ended the run but the hosts held a 19-9 lead. Carlow (ace) and James (block) put the finishing touches on the set to take a 1-0 lead with a 25-13 decision.
The second set played out similarly, OA getting early points on good serves from sophomore Maddie Homer, a kill from Jordan Bennett, and a nice tip on the second touch from junior setter Hadley Rhodes. KP kept pace with a nice kill off the block from James and another good hit from Coughlan that OA couldn’t get back over.
A serving mistake put Brooks on the line for King Philip with an 11-10 lead and by the time she rotated out, the Warriors turned that small advantage into a 19-10 lead. During that run, Brooks had a pair of aces, Coughlan had a kill and two block kills, and Bailey caught the OA defense with a pass over the net on the second touch.
Coughlan and James both had good swings down the stretch and the Warriors clinched a 2-0 lead on a kill from Buckle to take the second set, 25-18.
“They kind of figured out what we were doing so I give them credit, they came back at us but I think our serving really helped us,” Geuss said. “Our serving was really consistent. Emma had a great run of serves, and when our serves are on, we’re more confident. We’ve been playing well, hopefully we’re on a roll and we’ll continue to play well. The competition is only getting better and better so we just have to rise to the competition but the girls are having fun right now.“
A kill from Coughlan started the final set, Peterson and Carlow each had an ace early, and Shore fooled the defense with a perfectly weighted tip over the block. King Philip led from start to finish in the third set and got some big swings from James down the stretch to ice the win.
King Philip volleyball (10-1) is set to travel to top-seeded Canton, who won yet another Davenport division title this season, on Wednesday at 5:30. Oliver Ames will play in a consolation game on Wednesday.
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – King Philip went on the road and picked up a sweep, 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-12), over the Bombardiers. Nicole Coughlan paced the offense for the Warriors with 10 kills and a pair of aces while Giovanna Fruci and Ahunna James each chipped in with six kills apiece. Lily Carlow had a strong day at the service line with six aces.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton inched closer to another division title with its second sweep of Oliver Ames this week, this time knocking off the Tigers 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-16). Both Liz Bickett (7 kills, 4 blocks and 10 digs) and Angie Elias (7 kills, 4 aces and 9 digs) had solid all-around outings while Talya DeGraw and Anna Verille both played strong at the net. Jackie Morrissey and Taylor Reynolds combined for 20 assists and ran the court well. For OA, Sarah Morley registered 23 serve receptions, 10 digs, and two aces, Hadley Rhodes added 14 assists, and Caroline Flynn finished with 12 digs.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Canton has been searching for the right lineup combination all season. Based on its performance in Monday evening’s battle of Davenport co-leaders in the Nixon Gym, it seems the Bulldogs might have finally found their best rotations.
The Bulldogs put together a complete performance, never trailing until late in the third set, and never allowing Oliver Ames to build momentum and get into the match. Canton won 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) and now has a one-game lead on the Tigers with three matches left in the season.
“We always try to get off to a good start,” said Canton coach Pat Cawley. “Whether you can or you can’t, it depends on the day. It’s a lot easier to play when you’re ahead and that was to our benefit but we did let them catch up in the second set and again in the third. To the kids’ credit they did buckle down and get it done.”
Canton showed off a balanced attack to build a lead in the first set. Liz Bickett (11 kills and 17 digs) had back-to-back hits to put the Bulldogs in front 10-7. After Caroline Flynn’s kill got OA back within two, the Bulldogs kept winning rallies, got an ace from Taylor Reynolds and pushed the lead to as many as five (15-10).
A block by freshman Sarah Hilliard and an ace from Amanda Barth kept the Tigers hanging around, but a pair of kills from outside hitter Anna Verille extended the lead back to four. Back-to-back blocks by Hadley Rhodes (21 assists and seven kills) and Tori Harneyy and then a tip by Flynn (11 kills) tied things up at 19-19.
Just when it looked like OA might be able to steal the first set, Canton ran off four straight, including an accurate tip by setter Jackie Morrissey and a big swing from Angie Elias (14 kills). Elias sealed the 1-0 lead with a well-placed tip, her fifth point of the first.
The visitors seemed to carry over the momentum into the second, continuing to win the battles at the net, led by Elias, Bickett, and Sydney Gallery (seven kills), who stepped into the middle in the absence of Shannon Malloy and had an impressive match on both sides of the ball. Her tip put the Bulldogs up 10-5.
“Syd’s first time playing middle and she did a great job,” said Cawley. “We didn’t even get to practice with her in the middle.”
Flynn capped a long rally with a cross-court kill, but Elias answered back with two of the next three points for an 18-11 lead. Down 20-13 and in danger of falling behind by two sets, OA managed to fight back and won nine of the next 11 points to tie it up at 22-22.
“We’ve made it interesting, but I want to make it count,” said OA coach Chelsea Cunningham. “Our lineup changes every single game, but it builds opportunities for everyone on the team, which I appreciate, and their willingness to try and give it their all.”
The Tigers were playing better defense in that stretch, although a block by Talya DeGraw and an ace by Nikki Desjardins slowed the comeback. Hilliard came through with another block in the middle and Harney found an angle for a big swing. An ace by Sarah Morley (23 digs) and quick tip by Rhodes tied the set and then Jordan Bennett made it 23-23 with a kill.
Again, the visitors had an answer. Bickett restored the lead with a tip down the line and then closed out the second with a kill to put the Bulldogs in control.
Cawley said, “I thought our ball control today was excellent. I thought our defense did a great job. We focused on being there to block, but I think our offense kept their defense off-balance. That’s a credit to our defense, which got the ball to our setter so we could put pressure on their defense.”
The familiar pattern continued in the third set, as Canton jumped out in front again. Down 14-8, OA started to climb back into it, following an ace by Alexandra Zwerle and a block by Courtney Raymond. Elias answered with an ace and the Bulldogs remained in front 16-12. The Tigers rolled off six of the next seven points to grab their first lead of the match.
Raymond added an ace to her earlier block and Flynn had a big swing on the outside. Bennett added another kill and OA led 21-19 in the third, looking to try and extend the match.
“These games are what will make us stronger,” said Cunningham. “They’re fighting. I get to give other kids the opportunity to play and they’re feisty. Them taking those risks definitely helps ignite a little bit of energy our team needs right now.”
Canton just seemed to make the big plays when it needed and found any openings in the OA defense. Verille dropped a shot in between a few Tigers and Bickett scored with a block to tie the set. Raymond had a kill to tie things back up at 23-23, but the Bulldogs won the final two points to seal the match.
“Their coverage was fantastic,” Cunningham added, “and that challenges us because we’re suffering on coverage right now. We’ve just got to bounce back. Hopefully it will be a quick turnaround.”
The Bulldogs have now won four straight after being swept by Sharon. Cawley saw that match as a good reminder to her team about how little separates the teams in the Davenport this season.
“Every loss is a learning experience,” she explained. “Last year we lost twice to North and I think it was the best thing for us to understand that you can lose. Every team out there is good and you can’t take anyone for granted. We’re not above the rest of the competition at all, we’re right there with everyone.”
Canton (6-1) will host Oliver Ames (5-2) on Wednesday looking to move one step closer to a 14th league title in the past 15 seasons.
Sharon, 1 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton bounced back from a loss on Monday and a one-set deficit on Wednesday evening to earn a 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-23) win over visiting Sharon. Angie Elias had a stellar showing for the Bulldogs with 17 kills, 19 digs and a pair of aces while Liz Bickett continued to do it all for the Bulldogs with 11 kills and 19 digs. Jackie Morrissey and Taylor Reynolds combined for 32 assists while Stephanie Trendell and Simela Donovan played great defense combining for 27 digs and seven aces.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames outlasted Foxboro in a marathon first set and went on to complete the sweep, 3-0 (29-27, 25-21, 25-17), in a close contest. Senior Sarah Morley set the tone with 14 digs and 14 serve receptions, Hadley Rhodes dished out 21 assists and added three blocks, and senior Caroline Flynn (12 kills, three aces), sophomore Mary Derba (seven kills), and junior Reese Blass had strong showings at the net.
Foxboro, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Foxboro stayed alive with a win in the third game and nearly forced a fifth before Oliver Ames closed it out in four, winning 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 26-24). Junior Hadley Rhodes set the Tigers’ offense in motion with 31 assists and added seven kills, while Caroline Flynn put down 20 kills. Sarah Morley added 24 digs and five aces and Allie Zwerle had 13 serve receptions, 12 digs, and three aces. Foxboro senior Shannon McDonald had 12 kills and five blocks, Emma Keefe added eight kills and six aces, Kelsey Treweek had nine digs, and Sarah Regan dished out 28 assists for the Warriors.
Attleboro, 0 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Milford defended home court with a 3-0 (25-13, 27-25, 30-27) win in a tightly contested match. Marissa Conroy (eight digs) and Kelsey Elliott (nine digs) helped the Bombardiers battle in the second and third sets.
North Attleboro 3, @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – North Attleboro picked up a win on the road, closing it out in four sets for a 3-1 (26-24, 25-14, 20-25, 25-18) win. Joanna Collins-Bilyeu had five kills and Julianne Chen added five aces to pace the offense while Belle Clarkin notched six digs.
Franklin, 3 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Franklin went on the road and earned another 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-18) sweep over Milford, moving to 2-0 on the season. Ally Bonnet-Eymard paced the offense for the Panthers with 15 kills while freshman Taylor Lacerda added nine kills in the win. Junior Cailyn Mackintosh went an impressive 18-for-19 on the service line for Franklin.
King Philip, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – King Philip rallied from a 2-0 deficit, winning three straight sets to earn a 3-2 (18-25, 19-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-6) on the road. Giovanna Fruci stepped up big for the Warriors with 14 kills, sophomore Ahunna James added 13 kills and two aces, and Nicole Coughlan had 11 kills and two aces. Lauren Peterson dished out 31 assists and Emma Brooks anchored the defense with 26 digs. For Mansfield, Olivia McGrath (two aces) and Alina Nowakowski (three blocks) each put down 13 kills while Christina Lydon finished with 34 assists. Nicole Santos added four blocks, three kills, and two aces while Julia Kelly had three aces.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames opened its home schedule in style, earning a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-18) sweep over visiting North Attleboro to improve to 2-0 on the season. Sophomore Maddie Homer shined at the service line with 27 service points and three aces, adding 10 digs defensively. Senior Caroline Flynn added 18 kills, senior Sarah Morley had 27 digs and four aces, and junior Hadley Rhodes chipped in 28 assists. For North Attleboro, Joanna Collins-Bilyeu had five kills and five digs while Ava Dunlevy added nine digs.
Attleboro, 1 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Attleboro avoided a sweep with a win in the third game and battled hard in the fourth but Taunton closed it out to break into the win column with a 3-1 (25-11, 25-10, 17-25, 25-20) win over the visiting Bombardiers. Jaelyn Fernandez had a strong showing for the Tigers, dishing out 25 assists to go along with eight aces and three kills. Mikayla Cleary and Angie Lynch each added eight kills, Fabiana Pereira had 13 digs and a pair of aces, and Makena Travers finished with seven digs and four aces. Krista Greening helped keep Attleboro in contention with strong serving while freshman Natalie Brojek had six aces. Lilly Boedeker added 11 digs for Attleboro.
Canton, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Canton fended off a strong challenge from the hosts in the first set and went on to complete the sweep on the road, 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-14). Liz Bickett continued her strong start to the season with 10 kills, five blocks, and 10 digs while Angie Elias had a good game on the outside with eight kills and eight digs. Jackie Morrissey and Taylor Reynolds (nine aces) combined to dish out 22 assists in the win.
Sharon, 3 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Oliver Ames edged North Attleboro by two in the middle set and then completed the sweep the next set to open the season with a 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-17) win on the road at North Attleboro. Senior Allie Zwerle recorded 20 service points for the Tigers along with 11 digs and 10 service receptions. Sarah Morley added 16 digs, Caroline Flynn led the offense with nine kills, and junior Hadley Rhodes dished out 20 assists. For North Attleboro, Sara Carter put down eight kills while Julianne Chen (seven digs) and Belle Clarkin (six digs) played well defensively. The teams have a rematch on Thursday in Easton.
Although Bickett only picked up volleyball a few seasons ago, she was one of the league’s top middle hitters last season, helping the Bulldogs win a 13th league title in the past 14 seasons and clinch the program’s first-ever state championship. A lot of attention was (rightly) given to Taylor Harris on the outside, but Bickett was a strong, all-around performer who seemed to get better in the biggest games. She finished with 173 kills and 59 blocks and was a dominant force in the middle of the net, but she also chipped in with 238 digs, 466 serve receptions, and 33 aces. Her athleticism, length, and quickness allowed her to impact matches no matter where she lined up. As she heads into her third season playing volleyball, Bickett will be the centerpiece of Canton’s front line and will be hoping to keep the Bulldogs in their place at the top of the Davenport division.
Bonnet-Eymard emerged as one of the top all-around performers in the league last season, becoming Franklin’s leading hitter but also chipping in with solid play at the service line and on the defensive side of the game. Bonnet-Eymard recorded a team-high 205 kills and was a dynamic hitter in Franklin’s balanced offense. She also had 36 aces and 117 digs, making her someone that could be counted on regardless of the rotation. Quick and athletic, Bonnet-Eymard has a powerful and accurate swing and forces the opposition to keep an eye out for her on every attack. Franklin is looking to win a third straight Kelley-Rex title this season and Bonnet-Eymard’s versatility will be critical to a title run.
2020 (Fall II) Hockomock Volleyball Players to Watch
So much attention goes to the play at the net, hitters, and blockers, that sometimes it can be hard for other positions to stand out, but Brooks shone during KP’s playoff run last season. The libero was one of the top defensive players in the Hock and seemed to get even better in the biggest moments. Brooks had 151 digs and 88 aces on the season and also chipped in with 23 kills, including several critical points during the playoff run. Athletic, quick, and willing to lay out to keep plays alive, Brooks allows KP blockers to be aggressive at the net, knowing that they have someone who can chase the ball down behind them. Her passing range and defensive skills will be key again this season as Brooks and KP hope to repeat as Kelley-Rex division champs.
Coughlan dominated the middle for the Warriors last season, pairing with Catherine Waldeck to give King Philip control of the net and helping KP make a run to the Div. 1 Central-East final. With 252 kills Coughlan was fourth-best in the league in the regular season and she also had 22 blocks, but she also contributed in other aspects of the game with 46 aces, good for 10th best in the league. Waldeck’s graduation means that Coughlan’s importance in the middle will be even greater this season, as KP is going to be relying on her accurate hits and her solid timing on the block to keep control of the play on the front line. The Warriors will be looking for a second straight league title and Coughlan’s experience and imposing presence in the middle will make KP a tough team to beat this season.
Sharon has shown improvement in each of the past few seasons and the Eagles are hoping to be in the mix for the division title this season. Two reasons for that are sisters Leah and Sara Fandel. Leah led the Eagles attack last year with a team-high 96 kills with a 38.4% kill percentage and does a nice job with her placement from the middle, picking spots around the block. She also gives the Eagles a strong first line of defense at the net and was second on the team with 36 blocks a year ago. Despite picking up a preseason injury, Leah is expected to return soon and give Sharon a big boost. Sara has emerged as one of the Eagles’ go-to options already this year after showing great improvement. Her ability to swing from all spots on the court, including the back row, gives the Eagles another dynamic to its offense.
2020 (Fall II) Hockomock Volleyball Players to Watch
The Tigers make their return to the Davenport division this season, 16 months after a historic season that saw them reach the Div. 1 South final. OA has hopes of ending Canton’s reign at the top of the league and Flynn will be one of the main reasons for those high expectations. She is the team’s top returning hitter, after amassing more than 130 kills as a junior, and also a vocal leader on the court. As she showed during basketball season, Flynn is a strong jumper with good body control and feel for the game, which makes her a weapon on the outside in the attack and also makes her effective at the net defensively. A tough player who doesn’t back down from a challenge, Flynn can set the tone for a team that is trying to end more than a decade of Canton domination in the Davenport.
Kelly has taken no time at all to make a major impact for the Hornets. The two-year varsity player was one of the Hock’s top all-around players last year, finishing in the top 15 in kills, digs, and aces, and helped the Hornets reach the postseason. She showed off her skills in the back row as a freshman but last year took on a much bigger role in the Mansfield attack, finishing with 124 kills. Kelly continued to be strong at the service line, with 48 aces, and was a tough defensive presence with 134 digs. Her versatility is already an important piece of Mansfield’s success and as she continues to gain more experience at the varsity level Kelly can help the Hornets challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex.
With a few new names on the roster and a new coach on the sidelines, Attleboro will be hoping to take a step forward in the standings this season. Leonardo, a rare four-year player, will be a leader for the Bombardiers on the court and her versatility means that she can make an impact regardless of where she’s lined up. A player who seems to do everything well, Leonardo can play as a setter or outside as a hitter. She is a good passer, strong on the service line, and an accurate hitter. Leonardo is also consistent on the defensive side, keeping plays alive and giving her team the chance to snag a point. By being able to play multiple roles, Leonardo gives Attleboro’s new coach, Mary Katherine Runey, the flexibility to make in-game adjustments and find the right spots for the new players.
Not many teams could have graduated a player of the year setter (Lauren McGrath) and not really missed a beat, but Mackintosh stepped right in and became one of the top passers in the league. In her first varsity season, she recorded 487 assists, second-best in the Hock, had 44 aces, and had 94 digs, as the Panthers won a share of a second straight league title. Mackintosh is an accurate passer but also does a great job spreading the ball around to Franklin’s assortment of hitters, keeping the opposition on its toes not knowing who might get the pass. The reigning Underclassman of the Year looked like a seasoned veteran last season and with a year of experience under her belt, the expectations are sky-high that she can pass the Panthers to a three-peat in the league.
Foxboro had a breakout season during the 2019 campaign and made it to the state tournament. Even though the Warriors graduated a strong group of players that helped them get there, one big piece back in the mix this year is senior middle Shannon McDonald. McDonald is a towering presence at the net that is a weapon both offensively and defensively. The Warriors had one of the top attackers last year in Grace Boudreau but need some new faces to step up to fill the void this year. McDonald doesn’t need a ton of power on her hits, her quick swing and placement against single blocks make it tough for defenses to react. And defensively, as we saw last year, it’s going to be tough for opposing middles to get many clean hits off. McDonald was second in the entire league last year with 58 blocks and her range to get to either side helps Foxboro’s first line of defense.
2020 (Fall II) Hockomock Volleyball Players to Watch
There is a new level of excitement in the gymnasium at Attleboro High as Mary Katherine Runey takes over as the varsity coach for the Bombardiers.
Attleboro has a mix of returners with experience and new faces to the varsity level, and Runey believes her squad has a tremendous amount of potential. It all starts with senior Ana Leonardo, a four-year starter at the setter position for the Bombardiers. Attleboro has plenty of depth at the setter position with freshman Natalie Brojek joining the mix right away. Leonardo and Brojek will have some experienced hitters to work with including senior opposite Krista Greening, senior middle Kosi Igbobi, and junior outside Delia Barthel. Junior captain Lilly Boedeker brings a lot of energy and experience to the defensive end as the libero, anchoring the Bombardiers’ back row.
“Our program is very excited to be back on the court,” Runey said. “We have a great mix of returning players as well as athletes new to the varsity level. I believe our team has a tremendous amount of potential, and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish this year. Ana and Natalie will certainly bring an intensity to our offense and Lilly matches that defensively.”
2019 Record: 22-3 (Davenport Division Champions) 2019 Finish: Division 2 State Champions Coach: Pat Cawley
The 2019 season was a banner year for the Bulldogs, claiming the Davenport division, the D2 Central sectional crown, and the program’s first ever D2 State Championship.
The returners have been eager to defend their championships, and after waiting just a little bit longer, the Bulldogs have their chance to at least battle for another Hock title. There’s an obvious void in the lineup with the graduation of HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Taylor Harris, one of the most feared hitters in the entire state. But longtime head coach Pat Cawley has an arsenal of weapons at her disposal that makes Canton the team to beat again this year. Senior middle Liz Bickett gets it done both offensively and defensively at the net and is a reliable option in the back row. Senior outside hitter Angie Elias is a reliable option at the net as well as senior middle Shannon Malloy. Senior Jackie Morrissey stepped into the setter role last year and really improved as the season went on while classmate Olivia Chinsen, a captain, is another option at setter after returning from injury. Seniors Nikki Desjardins (libero) and Stephanie Trendell will anchor the Bulldogs’ defense in the back row.
“We are excited and grateful to be back on the court,” Cawley said. “Although we have big shoes to fill at the outside hitter positions, we return several experienced players at middle blocker, setter, and defense. Senior captain Olivia Chinsen and junior Sydney Gallery are back from season-ending injuries and will help make us a stronger team. We are concentrating on building better chemistry and communication, always striving to be the best we can be!”
2019 Record: 11-10 2019 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round Coach: Vicki Santana
In head coach Vicki Santana’s first year in charge, the Warriors won 11 games and reached the postseason and Foxboro will hope to build on that momentum this season with 10 seniors on the roster.
Defensively, the Warriors should be tough. Kelsey Treweek returns at libero along with defensive specialists Pam Nelson and Grace Fortune. Nelson and Treweek were among the league leaders in digs in the 2019 season. Leading hitter Grace Boudreau graduated, but Santana is counting on several players to provide points with versatile hitters Emma Keefe and Shannon McDonald in the starting lineup. Underclassmen Sami Sloan and Mallorie Meyer will add depth at the net and have the potential to provide an instant impact
“Tryouts and practice were a little bit of a challenge to make sure we are following the Covid guidelines while still having fun and being competitive,” Santana said. “The girls have been so great and are staying positive through all of this. They are taking all of the guidelines seriously because they are so happy to be back in the gym!”
Franklin is coming off back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles and is in search of their third straight this season, but will be doing so under new guidance. Sam Elliott takes over as head coach of the Panthers after Kelsey Weymouth moved on to the collegiate level after two successful years at the helm.
Elliott is familiar with the program after serving as an assistant last season and she knows she has the pieces to make a push to hang another division title banner in this abbreviated season. Senior captain Ally Bonnet-Eymard enters her fourth year with the team and is among the most dangerous hitters in the league (205 kills) from the left side. She’ll be flanked by senior Emma Chase, who is back for her second straight year starting at middle and gives Franklin a weapon both offensively and defensively. Junior Cailyn Mackintosh really impressed in her first season last year and will be the starting setter while Jill Benoit returns as the starting libero. Elliott is also looking for some younger faces to push for time including sophomore Meghan Linkkila and freshmen Taylor Lacerda and Grace Lacerda.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to play this year, with six seniors it is important that they were able to have their final season,” Elliott said. “As a program we are excited to compete and improve, our group is a mix of returners and new players so it will be fun watching them all come together.”
There will be a lot of familiar faces on the court this season for King Philip, who is looking to ride a strong senior class and an experienced group of players to a second straight Kelley-Rex crown.
Head coach Kristen Guess has weapons all over the court, starting with her three senior captains. Middle Nicole Coughlan has been a force at the net for the past two years and will be one of the toughest players to stop this year. Fellow captains Emma Brooks and Lily Carlow, who both have a lot of experience at the varsity level will anchor the Warriors’ defense from the back row. Senior Giovanna Fruci will be one of KP’s top options at the net as well as sophomore Ahunna James, who had some impressive swings in limited action last year. Guess is looking for seniors Paige Kannally and Camryn Buckley to step up and help with blocking at the net while senior Lauren Peterson will set the entire team in motion from the setter position. Junior Stella Bailey and sophomore Sami Shore have played well in preseason and should be in the mix as well.
“This the most experienced team I have coached, we have depth on the team with strong newcomers,” Guess said.
We are excited to have a season and are ready to play.”
2019 Record: 8-11 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Mark Ledwich
Longtime head coach Melissa Heeden stepped down over the offseason so the Hornets enter this season under the guidance of their new head coach Mark Ledwich. Ledwich is familiar with volleyball in the area as the director of the sport at Mass Premier Courts and brings experience from the collegiate level to the job.
Ledwich has an experienced group to work with during his first year with six players back from last year’s team, most of which saw either starting or at least valuable minutes at the varsity level. The Hornets will have a variety of weapons on the offensive end with its top four attackers back from last year. Junior Julia Kelly (124 kills) led the squad in kills as a sophomore and will be one of the most dangerous hitters in the league this year while Alina Nowakowski, Olivia McGrath, and Kacey Veiking all provide legitimate threats at the net. All four will start the Hornet defense will their blocking with Veiking (35 blocks) among the top returners in that category.
“Our focus this season is on error management and when to stretch a point,” Ledwich said. “We have a lot of heavy hands this year, so knowing when to utilize them in each situation has been a huge focus of the pre-season. With the consistent height we have available in the front row this season we are spending a lot of time discussing approach paths of opposing attackers and how we should funnel each attack to best utilize our attacking strengths.”
2019 Record: 10-10 2019 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round Coach: Tammy Webber
The Hawks have reached the postseason in each of the past two seasons, and while there isn’t a state tournament this year, Milford is aiming to attain the success that comes with a playoff berth.
Making the switch to the Kelley-Rex will be challenging, but one the Hawks are ready for. With a strong mix of returning players with varsity experience and some new players looking to make a splash, Milford could surprise some teams along the way. Elise Fauerbach returns for her senior season after missing significant time last year due to an injury. Fauerbach will patrol the right side, giving the Hawks a good option defensively with her size, and has a high volleyball IQ. Milford has two key defensive players back with senior Eva Parson (106 digs), who took on the role of libero last season but is in the mix to step into the full rotation, even getting swings as an outside hitter. Junior Sarah Brogioli can play just about anywhere on the court, a reliable option in the back row (106 digs) while also capable of stepping up to the net and connecting on some big swings (96 kills). Lexi Stark is an athletic option at middle that can move side-to-side to help with blocking in all three spots at the net. Sophomore Emily Crouteau is penciled into the setter role to start the year while Aliza Syed will be an option at the net for the Hawks.
2019 Record: 13-6 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Kim Marshall
North Attleboro has been one of the biggest challengers to Canton’s reign atop the Davenport division in recent years, and the Rocketeers are going to be right back in the mix again during this Fall 2 season.
Head coach Kim Marshall has four returning seniors that all have valuable experience at the varsity level and then a strong junior class with consists of eight players ready to make a splash at the varsity level. Senior Joanna Collins-Bilyeu is one of the most experienced players in the league and will be a cornerstone at the net for the Rocketeers after putting down 67 kills a year ago. She will be joined by classmates Annie Grunewald and Jasmine Anderson along the net to give North a formidable attacking trio. Belle Clarkin will anchor the back row that features some new faces so the Rocketeers will be learning as the season goes on. Junior Katherine McHoul is stepping in to take over at the setter position to run the offense.
“I am really excited for this season to start, I just wish it wasn’t so short,” said Marshall. “I am very fortunate, again, to get a wonderful group of student-athletes who continually work so hard, support each other and are so much fun to be around.”
2019 Record: 18-5 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Chelsea Cunningham
Oliver Ames made a run to the Div. 1 South final in 2019 and pushed perennial power Barnstable to a decisive fifth set and, after moving to the Davenport division this season, the Tigers have the potential to give defending state champ Canton a serious challenge for the league title.
Senior Caroline Flynn will be one of the team’s primary attackers on the outside and will get help from classmate Jordan Bennett, who is recovering from an injury but can play multiple positions along the front line. Senior Tori Harney is back after missing all of last season with an injury and will compete for a starting role as a middle hitter. Senior Sarah Morley will transition from defensive specialist to libero this year with senior Allie Zwerle providing leadership in the DS role. Junior Hadley Rhodes will step in as the setter this season, replacing the program’s all-time leader in assists, Allie Kemp, while sophomore Maddie Homer will add athleticism on the back row.
“This team has so much potential to build off of the best season this program has had to date- and we have work to do,” said OA coach Chelsea Cunningham. “With this season being so short, we are hoping to make every moment count in the gym. From bonding with everyone on the team, to mixing up the lineups, and everyone being ready to compete- it’s exciting to FINALLY play after the long wait.”
2019 Record: 6-13 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Lovett
The foundation of the Sharon volleyball this season will be its senior class, a strong group of experienced players hungry to make some noise in the Davenport division this season.
The Eagles have four returning seniors in Brynne Aidlin-Perlman, Yvette Nau, Leah Fandel, and Sarah Fandel; all four can play in a variety of roles for Sharon. Aidlin-Perlman is a leader both on and off the court and provides the Eagles with solid defense plus a strong swing from the outside hitter position. Nau is back for another year as the team’s setter and will quarterback the offense, having all three of her classmates as good options at the net. Sara Fandel put a lot of work in during the offseason and has improved greatly at the net and provides the Eagles with a reliable defensive option in the back row while Leah Fandel is a two-way threat at the net from the middle position.
“We have four returning seniors that provide a very solid base for a talented team,” said Sharon head coach Andrea Lovett. “The team is rounded out with talented juniors who will be taking us into next year. Sharon expects to be a threat in our “Hock Bubble” this season.”
2019 Record: 2-14 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Felicia Baptista
The Black Knights are looking to bounce back in a big way during the Fall 2 season. Felicia Baptista is moving up from subvarsity to take over the varsity squad.
Baptista will have a lot of new faces that are new to the varsity level so she plans to rely heavily on her two returners, especially in the early going. That means senior Shanice Landrum and senior Camille Firmin will be key leaders both on and off the court this year as Stoughton looks to battle for the Davenport division crown. Landrum led the team in kills last season with 86 and was one of the best blockers in the Hockomock League with 63. Firmin should see an expanded role at the net as the Knights look to integrate new faces into its lineup under Baptista.
“Even though it is a big building season for us, our team dynamic seems like we have been playing together for years,” Baptista said. “Every day I see big improvements with communication on the court and our defense is looking solid. This year is unique for us because we do have a few boys on our roster and, not only do they bring talent, but they add a light and fun atmosphere to the gym.”
With a large group of experienced players returning this season, the Tigers are eager to put last season behind them and make a splash this year.
Taunton has 10 seniors in total, with nine of them returning players from last season along with one returning junior, so experience will be a strength for this year’s squad. The Tigers will be looking to turn their experience at the varsity level into success on the court in the abbreviated Fall 2 season. Senior captain Jaelyn Fernandez will put the offense into motion from the setter spot and will have some weapons to work with along the net. The Tigers have all three of their top attackers back from a year ago, including senior captain and outside hitter Ella Dunderdale, who led the Tigers in kills last season with 89 kills. Senior Sonya Fernandez (83 kills) and junior Mikayla Cleary (63 kills) will also give the Tigers options from the middle and opposite spots. Seniors Makena Travers, Kailara Andrade, and Fabiana Pereira will anchor the back row for the Tigers. With experience in multiple spots, depth will be key for Taunton this year.
“We are just looking forward to the competition but as we know in the Kelley-Rex you have to be focused and be ready to bring it every night as every team is tough,” said Taunton head coach Toby Chaperon. “We are just hoping we can rise to the challenge each and every match and hope that our execution is sharp.”
Sharon, 50 @ Milford, 62 – Final – Six players in a game-changing second quarter as Milford turned a close game into a comfortable lead that it never relinquished. The Hawks had a 10-6 lead after eight minutes before exploding for 24 points in the second quarter with Ben Blanchard scoring seven of his 13 points and Jordan Darling netting seven of his 16 points to help Milford get the win. Wes Solomon and Max Martin each connected from three-point range while Ralph Franklin Jr. and Brady Olson each scored in the second to give the Hawks a 34-15 lead at halftime. Blanchard added two more threes and Darling connected from three in the third as Milford carried a 48-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Sharon had 10 players get into the scoring column as Rohan Prakash came off the bench to tie for a team-high eight points.
Stoughton, 53 @ Oliver Ames, 62 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Oliver Ames overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to pick up a win over Stoughton, clinching sole possession of the Davenport division title. The Black Knights had a great start, putting up 17 points in the first quarter and 19 more in the second to build a 36-26 lead at halftime. But OA’s defense limited the visitors to 13 points in the third and just four in the fourth, and on the offensive end the Tigers cashed in on 23 offensive rebounds to get the win. OA exploded for 26 points in the third to take a 52-49 lead into the fourth. With points hard to come by in the fourth, Stoughton got possession back down 56-53 with 1:35 to play but an issue with the official book resulted in a technical foul on the Black Knights. OA sank both free throws, snapping a 3:30 scoreless drought. OA got a big stop and Amari Brown (23 points) scored in transition to ice the win. Drew Nickla (16 points, 11 rebounds) was the catalyst behind the offensive rebounding surge while Drew Baxter added nine points and six rebounds and Will Whiteside had seven points and 14 rebounds. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi had 16 points and eight rebounds while senior Waseem Sablon added 13 points.
Taunton, 59 @ Attleboro, 56 – Final – Taunton got just enough stops down the stretch, including a go-ahead three-point attempt from Attleboro with five seconds to go, to earn the win on the road and keep its division title hopes alive. Senior Tyler Stewart scored six of his 20 points in the final frame and junior Tristan Herry hit a huge three with just over four minutes to go to put the visitors up 56-54. Attleboro tied the game off a Taunton turnover with senior Justin Daniels, who scored a career-high 29 points, converted a layup with three minutes to go. Stewart put Taunton ahead with a free throw and the Tigers blanked the Bombardiers the rest of the way. Junior Trent Santos added 13 points and junior Faisal Mass had 11 points in the win for the Tigers. Evan Houle and Alec Eaton chipped in with nine points apiece for Attleboro.
Mansfield, 74 vs. Lowell Catholic, 57 – Final – Holding a six-point lead at halftime, Mansfield dropped 21 points in the third quarter to turn its advantage into 57-42 going into the final quarter. Brendan Foley, Jack Colby, and Matt Hyland all hit from three-point range and had five points apiece in the third to help the Hornets pull away for the win. Senior Matt Boen led the offensive charge with 20 points along with nine assists and six rebounds. Hyland finished with a career-high 17 points an eight assists while Foley had 12 points and Colby chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Oliver Ames, 63 @ Stoughton, 15 – Final – Oliver Ames completed a perfect 10-0 season with a win on the road over Stoughton. Caroline Peper led the balanced scoring attack for the Tigers with 12 points while Kelsey Yelle added 10 points and Caroline Flynn chipped in wit nine points. Freshman Jasmyn Cooper finished with eight boards in the win.