FOXBORO, Mass. – Last season, Franklin rolled through the league unbeaten and scored 124 goals on its run to the Div. 1 state semifinal, which was more than double any other Hockomock League team. The Panthers started this season just as potent in front of goal, with 14 tallies in the opening two games.
Foxboro knew exactly what kind of threat the Panthers would pose on Wednesday evening at Sam Berns Community Field and put together a total team effort to keep the Franklin attack at bay. The game plan worked perfectly.
The Warriors held Franklin to just three penalty corners, the defense stayed packed into the middle, Foxboro threw multiple bodies at last year’s top scorer Kaitlyn Carney, and goalie Kathryn Ferguson came up with a highlight reel stop in the fourth quarter to come away with an impressive 0-0 draw.
“One of the keys to trying to keep the game controlled for us would be our defense and keeping the ball out of the middle and slowing them down as fast as we could,” Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri explained about her team’s third shutout in three games this season. “I thought we did a really good job of making them do other things and be more creative on the fly.”
Franklin coach Michelle Hess praised Bordieri for putting together a strong plan and the Foxboro players for executing it very well. I was just giving Melissa kudos because that’s how I would’ve played us,” she said.
“They completely packed it in and it was hard for us to generate anything,” Hess continued. “We were super nervous today for some reason. We didn’t play our typical style of play. It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth, not a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take advantage when we did get them.”
While Foxboro was intent on keeping compact defensively, it wasn’t all one-way traffic. In fact, the Warriors had several good chances of their own, including the best look of a tight first quarter when Mya Waryas broke free down the right wing and forced a near post save out of Franklin freshman goalie Devon Barry.
The Panthers were having difficulties getting anything through to goal in the opening 15 minutes. Their best chance came when Raena Crandall charged down a clearance and deflected it off the side of the net. Foxboro’s defense of Catherine Cotter, Macy Quinn, Paige Curran, Val Beigel, and Mia Dinunzio (with help from all the attackers) kept everything outside the circle.
After a tough opening quarter, Franklin seemed to find another gear in the second, but Ferguson was there to back up her defenders.
Carney had a chance in the opening minute of the period that was kicked aside. Seven minutes later, Haley Wernig stole the ball on one end and, after a give-and-go with Carney, raced half the field before forcing another kick save out of the Foxboro goalie. Less than a minute after that, Carney was teed up by Sophia Cuneo for a blast off a penalty corner but again Ferguson was able to get a pad to it.
Right before halftime, Carney again forced her way into the circle and got free for a backhand shot from a tight angle but Cotter was in front to block and clear.
Foxboro gained momentum from going into the break scoreless and carried that energy into the third. Camryn Collins spun and fired a shot towards goal that was tipped just wide of the post by Jennifer Gallagher.
“We have to capitalize on the opportunities we work so hard for,” Bordieri said. “We did a fantastic job against an obviously really strong team, but we’ve got to jump on and capitalize on those too.”
Midway through the third, Foxboro had another good look as Isabelle Chamberlin’s long shot from the left side was kicked away by Barry. The save turned into one of the few transition opportunities Franklin had all night. Shaw Downing raced down the right side, but her cross into the middle was cut out by Quinn in front of a couple of late-arriving Panthers.
Pressure continued to mount, as Franklin grew increasingly anxious about trying to preserve its perfect start to the season. On a corner, Cuneo played the ball out to Carney, who tipped it to her sister Emily for a long shot that was blocked in front. Play stayed alive and Franklin won another corner. This time Kaitlyn Carney took the shot from the top herself and Ferguson came through with a nice stop.
Franklin nearly grabbed the opener with six minutes to play. Emily Carney flicked a shot in front that was tipped by Wernig in front. Ferguson (six saves) appeared to be wrong-footed, but was able to plant and dive at full stretch to get her stick to the shot that seemed destined for the bottom corner, preserving the shutout.
“The diving save and then she jumped right up to make sure,” Bordieri said about her goalie’s late heroics, “They’re a quick team. You can’t make a dive like that and lay there.”
It wasn’t the result that she was looking for, but Hess sees positives in her team getting tested like this early in the season. “We all know other teams are going to go after Kaitlyn,” she said. “So, this was a good learning experience for us that we’re going to have to work with the other girls to pick up the slack. It was a really good learning experience for us.”
Foxboro (2-0-1) will be on the road on Friday afternoon to take on Sharon, which is fresh off its first win of the season. Franklin (2-0-1) will also be on the road Friday, traveling to Taunton.
2021 Record: 11-6-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Jessica Pink
Attleboro has been a team on the rise for the past few seasons with a couple of tournament appearances and wins over some of the league’s perennial powers. New head coach Jessica Pink takes over a roster that sees a lot of turnover from 2021, but one that she believes is filled with players ready to step in and take their chances in the lineup.
Speed will be the main strength of the Attleboro attack, which will look to transform any turnover into a quick transition. Junior Siobhan Landers returns to the midfield and will be one of the team’s top playmakers and senior Marley Young will be a focal point on the front line. Their combination of stick skills and leadership will help the younger players adapt to the varsity level. Senior Jordan Mooney will play in midfield with Landers and will help set the tone with her energy to keep the Bombardiers on the front foot.
The back line will have a lot of inexperience, but senior Megan Ferreira is a returning starter and she is going to need to keep communication strong and provide cover in the center of the field. Attleboro is working hard to build more familiarity in the defensive unit this preseason. Sophomore goalie Siany Ortiz will be the new starter this season and, despite being an underclassman, has been very vocal in organizing the defense and keeping things solid.
“We have strong, decisive playmakers who haven’t had a chance in past years to make a name for themselves that are ready to compete,” said Pink. “This team is hungry. Coming in this year to take over the program, I have been impressed every day with the attitude and hard work of my players. I know this season will be a lot of growth for the girls coming up from JV this year, but we are ready to show the Hockomock League what we have in store. “
2021 Record: 16-4-0 (Davenport champion) 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16 Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Expectations remain high in Canton as the defending Davenport division champions are ready to defend their crown and make another run in the state tournament.
The Bulldogs went 16-4 a year ago before dropping a second-round matchup on the road to Reading in triple overtime. They’ll have to find production to replace all three of their all stats from a year ago, but there is still plenty of key pieces all over the field that puts Canton in a prime position to repeat.
It starts in goal with senior Carolyn Durand, who had a breakout junior campaign and earned HockomockSports Second Team honors. She will have a familiar face defending the cage in front of her with Laura Valkanas back at sweeper. In the midfield, the Dogs have Maggie McCready back in the mix. Freshman Carolyn Schiavo and Izzy Cusack have impressed in preseason so far.
Up top, Canton has its leading scorer back in Assumption-commit Ellie Bohane, who scored 13 goals along with nine assists in the regular season and earned HockomocokSports First Team honors. She will be one of the most dangerous players in the attacking half this season.
“Ellie comes into her senior season with experience and confidence,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We will look to her for her goal scoring ability and overall leadership on the field.”
2021 Record: 15-6-0 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 3 Round of 16 Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Foxboro came up just two games back in the hunt for the Davenport division title a season ago, and with the majority of the team back this year, the Warriors look poised to challenge for the crown this go around.
The Warriors have two of their biggest offensive threats back in the mix led by 2021 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Mary Collins, who scored 15 goals and added 18 assists. Foxboro will also feature Mya Waryas up front, who was second on the team with nine goals and eight assists in the regular season. Val Beigel and Mia Dinunzio will be key pieces in the midfield again this year.
Defensively, there are more familiar faces with Katherine Ferguson back in the cage and Catherine Cotter returning to a defensive unit that gave up just over a goal a game last year. Freshman Kathleen Staruski will push for minutes in net as well.
“The Hockomock League is historically a very competitive and experienced group of teams and I believe one of the best leagues in the state for our sport,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “This year will be no different…so we have our work cut out for us, no doubt, but this group has been working hard this offseason and now in preseason. They are a gritty and determined group, so I am very optimistic about how we will perform as a team.”
2021 Record: 20-2-0 (Kelley-Rex champion) 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Final Four Coach: Michelle Hess
Franklin had one of the most dynamic offenses last season, not only in the Hockomock League where they went 16-0, but also one of the best in the entire state as they reached the Division 1 state semifinals.
What’s good news for Franklin is bad news for everyone else: the Panthers have nearly their entire attacking group back ready to make another run at a state title. The offense will be anchored by Kaitlyn Carney, the 2021 HockomockSports Player of the Year, who scored a league-best 37 goals and added 18 assists. Franklin also has dynamic forward Shaw Downing back fresh off a 20-goal, nine-assist season a year ago. The attack will also feature junior Sophia Cuneo, sophomore Haley Wernig, and sophomore Raena Campbell.
One area that will have some new faces is the defensive unit after the Panthers lose two of the best defenders in the league in Kendall Jones and Kate O’Rourke. Head coach Michelle Hess is looking for Ella Mahoney to anchor the group after starting last year while freshman Devon Barry joins Megan Sullivan and Chloe Strassner as the goalies on the roster.
“After graduating five seniors and winning the Kelley-Rex Division, we are looking forward to defending our three-year title and working hard towards being four-peat champions,” Hess said.
2021 Record: 12-5-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Round of 32 Coach: Kaitlyn Wilder
There are a lot of new faces on the roster for King Philip this season, as the Warriors make a push to unseat Franklin from the top of the Kelley-Rex division and win the league title for the first time since 2018. First-year head coach Kaitlyn Wilder, who takes over for Lisa Cropper, will still have plenty of experience to call on with 18 seniors in this year’s squad.
Offensively, KP will once again lean on junior midfielder Kelly Holmes to set the tone. The team’s leading second-leading scorer in 2021 was instrumental in pushing the Warriors into the attack. Junior Mara Boldy (12 goals and eight assists last year) will join up with Holmes to give KP a potent forward line and classmate Nicole McDonald is poised for a bigger role in the attack. Junior Bridget King will be a key player in transition and sophomore Abby MacDonald could be ready for a breakout year in the midfield.
The Warriors were strong on the defensive side of the ball last season, allowing only 17 goals in 19 games, but that was a senior-laden group and new players will be counted on to step in this fall. Seniors Lauren Barriero and Charlotte Raymond will give the relatively inexperienced group valuable leadership and provide much-needed communication on that end of the field. Goalie should be a position of strength for KP this year with seniors Haley Bright and Samantha Sweetman both back between the pipes.
“Preseason has been great so far, we have a big roster with talented, hardworking field hockey players,” Wilder explained. “Looking to use our big roster to our advantage, utilize our senior leadership to help them, and the underclassmen to excel this season.”
2021 Record: 4-13-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield has battled through back-to-back difficult seasons, and even though the Hornets qualified for the state tournament based on the new statewide rating system a year ago, the Hornets are looking to have a big bounce-back campaign in 2022.
Behind a renewed enthusiasm, a youthful energy boost, and strong team speed, the Hornets look ready to challenge for the division title, this season in the Davenport division. The team is led by seven seniors that bring experience to each layer of the field. It starts with senior Lily Danehy, a three-year starter in goal for the Hornets. One of the most experienced netminders in the Hock will be the backbone of the defense while classmates Fadila Krieche and Audrey Murphy are returners on defense.
Senior Danni Cuzzi and junior Lola Varricchione both bring speed and experience to the Hornets’ midfield unit. Up front, Mansfield will look to improve its scoring output and will turn to Rose Maher, Ava Adams, and Kristin Kipp to apply pressure on opposing defenses.
“The team intends on turning things around this year,” said head coach Theresa Nyhan. “The Hornet squad is young, fast, and enthusiastic!”
2021 Record: 1-17-0 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jenna Casello
Milford has a new head coach this season in Jenna Casello and she’s hoping to push the program in a positive direction as they navigate a daunting Hockomock League schedule.
The Scarlet Hawks have 10 seniors on the roster this season and will lean on their leadership and guidance, both on and off the field. Casello will look to her three captains — Hailey Beagle, Jordan Douglas, and Ashlynn Ringo — to lead the way. Ringo will be a player to watch this season as she patrols the midfield, playing a crucial role in helping the Milford back line while also organizing and orchestrating the Hawks’ offense.
Up front, senior Kay Wheelock is set to provide pressure on opposing defenses. Although new to the center forward spot, Casello has liked what she’s seen so far and the team will be looking to target Wheelock up front.
“Being a new coach this year, I am hopeful that I will have a positive impact on the team and lead them in the right direction this season,” Casello said. “We will have a fresh new start and are ready to show off our skills in the Hock. One strength for us this year will be using the entire field. Throughout our preseason we have been working on not only stretching the field vertically but horizontally as well. Our midfielders are constantly scanning the field and looking to transition the ball as needed.”
2021 Record: 7-9-3 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 32 Coach: Karen Folan
With the majority of the roster intact from a season ago, North Attleboro is looking to take a big step forward and make some noise in their first season back in the Kelley-Rex division.
The Rocketeers are loaded with experience all over the field, especially in the attacking half. Senior center forward Julia Puccio starts her fourth year on varsity and emerged as one of the most dangerous scorers a season ago. She was third in the Hock with 23 goals last season and earned HockomockSports First Team honors. She’ll be joined on the left wing by classmate Caroline Folan (nine goals, five assists), a three-year member of the team that is often the catalyst of the attack with her strong passing.
North has a lot of veterans in the midfield with seniors Ava Spencer and Caitlin Vacher along with juniors Kelsey Thompson and Emily Burnham – all four saw valuable minutes last season and will help North both defensively and offensively. In the defensive half, junior Gracie Leary had a breakout season in net and had a great offseason preparing for this year. In front of her are returning varsity members and seniors Rory McGinley, Maddie Bailey, Ava McKeon, and Ella Luistro.
“This group has played together for some time and they have developed strong skills throughout their careers,” said head coach Karen Folan. “The chemistry and camaraderie they have off the field, shows on the field, with cohesive passes and strong communication.”
2021 Record: 11-7-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Round of 16 Coach:
With key returners spread out all over the field, new head coach Alex Sylvia is looking to continue the momentum that the Tigers have had the past couple of seasons.
The Tigers won the Davenport division two seasons ago and had a thrilling overtime playoff win last year before bowing out in the second round to top-seeded Masconomet. Sylvia, who played collegiately locally at Stonehill College, will have contributors from all four classes, including senior Julia Maclaine. Maclaine is a seasoned veteran that plays the full length of the field, a key piece of the defense as well as a dangerous attacker with the ball. She’ll be joined by junior Megan Crabtree in the midfield, both of which are returners.
Up top, junior Erin Cottam is one of the top scoring returners from last year after scoring 14 goals and registering seven assists. She will be one of the main options for OA up front and freshman Kayla Kenney has impressed so far in the preseason and will be a key new addition to the attack. Defensively, OA has some veterans on the back line with senior captains Olivia Stevens and Abby Welz. They have a lot of varsity experience and will anchor the defense in front of junior goalie Olivia O’Rourke.
“I am excited for the season as the head coach this year,” Sylvia said. “During tryouts, I witnessed amazing talent, and now our team is strong and ready to work for this entire season. Each player understands their role and is ready to work toward their goals.”
2021 Record: 4-13-0 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Caitlin Jamiel
For the first time in over 40 years, Stoughton field hockey will have a new head coach on the sidelines. Caitlin Jamiel takes over for the legendary Dan Mark and she will be leaning heavily on the returning players.
After moving to goalie for the first time last year, Stephanie Costerio (109 saves last year) is back in the cage for the Black Knights with much more experience under her belt, and she will be the backbone of the defense.
Jamiel will also look for guidance from her four captains: Kerry Driscoll, Andrea Khouzami, Carly Sanda, and Katherine Giroux. Driscoll was a key piece of the defense last season, Khouzami patrolled the midfield, and both Giroux and Sanda were a part of the Stoughton offense.
“We will be relying heavily on our returning captains to show their maturity on the field, and lead our young team through difficult moments,” Jamiel said. “We have a lot of energy coming into our program this season, and we are so looking forward to building our program into a competitive one.”
2021 Record: 5-11-2 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Liz Hathaway
With a blend of experience and new faces, Taunton is hoping to compete in a very deep Kelley-Rex division and push for a spot in the postseason.
Senior Kaysie DeMoura is fresh off a super season with the state champion softball team and is looking to carry some of that success onto the turf with the field hockey team. She burst onto the scene last year as one of the top box-to-box players in the Hock and finished as the team’s leading scorer with four goals and six assists. She’ll look to work with senior forward Caelyn O’Leary (six goals, one assist) to give the Tigers a dynamic 1-2 punch offensively. Sophomore Caroline Vallarelli has impressed with a strong skillset in the midfield so far this preseason.
There will be some familiar faces on the defensive end, but some changes as well. Junior Jasmine Lucier, who previously started on defense for the Tigers, will make the transition to goalie this year. Head coach Liz Hathaway notes that Lucier has worked very hard during the offseason and has established herself in between the pipes. Taunton will lean heavily on Thal Nogueira, a smart defender that has been the anchor of the defense for the past few seasons. They are a great ball tackler with a great sense for defensive position.
“We are a young team, we graduated seven starters from last season,” Hathaway said. “We have a strong returning defense and a young forward line that have stepped up during the preseason. Our younger players are really looking to make a name for themselves and working hard. Our team has worked hard and is looking forward to the season ahead.”
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro entered its first round playoff game on Sunday morning at Sam Berns Community Field having won eight straight games. The Warriors carried momentum and the the experience of battling the top teams in the Hockomock League into the postseason and it all paid off.
Three different players found the back of the net for Foxboro in a 3-0 win over No. 27 Middleboro in the Div. 3 Round of 32. The Warriors dominated the first half and then held off the Sachems in the second, showing defensive resolve and solid goaltending from Lilli Jones to preserve the shutout.
“If you look at brackets and the power rankings, we’re playing some of the best teams in the [state] and it absolutely helps each of us in the Hock when we get to the postseason,” Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri said.
She added, “We worked hard on spreading the field and using deceptive moves up top and using the outside of the circle on our corners, trying to get (their goalie) to move, and I think that worked really, really well.”
The hosts started the game strongly. Foxboro had seven corners in the first half to none for Middleboro and Jones spent most of the opening half hour as a spectator trying to see what was happening up the other end of the field through the bright glare of the morning sun.
After eight minutes, the pressure turned into the opening, and as it turned out game-winning goal. From a corner, Kate Collins started the play with a pass out to her sister Mary Collins, who fired a low shot into a crowd of bodies in front of goal. The ball sat on the doorstep for a couple seconds before Jennifer Gallagher was able to knock it across the line.
Foxboro nearly added a second just before the first quarter ended. Mya Waryas drove down the right wing and forced Isabelle Mosley into a good kick save to keep the ball from Camryn Collins, who was waiting at the back post to tip it in.
The second quarter was even more one-way traffic. Foxboro created a series of penalty corners and had the Sachems pinned down in the defensive half of the field. Mary Collins blasted another shot from a corner just wide of the post, then Collins’ shot fell to Gallagher who brought a good save out of Mosely.
Ten minutes into the quarter, the second goal finally went in. From a corner, Collins was again the impetus with a shot into the mix in the crease. This time it was Kate Collins who was on hand to get the ball across the line and give Foxboro an important cushion.
A two-goal lead proved to be comforting for the Warriors because Middleboro flipped the game on its head in the third. Suddenly, it was the Sachems on the front foot. The visitors created five corners in the third quarter alone and finally drew the first two saves out of Jones. Foxboro’s defense, including Catherine Cotter, Paige Simoneau, Valerie Beigel, and Isabella Richardson, stood tall against the pressure to keep Middleboro off the board.
“We came off of our game plan,” Bordieri said about the change in momentum in the third quarter. “They were plugging up the middle of the field and we didn’t recognize exactly what they were doing and we kept trying to force the ball in the middle. It took them forever to recognize where the space was and where they could go and stop forcing the play.”
Five minutes into the fourth, Foxboro nearly put the game away but Mary Collins saw her shot from the top of the circle slip through her sister’s legs and get tipped just wide of the post by the Middleboro goalie.
Just two minutes later, the Sachems came close to halving the Foxboro lead. In the wake of another corner, Middleboro was able to get the ball into the crease and Jones was able to scramble and make an acrobatic kick save to keep the ball out and preserve the shutout.
“When it called for it, she made some really big saves because it was dicey in there,” Bordieri said of Jones.
That save proved to be crucial, as just a minute later Foxboro went on the break to close out the win. Waryas made the rush down the right wing and sent a pass into the middle. Camryn Collins was able to redirect the pass to the back post where Mia DiNunzio had made a late run and tapped in the third.
Foxboro (14-5-0), the No. 6 seed, will host No. 11 Dighton-Rehoboth, which beat Weston in double overtime, in the Round of 16 this week.