OA Wins Battle of League Leaders in Milford

Oliver Ames Volleyball
OA senior Jordan Bosse led the Tigers with 13 kills, helping them earn a four-set win at Milford in a battle of teams that entered the night leading their respective divisions. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – Oliver Ames dominated the first two sets of Tuesday evening’s battle of division leaders at Milford, winning 25-11 and 25-14 to take control of the match. Everything was going OA’s way until the third set, when the Hawks stayed alive by grabbing a 25-19 win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Just when it looked like the hosts might also be able to grab the momentum and add drama to the match, OA took back control. The Tigers rolled in the fourth and final set, winning 25-12, to earn an impressive bounce back 3-1 victory that keeps them just ahead of Franklin and King Philip in the Kelley-Rex division title race.

“I said, the game’s not over,” said OA coach Chelsea Cunningham about her message to the team heading into the fourth set. “The game’s never over until you hear the whistle blow and if you take it one point at a time, play together, it makes a world of difference.”

Milford entered Tuesday’s game in a three-way tie for first in the Davenport division with Canton and North Attleboro and the Hawks started well enough in the opening set. Lauren Corsini had a pair of kills and Sarah Brogioli had an ace to put the home team up 4-2 early. That was the high point of the set for the Hawks.

OA setter Allie Kemp (27 assists) started spreading the ball around to the Tigers’ talented hitters, with Jordan Bosse (team-high 13 kills) and Ryley McNeeley (10 kills) both finding the range on the outside. The balance in the OA attack proved difficult for Milford to control.

Cunningham explained, “It’s nice to have options rather than rely on one person and strain that player. I like having options and the kids know they’re all options, so being able to mix it up and have a flexible lineup is really fun to work with.”

The Hawks also hurt themselves. Shorthanded after an injury ruled junior hitter Elise Fauerbach out for the season, Milford looked out of sorts in all aspects of the game from serve-receive to hitting to defense. OA took advantage to jump in front and never look back.

“Everything was off,” said Milford coach Tammy Webber. “We didn’t have everyone at practice yesterday. Elise went off [injured] on Friday, so we didn’t practice as a team with the new lineup. Not that it matters…we were just flat. We adjusted finally and then we didn’t stick with our game plan.”

The second set started even worse for Milford. OA won eight straight points to build an 11-1 lead. McNeeley continued to find the range on the outside and Sarah Morley had a pair of aces during her eight-point run at the service line. The Hawks tried to battle back behind Allison Corsini’s kills from her middle position, but OA quickly snuffed out any momentum.

Jordyn Vella smashed a kill right down the middle to make it 17-6. Brogioli got hot at the service line with three aces that cut the lead to nine, but Bosse closed out the set with another kill that put OA in position to take the match.

While it was an admittedly rough night for the Hawks, they showed fight in the third set to keep from being swept. The hosts grabbed the lead on back-to-back Brogioli kills, a block by Lauren Corsini, and an ace by Lexi Starks. OA got back within five, but consecutive kills by setter Julia Riordan and hitter Alyssa Williamson made it 22-15 and essentially sealed the set.

“We started blocking and playing defense and we were able to set up our offense, swinging and not making unforced errors,” said Webber. She added, “We need to rise to the occasion. We need to play better against the better teams, consistently.”

After extending the match, it looked like the home team might make it an interesting finish, but instead the Tigers responded, leading 6-1 and 9-2 to halt any momentum. Sophomore Hadley Rhodes gave OA a spark in the fourth set with back-to-back kills that made it 14-5 and then a block that put the Tigers ahead 22-8.

“She’s awesome,” Cunningham said about Rhodes. “She’s young, she wants to play, will do anything to get on the floor and when she gets that time she puts 100 percent in. I’ll take someone who’s feisty and wants to take risks.”

It was an important road win for the Tigers, keeping them one ahead of Franklin in the loss column and now two ahead of King Philip in the win column (OA has played two more league games than the Warriors).

Cunningham said, “We had to take this one seriously and know that we had to earn it. They’re starting to learn that when they earn their points it’s more fun that relying on other teams making mistakes.”

Oliver Ames (9-2, 8-1) will look to avenge one of its losses when it hosts Brockton on Friday. Milford (6-4, 6-3) will try to bounce back at league-leading Canton on Monday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Volleyball: 2019 Hockomock League Preview

2019 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 2-17
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Courtney Durocher

The Attleboro Bombardiers are determined to improve on last year’s season and are planning to use a lot of effort and hard work to do so.

Attleboro has key pieces back in key spots for head coach Courtney Durocher to use. It all starts with junior setter Ana Leonardo, who enters her third year playing at the varsity level. After splitting time as a freshman, Leonardo shined as the lone setter for the Bombardiers last year. Having that experience in such an important position will help the Bombardiers offensively. Durocher is looking for Emily McGovern to get a lot of swings at the outside hitter position while Hailey Thake should get opportunities on the right side. The defense will be anchored by libero Jessica Matheson.

“I feel we could have a breakout season this year with the group of girls we have,” Durocher said. “It will take effort and time, but know we can do it.”

Canton

2018 Record: 19-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central Final
Coach: Pat Cawley

After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, the Bulldogs were back with a vengeance last year with a terrific season that resulted in a division title and a trip to the sectional final.

The Bulldogs were back atop the Davenport after a one-year hiatus, picking up 19 wins overall. Canton graduated a lot of key pieces from last year’s successful squad, but expectations are still high for 2019 as the Bulldogs look to defend their Davenport title. Senior Taylor Harris will give the Bulldogs a lot of power at the net as one the league’s best hitters, and she will also be a key piece of the defense. Junior Liz Bickett is back as one of the middle blockers, and junior Olivia Chinsen will be tasked with some of the setting duties as well as an attacking option on the right side. Junior Angie Elias will be another option on the outside while junior Shannon Malloy has stepped up to take on the other middle spot for the Bulldogs. Head coach Pat Cawley is looking for seniors Emily Morrison and Rosana Cho to anchor a relatively inexperienced group of defensive players to try and fill the void left by last year’s libero Meghan McDonough. Junior Jackie Morrissey and sophomore Taylor Reynolds are also in the mix for the setter spot.

“While we have a totally new look this year, the preseason has shown there is great potential,” Cawley said. “We have several good defensive candidates and I am excited to see who steps up and wins the starting roles. Our setting is inexperienced but hardworking and improving every day. I am fortunate to work with a great group of fun, determined and dedicated athletes looking to elevate their game!”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 1-19
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Vicki Santana

Former Canton standout Vicki Santana takes over as head coach of the Foxboro Warriors and is aiming to help her team improve over the course of the season.

The Warriors are hoping 2019 will be a turnaround year after just one win last season. O’Brien brings a wealth of playing experience, winning multiple Hockomock League championships with the Bulldogs and setting multiple records while at Worcester State. She holds two single-season records for digs and is second in program history in total digs (1,271). Santana has a strong core of players back to work within her first year including senior captains Grace Boudreau, Sara Addeche, and Maddie O’Brien. Boudreau gives the Warriors experience at the net as an attacking option while Addeche and O’Brien both provide strong leadership on and off the court. Junior Kelsey Treweek will anchor the defense as the libero while newcomer Shakirah Ketant should factor in defensively at the net.

“We are focused on developing the team as a whole and strengthening the camaraderie on and off the court,” Santana said. “Volleyball is a mental game and building our team culture around trust, positivity, and motivation is a priority for the year.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 20-1 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinals
Coach: Kelsey Weymouth

It’s going to be a completely new look Franklin squad this fall, but second-year head coach Kelsey Weymouth is still expecting a strong season from the Panthers.

Coming off the best season in program history which featured an undefeated regular season, a D1 Central West sectional title, and a trip to the D1 State Semifinals, the Panthers will look to new faces to try and orchestrate another successful season. Allyson Bonnett-Eymard picked up valuable experience last season, registering 102 kills, and will be one of the go-to options on offense for Franklin this year. Weymouth also expects Bonnett-Eymard to be involved in the setting game as well. Other returners include Bridget Jackson and Emma Chase, both of which will play in the middle. Weymouth expects Chase to hit from various spots at the net this year. Sophomore Cailyn Macintosh had a strong offseason and will be in the mix for setting duties, junior Jill Benoit will be a key piece of the back row defense as the libero, and senior Sarah Jackson will see an expanded role at the net this season. The Panthers will be relying on their height to lead the defense at the net.

“We are more of a younger team this season but each player has made huge improvements,” Weymouth said. “Most of the team has not played together before, so our chemistry will be key. I love having a lot of variety on my team because that means I can move a lot of people around playing different positions.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 11-11
2018 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Quarterfinals
Coach: Kristen Geuss

After an up and down season in 2018, King Philip is looking to compete for the Kelley-Rex title again this year.

The Warriors have a strong mix of starters and experienced players due back this season so there is a lot of potential for this season. The heart of the offense returns with both senior Catherine Waldeck and junior Nicole Coughlan (the 2018 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year) back as the team’s middle blockers. Both had over 130 kills last season and combined for 77 blocks so the Warriors will certainly be strong up the middle again this year. Senior Kristen Masse will complement them as one of the outside hitters, the Warriors having their top three attack options back this season. Senior Kiley Sullivan and junior Lauren Peterson (both over 100 assists last year) are back to run the offense from the setter position. Juniors Lily Carlow and Emma Brooks bring experience to the back row defensive unit. Head coach Kristen Geuss expects juniors Ali McNamara, Paige Kannally, and Tori Claypoole to all factor in as well.

“There is a great deal of potential on the team,” Geuss said. “Many have put in the time in the offseason to improving their game. They are working hard in practice and are improving each day.”

Mansfield

2018 Record: 7-13
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Melissa Heeden & Cindy Conquest

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the 2019 version of the Mansfield Hornets, and for good reason with a lot of returning players back this season.

While the Hornets missed out on the playoffs a year ago, there is a lot of talent back that gained valuable experience and will be looking to compete for a division title this season. Last year’s inexperienced group is now ready to show off what they learned last season. There are five seniors that will lead the charge for Mansfield: outside hitter/defensive specialist Julia Busier, outside hitter Emily Dardinski, setter Olivia Fernando, libero Sam Sternburg, and setter Stephanie Walker. Having a senior at almost every position gives Mansfield an edge in both leadership and experience. Junior Olivia McGrath, sophomore Julia Kelly, junior Alina Nowakowski, and junior Ashley Santos all saw valuable match time last year and will be looking to take the next step this season. With such a well-rounded team, head coach Melissa Heeden has been moving the pieces around looking for the right combination heading into the season. Heeden is hoping that the combination of more experience and a balanced team will translate into success on the court.

“I am really excited about our team this year,” Heeden said. “The girls have worked really hard and we have a lot more experience this year than we did last year. We have a great team with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We are well balanced and I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do!”




Milford

2018 Record: 9-10
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round
Coach: Tammy Webber

After just making it into the state tournament a year ago, the Scarlet Hawks return an experienced group that is aiming to compete for the Davenport division title.

Milford has been in the mix before, their best chance at the division coming in 2016, but should be a serious contender in 2019. The Hawks bring back two talented middles in Allison and Lauren Corsini, Julia Riordan returns as the starting setter, Alyssa Williamson is back at the outside hitter spot, and right side hitter Elise Faurerbach has solid varsity experience. Sophomore Sarah Brogioli should see an expanded role as an outside hitter after getting some swings last year as a freshman. The Corsini sisters combined for over 200 kills and over 100 blocks and should give Milford an edge both offensively and defensively. Riordan dished out 420 assists a year ago and has plenty of weapons at her disposal, including Williamson (108 kills in 2018). The challenge early on will be replacing defensive specialists Sydney Sutton and Nina Pinto, who combined for the majority of the team’s digs and serve receives last year.

“We have the offensive pieces, but are working on the consistency we will need, especially in our passing, to be in the running for a Hockomock championship,” said head coach Tammy Webber.

North Attleboro

2018 Record: 10-9
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Kim Hallahan

With 10 seniors on the roster, North Attleboro coach Kim Hallahan is excited for upcoming season.

It all starts with the two senior captains for the Rocketeers, with seniors Hayley Gaskin and Brook Street leading the way for North Attleboro. Gaskin returns as the starting setter after a very strong junior campaign in which North Attleboro qualified for the state tournament. Street will step in to anchor the defensive line in the back row as the libero while Gaskin, who had 416 assists last year with just 10 ball handling errors, will have a lot of the same options back again this year. One of those options will be senior Kylie Melanson, who was second on the team last year with 124 kills, and junior Joanna Collins-Bilyeu, who is set to see an expanded role at the net this year. With a strong group of well-rounded players, the challenge now for Hallahan is finding the right combination of players and the right rotations heading into the season.

“I have a really good feeling about this year,” Hallahan said. “The girls all have good spirits and work really, really hard, but most importantly work really well together. I’m really excited for this season.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 14-8
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Chelsea Cunningham

Oliver Ames is riding a three-year streak of qualifying for the state tournament and is looking to make it four this season.

Head coach Chelsea Cunningham has two of her top players back from last year’s 14-win squad in senior outside hitter Jordan Bosse and setter Allie Kemp. Bosse was one of the top hitters in the league and led the Tigers with 240 kills, so having a strong, experienced player back at the outside hitter position will be a big boost early on. And on top of that, Kemp (the 2017 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year) is back to distribute the ball so there should be an early connection between the two. Cunningham is also looking for senior Alison Barth to step into the libero role, Ryley McNeeley to get some swings both in the middle and right side, junior Caroline Flynn to play the other outside hitter role, and sophomore Hadley Rhodes (setter/opposite) to play a variety of roles.

“We are hoping to learn from every practice, game, and everything in between,” Cunningham said. “The girls are flexible in their roles and all have something to offer on and off the court. Offensively, we have many options this year and hope to utilize everyone on the roster. Defensively, we have some holes to fill but continue to adjust to each team we face. With this particular group, expectations have been set, and they have to work for everything. With all the different factors that play a role, I could not have asked for a better group of student-athletes to work with.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 7-12
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

Sharon has a lot of returning players with experience at the varsity level which has head coach Andrea Lovett excited for the upcoming season.

The Eagles will look to use their strength and experience at the front row to pace the offense. Juniors Sara Fandel and Leah Fandel are back after picking up good experience a year ago, and senior Jada Johnson returns after one year off. Johnson had a terrific sophomore campaign and could be a big difference-maker for the Eagles. Senior captain Maya Aidlin-Perlman and junior Brynne Aidlin-Perlman will provide the power from the outside hitter spots. Senior captain Ally Brown brings quickness and intelligence to the setter spot and will be a leader for the Eagles both on and off the court.

“Over the last several years, Sharon has been gaining skills, experience, and a renewed drive to win,” Lovett said. “We are looking forward to carrying that trend into the season.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 16-5
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Erica Batchelder

The Black Knights have put together back-to-back 16 win seasons and have graduated two straight strong classes, so expectations are high for the upcoming season.

With some key losses to graduation, the Black Knights will be changing up some tactics and strategies this year to best take advantage of the players they do have returning. There will be a lot of focus on the defensive side of the ball, with a strong emphasis on hustle and eliminating unforced errors. Senior Alexa Quinones will be changing positions to take over as the setter. Her experience as an attacking option makes her a dual-threat alongside middle blocker Amaya Morris. Morris had a strong season a year ago and will be a key piece of the net defense this season. Senior Sasha Hyacinthe will be one of the main offensive options after a breakout junior campaign. Stoughton will be turning to senior Veronica Noe to anchor the defense in the back row, junior Shanice Landrum will be stepping into one of the middle roles, and junior Camille Firmin will give the Black Knights an attacking option as both an outside hitter and on the right side.

“We have strong players filling gaps from last year,” said head coach Erica Batchelder. “I am excited for this season for Stoughton to show other teams not to ever count us out. We have a lot of heart, hustle, communication, and talent to back it up.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 5-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Toby Chaperon

There will be a learning curve this season for Taunton, which features an overall young team with limited varsity experience.

Head coach Toby Chaperon had a busy preseason with over 100 girls trying out for the program. Senior Alyssa Turcotte, an outside hitter and a middle hitter, will see a lot of time at the net for the Tigers this year as well as senior outside hitter Hailey Sullivan, who has “a tremendous feel for the game” according to Chaperon. Junior Ella Dunderdale brings a strong skill set so she can play in a variety of roles during the season while classmates Sonya Fernandez (middle) and Jaelyn Fernandez (setter) could emerge as top players this season. Fabian Pereira will be in the mix in the back row while sophomore Mikayla Clearly is likely to factor in in some capacity for the Tigers.

Tigers Sweep Aside Durfee to Advance in Tournament

Oliver Ames volleyball
Oliver Ames senior libero Sadie Homer had 25 digs, helping the Tigers earn a convincing sweep of Durfee in the opening round of the state tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames hosted a playoff game in the William F. Nixon Gym for the first time on Thursday night and the Tigers used the energy from the home court and the home crowd to jump all over visiting Durfee in the opening round of the state tournament.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA started strongly and never looked back, beating the Hilltoppers in three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-6) to advance into the Div. 1 South quarterfinal.

“They were hungry today,” said Oliver Ames coach Chelsea Cunningham. “The fact that they knew today that if they didn’t give 100 percent then it was going to be over and that clicked definitely for the seniors and it just ricocheted down.”

“Energy-level,” said senior libero Sadie Homer when asked about what made the difference in the win. “We bounced back when we lost a point and even when we were five points ahead, we were ready to go.”

The Tigers wasted no time taking control of the first set, using its strong defense and taking advantage of Durfee’s struggles keeping the ball in play to build a 14-7 lead. OA showed off its balance in attack as well, with junior setter Allie Kemp (31 assists) spreading the ball around to several hitters. Caitlin Cavanaugh (10 kills) had two kills in the opening stretch and Mary Davenport had one.

Following a Durfee timeout, Grace McCallum had an ace, Jordan Bosse had the first of her 10 kills, and Jordan Vella had a strong hit to stymie the visitors’ momentum. Durfee got as close as five points at 18-13 but OA kept responding. Davenport finished a long rally with a quick hit from the middle and Jackie Raymond got involved with a kill.

“At the beginning of the season,” Cunningham said, “one of the previews said we were one of the most balanced teams. It’s nice to know that it’s evenly-matched, where kids will compete and I’m always looking for any competitor.”

The key to the OA attack was Kemp, who found the right pass even when she was running away from the net and managed to bump it into the right spot for Cavanaugh or Bosse to finish the play.

“She’s my No. 1,” said Cunningham about Kemp. “She’s light on her feet, she’s quick to the ball and she never gives up. We wouldn’t have the balanced offense without her.”

The Tigers jumped in front again in the second set with Bosse getting them back in front with a kill, back-to-back Cavanaugh kills extending the lead and then a Bosse ace making it 9-5. A Davenport block quickly ended a Durfee rally, but the Hilltoppers did make it close with a 7-2 run that cut the lead to just 15-14.

“We just had to do what we normally do and not choke up because that’s one of our biggest things is choke up and get tense,” said Homer about bouncing back from the Durfee rally. “We just were like let’s have fun.”

OA grabbed a stranglehold on the match with a 10-2 run to close out the second set. Vella had an ace, Bosse had a pair of kills, and the set was closed out by Caroline Flynn’s lone kill of the match.

The third set turned out to be a rout, as OA pulled away for a 25-6 win. Ryley McNeeley came off the bench to record back-to-back aces, Raymond had two kills and an ace, and Cavanaugh had four kills in the set.

On match point, Homer was able to scramble to send across a third hit near the far sideline that couldn’t be returned by the Hilltoppers. It was the only kill of the match for the senior libero, who recorded 25 digs and led the strong defensive effort from the Tigers.

“She’s that person that says you beat me this time, but now I’ll beat you the next 10 times and that’s the feistiness, that’s the fire this team needs and when she’s on our team just lights up,” Cunningham said of Homer. “They’re feeding off her.”

It was a dominating win for Oliver Ames (14-7), which now gets to take the long bus ride down the Cape to face perennial power and No. 1 seed Barnstable on Monday night. It is a considerable challenge, but the Homer recognized that it was a considerable opportunity as well.

“Franklin gave us a good challenge, so I feel like we can take what they gave us and just use that to influence our game,” said Homer. “I know if we stick together than we’re not afraid of anything, we’re just going to play. Knowing it’s playoff we’re just going to have fun with it.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Volleyball: 2018 Hockomock League Preview

2018 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-16
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Courtney Durocher

A year after joining the Bombardiers as an assistant coach, Courtney Durocher takes over an Attleboro program hungry to make a splash in the Hockomock League. Attleboro lost four-year player and all-league selection Lexi Pereira to graduation but Durocher has a strong group of players to work with in her first year. Amanda Kadisevskis will be a vital part on both offense and defense, having led the Hock in blocks last season. Kadisevskis is a tri-captain along with senior Chelsea Calcagni and Faith Hindy (right side). Ana Leonardo had a strong year last year and will be relied upon to set the offense in motion while juniors Jessica Matheson (defensive specialist) and Emily McGovern (outside hitter) will be called upon to step up this season for the Bombardiers.

“I am excited for this season as I am now the head coach,” Durocher said. “I believe the team will have a good season and work well together.”

Canton

2017 Record: 7-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Pat Cawley

Canton’s decade-long run as league champion came to a close last season but head coach Pat Cawley is hoping the lessons learned last year will pay off in 2018. The Bulldogs only had a couple of players with varsity experience last year so a lot of new faces were able to gain experience throughout the year. Senior captain Nicole Brown is back for her second year as the team’s setter. Her athleticism and speed allow her to get around the court to get in position to make plays. Middle Erin Devine will be one of Brown’s main targets along with outside hitting Taylor Harris. Devine has impressed through the preseason and Harris brings an aggressive edge to the Dogs’ attack. Senior libero Meghan McDonough is one of the players Cawley expects to take the next step this season after getting a year of experience under her belt last season. Setter/opposite Olivia Chinsen and outside hitter Angie Elias are also in the mix for Canton this year.

“Canton volleyball is looking to turn it around this season,” Cawley said. “We have 10 seniors, many of whom saw a lot of playing time last year. We are hoping this experience leads to more aggressive and confident play.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 1-17
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Damish

The 2018 version of the Foxboro Warriors will rely heavily on its four captains while a handful of new faces get acclimated to the varsity level. Senior captain Paulette Palomares will set the tone defensively as the libero and will be joined by fellow captains Brynn Gilbert and Shaelyn McCarthy as defensive specialists. Grace Boudreau, a junior captain, will be a main piece of the offense from her outside hitter spot. Boudreau will be joined on the outside by Calvi Goodard while first-year players Ashelyn Moniz and Meg McDonald will be in the middle. First-year player Madison O’Brien will take over as the team’s setter.

“This year’s team will have to play great defense, serve well, serve receive well and play great team volleyball in order to have a successful season,” said Foxboro head coach Dan Damish.

Franklin

2017 Record: 15-5
2017 Finish: Reached D1 Central/West Quarterfinal
Coach: Kelsey Weymouth

Former North Attleboro standout Kelsey Weymouth takes over as head coach of the Franklin Panthers and she has a lot of talent to work with right away.

The Panthers have Lauren McGrath, Ellie Wiesniewski, Riley Marino, Maggie Doyle, and Hailey Sanders back, all of whom either starter or played in plenty of sets last season. McGrath is in her third year as the starting setting and is a vocal leader for the team while Marino is a standout defensive specialist as the libero. Doyle is a tall presence in the middle that will be a big part of the defense as well as Sanders, who plays on the right side. Wisniewski and sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard will be the main focuses on the outside for the Panthers.

“I am extremely excited to be apart of this Franklin program and coach these girls into being successful volleyball players,” Weymouth said. “I am going to do everything in my power to continue the previous success of this program. My girls have been extremely welcoming and that’s a good feeling coming in a new head coach.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 20-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Final
Coach: Kristen Geuss

King Philip claimed its second straight Kelley-Rex title last season and fourth in the past five years. Now the focus turns to 2018 and the Warriors will be looking to compete for yet another division crown. Gone is two-time Hockomock MVP Sydney Phillips and four other starters but the Warriors bring back a solid core of players that will try to make their own mark this season. It starts with senior captains Livvie Atkins and Kat Kmetz, two of the more experienced players on the squad. Atkins is one of the top defensive players on the team and Kmetz will step into an outside hitter spot. Head coach Kristen Guess is relying on seniors Shayla Weitzman (defensive specialist), Caroline Robertson (opposite), Jessie Kornfeld (defensive specialist) and Kristen Masse (defensive specialist) to step up this season. Junior Kiley Sullivan steps in as an option at setter while classmates Grace Ely and Catherine Waldeck will handle the middle blocker spots. Guess also expects sophomores Emma Brooks (Setting), Nicole Coughlin (middle), and Lillian Carlow (defensive specialist) to see substantial time this year.

“Our strength will be our ability to distribute the ball to all of our hitters,” Guess said. “We are working hard each practice and I see us improving every day.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 8-11
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Melissa Heeden

There will be a lot of new faces in Mansfield’s lineup this season after losing seven seniors to graduation. The Hornets graduated their leader in kills and blocks (Meg Hill), assists (Emma Ascoli), and top two players in digs (Julia Harrison and Jolie O’Neil) so there is plenty of space for new players to step up and make a name for themselves. One key piece returning to the lineup is middle Greenly Kelly, who was among the best in the league at blocking. Her net defense will be key for a Hornet squad putting an emphasis on defense. Senior captain Katie Dardinski is a defensive specialist and will be another key piece on the back line. Sophomore Alina Nowakowski will take over as the other middle while sophomore Olivia McGrath will step into an outside hitter role.

“We will be a very different team this year in which I am hoping to be a little more defensive minded,” said Mansfield head coach Melissa Heeden. “While we are young and have a lot of work to do, they are ready for the challenge.”

Milford

2017 Record: 7-13
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Tammy Webber

The Hawks will need some new players to step up in 2018 after graduating the core of its team from last season, including eight seniors. Head coach Tammy Webber believes that her team is only going to get better the more they play. Seniors Briana Maiette, Sydney Sutton, and Nina Pinto will be relied upon for their leadership this season while Webber is looking for contributions out of juniors Julia Riordan and Alyssa Williamson. Middles Allison Corsini and Lauren Corsini could give the Hawks a boost at the net while sophomore Elise Fauerbach figures to get some time on the court right away. Senior defensive specialist and Ana Alvarenga and juniors Abbey Reichert and April Swain are also in the mix for playing time this season.

“Right now we are just working on consistency and confidence in our play,” Webber said. “We are working on finding the best combinations of players to be competitive and win games.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 18-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Kim Hallahan

Not many teams lost as much talent as the Rocketeers, who boasted a very senior-heavy roster last season that won its first-ever Davenport title. And on top of that, Kim Hallahan takes over as head coach after Jeff Crins stepped down after a lengthy run as the leader of the Rocketeers. Seniors Emma Gunn and Tatiana Sotelo are the two returning players this season and will be joined by 11 juniors. Sotelo will be counted on to be a main piece in Big Red’s offense while Hayley Gaskin and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu give North Attleboro options at the setter position. Hallahan said there are a lot of solid defensive players on the team but need to figure out which spots work best.

“We do have a young team, but after we get the season started, and some of the nerves out, I don’t think that it will affect us too much,” CHllahan said. “We have many hardworking, talented, versatile girls.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 11-10
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Chelsea Cunningham

While Oliver Ames is in a good spot with its defense and setter, the Tigers are in need of players to step up on the offensive end after the graduation of six talented seniors. Senior captain Sadie Homer is a four-year varsity player and returns as the team’s libero. She’s been a defensive specialist for the Tigers for all four years and will be one of the most seasoned and skilled players in the back row in the Hock this season. Junior setter Allie Kemp is also back and is the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after helping the Tigers win 11 of their final 14 games to qualify for the state tournament. One option OA has at the net will be junior Jordan Bosse. After serving as a defensive specialist last season, Bosse will be an offensive option at outside hitter this season.

“I see lots of potential with this group,” said OA head coach Chelsea Cunningham. “We have big shoes to fill after losing six seniors, all of offensive positions. We have a roster full of athleticism and commitment and I hope the girls come ready to play every day and grow as a team. If they play to their potential, this could be a great season for the OA Volleyball program.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

After improving its win total each of the last two seasons, the Sharon volleyball program will be relying on its eight seniors to continue that upward trend. The Eagles’ offense will run mostly through its two captains with Abby Fine acting as the engine for the attack. From her setter position, the offense will flow through her while one of her main targets will be fellow captain Jody Goldenberg. Goldenberg will also be key on the defensive side as a middle blocker. Ally Brown will also see time at setter and will have senior Jade Veth and sophomore Brynne Aidlin-Perlman to work with on the outside.

“Sharon’s program is building from the ground up,” said head coach Andrea Lovett. “As more and more talented younger players come up through the ranks, we are looking forward to seeing many more wins this season. The Eagles are a tough, tenacious group of players who I believe are going to surprise some teams this season.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 16-5
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Erica Batchelder

Last year was certainly a season to remember for the Black Knights and a big reason why was the two-way play of seniors Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Both Whalen and Motley played significant roles on offense and defense for the Knights, who set a program record for wins in a season. While those two weapons are gone, the Black Knights bring two other important pieces from their offense from last year. Setters Molly Turner (278) and Hanna Holden (179) are both back and will the engines of the team. Juniors Sasha Hyacinthe and Alexa Quinones have worked hard in the summer and will be two offensive options for Stoughton. Another key returner for Stoughton is senior Mia Bennett, who is back for her third year as the team’s libero.

“We may have a lot of new faces but we are taking the same approach to the game: become better players, coaches, and people every day and the wins will come,” said Stoughton head coach Erica Batchelder. “We have so much untapped potential in this team that is going to surprise the rest of the league. We will always try our hardest and have fun while doing it.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 4-16
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Toby Chaperon

After missing out on the state tournament the past two seasons, the Tigers are looking to get back into playoff contention on the backs of nine seniors. Everything will run through three-year starter Kayli Fagan, who is inching closer and closer to 1,000 assists as the team’s primary setter. Another key returner is senior Mckenzie Lucie, who will continue to handle libero duties and stabilize the back line. Middle Kamila Cuevas has taken a big step forward while Sam Silveira is back as an option on the outside. Other seniors that head coach Toby Chaperon is expecting to contribute include Sam Martin (opposite), Aliyah Gillenwater (outside), Michaela Felici (outside), Jaime Brown (defensive specialist), and Elaine Bodemer (defensive specialist).

“We will be integrating many new players and are hoping that gelling process will happen quickly as there are no let-ups in our schedule as we get started right away with a strong New Bedford team,” Chaperon said.