CANTON, Mass. – In a battle between the top two teams in the Davenport division, the visiting Foxboro Warriors landed the first punch, but the Canton field hockey team delivered a counterpunch that led to a key 3-1 Hockomock League victory.
Foxboro scored less than four minutes into the contest, capitalizing on its second straight corner after swarming the Canton defensive zone.
But Canton didn’t sway, scoring three unanswered over the next 25 minutes to take a lead that it never surrendered.
“We were slow in our warmup, the weather was off, we just took a little time today to pull it together,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “I think the goal woke them up a little bit and I think we did a nice job of transitioning from down a goal to taking control of the game.
“I think the games against KP and Walpole helped prepare them for today’s game against Foxboro. Playing good competition, it spreads the field out, and you have to look for those spaces.”
Foxboro cashed on its second straight corner after its first one was denied by Canton goalie Riley O’Connor (seven saves) and then cleared off the line by Katie Trerice.
On the second corner, Michaela Ames found Lily Daly. Her shot was deflected, alluding O’Connor and found the stick of Sophia DiCenso. The senior used a strong backhand shot at the near post to put Foxboro up 1-0 with 26:50 to play.
But instead of the Warriors adding onto the lead, Canton took complete control of the play. The Bulldogs earned a pair of corners and a penalty stroke. Although they didn’t cash in on those chances, Maggie Malloy got the hosts on the board at the midway point of the half.
On a corner, sophomore Maria Femia found sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch at the top of the area. She quickly passed to Malloy in the area and she hit a one-timer into the back of the cage to make it 1-1.
The Bulldogs nearly took the lead a minute later when Maggie Connolly found Malloy in space and she unleashed a hard shot but Foxboro goalie Julia Carangelo came up with a big kick save to keep the score level.
“They came right back at us, I think we took that one goal for granted,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “[Canton] played well, came right back, and placed the ball well. We had, defensively, some pretty big breakdowns positionally. We were leaving gaps and kudos to them, they found them and used them.
“We tried to make some adjustments at halftime, and I thought we started to make them and then we turned right around and started chasing.”
But as the half went on, Canton continued to apply pressure and was able to break through with just under nine minutes to go. Femia played a ball into the area, Malloy redirected it with one touch and Connolly tipped it in from right in front of the goal.
The Bulldogs cashed in one more time before the half was over, scoring with just 57 seconds to go. Again it was a shot from Malloy from inside the circle that was tipped in by Connolly right in front that gave Canton its 3-1 lead.
“Each game she gets better at it,” O’Connor said of Connolly. “She only started playing last year, so she’s pretty new to the sport. Each time, she’s getting better at where she needs to be and watching that ball. It’s starting to pay off for her now where she’s in the right spot at the right time and getting her stick on it.”
Foxboro made some adjustments at the half and applied a lot of pressure but couldn’t cut into the Bulldogs’ lead. Daly had a goal off a corner waived off with 13 minutes to go and just 30 seconds later, O’Connor denied DiCenso on a chance and Rose Malloy came up with a big clear off the line.
Two minutes later, Ames connected with DiCenso on a corner and she moved the ball along to Daly but her pass to the far post was just out of the reach of Molly Murphy.
“We had seven corners [in the second half], we need to execute better there,” Bordieri said. “We had seven opportunities to score just from corners, and we didn’t capitalize. We worked our butts off to get those chances, and we didn’t take advantage of them. Some of them we didn’t even generate a chance. [Canton] beat us to the ball today, they were quicker than us.
Canton nearly added another tally on a counter attack as Malloy chased a ball down in space and found Femia but Carangelo made the stop at the near post.
“We’ve worked on improving our defense on those top players, keeping an eye on them and see how we can eliminate them from the play,” O’Connor said. “And today I think our defense did a good job against their offense. The defense is improving each game, and hopefully, we’ll keep it rolling.”
Foxboro’s final good chance came with just over nine minutes to go when DiCenso ripped a hard low shot through traffic but O’Connor was up to the task with a big lunging kick save.
“You never want a loss, especially in the division,” Bordieri said. “But we’re going to take this, learn from it and get better and hopefully redeem ourselves. Everyone wants to be Hock champs, but you can’t have these losses in the division. We’ll take a look at this game, make changes, and get better.”
Canton field hockey (4-1 Hock, 4-2 overall) will look to make it three straight when it hosts Mansfield on Thursday. Foxboro (5-1, 5-1) will try to bounce back from its first loss when it hosts Attleboro at Mansfield High.
CANTON, Mass. – While the majority of Hockomock League teams have hit the field, court, or links over the past two weeks to get their seasons underway, the Canton field hockey team has been left watching.
Between hot weather and thunderstorms, the Bulldogs have had their first game pushed back on a couple of occasions.
Canton finally began its 2018 season on Friday afternoon and used a late surge in the second half to pick up a 2-1 win over visiting Franklin.
“It was our first game, had a very long preseason I think it took them a little while to get out of drill mode and get into game mode,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We made some changes on the field and once it kind of clicked, then they started to get more comfortable.
“The past few days have been tough, the longer you wait, it can get stale. Practices get a little boring and they just want to get out there and play. The first half they were figuring things out a bit and then the second half of the second half they really started to click and work well together.”
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the Bulldogs came to life at the midway point. After fending off pressure from Franklin over the first 15 minutes of the second half, Canton turned on the pressure.
Canton kept its pressure up and found the back of the net again just over a minute later. Malloy had her first shot denied by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini but the Panthers defense was unable to get a clearance.
The ball popped back onto the stick of Malloy, who pushed it forward some and then unleashed a hard shot at the near post that put the Bulldogs up 2-1.
“She’s a gifted goal scorer but she’s always a great motivator,” O’Connor said of Malloy. “She’s a hard worker and she kind of brings everyone along with her. I think that energy will translate to the younger players and they’ll start picking it up a little bit just based on her play.”
Franklin’s best chance at an equalizer came with just over six minutes to go. Senior Cassi Ronan split a pair of defenders and sent a pass into the area to Ashley Reutlinger but Canton defender Allie Gefteas made the clear.
“We let down a little bit,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “That’s something we’ve been working on because we get a little too comfortable. We let down and [Canton] completely capitalized. We’re still learning to bounce back, we let down once and then again right away. Hopefully, we can work on some transition stuff and have them get right back in the game.
We have two starters out so we had a little bit of a different look today and for it being the first time, they did pretty well. But once we get healthy I think we’ll be more solid in the middle and in transition.
It was a back-and-forth contest early on but little chances for either side. The Bulldogs had the best two chances early but couldn’t get a chance on net.
A shot from Maggie Malloy was deflected in the 9th minute but freshman Erin Lane couldn’t get to the loose ball before it skipped over the end line. Ten minutes later, Kaitlyn Goyetch found Femia in front but Franklin freshman Kate O’Rourke did well to break the play up before a shot.
The first shot on goal came from Reutlinger in the 22nd minute, forcing a save from Canton sophomore goalie Riley O’Connor. On the ensuing corner, Reutlinger linked up with Ronan and the senior lofted a shot perfectly over the goalie and just under the bar for a 1-0 lead.
Canton nearly tied it just three minutes later when Goyetch found Malloy in the middle but Franklin goalie Anna Jardine closed the pads at the perfect time to deny the chance. Malloy had another chance two minutes later but Franklin’s Elizabeth Clark thwarted the bid.
Before Canton took momentum in the second half, Franklin was just inches away from doubling its lead. Ronan’s shot was deflected by Olivia Rondeau and found the stick of Stephanie Bell. But Canton’s Rose Malloy was positioned perfectly on the goal line to knock the shot away.
“We have a very young starting team, we lost some good talent last year.,” O’Connor said. “It’s about getting comfortable with each other and filling in some spots. Even coaching-wise, we’re figuring out where everyone fits. I think we spent part of that game doing that but we’re glad they were able to come through with the win.”
Canton field hockey (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Stoughton at 7:00. Franklin (1-2, 1-2) hits the road to visit Mansfield on Monday afternoon.
Attleboro is looking to bounce back from a five-win season in 2017 and make a push up the league standings by mixing experienced players with a talented group of underclassmen that could make instant contributions for the Bombardiers.
The midfield will be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with returning starters like senior Kyra Lyons and junior Anna Back. Up front, leading scorer Grace Mayer graduated but senior Alex Compton was second on the team in points and will be counted on to fire in the goals. Attleboro will be hoping for more consistency from the defensive group this season to cut down on the 76 goals it allowed last year and senior goalie Shealyn Harrison will help keep things organized.
Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes said, “We are looking forward to this season, as we have a lot of strong returning players throughout each line. We are fortunate to be pairing these returners with a very skilled and unsuspecting younger class, who I am certain will be instrumental in making a positive difference on our team.”
Davenport division champion Canton went to overtime against top seed Somerset Berkeley in last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal and was a goal away from setting up an all-Hock final. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of talent from last year’s squad and will be hoping to make a run at back-to-back titles.
Senior forward Maggie Malloy will once again be the focal point up top after leading the Bulldogs with 27 goals and eight assists last fall. Malloy will be joined up top by sophomore Maria Femia. Junior Kaitlyn Goyetch, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is back in the midfield and she will get helped out by sophomore Meghan Labelle. Senior Katie Trerice will be the leader of the defense and sophomore Rose Malloy will jump in and contribute as well. Sophomore Riley O’Connor will take over in goal this fall.
Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “We are looking forward to seeing the hard work and effort our players put in this pre-season pay off on the field.”
With 14 seniors on the roster this season, Foxboro has set its sights on regaining the Davenport division crown that it lost by just two points to Canton last year. Two years removed from winning the Div. 2 South title, the Warriors seem poised to make another deep tournament run with a team loaded with talent, depth, and experience.
Senior forward Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer each of the past three seasons, will once again team up with classmate Sophia DiCenso to form one of the league’s most dynamic attacking units. Senior Molly Murphy and junior Jamie Notarangelo will add to an already formidable offense. Senior Meghan Curran will lead the midfield unit along with classmate Carly Stern and the defense will be guided by seniors Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen, while senior goalie Julia Carangelo.
After come narrowly short of the league title last season and reaching the sectional semifinal, expectations are typically sky high for one of the league’s perennial powers.
2017 Record: 10-8-2 2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Michelle Hess
Michelle Hess returns to the Franklin bench this season after eight years away from the program and she inherits a team that has the talent to compete for a league title and expectations of being able to make a deep run in the state tournament as well.
Senior midfielder Cassi Ronan is the primary playmaker for the Panthers and was the team’s leading scorer last fall with 16 goals and eight assists. One of the league’s top players, Ronan will be the primary focus of the opposition, but senior Regan Paterson can take some of that pressure off and will chip in with goals from the forward position. Senior Emily Valentino and junior Maeve Ledwith will provide organization for the defensive unit and senior Christina Luccini will be back in goal to backstop the defense.
“We are looking to improve on last years record and would love to go further in the tournament,” said Hess.
2017 Record: 19-3-1 2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 State Semifinal Coach: Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald
King Philip had a dominating run through the 2017 season, winning the Kelley-Rex title while losing just two games in the Hock all season, and then claiming the Div. 1 South title for the first time. This year, KP has a new coaching staff, with Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald taking over the reigns, and high expectations with an experienced and talented roster.
The Warriors return six seniors, who will be counted on to keep the team focused in its quest for a second straight title. Alli Meehan will be the primary attacking threat again this season. The Northeastern University-commit scored 40 points last regular season, despite missing a couple of games. Senior Claire Lawlor will be on the left wing to support the attack, and senior Nicole Conner will jump into the attack from her midfield position as well. Three-year starter Dana Truini will run the midfield for the Warriors, providing support on both ends of the field. Defensively, senior Emma Izydorczak, a St. Anselm-commit, will be the leader of the back line to keep things organized. Fellow senior Kate Lindmark will also help out for a defense that last year allowed only 13 goals in 23 games.
Expectations remain high for the program this season and the new coaches “anticipate a very successful season led by their powerful seniors.”
Mansfield reached the state tournament again last year and was the only team in the league to beat Kelley-Rex champion King Philip (twice, in fact), but the Hornets have their sights set on returning to the top of the league standings as they did in 2014 and 2015. With a balanced roster that has depth all over the field, the Hornets have a chance to unseat KP in the division.
The Hornets have 10 seniors and experience all over the field. The forward line will include seniors Lauren Clang, Tori Farrington, Alicia Hottleman, Brooke Downy and Hayleigh Crawford. The midfield unit will be led by seniors Maggie Danehy and Kelly Doherty, who showed her versatility last season in several positions. Senior goalie Kayla Hunter is also back to help keep the defense solid. Newcomers like sophomore forward Abby Varricchione and sophomore midfielder Stori Rounds will jump in and contribute as well.
“We have some speed, some strong and some finesse,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhen. “Mansfield field hockey is a team of heart and hustle. As a team, we still have lots of work to do but are looking forward to the fun competition in the Hockomock League.”
New head coach Katie Blackburn will try to improve on Milford’s three wins from last season with a group that has a lot of experience, especially on the back line, and speedy forward line that will try to fire in the goals.
The defense is filled with upperclassmen with seniors Eliza Valente and Emily Haley anchoring the back line along with junior Paige Reisman. Juniors Bella Gonzalez and Kathryn Swineford will be key players in the midfield and sophomore Madison Carneiro is a player to watch in the Milford front line, which Blackburn said would include a number of players that have a variety of skill sets.
Blackburn added, “Each player is unique and it has been exciting to see them all learning how to play together. We have a lot of speed as well as ball handling skills that will help us move the ball up the field and into the attacking circle.”
2017 Record: 9-7-4 2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Karen Folan
North Attleboro got back into the state tournament last fall, only to run into perennial power Walpole in the second round, and the Rocketeers have a deep roster to make another run this year and potentially challenge Canton and Foxboro at the top of the Davenport. The new turf at Beaupre Field should also help North utilize the team’s speed.
The Rocketeers have a ton of experience coming back this season, including seniors Abby Calistra, Julia Feid, Shaylee Maxcy, and Lizzie Frost, who will form a solid defensive corps in front of junior goalie Emma Strachan, who head coach Karen Folan said has improved her quickness in the off-season. Speedy midfielders Michelle Pothier and fellow junior Lindsay Robinson will join senior Jess Strachan, while senior Tara Nair and junior Faith Graveline will be up top.
Folan said, “We are looking forward to another year in the competitive Hockomock League. Our offense will start with our defense this season. We hope to use our cohesive ball movement to transition the ball quickly up the field and into the offensive circle to generate lots of shots on net.”
2017 Record: 9-7-3 2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round. Coach: Sharon Lawrence
Oliver Ames is coming off a strong regular season performance, tying for third place in the Kelley-Rex division with 18 points, but they had to go on the road to Taunton in the playoffs and lost an overtime heartbreaker. First-year coach Sharon Lawrence takes over this season and has a roster with 11 juniors and seniors to try and make another run at a postseason bid.
Senior Meghan Rockey is one of the players that the Tigers will turn to this year and she will try to control the middle of the field. Fellow senior Kayla Lozzi can step in at forward or midfield and scored 10 points (four goals and six assists) for OA last season, while senior Samantha Clapp adds a defensive presence whether in midfield or defense. Lawrence is also excited for the contributions from the younger players, including sophomore forward Hannah Stryke, who is the Tigers top returning scorer with seven goals and four assists as a freshman.
“As a first-year coach, my focus has been on learning and assessing our talent and athleticism to position our players as a team for optimal success,” Lawrence said. “We have returning starters as well as new young talent on both offense and defense, and look to be competitive this season.”
First-year head coach Ashley Courville is looking to build the program from the ground up, and she is counting on a large roster and a core of returning players to get Sharon moving in the right direction this season. With only one sophomore on the roster, experience shouldn’t be an issue for the Eagles as they turn things around.
The defense will be led seniors Varsha Poreddy and Rebecca Clayman. Junior Blaize Hanna will also be part of that group this fall. The midfield has seniors Georgia Cheney and Lauren Yaffe to help out in the attack and also chip in on the defensive side of things. Sophomore Lauren Prenaveau is another player to watch in the Eagles midfield. Up top, senior forward Elizabeth Romantz will be counted on to add to Sharon’s goal tally.
Courville said, “We have a large team this year with a handful of returning players giving the team consistency and determination. Our defense has added strength and depth, while our offense has added speed.”
2017 Record: 7-12-1 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton graduated 13 players from last year’s team and then lost leading scorer Julia Russell to a knee injury, but there is hope for the Black Knights to make a run at a state tournament spot as the inexperienced players gain valuable minutes at the varsity level.
Defense will be a strength for Stoughton this fall, with returning seniors Katie Widrow and Jeanna Girolamo adding stability and keeping things organized at the back. Sophomore Kayla Lobby will start in goal for the Black Knights. In the midfield, senior Jordan Lyons is a strong two-way player and she will be looking to get the ball forward to the sticks of seniors Allie Howe and Alanna McCormick, who will both be trying to make up for the production that was expected from Russell.
Stoughton coach Dan Mark is hopeful that his team can meet its potential. He said, “We will be inexperienced in many areas, but do have several players who played regularly last year.”
2017 Record: 11-8-1 2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Liz Hathaway
Taunton had one of its best seasons in program history last year, winning 11 games and advancing in the playoffs for the first time by beating Oliver Ames in an overtime thriller. The Tigers will look to build on that success and compete with the top teams in the ultra-competitive Kelley-Rex division.
The Taunton midfield will be a strength this season, as it is filled with experienced players. Seniors Jillian Pagliuca, Lauren Torres, and Mabel Smith are all capable of making plays on both ends of the field and all read the game well to keep the Tigers moving in the right direction. Senior forward Ciera Bartel will be joined up front by last year’s playoff hero Alana Tavares. The sophomore forward scored the game-winner against OA and has the speed to cause defense lots of problems. The Tigers defense will be led by junior Kathryn Robinson and sophomore Jocelyn Pagliuca and if anyone gets through then senior goalie Emma Sheehan will be there to stop them.
Taunton coach Liz Hathaway said, “This team has come together and have a great on field bond that allows them to successfully execute plays and breakaways.”
SOMERSET, Mass. – Just over four minutes into the first overtime period, Somerset-Berkley junior Lucas Crook gained possession alone to the left of Canton’s net and fired a shot that smacked against the back of the cage, giving the top-seeded Raiders a 3-2 win over the visiting Bulldogs.
While overtime game-winners are pretty common throughout the playoffs, this one stung a little bit more. Not only did it come in the D1 South Semifinal, or in a game in which the Bulldogs felt they were the better team, but it came off the stick of one of two boys in the Raiders’ lineup.
“I think we were the better team,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “I think they shouldn’t have boys on their team, it’s ridiculous. Just ridiculous. You saw the game, we were the better team. How do you play against that?”
While the Bulldogs’ game plan had worked through 60 minutes, keeping Crook off the scoresheet, the Somerset-Berkley junior had his hand in creating over a half dozen offensive chances for the Raiders.
A prime example came with just eight minutes to play, in a tie game. Crook carried for possession for nearly 20 yards, beating at least two Canton defenders and drawing a third with his speed and stick handling skills. Once he drew the third defender, he sent a pass to Kara Desjarlais but Canton goalie Riley Brown came sliding out for one of her 13 saves.
And Alex Millar, the other male player that patrolled the left back position for Somerset-Berkley, stopped no less than the same amount of chances, using his speed to thwart a handful of breakouts by Canton.
“Of course [it got too physical], of course it did,” O’Connor added. “The officials didn’t keep control of it. Had they kept control of it, I think the outcome would have been different in regulation. I think it’s too bad for a team that clearly had better skill.
“I think the boys were too physical, I thought they were altogether too physical.”
The unbeaten Raiders (21-0) had an ideal start, scoring just over two minutes into the game. Desjarlais got the last touch out of a scrum in front to take an early lead.
But Canton didn’t let the early deficit rattle its confidence, even after its first two penalty corners were turned away. Just over seven minutes in, during their second spell of offense, the Bulldogs cashed in.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch continued her hot streak in the playoffs, using a hard hit backhand shot that was deflected by the goalie and into the net to make it 1-1.
After back and forth action over the next 20 minutes, the Raiders seized the lead with just over three minutes left in the first half. After some offensive pressure, the ball was centered and Megan Salsinha found the back of the net.
Canton came out with a strong intensity in the second half, earning four corners early on.
In the 40th minute, the Bulldogs cashed in on one of those corners. An original shot was turned away by a great diving save by the Raiders’ goalie, but Goyetch collected the rebound and buried it into the back of the net to tie the game.
“I’m so proud of them, so proud. They just stuck in there and kept on going all the way to the end. I thought we were the better skilled team, the better overall team. I think, unfortunately, until the MIAA gets their act together and makes some changes, that’s what’s going to happen.”
The Raiders had six penalty corners in the second half but Canton’s defense, along with Brown, thwarted all chances.
“Riley played great, I think our defense played such an outstanding game,” O’Connor said. “We came in with a great game plan, I think it really took away their focus which is on the two boys. I think we did a great job of taking that away. They were able to put one in at the end but I think we were the better team.”
Crook scored with 10:57 to play in the first overtime period for the winner.
“When you have a club option, and you have kids playing club field hockey, this should no longer be an option,” O’Connor said about the boys. “Clearly there is a difference in the physicality.”
Canton field hockey finishes the season 16-4-1 while the Raiders advance to the D1 South Sectional final to take on Hockomock League Kelley-Rex champions, King Philip, on Saturday at Taunton High School.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Even though the game ended in a 1-1 tie, and both sides walked away with a point, there was a reason that Canton had more to celebrate.
The tie clinches the Bulldogs at least a share in the Davenport division title – the program’s first Hock title since 2013 – and a chance to win it outright with a win or tie against Stoughton night on Wednesday.
“We talked about the opportunity [to clinch] and to just play their game and to not overthink things,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Thanks to HockomockSports, the girls are all well aware where they stand. We tried not to make it too much of a focus. But in the second half, it was a little more about the urgency.”
“It was important to not get too crazy if we let up a goal. Sometimes mentally it can be tough to come back in the big games.”
Although Foxboro is mathematically still alive for a share of the title, the Warriors would need to beat North Attleboro and a win from the Black Knights over Canton. If the Warriors had picked up a win over visiting Canton on Monday, the two teams would be tied for first heading into the final game.
“It kind of feels like a loss because they played so well and gave so much effort that you want the win,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “But we’re putting ourselves in a good position to compete in the tournament, which is always next level hockey.
“I’m really psyched with how we played in the second half, you want to be a second half team. But I’m really pleased with how we played today and how we look going into the tournament.”
Despite being of the two top scoring squads in the Hockomock League, the two teams showed off why they are two of the stingiest in terms of goals against in the first half.
Foxboro had the lone shot on net in the opening five minutes but Riley Brown turned away Sophia DiCenso’s bid. Just minutes later, Foxboro got the ball behind the Canton defense but Brown came charging out and kicked it clear.
Canton had the lone two corners of the first half. The first, with just over 13 minutes left in the opening stanza, was denied when Foxboro’s defense was quick to get out and clear it out.
The second came with just over a minute to play, but once again Foxboro’s players were quick off the line and thwarted any chance before Canton could get a shot off.
“We worked on our defense,” Bordieri said. “We knew they were fast, we knew they were very skilled so we were prepared in how to play them. I thought the defense came up huge for us today.”
After a pedestrian first half, the second half started with a flurry of chances. Foxboro had three straight corner chances in the opening minutes.
The first two chances each resulted in a shot, but neither found the back of the cage. But on the third attempt, the ball popped out of a scrum in front. Junior Carly Stern placed a shot on net and just beat the diving effort of Brown to give Foxboro a 1-0 lead.
“I think we just needed to settle,” Bordieri said of the strong start to the second half. “I think we knew what we wanted to do, and knew what we could do, we just needed to settle and really start playing our game. We were kind of rushing it, and I thought we played with more poise in the second half.”
Foxboro’s defense limited the visiting Bulldogs to just one corner in the second half, and one shot on goal, but Canton made the most of its chance.
While in the attacking end, Foxboro was whistled for a foot infraction. Canton sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch quickly took the restart, sending the ball into the circle where senior Andrea McNeil got a perfect touch, tipping it past the outstretched effort of Foxboro’s Kelli McCarthy.
“I think the girls were thinking about the Davenport (title) in the first half and sometimes that stresses you out,” O’Connor said. “But we just told them to stay composed and play their game. And they were able to pull it back together.
“It was perfect timing, it came when we needed it. Nice hit, nice tip, nice position by everyone.”
Foxboro’s best chance to regain the lead came with just over 13 minutes to play. Off of Lily Daly’s corner, Jackie Brion stopped the pass and Catherine Luciano unleashed a shot. DiCenso got a tip in traffic but the ball bounced off the post and stayed out.
The Warriors had seven corners in the second half alone, but Canton’s defense did well to prevent any other goals.
“I thought our defense is an outstanding job against them, especially with their goal scorers like Lily [Daly],” O’Connor said. “I thought they did a very good job of limiting her opportunities in the circle.”
Canton field hockey (13-3-1 overall, 12-2-1 Hockomock) can clinch the Davenport title outright with either a win or tie against Stoughton on Wednesday at 6:30. Foxboro (12-3-1, 11-3-1) concludes its league schedule by hosting North Attleboro on Wednesday.
CANTON, Mass. – After a stretch of 12 Hockomock League titles in 14 seasons, Canton has gone three seasons since its last Davenport crown. The Bulldogs took a step towards reclaiming their spot atop the division standings on Wednesday night at World War II Veterans Memorial Field thanks to strong goaltending and a freshman stepping up in a big moment.
In a back-and-forth game with defending league and Div. 2 South champ Foxboro, the Bulldogs finally got on the board with 12 minutes left to tie the score. Four minutes later, Meghan LaBelle popped up at the back post, followed up a sliding save by Warriors goalie Kelli McCarthy (six saves), to scramble home the game-winner.
With the 2-1 victory, Canton moves one game ahead of Foxboro in the loss column and four points ahead of the Warriors in the Davenport. The two teams will meet again in the penultimate game of the season.
Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “In a game like that, when you have a goal that maybe shouldn’t have gone in, I think the mental toughness to bring them back to get over that goal and move on from there and play your game. That was the best game I’ve seen them play, definitely.”
The teams battled through a first half that saw very few scoring opportunities. Foxboro dominated the opening 15 minutes, but the Bulldogs came back and took control in the second part of the first half. It was while the hosts were on the front foot that Foxboro struck.
Lily Daly collected the ball on the left edge of the circle, spun to her forehand, and fired a low shot through traffic that snuck inside the far corner. The Bulldogs were spurred into action by going behind and senior forward Andrea McNeil had two chances to equalize before halftime only to be denied by McCarthy, the reigning league MVP.
“They kind of changed things up and came at us,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “They took away our left side, which was working so well for us and I think one of our mistakes was trying to force it down the left side instead of making that transition and going right.”
While the first half saw almost no scoring chances for either team, the second half was filled with shots on goal and both goalies were kept busy.
Maggie Malloy had the first chance for the Bulldogs but her backhanded shot went just wide. Foxboro came right back with an intricate corner from Daly to Jackie Brion to Catherine Luciano back to Brion, but the shot went inches wide of the corner past the dive of Canton goalie Riley Brown (nine saves).
Daly had a chance for a second but Brown kicked aside her redirect and then blocked the rebound effort by Molly Murphy. Malloy created a chance with a long run to the end line and tried to cut it back for Emily Campbell, but the ball skidded through the crease and out the other side untouched.
The Bulldogs had a great move denied by the official’s whistle midway through the second half. Campbell flicked a pass to Katie Trerice, who fired a pass into the middle to McNeil and the ball ended up in the back of the net, but was waived off.
Foxboro had the next opportunity, looking to put the game away with 15 minutes remaining. Brown was forced to deny Sophia DiCenso, Murphy, and Luciano in quick succession to keep Canton in it. The Bulldogs nearly capitalized right away but McCarthy slid across goal to block a chance for Molly Cummings.
Less than a minute later, with 12:40 on the clock, Canton tied the game. McNeil was on hand at the back post to finish off an inch-perfect cross.
“It’s always a tough battle; it’s always evenly matched,” O’Connor said. ‘So, to get them to see that we can score, then it’s lets go get them again.”
When asked about the impact of her goalie on the team’s mentality, O’Connor replied, “Just to know that we can push more into offense because we trust our goalie back there is a game-changer. It makes all the difference to have someone back there who you can trust to make those initial saves.”
Four minutes after tying the game, Canton went in front for the first time. Again, it was a ball played in from the right side, this time off the pads of McCarthy and all the way to the back post where LaBelle was in perfect position to tap it home.
“It’s so frustrating,” admitted Bordieri. “It was so back-and-forth and I felt like we did a lot of great things and to be so evenly matched and they capitalized on two mistakes we made.”
The game was hardly over. Foxboro had one more chance to try and steal a point with two minutes to play. Again the Warriors showed off a well-planned corner to work a chance for DiCenso, but the junior’s shot was sent narrowly wide of the post with Brown stranded.
“I think the second [goal] was harder to regroup [from],” Bordieri said. “A couple of players were gassed…but I think we did a good job of it. We almost scored on that [corner]. If she had gotten that on net, Riley was so far to the left then it was a tie game.”
At the final whistle, the Canton players charged onto the field to celebrate, knowing that this was an important game against a title rival. “I think seeing that they can take it to the next level with a team that is so successful and has some strong returning players and such a strong goalie,” O’Connor said about the impact of this victory.
“We’ll see how that pushes them for the rest of the season that they see that they can beat these strong teams.”
Canton (6-1, 6-1) will be back on the field on Monday with a trip to Stoughton. Foxboro (5-2-0, 4-2-0) will look to bounce back on Friday when it hosts Mansfield.
After registering just four wins a season ago, Big Blue is hoping for a big bounce back year in 2017. The toughest task will be finding replacements for the large amount of seniors that have graduated over the past two seasons. A big reason for hope to get back towards state tournament competition is four-year varsity player Grace Mayer. Mayer has been one of the top players in the Hock over the past couple of the seasons and led the Bombardiers with six goals and three assists for nine points. She will be joined on the forward line by junior Alexis Compton and junior transfer Takara Keele. Head coach Lindsay Antunes said her midfield has been strengthened “immensely” by sophomore Anna Beck, who was pulled up mid-season last year.
“There is an immense amount of unity on this team, and an outpouring of teamwork,” Antunes said. “Under the leadership of our current captains, many girls have assumed these roles [left by graduation] and are taking over the field. Some girls have been forced to transition into roles that are similar to ones they played in in the past, but not quite exact.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton is returning a strong core of players from a 13-win team a year ago and will be in the hunt for the Davenport title. Key returning players include senior forward Andrea McNeil and junior forward Maggie Malloy, who will be back to pace the Bulldogs’ offense, as well as senior midfielders Emily Campbell and Maggie Wade. With experience back in the mid, the Bulldogs expect to have a strong passing game and strong ball control. Senior Riley Brown will step in as the starting goalie and freshman Maria Femia could make an impact as a rookie.
“Coming into our second season we look to strengthen our passing game and game sense,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We look forward to another competitive season in the Hockomock League!”
Coming off its best season in program history, Foxboro is now focused on 2017 and trying to write its owm chapter in the history books. While the Warriors graduated over a half a dozen seniors, they return last year’s Hockomock League MVP in goalie Kelli McCarthy as well as 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Lily Daly. With experience on both ends of the field, Foxboro is set up nicely for 2017. Daly has led the Warriors in scoring in each of the past two seasons.
The middle of the field will look most familiar from last season with seniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano, and juniors Meghan Curran and Sophia DiCenso all returning after playing valuable minutes last season. The biggest challenge for the Warriors could be replacing starting defenders Kelly Fisher and Angela VandenBoom, who both graduated.
2016 Record: 12-4-4 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Lisa Cropper
The defending Kelley-Rex division champions are in a good spot with so many returning players from last year’s squad. Leading the way is HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Annie Walsh, who led the Hockomock League with 25 points a season ago. Cassi Ronan (16 points) and Erin Walsh (10 points) are also back as Franklin returns its top three scorers. Another positive is that Franklin has some experience back on the defensive end as well. Kate Morse is back to anchor the unit after an impressive junior season and will be joined by Meri Gendreau and Emily Valentino in front of goalie Christina Luccini. Head coach Lisa Cropper expects senior Maddie Hinckley and freshman Victoria Quinn to also play big roles for the Panthers.
“Our biggest asset this season is depth,” Cropper said. “We are hoping to wear down our opponents and utilize our speed late in games.”
After coming just a point shy of splitting the league title with Franklin a season ago, King Philip returns a strong core that will look to make another push for the Kelley-Rex crown. One big reason that the Warriors will be in the mix is because senior goalie Abby Campbell is back in the cage this season. And in front of Campbell, KP returns senior Christina Hathaway – two big reasons why the Warriors allowed only 13 goals all season in 2016. The offense will look very familiar with senior Liz Furfari (13 points) and junior Alli Meehan (25 points) back in the fold. Juniors Kate Lindmark and Caroline Klim will help bolster the defense while Nicole Connor and Dana Truini will be important players in the midfield.
“We have speed and can create a quick transition game with our passing game and formation,” said KP head coach Liz Hathaway. “We also have a couple of big hitters which should help us generate getting the ball inside the offensive 25 and to execute on corners.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield is relying on seven returning seniors and a mix of young players as they look to get back to the state tournament yet again this season. The Hornets have senior leadership all over the field, which will be important in a very deep and talented league. Up top, Mansfield had Heather D’Amdra and Kristina O’Connell, while seniors Emily Ierardo and Ann Maher will lead the way from the midfield. On the defensive end, seniors Nicole Berluti, Julia Burhman and Brittany Lam will anchor the back line.
“As a unit we are looking to move the ball at pace,” said Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan. “We have speed at all levels and look to transition quickly.”
2016 Record: 3-15-2 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kim Danish
Although the Hawks graduated 11 seniors from last year’s squad, they return some key pieces that head coach Kim Danish is hoping will help Milford take a step forward. The Hawks will lean on tri-captains Shannon Cormier (the team’s leading scorer last season), Danielle Fokas (who will start on the wing) and Emily Condon (a returning member of the Hawks’ defense) to pave the way this season. Kate Wimette, Colby Bowers and Megan Larouco will see time in the midfield while Julie Rabinowitz would see time all over the field, depending on need. Milford is looking to rely on speed on offense to try and get the offense going.
“We have a strong mix of seven returning seniors who are fantastic leaders and a great core group from last year’s JV team who will step up and make an immediate impact on the field,” Danish said. “Overall, the motivation and work ethic among this group has been top notch! We are looking forward to a great season.”
After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back years, Big Red field hockey is hoping to make a run at the Davenport crown and get back to the MIAA playoffs. One tough task will be replacing 14 seniors, including all-league goalie Liz Morehouse, all-star Mary Kummer and all-league honorable mention Teresa Bagarella. But head coach Karen Folan is confident she has the pieces to compete in a deep Hockomock League this year. Senior captains Emilie Pothier, Olivia Gedgaudus and Camille Pizarro return to make up the majority of the midfield. Senior Katherine Munley is also back on the wing, giving Big Red some speed on the outside. Sophomore Emma Strachan takes over in net this season, with Folan describing her as “quick and aggressive.”
“The returning members of the varsity team have shown they are ready to fill in any gaps our line up may have after graduating 14 seniors,” Folan said. “And our new team members are eager to step onto the varsity playing field.”
2016 Record: 11-6-3 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames will be relying on a mix of experience and youth as they try to stay competitive in a deep Kelley-Rex division. It starts with senior captain Sarah Stevens in the midfield, who will be the “quarterback” of the midfield according to head coach Abby Tepper. Senior Cristina Boudreau and junior Kayla Lozzi will bolster that midfield while senior Liz Nuss will provide speed to the attacking group. OA’s defense will be anchored by senior captain Sarah Tetrault while senior Caitlin Grant will be the starting goalie. Freshman Brynna Courneen has impressed defensively early on.
“This year our offense will be quick and have speed,” Tepper said. “We have some young players filling the wing spots and we are working on being hungry inside the circle. We want to be a scrappy team and get the ball in the bucket no matter what it takes. Our defense does a solid job recovering for one another in the circle and stepping to ball without hesitation. As a team we want to build a positive culture and work hard day in and day out.”
2016 Record: 1-17-0 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Vandette
Now in her third year at the helm of the Sharon Eagles, head coach Andrea Vandette is confident that her squad is ready to take the next step and find some more success. The Eagles are led by three captains: Elyse Korn, Abbi Solomon and Grace Leavitt. Leavitt started to come on strong at the end of the year last season and will be the anchor for the Eagles’ defensive unit this season. Senior Lindsay Moses will be be in the cage and has a good amount of varsity experience under her belt. In the midfield, Leora Leavitt will be in the center of the field and one of the Eagles’ most reliable players. Vandette is also expecting juniors Veronica Wallace and Stephanie Edwards to continue their growth after picking up the sport a season ago.
“My main goal for the girls this season is to compete,” Vendette said. “Being that this is my third year with the program, I believe they know my expectations and the seniors have a good understanding of how to move the ball on the field and how to be successful. We certainly have enough talent to put a few more wins on the board this season!”
2016 Record: 8-9-3 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Dan Mark
Despite graduating a handful of talented players, including 2015 Hockomock League MVP Angela Connolly, Stoughton head coach Dan Mark is bringing back several key players for the 2017 version of the Black Knights. The Black Knights’ offense will look the most similar to last season’s team that qualified for the state tournament. Julia Russell, Kamryn Oliveira and Jackie Evangelista are returning forwards who played regularly last year. Lisa Ramanauskas is a returning midfielder, and Haley Bushlow is back to anchor the back line. Gianna Barbosa will be the starting goalie again this season.
“We have several returning players who played many minutes last year and are expected to step in as starters this year,” Mark said.
2016 Record: 2-15-1 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway
With a strong core of experienced players back, and a couple of young talents looking to make an impression, the Tigers are hoping to improve on last year’s season. Senior Kya Enos has been a steady presence for the Tigers for the past four seasons and will be relied upon to lead the attack long with senior Liana Duarte. Juniors Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will be tasked with controlling the midfield along with freshman Alana Tavares. Sophomore Kathryn Robinson will be a key piece of Taunton’s defensive unit this season
“Our strength will be the ability of the forwards and mids to move the ball up the field,” said Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway. “Speed is also a factor that will help our offensive attacks.”
Players to Watch
Players are listed alphabetically
Abby Campbell, King Philip – Campbell has been one of the top goalies in the league for the past two seasons and helped KP come within a point of sharing the league title with Franklin last season and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. She had 11 shutouts in 2016 and saved 130-of-143 shots that she faced, finishing with a goals against average of 0.619.
Emily Campbell, Canton – Campbell was a versatile weapon for the Bulldogs, helping out both in midfield and defense to help Canton win 13 games and achieve a plus-40 goal differential for the season. With Campbell playing a critical role, Canton allowed only 14 goals on the year, which was second best in the league. She also chipped in with three goals and seven assists.
Lily Daly, Foxboro – Daly has been the leading scorer for the Warriors in each of her two varsity seasons, helping Foxboro win its first league title in 11 years and its first ever Div. 2 South title. Daly is a force near the net and was chosen as the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after scoring 16 goals and recording 11 assists.
Emily Ierardo, Mansfield – Ierardo emerged last season as one of the top offensive weapons for the Hornets, helping Mansfield make another run at the league title and reach the second round of the state tournament. She played five different positions in the forward and midfield areas and she scored nine goals and recorded six assists last fall.
Maggie Malloy, Canton – Malloy made quite the impact in her first season playing field hockey. She jumped onto the Canton varsity squad early in the season and finished as the league’s top goal scorer with 16 tallies for the year. She was a big reason for Canton’s improvement offensively and this year, with a season of experience, Malloy could have even bigger numbers.
Kelli McCarthy, Foxboro – Voted Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, McCarthy was the backstop for a Warriors defense that was one of the best in the league and helped Foxboro claim a Davenport division title and its first ever Div. 2 South title. She finished with 115 saves on the season and recorded 15 shutouts in 23 games, allowing only 13 goals total.
Alli Meehan, King Philip – Meehan was integral to KP making a run at the league title last season, holding a lead into the final week of the regular season, and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. Meehan scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists to tie for the league-high in points. She also assisted on the goal that forced overtime against Somerset-Berkeley in a state tournament win.
Cassi Ronan, Franklin – Ronan was a versatile cog in Franklin’s league championship season in 2016, playing both midfield and forward for the Panthers. She finished with 10 goals and seven assists, while being named to the HockomockSports.com First Team, but also did a lot of the defensive work that didn’t show up in the box score.
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames – Stevens had a strong season for Oliver Ames in 2016 and the senior will be counted on to create scoring opportunities for the Tigers again this fall. She scored six goals and recorded nine assists for OA last season, helping the Tigers get to 11 wins on the season, beat Durfee in the first round of the playoffs, and push perennial power Walpole to overtime.
Annie Walsh, Franklin – Walsh is the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year (she was also Player of the Year in girls’ lacrosse) after leading the Panthers to a Kelley-Rex division title. A year after being named Underclassman of the Year, Walsh took her game to another level with 14 goals and 11 assists for a league-high 25 points.
2016 Record: 6-12 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.
One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.
In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.
“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”
2016 Record: 8-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Christine O’Connor
Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.
Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.
One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.
“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”
Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.
Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.
Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.
“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”
2016 Record: 19-5 2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino
Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.
There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.
Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.
“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”
King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.
Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.
KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.
“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”
Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.
Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.
Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman
“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”
2016 Record: 3-15 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Tim Dowd
It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.
Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.
Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.
“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”
2016 Record: 13-7 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal Coach: Mike Vitelli
Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.
North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.
Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.
“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”
2016 Record: 8-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.
Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.
Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.
“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”
2016 Record: 10-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Colleen Carchedi
In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.
Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”
Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.
“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”
With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.
The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.
Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.
“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”
2015 Record: 10-8-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lindsay Antunes
After a year off from the postseason, Attleboro made its way back to the postseason in 2015 and is looking to continue that trend in 2015. The Bombardiers are returning a handful of playoff experienced players and also have spots open for players to step into and make a name for themselves. Some of the experienced players will also shift positions to help voids left. Marissa Dias is back to anchor the defense again this year while three year varsity player Grace Mayer’s versatility has shined as she’s played all over the field. Sophomore Alexis Compton will get minutes at forward and could be a breakout player for the Bombardiers this year.
“I have returners who have filled deficits on the field by transitioning into new roles,” Attleboro head coach Lindsay Antunes said. “The players who are sliding into new positions are facing these challenges with eagerness. Their willingness and immense capability are a large part of the reason behind the changes being made. I have a great deal of confidence in this newly built team, and are certain that they are going to work hard to compete with the high level of competitiveness within this league.”
With a good amount of returning varsity players, Canton is hoping it can return to the top of the Hockomock League. It also helps that coach Chrissy O’Connor – who won a D2 State Championship with Canton in 2004 – is back at the helm. O’Connor coached for over a decade, capping her final year with an undefeated season. Senior Julia Ezepik is back to anchor the defense while Taylor Carrington returns in the cage with starting varsity experience. Juniors Maggie Wade and Andrea McNeil are also back and will be key pieces in Canton’s midfield this season. Senior Caroline Hagan will be an important piece of the attack as well.
“With a new coaching staff this season Canton is looking to continue its tradition of being a competitive force in the Hockomock League,” O’Connor said.
2015 Record: 10-6-3 2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Expectations are high once again in Foxboro this season. The Warriors have made the postseason for 14 straight years and are looking to extend it to 15 straight seasons this year. Foxboro has a large amount of returning starters and players that had varsity experience, which bodes well for another playoff berth. Things start with Foxboro’s offense as they bring back three forwards that can all score consistently. Sophomore Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer and MVP last year, is back alongside seniors Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly. Foxboro’s midfield will also have some familiar faces, including Ally Curran and Caroline Wheatley. The Warriors will have a new goalie between the pipes this year as Kelly McCarthy takes over for Jill Delaney. After two years as the understudy, head coach Melissa Bordieri is confident in McCarthy to take over.
“I’m confident we can achieve a lot of things,” Bordieri said. “We’ve set our sights on winning the division. We always want to get back to the tournament. This is one of those years I strongly feel a lot of girls can contribute because of our depth.”
2015 Record: 16-3-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Lisa Cropper
Franklin has six returning starters back and a total of 10 seniors, setting the Panthers up for another successful season. It’s a mix of all grades for the Panthers, with seniors and captains Caroline Lounsbury, Dana Lewandowski and Kayla Marshall leading the way. Lounsbury and Lewandowski will patrol the midfield along with sophomore Cassie Ronan. Marshall will be a key piece in the defense along with junior Kate Morse. Sophomore Annie Walsh, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will lead a potent attack along with freshmen Maeve Ledwith and Erin Walsh.
“We have a solid group of field players with some young scoring talent and some depth on the bench,” head coach Lisa Cropper said. “Losing two-time Hock All-Star Samantha Jones to graduation leaves a hole in goal to fill, but if our defense plays strong while our inexperienced goalies develop, we should be able to contend for the league title.”
2015 Record: 10-8-2 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Liz Hathaway
King Philip has a bounce back year in 2015 and is hoping to continue that success this season. The Warriors are returning key players all over the field while new players are likely to help fill some voids. Senior captain Caitlin Donahue will be one of the main pieces of the attack while senior captain and junior captain Monica Harvey and Christina Hathaway will anchor the defense. Hathaway will also see time in the midfield while Abby Campbell returns to the cage after a standout sophomore year. Sophomore Alli Meehan is back in the attack after a breakout rookie campaign in 2015.
“We are a young team with some good athletes to build around,” head coach Liz Hathaway said. “Key players have really put in a lot of work in the offseason and summer and are looking fundamentally sound, fast and strong.”
2015 Record: 20-2-0 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield took one of the most storied programs to the limit a year ago, forcing double overtime against Walpole in the D1 South Final. The Hornets are looking to continue that success in 2016. Mansfield will need to replace some key pieces if they hope to compete at the same level this year. Julia Todesco Caroline Maher graduated but the Hornets do have league all-stars Amalia Todesco and Caitlin Whitman are back this season. Todesco and fellow senior captain Jen McCabe will be key pieces of Mansfield’s defensive unit while Todesco will also see time in the midfield. Whitman will be a key cog in the Hornets’ midfield as well. Junior Emily Ierardo and senior Olivia Horn are two returners that should help bolster Manfield’s attack this year.
2015 Record: 3-11-3 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kim Danish
The Scarlet Hawks are hoping senior leadership will help right the ship after just three wins a year ago. Milford has 13 seniors on the team, including some key experienced players in different parts of the field. Senior Emily Smith returns as the starting goalie again this year, which is already a good start for Milford. Senior captain Kaitlyn DeCapua will anchor the defense with her versatility, senior captain Tina Capone will bring speed to the midfield and senior captain Ali Atherton will relied upon to pace Milford’s offense. Shannon Cormier will also be a player to watch for the Scarlet Hawks this season.
“The 2016 Milford Hawks are persistent, determined, and resilient,” head coach Kim Danish said. “We have quickly come together as a team, and we are looking to battle through our Hock schedule.”
After missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro is looking to find its way back in 2016 and will try to do so by working from the back up. Senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella, who both have a lot of varsity experience, will anchor the back line. Senior Liz Morehouse takes over the starting job in the cage for North this season. Their defense will be the catalyst for the Rocketeers’ offense this season. seniors Kaleigh Cole and Jamie Cromidas, along with juniors Olivia Gedgaudas, Kaley Gorman, Emilie Pothier and Olivia Horricks will look to link up as the Rocketeers transition from defense to offense and go on the attack.
“We are a team that will get better with each game,” head coach Karen Folan said.
Oliver Ames has experienced a lot of success in recent seasons and the goal remains the same this year, despite a coaching change. Former Foxboro and Salve Regina standout Abby Tepper has taken over at the helm and Oliver Ames is now competing in the Kelley-Rex division. Senior captains Kendall Clifford and Katie Davenport will be the leaders for the Tigers this season. Clifford will anchor the midfield unit while Davenport will continue as a top defensive player in the Hockomock. Dimitra Efremidis will be a key part of Oliver Ames’ offense this season, with the ability to set up teammates and find the back of the net herself.
“I am very proud of the girls so far during preseason putting in extra work even outside of practice times,” Tepper said.
2015 Record: 0-16-0 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Vandette
The Eagles are hoping some added depth will lead to a turnaround season and a step in the right direction for the future. Sharon has three senior captains, Georgia Salvatore, Shafali Reddy and Michelle Lu, all of which are returning varsity players with experience. All three are defenders so Sharon is relying on a solid defensive foundation to lead the way in 2016. Lindsey Moses will be the starting goalie this season after seeing some minutes a year ago. Erica Dougherty and Stephanie Wasserman will be new options at forward this season alongside returning varsity player, Emily Locke.
“We made a lot of progress last year and I feel like we are picking up right where we left off,” head coach Andrea Vandette said. “This years squad is a lot bigger than last year and that depth on the bench is much appreciated.”
2015 Record: 10-8-3 2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton has been on the rise over the last three seasons and after an appearance in the D1 South tournament, the Black Knights will look to continue the upward trajectory in 2016. Reigning Hockomock League MVP and Northeastern-commit Angela Connelly is back to control the midfield for the Black Knights. Olivia Schlehuber and Mia Russell are both returning starters at the forward position, which bodes well for Stoughton’s attack. Kayla Oliviera, Kelly Corrigan and Kelly Joyce all saw plenty of playing time last season and will be important pieces in the midfield this season. Senior Meghan McSweeney and sophomore Gianna Barbosa will battle for the starting job in the cage.
“We are looking forward to a good season with a mix of veteran and new players,” head coach Dan Mark said.
2015 Record: 1-15-2 2015 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway
After finding the win column just one year ago, Taunton is looking to make a big step forward in 2016. The Tigers, playing in the incredibly competitive Kelley-Rex division, will have some experience to rely on in some parts of the field but will be looking to youth in others. Senior’s Katie Van Zandt and Bre Conlon will be key pieces on defense for the Tigers this season. Junior’s Kya Enos and Liana Duarte are returners that will pace Taunton’s offense this season. Both proved to be key pieces of the attack a season ago. Taunton will rely on youth in the middle of the field as sophomores Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will both play important roles at midfield.
“We are a young team, hoping to use speed and space to our advantage in offensive play,” head coach Liz Hathaway said.
Players to Watch
Players are listed alphabetically
Abby Campbell, King Philip – The class of 2016 included a lot of the top goalies in the league. However, Campbell emerged as one of the top netminders during her sophomore year and could be the top goalie in league in 2016.
Kendall Clifford, Oliver Ames – The Tigers have had a strong run as of late and will need another strong season to compete in the Kelley-Rex. Clifford’s presence in the midfield will be key for the Tigers as she helps the team transition from defense to offense.
Angela Connolly, Stoughton – The reigning Hockomock League MVP is back after helping Stoughton to the playoffs last year. She scored 11 goals and added 15 assists and will be a true double threat for the Black Knights this year.
Lily Daly, Foxboro – It’s rare that a freshman leads a team and scoring but that’s exactly what Daly did a year ago, being named team MVP. With forwards Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly back as well, Foxboro should have a potent attack.
Mary Kummer/Teresa Bagarella, North Attleboro – The Rocketeers should have a strong defense this season with senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella. The duo has a lot of experience and that bodes well for North Attleboro this season.
Dana Lewandowski, Franklin – The senior captain midfielder has a large presence on the field for the Panthers. Lewandowski controls the midfield, has the ability to get forward and score and can set up teammates at the same time.
Grace Mayer, Attleboro – Attleboro made a trip to the postseason in 2015 and Mayer’s 11 goals and three assists were a big reason. The Bombardiers will have a lot of competition in the Kelley-Rex but Mayer will be a top offensive producer again this year.
Jen McCabe, Mansfield – The Hornets had a historic run to the sectional final and the offense got a lot of attention but the back line was rock solid throughout the year. McCabe was one of the center pieces to that defense and is back as a senior captain this year.
Annie Walsh, Franklin – The defending HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year is back after a breakout rookie season. Walsh will be looking to produce numbers (nine goals and seven assists) like she did a season ago.
MANSFIELD, Mass. – The wind was whipping across Alumni Field on Wednesday afternoon and it felt more like the middle of the winter than the start of spring, but the turf was clear of snow and so Mansfield and Canton each took the field for the second time this season.
It took a little longer than usual for the two teams to warm up, the first half was dominated by turnovers and misplaced passes, but in the end the teams went right down to the wire. Seniors Caroline Maher and Julia Todesco each scored hat tricks for the Hornets to pull out a 10-8 victory and push Mansfield to 2-0 on the season.
Mansfield coach Alexis Kobey was not surprised that her upperclassmen led the way on Wednesday. She said, “Both Julia and Caroline played amazing. Claire Maroney anchored our defense back there…Those three are really the backbone of our team. They anchor everything for us.”
Things did not start well for the hosts. Canton opened the scoring nearly four minutes in when Caroline Hagen bounced a shot past Mansfield goalie Tori Lawlor. Jill Pulutchko answered off a feed from Katie Garvin to tie it for the Hornets two minutes later, but Canton came right back with the first of two goals by senior Casey Bradley, on an assist by Abby Colburn.
Todesco and then Maher went back-to-back for Mansfield to give the Hornets their first lead of the game at 3-2 but then Bradley tied the game and classmate Mary Nee smacked the post on a quick break. On her next chance, Nee went over the top of Lawlor (10 saves, seven in first half) to make it 4-3 Bulldogs.
Midway through the first half, Kobey made a change on the draws. She put Todesco on the initial draw and moved Maher up to the edge of the circle with Maggie Dunn and occasionally freshman Emily Vigeant to try and gain control. The switch worked and the Hornets won 8-11 draw controls in the first half and 14-20 for the game.
“We kind of switched it around to get different looks and Emily Vigeant, a freshman, we were trying to get her some looks on the draw,” said Kobey. “But Caroline is so good with those one-handed catches, she has such a good eye.”
Lawlor made a huge kick save to block a chance from Bradley with 9:25 left in the half and two minutes later Maher spun past her marker to tie the game at 4-4. Vigeant put Mansfield ahead at halftime, 6-4, with a pair of goals, the first of her career.
The first came off a turnover that she forced directly in front of Canton goalie Kathryn Doody and the second after she had earned a free position opportunity.
“Her first varsity goals, so that’s big for her,” said Kobey. “She was excited. Her and Katie Garvin are our two freshmen and they came right in and made an impact on the game.”
Canton came out of halftime with renewed energy and immediately got back into the game. Just 1:43 after the break, Colburn took advantage of a restart with Lawlor out of the cage and found Rebecca Eckler alone in front to make it 6-5.
Mansfield pressed forward looking to extend the lead but was denied by Doody, who made seven of her 12 saves in the second half, including four in the opening six minutes. Her stops allowed the Bulldogs to tie the game with 19:48 left on Nee’s second of the game.
“She had a great game; a few big saves,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor of Doody. “She really stepped up and had a great game.”
O’Connor added, “I thought they did a good job in the second half of kind of pulling it together. We’re still kind of early on in the season, so we’re still trying to work some things out.”
Mansfield took less than a minute to regain the lead. Todesco forced a turnover in the defensive zone and started a quick transition that went from Mary Folan to Dunn for a 7-6 lead.
Olivia Devoe answered right back for Canton from a free position chance, but then Todesco scored two in a row, both slicing across the Bulldogs’ defense, to put the Hornets ahead 9-7.
Maroney picked up a card and Canton had an extra player on the field, but the Bulldogs struggled to make the advantage pay. Finally, Nee made a steal on defense and sparked a quick transition. Bradley picked out Hagen in the middle and she cut the lead to just one with 10:57 left.
O’Connor said, “I think it took us a little while to figure out to double team on the man down, but they did a good job of starting to pressure. Our shooting – we hit the post a couple of times, had a couple of overthrows but overall I’m happy with how they played.”
As the clock wound down under six minutes remaining, Canton was probing for the tying goal. The Bulldogs had more than a minute of sustained pressure, but the Mansfield defense was staying with cutters and not allowing good looks. The one chance that the Bulldogs had was stopped by Lawlor.
“I think that’s what really saved us, making that save that gave them the extra confidence,” said Kobey. “When the goalie saved, they’re like yeah! When we went to the timeout, we had the lead and I told them it’s our game.”
Todesco made another play, this time on the defensive side of the game, when she scooped up a ground ball to end Canton’s possession. The play transitioned into the attack and Maher capped her hat trick with a finish that made it 10-8 with 5:17 to play.
The game was sloppy at times, but Kobey admitted that the conditions were at least partly to blame. She explained, “The cold conditions are tough because the blood’s not flowing a much and your hands are freezing and you can’t feel the stick.”
O’Connor is in her first year as head coach and has started with back-to-back losses to perennial power Franklin and now Mansfield. Despite the defeats, she is pleased with how the team is coming together.
She said, “Starting off with Franklin is difficult, but I was happy with how they came back and stayed in this game. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I was happy with the fight the whole game…baby steps.”