NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Not all scoreless ties are the same. Sometimes, offenses are limited and it becomes a midfield stalemate. Other times, there are chances galore and at the final whistle you are left wondering how it was possible no one found the back of the net.
Sunday morning’s game at Muscato Stadium was definitely the latter.
In a battle for first place in the Davenport division, Oliver Ames and Canton finished 0-0 thanks in large part to the stellar play of the two goalies, Canton’s Riley O’Connor and OA’s Peyton Phillips, and two resilient defenses making critical last-ditch stops.
“It was kind of the battle of the goalies,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. “They both did such a great job. I thought my defense played a great game today, unfortunately we just weren’t able to put it in the net. I’m not unhappy, it was a good battle back and forth.”
The goalies wasted no time in making their presences known, as the first quarter was end-to-end and featured chance after chance for both teams.
OA jumped out to a quick start, using its speed to cause problems for the Canton back line. Just two minutes in, Georgia Costello teed up Haley Gilman right in front of goal but O’Connor made the stop. Less than a minute later, Emily Han made a strong play to stop the Bulldogs from breaking and then turned it into a break for Costello, who was denied again by O’Connor’s pads.
A minute later and the visitors had their first great chance. Ellie Bohane got behind the OA defense and was clean through on goal only for Phillips to stop not only the first shot but also the rebound. Julia Maclaine then picked out Lexi Gennis on the doorstep but O’Connor read the tip and kicked it to safety.
Canton had two good chances in the final two minutes of the quarter. First, great stick work by Maria Femia sent Meghan LaBelle on a breakaway that Phillips stopped and then Bohane sent Erin Lane clear of the defense only for the goalie to stand tall again.
“She just started playing goalie last year,” Lawrence said of Phillips, who is in her first year as the starter. “She’s really come alive this year and she’s been amazing. She’s got the size, intensity, and athleticism, and that’s built her confidence this season. She’s showing it now.”
Everyone took a much-needed breath during the first break and things settled down for the first half of the second quarter before a flurry of chances to close out the half.
Sofia Anestam showed off her skills, dancing around a pair of Canton defenders before forcing a save out of O’Connor. Two minutes later, Costello slipped a pass through to Anestam on the break but again the goalie was equal to it.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Canton had another break. Lizzie Tassinari started it with a steal in the defensive zone and an accurate outlet pass down the wing to LaBelle, who in turn slid a pass to spring Femia clean through on goal. Phillips aggressively came out and made a sliding block to prevent the goal.
“I’m going to cringe watching those again,” said O’Connor about the chances missed in the first half. “We definitely had those chances, but it’s how to capitalize without putting it right at the goalie’s pads.”
Femia injured her ankle on that play and Canton’s leading scorer was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.
It would have been difficult to follow up that action after the break and chances were harder to come by in the second half. Most of the third and fourth quarters was played in the OA attacking third with the Tigers pressing for the go-ahead score but thwarted by the trio of Allie Gefteas, Carly Fitzgerald, and Tassinari.
“I really felt like Lizzie had probably her best game of the season,” O’Connor said. “You know, these big games is where you see who is ready to really play and she clearly was.”
When OA did get through, O’Connor was still there to make the save. Maggie Woods pushed forward three minutes before the end of the third and her diagonal pass just missed the stick of Maclaine at the back post.
In the final seconds of the quarter, Han again started a break for the Tigers with a pass to Erin Cottam, who was able to hit Costello wide open a few yards from goal. O’Connor was well-positioned and managed to get a foot to the shot, denying another great chance for the hosts.
“Not only her skill but her intensity and her mental toughness, she won’t give up on anything,” Lawrence said of Han, who missed the bulk of 2019 with a broken leg. “She’s the mental anchor back there. Abbey Boyce too, she’s so fast, she’s a very smart player. The two of them are very dynamic.”
Without Femia up top, Canton was finding it hard to sustain attacks and OA continued to press in the final 15 minutes. Woods again found space and fired a pass across the face of goal, but Fitzgerald cleared at the far post. With a minute to play Cottam got free in the middle and forced yet another save out of O’Connor, who made sure the game stayed tied to the end.
“Just keep playing your game and it’s going to fall, it’s going to fall,” said Lawrence about the message to the team in the fourth quarter. “Erin and Georgia kind of alternate the top spot but I put both of them in towards the end because they’re so fast and scrappy around the net. They had the great combination that the goalie got a toe on.”
Oliver Ames (6-0-2) will take on Stoughton this week knowing that two wins will earn the Tigers a Davenport title in their first year back in the division. Canton (6-1-1) is one point behind OA entering the final week and will take on Foxboro hoping to catch the Tigers and win back-to-back league titles.
“We’re not taking Stoughton lightly,” said Lawrence. “We’ve got two games left. We’ll come out tomorrow and have a good practice and finish strong.”
CANTON, Mass. – For 60 minutes, the Canton and Oliver Ames field hockey teams battled back-and-forth, racing up-and-down the field matching each other stride for stride, shot for shot, and stop for the stop.
The only difference came with just over 10 minutes to go off the stick of Tiger senior Haley Gilman, who scored the lone goal of the game to give unbeaten Oliver Ames a 1-0 win over previously undefeated Canton in a battle for Davenport supremacy.
Both defenses shined, constantly thwarting chances and limiting the opposition from ever sustaining a consistent pressure on net, which wasn’t a total surprise as the teams entered the contest with two of the best defenses in the Hockomock League. Canton had allowed just one goal going into the game and OA had surrendered just four goals.
That’s not to say there weren’t chances both ways, including breakaways and point-blank chances in front of net. But Canton senior goalie Riley O’Connor and OA senior keeper Peyton Phillips both had strong games in the cage to keep the game tight.
“It felt like whoever scored first was going to win,” said Oliver Ames head coach Sharon Lawrence. “It was about being in the right place at the right time, [Canton] had some of the same chances as we did. We talked at the end of the third quarter about how we were doing all of the right things, we were making good passes, we just had to keep up our passing and speed and eventually, it will fall. We just had to keep playing our game.”
The fourth quarter started with chances for both sides, with the visiting Tigers putting the pressure on early. Gilman connected with Maggie Woods on the sideline but her centering pass to Georgia Costello was thwarted by good defense from Canton’s Meghan LaBelle. A minute later, Woods set up senior Sofia Anestam for a low shot that was kicked aside by O’Connor.
Canton had a chance to break the deadlock two minutes later, a pass finding space behind OA’s high-line defensively. Bulldogs senior Maria Femia latched onto the ball and raced into goal along the right side but her shot was wide at the near post as Phillips came flying off her line with a feet-first tackle attempt.
The Tigers came back down the other way and finally found the back of the net with 10:25 to play. Woods once again connected with Costello, who delivered a service into the area. O’Connor once again came up with a terrific point-blank stop but Gilman stayed with it and tucked the rebound bid into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
“I thought it was a great game for both sides,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Both teams had great opportunities. For us, we had some chances in the circle we just made some bad decisions. I was hoping we’d be a little more up for the home game [against OA], we did play a little flatter than we usually do on offense. I thought our defense did a solid job. We just needed a little bit more on offense.
“We just have to capitalize on our chances. We were able to get behind the defense and we got in there, maybe we need two people so we can make that extra pass. We’ve had these opportunities before that usually turn into a goal, just didn’t happen today.”
Canton continued to push for the equalizer over the final minutes but OA’s defense and Phillips stood tall. Femia and Sarah Cunningham had a two-on-one chance broken up by Emily Han, and a minute later, OA defender Abbey Boyce had a key interception and clear. Phillips made a positional pad stop on a one-timer from Cunningham in front after a cross from LaBelle.
Oliver Ames field hockey Canton field hockey
“Our defense this year has been so good,” Lawrence said. “With it being 7-on-7 this year, there’s so much space on the field so we’re trying to preserve our energy and move as a unit, using kind of a zone as a defense. We have a lot of speed this year, especially on defense which helps.”
With just over a minute to go, the Bulldogs had another breakaway bid with Femia racing in but once again Phillips came charging off her line with a slide stop, getting just enough of the shot to keep it wide and the Tigers cleared to secure the win.
“We coach Peyton to charge when she needs to and cut down that angle so it’s not an easy shot,” Lawrence said. “We never want her to be a sitting duck in there. So the more aggressive she is, the scarier it is for the offense.”
Both defenses were strong from the get-go. With little chances through the first half, the Tigers nearly found the back of the net just before the end of the first quarter. Woods linked up with Costello for a good chance in the area but Canton’s Allie Gefteas intervened to prevent a chance on goal.
OA continued to push in the second quarter and might have had a couple more shots on goal if not for some great defensive work from Canton’s Lizzie Tassinari. Just before the halftime break, Canton was inches away from the lead when Femia set up Samantha Vrabel in front but Phillips made the point-blank stop.
“I thought both defenses were solid,” O’Connor said. “Having no corners is probably the biggest killer for our offense, for our game. We were in the circle, and if there’s a foul you go back out. Usually we’d have 10 to 12 corners, and we probably turn that into something. That’s probably been the biggest challenge with the modifications.”
Oliver Ames (6-0-1) remains undefeated with the win and moves into first place in the Davenport division with a one-point lead over Canton (6-1). The two teams will meet again on Thursday in a rematch that will have major implications on the Davenport division title.
“It’s our goal, we want to win it all,” Lawrence said. “We don’t focus on it before the games, but we knew this was the biggest week for us coming in. But right now it’s just taking it one game at a time.”
2019 Record: 9-8-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lindsay Antunes
The Bombardiers had one of their best years in recent memory during the 2019 season and with a strong group of returning players, are looking to carry that success over to 2020.
While replacing HockomockSports Player of the Year Anna Beck will certainly be a tough task, the Bombardiers have a lot of talented players back ready to take advantage of the pace and space that comes with 7v7 field hockey — a new rule modification this season. There is a lot of firepower in the Attleboro offense, a group that has played together before and is always looking to set each other up. Senior captains Amanda Burns (five goals, nine assists), Campbell Compton, and Hannah Webster will spearhead the attack alongside junior Madison Ellis (seven goals, six assists).
Attleboro’s defensive unit is coming along, showing plenty of progress in preseason alone. With some open spots up for grabs on defense, potential candidates took advantage of offseason club teams to improve their game. Senior Kiara Murray will be an important part of the backline while junior Ava Haggerty returns in net after a stellar sophomore season.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the accomplishments and success of this team this season,” said Attleboro head coach Lindsay Antunes. “The strong leadership skills, the positive attitudes and the confidence my players have this season is amazing to see given the nature of this season and all of the changes and challenges. We have a lot of returning players with tremendous skill, paired with new additions to our roster who are sure to make an impact this season.”
2019 Record: 12-4-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Expectations are high in Canton as the Bulldogs, one of the perennial league powers year in and year out, will be looking to repeat as Davenport division champions. A big reason for that optimism is the amount of returners from last year’s squad that had 12 wins, just one league loss, and a division-best 61 goals scored.
Senior captain Maria Femia played a part in nearly half of those goals, finding the back of the net five times while recording a Hockomock-best 27 assists. She’ll work alongside Meghan LaBelle (nine goals, eight assists) to form one of the most dangerous attacking units in the Hockomock League.
Beyond Foxboro, one of the biggest challenges the Dogs will face this year is the new rule modifications. Just six players plus a goalie will grace the field at one time, meaning a lot more space to cover. Add in the fact the girls have to wear a mask while wearing a mouthguard.
Allie Gefteas and Lizzie Tassinari will be key pieces in the Canton lineup as well. While defending will look a bit different this year with breakaways more of a concern than penalty corners (which aren’t allowed), the Dogs have senior Riley O’Connor back in net. O’Connor has been one of the top goalies in the Hock the past two seasons and is very aggressive off her line.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to be back on the field this season,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Our team has worked hard to be here and they do not take it for granted. Our seniors who have played together since a young age deserve to have a competitive and fun season. We look forward to getting started with games next week.”
2019 Record: 13-2-5 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Last year’s Davenport division race came down to just one game, with Canton taking the title with two more points than Foxboro. With just 10 games on tap this season, the Warriors know each point is vital if they want to try and knock off the Bulldogs atop the division.
Replacing Jaime Notarangelo won’t be easy but the Warriors have options and depth as they navigate the new rules of 2020. Foxboro is coming off a 13-win season that ended in the D2 South Quarterfinal round.
Senior Ella Waryas will be a key piece in the middle of the field for the Warriors this season. Her ability to play strong defense and then transition into a key piece of the offense will be vital in the new 7v7 style. Sophomore Mya Waryas (seven goals in 2019) had a breakout season and could be an important part of the Foxboro attack in 2019. The Warriors will also see production from senior Molly McElhinney, juniors Kate Collins and Mikayla Doherty, and sophomore Dylan Rappoli (four goals, four assists in 2019).
All-Hockomock selection Shannon Egan is back to anchor a defensive unit that was the best in the Hockomock League last season with just 11 goals allowed. And on top of that, senior Hannah Trombley is back in the cage to anchor the defensive unit.
2019 Record: 15-3-2 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Michelle Hess
When you look at the talent the Panthers possess on their roster this season, it’s hard not to immediately think what kind of run they could go on in the postseason. Unfortunately, there aren’t any playoffs this season so Franklin’s focus zeroes in on one thing: repeating as Hock champs.
A year removed from going undefeated against league opponents, the Panthers enter the 2020 season as the favorites to take home another Kelley-Rex title. For starters, Franklin has its top three scorers back from last year’s team that scored a Hockomock-best 91 goals. Amanda Lewandowski (20 goals, 10 assists), Stephanie Bell (14 goals, eight assists), and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Kaitlyn Carney (14 goals, eight assists) combine to make the Panthers one of the most lethal teams in the region.
Franklin’s offense even more of a boost with the return of senior captain Sara Carney (who missed last season with an injury) and junior forward Jill Fenerty.
Senior captain Neilee Hess anchors the defensive unit as the starting goalie. Hess’ experience will be vital as Franklin has some new faces on its defensive unit, including Molly Collins, Kendall Jones, and Kate O’Rourke. Freshman midfield Sophia Cuneo could make an impact right away.
“I am extremely proud of my team and how they have adapted to the modifications,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “They have taken a situation that could have put a damper on their enthusiasm and shared with me that they are just ready to get to work. They have a Hock Title to defend and these modifications are not going to stop them from accomplishing their goal of a Back to Back Kelley-Rex Title!”
2019 Record: 10-7-3 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lisa Cropper
King Philip had a lot of new faces last year, but there wasn’t a huge drop-off from the team’s success of the back-to-back title-winning seasons, as the Warriors finished in second place in the Kelley-Rex division and picked up a win in the postseason. With returning players all over the field, KP has high expectations to challenge Franklin for a league title this fall.
Speed will be one of the strengths for the Warriors, who will try to take advantage of experience on the wings in the new 7-on-7 format. Seniors Abby Nixon and Paige Berdos are both coming off strong seasons in the attack and senior midfielders Grace and Isabelle Crocker will push forward to add more threats in front of goal.
Experience will be a key to the defensive effort this year, starting in goal with senior Makenzie Manning, who has been on of the league’s top shot stoppers (and showed it in the season-opening win against Mansfield). Junior Molly Piller had a very strong sophomore season and will be the team’s sweeper, while juniors Christina Gifun and Morgan Cunningham and senior Alli Beltramini are all back as part of the defensive unit.
“We have a lot of experience, but I’m not sure how much that will help us with no penalty corners and only six field players,” said KP coach Lisa Cropper. “Hopefully our depth and overall team speed will help to cover all that empty space out there this year.”
2019 Record: 12-7-2 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Longtime Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan is excited to see what the 2020 version of the Hornets can do on the field this season. The new rule modifications have taken some players off the field, making it 7-v-7, but that opens up a lot of space on the field.
That space benefits the Hornets as Nyhan says her squad has speed in both the attacking and defending ends of the field. But the new rules also bring a pair of intriguing challenges. First will be figuring out a new substitution pattern that keeps players fresh for 60 minutes, and the other is adjusting the offense without penalty corners — not only for gameplan purposes but for the active rest players can get while setting up.
The Hornets have a large number of seniors and juniors on the team this year, hoping that experience will translate to success on the field. Tai-captains Abby Varracchione, Alex Burnham, and Grace Danehy lead the way for the Hornets and will be vital to the success of the squad. Seniors Fiona Katz, Stori Rounds, and Emma Kelly will bolster the forward group, Lindsay Devine, Grace Fernandez, and Ally McDevitt provide depth to the midfield, and Bella Deberghes, Lily O’Brien, and Leah Sheehan are important pieces to the defensive puzzle.
Juniors Caitlin Dumouchel, Celia Puleo, Maddy Brown, and Grace Bertolino should factor in this season while sophomore Lilly Danehy will take over as the starting goalie. Nyhan expects freshman Lola Varracchione to be an impact player at the varsity level right away.
“The Mansfield field hockey community wants to thank all who have worked long and hard to make a season possible,” Nyhan said. “We are grateful seniors have a “senior season” and look forward to competing!’
2019 Record: 4-12-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Tim Dowd
The Scarlet Hawks saw improvement during the 2019 season and are hoping that upward trajectory continues into 2020 under new head coach Tim Dowd.
Milford will be leaning on its three captains to lead the way: Maddy Carneiro, Olivia Macleod, and Olyvia Whyte. All three have been cornerstones of the program and will be leaders both on and off the field.
Maddy Hunt will start in the cage for the Hawks, who will be putting a lot of importance into the defensive side of the ball. With the new rule modifications meaning there will be more breakaways, the Hawks are hoping to have good numbers defensively to give Hunt as much help as possible.
Offensively, the Hawks will turn to speedy juniors Emma Tredeau and Stephanie Wong to try and take advantage of all of the space on the field. With just six field players, conditioning and positioning are going to be of the utmost importance.
“It’s certainly going to be an interesting season as we all try to adjust to the modifications and a new way of approaching the game,” Dowd said. “We’re just focusing on working hard and keeping a positive attitude.”
2019 Record: 6-8-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Karen Folan
North Attleboro finished third in the Davenport division last season, just two points out of a playoff spot, but will not only have to contend with the typical top two of Canton and Foxboro but will also have Oliver Ames in the division this year and the modified 7-on-7 rules, which should make this an interesting fall.
The Rocketeers have a strong group of returning players that they can count on and expectations of being competitive in every game, but also are trying to adapt to new positioning and the much quicker transitions that come from having fewer players and more space on the field. Senior forwards Lauren Abusheery and Emma Bailey will look to take advantage of those openings to create scoring chances, while sophomores Ava Spencer and Caroline Folan are newcomers that have shown a scoring touch in the preseason.
In the midfield, senior Nora Dluhy is a consistent performer wherever she lines up and sophomore Julia Puccio has the speed and ball control to weave through defenders. Senior Emily Daby will lead the defensive unit and can also step up into the midfield and carry possession, which will be a big help with the new rules. Senior Hannah Bachand will take over in goal this season.
The team is excited to start games this week,” said North coach Karen Folan. “I’ve told them to enjoy each minute on the field and to make the most of the shortened season and the unique situation.”
2019 Record: 9-10-0 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Rou Coach: Sharon Lawrence
There are a lot of familiar names on Oliver Ames’ roster this season, highlighted by 11 seniors and eight returning starters from last year’s team. The Tigers have experience all over the field and could be a dark horse in the Davenport division title race.
With the game reduced to six field players due to the rule modifications, there is plenty of space on the field. That fits right into OA’s gameplan as the Tigers are looking to utilize their speed and passing game to jump-start their offense. Like many teams in the league, Oliver Ames will be shifting to lines similar to an ice hockey team. With a total of 24 players on the team, there is plenty of depth so head coach Sharon Lawrence will be using her deep bench to keep fresh legs on the field throughout the game.
“We are all just happy to be together and have a season,” Lawrence said. ”They have all worked so hard and deserve it! Getting outside to play together is a mental and physical win for all.”
The heart of the team lies in the midfield as the Tigers have a strong mix of talent and experience. Senior captain Maggie Woods, a HockomockSports.com First Team selection last season, gets it done on both ends of the field, a big part of getting Oliver Ames transitioned from defense to offense. She will be joined by senior Sofia Anestam, junior Ava Costello, and sophomore Julia Maclaine in the midfield.
The Tigers return two dangerous attacking players in junior Georgia Costello (nine goals, five assists in 2019) and senior Haley Gilman (five goals, one assist). Without penalty corners, OA will lean on its speed up front to try and beat the defense and score in the run of play. The defense will be anchored by senior captain Emily Han, who has a lot of experience at the varsity level and senior Abbey Boyce.
2019 Record: 2-13-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paulina Kosmadakis
Former Sharon standout Paulina Kosmadakis is back with the program, this time taking over as new head coach. And after an improved 2019 season, Kosmadakis is hoping the program continues heading in the right direction in 2020.
The Eagles broke into the win column last season and Kosmadakis has liked what she’s seen from her team so far in the preseason. It starts with the team’s four captains: Sam Sherman, Ashley Young, Jill Parker, and Yesha Sharma. Kosmadakis said that the group has brought a new, competitive edge to the program.
Offensively, the Eagles strength is on fast breaks. Improved passing has led to some odd-man rushes and the opportunity to go one-on-one with defenders. It also comes as a result of a lot of space on the field due to the modifications to the rules. On the flip side, the Eagles are adjusting to the new intensity that 7v7 field hockey brings. Kosmadakis plans on using as much of her bench as possible with a lot of subbing throughout the game.
“I believe that the team is really stepping up their competitive edge and going to “Shock the Hock” both defensively and offensively,” Kosmadakis said. “I am excited for this season and the seasons to come!”
2019 Record: 2-15-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Mark
After a two-win season in 2019, Stoughton will look to bounce back this fall with an experienced group, with 20 seniors on the roster, which faces the tough test of trying to compete with the top teams in the Davenport division, and it starts right away with two games against defending league champ Canton in the first week.
The Black Knights should be capable of scoring goals this year with a speedy forward line getting extra space to work with the new 7-on-7 rules. Senior forwards Haley Nelson and Morgan Lessa will be the leaders in the attack and have the skills to put defenders on the back foot. Juniors Zofia Bangs and Mia Allie are new forwards that add depth to the attack this season.
Seniors Sarah McGrath and Kat Billo will shore things up in the midfield and try to help cover for the backline. Senior Lena Allie jumps in goal this season after a solid year with the JV team last fall.
“The biggest obstacle with the modifications is only having six field players and a goalie on the field,” said Stoughton coach Dan Mark. “I plan on using line shifts like in ice hockey. We have a large senior-dominated team, so hopefully that experience should help us.”
2019 Record: 5-12-1 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Liz Hathaway
Looking back at last year’s standings, if there’s one team’s record that isn’t indicative of how good a team was, it’s Taunton. The Tigers had a stellar defense, allowing just 30 goals in total, playing close games against some of the top teams in the league including KP, Foxboro, and Canton.
Defense will be a strong suit of the Tigers once again this season. Even with the changes to the game with the new rule modifications, Taunton will hang its hat on the defensive end. Junior Emily Gannon is a major part of that, returning as the starting goalie after a breakout sophomore season. Gannon had over 100 saves last season, five shutouts, and allowed one or fewer goals in 10 of the 18 games played.
Gannon will have a familiar face in front of her as Jocelyn Pagliuca enters her third season as a key piece of the Tigers’ defense. With that much experience in the defensive end, expect Taunton to be among the toughest groups to break down.
The Tigers are hoping to find the back of the net more during the 2020 season. With last year’s leading scorer back in Alana Tavares, there’s a good chance that happens. Tavares, who has been on the team since eighth grade, will be among the top threats in the league. Having more space will allow Tavares to use her speed to get behind the defense and attack the net. Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway is expecting big contributions from junior Ashley Amaro and senior Skylar Rheaume as well.
“This season will be different but we are up for the challenge and we are grateful to have a season,” Hathaway said. “The girls have been working hard to keep the season going. They are also working hard and embracing the 7 vs. 7 format.”
CANTON, Mass. – Foxboro and Canton have finished as the top two teams in the Davenport division in each of the past three seasons. The Warriors won two of those three titles, but the largest margin that has separated the teams at the end of the year has been three points. This year is no different.
Once again the two rivals entered Tuesday night’s title showdown at WWII Veterans Memorial Field as the top two teams in the Davenport and with the Bulldogs holding a slim two-point edge. Both teams would have four league games remaining after Tuesday and none would be against teams with winning records, so this felt like Foxboro’s best chance of trying to catch the league leaders.
The Warriors got off to the perfect start, playing like a team that knew it needed the win, and jumped out to a one-goal lead, but the Bulldogs turned the game around in the second half and it finished 1-1. That leaves Canton holding its own title destiny entering the final two weeks of the regular season.
“We took a few minutes to get going,” admitted Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. She noted that things changed after the break, “Totally felt like we had a little momentum. We were correcting some of the things we had gotten wrong. We made some adjustments and overall I was happy with how we played, but unfortunately with Foxboro things end in a tie.”
Canton had a couple of early looks with a cross through the crease and a chance for Shayna Johnson that the senior had bounce off her foot right in front of goal, but the first half largely belonged to the visitors.
Nine minutes into the game, the Warriors took the lead. Jaime Notarangelo created the opening with a run down the right side, something that would become a theme of the half, and she squared it into the middle. After a couple of deflections, the ball dropped to Brooke Connolly and she knocked it in.
Meg Aldrich had a chance to equalize for the Bulldogs after a rush right through the middle of the Foxboro defense, but it was kicked aside by goalie Hannah Trombly (two saves).
The Bulldogs struggled to contain Notarangelo and the Warriors looked to get her the ball on the right wing as often as possible. After the senior midfielder raced past players on both teams, she cut inside and forced a save out of Canton goalie Riley O’Connor (seven saves). A minute later Mikayla Cloherty had a go from distance that was kicked away as well.
“Jaime played out of her mind,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “She was phenomenal. You could see how much she was digging and kept trying. Her ball control tonight was outstanding.”
Inside the final 10 minutes of the half, Canton started to stem the tide and gain a foothold in the game. Maria Femia opened up a chance for Erin Lane, but her shot just went wide and couldn’t be held in at the end line by Ellie Bohane.
The momentum that the home team built at the end of the first half carried over at the start of the second.
It only took four minutes after the break for Canton to find the tying goal. After a corner was cleared by Foxboro, the Bulldogs charged back at the goal again and Kaitlyn Goyetch found room in the left channel. Her backhand effort flicked up over Trombly’s shoulder and the goalie could not keep it out.
“It’s that extra spark of energy,” said O’Connor about Goyetch. “She’s able to flip that switch and when she does and when she gets to that second gear then everyone follows and it raises the level of play on the field.”
Canton took control of the game in the second half. The hosts had the ball in front of Trombly for seemingly the entire 30 minutes, but Foxboro had a handful of chances as well. Notarangelo created the opening with another run down the wing and her cross to Mya Waryas at the back post was kept out by O’Connor, who then scrambled the rebound off the line. Ella Waryas then set up Notarangelo in front but the redirection was blocked by the goalie at close range.
Carly Fitzgerald had a shot from long range that forced Trombly into a stop and the rebound was left in front for several Bulldogs, including Femia, Lane, and Meghan LaBelle, to have a swat at.
Bordieri said, “They put serious pressure on. I couldn’t even see the play, just saw the ball come flying out of the circle, so defense came up big in a lot of places. But, it has to be consistent. We didn’t play 60 minutes tonight and it resulted in another tie.”
Femia was the primary creator for Canton and was a constant menace when in possession. She nearly created the winner with a run up the left side and a cross to Grace Nourse at the back post, but Lauren Foster got in the way to deny the chance.
“She’s a gamer,” O’Connor said about Femia. “She’s a game time player and she wants to get it done and usually she makes things happen. I thought we were in the right positions, I thought the offense was there, we were right there, but they were right there with their defensive stands.”
Riley O’Connor was forced to come up with one more big stop before the end, as Nicole Bubencik had a shot through traffic that was sneaking inside the post until the goalie stuck out a toe to keep it out.
“A tale of two halves,” said Bordieri. “They came out flying in the second half and found us flat. I just felt like we couldn’t find that momentum we had in the first half, we couldn’t continue it and they did a really good job of taking that momentum and running with it.”
Canton (8-2-3, 8-1-3) will try to hold its lead in the division against Stoughton on Thursday, while Foxboro (8-1-5, 6-1-5) will try to keep the pressure on when it hosts Milford.
2018 Record: 6-11-1 2018 Result: Missed Playoffs Coach: Lindsay Antunes
The Bombardiers are looking to climb off the foot of the Kelley-Rex division standings this fall and challenge for a return to the state tournament. With a number of players making the move up after successful seasons on JV, Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes is confident that her team will have the firepower to compete with the league’s top teams this year.
Senior Anna Beck will lead the way for Attleboro again this fall. The midfielder led the team in scoring last year and was one of the top scorers in the Hock, and she will be counted on to open up chances for her teammates. Junior Campbell Compton will add to the midfield group with her playmaking and stick skills. Junior Kiera Murray will be the lynchpin of the defensive unit, providing leadership at the back. The forwards are going to be a combination of returning players and new faces that are expected to provide additional scoring this season.
“Though spots are still being established and player combinations being determined,” Antunes said, “we are confident that this year’s offensive line is going to make a significant impact on the league.”
2018 Record: 15-4-1 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton finished just one point shy of back-to-back league titles and for the second season in a row saw its season ended by the eventual South champion, but the Bulldogs remain one of the teams to beat in the Davenport thanks to a roster filled with returning, experienced players ready to make another tournament run.
Midfield will be an area of strength for the Bulldogs this season with senior Kaitlyn Goyetch back to create scoring chances for her teammates. She was second on the team in scoring last year and is capable of opening up space for the attackers. Juniors Maria Femia and Meghan LaBelle will help Goyetch out in the middle of the field, adding to both the attack and the defense, and senior Meg Aldrich provides energy to push the team on both ends of the field. Junior Riley O’Connor returns in goal to shore up the defense. The attack will certainly miss leading score Maggie Malloy, but there are a number of players that are ready to step in and try to make up for that loss of production.
“Canton field hockey is excited for the regular season to begin,” said head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Our captains Kaitlyn Goyetch, Meg Aldrich and Rose Malloy along with several key returning players will be major contributors to our success this season. We are working towards a strong showing in the always competitive Hockomock League”
The Foxboro Warriors will have almost an entirely new look this season after graduating 10 starters and 14 seniors overall.
While it will be almost an entirely new team, there is definitely plenty of talent and a lot of team speed. Jaime Notarangelo is the lone starter to return and will see time at both center forward because of her goal-scoring abilities plus time at center mid because of her distribution skills. Ella Waryas will see a significant increase in her role in the midfield alongside Molly McElhinney. Anna Marcucella and Mikayla Cloherty will see time both in the midfield and defensively for head coach Melissa Bordieri, who is still moving all the pieces around in search of the right combination. Lauren Foster is a team captain and will be tasked with anchoring the defense while junior Hannah Trombley and sophomore Lily Jones battle for minutes in goal. Kate Collins picked up some valuable minutes last year and will be relied on offensively alongside Olivia Simoneau.
“We still have a lot of talent, it’s just a matter of piecing together who fits where and who works well together,” Bordieri said. “We are a tenacious team so we are optimistic about the season.”
2018 Record: 13-6-2 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Michelle Hess
After finishing second in the Kelley-Rex division and making a run to the Div. 1 South semifinal, where they led perennial power Walpole by two goals with 10 minutes remaining, Franklin wants to build on that momentum and return to the top of the league standings for the first time in three seasons. The experience of last year’s run, which included finishing on an 11-2-2 run, has confidence brimming through the program.
The loss of do-everything midfielder Cassi Ronan will certainly hurt, as well as defender Emily Valentino and goalie Christina Luccini, but the Panthers still have a solid foundation of returning standouts to rely on. Senior Maeve Ledwith will continue to lead the defensive unit and is one of the league’s top distributors out of the back. Junior Amanda Lewandowski saved her best for the end of the season and playoffs and will be one of the team’s top attackers. Freshman Kaitlyn Carney is expected to contribute right away and possibly ease the loss of Ronan from the midfield. Junior Neilee Hess will take over between the pipes.
“The players worked very hard in the offseason, and I am proud of them for their dedication and determination,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “I look forward to watching this team come together and earn a top spot in the Hockomock League along with another deep run in the tournament.”
2018 Record: 18-2-1 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Lisa Cropper
After winning the league and South titles in 2017, the Warriors made a coaching change. After making it back-to-back Kelley-Rex crowns and getting back to the South semifinal last season, the Warriors are making another change on the sideline. Former Franklin coach Lisa Cropper is back in the Hock after two years at Dean College and she will be trying to keep the momentum going for KP this fall.
While the Warriors dominated the league in goals scored last year, thanks in large part to HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Alli Meehan, and that drew a lot of attention, but the Warriors were even more impressive defensively, allowing only 15 goals in 21 games. Senior Sammy Robison is back to hold down things on defense along with classmate Grace May and junior Mackenzie Manning, who may end up sharing duties in goal. Sophomore Christina Gifun and junior Paige Berdos will drive the team in the midfield.
In addition to the graduation of Meehan, KP will be without reigning Underclassman of the Year Meghan MacDonald, who transferred to Tabor Academy. Senior Raegan Simeone and juniors Abby Nixon and Grace Crocker will be counted on to try and make up that production in the attack.
“We have a lot of really solid players with no real superstars, which should give us a very balanced team,” said Cropper.
2018 Record: 9-8-2 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Theresa Nyhan
The Hornets are only four years removed from back-to-back league titles and a trip to the South final and the experience on this year’s roster gives Mansfield hope that another deep tourney run could be on the cards. With seniors in every layer of the field and talented underclassmen to fill in the depth, the Hornets look like a serious contender at the top of the Kelley-Rex division standings.
In attack, Mansfield will count on a speedy trio of seniors to try and boost the goal totals. Paige Peterson, Becca Hottleman and Gabby Devlin are all back on the front line. In midfield, Kelly Doherty and Grace Doyle provide the engine that pushes the Hornets forward, while also providing the necessary cover for the defense. Senior Kayla Hunter is back in goal and will try to organize the back line, which will include seniors Grace Maher, Mallory Burke, and Angela Burnham.
“Overall we have a good balance of juniors and seniors at each level,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhan. “We should be able to keep fresh legs on the field at all times. Looking forward to a good season.”
2018 Record: 2-14-2 2018 Result: Missed Playoffs Coach: Katie Blackburn
The Hawks have a number of players returning who have several years of varsity experience and will try to blend in players that are making the leap from JV in order to improve from last year’s two-win season, which included five games that Milford lost by only one or two goals.
Senior goalie Paige Reisman will be the key on the defensive end, solidifying a back line that will see several new faces that are trying to get up to varsity speed. Her communication and vision will help the newcomers be ready for opposing attacks. Senior Megan Hart is also back on defense to add leadership in front of Reisman. Junior Olyvia White can play in midfield or defense, while senior Kathryn Swineford will try to push the Hawks into the attack from the middle of the field.
“We have a lot of returning players on offense that have experience playing together,” said Milford coach Katie Blackburn. “This experience will help in creating an offensive attack throughout games. The players have worked hard this offseason to improve on skills and come into the season conditioned.”
2018 Record: 6-10-2 2018 Result: Missed Playoffs Coach: Karen Folan
The Rocketeers are hoping that an experienced lineup will be the key to challenge the top teams in the Davenport division and also to make a return to the state tournament. North Attleboro only missed out on a playoff spot by four points last season and there is the potential to make a bigger push this fall.
Senior Emma Strachan will be in her third year as the starting goalie and will continue to lead the defensive unit. Senior Lindsay Robinson heads into her second year as a force in the North midfield and senior Michelle Pothier will start her third year generating offense as one of the starting forwards. Senior Grace Cole adds speed on the wings to open space for the attack and senior Faith Graveline will move into the midfield from defense, adding another layer of cover for the back line and another weapon in the offensive circle.
“We have a solid group of returning varsity players for the 2019 season,” said North coach Karen Folan. “We hope to utilize our knowledge and experience to come out strong at the start of the season and continue to build on our strengths as the season moves forward.”
2018 Record: 8-9-2 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Sharon Lawrence
While Oliver Ames brings back 11 returning players from last year’s playoff team, the Tigers remain relatively young, with a strong junior class anchoring the team throughout the roster. That level of experience gives OA the potential to make noise in the loaded Kelley-Rex division and be competitive with the perennial title challengers.
The offensive unit is deep and expectations are high for an improvement on last year’s 31 goals scored as a team. Juniors Haley Gilman and Hannah Stryke and seniors Maura Kiernan, Ellie Waters, and Cassie Gennis will all play up top and are all capable of making plays inside the offensive circle. Several younger players will get the chance to impress right away, including sophomores Ava Costello and Lily Gaskill and freshman Julia Maclaine.
Junior Maggie Woods is the leader of the midfield group, constantly finding herself around the ball and propelling the Tigers forward. Sophomore Georgia Costello will join her in the middle of the field. Juniors Emily Han and Emily Dionne will lead the defense, while juniors Abbey Boyce and Courtney Lake are newcomers to the defense that will contribute right away. Senior Kara Ostrander and junior Peyton Phillips are both capable of being the starter in goal.
“The team shows improvement in skill and confidence from last season after a strong off-season commitment to the game,” said OA coach Sharon Lawrence. “We have a deep bench with lots of talent in the forward and midfield lines to keep legs fresh and performance strong, giving us good game endurance.”
2018 Record: 0-18-0 2018 Result: Missed Playoffs Coach: Ashley Courville
After a winless season, with no goals scored, there is plenty of room for improvement for the Eagles this fall. Sharon ended that goalless stretch in the opening game of the season against Norwell and there is an increased level of confidence that the program is mixing in more experienced players with newcomers that can help make the team more competitive this year.
The defense will be led by an experienced corps of players. Seniors Holly Davis, Blaize Hanna, and Anya Lane are all back to solidify a back line that reduced the goals allowed by 27 from 2017 to 2018. Senior Lauren Glass will be the team’s primary playmaker in midfield and she will get help from junior Jenna Goldstein. There are a lot of new faces in the attack, including sophomore Ashley Young, who got Sharon’s first goal of the season in the opener. Juniors Samantha Sherman and Jillian Parker will also chip in up front.
Sharon coach Ashley Courville said, “Our strengths on defense this season are consistency and strength. We have a handful of returning players back on defense giving us stability. Our offensive strengths are added speed leading to the ability to carry the ball on the field more effectively.”
2018 Record: 7-11-2 2018 Result: Missed Playoffs Coach: Dan Mark
The Black Knights would love to make a push for a playoff appearance this fall and Stoughton will rely on is experience in midfield and attack to overcome some of its inexperience in defense to try and make that run possible.
In the midfield, seniors Skylar Carroll, Madison Araujo, and Juliana Rush give the Black Knights speed and stick skills to push forward and make the transitions that will break down opposing defenses. In the attack, senior Brittni Paul and juniors Haley Nelson and Sarah McGrath have a nose for being in the right spots around the goal to create scoring chances. While the defense is relatively new, junior Kayla Laboy will be back between the pipes to add leadership and organization at the back.
Stoughton coach Dan Mark said, “We have a good nucleus of returning players, but do have some inexperience defensively. I think the key to our team will be a strong offense.”
2018 Record: 8-7-4 2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Liz Hathaway
The Tigers have made great strides as a program, becoming a regular in the state tournament and competing with the top teams in the Hock, but after graduating 10 seniors Taunton will have its work cut out to make sure that another playoff berth is secured this fall.
Junior forward Alana Tavares will carry a lot of the scoring load for the Tigers this season. Tavares led the team in scoring last year and showed that she can also play in the midfield to create opportunities for teammates. Senior Kathryn Robinson will move up from defense into the midfield and her stick skills added to her defensive mindset will give the Tigers cover on both ends of the field. In defense, junior Jocelyn Pagliuca returns to provide leadership and cover in the back line with her ability to step into a challenge.
“We graduated 10 seniors last year and have many players stepping up for this season,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway.
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.