STOUGHTON, Mass. – Exactly a month ago, Stoughton earned its first league win of the season on the road at North Attleboro. Following the game, Black Knights coach Charmaine Steele Jordan said that she was looking forward to a strong second half of the season from her team. She turned out to be right.
On Monday night, behind strong performances from freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe and sophomore Aliyah Wright, the Black Knights beat King Philip 61-49, making it eight wins in the last nine games. After starting the season 1-7, Stoughton is now just one win from clinching a spot in the state tournament.
“It’s exciting to see how the program has evolved,” said Steele Jordan about the progress of the youth on the roster. “We have young guards, but that makes for promise for the future. We’ve got a lot of youth coming up and I’m excited where the program is going. I feel like we’re a fun group to watch and when we’re on, then we’re on.”
The game got off to an even start. Wright got a steal and layup off the Stoughton press and Lindsay McDonald (eight points) knocked down a jumper after an offensive rebound for an early lead. Faith Roy (nine points) competed a three-point play to tie the game at 5-5, but Hyacinthe (15 points) knocked down the first of her five three-pointers and Wright (17 points) got one of her eight steals and turned it into a layup for a 12-8 lead after one.
KP was playing without leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, who was injured in the last game against Taunton, and the Warriors offense stalled a little at the start of the second quarter.
“It’s an adjustment for the team, for the coaches, for everybody,” said KP coach Amy Siggens. “We did alright and I think someone needs to step up into that role and I don’t think they know who that is yet. Everyone had to contribute and we started off a little slow but then we started to figure it out as the game went along.”
The Black Knights ran off the first eight points of the second with sophomore Mariah Harris (10 points) knocking down a pair of jumpers and senior Val Whalen (11 points and 15 rebounds) adding four as well. Roy tried to bring KP back with a pair of threes that cut the lead back to five. Hyacinthe answered with a three but, after free throws from Stoughton, Julia LeRoux (nine points) hit a three to keep KP within nine at the half.
In the third quarter, Stoughton continued its hot shooting to break the game open. Hyacinthe was particularly accurate from downtown, nailing three from beyond the arc in the third, while McDonald also buried a pair of deep jumpers, as the Black Knights scored 22 as a team in the quarter.
“It’s great to see those girls knocking down shots,” said Steele Jordan. “They’ve been working on their games all season and it’s nice when it finally rolls over into a game and they’re being consistent and shooting with confidence.”
While the offense was clicking, Steele Jordan was also pleased with the defensive effort. The Stoughton press was forcing turnovers that led to baskets for Harris and Wright in the quarter.
“We’re fueled off our defense,” she explained. “When we’re moving our feet, we have active hands, and we’re anticipating, we have several girls who can be a step ahead of the pass and see where it’s going. It’s nice to see them use their athleticism and get those deflections.”
Christina Hathaway tried to keep the Warriors in the game with four points in the quarter and junior Catherine Cummings scored five of her team-high 11, but KP trailed by 17 heading to the fourth.
Stoughton continued to tack on to its lead, eventually extending it to as many as 23 points after a jumper by Wright and a three from Harris.
“We work a ton on our help and doubling down because we knew how good their bigs were and…you’ve got to give up one or the other and we just weren’t able to close out,” said Siggens. “I can’t take anything away from how well they shoot and how quick they are.”
KP continued to battle in the final minutes and would cut into the lead behind six points from Cummings, who knocked down a pair of jumpers and finished an offensive rebound. Freshman Emma Glaser also added three points for the Warriors.
“She’s worked really hard all season to work on those moves,” said Siggens of Cummings. “She’s due for a monster game, so it’s nice to see those going in for her.”
Stoughton (9-8, 8-6) will try to clinch its state tournament berth on Tuesday night when it hosts Sharon. King Philip (4-12, 3-11) will be right back in action on Tuesday with the visit of league champ Mansfield.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – North Attleboro came storming out of the gates to jump all over King Philip in Wednesday night’s game at the Kenneth Pickering Gym. The Rocketeers held KP to just four points in the first quarter and led by 19 heading into halftime.
Things got much closer in the second half, as the Warriors stormed back in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to as few as six points, but North held its nerve and held off the KP charge to pull out its first league win of the season, 57-48.
“Ultimately, we talked about the last couple days about being aggressive on both ends of the court,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “That first half, I think, was the best we’ve played all year. We were very aggressive.”
Utilizing a full-court press from the opening tip, North was able to keep the Warriors from getting into any rhythm on the offensive end. Four points from Julia Santos and four from Julia Feid put the Rocketeers ahead 8-0 to start and a three by Emma Noreck helped extend the lead to 12-4 after the first quarter.
In the second, North’s pressure continued to create offense. Despite four points apiece from Shannon O’Connor and Julia Leroux in the second, KP continued to fall further behind. Eliza Dion steal led to an easy basket for Feid (10 points, all in the first half) who followed it up with a steal and layup off the ensuing inbound pass.
“We played a little sloppy,” said KP coach Amy Siggens, “and it comes down to a lot of finishing for us, which we work on every day but we’ve just got to keep working on.”
North had no problem finishing in the second. Sophomore Julia Kleczkowski drilled a pair of threes in the quarter, freshman Amanda Kaiser hit one, and senior Emily Haskell scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the second, including a pair from beyond the arc. North went into the break leading 35-16.
Things looked drastically different in the second half. North made only one shot from the field, a layup by Santos (14 points and 10 rebounds) off one of Olivia Forbes’ six assists, and finished the third with six points.
“I said in the second half they’re going to come out aggressive and we have to match that aggressiveness and we didn’t right away,” said Herber. “We had to kind of find ourselves on offense. The third quarter was ugly and that’s kind of how we’ve been. We can’t score and then we can’t set our press, be aggressive, and do the things we want to do.”
KP crept closer behind eight points from O’Connor and a strong effort from the whole team on the glass (Christina Hathaway and Catherine Cummings each had seven rebounds). O’Connor, a Boston University-commit, got free for a pair of layups, both assisted by Faith Roy, scored on an offensive rebound, and a pair of free throws. O’Connor finished with a game-high 22 points and pulled down a game-high 15 boards.
The Warriors were within 13 heading to the fourth and Siggens credited better ball management against the press for being able to get into the offense easier.
She explained, “We just readjusted. We usually create our 1-3 cross and we just had to adjust and bring people back and I think we get caught up very fast and kind of panic. We kept our composure a little bit better in the second half.”
The tough shooting stretch continued into the fourth quarter for the Rocketeers and KP continued to close the gap. O’Connor knocked down a three that made it 47-41, the closest the Warriors had been since the opening quarter. Santos got a scoop in traffic to go to push the lead back to eight, but Leroux (seven points) scrambled in a rebound that made it a six-point game again.
“I called a timeout and said this is what we need to do, we’ve been practicing this, we’ve got to be smarter and we need to play through all this stuff,” Herber explained. “We fought through all that and I’m so proud of the way we played tonight.”
Kaiser made a back-cut and received a nice dish from Forbes for a layup and she and Santos each hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead back out to double digits. O’Connor hit her second three of the quarter, but it was not enough to get KP all the way back.
“They really stepped it up,” said Siggens of her team’s second half comeback attempt. “We just couldn’t convert on a couple of ones we should’ve to really cut into that lead, but I’m very proud of the way they played second half. I couldn’t ask for more.”
North Attleboro (2-11, 1-10) will try to build on its first league win when it travels to Canton on Friday. King Philip (3-9, 2-8) will look to bounce back when it hosts Attleboro.
Franklin, 93 @ Stoughton, 58 – Final – Franklin jumped out to a quick 19-2 lead and never looked back in a road win at Stoughton. The Panthers led 30-11 after one before the Black Knights cut the deficit to nine, 48-39, at halftime. Franklin outscored 45-19 in the second half to earn the win. Senior Paul Mahon led a game-high 21 points while senior Matt Elias and sophomore Chris Edgehill each had 16 points apiece for the Panthers. Stoughton senior Cam Andrews had a team-high 15 points.
King Philip, 57 @ Sharon, 63 – Final (OT) – King Philip raced out to a 13-0 lead, led by as much as 23 in the first half and 31-11 at halftime, but Sharon stormed back with a gigantic second half to stun the Warriors in overtime. Sharon hit one free throw to make it 50-46, then grabbed the offensive rebound to get back to the line. After making the first again, the Eagles came down with the offensive board on the miss. Lester High, who scored a career-high 19 points, drained a three to tie the game with 25 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Malik Lorquet (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Jimmy Fitzhenry (12 points) hit back-to-back baskets, KP answered with a free throw, then High hit his fifth triple of the game to make it 57-53. Tom Madden (12 points) answered in the post to cut it to four, but Fitzhenry drained a three with just under a minute to play to make it 60-53. Pharoah Davis led KP with 14 points.
Milford, 46 @ Attleboro, 38 – Final – A night after scoring 33 and reaching the 1,000-point plateau, Kate Irwin scored 17 points to lead the Hawks to a road win at Attleboro to clinch a spot in the postseason for the second season in a row. Jess Tomaso added 15 points for Milford, while Attleboro was led by Sam Pierce with 14 points.
Stoughton, 47 @ Franklin, 36 – Final – Stoughton won its fourth straight game (all on the road) with a strong defensive effort against the Panthers. Aliyah Wright led the Black Knights with 17 points and Jordan Motley just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Sharon, 43 @ King Philip, 63 – Final – KP had four players in double digits in a big home win. Faith Roy was the top scorer for the Warriors with 19 points, while Shannon O’Connor scored 14 and Christina Hathaway and freshman Brianna James each scored 10. Emma Eberhardt was Sharon’s top scorer with 11 points.
North Attleboro, 29 @ Mansfield, 59 – Final – Meg Hill scored 15 points and recorded 12 rebounds in another double-double for the senior center. Ann Maher scored nine, while Sydney Mulkern and Alicia Hottleman each added seven for the Hornets. Julia Feid was the high scorer for North with 10 points.
Boys Indoor Track (@ Reggie Lewis)
Attleboro, 58 vs. Taunton, 42 – Final
Canton, 52.5 vs. Foxboro, 47.5 – Final – Marquise Montes, Riley McDonnell, and Cordell Smith all placed first in individual races and teamed together along with freshman Cam Sanchez to win the 4×200 relay to help the Bulldogs edge the Warriors. Montes on the 55M (with Sanchez second), McDonnell took first in the 300M (with Smith second and John Guenthner third) and Smith won the high jump (with Steven Brady second and McDonnell tied for third). Brady also won the long jump, Jack Healey won the 2 Mile and was second in the 1 Mile, and Mike Mazzola took second in the 1000M. Gerry Sullivan added a third-place finish in the 600M.
Franklin, 25 vs. Mansfield, 75 – Final – The Hornets clinched another league title with a win over the Panthers. Jareme DiLorenzo had a great meet for Mansfield, taking first in the 55M hurdles (8.12), first in the long jump (20-05.00) and second in the 55M dash (6.98). Mike Hargadon ran a PR (1:26.52) for a second place finish in the 600M, with Mike Shannon coming in first (1:25.29). In the shot put, Dan Radev had a PR of 41-11.25 to take second (behind teammate Kevin McCree’s 45-05.00) and Kalin Petrov had his best performance in the 2 Mile, finishing in 9:42.00.
King Philip, 36 vs. Oliver Ames, 64 – Final
Milford, 33 vs. North Attleboro, 67 – Final
Sharon, 58 vs. Stoughton, 42 – Final
Girls Indoor Track (@ Reggie Lewis)
Attleboro, 30.5 vs. Taunton, 65.5 – Final
Canton, 36 vs. Foxboro, 60 – Final – Canton’s Jimisha Williams, Leah Murphy and Claire Belisle all won individual events and teamed with Rosana Cho to win the 4×200 relay for the Bulldogs. Williams took first in the 55M, Murphy was on the long jump while Cho took second, and Belisle won the 300M. Ally Chin (2 Mile) and Bronwyn Mahoney (shot put) earned first-place finishes, while Chloe Pennacchio earned points with third-place finishes in both the 1000M and 1 Mile.
Franklin, 59 vs. Mansfield, 41 – Final – Franklin won the division for the third straight year with the victory. For Mansfield, senior Madison Haughey ran a PR in the 55M hurdles and jumped 4’11 in the high jump, qualifying for states in both events. Junior Brynn Anderson knocked off six seconds for a PR in the 1000M, also qualifying for states. Lizzie How also ran a PR in the 300, taking second, with freshman Tessa Lancaster shaved 20 seconds off her 2 Mile run, qualifying for states at 12:14.55.
King Philip, 57 vs. Oliver Ames, 43 – Final
Milford, 43 vs. North Attleboro, 57 – Final
Sharon, 69 vs. Stoughton, 30 – Final
Franklin, 86 @ North Attleboro, 74 – Final
Oliver Ames, 99 @ King Philip, 84 – Final
Franklin, 90 @ North Attleboro, 75 – Final
Oliver Ames, 90 @ King Philip, 95 – Final
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro was clinging to a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against King Philip, but the Bombardiers shut down the Warriors over the final eight minutes, allowing only six points and two made field goals from the visitors to pull away for a 52-41 victory.
“I think this is our most complete effort, front to back, all year,” said first-year Attleboro coach Marty Crowley, who was facing KP for the first time since leaving the Warriors during the off-season.
He added, “I think we played 32 minutes tonight. We had a great win against Durfee, down by 13 in the third quarter and we came back to win by 12 last game, and the light kind of came on for us. I kind of put us in a hole early with my defensive scheme, but we switched and the kids really dug in.”
Attleboro scored the first five points of the fourth on drives to the basket by MacKenzie Roberts (her only basket of the game) and sophomore Nyah Thomas (seven points, six rebounds). Faith Roy scored on a drive and Shannon O’Connor hit a free throw to cut the lead to 41-38, but Abby Struminski added a pair at the line and Sam Pierce (14 points, eight rebounds, five blocks) scored in the paint to extend the advantage back to seven points.
“Sam obviously is a phenomenal player, she’s one of the best players in our league,” Crowley said about getting the senior forward involved offensively. “We’re working on recognition when to give Sam the ball and when not to and I thought we move the ball pretty well tonight.”
Pierce followed with a kick-out pass to junior Jordyn Lako for a three-pointer that pushed the lead to 11. Lako scored all 14 of her points in the second half and the point guard also chipped in with nine rebounds. After O’Connor knocked down a late three for KP, Thomas scored in transition and Lako got a steal and layup to seal the win.
First-year KP coach Amy Siggens said, “We don’t go very far in our bench and we’re very guard heavy. The guards we have are very good, so I think it comes down to is trying to get people subs and rest where we can. We just runs out of steam, but that’s something that can be fixed.”
O’Connor, the Boston University-commit, started the game on fire, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, including nine in the first quarter. Crowley admitted that the Bombardiers had to change things up defensively to slow down the junior guard, who he had coached for the past two seasons.
“Shannon is such a special player,” said Crowley of using Lako, Thomas, and Pierce to guard O’Connor. “The three of them did a nice job on her and we just tried to take her out of the equation and for the most part it worked in the second half. First half, they ran some good stuff for her but we made some adjustments at halftime.”
Pierce kept Attleboro in the game in the first quarter with seven points and Liv McCall gave Attleboro a much-needed perimeter threat with all nine of her points coming in the first half (on three shot from beyond the arc).
The Warriors were also forced to play without starting forward Faye Veilleux for the majority of the game after the sophomore twisted an ankle in the first quarter.
“It really hurt us,” said Siggens. “She’s really been fighting hard to work on her positioning and getting better as a player. She was really starting to get it and to go down like that is too bad.”
The teams went into halftime tied at 25 apiece and the third quarter was back-and-forth. Julia Leroux (nine points, six rebounds) gave KP a brief lead and O’Connor scored four points in the quarter to tie the game at 31-31. Leroux added a pair from the line to give the Warriors a lead at 33-32.
“She never stops playing,” said Siggens of Leroux. “She’s fun to watch and she really wants to go get it. I couldn’t ask anything more of her tonight.”
Christina Hathaway scored inside to put KP ahead by three points, but the Bombardiers rallied behind Lako, who scored eight of the team’s 11 points in the third. She buried a three off a Rory Hopkins pass to tie the gam and added a free throw to give Attleboro a slim edge heading to the fourth quarter.
KP was also hamstrung heading into the fourth after O’Connor picked up her fourth foul in the closing seconds of the third. “Foul trouble seems to be what we’re getting into but I’ll take it because it means they’re playing hard,” Siggens said. “We’ll figure out all the little things and controlling it better later.”
For almost seven minutes of the fourth quarter, Attleboro held KP to just three points, pushing the lead and securing a third league win in four games this season.
Crowley said, “We really clamped down in the fourth quarter when we had to, but we put ourselves in position where we didn’t have to scramble from behind and once we kind of took off there in the beginning of the fourth quarter that was the difference in the game.”
Attleboro (5-3, 3-1) will travel to Mansfield on Wednesday just one back in the win column of the Hornets in the Kelley-Rex standings. King Philip (2-4, 1-3) will host Oliver Ames looking to get back on track.
The Bombardiers enter the season with a new coaching staff and a very different starting lineup to the one that nearly knocked off Mansfield in the Div. 1 South playoffs last season. Former King Philip coach Marty Crowley has taken over after Rick Patch stepped down in the off-season and he will have only a few returning varsity players to call on this winter.
Senior forward Sam Pierce will be the key piece on offense, as Attleboro tries to replace the more than 30 points per game that was lost with the graduation of Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan. Pierce has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for the past few seasons, but this will be the first time that she is the primary offensive weapon and could be poised for a breakout year. Junior Jordyn Lako and senior Grace Mayer are strong on-the-ball defenders and should help Crowley implement his high-pressure defensive scheme. Senior Kim White will also be one of Attleboro’s ball-handlers in the backcourt.
One of the players who saw a little time on varsity last season that is expected to make a big jump is sophomore Nyah Thomas, who has the length to be a tough defender and showed in her few appearances last year that she can rebound and take the ball to the basket. Sophomore Liv McCall is a fearless shooter that will stretch the floor and transfer Mackenzie Roberts will give the Bombardiers added size in the paint.
Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. Sam, I am sure, is going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone.”
2016-2017 Record: 6-14 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Jim Choquette
There has been excitement around the Canton program for the past few seasons and that continues this winter, as the Bulldogs look to secure a place in the state tournament behind an experienced lineup that has been developing together for several years.
Senior Hannah Jerrier is the key for the Bulldogs, as the forward is coming off a league all-star season in which she emerged as a potential double-double night after night. Jerrier is a solid rebounder and scorer in the paint, reaching the 20-point mark nine times last season and averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game. Junior Julia Hamilton will be back at point guard for the Bulldogs to help get the Canton into its offensive sets and provide pressure, on-the-ball defense. Senior Jess Powers is also back after missing a season to a knee injury and will add a boost to the team’s outside shooting and take pressure off Jerrier on offense.
Junior Maggie Connolly returns for her second year in the backcourt and seniors Lindsey Barrett, Nikki Gefteas, and Leya Conard will all add depth to the Canton roster this season, while junior Erin Devine adds another important post presence on both ends of the floor. The versatility of the roster will allow head coach Jim Choquette to change his game plans every game, slowing it down to play half-court or ratcheting up the pressure to go up tempo.
“Canton remains focused on playing together and staying positive for the best season possible,” Choquette said. “Leading up to our first game there’s been an extreme amount of effort and energy by a large group of unselfish girls and our seniors have all been great examples of staying positive throughout all situations!”
2016-2017 Record: 22-3 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal Coach: Lisa Downs
After winning the Div. 2 South title and reaching the TD Garden last winter, this year’s Foxboro team will have high expectations, but with four starters returning, including reigning Hockomock League MVP Ashley Sampson, the Warriors will once again be the favorites to take home the Davenport division crown.
Having already passed the 1,000-point mark for her career, Sampson enters her senior season as the focal point of the Foxboro offense. Her ability to get into the lane and finish, as well as step back and knock down shots, makes her a tough cover and opens space for her teammates. Fellow senior Lily Sykes is one of the beneficiaries of that space and she can take advantage of open looks on the perimeter. Senior Grace Tamulionis is another player who can stretch the floor for the Warriors and can be an ‘X’ factor for Foxboro in big games. Senior Shannon Smally adds rebounding and post presence to keep defenses honest.
The Warriors are now the veteran team in the division, but there are also several younger players that have developed into critical pieces off the bench, including sophomore Abby Hassman, who has grown in the off-season into a strong rebounder. Freshman Katelyn Mollica will add backcourt depth with her tenacity on defense and already impressive court awareness. Junior Chelsea Gibbons is another player that is expected to step into a bigger role this season.
Foxboro coach Lisa Downs said, “This group of seniors have been part of our Varsity team since their freshmen year and with each year, they have learned and developed more – all of the girls on this year’s team put in the necessary work; now its time to execute.”
2016-2017 Record: 9-11 2016-2017 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin got off to a rough start last season, beginning 0-6 with an inexperienced roster, but then closed the year with nine wins in the last 14 games, just missing out on a return to the postseason. This year, the Panthers will try to build on that year of experience and book a return to the playoffs.
The Panthers will have strength in the middle to try and get off to a much better start this season. Sophomore Ali Brigham, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, has received several Div. I NCAA offers, including one from the University of Minnesota, and at 6-foot-3 can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Franklin will also have outside scoring with junior guard Bea Bondhus, who is a consistent three-point shooter and will stretch defenses to open up the post for Brigham.
Franklin has plenty of size this season. Sophomore forwards Breanna Atwood (5-foot-9) and Megan O’Connell (5-foot-10) and senior forward Kate Morse (5-foot-11) will provide plenty of depth on the inside. Junior Shannon Gray will be back to run the point and senior Grace Sameski will add backcourt depth. Freshman guard Elizabeth Wilson is poised to make an instant impact for the Panthers, as she did in the season opener by knocking down three free throws in the final seconds to force overtime against Holy Name.
“We are a young team with only two seniors, but I am very pleased with the effort and progress of the team,” said Franklin coach John Leighton, who is excited about the return of the majority of the team’s scoring and the potential of the youth on the roster.
King Philip has a new coach this season, with former Wellesley assistant Amy Siggens taking over for Marty Crowley, and there could be a period of adjustment for a still relatively young Warriors roster to adapt to the new system, but there is excitement about the progress being made by the seven returning varsity players.
Boston University-commit Shannon O’Connor will once again be a player to watch for the Warriors this winter. The junior’s ability to shoot off the dribble, defend multiple positions, and take the ball to the basket has made her one of the league’s elite perimeter players. As O’Connor continues to develop as a playmaker that will create open looks for her teammates, including junior Julia Leroux and sophomore Faith Roy. Senior Christina Hathaway (one of only two seniors on the roster) will add strength in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors will not lack for size this season. O’Connor is listed at 5-foot-11, junior Catherine Cummings and sophomore Faye Veilleux are listed at 5-foot-10, and Roy is listed at 5-foot-9. The versatility of those players will give Siggens room to switch up lineups when needed. KP is still pretty young and Siggens has added two freshmen, Emma Glaser and Brianna James, to this year’s roster.
Siggens said, “Early on we will stress the importance of being unselfish on offense and being tough and aggressive on defense. Knowing mistakes will be made, there will be no small emphasis on the importance of playing hard all the time… I am encouraged by our team’s enthusiasm and attitude.”
2016-2017 Record: 20-4 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final. Coach: Mike Redding
Replacing the production of last season’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jen Peel is a difficult task, but Mansfield has the talent, depth, and experience in the roster to make it work. The Hornets return four starters from last year’s squad and will lean on a loaded and versatile junior class to try and make it a three-peat of league titles.
The key returner for Mansfield is 6-foot-3 center Meg Hill. The Stonehill College-commit is already the program’s best in blocked shots and is soon to be the career leader in rebounds, while improving her offensive game every season. With Peel gone, junior Mady Bendanillo will be tasked with getting the ball into the post to Hill and to fellow junior Maggie Danehy, who had an impressive start with a double-double against Medfield in the Endowment Game. Reigning HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year Ann Maher will also be back at shooting guard and is one of the team’s most consistent three-point threats.
Juniors Erin Daniel, Emily Vigeant, Sydney Mulkern and Kara Bendanillo will likely compete for the fifth starting spot and all should see plenty of playing time this year. With 5-foot-11 senior Maeve Carney and 5-foot-10 freshman Ashley Santos, the Hornets should be able to dominate the paint and sophomore Becca Hottleman will add depth at the point guard position.
Mansfield coach Mike Redding said, “We have a chance to be very good again with our junior group getting a ton of experience last year and we hope to compete for league title again.” He added that the Hornets bolstered the schedule this season as well. Redding said, “Our record may not be as good as last year when we earned the No. 1 seed, but we will be more battle tested for the state tourney in March.”
2016-2017 Record: 10-11 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central first round. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
A year after returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 (and nearly pulling off an upset of Marlboro on the road), Milford brings back seven seniors to try and make a push for a Davenport division title and another state tournament appearance.
The Hawks have a versatile lineup led by four-year starter Kate Irwin. The lefty point guard is one of the most dynamic perimeter scorers and playmakers in the league and she continues to improve each season. Her ability to get into the paint opens up room for her teammates and she can also step back and knock down threes. Irwin will be helped by fellow seniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy, who add size on the post.
Senior Emily Piergustavo is a knock-down shooter from beyond the arc and her classmate Jess Tomaso has proven to be a solid rebounder from the guard position. There are also two sophomores and four freshmen on the roster this season to add depth and build for the future under third-year head coach T.J. Dolliver.
Dolliver said, “I am very excited for our team this year. This is my 3rd year with a lot of these girls and seeing how they have progressed over the years have really set this team up for a fun season.”
Last season, North Attleboro boasted one of the most experienced lineups in the league with five of its top six players being seniors, but this year the Rocketeers will be incorporating a number of new faces, as only six players (only starter) return from last winter.
The lone returning starter is junior guard Julia Feid, who had a breakout season on the wing and will be counted on to lead the offensive attack this year. Feid’s classmate Emily Haskell will also be on the wing for North this season and will also have a large chunk of the offense run through her. Senior Emily Pastore, junior Liz Smahi, and sophomore Michelle Pothier will also contribute scoring from the wing, while junior Lauren Pezzi and sophomore Olivia Forbes will run the point and distribute the ball in the half court.
The graduation of Caroline Collard and Liz Morehouse leaves an opening on the post, but North has several players that will step in to provide a presence in the paint. Senior Julia Santos and juniors Emma Noreck and Kaley Sullivan will each get opportunities to contribute. North faces a tough early season schedule with the likes of Franklin, Oliver Ames, Archbishop Williams, and Hingham, so it will be critical for the new players to find their feet quickly.
North Attleboro coach Derek Herber said, “The team has quickly began to gel and I am hopeful that we if we can survive the early part of the season, we can qualify for the tournament.”
2016-2017 Record: 13-8 2016-2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round. Coach: Elaine Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames struggled to find consistent offense last season and it kept the Tigers from being able to challenge Mansfield for the league title or make another run in Div. 2 South, but a healthy lineup with several key returning players has OA optimistic for improvements this winter.
The main focus will be on senior forward Kayla Raymond. The Stonehill College-commit is one of the most versatile players in the league, with the length and leaping ability to dominate in the paint and the range to step out and knock down jumpers. Raymond is listed as a forward/center but could potentially be used at multiple positions. Senior guard Abby Reardon is back to get the Tigers into their offensive sets and as one of the league’s top on-the-ball defenders. Classmate Katie Flynn also returns to give Raymond help in the post.
In addition to the seniors, junior Alex Sheldon will provide depth at the forward position and junior Sadie Homer was a dynamic scorer on the perimeter before an injury cut her season short last year. Homer was a solid three-point shooter last year and will be expected to stretch defenses again this season. Sophomore guard Meg Holleran emerged as a playmaker during her freshman campaign and could see a bigger role this year.
“OA is looking to blend some younger talent and are working hard to provide some depth in the backcourt,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “Looking forward to the fight for the Kelly Rex Division.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, Sharon will see a number of new faces on the roster, as several of last year’s players are focusing on other sports this winter. Former Rockland and East Bridgewater assistant Sandra Lombardi takes over for Cliff Tomassian and will have a young group to work with in her first head coaching position.
Junior small forward Emma Eberhardt is one of the returning players that will be expected to provide leadership and scoring for the Eagles. Eberhardt, a HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team performer last year, was Sharon’s top scorer last winter and also has the size to be a problem for opponents on the glass. She scored 16 points in Sharon’s win over Nipmuc in the season opener. Senior guard Miranda Cheung will also be back for Sharon to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting.
Sophomore Telishya Herbert made the jump from JV to varsity midway through last season and had an instant impact on the Eagles with her athleticism and her ability to score in the paint. She had 10 points against Nipmuc and could be ready for a breakout year as Sharon’s second scorer to take some pressure off Eberhardt. Also back from last year’s roster are junior Evanjuline Elisma and sophomore Ally Brown.
Lombardi said of her new team, “We are going to be quick and aggressive. I’m excited to see what the season will bring.”
The Black Knights narrowly missed out on the postseason last year, despite having a number of underclassmen in the roster, and expectations for this season include a return to the playoffs under third-year head coach Charmaine Steele-Jordan.
Senior Val Whalen was the team’s MVP last season after leading the Black Knights with more than 13 points and nine rebounds per game. Whalen has improved every season and her intensity on defense and on the glass boosts is contagious. Stoughton is a physical team that likes to put pressure on the ball defensively and Whalen sets the tone. Senior Jordan Motley is also a tenacious rebounder and gives the Black Knights another strong presence in the paint.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Trinh had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring more than 10 points per game, and her ball-handling and long-range shooting opens things up for the post players. Fellow sophomore Aliyah Wright also had a strong rookie campaign and her size is a difficult matchup for many of the point guards in the Hock. Stoughton will also count on junior guards Lindsey McDonald and Hailey Egan and sophomore Lexi Baptista. Freshman Sydnee Hyacinthe has also been called up to add depth in the backcourt.
Steele-Jordan said of her senior forwards, “I’m looking forward to their leadership, hustle on the court and their defensive presence this year. Whalen and Motley’s veteran play along with our returning sophomores will be great for the Black Knights this season.”
2016-2017 Record: 1-21 2016-2017 Finish: Missed Postseason. Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton is coming off a difficult season in which the Tigers finished with just one victory, but one game into the new year and Taunton has already matched that total. The season opening win over Cumberland (R.I.) fits with the optimism around the program, as the Tigers blend youth with experience in the hopes of making a run at a playoff spot.
The Tigers will be led by senior forwards Hannah Moniz and Mackenzie Handrahan, who combined for 26 points in the win at Cumberland and provide a mix of rebounding, scoring at the rim, and outside shooting to balance the Taunton offense. Junior Lily Patneaude also returns from an all-star season and is Taunton’s most dynamic scorer with range from well beyond the arc. Junior Alexa White is another guard that will provide solid contributions on both ends of the floor.
Junior Shantel Andrew, a 5-foot-7 forward, is expected to be a significant contributor this season, after missing two years with knee injuries. As usual, Taunton has plenty of youth on the roster with four freshmen making varsity, a couple of whom got playing experience last year as eighth graders. Forwards Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez and guards Kelsey White and Tori DaRosa are going to be counted on to play big roles this year for the Tigers.
Taunton coach Walter Harrigan said, “Our goal for this year is to continue to work hard while focusing on the development of good habits which will hopefully lead to team improvement and a trip to the state tournament.”
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Field Hockey All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Grace Mayer, Attleboro
Andrea McNeil, Canton
Maggie Malloy, Canton
Riley Brown, Canton
Emily Campbell, Canton
Jackie Brion, Foxboro
Lily Daly, Foxboro
Sophia DiCenso, Foxboro
Catherine Luciano, Foxboro
Cassi Ronan, Franklin
Annie Walsh, Franklin
Christina Hathaway, King Philip
Abby Campbell, King Philip
Elizabeth Furfari, King Philip
Alli Meehan, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Berluti, Mansfield
Shannon Cormier, Milford
Emilie Pothier, North Attleboro
Kaley Gorman, North Attleboro
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames
Hannah Stryke, Oliver Ames
Leora Levitt, Sharon
Kamryn Oliveira, Stoughton
Kya Enos, Taunton
Liana Duarte, Taunton
TAUNTON, Mass. – With just under four minutes to play, top-seeded Somerset-Berkley ramped up its offensive pressure and had four consecutive penalty corners.
Holding a 1-0 lead, King Philip head coach Liz Hathaway thought about using her timeout to try and give her defensive group a breather to settle down. But instead of giving the Raiders a chance to draw something up, she put full trust in her defense and goalie.
The first corner had a shot from Somerset-Berkley defender Alex Millar blocked by a KP defender’s foot, giving the Raiders another chance. That ensuing corner found its way around the area but was blocked away at the near post by Campbell.
With just two minutes to go, the Raiders had another corner but once again KP’s defense stood tall and the Warriors walked away with a 1-0 win to win the D1 South Sectional title.
“I was contemplating taking a timeout with two minutes left to get them to settle but I kind of wanted to get a big out to get some momentum and they ended up doing that,” Liz Hathaway said.
“I totally trust my team defense and my keeper. I knew in that situation, that they are prepared whatever came at us. They got a flurry of corners but I just believed in them and they got the job done. They knew what was at stake.”
Despite Somerset-Berkley having an 11-1 advantage in penalty corners in the second half alone, Campbell and the Warriors notched the shutout.
“We know we have to keep our composure, and we practice defending multiple corners in a row at practices,” Campbell said. “Coach trusts every single one of us, whether you’re on the sideline or on the field, she trusts us. I think it says a lot about this team and our chemistry. We’re always amping each other up to just clear the next one.”
After a start that featured little offense from either side, King Philip started to take control.
Sammy Robison took away a partial breakaway chance from Lucas Crook in the eighth minute, and Crook blasted a shot wide on the Raiders’ lone corner of the half.
“We just wanted to play Somerset-Berkley, the team,” Liz Hathaway said. “We wanted to avoid all the other stuff (Somerset-Berkley has two male players in the starting lineup) and just focus on our game. We didn’t really make any adjustments for them, we knew what to expect how they played, and we did it. We played great team defense.
Beyond that, the ball was mostly in KP’s attacking area. The first shot on goal came 18 minutes into the game when Christina Hathaway rifled a low shot that forced a big kick save from SB keeper Madison Ferrara.
KP had an 8-1 advantage on corners in the first half but only had two shots on target.
The Raiders had the first chance of the second half on a long shot from Camryn Crook but Campbell did well to come out and made a big kick clearance.
King Philip turned that save into a counterattack flying up the field with some numbers. After slowing possession down in the offensive third, junior Alli Meehan ended up with the ball on her just outside the area. She used her speed to weave past a pair of defenders and release a shot on target.
The ball beat the goalie but was stopped by a defender’s stick just on the goal line, but the rebound popped right to Nicole Connor, who wasted little time depositing her shot into the cage.
“We knew we wanted to win in regulation and not going into 7-v-7 because from what I understand, they have two of the six field players who are faster and stronger. We didn’t want to get into that situation.
“That’s the game of field hockey, 1-0 never seems like enough but today it was.”
Connor’s goal came with just over 15 minutes to play. The Raiders earned over half of their 11 penalty corners after KP took the lead.
“It’s exciting to get the lead, but we treat it like its 0-0 because we don’t want to have a let up or a breakdown on defense,” Campbell said. “It’s a bit of a relief to get the lead but we know they’re going to come back that much harder at us so we have to be ready.”
King Philip field hockey (19-2-1) advances to the D1 State Semifinal to take on North sectional champion, Andover (20-0-1) on Tuesday, November 14th at Braintree High School at 5:00 PM.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we do and what works for us,” Liz Hathaway said. “We’ll do a little bit of scouting on the teams from the North. We’ll just keep playing our game, this is a loose team that knows how to turn it on at game time.”
#3 North Attleboro vs. #19 Medfield – Postponed to Tuesday, 11/7 at 2:00.
Girls Soccer D2 South
#10 Canton, 0 @ #7 Holliston, 3 – Final
Field Hockey D1 South
#2 King Philip, 5 vs. #7 Needham, 2 – Final – King Philip senior Liz Furfari scored a pair of goals inside the final five minutes of the first half create a two-goal cushion for the Warriors, a lead they never let up. Nicole Connor opened the scoring before Needham tied the game. In the second half, Raegan Simeone and Christina Hathaway added to the Warriors’ lead. Furfari also had a pair of assists in the win, Hathaway had one and Alli Meehan finished with two helpers. #2 King Philip advances to play #6 Duxbury in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, at 7:00 at home. Duxbury beat #2 Walpole, 3-2, in overtime.
#4 Canton, 3 vs. #12 Barnstable, 2 – Final – Canton scored a pair of goals in the first ten minutes, but needed a late goal to break the tie and earn the win over Barnstable. Andrea McNeil put the Bulldogs up 1-0 and Maria Femia doubled the lead at the ten minute mark. Barnstable cut the deficit to one just before half, and then tied the game with 12 minutes to play. Sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch scored the game-winner for the second straight game, converting a corner with five minutes to play. #4 Canton advances to play #1 Somerset-Berkley in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, with a time to be announced.
Volleyball D1 South
#4 North Attleboro, 3 vs. #5 Walpole, 1 – Final – North Attleboro opened its tournament run with a 25-10, 25-19, 23-25, 25-16 win over visiting Walpole. Amelia Murphy had a terrific night at the net, putting down 17 kills along with two blocks, plus three aces. Kezia De La Cruz added 12 kills and six aces and middle Tori Melanson had eight kills, six blocks and three aces in the win. #4 North Attleboro advances to play at #1 Barnstable on Wednesday, at 6:00.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – You couldn’t ask for much more out of a field hockey game between two rivals, and two of the top teams in the Hockomock League.
King Philip junior Dana Truini scored the game-winning goal just over halfway through double overtime to help the second-seeded Warriors edge #18 Franklin, 3-2, at Macktaz Field.
“It’s really tough [to play a team three times], that’s why I was worried about this,” said KP head coach Liz Hathaway. “I thought we had them when we scored in the first couple of minutes and I thought we were on a roll. Then they executed a great game plan. They force us to play a big ball game. Instead of working on possession and transfers, we kept trying to go big and they stepped up to intercept and go on the counter-attack. We did better with that in the second half.
King Philip swept the regular season series, but the Panthers used all 30 minutes of each half to keep the game level.
First, it was scoring the tying goal to make it 1-0 with less than a minute to play in the first half.
And then in dramatic fashion, the Panthers knotted the scored at 2-2 with just 10.4 seconds to play in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
“I’m really proud of my kids, really proud of them,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper. “The first two games in the regular season were close, the scores weren’t indicative how close the games were. And another close one today.
“A couple kids just played absolutely amazing. Amanda Lewandowski, a freshman, was all over the field, just fantastic. What can you say about Cassi? She played everywhere and everything, she was right on the whole time. And my goalie, [Christina Luccini], played a great game. They all did.”
After a scoreless first overtime period that featured end to end action, and scoring chances for both sides, the Warriors started to take control.
Franklin goalie Christina Luccini robbed Truini just two minutes into the second overtime period, making a point-blank save on a rebound chance.
Luccini came up big again just two minutes later, making a kick save on a chance from Liz Furfari inside the area. Thirty seconds later, Luccini turned away a big shot from Christina Hathaway.
KP finally beat Luccini on a cross just over seven minutes into double overtime, but Franklin defender Emily Valentino was in the right spot and kept Truini from getting a touch.
Before the Warriors put their sixth penalty corner into motion, Hathaway called a timeout, setting up a play.
Nicole Connor sent the corner to the stick of Furfari, who patiently waited before connecting a cross to the weak side where Truini buried it with a one-timer for the winner.
“I knew out seven on seven unit was really good because we just practiced it the other day in a scrimmage with Dover-Sherborn,” Hathaway said. “I knew if we could develop a three on two, or get some corners. Then I used the timeout so we could just calm down and execute the set play.
“The cross was set up to create a little scrum or tip to the weak side, and it worked out, and it was awesome.”
Franklin sent to game to overtime with a late corner. Cassi Ronan lifted a cross that fell into the area, and junior Regan Paterson pounced on the loose ball in the scrum and tied the game with 10.4 to play.
The biggest stop of the game came in the final minutes of the first overtime period. A foot infraction was whistled against KP, and Franklin’s Victoria Quinn smartly hit the restart quickly, sending in junior Anni Walsh behind the defense.
But KP senior goalie Abby Campbell was quick off her line and came sliding out to make the stop.
Abby had some really smart goalkeeping decisions coming out and clearing over the sideline,” Hathaway said. “Kate Lindmark, Emma Izydorczak, Sammy Robison….they all played well, our defense was really strong.”
King Philip had a strong start to the contest, scoring on its first penalty corner of the game just over three minutes in. Furfari found Connor wide open in front of goal for an easy tap in a 1-0 lead.
Campbell made saves on Ronan in the 9th minute and then turned aside a chance from Walsh after she beat two defenders in the 13th minute.
Franklin continued its pressure, having the better of play after KP took the lead. Finally, with just 50 seconds left, Ronan used a looping shot off a corner that hit off a KP stick and in to make it 1-1 heading into the half.
Both teams had chances throughout the second half, with KP having the edge in play. Ronan’s hard shot through traffic was denied by Campbell in the 34th minute; Hathaway had a bid turned aside by Luccini in the 47th minute; and Luccini blocked a tough angle bid from Raegan Simeone in the 54th minute.
But KP earned a corner shortly after Simeone’s shot and took advantage. Connor connected with Furfari, who passed along to Hathaway straightaway from goal. Franklin’s defense nearly sniffed it out, just missing an interception on the pass, and Hathaway ripped a low bouncing shot that found the back of the cage for a 2-1 lead with 6:12 to play.
King Philip field hockey (16-2-1) advances to the next round of the D1 South tournament and will host #7 Needham. The game is currently scheduled for Monday, November 6th at 3:45.
Franklin finishes the season at 10-8-2, and the end of the year also marks the end of Cropper’s tenure as head coach. Cropper spent a total of 14 years with the program, the last eight as head coach. She was hired as head coach at Dean College earlier this Fall.
“The program gets great numbers, we started to get better athletes too,” Cropper said, giving credit to her assistant coaches, including former head coach Michelle Hess, and former assistant Kevin Cronin. “And the feeder program with Ryan Jette really helped a lot. So all those people I have to thank, and they deserve credit for the success of the program, it’s not just me. I like to think that I hopefully inspired the kids. “