SHARON, Mass. – On Wednesday afternoon, the Sharon girls’ lacrosse program made a giant step forward, one that was promised in the preseason, when the Eagles hosted Bishop Feehan for their first ever tournament game.
Rather than just being happy with experience the playoffs for the first time, the Eagles set about pushing the Shamrocks (who beat Sharon 18-1 in the regular season), trailing by just two at halftime on their home grass (although Feehan was the higher seed, the game was played at Sharon High because of graduation preparations at McGrath Stadium).
Feehan turned things around with a 7-0 run after the break and held off a late charge to win 13-7 and advance to the second round of the Div. 1 East bracket, but after the game the Sharon players huddled together with smiles on their faces knowing that it was an impressive display and a historic moment for the program.
“I thought it made it all worth it because my other three years we kind of weren’t that good, so to finally have a little success at the end was awesome,” said senior midfielder Heather Seggelin. “I haven’t been on many winning teams at Sharon, so I think it’s worth it even if we didn’t win.”
Sharon coach Colleen Manning raved, “It’s just something that they really looked forward to and something they’ve never really experienced before, but I’m sure if you ask them they’re just thrilled to be here.
“They absolutely love playing.”
Feehan was the heavy favorite coming into the tournament game and jumped in front with a pair of early goals. Sharon would not let the game get away from it and junior Alex Rabb cut in from the left and scored the Eagles first postseason goal to slice the lead in half.
The Shamrocks answered back with three straight goals to take a 5-1 lead with 6:01 remaining in the half, forcing Manning to take a timeout. Although Feehan had pushed its lead to four, the visitors were having to work hard to get past the Sharon defense, which was crashing the middle and preventing clean looks.
Sophomore goalie Kathryn Derry made several big stops and Alexandra Miller, Amanda Kaplan, Anna Crosby, Seggelin and others combined to stymie the Shamrocks potent attack.
Sharon had struggled to create scoring opportunities for most of the half but as the clock was winding down inside two minutes, Sabrina Robbins found space in the middle to score her first. With seven seconds left in the half, Emma Eberhardt was given a chance from eight meters and put it away to close the gap to two at the break.
“It was an awesome first half,” said Manning. “I think our shooting percentage was low and their draw control is just phenomenal, but I think it was the best game I’ve ever seen them play. I really can’t ask for a better game.”
Seggelin said about the halftime team talk, “We were talking about how excited we were and how proud we were to make it this far and we wanted to keep up the aggression.
“We’re not as much of a second half team as a first half team, but I don’t know, I think we still kept it together…We finished strong, which is what matters.”
The Shamrocks stormed out of the gate to start the second half and imposed themselves on the Eagles, scoring three goals in the opening couple minutes for an 8-3 lead. Feehan extended the lead to as many as nine with seven straight goals in the second half until Robbins tallied her second of the game with 8:05 left.
“They had a lot of rebounds that they got, which I feel like we should have gotten them, but they worked so hard and we’re slowly climbing the ladder, so we’re getting there,” said Manning.
The Eagles closed the game with momentum. Rabb scored in traffic and then just seconds later off the ensuing face-off she added a third to make it 12-6. Rabb scored her fourth of the game rom eight meters and the lead was back down to five with just 1:55 on the clock.
Feehan tacked on one more before the final horn, but Seggelin was proud of the way the Eagles battled. She said, “Feehan is a really good team and last time we played them it was 18-1 and so that was a great improvement.”
Coming into the season, Manning made it clear that she had high expectations for the Eagles and that the playoffs were a legitimate goal. This was a clear change in attitude from the first 15 years of the program and Seggelin said that the team started to buy in after some early season wins.
“Before it wasn’t that serious,” she explained, “and then once we started winning, we won a couple of our first games…we beat [Attleboro] in overtime and it was so great and since then we got a lot better.”
With only two seniors on this season’s roster, the Eagles have a very bright future. Seggelin said, “I think next year will definitely be a lot better because last year we didn’t even make the playoffs and before that it wasn’t even an option.”
Manning is also hopeful that the playoff experience can lift the program to even greater achievements.
“It makes everyone happy and having fun is obviously one of the most important things,” she said. “They just keep improving. I see it in every practice.
“I’m hoping it brings more youth and more athletes and I can turn them into amazing lacrosse players.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
SHARON, Mass. – In the past couple seasons, Attleboro and Sharon have been in a number of close games, including a one-goal victory for the Eagles in the first meeting this year, and Friday afternoon overtime was needed (for the second time in two years) to decide a winner.
Attleboro senior goalie Amy Cadle made two big saves in the sudden death period to keep the Bombardiers in the game but in the final minute of the second OT, her outlet pass was intercepted by Anna Crosby and the junior midfielder raced in alone to score the game-winning goal.
Crosby’s heads-up steal and goal lifted Sharon to a 10-9 win that pushed the Eagles back above .500 on the season and secured a season sweep of the Bombardiers.
“She works hard every game and every practice, so I can count on her,” said Sharon coach Colleen Manning. When asked about her team’s response to the pressure of an overtime game, Manning added, “They handled it for sure.”
Attleboro coach Jackie Beland was left shaking her head at the end of the game after a second close loss to Sharon this spring. The Bombardiers were shorthanded on Friday, missing four attackers for the non-league contest, and Beland praised the team’s effort.
“We just couldn’t pull through the shots that we want,” said Beland, “but the kids gave everything they had and we’ve been fighting through a lot of adversity this season with injuries and kids not around for the games.
“I told the kids that adversity is just the name of the game right now, go out there, and give it all you’ve got and that’s what they did. Unfortunately, the last shot didn’t fall our way.”
Sharon junior attacker Alex Rabb scored the first three goals of the game for the Eagles with freshman Kyra Lyons getting one back for the Bombardiers. Rabb would finish with six goals in the game.
Meg Dotzenrod scored from eight meters to cut the lead back to one, but Crosby answered by winning the next draw and driving straight down the middle for the first of her three goals.
Attleboro got one back before the break on a lefty shot bounced into the corner by Hannah Lamothe but Sharon goalie Kathryn Derry (10 saves) preserved the 4-3 lead with a big save on Lamothe seconds later.
“It definitely helps out the defense for sure and I think it helps it the team as a whole,” said Manning of Derry’s impact on the team. “She usually steps up to the plate when we need her most.”
Derry started the second half with another save on Lamothe and the ball quickly transitioned forward to Rabb for her fourth goal of the game. Seventeen seconds later, Crosby pushed the lead to 6-3 after winning the draw control (Sharon won 13-of-21 draws) and again racing straight down the middle.
Beland called timeout to settle the team down. The talk worked, as the Bombardiers would score the next four goals over a stretch of 2:24 to take their first lead of the game.
Junior Mish Logie was left wide open in the middle and Dotzenrod picked her out on the edge of the crease to make it 6-4. Dotzenrod followed that with a free position goal and Lamothe scored in traffic, bouncing a shot in while falling to the ground, to tie it. Kayla Merritt put Attleboro in front with a head fake and spin move for a close-range finish.
“I have three captains who always know what to say when they’re on the field,” said Beland, “and when we have timeouts I have them talk too so they’re not just hearing from me. They’re phenomenal leaders and they know how to get through to each other.”
When Sharon needed a goal it turned to Rabb. She scored on an eight-meter chance to tie the game at 7-7 and after Dotzenrod gave Attleboro back the lead with a man-down goal Rabb answered again with a goal in transition.
Rabb has already passed the 100-goal mark for her career and when asked what makes the attacker such a potent weapon for the Eagles, Manning explained, “She’s our top scorer. She’s fast and unpredictable.”
Just 49 seconds after tying the game, Sharon took the lead. Senior midfielder Heather Seggelin went five-hole on an eight-meter chance to put the Eagles ahead 9-8. But, Attleboro had an answer with 6:09 to play, as Dotzenrod scored her fourth of the game with a nifty, low-angle backhand shot on a cut through the middle.
The tension was ratcheted up a notch in the final six minutes as the teams tried to find a winning goal. Both teams had long spells of possession spurred on by their increasingly excited benches, but neither could find an opening.
In the overtime period, Cadle (10 saves) was called into action inside the first minute to get a piece of a free position opportunity for Rabb. Derry then came right back with a big stop of her own on an eight-meter shot by Merritt. Just before the first OT period ended, Cadle again came through to prevent Crosby for winning it on a point-blank try.
“She was phenomenal all game,” said Beland of Cadle. “She made adjustments in the second half and we tried to make adjustments on defense to take away their drives.
“She had great saves at the end, but it’s just one of those things we talk about that you can’t clear the ball up the middle.”
With 56 seconds left to play, Cadle attempted to get the ball into transition but Crosby was quickest to the pass and turned it into a game-winner. Manning is hopeful that this type of win could be a huge boost for the Eagles’ playoff hunt.
“It better,” she joked. “My biggest concern is Canton right now, which I know isn’t until next week, but if we can hold onto these guys than we could beat Canton.”
Sharon (6-5, 2-3) will host Norton on Monday, while Attleboro (5-8, 2-5) will host Oliver Ames on Wednesday.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2015 Record: 7-12
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
There is a new coaching staff for the Canton girls’ lacrosse this season and first-year head coach Chrissy O’Connor is looking forward to surprising a few people with a strong spring.
Seniors Casey Bradley (attack) and Olivia Devoe (midfield) will be the team leaders and the keys to the Bulldogs making a charge at Foxboro for the league title. Sophomore midfielder Molly Colburn and freshman Leah McClellan will be newcomers to watch this year as well.
O’Connor said, “I think the league will be surprised with Canton’s tenacity this season. They are a confident and smart group of athletes who have handled having a new coaching staff extremely well. This should be an exciting season for Canton lacrosse.”
2015 Record: 14-7-1
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East semifinal
Coach: Brittany Sherry
At the end of last year’s Div. 2 East semifinal, Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry was emotional about losing the crop of seniors that had joined the program the same year she began. That group had won four straight league titles and gone further than any other team in program history. But when Sherry was asked about the future, she was confident in the talent coming back and believed that her fifth season could be another title-winning spring.
Senior Melissa Lynch was a standout in goal last year and will be back between the pipes and will have a strong defensive core in front of her including junior Hallie Canfield and senior Annie McGeary. Offensively, Foxboro will be looking for continued development from junior Lauren Flahive and sophomore Catherine Luciano, who will both be asked to fill in for senior Chloe Hurley, who begins the season with an injury.
Young players helped Foxboro on its run to the semifinal and freshman Sophia Dicenso is the next in line to try and make an instant impact for the Warriors. Juniors Ally Curran and Molly Farrell could also be poised for breakout seasons.
All eyes are on the matchup with Franklin in May, as the two teams have won their respective divisions each of the past four years, but Foxboro also has Hingham, Medfield, and Walpole on its schedule as it sets its sights on another tournament run.
2015 Record: 2-16
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jason Gelmini
Milford comes into the new season with a young roster after losing eight seniors from last year’s squad and head coach Jason Gelmini is hoping that the many underclassmen who saw playing time in 2015 will be ready to step into bigger roles in 2016.
The Hawks will be led by senior midfielders Morgan Smith and Julie Dam and senior defender Erin Fleming and Gelmini is counting on his captains to provide leadership. In addition, the Hawks will lean on junior defender Brainna Croteau, junior goalie Hannah Cairney, junior middie Jillian Burley, and junior attackers Taylor Dube and Jordyn Lombardo.
Gelmini said, “We definitely have a young team this year, so our goals are to get better each game and compete each time we step on the field.”
2015 Record: 10-9
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East preliminary round
Coach: Craig Gardner
Oliver Ames is coming off a strong season in which the Tigers reached the Div. 1 East sectional before falling to Bishop Feehan in the opening round. This year, OA has a lot of returning players who experienced what a playoff run was like and head coach Craig Gardner is counting on that experience to pay dividends this spring.
The Tiger will be led by a strong senior class, including midfielder Erin Fitzgerald and defenders Cassie Gavin and Sarah Lewis. Senior attackers Abby Duvall and Sam Lang will help Fitzgerald provide attacking power while senior midfielder Carly Cidado and junior defender Katie Davenport will help lock things down at the back.
Gardner also noted a few young players that could be impact players this season, including sophomores Sofia Masciarelli, Chloe Kilkelly, and Ariana Waldorf and junior Kendall Clifford. Freshman defender Olivia Piazza will also be a newcomer to watch this season.
“We have a very strong and focused group of experienced upperclassmen athletes, coupled with some strong developing underclassmen athletes,” said Gardner. “The team has great chemistry, which I hope translates into a competitive season for us.”
2015 Record: 7-10
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Colleen Manning
Sharon had a program best record of 7-10 last season under first-year coach Colleen Manning, who is expecting the Eagles to take an even bigger leap this year by making the postseason for the first time.
Sharon only has three seniors (Alex Miller, Alexa Levitt, and Heather Seggelin), but plenty of young talent including “top shooter” Alex Rabb, attacker Anna Crosby, and defender Samantha Rabb (all juniors).
Sophomore Sabrina Robbins is drawing attention from colleges and will be a force for the Eagles on draw controls, while freshman Lydia Chase will add a new face to the Sharon defense.