Total Team Effort Propels Attleboro Over Durfee

Attleboro girls basketball
Junior guard Liv McCall scored a team-high 14 points, one of nine scorers for the Bombardiers, leading Attleboro to a victory over Durfee. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro came into Friday night’s non-league visit of Durfee without two starters and three rotation players, but the Bombardiers didn’t miss a beat. Nine players got on the score sheet, Attleboro’s pressure defense was intense, and the Bombardiers rolled to a 55-34 victory.

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“It’s good that the young kids are getting minutes,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “It will pay dividends. If not now, then somewhere down the line, but it was a great team victory tonight, the kids played together, unselfish, and when we play like that anything is possible.”

Liv McCall led the way for Attleboro with a game-high 14 points and also added five assists. In addition, the Bombardiers got contributions from up and down the bench and got critical minutes from a strong group of underclassmen.

“We try to preach for us to be successful find the open man,” Crowley said of the Attleboro offense. “Durfee is a tough team but tonight we were a step quicker and I thought we moved the ball very, very well.”

Durfee only dressed eight players on Friday and Attleboro took advantage of its shorthanded opponent with an aggressive trapping press. Without top on-the-ball defenders Jordyn Lako and Nyah Thomas, who were both injured, the Bombardiers used this team defense to cause the Hilltoppers problems.

Attleboro jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Abby Struminski, one of four players to finish with six points, buried a three off an offensive rebound and assist by Mackenzie Roberts and freshman Meghan Gordon got an easy bucket off a steal.

After Durfee cut the lead to 12-6, sophomore Gabby Bosh> (five points) banked in a three off a Gordon assist and then Gordon got out on the break for a layup and a 17-6 edge after the opening quarter.

Things got tighter in the second because the Bombardiers went cold from the floor. Freshman Mackenzie Carreiro scored six of her seven points in the quarter and pulled Durfee back as close as four points, but Attleboro regained control with an 11-0 run to close the half.

“For us it’s always about defense and I thought our defense played very well tonight,” Crowley explained. “Our turnovers were limited tonight, we had more pluses than minuses, and our guards did a great job.”

McCall set up sophomore Ryan Johnson (six points) for a fast break basket and then Gordon drained a three to push the lead back to double digits. McCall added a steal and layup and Sonny Stuger managed to get to the basket with a drive from the elbow. The Bombardiers led 32-17 at the break.

Durfee kept fighting in the third, but never got any closer than 16 points. McCall swished a three, freshman Hailey Perry (six points) got a bucket off a McCall assist and sophomore Emma Reilly (six points) scored four points in the third to keep the Hilltoppers at an arms length.

The game was put away with an 11-4 fourth quarter. McCall continued to turn defense into offense with a pair of steals and fast break baskets. Reilly added another two points with an offensive rebound, Johnson knocked down a jumper, and Perry got her second made field goal of the night.

It was the perfect reaction for a team missing several key pieces and a great way to head into the holiday break.

“It’s next man up,” Crowley said. “When people are out, then it’s about the system and the young kids are buying in. It’s exciting.”

Attleboro (2-3) will get six days off for Christmas break before traveling to North Attleboro for the teams’ league matchup.

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Tigers Sweep Aside Durfee to Advance in Tournament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Taunton’s Comeback Comes Up Short Against Durfee

Taunton Tyler Medeiros delivers a pitch against Durfee. (Cameron Merritt/HockomockSports.com)
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor

TAUNTON, Mass. – For the 11th-seeded Durfee Hilltoppers, the third time was the charm.

The team from Fall River defeated #6 Taunton Tigers, 7-6, in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 South tournament on Thursday, after the Tigers had taken the two regular season meeting games against their non-league rivals this year.

“Today was one of those days where we tried to pick up each other, we came together as a team, we fought, but they were just the better team today,” said Taunton coach Blair Bourque. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We came to play and left everything on the field, [we] just came up a little short today.”

The Hilltoppers put up three runs in the third and four in the fourth to forge their path to victory. The visitors saw important offensive contributions from several players, including second baseman Nate Ladeira, who went 3-for-3 with three singles, two runs, a walk and an RBI. Right fielder Remy Dumont also impressed for the visitors, going 2-for-3 with a run, a walk and a stolen base.

On the mound, starter Tommy Lambert took the win, going 5.2 innings giving up nine hits, six runs, and two walks while striking out five. In relief, third baseman Ethan Ferreira moved over to the mound and tossed 1.1 innings giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two.

For the Tigers, a handful of players impressed at the plate, starting with the leadoff batter, center fielder Trevor Pietrzyk, who went 2-for-3 with two runs, a walk, and two stolen bases. Designated hitter turned pitcher Tyler Medeiros also went 2-for-3 with two runs, in addition to a double and two RBI while left fielder Logan Lawrence went 2-for-4 with a three RBIs, a run, and a home run.

For the Taunton pitchers, starter Jack Moynihan gave up three runs, four hits and a pair of walks while striking out three for the no decision. The loss was charged to reliever Josh Lajoie.

Medeiros finished the game for Taunton, giving up three hits, a run (unearned) and a walk while striking out three in 3.2 innings.

The game began fairly the same for both teams, as they both lead off the first with hits only to see themselves come out of the inning scoreless as the pitchers battled back.

Durfee put themselves on the board in the top of the third inning as Ladeira walked, Dumont singled and left fielder Lucas Sousa was hit by a pitch to load up the bases for the Hilltoppers. In that scenario, first baseman Curtis Perry delivered a double that scored the first two, and a wide throw to the plate by Lawrence that went out of bounds allowed Sousa to cross the plate and gave the visitors a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers, however, were quick to respond.

Right fielder Evan Melo and Pietrzyk hit back-to-back singles, and an overthrow on a steal attempt allowed Melo to come home, and Medeiros drove in Pietrzyk a batter later to make it 3-2.

On the next at-bat, a double deep to right by Lawrence some Medieros come home all the way from first, tying the game back up at 3-3 as the third inning came to a close.

Lajoie took over on the mound in the fourth inning but ran into some early trouble, hitting the first two batters he faced and gave up an RBI single to the third, Ladeira, to give Durfee a lead they would never relinquish.

A wild pitch advanced both designated hitter Brett Fonseca and Ladeira into scoring position, in time for Dumont to send them both home off a deep single to the left center gap, making it 6-3.

After the hit, Medeiros took the mound in relief. An infield single bunt by Lambert plated Dumont, and the Hilltoppers came out of the inning with a 7-3 lead over their hosts.

The Tigers still were hungry, and not ready to go down without a fight.

In the bottom of the fifth Pietrzyk drew a one-out walk and stole second to put himself in scoring position. A hard-hit double by Medeiros drove the outfielder in, and he himself would cross home as Lawrence sent a deep shot over the left field fence by the foul pole for a two-run home run, leaving the Tigers trailing the Hilltoppers by just a run.

That run, however, would never come for the hosts. After threatening with second baseman Griffin Tomaszycki on third, Durfee swapped their starter for Ferreira, who closed out the inning and kept the Taunton mostly at bay for the next couple of innings.

For the Tigers, Medeiros was able to get himself into a groove, including striking out three out of four batters he faced during one strand.

The Hilltoppers nearly added another run in the top of the seventh as Ferreira tried tagging up to home on a Fonseca pop out to left, but Lawrence had different plans as he sent a strong, accurate throw to catcher Andrew Gomes at the plate to beat the runner and turn a routine fly into a double play.

Durfee moves on now to the MIAA D1 South Quarter Finals, where the #11 Hilltoppers will be challenged with a trip to #3 Wellesley on Monday.

Oliver Ames Shuts Out Durfee To Start Postseason

Oliver Ames field hockey
Oliver Ames’ Sarah Stevens (left) stick handles past Durfee’s Julia Kelly in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Heading into the postseason, Oliver Ames first year head coach Abby Tepper was ready to switch things up.

The Tigers had won just two of their final fives games so Tepper elected to meet with her captains and come up with a formation change.

The change worked as Oliver Ames put in a strong performance and came away with a 2-0 win over Durfee in the MIAA D1 South Preliminary Round. The Tigers will now take on #2 Walpole.

“We knew [Durfee] would be scrappy, we knew they’d be playing hard,” Tepper said. “They just won their league [Big 3] so we knew they’d be pumped. We had a really good practice yesterday. We’ve changed our formation three times now for the postseason. This one I think is clicking so hopefully third time is the charm.”

Tepper elected to go with four defenders instead of the three that the Tigers had deployed throughout the regular season. Tepper brought Sydney Hedrick, who had played forward during the regular season, to the back line. That switch limited the visiting Hilltoppers to just a single shot on goal throughout the entire game and limited offensively opportunities beyond that.

“Sydney has been playing forward this season, she’s one of the changes in the formations,” Tepper said. “I sat with the captains [Kendall Clifford and Katie Davenport] and told them I wanted to change the formation. I wanted to collaborate with them. Sometimes I can’t see or hear things that they can on the field.

“Katie mentioned having Sydney on defense. Sydney has played defense in the past, she knows the position and she talks a lot so it adds even more leadership. I think it helped us a lot today and having four in the back helped instead of three, which we used to have.”

Oliver Ames nearly got on the board less than two minutes into the game off a penalty corner. Sarah Stevens dished the ball out to Dimitra Efremidis, who chipped her shot but the ball looped off the crossbar and stayed out.

While the Tigers controlled the majority of play, thanks in part of Davenport and Hedrick thwarting any Durfee attack, it took until the midway point of the first half for Oliver Ames to break through.

It looked like Durfee had stopped another Tiger attack and tried to clear the ball but Efremidis positioned herself well and took position of the ball. She ripped a shot into the area where Cristina Boudreau deflected the shot perfectly into the back of the cage to make it 1-0.

The Tigers registered one more chance with just over seven minutes to play in the first half, again using a penalty corner. Stevens dealt the pass to Kendall Clifford but her shot went just wide at the far post.

Early in the second half, the Tigers had to do without Clifford after an injury. Five minutes later, Durfee found its best chance of the game. The ball was knocked into the attacking area for the Hilltoppers and freshman Julia Kelly had an open look from in close but OA goalie Katie Vamosi came up with a point blank kick save to preserve the lead.

Just over five minutes after that save, Oliver Ames field hockey was able to get its second goal of the game. After Durfee’s goalie made a diving save to deny a chance at the near post, the ball popped out to Sarah Stevens on the right side of the area. She quickly centered it back to the middle where Efremidis swatted it in for a 2-0 lead.

Efrremidis finished with a goal and assist in the game.

“I was really proud of her, I even talked to her after the game about it,” Tepper said of Efremidis. “She’s one of those players that always keeps her head in it, she’s always in the zone. You watch her, she’s constantly in the zone and you can’t get her out of it. She’ll go from end line to end line, she plays 100%, I love it.”

Even with Durfee pushing numbers forward over the final 10 minutes, the Hilltoppers were unable to register a serious scoring chance thanks to Oliver Ames’ defense.

Next up, the Tigers will travel to #2 Walpole on Friday at 4:00. The Porkers are the defending D1 South Sectional champions and have been, historically, the top program in the area.

“I told the girls after the game that nothing negative can come out of our mouths – we’re going in and going to play our best,” Tepper said. “We’ll bring it to practice tomorrow and then we’ll go into Walpole believing we can win that game.”

Deyo, Vlashi Carry Bombardiers into Quarters

Attleboro girls basketball
Sarah Deyo scored 27 points and pulled in 17 rebounds to lead the Bombardiers to a first round win over Durfee. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the first round of last year’s Div. 1 South tournament, Attleboro faced Needham just a week after beating the Rockets for the second time in the season. Trying to beat the same opponent for the third time proved too much, as the Needham went on the road and upset Attleboro.

Less than a week after beating Durfee for the second time this season, Attleboro opened this year’s tournament with a third game against the Hilltoppers. Junior forward Sarah Deyo admitted that the Needham game was on her mind as she prepared for Tuesday’s match-up.

“I was thinking about it all day,” Deyo said. “I was like, crap last year we played Needham and then we lost to them in the first round and I hope it’s not that result again.”

Deyo almost single-handedly ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s upset. She scored 25 points and dominated the glass, pulling in 17 rebounds, as the Bombardiers held off a second half charge to beat Durfee 57-44 and advance to the sectional quarterfinal.

“That’s Sarah,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch with a rueful shake of the head. “When you need it, she’s up for it. She was doing a lot of things. She was passing the ball a little bit to get people looks…she just feeds it to everybody else and that’s great.”

Attleboro got off to a slow start, handing Durfee a quick 5-0 lead, but then Deyo started to go to work. She scored off a Sam Pierce assist, followed by a three from Emily Houle, and then managed to corral a loose ball for a layup and score off an offensive rebound. She had seven in the first and finished the quarter with an assist on a jumper by Grace Mayer.

Deyo continued the good work in the second, adding another nine points including a perfect 7-7 from the line (she was 8-9 from the line in the first half but 1-7 in the second). Houle chipped in with five of her 11 points, including a step-back three that was quickly followed by another long-range shot by Fatima McDonald.

Attleboro led 29-19 at the half and things felt like they were falling into place for a comfortable win, but in the third quarter (as they did last Wednesday) the Hilltoppers made a charge. Jordyn Gauvin (team-high 16 points) scored five in the third and a Reagan McDonald jumper got Durfee as close as five points at 37-32.

The Bombardiers needed a spark in the third quarter and were not finding success going through the usual troika of Deyo, Houle, and Pierce, so in stepped senior forward Emma Vlashi.

Another player that missed time this season with injury, Vlashi stepped off the bench and provided instant offense, scoring eight of her 12 points in the quarter. She scored on a layup off a Deyo drop pass then on the break after a Mish Logie steal and assist and capped it off a great touch pass from Pierce across the paint.

“Emma just has that energy when she plays within herself,” said Patch. “She gave us a little bit of a spark when the lead got down to seven, five and jumped it back to 11 just by her offensive rebounding and her finishing near the basket.”

“That was so huge,” added Deyo. “Emma really helped us out; she was the ‘X’ factor. Without her I don’t think we would have had the game that we had.”

Deyo gave the hosts a little momentum heading to the fourth with an offensive rebound at the buzzer that extended the lead to 39-32. Houle followed that with a three on Attleboro’s first possession of the final quarter and Logie added another from the corner a few seconds later.

The lead grew to 11 when Deyo scored plus the foul off an inbounds play, before Vlashi added her final four points to put the Bombardiers ahead 52-39 with time winding down. Deyo capped it with a pair of putbacks, as Attleboro crushed the Hilltoppers on the glass to pull out the win.

“Last game they beat us on the boards both offensively and defensively, so a big aspect of the game was make sure we get the rebounds and don’t let them get second chance points,” said Deyo, who was helped on the glass by Houle with nine rebounds, McDonald with eight and Pierce and Valshi each with seven.

Patch noticed a different attitude for his team in this year’s playoff opener compared to last season against Needham. He explained, “I think the mindset last year was uncertainty…I think the expectation this year is we expect to win.”

He continued, “We always talk about making plays and I think last year they were hopeful and this year they expect to do it.”

The Bombardiers confidence will be put to the test when they host No. 5 seed Wellesley on Thursday night in the Div. 1 South quarterfinal.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.