LEOMINSTER, Mass. – The playoffs have been one long road trip for Canton (14-4-4), which has logged more than 700 miles this postseason, but the No. 21 seed had managed to overcome the logistical challenges and make an improbable run to its first-ever state title game.
After a dramatic shootout win over the top seed in the semifinal, the Bulldogs carried momentum into Saturday afternoon’s Div. 2 championship game at Leominster’s Doyle Field, but a nervous start against 2013 state champ West Springfield proved too much to overcome. West Side scored twice in the first half and, despite a much better second 40 minutes from Canton, held on for a 2-0 victory.
“Hats off to West Springfield,” said Canton coach Danny Erickson. “I thought they played a great game today. They looked like they were composed from the starting whistle. I own the fact that we were a little nervous and the moment got us a little bit. That goes on the coach 100 percent. The kids were ready, which you can tell because once the game settled down I thought it was a really even game.”
Through the sting of Saturday’s defeat, Erickson was able to reflect on the remarkable run of four wins that got the Bulldogs to the final for the first time.
“Nothing but praise for the Canton Bulldogs,” he said. “I’m so proud of everything they did this year. What a run.”
The Terriers got off to a great start in the match. Just a little over a minute in, Garrett Daley cut in from the right side of the box and had a good look at goal, but his left-footed effort was tame and easily held by Canton keeper Giovanni Ruggeri.
Four minutes later, another nice move opened up the Canton defense, as Daley played the ball into center forward Lorcan Mitchell, who laid it off for Emery Sloat. Only pressure from Carson Eagles on his shoulder and Ruggeri being quick off his line prevented West Side from grabbing the early lead.
Midway through the half, West Springfield’s pressure and Canton’s hesitancy turned into the opening goal. A long throw from the left was allowed to bounce in the box. It was only partially cleared and Owen Hall pounced on the loose ball to knock it in, immediately racing to celebrate in front of the Canton fan section.
Canton finally fashioned a couple of half-chances from set pieces. Jake Mccabe, who has provided huge goals in both the quarterfinal and semifinal, had a 30-yard free kick saved, although it appeared to be going wide of the post. A few minutes later, Zach Dowling’s long free kick picked out McCabe in the box, but his header went over the bar.
With four minutes to go before the break, the lead was doubled. Another long throw, this time from Hall was directed to Daley, who rose up unchallenged on the edge of the six and flicked his header to the back post.
Erickson said, “They got two throw-in goals, which are goals and they deserved them, but once the game settled down I thought it was a really even game. We just didn’t execute early on in that half and I don’t think we were quite ready.”
The Bulldogs almost had an immediate reply, as Charlie McKinney, who hit the winning penalty in the shootout against East Longmeadow, made good progress down the left and skipped into the box, but his shot was charged down by the West Side back line.
The lynchpin for the Bulldogs this postseason has been McCabe and the Terriers made sure that he was well watched all match long.
Eight minutes after the break, McCabe’s corner was put into the mixer and West Side struggled to clear. The ball popped out to McKinney, who tried an overhead kick that the Terriers managed to block on the line. McCabe would wind up with a shot from a tight angle on the right but it was held by keeper Cathal Carney.
“We moved him around a little bit, but you’ve got to have him in dangerous places and only so many places to put him,” Erickson explained. “I was really proud of the way Jake played today. I thought the way we played in the second half and came out and competed really hard. We had the ball drop in the six and had we knocked that in then I think it would have been an interesting finish.”
While the game was more competitive in the second half, chances were harder to come by for both teams. Mitchell had a header just wide for West Side and then McCabe found a rare pocket of space 25 yards from goal and forced Carney into a save. The Terriers nearly put the game away in the 68th minute when Ruggeri came out to challenge Daley on the edge of the box, but the midfielder’s shot came back off the post.
Canton had one more chance to try and halve the deficit. In the 71st minute, McCabe had a free kick from about 20 yards and he forced Carney into a diving save down to his right. The rebound sat invitingly out in front of goal for a second but West Side was able to scramble it clear under pressure.
That could have made for a frantic finish, but West Side was able to see out the win and secure a second state title in the past nine years (the 2013 title was in Div. 1).
“When I looked at the remaining seeds, once we got to the final four, in all of soccer we were the only ones anywhere in that stratosphere,” Erickson said of his team making a run as the No. 21 seed. “Really proud of these guys stepping up when it was big time.
“Best memories I’ve had coaching and I’ve had a lot of good ones.”
MARLBORO, Mass. – As Canton junior Jake McCabe, who scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs in regulation and nearly won the game in extra time when his curling effort hit the post, walked back towards his team after seeing his penalty kick saved, shirt pulled up to cover his face, head coach Danny Erickson came to meet him halfway and told him emphatically not to worry because his teammates were going to pick him up.
Just seconds later, keeper Giovanni Ruggeri got down low to his right to instantly even things back up in the penalty shootout. After Zach Dowling fired a shot into the bottom left corner, Ruggeri, who had taken a knock to his leg in the final minutes of extra time and was limping going into PKs, lunged to his left and palmed away another penalty to put Canton on the brink.
Senior Charlie McKinney took the long walk for the fifth round, knowing that his kick could end Wednesday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Assabet Valley High’s Aztec Field and send the Bulldogs to their first title game in program history. He stepped up, finding the back of the net low to his left, and wheeled around in celebration after sealing Canton’s 1-1 (4-2 on PKs) victory over the top seed East Longmeadow.
Erickson said, “That’s what has to happen in those things, you’ve got to take care of your teammate. Jake took a good penalty and the kid made a great save and then Gio answered right away. You can’t say enough good things about them.”
“We’ve been practicing every day,” Ruggeri said after the game. “We though this day might come and it finally did and all of us showed up. It was a complete team effort. It was a great 100 minutes and it came down to pens. We stuck together as a team and it’s just a great team win overall.”
The Bulldogs came into the playoffs as the No. 21 seed and have logged nearly 600 miles through the first four rounds of the tournament. It was a long shot to even get this far and now Canton will get its first taste of the final.
“That game could’ve gone either way,” Erickson said. “We both had inches that made the difference. We just missed, they just missed, just a heck of a great game and a great team that we just faced. We played awesome and they represented Canton very well today. They never quit.”
Canton had the game’s first good chance when McKinney’s cross from the right wing gave Erik Valdovinos a chance to put Spartans keeper Ben Girioux under pressure. Three minutes later, the Spartans missed a chance on one end and on the other Valdovinos took a pass from Jacob Crugnale in the right channel and curled a shot just past the top far corner.
After Sonny Mazza teed up Ryan Brunelle for a gilt-edge chance in the 12th minute that the junior put just wide of the open net, the game settled down for a while.
Inside the final two minutes of the half, McCabe broke the deadlock. A long ball out of the back by Dowling was allowed to bounce. McCabe read it and was able to shrug aside the challenge from the East Longmeadow defender. Racing towards the box, he took an extra touch out to his right to get a better angle and then drilled a shot inside the far post to make it 1-0. It is his third straight game with a goal.
The lead only lasted five minutes after the break. Ruggeri made an easy save on a header off a free kick but then Sonny Mazza was able to get free down the left side of the box and played a perfect low cross to Luke Mazza for a tap in at the back post.
Rather than let their heads drop, Canton came charging back again. Caden Mirliani, Dylan Baird, and Brian Shea were shielding the back line well and getting the ball forward quickly. A ball over the top allowed Crugnale to run in behind the Spartans back line, but he missed the net when one-on-one with the keeper.
McCabe came close to restoring the lead in the 65th minute. His 25-yard free kick appeared to beat the keeper in the bottom corner but not the post, ricocheting out for a goal kick. Crugnale followed that with his own shot off the post just a minute later after a quick break freed him up on the left.
“They’re a driven group of guys,” Erickson explained. “A lot of teams would’ve come out in the second half and seen that goal go in and collapsed against the No. 1 seed. I thought the next 10 minutes after that goal, when we settled ourselves again, was the difference in the game. I think if we had conceded in that craziness, then it would’ve been a different result but we dealt with the hard times.”
There were chances on both ends of the field. East Longmeadow was finding spaces in front of the Canton back line and playing angled balls out to the wingers, who were slipping behind the wingbacks and getting runs into the box.
Brunelle missed the net with a couple of great chances. Ruggeri was forced into a great save, preventing Luke Mazza from finding the top corner. With seven minutes to go, Ryan Morneau smacked the post for the top seed.
Despite all the action in front of both goals, the game went to extra time. Four minutes in, McCabe nearly put the game to bed in spectacular fashion. He cut in from the left wing and drilled a shot from 20 yards that bent away from the keeper and seemed destined for the top corner only to hit the post for the second time. The rebound fell to Crugnale in the box but Enzo Mazza was able to block.
A beautiful cross to Colin Evans saw the East Longmeadow midfielder head just wide from close range and Valdovinos had another chance in the second extra time period when his run down the right got him into the box but he shot wide. Brunelle still had time for one more chance, slipping it past the slide of Ruggeri but Ashton Cetoute was on hand to clear it off the line.
In the end, only penalties could separate the teams and only through penalties could Canton keep its remarkable playoff run alive right to the final day.
“This was something these guys really wanted to accomplish,” Erickson said. “They’ve really been a team all year, they’ve worked together all year, they’ve gotten better all year.”
Ruggeri summed it up, “It feels fantastic, making history over here!”
Canton (14-4-4) will take on No. 6 seed West Springfield in the title game, after the Terriers, who beat Oliver Ames by a goal in the Round of 16, beat Longmeadow in penalties in the other semifinal. The game will be at Leominster High’s Doyle Field at 1:30 on Saturday.
Taunton, 0 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Attleboro turned three services into the area into three goals to pick up a win over visiting Taunton. The Bombardiers opened the scoring just over the midway point of the first half and doubled the advantage just seconds before the break. Sophomore Luke Hagopian’s cross from the right side popped free in the area and classmate Alex Vecchioli was first to it, smashing in a volley from in close. In the 40th minute, Esvin Morales whipped in a free kick from near the corner flag and senior Connor Adema one-timed a shot past the keeper. In the 52nd minute, a free kick from Cashel Stuger was not cleared and senior Liam Bischoff buried the loose ball into the open net to make it 3-0.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton exploded for three goals in the second half to pull away North Attleboro, snapping the Rocketeers’ three-game win streak while extending their own unbeaten run to seven games. Jacob Crugnale put the hosts ahead in the first half and Jake McCabe scored twice and had an assist in the second half for the Bulldogs. Dylan Baird capped the scoring for Canton.
Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Foxboro scored on a penalty kick midway through the second half to get a win over Sharon. The Warriors built out of the back to earn their chance from the spot. Cam Barreira played Alex Penders near midfield, and the junior played senior Jacob Tessier into space on the right side. Tessier carried the ball forward before sending a service to Matt Angelini, who was taken down right near the spot after taking his first touch. Angelini buried the penalty kick just under the crossbar for the lone goal of the game. Derek Axon recorded the shutout in net for Foxboro.
Franklin, 1 @ Xaverian, 0 – Final – A pair of seniors linked up for the game-winning goal as Franklin swept the season series with Xaverian, pushing their win streak to four straight. Senior Jacob Crisileo set up classmate Jack Moran for the lone goal in the 59th minute.
King Philip, 0 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Milford finally solved King Philip, pumping in a pair of goals inside the final 10 minutes to get two points at home. After over an hour of scoreless play, the Hawks struck on a free kick in the 70th minute. Bill Silva set up Chris Tocci as the Hawks finally broke through for a 1-0 lead. With under two minutes to go, Arthur Tome assisted Eduardo Santana on a goal that made it 2-0. Milford head coach Antonio Pinto praised the effort of his defense, which posted its third straight shutout.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 10 – Final – After being shutout for the first two times this season, Oliver Ames’ offense exploded for its best output of the season in a win over visiting Stoughton. Senior Hector Bucio recorded a hat trick to pace the offense while freshmen Andrew Martins and Casey Milliken (two assists) each had a brace.Ryan Linhares, Raphael Vache, and John Dobbin each scored once in the win while senior Mathias Taylor had four assists.
Attleboro, 3 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – Bethany Alves scored with nine minutes to play to lift Attleboro to a big road win that moves the Bombardiers within two points of clinching a playoff spot with three games to go. Kacey Parker opened the scoring for Attleboro inside the first minute. Jamie Davies added a second on an assist by Emily Dunlea. Taunton hung around, battling back into the game, but with nine minutes on the clock Dunlea played a great through ball to Alves for the game-winner.
Canton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Canton and North played to a scoreless draw, leaving both teams chasing points in the final week of the season to clinch a playoff spot. North’s defensive unit of Meghan Dowd, Carli Guertin, Summer Doherty, and Charlotte Moynihan played well in front of keeper Maddie Ferrin to earn the clean sheet. Brayden Rice, Autumn Hewitt, and Sophia Capriotti also had good games in midfield, while Caroline Ferrin had a goal taken off the board late in the first half.
Foxboro, 6 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Jordan Carman scored twice and assisted on two others, powering Foxboro to 13th straight game unbeaten. Neve Taylor also had a brace, while Erin Foley and and Rebecca Foley each scored once. Erin Foley also assisted on three goals and Lindsey Resnick added one helper. Sharon was missing a couple of its starters, but a strong game from Amber Marcus-Blank, who was tasked with marking Kailee McCabe.
Milford, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – KP scored one early in the first half and one late in the second half to secure a win that keeps the Warriors within two points of league-leading Franklin. Ella Pisani got the opener after 11 minutes when she took a pass from Sarah Harper 25 yards from goal and put it into the top right corner. Harper sealed the win in the second half off a pass from Kylie Anderson. Dani Gresham and Eilish McGowen played well in the KP midfield.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Kyla Melton, Lauren Sellmayer and Mary Cross each scored once as Oliver Ames improved to 12-1-1 on the season. Lucinda Li Cotter recorded a pair of assists while Emily Meyers had the shutout for the Tigers. Shayla Ford played well again for the Black Knights in multiple roles, while Bianca Casna gave Stoughton a good outlet up top and Sophia Lally was strong at the back in her one-on-one battles.
Stoughton, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton picked up a key two points and gained some ground in the division title race with a win over Stoughton. Jake McCabe continued his current hot streak with two more goals to pace the offense. Erik Valdovinos and Jacob Crugnale each added one goal in the win while Dylan Baird played well in the midfield. The Bulldogs pushed their unbeaten streak to six games and sit just two points out of the lead in the Davenport.
Foxboro, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro grabbed its third straight win and third straight shutout with a win over visiting Foxboro, leapfrogging the Warriors in the standings. Junior Givany Carney headed in a cross from classmate Griffin Rodden in the 55th minute for the lone goal of the game. David Floyd came up with a handful of big stops to preserve the shutout while Brody Rosenberg and Jaad Ismail had solid showings defensively.
Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Franklin scored the lone goal of the game just under 15 minutes into the contest to earn a season split with Taunton. Tim O’Keefe served a free kick from the right wing into the area that was redirected before falling to the feet of senior Terry O’Neill, who buried his chance from in close. The Panthers had a handful of good looks in the second half but couldn’t tack on a second goal; Taunton keeper Javonte Fernandes had a pair of terrific stops to help keep the deficit at one.
King Philip, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – King Philip sophomore Tommy Lomuscio scored the equalizer with just under 10 minutes to go to help the Warriors grab a point on the road against Mansfield. The Hornets had an ideal start when senior Matt Hyland scored just five minutes into the game to give the hosts the lead, finishing off a pass from classmate James Li. Both Connor O’Reilly (King Philip) and Jack Lasbury-Casey (Mansfield) played well in net.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Sharon recorded the upset of the season, snapping OA’s 10-game unbeaten streak and avenging a 6-1 loss from earlier this year. Adam Landstein scored the lone goal of the game, finishing off a pass from James Zhang. Brady Daylor recorded the shutout in net for the Eagles.
Milford, 0 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Attleboro broke open a scoreless game with three goals in the second half and moved back to .500 on the season. Seven minutes into the second half Jamie Davies was able to break the deadlock, assisted by Bethany Alves. Kacey Parker teed up Kahlan Gray for a 30-yard strike that double the lead. Emily Dunlea sealed the win with Attleboro’s third goal. Emily Khang picked up the assist.
Canton, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Canton scored six unanswered goals to pick up a big road win and move a win away from .500 on the season. Emily McCabe had four goals and an assist to power the Bulldogs offensively. Stoughton got off to a good start in the match and grabbed the lead after 12 minutes when Makenzie O’Connor coolly finished from the penalty spot. Canton equalized in the 28th minute when Ava Gilmore found the back of the net from long distance. McCabe broke the deadlock with the last kick of the half, taking a pass from Lauren Shatkin, cutting in on her left foot, and finding the back of the net. McCabe would add three goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half, twice running onto balls in behind the Stoughton back line and tapping in after a cross from the left by Devan Spinale. Fay Gallery wrapped up the scoring in the last minute when she met a McCabe corner at the back post.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Neve Taylor had a goal and an assist, as Foxboro held off a challenge from North to remain in a first-place tie. Taylor opened the scoring, finishing off a feed from Jordan Carman. Erin Foley made it 2-0 off another Carman assist. Kailee McCabe added a third with a solo run and finish. Lauren Miley wrapped up the scoring with a nice touch on a cross by Taylor.
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Stella Regan’s brace powered Franklin to a road win that keeps the Panthers in first place in the Kelley-Rex, two points ahead of Mansfield and KP. Kelly O’Connor and Selene Hammad each scored as well for the Panthers, while Anya Zub had a pair of assists. Jackie O’Neill and Emma Reilly also had helpers in the win, while Rachel Welch and Haylie Aniki split the clean sheet in goal. Franklin coach Jodi Klein praised her team’s composure and ball movement.
Mansfield, 5 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – The Hornets moved into a tie with KP for second place in the Kelley-Rex with a big win on the road. Mansfield had five different goal scorers. Olivia Homsi got the first on an assist from Tarynn Smith, but KP answered back on a penalty from Ella Pisani. Gabby Smith had the second, scoring direct from a corner, but again the Warriors responded as Mikayla Thompson scored unassisted. Alexis O’Keefe put the visitors back in front, assisted by Bridget Hanley and Tarynn Smith scored off a pass from Anna Darlington for her second point of the night to make it 4-2 at the break. Kara Santos closed out the scoring for the Hornets with a second half free kick. Olivia Salisbury made seven saves, including three diving stops, to pick up the win in goal.
Sharon, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – OA pulled away to earn another win and remain tied with Foxboro atop the Davenport, scoring four goals in the second half. Katie Gibson, Lauren Sellmayer, Carly Gibson, Camryn O’Connor and Allison Evin were the goal scorers for OA while Emily Meyers and Kathrine Farley combined for the shutout in goal. Sharon had strong performances in the midfield from Sofia Goclowski and Amber Marcus-Blank. Jordanna Morris played well for the Eagles in defense and Autumn Simon had a good first half in goal and created several scoring opportunities playing up top after the break.
Canton, 2 @ Braintree, 0 – Final
Franklin, 5 @ Algonquin, 2 – Final – Franklin scored three goals in the final quarter to break a tie game and pull away from Algonquin for its 13th win of the season. Algonquin twice took the lead, the first coming in the opening quarter but a goal from Shaw Downing (from Kaitlyn Carney) four minutes later leveled the match, which stayed 1-1 into halftime. Algonquin regained the lead less than a minute into the third but Kendall Jones finished a pass from Carney four minutes later to make it 2-2 heading into the fourth. Haley Wernig put the visitors ahead less than five minutes into the fourth off of Carney’s third assist of the game and then Carney scored herself with just under five minutes to go to make it 4-2.Jones tacked on her second goal of the game two minutes later on a pass from Kaeley Dubriske. Jones also made a pair of huge defensive saves while goalie Megan Sullivan had seven stops.
Taunton, 0 @ New Bedford, 3 – Final – Ashley Amaro and Thalia Nogeira played well in the loss for the Tigers.
Foxboro @ Walpole, 6:00
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames rallied from a two-set deficit to stun Bridgewater-Raynham, earning a season sweep of the Trojans with a 3-2 win (23-25, 21-25, 25-12, 25-12, 15-9). Sophomore Claire O’Rourke helped rally the Tigers with 24 kills and five aces while classmate Sarah Hilliard added 24 kills and four aces. Junior Maddie Homer recorded 42 digs and Hadley Rhodes dished out 39 assists.
King Philip, 0 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Attleboro netted a pair of goals in the second half to earn two hard-fought points at home against visiting King Philip. A long throw from sophomore Luke Hagopian played senior Connor Adema down the right wing, and Adema cut in before tapping a centering pass for an easy touch in front for sophomore Billy Badger in the 58th minute. The Bombardiers doubled the lead in the 67th minute when junior Lucas Marques forced a turnover, connected with Esvin Morales, who one touched it on to Alex Vecchioli and the sophomore’s shot eluded the keeper on the bounce.
Sharon, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Canton twice came back from a goal down in the first half and then Erik Valdovinos found a winner just three minutes after the break to lift Canton to the division victory. Adam Eastman scored twice in the first half for the Eagles. The first came after three minutes when he ran onto a through ball and side-footed his finish into the far corner. His second was in the 24th minute as he rounded the keeper and was able to slide his shot in from a tight angle. Dylan Baird equalized for Canton after a nice turn and a shot through a defender’s legs into the bottom corner. After falling behind again, Canton was able to get back level six minutes before halftime. A low cross from Jake McCabe was partially deflected by Jacob Crugnale into the path of Charlie McKinney and he curled it from 18 yards. Three minutes into the second half, Valdovinos hit a low cross from the left that deflected off a Sharon defender and into the corner for the go-ahead goal. Sharon’s best chance at a tying goal came on a breakaway in the final 10 minutes but Amjad Kordab’s shot was parried by Canton keeper Giovanni Ruggeri and cleared by Jay Kelleher.
Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames scored once in each half to earn a key division win over Foxboro, pushing its win streak to five games. Senior Clide Neau put the hosts ahead in the first half, finishing off a pass from Antonio Fernandes. The Tigers doubled the lead in the second half when freshman Casey Milliken played sophomore Joey Carney for a goal. Mathias Taylor and Michael Haikal played well in the middle for OA.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Franklin and Milford traded first half goals and the match finished level with each team taking home a point. The hosts struck first to take the lead when Jack Moran scored off of an assist from Rex Cinelli in the 14th minute. But just five minutes later, Bill Silva knotted the score on a pass from Avi Serri.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – North Attleboro twice erased a one-goal deficit and then scored the final two goals in the last 20 minutes to take a win on the road over Stoughton. The Black Knights opened the scoring in the 16th minute only for North Attleboro’s Brody Rosenberg to equalize in the 35th minute, finishing off a corner from Connor Ward. Stoughton regained the lead early in the second half but Bryce Newth nodded in a cross from Griffin Rodden in the 57th minute to bring the game level again. Quinn Conley gave the visitors their first lead by finishing off a cross from Ward in the 64th minute and tacked on an insurance goal in the 71st minute off a feed from Carson Dameron.
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 6 – Final – Ella Pisani and Mikayla Thompson each recorded a brace and KP scored three times in each half to pick up the big win and remain atop the Kelley-Rex. Pisani opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finishing a corner kick from Morgan Norrman. Thompson doubled the lead eight minutes before the break, after a great pass by Dani Lomuscio, and then added her second two minutes later, this time off an assist from Pisani. Pisani scored in the opening minute of the second half on a free kick. Norrman had her second assist, setting up Kylie Menendez to make it 5-0 and Sarah Harper wrapped up the scoring with four minutes to play after being played behind the defense by Danielle Gresham.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Jordan Carman found the back of the net with four minutes left in regulation to lift Foxboro to a dramatic win and into a tie for first place in the Davenport division. Camryn O’Connor broke the deadlock with 25 minutes to play, putting the Tigers in front by a goal, but Kailee McCabe equalized from the penalty spot. Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said, “I am so proud of my team and the fight they gave today. All-around amazing effort by all!” Kyla Melton and Mary Cross both had strong games for OA.
Franklin, 4 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Anya Zub had a hat trick to lead the Panthers to the road win and keep them within two points of first place in the division. With three goals on Thursday, Zub hit double digits (12) for the season. Kelly O’Connor added the fourth for Franklin. Stella Regan, Bridget Leo, Reilly Lorenzo, and Tori Carmignani all had assists for the visitors. Kailany Ferreira had a big game for the Hawks, making 18 saves to keep the hosts in the game. Brooke Ferreira, Serena Borges, and Aislinn Bennett also played well for Milford, whose head coach Lou Colabello said he was proud of how his team competed despite not getting the result.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Emma Pratt had a goal and an assist and North Attleboro earned its second straight win, moving back to .500 on the season. Steph McKenna opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, off a pass from Pratt. Autumn Hewitt set up Pratt for what turned out to be the game-winner, as Pratt was able to beat the keeper to the ball and finish. Sivannah Marcy got the lone goal for the Black Knights in the closing minutes. North coach Bill Wallace praised the play of midfielders Brayden Rice, Charlotte Moynihan, Brooke Sullivan, and Lily Adams. Stoughton coach Hermes Lima is hoping that his team can carry momentum from a solid performance into Friday’s game with Norwood. He highlighted Morgan Cook for her playmaking and Shayla Ford for being able to create scoring chances. Lima also credited Bianca Casna and Emma Byrne for being able to put pressure on the North defense.
Taunton, 24 @ Franklin, 32 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Canton, 3:45
Taunton, 40 @ Franklin, 21 – Final – Franklin took first and second overall, three of the top five, and used its depth to take a win over Taunton. Senior Charlene Peng clocked in at 20:20 for first overall while sophomore Alexandra Batla took second in 20:30. Taunton freshmen Colby Dunham (20:39) and Emerson Deponte (20:49) finished third and fourth, respectively, while Franklin sophomore Vivienne Loukota took fifth in 21:33.
Oliver Ames @ Canton, 3:45
Canton, 147 @ Taunton, 177 – Final – Canton’s Will Gefteas fired a two-under par round to lead the Bulldogs to a big win on the road. Gefteas came in with a two-under round of 34 for medalist honors while Mekhala Costello shot a 37, and both Conor Hunter and Mike Leonetti carded rounds of 38. Jack Gobin led the way for Taunton with a 38.
Mansfield, 164 @ Taunton, 177 – Final – Junior Drew Urban fired a 41 in his first varsity match, helping the Hornets pick up their 10th win of the season against Taunt. Senior Cian Goulet shot a team-low round of 39, senior Hunter Tang added a 40, Urban came in with a 41, and Jordan Tavares, Ryan Doherty and Nathan McLean all shot a 44. Jack Gobin earned medalist honors, leading Taunton with a low-round of 38.
Attleboro, 161 @ Milford, 170 – Final – Brendan Raymond earned medalist honors, coming in as the lone golfer under 40 for the day to lead the Bombardiers past Milford at Hopedale Country Club. Raymond shot a 36, Evan Houle and Leo Lombardo each carded a 41, and Jackson Sweeney finished with a 43 for Attleboro. Nate Lawrence led the Scarlet Hawks with a 40 while Ronan Fleming shot a 43.
Foxboro, 162 @ King Philip, 148 – Final – Mike Matheson had the best individual round of any Hock golfer this season as King Philip took down Foxboro. Matheson had three birdies (three, four, six) and added an eagle on the fifth hole to finish with a 31. Jared Curran added a 37 while both Pat Reardon and Gavin Croke shot a 40 for the hosts. Jack Watts led Foxboro with a team-low round of 37.
Oliver Ames, 150 @ Stoughton, 196 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Jo Jo Gaultier recorded four birdies and the Tigers rolled to a win at Easton Country Club. Gaultier birdied on two, six, eight, and nine to finish with a two-under medalist round of 34. Senior Jake Kaplan added a 38 in the win while sophomores Sean Kearns and David Rodgers each carded a 39. Anthony Hern led the way for the Black Knights with a 41.
Attleboro, 1 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – After earning a corner kick, Billy Badger dropped a left-footed service into the area to the six-yard line to an open Cashel Stuger, who headed it to the far post and in for the lone goal of the game in the 13th minute.
Taunton, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton scored a pair of goals in each half to knock Taunton from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Dogs built a 2-0 lead before the Tigers got on the board before halftime. Canton came out and tacked on two more in the second half to put the game away. Carson Eagles scored his first career goal while Jacob Crugnale, Caden Mirliani, and Dylan Baird also scored for the hosts.
Franklin, 1 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro took the lead in the first half but Franklin leveled the match early in the second half and the two teams split the points. North struck first in the 12th minute as Patrick McDermott finished off a cross. Givany Carney sent in the pass and Connor Ward made a nice run to draw the defender and dummied it to free McDermott for an open look. Franklin pulled level less than two minutes into the second half when Will Krysak scored on a cross from Jack Moran.
King Philip, 3 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – King Philip scored three second half goals to earn their second win of the season, handing Sharon its first loss at home in the process. Sharon took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break but the Warriors equalized and went ahead inside the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Eagles equalized shortly after but KP went back ahead with the eventual game-winner in the 62nd minute. Stephen Griffin scored the first two goals for the visitors, the first unassisted and the second off a feed from Tommy Lomuscio. Oliver Blackburn netted the winner with an assist from Josh Canning.
Mansfield, 6 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Mansfield found the back of the net three times in each have, rolling to another win this season. Junior Aidan Steele scored in each half to pace the Hornets’ offense, Danny Rowe and Liam Anastasia scored in the first half, and Matt Hyland added another in the second half. Senior Anthony Klimas scored his first career goal in the win. Jack Lasbury-Casey earned the shutout in net.
Milford, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – After trading goals twice, Oliver Ames found the game-winner at the death to pick up two points against Milford, snapping a three-game skid to the Hawks. The visitors opened the scoring on a goal from Nick Ribeiro (assisted by Arthur Tome) but OA responded a minute later on a goal from Hector Bucio (from Christian Haikal). This time it was the Tigers who took the lead, with Bucio setting up Joey Carney for the hosts’ first lead of the afternoon. But Milford had the answer in the form of an equalizer from senior Avi Seri (from classmate Christian Dinis). In the final minute, Haikal finished off a pass from Carney for the winner. Senior Mathias Taylor had a superb game in the midfield for OA while Jake Williams, Collin Lozano, Diego Rivera, and Antonio Fernandes played well in the back.
Foxboro, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Kailee McCabe put on a show to lead the Warriors to another impressive win, the team’s fifth in a row. McCabe, the league’s leading scorer, recorded all five of Foxboro’s goals, including the 50th of her career. She scored direct from a free kick and had a pair of “olimpicos” (goals direct from corner kicks). McCabe also scored one from a Jordan Carman assist and another off a pass from Kylie O’Keefe.
Canton, 5 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – Emily Calederon scored both goals for the Tigers.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Anya Zub continued to be on fire in front of goal for the Panthers. After scoring four times on Monday, Zub added a brace to help Franklin beat North and stay a point back of KP in the Kelley-Rex standings. Riley Fitzpatrick opened the scoring off an assist from Avery Greco, who moved into a new position and had a strong game. Steph McKenna tied the game in the 48th minute for North, scoring off a Caroline Ferrin assist. Bridget Leo’s through ball to Fitzpatrick led to Franklin’s second goal, finished off by Zub. Fiztpatrick added her second assist, and third point of the afternoon, to set up Zub for the third Franklin goal that sealed the two points. Chloe Barca, Stella Regan, and Leo played well in midfield for the Panthers and Norah Anderson controlled the back line. North had other chances in the first half, with Charlotte Moynihan and Casey Butanowicz both striking the woodwork. Victoria Donnelley, Abby Pratt, and Lily Adams each had great games in the loss.
Sharon, 1 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – After falling behind by a goal inside the opening five minutes, KP scored five in a row to get the win, remain perfect in league play, and stay in first place in the division. Olivia Soby opened the scoring for the Eagles, ripping a 30-yard shot just under the bar. Ten minutes later, Dani Lomuscio took a pass from Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn and found the back of the net from 25 yards. Ella Pisani also scored from distance to put the Warriors ahead before the break. Midway through the second half, Sarah Harper doubled the KP lead off an assist from Rihanna Mason. Rachel DeFlaminis was then played through on goal by Pisani and made it 4-1. Delia Mahoney wrapped up the scoring with eight minutes to play, finishing a corner kick from Danielle Gresham. Sofia Goclowski and Amber Marcus-Blank both played well for Sharon.
Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield, 6 – Final – The Hornets ended a two-game losing streak with a shutout of Stoughton. Tarynn Smith scored twice and assisted on another to power the Mansfield offense. Abby Jean and Olivia Homsi each had a goal and an assist. Avery Hawthorne added a goal and freshman Gabby Smith scored her first career goal. Olivia Salisbury and Caitlyn Zajac combined for one save and the clean sheet. Morgan Cook had her best game of the season for the Black Knights, passing the ball well and taking on defenders to create scoring chances. Emma Tran was close to getting on the board for Stoughton, but her shot came back off the inside of the post. Sophia Issa played well at both defensive mid and left back.
Oliver Ames, 7 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Camryn O’Connor had a hat trick and an assist to lead the Tigers on the road and keep them unbeaten on the season. Halle Kandar, Lucinda Li Cotter (two assists), Jenna Gilman, and Carly Gibson also scored for OA. Dani Atherton had the lone goal for the Hawks.
Attleboro, 167 @ Mansfield, 153 – Final – Mansfield earned its seventh win in nine tries, defending its home course against the visiting Bombardiers. Cian Goulet fired a medalist round of 37, Ryan Doherty and Cody Nieratko both shot a 38, and Hunter Tang came in with a 40 for the Hornets.
Franklin, 160 @ Oliver Ames, 139 – Final – OA senior Jo Jo Gaultier birdied the first two holes and added another on seven while sophomore Sean Kearns also had three birdies as the Tigers had one of the best performances by any team this season in a win at Pine Oaks over visiting Franklin. Kearns had birdies on two, five, and eight while Gaultier’s third birdie of the day came on seven. Both finished with a two-under 32 to share medalist honors. Senior Carter Allbritton added a 37 and classmate Jake Kaplan shot a 38. Sophomore Anthony Lampasona had a low-round of 39 for the Panthers.
Taunton, 196 @ Sharon, 173 – Final – Sharon picked up its second win at home in as many days, this time knocking off Taunton at The Cape Club of Sharon. Nathan Daley led the way for the Eagles with a medalist round of 38, Rosie Leonard added a 43, Owen Kevorkian chipped in with a 45, and Eric Carter finished with a 47. Nathan Fernandes led Taunton with a 47.
Canton, 148 @ Stoughton, 179 – Final – All four of Canton’s scorers came in under 40 for the day as the Bulldogs earned their fifth win of the season. Will Gefteas took his turn as the match medalist for the visitors, carding a low round of 35. Conor Hunter added a 37 in the win while Mekhala Costello and Mike Leonetti both came in at 38. Anthony Hern led Stoughton with a 41 while Pat Smith fired a 43.
2020 Record: 2-5-6 Coach: Peter Pereira
The Bombardiers seemed to get things in gear just as last season was coming to an end, finishing the season unbeaten in its final five games. But there won’t be much carryover to this year as Attleboro only has three starters back from a team that lost 14 seniors to graduation.
It will be a lot of new faces for longtime head coach Peter Pereira, who is still trying to fit the puzzle pieces together to figure out the best combination for his Bombardiers. Senior Cashel Stuger joined the lineup last season and will be a main part of the Attleboro defense this year with Lucas Marques, Ian Miller, and John Blouin all in the mix to see minutes. Junior Esvin Morales begins his third year on the varsity level and has the most experience at this level on the team. Morales is a crafty midfielder that is very dangerous in the attack and on set pieces. Seniors Liam Bischoff and Thomas Russo have good varsity experience and should see expanded roles this year.
Sophomore Alex Vecchioli exploded onto the scene last year, scoring a team-high four goals. He’ll join Morales to solidify the Attleboro midfield but he’s no stranger to getting forward and making some noise in the attack. Sophomores Tyler Rocchio and Brady Whitmarsh are battling for the starting position in goal while Pereira is looking for the likes of Connor Adema, Yannie Skortas, and Emilio Ticas to step up in the attack.
2020 Record: 6-3-3 Coach: Danny Erickson
Canton was the main challenger to OA’s division title win last season, playing tough against the Tigers in both matches. In fact, the Bulldogs’ lone losses were to both division champs in OA and Milford, the latter coming in the semifinal of the Hock Cup.
Canton has a large chunk of those players returning to the pitch for this season and a lot of them have multiple years of experience playing at the varsity level, which means expectations are high for Canton. OA has been the team to beat in the Davenport for the majority of the past decade but it looks like that could be different this year with how much skill the Bulldogs have.
There are veteran players all over the field, starting in the back with the anchor of the defense in senior All-Hockomock selection Giovanni Ruggeri, who returns as the starting goalie. Establishing a strong defensive group in front of Ruggeri will be key but the Bulldogs have a track record of getting better defensively as the season goes on. There is a lot of firepower going forward with senior Dylan Baird being the link in the midfield, helping the Dogs transition from defense to offense. There will be a lot of options in the attacking third with both Erik Valdovinos (three goals, two assists) and Jacob Crugnale up front (goal, seven assists). Junior Jake McCabe is also back after scoring three goals and notching two helpers.
“We are so excited to head into the season,” said head coach Danny Erickson. “Our team has a very high ceiling for success and we are working hard to reach that ceiling. Couldn’t have much more difficult of an early-season schedule playing Franklin, OA, and Milford to open up the Hock so we will certainly be presented some very tall tasks right out of the gates.”
2020 Record: 4-6-2 Coach: Dan Ambrosio
Foxboro is leaning on a strong senior class, a group of talented returners, and a mix of new faces to try and make a run at the Davenport division title. The heart of the team will be with the senior class, including four-year player Derek Axon and midfielder Alex McGarry.
Axon has been on the roster since his freshman year and will start in net for the Warriors, leading the way for what head coach Dan Ambrosio hopes is a strong defensive unit. Foxboro has been on the lower half of the Davenport table in terms of goals against in each of the past two seasons but Ambrosio believes he has a strong defensive unit that will play well in front of Axon. McGarry, a three-year member of the varsity squad, will be a key piece in the middle of the pitch.
It’s not often a team gets a transfer with not only varsity experience, but experience playing in the Hockomock League. But the Warriors added Jorge Sanchez, who has two years of playing at Canton under his belt and could be a big boost for Foxboro. Senior forward Matt Angelini has improved each year with the program and will be one of the top strikers in the league while junior Alex Penders has impressed so far in the preseason. Sophomore John Hollis made a splash during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and could be poised for a breakout year for the Warriors.
“The group has done an outstanding job of coming together as a team,” Ambrosio said. “We look forward to playing the Foxboro way and competing to win the Hockomock regular season.”
2020 Record: 3-5-4 Head Coach: Fran Bositis
Hall of Fame head coach Fran Bositis is back on the sidelines for his 51st season in charge and he and his Panthers are anxious to get back to normal soccer after last year’s abbreviated season that featured rule changes that altered the game.
Bositis has liked what he’s seen so far in the preseason with the team improving after each training session and after each scrimmage. Having a trio of four-year players is an advantage that many teams won’t have so the Panthers will lean heavily on seniors Terry O’Neill, Tyler Powderly, and Aidan Griffith for their veteran leadership. There are a lot of upperclassman on the roster with seniors Jack Moran, Nelson Martinez, and Kevin Proenca all back in the mix after playing last season.
O’Neill, the 2019 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is the spine of the team, patrolling the middle of the pitch. We saw early on in his career his ability to get forward and become a scoring threat but he also showed he can sit back and solidify the defensive unit. Both Powderly and Griffith provide a lot of speed on the outside. Junior Trey Lovell and sophomore Rex Cinelli earned some minutes a season ago while Bositis expects junior Will Krysak and sophomore Sean O’Leary to be steady contributors this season.
“I feel the outlook is bright as long as we continue to work hard and look to make small improvements every day,” Bositis said. “I also feel that we have very good senior leadership and that this will be important in helping our younger players develop.”
2020 Record: 5-4-4 Coach: Mike O’Neill
The Warriors graduated nearly its entire starting lineup, losing a total of eight players from the starting 11, along with five more seniors from last year’s squad, but somehow KP boasts a strong returning group of players.
That’s a credit to head coach Mike O’Neill, who has shown since he took over the varsity team that he will take full advantage of the depth of his roster, getting a lot of player’s minutes each season. Last year’s abbreviated season was no different; KP has half a dozen players back with varsity experience ready to make a run at the division title.
There are four captains: Caleb Cassetta, John Pfeiffer, Sean McCarthy, and Stephen Griffin, and all four bring something a little different to the table. Cassetta can do a bit of everything, from being the maestro of the midfield, to shoring up the defense, to sliding up front to score goals. Pfeiffer plays both defensively and in the midfield and provides key leadership, McCarthy is an aggressive outside back, and Griffin is a four-year member of varsity that can play in a variety of roles going forward.
Junior Matt Cargo could be poised for a breakout year in the midfield while senior Dan Fifolt is back in the mix to give KP at outside back. Junior Andrew Seropian has had a good preseason so far while sophomores Tommy Lomusico, Will Bowen, and Dermott Amorim are all competing to try and give the Warriors a boost on the offensive end.
“I think there is going to be a lot of parity in the Hock this year,” O’Neill said. “It will be difficult (as always) to win games. We graduated 13 seniors and 8 starters last year. That is a significant loss of experience on the field, but it also provides opportunities for younger players. I am excited to see which players will step into the available roles and have a breakout year.”
2020 Record: 6-4-2 Coach: Steve Sheridan
For years, Mansfield has been known as a defensive team that sets the tone with its physicality, taking advantage of set pieces on the offensive end to win games. Things might be a little different in 2021.
While Mansfield still boasts a strong defensive group, the heart and soul of the team is in the midfield. There is a lot of creativity in the group that features senior captains Matty Hyland and Danny Rowe along with juniors Grady Sullivan and Connor Palinski. The unit has impressed in the preseason, moving the ball around, combining to get up field and attack opposing defenses. Mansfield has traditionally used a lot of subs for its forwards under Sheridan and that looks like it will be the case again this year with senior Liam Anastasia and junior Dan Checkoway both in the mix.
Four-year varsity player Dylan Buchanan will take on a new role this year, making the switch to defense. His speed will make it tough for opponents to get in behind the Hornet back line. Senior Michael Caridi is another returner and he will join Buchanan in the back in front of senior goalie Jack Lasbury-Casey.
“This is the first time in a very long time that I can honestly say that the defense is not the strength of our team, the midfield is!!”
2020 Record: 10-0-3 Coach: Antonio Pinto
The target on Milford’s back this season will be bigger than ever as the Scarlet Hawks enter the season with three straight division titles; last year’s Kelley-Rex crown and two from the Davenport prior to that. While the Hawks are certainly in the hunt to make it four straight, they’ll do so without their best player from the past two seasons.
Last year’s Hockomock League MVP and lone Massachusetts All-American selection Leo Coelho graduated alongside nine other players that helped Milford won the Hockomock Cup last season. That class also included star midfielder Lucas Da Silva and 2019 playoff hero and goalie Leo Oliveira. While it might seem like the cupboard is a bit thin, the Hawks have reloaded with some new talent eager to win a title of their own.
Kevin Gomes has been on varsity since he was a sophomore and has plenty of varsity starts in net under his belt. He came off the bench in the Hockomock Cup and came up huge to help the Hawks take the win. Milford also has veteran centerback Chris Tocci back in the fold; Tocci is not only one of the most experienced backs in the league but he’s one of the most skilled and his prowess in the air is key for the Hawks.
Senior Avi Seri and juniors Arthur Tome and Hulanger Pires all took advantage of their expanded roles last season and will be key in the offense this season.
“We have a good direct style of play,” said head coach Antonio Pinto.
2020 Record: 3-6-3 Coach: Geoff Burgess
It was a good offseason for the Rocketeers, who used their time between seasons to improve their craft. North has developed a reputation for a defense-first-minded program over the past couple of seasons and the Big Red is sticking true to its colors in 2021.
The strength of the team lies in the defense with a lot of experience in the defensive third. Senior captain Brody Rosenberg will slide into a center back role and anchor the defense from there while sophomore Kaden Burns returns to his outside back position after picking up vital experience during last year’s abbreviated season. Senior David Floyd returns in goal this year after posting a 1.50 goals against average last season.
Connor Ward has been making plays in this league for a long time and look for that to continue during his senior season Ward uses his versatility and creativeness to orchestrate the Rocketeer push forward. Sophomore Carson Dameron is another returner in the midfield unit for North Attleboro; look for senior Jaad Ismail and juniors Griffin Rodden and Givany Carney to give North’s offense a boost.
“We have a great mix of experience and talent that will hopefully lead to a successful year,” said North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess. “The team really came together this summer at Camp Manitou and they really believe in each other. They really want to work hard to improve each day and are one of the most coachable groups we have ever had. We are all really excited to get back to normal soccer and see what this season holds for us.”
2020 Record: 12-1-0 Coach: John Barata
Oliver Ames spent the majority of the last decade at the top of the mountain in the Hockomock League, winning five Davenport division titles and two Kelley-Rex crowns since the league split. The Tigers are the defending champs in the Davenport and lost just one game (Hock Cup) last year, but this will be the biggest turnover that OA has seen in a long time.
Oliver Ames graduated over a dozen players, including nearly its entire starting lineup of a team that scored a league-best 59 goals and had a league-low five goals against. Not only did the Tigers lose a talented senior class, but a majority of the players were also either two or three-year starters, so there will be a lot of new faces getting playing time at the varsity level for the first time. Senior captain Mathias Taylor is the most experienced player back for the Tigers after getting a lot of time as a sophomore and starting last fall. His versatility will be key as the Tigers carve out roles for the new players; Taylor can control the play from the middle of the pitch, move up front as a dangerous attacking option, or sit back some to help solidify the defense.
Hector Bucio is the other returner starter for the Tigers after earning some minutes after a sophomore, picking up some starts in the process, and will be a big part of the offense for OA. Michael Haikal also saw time on the field during the COVID-shortened season and will see an expanded role this year as one of the team’s captains. With new faces in the mix, OA is focusing on attacking with pace while stressing getting numbers behind the ball to defend against the tough competition in the Hockomock League.
“We are excited to be back playing regular soccer and looking forward to seeing how this very young and inexperienced team gels during the season,” said OA head coach John Barata. “We hope to win a couple games and get these underclassmen a lot of experience.”
2020 Record: 0-10-2 Coach: Jon Grant
It starts with the fundamentals for head coach Jon Grant and his Black Knights: an improved defensive effort to stay in games and better technical play to increase scoring games.
And so far, so good as Grant has seen improvement on both ends of the pitch throughout the preseason. Throughout each of the last two seasons, the Knights have shown glimpses and the goal this season is to string together consistent performances and limit the mistakes to keep Stoughton in the game. Captains Rhuan Carvalho and Joao Marotti, both seniors, give the Knights some experience up top as they battle against a tough Hockomock League schedule. Although Evan Khang and Kyle Grant as just sophomores, they saw a lot of time last season and will bring that experience and talent to Stoughton’s midfield.
Defensively, the Knights will turn to senior captain Owen Roddy to anchor the defense. He will be joined by classmate Val Pierre to try and solidify the Stoughton back line.
“Everyone is excited to be back out on the field and it will make it even sweeter as we add the competition of the season,” said Jon Grant. “This season we are looking to not beat ourselves by limiting our mistakes. This mentality will put us in a good position each game to compete. Combine that with great effort and a positive attitude and we have a pretty good recipe for success.”
2020 Record: 0-3-7 Coach: Taylor Whitters
The Tigers only played four games last fall due to COVID so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to pick up varsity experience for the younger players, which make up most of the roster for the 2021 season. The lineup will feature mostly juniors along with a group of sophomores so Taunton will lean heavily on the few players that have played at this level before.
That starts with juniors Riley Rebello and Joseph Renquinha, who both enter their third season apart of the varsity team. Rebello has seen time just about everywhere for the Tigers, including at center back, attacking mid, and up front at striker. The experience that both he and Renquinha possess will be key as the young Taunton team tackles a difficult schedule. Taunton is also looking for juniors Aidden Fitting, Quincy-Jones Sylvia, Conal Scully, and Jonathan Trinh to step into big roles right away.
Taunton will rely on a strong work ethic to try and put pressure on teams, using team speed to attack opposing defenses. The Tigers have been in a lot of close games — three of the for from last season, and 11 of their games in 2019 were decided by a goal or less. Taunton will be hoping to end up on the other end of those one-goal results this season to try and make a push for the postseason. Sophomores Javonte Fernandes, Delano Costa-Hanlon, and Joshua Letourneau, alongside junior Sete Deletoile, will be in the mix on their first year with the team.
“I am hoping for us to continue to mature this season and raise the bar a little higher each game,” said head coach Taylor Whitters.
Boys Soccer Hockomock Cup
#D4 Sharon, 0 @ #KR1 Milford, 1 – Final (OT) – Milford senior Leo Coelho scored minutes into the first sudden death overtime period to help the Scarlet Hawks avoid an upset bid from visiting Sharon. Milford advances to the semifinal round of the Hockomock Cup to play against Canton.
#KR3 King Philip, 1 @ #D2 Canton, 2 – Final (PKs) – Canton senior Abdul Barrie tucked the game-winning penalty kick inside the right post to secure a win as the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the Hockomock Cup. King Philip took the lead in the first half but a third quarter goal from Jake McCabe leveled the match. After a scoreless overtime, the teams headed to pens where Giovanni Ruggeri, Dylan Baird, Erik Valdovinos and Barrie scored to give Canton the win. The Bulldogs will take on Milford in the semifinal round of the Hockomock Cup.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Centerbacks Justin Silva and Donovan Carter each scored on a free kick as the Rocketeers picked up a win on the road over the Black Knights.
Girls Soccer Hockomock Cup
#D4 North Attleboro, 2 @ #KR1 Franklin, 1 – Final – Tess Collins put North in front six minutes into the fourth quarter and the Rocketeers held on for an upset over the Kelley-Rex champions to advance to the Hockomock Cup semifinal. North grabbed the lead in the second quarter on an Emma Pratt goal after she followed up a save by Franklin keeper Julia Bertone. Sydney St. Marie equalized for the Panthers five minutes into the second half, but Collins popped up with the winner to send North into the next round. Franklin coach Tom Geysen said, “It was a well played game by both teams. North finished better than we did. We had a number of chances but could not find the net.”
#KR4 Attleboro @ #D1 Canton – Canceled. Attleboro advances due to forfeit.
#D3 Oliver Ames, 1 @ #KR2 Mansfield, 0 – Final (PKs) – Emma O’Donnell and Emily Meyers both made saves on penalty kicks to help Oliver Ames pick up a win on the road and advance in the Hockomock Cup. The Tigers are scheduled to take on Attleboro with a time and date to be announced.
Sharon, 2 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Dani Atherton scored with two minutes remaining to lift the Hawks to the win. Atherton received a pass from Jillian Michelson and managed to slip it by the keeper to put the Hawks, who had led 2-0, back in front. Sofia Goclowski scored both of the goals for the Eagles, including one with 13 minutes remaining that tied the game at 2-2. Brianna Franzini had the opening goal on a cross from Atherton nine minutes into the game. Atherton added her first of the game to double the lead, before Goclowski cut the lead to one before the break. Milford coach Lou Colabello said that Carly Ferreira stood out again in goal.
#D4 North Attleboro, 2 @ #KR1 Franklin, 8 – Final – Franklin scored five straight goals over the first three quarters to build a big lead that it never relinquished in an opening round win of Hockomock Cup action. Junior Kaitlyn Carney scored twice while Stephanie Bell, Amanda Lewandowski, and Lindsay Morse each scored once for the Panthers, who led 4-0 at the halftime break and 5-0 heading into the final quarter. North’s Julia Puccio and Zoe McKeon scored early in the final quarter to cut into the deficit but Sara Carney sandwiched a pair of goals around a tally from Lewandowski to help the Panthers put the game away. Neilee Hess made three saves in net for the Panthers.
#KR4 Mansfield, 0 @ #D1 Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames found the back of the net twice in the final quarter to pick up a win over an upset-minded Mansfield squad. A close, competitive match went without a goal for 45 minutes before the Tigers scored twice in the fourth. Georgia Costello (from Maggie Woods) broke the stalemate with a goal with 12:30 to go. Woods went on to add an insurance goal with 1:12 to play. Julia Maclaine, Ava Costello, and Erin Cottam all had strong games for OA while Peyton Phillips had a stellar game with a nine-save shutout. Oliver Ames advances to the semifinal of the Hockomock Cup to play King Philip.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – There might not be a state tournament this season, but Monday night’s game between Oliver Ames and Canton certainly felt like a playoff game.
Oliver Ames boys soccer
Both teams entered the Davenport heavyweight clash undefeated but only one, the Tigers, walked out still without a loss. Oliver Ames built a two-goal lead and added a key insurance strike in the fourth quarter to earn a 3-1 decision over the Bulldogs.
The battle between the top two teams in the Davenport division delivered with high intensity throughout, stout defensive efforts, a pair of class goals, and some fourth quarter drama.
“It was like a playoff game, a great game,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “They were well prepared, they came out with a very playoff tactic to get the win. We came in with our tactic to win, we were both playing this game to win no doubt about that. They don’t let you play your game, and we didn’t let them play their game so maybe it wasn’t the best either team has played…it was very intense, but that’s what Canton OA is right? We haven’t had this energy or feel in other games. And we expect the same type of vibe there.”
Oliver Ames scored early in the second quarter and doubled its lead with a goal just minutes into the second half but the Bulldogs took advantage of an opportunity in the 55th minute to get back into the game, halving the deficit.
That goal seemed to give the visitors some life and resulted in Canton’s best passing sequence of the game. Senior Abdul Barrie combined with sophomore Jorge Sanchez, the former getting some space in the corner and whipped a service in. Junior Jacob Crugnale got a touch to the cross but his bid was inches off, hitting off the far post and staying out, keeping the hosts ahead 2-1.
Oliver Ames boys soccer
A minute later, the Tigers built quickly out of the back with senior Colin Milliken carrying possession into the middle third, springing classmate Dillon Cupples out wide on the left. Cupples connected with senior Kevin Louhis, who worked around a defender to get to the corner of the area and Louhis blasted a curling shot inside the far post to make it 3-1 just seconds after the Bulldogs nearly tied it.
“Oliver Ames is a great team, they are strong everywhere on the field, really well organized,” said Canton head coach Danny Erickson. “We knew we’d have to play a rather mistake-free game to beat them and we didn’t. We played great moments, I was really proud of our work ethic but we kind of drifted in moments and let them take the game.
“The game really came down to moments, some bounces and some weird mistakes cost us the game. We had a brilliant opportunity with probably our best build up of the game, three of four great passes in a row that led to a great opportunity that hit the far post, and then as soccer goes, a good team will make you pay for missing opportunities and they went down and Kevin scored a banger.”
The game started as expected with two of the best defenses in the Hockomock League this year. OA entered the contest having surrendered just one goal while the Bulldogs had just two goals against. Both defenses shined in the opening 20 minutes, taking away chances and denying passing lanes.
Canton boys soccer
Canton looked to get in behind the defense on a great ball from Colton Mirlianiy but OA senior Ben Cohen, who had a very strong game at outside right back, did very well to recover and thwart the chance.
Canton boys soccer
Meanwhile, Canton keeper Giovanni Ruggeri was up to the task on a low shot from distance from Cupples in the 12th minute, and Barrie intercepted a pass in the area, taking away a combination between Milliken and Cupples.
OA opened the lead in the 23rd minute on a free kick from Matthew Nikiciuk after he drew the foul. On a direct kick from just over 30 yards out, Nikiciuk blasted a low shot that skipped into the area and senior Brady deVos made a run right to the penalty spot and got a touch to it, changing the direction just enough to catch the keeper going the wrong way.
The Tigers went on to double their lead just minutes into the second half. Anthony DaCosta touched the corner into play and Milliken drove a cross into the area that hit off a Bulldog defender and into the net for an own goal.
Canton got on the board late in the third quarter after high pressure resulted in a turnover. Crugnale applied a lot of pressure, getting a piece of a pass out of the back to knock it free. Mirliani latched onto it, taking a touch with his left to set up a blast from 30 yards out that caught the keeper off the line and snuck under the bar to make it 2-1.
The Dogs nearly had the equalizer just before the third quarter came to a close. On a free kick from straight away from just over 25 yards out, Mirlinani touched to Barrie, who skipped on shot on goal that was spilled on frame but junior Dylan Baird’s bid on the rebound was just over the bar.
Canton boys soccer
Canton continued to press in the fourth but Louhis was able to put the game away with his strike in the 67th minute.
“The maturity factor of the seniors is finally paying off for us,” Barata said. “We allowed them to get in and Abdul whipped a wonderful ball in and it ricocheted off the post and suddenly it’s 2-2 and the momentum has shifted. Sometimes with younger kids, you might panic but our senior experience showed today.
“Danny has them well prepared, they know how to play tactically and they are well prepared and ready to go. We didn’t put them away early when we had the chance and it became a much tougher game in the second half. But it was great to have Kevin put in that third goal because then it was done.”
The two teams will clash again on Wednesday as Oliver Ames (7-0) travels to Canton (4-1-2) on Wednesday for a 6:15 PM kickoff. The Tigers can clinch at least a share of the Davenport title with a draw, and can clinch it outright with a win.
“We hadn’t talked about [the division title] until today, we talked about today being a championship game for us, Canton coming in undefeated,” Barata said. “But whenever you play Danny and Canton, you know they will be prepared so it’s a good game to get ready for the tournament, but this is like a tournament game for us this year.”
2019 Record: 6-9-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
One more goal scored or one goal less allowed could have changed the entire outcome of the 2019 season for the Bombardiers, who suffered six one-goal losses and three draws. Now with more varsity experience under their belts, Attleboro is aiming to surprise some teams in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season.
Longtime head coach Peter Pereira is counting on that experience to translate into leadership on and off the field. Senior goalie Zackary Brown is back in net for the Bombardiers and is showing more confidence inside the area. Senior Joey Soucy is making the transition to defense and will play alongside classmates Jayden Lockhart and Andrew Fasoldt. Junior Cashel Stuger is also back in the mix defensively while seniors Henry Marini and Alejandro Jimenez could factor into the defensive unit as well.
Jackson Singer emerged as a strong option in the midfield in his first season with the Bombardiers and should be a big piece again this year. Singer will pair up with Hugo Henriquez to give Attleboro an experienced duo in the heart of the pitch. Seniors Ben Fasoldt, Emilio Amaya, and Tyler Sar will all be apart of the midfield while juniors Tom Russo and Emilio Ticas should see valuable minutes for the Bombardiers. Freshman Alex Vecchioli has shown a lot of versatility so far and could play in a variety of roles.
Up front, Attleboro will be relying on a combination of speed, tough, and work effort as they challenge opposing defenses. Depending on the pairing, Attleboro will be able to attack in a variety of ways. Seniors Justin Lurssen and Connor Paquin as well as juniors Liam Bischoff and Yianni Skordas will all see time in the attack. Sophomore Esvin Morales emerged as one of the top attacking threats a year ago and will be among the top finishers in the league.
“We have a good group of seniors and hope that this experience will pay off,” Pereira said. “We believe we will have a more competitive, more mature, and more balanced team.”
2019 Record: 4-12-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Danny Erickson
The Bulldogs were very young during the 2019 season with just a half dozen seniors on the squad, but that meant plenty of young players were able to gain valuable on-field experience at the varsity level. Now the Bulldogs will be looking to contend in a very competitive Davenport division in the shortened 2020 season.
The defense will be the backbone of the team this season as the Bulldogs have a lot of experience at the centerback position. Senior captain Matt Giglio is back for his third year with the squad after being a key piece in each of the previous two years. He will be joined in the middle of the defense by Will Keefe, who anchored the Dogs’ backline last year and earned All-Hockomock honors.
Junior Dylan Baird had a breakout sophomore season and will be one of the main pieces in the midfield. After a down season for Canton on the offensive end as a whole last year, Baird’s presence in the midfield will help create opportunities going forward. Up front, the Bulldogs are counting on senior Colton Marliani to be a go-to scoring threat.
Canton already suffered a big blow as senior captain TJ McCabe, who has been with the squad since he was a freshman, will miss the season due to injury. On the flip side, the Bulldogs are getting a boost with the addition of Abdul Barrie. Barrie played in the youth leagues in Canton but will make his CHS debut this fall and could make a big impact for the Dogs.
“I think the rule modifications will challenge us all equally,” said longtime Canton head coach Danny Erickson. “But after a week or so of training, to me, it’s still soccer.”
2019 Record: 7-8-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Ambrosio
The Warriors had a sour taste in their mouth at the end of last season, losing the last game of the year to miss out on the playoffs. While Foxboro won’t have the chance to get back to the postseason this year, the Davenport division title is certainly in reach.
Foxboro graduated a couple of stalwarts (Joe Cusack, Dylan Barreira, Will Morrison) that were important pieces of the squad in each of the last couple of seasons, but there are plenty of experienced players back from last year’s seven-win squad plus a handful of new faces anxious to make their mark. Seniors Max Beigel and PJ Frost will give the Warriors plenty of leadership and experience, especially in the midfield and attacking third. Foxboro will look to play quick, using the counterattack to hit on the break.
After giving up nearly two goals a game a season ago, the Warriors are aiming to tighten up the back as they navigate through a very competitive Davenport division. First-year head coach Dan Ambrosio is also counting on new players like John Hollis and Ryan Flaherty to make an impact during the shortened season.
“We are a tight-knit group who like to have fun playing the game and look forward to representing our school and town,” Ambrosio said.
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Fran Bositis
With returning players in most areas of the pitch and a trio of top midfielders in the Hockomock League, the Panthers should be in the mix for the Kelley-Rex title, although it could be one of the most competitive seasons since the league split into two.
With just 10 games and all six teams in the Kelley-Rex possible contenders, there is little margin for error. The Panthers will be put to the test right away as they take on Milford, who won the Davenport two years in a row and went to the D2 State Final last season, in the opening week. But longtime head coach Fran Bositis has plenty of talent on his roster to try and make a push for the division title. It all starts in the midfield with a trio of returning starters in Ethan Cain, Tyler Powderly, and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Terry O’Neill.
All three bring something different to the table which will make Franklin’s midfield among the most dynamic in the league. Powderly’s speed on the wings will give defenses fits while Cain will bring plenty of creativity as the Panthers push forward. O’Neill won’t be able to dominate in the air like he did a season ago thanks to the new modifications that ban headers, but the junior is also such a calming presence with the ball at his feet and will help Franklin keep possession. Ben Moccia, who started in the midfield a season ago, is moving up top to the number 9 spot, while Charlie Amante, Ryan Witt, Jack Moran, and Kevin Proenca will also see time in the attack.
The Panthers have some new faces in the defensive unit. Will Fox is the lone returning starter and has impressed in the early stages of the season. Sam George, Robbin Tappin, and Karl Gruseck will all factor into the Panthers’ defense while Aidan Griffith, Nelson Martinez, and Connor Scagliarini will be options for Bositis to play either defense or in the midfield. Newcomers Trey Lovell and Rex Cinelli could see valuable minutes right away. Former Panther standout goalie Freddie Backmann, who is without a season at Regis College, is mentoring Luc Boudreau, this year’s starting keeper for Franklin.
“I think that we have a very good group of athletes (soccer players) who have worked real hard in preparation for this season,” Bositis said. “I know that they are all excited to be playing and that they are looking forward to competing against the other Kelley-Rex teams and putting themselves in a position to challenge for a league championship.”
2019 Record: 8-5-6 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip was the surprise team of the 2019 season, overcoming a large amount of inexperience to take third in the Kelley-Rex and qualify for the state tournament. While the Warriors won’t sneak up on anyone this season, the skill and experience they return should put them in the mix for the division title.
Second-year head coach Mike O’Neill has strong players in all areas of the pitch, starting with senior captain Evan McEvoy. A four-year player with the program, McEvoy is coming off a breakout season in 2019 and will be among the top midfielders in the league. He will control the pace for the Warriors from the center of the pitch, working with fellow captain Alex Leon, who will use his speed to patrol the wings and get in behind the defense. Both Caleb Waxman and Stephen Griffin made an impact last season and should see expanded roles in the shortened 2020 season. Sophomore Matt Crago is a new face that could make a splash in his first year.
The Warriors should have one of the top defenses in the league again this season. Senior captain Aidan Lindmark is back in goal and his distribution skills will factor in heavily to how KP plays out of the back. Jeremy White had a strong 2019 season at center back and will bolster the Warriors’ backline when he returns from injury. In the meantime, four-year player Ajae Olsen, who is normally patrolling the wing or up top, will have his versatility on display as he slides into the centerback spot.
“Our players and coaches are thankful that we are at the point where we can have a season,” O’Neill said. “So much work and sacrifice have gone into getting the Hockomock League schools to this moment. I’m looking forward to some excellent and competitive soccer. I expect every game to be extremely competitive – there are no easy games in the Hock. Five wins may win the division.”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Sheridan
With just 10 games scheduled for the season, every game – from the first to the last – is going to be important. No one understands that more than the 2020 Hornets, who came up just short of the state tournament last year. After a slow start, Mansfield became one of the toughest teams to beat down the stretch, finishing on an eight-game unbeaten streak that featured an upset of division champion Oliver Ames but came just one point shy of postseason play.
With the postseason not in the picture for this year, the focus shifts on the division title. The Hornets are hoping to carry the momentum from the end of last season into this year. Mansfield will have a mix of veterans and inexperience in its defensive unit. Senior captain Evan Eames will be the centerpiece of the group alongside classmate Michael Jeans, who missed all of last season due to injury. Sophomores Grady Sullivan and Nate Kablik round out the Hornets’ back four while senior captain Eric Sullivan will take over starting in goal.
Senior captain Tommy Lanzillo will run the show from the center of the pitch, helping the Hornets transition from defense to offense. Lanzillo is strong with the ball at his feet and will help distribute as the Hornets hit on the counter. Senior Colin True and juniors Matt Hyland and Dan Rowe will join Lanzillo in the Hornets’ midfield. Junior Dylan Buchanan is back for his third year with the squad and will play up top alongside Aiden Steele.
2019 Record: 18-1-2 2019 Finish: D2 State Finalists Coach: Antonio Pinta
Milford arrives in the Kelley-Rex division with a huge target on its back. Coming off back-to-back Davenport division titles and a trip to the D2 State Final a season ago, the Hawks enter their new division as the favorite. But game in and game out, Milford can expect to get everyone’s best.
First-year head coach Antonio Pinto might be new to the varsity position but has been with the program during this successful run as an assistant and JV coach. It will all start with the reigning HockomockSports Player of the Year and Hockomock League MVP Leo Coelho, who can play just about any position on the pitch at a high level. If there is a need to shut down a high-powered offense, you might see Coelho playing defense. Or if the Hawks need a boost offensively, he can just as easily move up front and provide creativity in the final third.
The Hawks are far from a one-trick pony with both Lucas Da Silva (eight goals, seven assists) and Joao Pedro Da Silva (six goals, three assists) back in the mix this season. Replacing the Hockomock’s leading scorer in Pedro Araujo (25 goals, 11 assists) will be tough but we saw the Hawks do just that when Araujo took over for former HockomockSports Player of the Year Wallison de Oliveira.
Defensively, the Hawks will be strong up the middle. Junior Kevin Gomes returns to start in goal for the Hawks after getting valuable experience there during last year’s season and deep playoff run. And junior Chris Tocci is back in the heart of the defense at centerback after a breakout sophomore campaign. While the new regulations will certainly challenge the Hawks defensively with heading and slide tackling banned, Milford should have a big advantage offensively because of their strong possession skills.
“I’m very excited to be out there with the guys this season,” Pinto said. “We are ready to play no matter what the rules and conditions are! We’re ecstatic to have a season.”
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Geoff Burgess
The Rocketeers and head coach Geoff Burgess have found a recipe for success over the past couple of seasons and will be looking to replicate that again this year. Defense always comes first for the Rocketeers, who allowed just 0.68 goals per game last year. While every team is being forced to make changes because of the new modifications due to COVID-19, the Rocketeers might be affected more than most with heading, slide tackles, and shoulder-to-shoulder challenges banned.
But the Rocketeers have adjusted during the preseason and will be relying on defense and goalkeeping once again this season. Replacing two-time HockomockSports Best XI selection Kyle Briere in net won’t be easy but the North Attleboro is turning to junior David Floyd, who is one of the most athletic players on the team this season according to Burgess. The Rocketeers also boast one of the best centerback combinations in the league with seniors Justin Silva and Donovan Carter back in the fold this year. With a season of experience playing together, it will be tough for teams to find ways to get by the defense anchored by that duo.
While defense remains a top priority for the Big Red, that doesn’t mean North isn’t a dangerous team in the attacking third. As they’ve shown over the past two seasons, speed can kill. Relying on the counterattack and set pieces for the majority of their offensive chances, North brings back senior forward Matt Conley (one goal, five assists) to try and beat defenses with his speed and skill. Junior Connor Ward will have a lot to say about the pace the Rocketeers play at as he orchestrates the team from the center of the pitch.
“With an abbreviated season and a large senior class, we hope to challenge OA for the league title,” Burgess said. “This will obviously be a huge challenge but our defense will be tough to breakdown and you can’t lose if the other team does not score.”
2019 Record: 15-4-0 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal Coach: John Barata
Oliver Ames has reached the D2 State Final three times since 2014 and with a large group of experienced and skilled players back from last year’s team that went 15-4, another trip to the finals might have been in the cards for 2020. But with postseason canceled due to COVID-19, the Tigers are looking to make as big of an impact as they can.
After a four-year stint in the Kelley-Rex, one that included a pair of division titles (2017 and 2019), the Tigers are back in the Davenport division where they won five titles in the first six years after the Hockomock split. OA brings back nine players that either started or saw a good amount of minutes on the pitch last year, highlighted by HockomockSports Best XI selections Colin Milliken, Brady deVos, and Kevin Louhis. Milliken will help the Tigers transition from defense to offense from his center mid spot, Louhis will be a go-to option on the offensive end, and deVos is back to anchor the defense for the second straight season.
The Tigers will have plenty of options to go along with Milliken (10 goals, 14 assists) and Louhis (4 goals, 9 assists) in the attacking third. Jimmy Keane (six goals, one assist) bolsters the midfield while Anthony DaCosta (six goals, one assist) has improved each of the past two seasons and will be a handful for opposing defenses. Senior Matthew Nikiciuk really emerged as a force in the middle of the pitch last season and will be a big part of the offense, especially through set pieces. Both Mathias Taylor and Dillon Cupples burst onto the scene a year ago and will be in the mix as the Tigers push forward.
Senior goalie Drew Nickla returns in net after a strong year in 2019. The Tigers graduated the most from the defensive unit so the early challenge will be developing chemistry quickly in the backline. Head coach John Barata is also looking for Ben Cohen, Michael Haikal, and Hector Bucio as viable options for the Tigers while sophomore Jake Williams and freshmen Ryan Linhares, Joey Carney, and Diego Rivera are new faces to keep an eye out for.
“We are looking forward to competing this fall and enjoying the opportunity to grow as people and players,” Barata said. “This is a unique situation for a very unique group of players and we are going to make the best of it and play the best soccer we can. These young men are fantastic and we are going to have a great time this season regardless of the on field results…but we hope to have a few of those too!”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Scott Nathan
The Eagles enter the 2020 campaign with a chip on their shoulder, coming up just one point shy of the state tournament a year ago. While Sharon can’t make up for that with a tournament appearance this year with the playoffs canceled due to COVID-19, the Eagles can certainly make some noise while challenging for the Davenport division title.
Sharon said goodbye to a handful of experienced veterans including Michael Baur, Brian Higgins, and Isaiah Stessman, but first-year head coach Scott Nathan has a group of proven players plus a bunch of news faces eager to make their mark. Senior captain Bryce Nathan and junior captain James Zhang will lead the way both on and off the pitch this year as the Eagles compete for the Davenport crown.
Bryce Nathan is one of the most versatile players in the league, playing anywhere from defense to striker during his tenure with the Eagles. Zhang, fresh off an impressive sophomore campaign, is very confident with the ball at his feet and does a nice job distributing from the center of the pitch. Sophomore Matthew Baur is back in goal after getting a varsity season under his belt. Rhys Davis and Brandon Mauricio highlight a list of returners defensively while Coby Jacobson, Samid Khandaker, Adam Landstein, Aaron Livshin, and Daniel Zagoren are all back with varsity experience as well.
The Eagles will focus on a sound defense first before transitioning into offense. Patience will be key this year as Sharon looks to make the most of each opportunity as they push forward. Brady Daylor, Malachi Diaz, Adam Eastman, Daniel Fishman, Amjad Kordab, Jack Landstein, Rohan Prakash, Elliot Pototsky Nicholas Rincon, Aaron Tamkin, Jeffrey Xiang, and Tony Yang are new to the varsity level and will be looking to make an impact on the pitch for the Eagles in 2020.
“The game will be different…for players, coaches, referees, and fans,” Scott Nathan said. “I am just happy for the boys that they have the opportunity to play the game they love!”
2019 Record: 3-13-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Grant
With a year of experience under coach Jon Grant, the Black Knights are aiming to have a bounce back year and compete with the top teams in the Davenport division.
There were plenty of bumps in the road during the 2019 season but Stoughton certainly showed some bright spots, including wins over Mansfield and Canton. Now the Black Knights will try to compete in each game and string some results together. Captain Nolan Gerome returns in goal for Stoughton and is among the best keepers in the league. Opposing head coaches have raved about saves Gerome has made over the past couple of seasons and he will be the anchor of the Black Knights’ defensive unit.
Playing in front of Gerome will be senior captain Ryan Sears and junior Owen Roddy, who both played valuable minutes last year. With a good amount of experience and skill in the back, Stoughton is hoping defense will be a cornerstone for the 2020 season. Grant is looking for Rhuan Carvalho to be a top playmaker for the Black Knights, distributing from the center of the pitch to create some offensive chances.
“Our goal for this year to improve on last season,” Grant said. “This year the players came in to the short season fairly well conditioned and with a great attitude. All the players are so grateful to have this opportunity to be back out on the field. This will definitely help us in this short season.”
2019 Record: 2-9-7 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
It’s easy to look at Taunton’s record from a season ago and make assumptions, but upon further review, the Tigers were in just about every game they played. Five of the nine losses were decided by just one goal and the Tigers had a league-high seven draws; one goal either way and the Tigers were that close to a spot in the tournament. It goes to show how competitive the league was and how important each goal is.
With a strong nucleus of players back from last year’s squad, the playoffs wouldn’t have been such a far reach for Taunton this season. But with the postseason not in play, the Tigers will shift focus on being a darkhorse in the Kelley-Rex division title hunt. The new modifications will make it tough for all teams when it comes to defending, but it will also benefit something that Taunton has plenty of: speed. The Tigers plan on utilizing their pace on both ends of the pitch, getting behind the defense on one end while using their speed defensively to fend off opposing offenses.
Taunton will be strong up the middle with senior Travis Nunes back in the heart of the pitch and sophomore Riley Rebello back to anchor the defense. Senior Hunter Cabral will give the Tigers flexibility by playing in both the midfield and up front. Head coach Taylor Whitters is looking for sophomores Joseph Renquinha Jr., Aidden Fitting, Quincy Jones-Sylvia, Jonathan Trinh, and Nathan Keenan to all be in the mix this season.
“Despite everything that has occurred in recent months, we have one of the most versatile and technically sound teams that Taunton High School Boys Soccer has seen in a long time,” Whitters said. “This group of young men have the number one factor in the success of any team: chemistry. They have the willingness to play for the team, not for themselves. I feel with their talents, abilities, and desire to work together as a unit, we will be a team to watch in our division this season.”