The Campus Report: A Recap of Fall 2016

Hockomock Campus Report

The HockomockSports.com Campus Report is an update on former Hockomock League athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.

Alex Jette had his collegiate career come to an end this Fall but wrapped things up in memorable fashion. A four-time First Team All-Ivy selection, Jette was named a First Team All-Ivy wide receiver and return specialist in 2016. Jette will go down as one of the top receivers in Brown football history, finishing his Brown career ranked ninth in both career receiving yards (1,860) and receptions (150). He was also a playmaker on special teams; Jette had a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown against Cornell and ranks fourth all-time in career punt return yards (493) at Brown. He had h 54 catches for 518 yards and three touchdowns during his senior year and was also named to the 2016 All-New England Football Team.

A pair of Framingham State Rams and former Hockomock football players were named to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Second Team. Attleboro’s Tom Burns and Stoughton’s Joe Wilder both earned the honor after leading the Rams to a 7-3 regular season. Burns, a defensive back, was second on the team in tackles with 67 (40 solo), had two tackles four loss and four pass breakups. Wilder has been a starter on the offensive line for two years now and helped pave the way for the offense. At left tackle, Wilder was a big reason the Rams rushed for over 2,000 yards.

A handful of former Hockomock players saw playing time for Mass. Maritime this season. Manfield’s Alex Ruddy was the most productive defensive player, registering 27 tackles, including two for loss, and had a pass breakup. Milford’s John Niro had five tackles, one for loss, Mansfield’s Connor Finerty also had five tackles and Canton’s Joe Bires made three tackles. Sharon’s Adam Banks, an offensive lineman, played in five games, even hauling in a pass. King Philip’s James Cooke (guard) and Chris Winbourne (tackle) started on the offensive line for the Buccaneers.

Former Milford three sport athlete Jarrod Casey capped an impressive career at Assumption with a stellar senior season. Casey, who was selected NE-10 First Team Defense for the second straight year, led the Hounds with 90 tackles and was the only player in the NE-10 with at least two sacks and two interceptions. He finished with 2.5 sacks and three interceptions while breaking up three passes. Stoughton’s Brandon Swain-Price finished his sophomore year with 18 catches for 349 yards and three touchdowns.

North Attleboro’s Eric Beckwith also received NE-10 honors, being tabbed First Team Offense for the second straight year. Beckwith has been making an impact for the Falcons since his freshman year. The former Rocketeer played in 41 of a possible 44 career games, with 35 starts. King Philip’s Sam MacDonald has also beeing a cornerstone for the Falcones for four years, playing in 43 of 44 possible games. The KP alum finished his career with 17 interceptions, one shy of the Bentley record and one of the top five totals in Northeast-10 Conference history and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Football Team.

Oliver Ames graduate Cameron Williamson was a big piece of Bridgewater State’s football team this Fall. In 11 games played, Williamson was tied for fifth on the team with 42 tackles and was among the best on the team with 36 solo tackles. He had one interception, six pass breakups and two fumble recoveries for the Bears.

Franklin’s Brandon Eccher was named to the Liberty League Football All-Conference Second Team while Stoughton’s Dan Eckler received honorable mention honors. Eccher was second in the Liberty League with 72 points (12 touchdowns). He posted 777 yards on 45 catches with 11 scores. As a punt returner, Eccher picked up 160 more yards on 17 tries with a 78-yard TD against Union. He ends his career third in the WPI record book with 132 career receptions and fifth in career receiving yards with 1,949. Eckler was one of the top four quarterbacks in the league this season. He amassed 1,900 passing yards on 118 completions with 18 touchdowns and the best efficiency rating of 166.8 in eight contests. Eckler also rushed 76 times for 235 yards and four scores to rank in the top 20. In 29 games, he piled up 5,571 yards on 404 completions with 44 touchdowns in the air and 783 yards on 266 rushes and nine touchdowns on the ground. His name is currently first in the WPI record book with 6,534 career yards of total offense (passing and rushing) and career passing yards, as well as third in career attempts (704) and completions.

King Philip’s Christian Vellante finished with 37 tackles, good for seventh most for Curry this season. Of his 37 tackles, 24 were solo takedowns, he had two tackles for loss, registered one fumble recovery and had one reception on offense. Over two years, Vellante had 78 tackles for the Colonels and seven tackles for a loss.

Former Franklin standout Craig Anderson became the first ever Endicott player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America Honors twice. After being rewarded last season with the same honor, Anderson was back again this season with a 3.89 cumulative grade point average in the classroom and 28 tackles (15 solo), four sacks, two quarterback hurries and a blocked kick on the football field. Anderson, who earned All-New England Football Conference first team honors for the second straight year, finished his career with 21.5 sacks, second-best in school history, while recording 204 tackles (95 solo) and 40.5 tackles for loss.

Former Mansfield Hornet James Comer received Eastern Collegiate Football All-Conference honors after a strong senior season. Comer was named to the All-Conference First Team for the first time in his career, after posting 36 tackles – 4.5 of them for a loss – recovered a fumble and had 1.5 sacks.

Former King Philip linebacker and current Nichols standout Brett McEvoy was named to the New England Football Conference ALl-Conference Second Team. McEvoy was second in the conference in tackles (94) and notched five games with at least 10 tackles, including a 16 tackle game against MIT. The junior also recorded 9.5 tackles for a loss and had two interceptions. Attleboro’s Brenden Massey was second leading receiver for the Bison, hauling in 41 catches for 759 yards and six touchdowns.

Attleboro grad Brendan Nunes enjoyed a successful rookie campaign at Salve Regina. The former Bombardier playmaker was all over the field for the Gull. He caught 10 passes for 183 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. He had two carries for 12 yards and was a primary return man – taking 11 kick offs for 276 yards and a touchdown and pulling down seven punts for 58 yards. Franklin’s Danny McDermott was a versatile option for the Gulls, completing 9 of 11 passes for 113 yards, rushing for 26 yards and even catching a 20 yard pass.

Trinity senior defensive back Paul McCarthy earned All-New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference First Team honors for the second straight season. McCarthy, a former North Attleboro Rocketeer, was a key piece for the Bantams with 27 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups. For his career, McCarthy had 84 tackles and an impressive nine interceptions.

A pair of former Taunton players and current UMass Dartmouth teammates were honored by the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference for their strong seasons. Austin Peters, a starting guard, helped anchor the Corsairs to a record breaking year and was named to the MASCAC First Team. UMass Dartmouth recorded 4,641 yards on offense – a school record. Marcel Flynn was named to the MASCAC Second Team after posting a career-high 40 tackles in his fourth year as a starter. Flynn was also a force on special teams as he registered a career-high and MASCAC-best four blocked kicks in 2016. Mansfield’s David Collins finished second on the team with 80 tackles with eight tackles going for a loss.

Men’s Soccer

Former Attleboro goalie Spenser Powell was named to the 2016 Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-America Second Team following a strong year for Adelphi. Powell was among the best in the nation in both goals against average (0.498) and save percentage, stopping 86.8% off all shots on goal. Read more about Spenser here.

Taunton’s Dan Belair finished his career at American International College, registering his first career point in his senior season. Belair started in 33 games over his four year career, including four in his final season. He picked up his first assist in a 5-0 win over Bentley in October.

Not many players have seen more minutes over the past four years for Assumption men’s soccer than Franklin grad Zach Scafati. The inaugural HockomockSports.com Co-Player of the Year, Scafati started in 63 games (of 64 games played) for the Greyhounds. He scored a goal in each of his sophomore and junior season and was a two-year captain.

North Attleboro’s Josh Ocel was named an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association for the second straight year. Ocel, who earned third team honors this season, was the team’s leading scorer with six goals and 15 assists – the fifth most assists in all of Division III. His 15 assists were also just one shy of Brandies’ single season record. Read more about Ocel’s season and Brandies’ Final Four run here.

Foxboro’s Sawyer Fleck was earned All-Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference honors for the second straight season playing for Bridgewater State. Fleck was named to the All-MASCAC Second Team after scoring a goal and notching a team-best four assists. He is tied for sixth in the conference with his four assists. In 77 career games, Fleck has two goals and 13 assists for 17 points for the Bears. Foxboro’s Brian Bortolotti scored two goals and had an assist this season and Milford’s Justin Borges scored his first career goal.

Former Oliver Ames standout Adam Borberly ranked near the top for minutes played for Colby-Sawyer this season. Borberly started 15 matches this season, playing over 1,000 minutes while registering three goals and three assists. In four years, Borberly started in 59 matches for the Chargers.

North Attleboro’s Justin Freitas was named an All-American by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association following another outstanding year for Dean College. Freitas was named to the second team following a season in which he scored 16 goals – three of which were game-winning tallies – and had six assists. Attleboro’s Kyle Lameiras scored three goals and had three assists in 18 games played while Matt Rodrigues, another former Bombardier, had an assist from his outside back spot in 10 games played.

Despite playing in just two games because of injury during his senior season, OA grad David MacKinnon had a memorable career at Hartford. The inaugural HockomockSports.com Boys Soccer Co-Player of the Year was named to the America East All Conference Second Team his sophomore year and was named to the All-Rookie team in 2013. He set the program record for shutouts in a single season during his freshman year with nine. He ranks second in Hartford history in career shutouts (19) and fourth in career victories (25).

2015 HockomockSports.com Boys Soccer Player of the Year Devante Teixeira saw plenty of time in his rookie season at Southern Connecticut. Playing in 15 of 17 games, Teixeira notched his first career goal and added one assist. He had a clear attacking mindset, uncorking 25 shots – second on the team. Attleboro’s Alain Laurent finished the year with a goal in 17 games played.

Oliver Ames alum Keegan Nutt was just one of four players – and the only freshman – to start every single game for the Stonehill Skyhawks in 2016. Patrolling the center of the pitch, Nutt scored his first career goal in September against Franklin Pierce and had two assists – one against Saint Anselm and one against Assumption.

2015 HockomockSports.com Best XI selection Joe Kellett played a major role in UMass Lowell’s historic season. Kellett was named to the America East All-Rookie Team. Kellett started all 16 games and was only off the field for a total of 12 minutes during his freshman campaign. The midfielder tallied the game-winning goal against Vermont in October and had an assist on the game-winning goal against Boston College later the same month.

Franklin product Joe Kalil was selected to the Commonwealth Coast Conference First Team after another great season for Wentworth. Kalil has helped Wentworth post five shutouts and on the offensive end, has scored four goals and an assist for nine points. For his career, he has started 53 of the 55 games in which he has played in. Kalil has 10 goals and a pair of assists for 22 points in three years. Canton’s Connor Erickson led Wentworth to a 13-4-4 record in his fourth year – the team has 28 wins in past two years alone.

Women’s Soccer

Three former Hockomock players saw a lot of action for the Assumption women’s soccer team this Fall. Taunton’s Tayla Morais and Franklin’s Alexis Stowell each appeared in all 18 games for the Hounds, with Morais getting the starting nod twice and Stowell on ten occassions. 2016 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Victoria Stowell appeared in 16 games for the eight-win Greyhounds. Alexis Stowell was third on the team in points with two goals and one assist while Morais added one goal.

Franklin’s Nicole Ellin is becoming a mainstay on Bard’s backline. As a sophomore, Ellin started in all 17 games and played 1,277 minutes on the season. On nine occasions, Ellin went the full 90 for the Raptors. In two years, Ellin has started in all 34 games possible for Bard.

Former Canton standout and Hockomock League MVP Lauren Berman started all 19 games for Boston College this Fall. She was fourth on the team in points with 16, behind only All-ACC selections McKenzie Meehan and Hayley Dowd. Berman led the Eagles in assists with eight, while scoring four goals. She was third on the team in minutes player (1,572).

Jamie Grinavic finished her collegiate career by helping Bentley earn its most wins in a season since the 2003 season. Grinavic has been making an impact on the offensive end for the Falcons since her freshman year – she’s scored at least one in every season. The former North Attleboro Rocketeer finished with five career goals and four assists for 14 points.

Taunton graduate Alana Vincent had a terrific rookie season for Bridgewater State and was named to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team. She led the team with six goals and 13 points in 17 games; two of her six goals were game-winners. Vincent finished third in the MASCAC in goals and sixth in points. Mansfield’s Molly Shield (one goal) started in 18 games and Katie Bongarzone started in all 19 of the team’s games – just one of five players to do so.

Former Milford Scarlet Hawk Kaley Pratt made a big impact off the bench for Eastern Connecticut State for this season. Despite starting just one of 18 games played, Pratt was third on the team in scoring – netting five goals with three assists for 13 points. Stoughton’s Rachel Berkowsky was in a similar situation, coming off the bench in 14 games to net four goals and one assist. Berkowsky set the school record for fastest hat trick recorded. She scored three goals in a matter of 4:46 in a win over the University Southern Maine in October.

Former Oliver Ames product Nicole Taylor was selected to play in the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association Senior Bowl following another great year at Endicott. Taylor started all 15 matches that she played in, missing time briefly for an injury. The co-captain finished her career with 28 starts in 48 matches played, making 27 of those starts over the last two seasons.

Stoughton’s Shelby Sprague was named to the NJCAA All-Region 21 First Team following another explosive season with Massasoit. Sprague scored 30 goals, topping Region 21 and ranking third in the nation. She also added six assists to give her 66 points, also ranking third in the country. She finished her illustrious career with 55 goals, 10 assists for 120 points. This marks Sprague’s second All-Region 21 First Team selection.

Stonehill’s Brianna Duserick was named to the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association Division II All-New England First Team. The Canton product was part of the back line this year that held opponents to 19 goals against, while also being part of the Skyhawks’ offense that has scored 39 goals in the 22 games this season. She scored one goal this year, making her career total to two with one game-winning goal. Duserick led the team with five assists this year, ranking eighth in the conference, totally six in her career.

It seems like just yesterday that Franklin’s Kristi Kirshe was scoring in the MIAA D1 State Final to help the Panthers claim their first title in program history. Now, Kirshe has finished her collegiate career with a NCAA DIII National Championship (2015) and her name attached to a couple of school records at Williams. For a terrific senior season, Kirshe was named to the NSCAA All-American First Team. She had 26 points during her senior year, including a team-best 12 assists. She finished her career with a school record 114 points (43 goals, 28 assists in 86 games).

Volleyball

Canton’s Elizabeth Hamilton had a successful freshman year for Johnson & Wales volleyball and was named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Third Team. The former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year was fourth in kills on the team with 202 and had the most assists for an attacking player with 40. She added 34 blocks (fifth on the team), was second on the team with 302 digs and had 37 aces.

Attleboro’s Michelle Sheehan made an impact during his freshman year with Mass. Maritime. The former Bombardier was second on the team with 240 assists. The freshman also had 194 digs and 51 kills for the Buccaneers.

In her sophomore season at Salve Regina, Canton grad Erin Proctor was second on the team with 339 assists in just 38 sets played – an impressive 8.92 assists per set. She added 99 digs and even chipped in with 14 kills. The sophomore had a season-high 57 assists in September against WPI.

Another former Canton standout, Chidera Nwankwo was second in kills for a young Suffolk squad. The sophomore had 138 kills with a team-high .238 attacking percentage. The middle hitter was second on the team with 43 blocks. Taunton’s Alyssa Gibson added 18 kills and eight blocks in her freshman season.

UMass Boston’s Julia Murphy was named an All-American by the Volleyball Coaches Association – one of three players from UMass Boston. After being named an honorable mention for the honor the last two years, Murphy was selected to the Second Team. Murphy was also named the Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the fourth straight time – the first time in history a player has accomplished that. Murphy’s senior campaign has seen the Canton native set new program marks in solo blocks, block assist, total blocks, while also hitting a career-high .409. In 32 matches played, Murphy sits with a career-high 339 kill. She also boasts 42 solo blocks and 65 block assists for an impressive 107 total blocks.

King Philip alum Brigid Murray posted an impressive 712 assists this season while serving as Westfield State’s primary setter. She helped set up an offense that had 903 kills and 13 wins. Younger sister Micaela Murray made a splash in her first season by leading the Owls with 69 aces.

During her sophomore season, former Taunton standout Lauren Murphy had 55 kills for Worcester State. Former Mansfield standout Lauren Beecher recorded 95 kills during her junior season for Dickinson. Canton star Avery Devoe made a big impact with DI Ball State, notching 115 kills in 2016.

At WPI, the Engineers had three former Hockomock players help lead the way to a 22-win season. KP grad Melissa Daigle had 117 kills, 56 digs and 14 blocks. Franklin’s Shay Feeley was the primary setter, finishing her senior season with 491 assists and 173 digs.

Field Hockey

It was only fitting that the NCAA Division II National Championship and semifinals were hosted at Stonehill College in Easton. After all, there were plenty of familiar faces in the Hockomock town. In a semifinal matchup between LIU Post and Saint Anselm, there was a combined six former Hockomock players on the field. OA’s Molly Cunha played in 17 games for LIU Post, who lost in the finals.

Saint Anselm has plenty of Hockomock players. Former Franklin standout Elizabeth Alie was named NE-10 Defender of the Year and also earned Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American First Team Honors. Alie helped anchor a defensive back line that finished sixth in the country and second in the NE-10 in goals against average (1.02). Alie leaves the program having started all 75 games she has played in while helping the team improve from giving up 2.60 goals per game her freshman year, to the program-best 1.02 GAA the Hawks posted this season.

Oliver Ames’ Hannah Friend, a former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, was tied for first in goals scored for the Hawks with seven. North Attleboro’s Rose Mooney was next on the team with six goals and three assists and Franklin’s Maddie Bressler followed her with four goals and five assists. Canton’s Mary Nee saw action in 19 games as well and recorded one assist.

For the second straight year, Canton’s Mary McNeil earned Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American honors. As a star player for Merrimack, McNeil earned First Team All-American honors following a season in which she led the Warriors in assists with seven and ranked third on the team with seven goals and 21 points. Her assist total was also tied for second in the NE-10 this season. Franklin’s Hannah Magerman added three goals and two assists for the Warriors, while Canton’s Lindsey Nolte and Milford’s Jess Palmer – both freshmen – saw action this season.

Former Foxboro star Katie Notarangelo continues to rack up recognition at the next level. Playing for MIT, Notarangelo was selected to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference First Team for the second straight year. Patrolling the midfield, Notarangelo helped generate a 341-171 margin in shots, a 224-106 advantage in shots on goal, and a 200-97 difference in penalty corners. She contributed to a defense that produced a 1.32 goals against average, which ranked second in the NEWMAC. Offensively, Notarangelo found the back of the net twice.

Regis College claimed the New England Collegiate Conference championship back in November with Oliver Ames product Yvonne Abate playing a big role. After Elms College took a lead in the first half, Abate stepped up to take a penalty stroke and beat the keeper to level the score. Abate was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Stoughton’s Ashley Chipman also started for Regis in the win, her 11th start of the season. Chipman finished tied for second on the team with six goals.

Former Franklin Panther Sammy Rondeau earned conference honors after a strong Fall season for Simmons. Rondeau was selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Second Team after ranking among the GNAC’s top top in points (23, 9th), goals (nine, 8th) and assists (five, 7th). The junior was one of two Simmons players to start all 19 matches and scored three game-winning goals for the sixth-most among league leaders. The forward registered at least one point in eight contests, including a career-high of six on two goals and two assists against Nichols.

A trio of former Hockomock players helped Springfield College pick up nine wins this Fall. Mansfield’s Allie Skinner started in 18 of her 19 games played, even registering an assist from her position on defense. Hannah Boylan, another former Hornet, started in 15 games, scoring a goal against Mount Holyoke. North Attleboro’s Emily Knobel saw action in 16 games, scoring two goals and adding three assists.

At UMass Dartmouth, a pair of former Hockomock players helped the Corsairs win seven games this season. Offensively, Taunton’s Katelin Morrissey was second on the team with 20 points – scoring eight goals and adding four assists. In goal, Franklin’s Allison Burke started five games and made a team-high 48 saves for a team-best .774 save percentage.

Oliver Ames’ Carly Cidado had a successful first year at WPI, finishing the season as one of the top scorers for the Engineers. The former Tiger had four goals – tied for fourth best on the team – and three assists, totaling 11 points, best among any freshmen or sophomores on the team.

Cross Country

Bridgewater State University might have been the biggest beneficiary from the Hockomock League across all sports. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams received a big boost from a Hockomock grad. Taunton’s Trevor Wysong had a fantastic rookie campaign for the Bears and was named MASCAC Rookie of the Year. At the MASCAC Championships, Wysong finished the 8k with a time of 26:33, good enough for fourth. For the girls, Milford’s Jenise Madden was also named MASCAC Rookie of the Year. She finished the MASCAC Championships (5k) in 19:40.

The 2015 Hockomock Volleyball All Stars & HMs

Elizabeth Hamilton
Below are the official Hockomock League Golf All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Elizabeth Hamilton, Canton

Hockomock League All Stars

Elizabeth Hamilton, Canton
Olivia Devoe, Canton
Rye Verille, Canton
Victoria Kelley, Foxboro
Dayna McCue, Franklin
Beth Neal, Franklin
Caroline Maguire, Franklin
Josie Rowean, King Philip
Gwen Uyrus, King Philip
Micaela Murray, King Philip
Cathryn Heavey, Mansfield
Sarah Mullahy, Mansfield
Megan Hill, Mansfield
Sara Youssef, North Attleboro
Bridgett Whalen, Stoughton
Molly Sullivan, Taunton
Tatum Speicher, Taunton

Honorable Mentions

Michelle Sheehan, Attleboro
Nicole Poole, Canton
Julia DiCenso, Foxboro
Aubrie Kutil, Franklin
Carly Adams, King Philip
Jessica Haradon, Mansfield
Kelley Reichert, Milford
Rachel Meilan, North Attleboro
Bridget McCarthy, Oliver Ames
Melissa Ader, Sharon
Bianca DeSousa, Stoughton
Emily Moor, Taunton

The 2015 Hockomock Volleyball All Stars & HMs

Elizabeth Hamilton
Below are the official Hockomock League Golf All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Elizabeth Hamilton, Canton

Hockomock League All Stars

Elizabeth Hamilton, Canton
Olivia Devoe, Canton
Rye Verille, Canton
Victoria Kelley, Foxboro
Dayna McCue, Franklin
Beth Neal, Franklin
Caroline Maguire, Franklin
Josie Rowean, King Philip
Gwen Uyrus, King Philip
Micaela Murray, King Philip
Cathryn Heavey, Mansfield
Sarah Mullahy, Mansfield
Megan Hill, Mansfield
Sara Youssef, North Attleboro
Bridgett Whalen, Stoughton
Molly Sullivan, Taunton
Tatum Speicher, Taunton

Honorable Mentions

Michelle Sheehan, Attleboro
Nicole Poole, Canton
Julia DiCenso, Foxboro
Aubrie Kutil, Franklin
Carly Adams, King Philip
Jessica Haradon, Mansfield
Kelley Reichert, Milford
Rachel Meilan, North Attleboro
Bridget McCarthy, Oliver Ames
Melissa Ader, Sharon
Bianca DeSousa, Stoughton
Emily Moor, Taunton

Hamilton, Bulldogs Dig Out Spot in Sectional Final

Elizabeth Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton (21) had 14 digs to lead the way for Canton, which showed off its defensive chops to beat Medway in the D2 Central semifinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

MEDWAY, Mass. – Canton hopes that the popular saying, “defense wins championships,” applies to volleyball as it does in so many other sports. The Bulldogs may not be the biggest or the hardest hitting team in Div. 2 Central, but they can frustrate opponents with the relentless ability to get the ball back over the net.

On Thursday night at Medway High, the Bulldogs showed off that defensive mentality against the host Mustangs and pulled out a 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) win to advance to the Div. 2 Central final to face Westborough for the third time in the past four years.

The Bulldogs were led in the match by Hockomock MVP Elizabeth Hamilton, who showed off her athleticism and positioning to pick up 14 digs along with her team-high 15 kills. Many times, Medway’s leading hitter Jess Jubb thought she had another kill only to have Hamilton or libero Olivia Devoe (11 digs) keep the play alive.

“She’s just a super all-around player,” said Canton Pat Cawley about the MVP, “and we have relied on Elizabeth and Olivia all year for our defense. So, when good hitters hit angle and are hitting at those two I feel pretty good that we’re going to get a hand on it.”

The Bulldogs trailed only three times in the entire match (at 2-1 and 3-2 in the first set and 5-4 in the third), but Cawley did not feel like the Bulldogs were ever able to fully put away the hosts.

“To me it felt like it was close the entire way,” she explained. “We had the lead I think pretty consistently but we’d get up three, four, five, and then they’d get back within one or two.

“We had runs, but so did they right behind us.”

Canton jumped out to a good lead in the first behind the hitting of Hamilton, who had six of her 15 kills in the opening set. Following back-to-back aces by Rye Verille, the Bulldogs led by as many as eight points at 19-11. A pair of aces by Medway’s Sydney Rice cut the lead down to four but Hamilton rose up to spike the comeback and Canton took the opening set.

The second was very similar to the first with Sarah Reissfelder and Hamilton combining for three quick kills to give the Bulldogs the advantage. With the Medway crowd screaming and the Mustangs getting a little momentum, Hamilton dropped down to dig out what looked like a sure kill then hopped up and blasted a hit cross-court to make it 11-9.

Casey Shea also had a big block for a point to make it 14-9 and continue extending the lead. Shea partnered with Verille and with Emma Murphy to give Canton a blocking matchup that could compete with the towering Jubb.

“Both combinations had some blocks on her tonight,” said Cawley.

“Casey is a good blocker…it’s only her second year playing volleyball and having a good blocker on another team’s hitter is an invaluable asset.”

Verille would kill off the second set with an emphatic slam down the line to give Canton a comfortable 2-0 edge. The Mustangs, propelled by a vociferous home crowd, did not lay down and pushed the Bulldogs throughout the third set.

Riana Pozsgai had a kill and then an ace to give Medway the 5-4 lead, but it would be the final lead of the match for the Mustangs, who never trailed by more than five in the closing set.

Kehla Minkin came in and provided a spark with a pair of aces to to give Canton back the advantage. Hamilton followed with a tip for a point and setter Nicole Poole (22 assists and one block) rose up for a very rare block to make it 9-5. With a big smile, Poole excitedly turned to the bench making sure that it knew she had made the play.

Medway continued to battle and keep it close. The final dagger may have come with Canton leading 19-18, when the ball skipped off Devoe and was heading into the stands. Hamilton raced over to keep it alive and Erika Lum was there with a heads up bump to get it over the net.

The Mustangs hit it into the net and deflated as the point went to Canton. Shea would cap the win with a big block at the end to send the Bulldogs into the final.

“I feel like this is kind of a blue-collar team,” said Cawley. “We’re a very good defensive team, pretty good blocking team, and we have timely offense.”

This is another trip to the sectional final for the Bulldogs, who have had their struggles when they reach this point. Canton has only once (2012) gotten out of the sectional and Cawley insisted that her team needed to enjoy the moment on Wednesday.

“The pressure to win sometimes overrides the joy of winning,” she said, “and they really need to enjoy their accomplishments right now and we’ll see what Saturday brings.”

Canton will face Westborough on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Hudson High.

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

Canton Finishes Strong In Sweep Of Milton

Canton celebrates after winning a long rally in the second set against Milton on Monday night. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Canton celebrates after winning a long rally in the second set against Milton on Monday night. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief

CANTON, Mass. – It’s not always how you start, but rather how you finish.

That’s the mantra that Canton played by on Monday night as Milton took early leads in each of the three sets but the Bulldogs were able to finish strong in each of them to get a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-19) win over the Wildcats in the D2 Central Quarterfinals.

“We started the match pretty tentative, I think it was nerves,” Canton head coach Pat Cawley said. “We didn’t really know anything about Milton so we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve had kind of one those years where we’re a blue collar team, we’ve worked hard for every hard win we’ve gotten. We’ve lost a couple disappointing five set matches where we were up two and lost.

“We hung in there and as the sets progressed I think the chemistry evolved and they really started being supportive of each other and relaxed. When we play relaxed we’re great, we’re a very skilled, good defensive team.”

Milton was able to keep the first set close but Canton held a two to three point nearly throughout. The Wildcats got within one point at 18-17 but the Bulldogs went on to put the finishing touches on. Junior Kehla Minkin recorded seven straight service points to help Canton close it out. Milton was whistled for two touches and junior Emma Murphy followed it up with a kill. Milton couldn’t get the ball over in three touches and then Elizabeth Hamilton hammered down a hill to make it 22-17.

A pair of errors from the Wildcats was followed by a perfectly placed tip from Murphy to clinch the first set 25-17.

Canton took an early lead in the second set, going up 7-1 before the Wildcats took a timeout. The Bulldogs committed four straight errors and a dig turned into a kill brought Milton within one point at 8-7. Milton was able to keep it close, getting within one point at 15-14 and getting within two when the Bulldogs were called for a net violation at 17-15, but once again, the home team closed out the set.

Hamilton gave Canton a four point cushion with a kill and then Murphy kill of a Nicole Poole assist made it a six point difference. Milton pulled one back but after a serve out of bounds, Canton finished the Wildcats off in game two with a Murphy kill and an ace from Hamilton to win 25-17.

Milton found success early in the third set and built its biggest lead of the entire match when the Wildcats went up 7-3. Canton has gone up 2-0 in some matches this year only for teams to rally, including a 3-2 loss to Quincy just a week ago. Cawley called a timeout and brought her team in.

“I said that we’re not going to four games tonight, we’re not doing this again,” Cawley said. “I actually got on them a little bit for their complacency. I told them to get out there and hit the ball, stop thinking about it. If its a bad pass we have to make the best set we can, if its a bad set we have to put the ball in play as aggressively as possible and to their credit they did a good job with that.”

The Bulldogs responded right away with Casey Shea registering a block kill on the next play. Hamilton had three kills, including the last coming off a long back and forth rally, that gave Canton the lead while Murphy had a kill off a quick set and Maria Mackie had an ace.

Murphy ended another run with a block kill to extend the lead to 16-11, which worked out to be a 13-4 run since Cawley’s timeout. Milton rallied to get within three points at 19-16 but Hamilton picked up four kills in the next six play to push Canton on the brink of the win at 24-17. Milton’s last effort went out of play and Canton took the win in the third set 25-19.

“I think the defense has been our strong point all year,” Cawley said. “I think Olivia Devoe is one of the best liberos around. This is her first year playing at that position and she doesn’t get a ton of credit in the volleyball world cause they don’t know her. I have been around volleyball my whole life, I referee Division 2 and Division 3 and I think she could play on any of those teams and I don’t say that lightly about my kids.

“Elizabeth Hamilton is also an awesome defensive player. When the two of them are in the back row, I’m shocked if a ball falls untouched. It’s not to say teams won’t get kills on us cause they will but they are as good of a duo as any. Maria Mackie went into the game and played phenomenal in the third set.”

Hamilton finished with a game-high 20 kills and added 14 digs and three aces while Murphy had eight kills with just one hitting error. Devoe had 20 digs and Poole finished with 34 assists and six digs.

Monday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/02/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Volleyball
Canton, 2 @ Quincy, 3 – Final – Canton took a 2-0 lead but Quincy rallied in what head coach Pat Cawley called a great high school match (25-17, 25-10, 20-25, 21-25, 14-16). Elizabeth Hamilton had 24 digs and 18 kills, Sarah Reissfelder had 10 kills and Rye Verille and Emma Murphy each had nine kills. Nicole Poole had 36 assists and six sics while Olivia Devoe had 32 digs and played outstanding defense according to Cawley. Kehla Minkin and Erika Lum combined for over 29 digs for Canton.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ Brockton, 1 – Final
Sharon, 3 vs. Norwood, 0 – Final

Stoughton, 1 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final – Stoughton lost 25-18, 14-25, 4-25, 20-25. Christina Gelin had 21 digs and 15 service receptions and Bianca DeSousa added 17 digs, 10 assists, eight service points and three aces.

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/02/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Volleyball
Canton, 2 @ Quincy, 3 – Final – Canton took a 2-0 lead but Quincy rallied in what head coach Pat Cawley called a great high school match (25-17, 25-10, 20-25, 21-25, 14-16). Elizabeth Hamilton had 24 digs and 18 kills, Sarah Reissfelder had 10 kills and Rye Verille and Emma Murphy each had nine kills. Nicole Poole had 36 assists and six sics while Olivia Devoe had 32 digs and played outstanding defense according to Cawley. Kehla Minkin and Erika Lum combined for over 29 digs for Canton.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ Brockton, 1 – Final
Sharon, 3 vs. Norwood, 0 – Final

Stoughton, 1 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final – Stoughton lost 25-18, 14-25, 4-25, 20-25. Christina Gelin had 21 digs and 15 service receptions and Bianca DeSousa added 17 digs, 10 assists, eight service points and three aces.

Wednesday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/28/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Volleyball
Canton, 1 vs. Duxbury, 3 – Final – Canton rallied to win the second set but fell to the Dragons, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 18-25. Elizabeth Hamilton had 17 kills to go along with 19 digs, Sarah Reissfelder and Rye Verille combined for 13 kills and Olivia Devoe had 16 digs for the Bulldogs.
Field Hockey
Attleboro, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final

Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – OA senior Hannah Friend scored with six minutes left in the first half while senior goalie Cassie Gavin came up big in the second half and finished with 12 saves.
Mansfield @ Taunton, 6:00
Sharon @ Canton – Postponed to 10/30 at 3:30

King Philip @ Franklin – Postponed to 10/30 at 5:00
Stoughton @ Milford- Postponed to 10/30 at 5:30

Monday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/26/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Girls Soccer
Mansfield, 2 @ New Bedford, 0 – Final – Mansfield’s Emma Oldow scored both of the Hornets’ goals, with assists from Jen Kemp and Becca Bornstein. The Hornets outshot the Whalers by a large margin (25-2) while Lauren Whitman made one save to get her first career shutout.
Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Mansfield got the win at home 25-12, 25-16, 25-6. Mansfield head coach Melissa Heeden said all six of the team’s seniors — Alli Belanger, Cathryn Heavey, Kelsey Hernon, Sarah Mullahy, Juliana Newell and Colleen Riley – played well in the win. Hernon had seven service points, Mullahy had 17 service point and five digs and Riley added 12 service points and nine aces. 
Stoughton, 1 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Stoughton won the first set but Canton rallied back to win the next three and get the 16-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-17 win. Elizabeth Hamilton led Canton with 14 kills and 15 digs, Sarah Reissfelder and Rye Verille combined for 13 kills and Nicole Poole had 33 assists. Head coach Pat Cawley said Olivia Devoe played great defensively and Kelly Dever hit .500 with six kills. Stoughton’s Ava Siegel had 14 service points, 12 digs and eight kills and Bridgette Whalen had 18 digs, 10 kills and seven blocks.

Foxboro, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final

Franklin, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Franklin got the win on the road with a 25-17, 24-26, 25-22, 29-27 win. Maddie Kuzio stepped into the lineup and played terrific defense according to head coach Kate Horsmann and had 12 service points, seven digs and five aces. Beth Neal had 21 assists, 12 kills, three aces and a block, Aubrie Kutil had 13 kills and three digs and Dayna McCue had 12 digs, five aces and a pair of kills.

King Philip, 1 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Taunton’s Tatum Speicher became the first player in program history to reach 1,000 assists, setting up the first kill of the fourth set, to lead the Tigers to a marathon win over King Philip. Three of the four sets went over the 25 point threshold as Taunton got the 30-28, 27-25, 20-25, 26-24 win. Speicher had 34 assists in the match, Emily Moor played well with 15 kills and four aces and Meghan Navarro and Molly Sullivan combined for 18 digs, 10 aces and 23 service points. King Philip’s Josie Rowean had eight service points in game one and finished with 18 kills overall, Gwen Uyrus had 11 kills and Micaela Murray added five service points in game three, including two aces. 

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Milford, 3 – Final
Field Hockey
Attleboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Caitlin Whitman, Caroline Maher, Emily Ierardo and Mary Kate Kelly each scored once in the win for Mansfield. 
Stoughton, 1 @ Canton, 0 – Final – Kara Ploss made 10 saves to deny Canton an equalizing goal while Angela Connolly scored the lone goal for the Black Knights.

Foxboro, 7 @ Sharon, 0 – Final
Franklin, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Senior Kelsey McPhee scored a pair of goals and Dana Lewandowski also scored once for the Panthers. Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper said Taylor Reutlinger and Kenzi Pleshaw also had strong games.

King Philip, 2 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – The Warriors scored once in each half to get the road on the win. Alli Meehan opened the scoring for KP with an unassisted goal in the first half and Caitlin Donahue added a second off an assist from Courtney Foley in the second half. 

Oliver Ames, 4 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Olivia Powers scored a pair of goals for Oliver Ames and Carly Cidado and Sara Stevens each scored once. Head coach Janice Sundell said Hannah Friend and Katie Davenport played well for OA.