FRANKLIN, Mass. – After splitting two regular season matchups and sharing the Kelley-Rex division title for the second year in a row, it was fitting that the final game of the volleyball season would see Franklin and King Philip battle it out, not just for the bragging rights, or to win the season series, but also to being home the first Hockomock Cup title.
After jumping in front by winning the opening two sets, Franklin was nearly forced to a decisive fifth set but the Panthers rallied in the fourth, winning six of the final seven points, capped off by a cross-court spike by senior Ally Bonnet-Eymard that snuck inside the line, to seal a 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21) victory.
“The girls never took a single day for granted,” said Franklin coach Samantha Elliott. “They have been 100 percent committed to play, so for them this wasn’t just the first Hock Cup, this was their championship and they’ve been working that way all season.”
KP coach Kristen Geuss was proud of her team’s fight back after a rough opening set and the way the Warriors fought throughout a final that everyone was grateful to see happen.
“I think we played very well,” she said. “To have the opportunity to even play an extra week in this whole thing, it gave us more games and let the girls come out and have fun for another week. We had a great season and they’re a great bunch of girls.”
Franklin took control of the opening set right from the first point. In a reverse of Wednesday’s semifinal against Canton, KP struggled out of the gate and the Panthers put together a 9-0 run to break things open and take a 19-6 lead.
Emma Chase (10 kills) had a block and then a kill on back-to-back points, Bonnet-Eymard (game-high 22 kills) fired a shot past the dive of KP libero Emma Brooks, Taylor Lacerda (seven kills) fired an ace, and then Bonnet-Eymard ended the run with a hit right on the line.
KP tried to build some momentum heading to the second. Giovanna Fruci and Sami Shore each had kills before Bonnet-Eymard picked the corner with an accurate swing. Nicole Coughlan and Ahunna James both got on the board as well with good hits, but the final swing hit the net and Franklin took the quick 1-0 lead.
“I had the confidence that we could come back,” said Geuss. “We have in the past. I thought we could dig deep and we did. The second and third games were much better obviously than the first and I thought they played really well.”
The Warriors did seem to carry some energy over into the second set and a Lily Carlow ace and a block and a kill by James put the visitors up 11-5. Brooks had a point from the back row and James added another of her five kills in the set to keep the lead at five points, but Franklin’s depth along the front line started to pay dividends.
Grace Lacerda, Chase, and Taylor Lacerda recorded three straight points and an angled Chase drive got Franklin back level. After the Panthers took the lead, Coughlan had two straight kills, including one at the end of a long rally that put KP back in front 19-18. Bonnet-Eymard answered with a pinpoint tip and a blast off the blocker.
“That’s the best thing about us, it’s not just Ally,” Elliott said. “Ally is a force to be reckoned with but it’s always every other girl on my team. (Setter) Cailyn [Mackintosh] has the ability to give it to anyone because people watch Ally so if you can give it to someone else it’s going to work out in your favor.”
“She has worked so hard to be as accurate and consistent and connect with every single one of our hitters that we wouldn’t be where we are without her drive and her leadership,” Elliott said about Mackintosh, who finished with 49 assists.
With Franklin up 23-21, Bonnet-Eymard again found space down the line off the dive of Carlow and a shot into the net had the Panthers just a set away from the win.
The last time these teams met, it went to five sets before KP pulled out the win. So, Franklin knew there was still work to be done. The Panthers jumped out to a 14-11 lead in the fourth following a Mackintosh push that eluded the KP defense.
KP responded with four straight points to get in front. With the score tied again at 17-17, KP managed to string together a few points. Fruci started it with a spike and then Coughlan was able to follow with back-to-back points. The senior, who managed to score from both outside positions as well as the middle, had eight kills in the third set alone.
“Nicole makes everything look easy, and it’s not,” Geuss said about Coughlan. “I don’t know how she does it but she makes everything look easy. She will be missed.”
After Bonnet-Eymard got one back for Franklin, Coughlan added two more kills. With the score 24-21, James, just a sophomore, showed off her skills on the outside with a powerful angled drive that secured a fourth set.
The fourth was back-and-forth with neither team able to build larger than a four-point lead. Coughlan and James continued to find any gap in the Franklin defense and the KP back row continued to keep almost every play alive, forcing the Panthers into long rallies.
KP looked like it might be on its way to a decisive fifth set when it rattled off five straight points and took a 12-8 lead. Bonnet-Eymard had the answer with back-to-back kills, the second smashed off the KP block and out. A kill from Lindsey Tarantola tied things up and then an ace by Meghan Linkkila put Franklin in front 13-12.
Shore got KP back within one at 17-16 but Chase came right back with a hit from the middle. James had a pair of kills, including one right off the line to put the Warriors up 19-18, then Carlow’s tough serve got away from the Panthers. Chase and Bonnet-Eymard came right back with kills and tied the set at 20-20.
After a Franklin point, James blasted another kill that tied the game at 21-21, but King Philip (11-2) had an uncharacteristic defensive lapse to put Franklin in front to stay. Brigid Earley followed with a big block, a shot went wide, and then Bonnet-Eymard lined up one last swing, angled across the court into an open spot, handing Franklin (12-1) the win and the cup.
“We knew that the first set was not normal, that we were going to have to work hard for every single point because KP is a fantastic team,” Elliott explained. “Just telling the girls to believe in themselves and to forget what this is and to have fun for their last game to play with each other that they’d be okay, and they were.”
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin shined from the service line and went on to sweep the visiting Bombardiers, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-8). The Panthers recorded 23 aces as a team with junior Cailyn Mackintosh leading the way with eight aces. Meghan Linkkila and Taylor Lacerda each added six aces and Ally Bonnet-Eymard added three aces to go along with nine kills. Lindsey Tarantola (four kills) and Emma Chase (three kills) both played well at the net for the hosts.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Sharon, 3 – Final
King Philip, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – King Philip kept its division title hopes alive with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-10) win on the road at Taunton. The Warriors had a strong day serving as Lauren Peterson notched 16 service points and three aces and Nicole Coughlan added four aces and 15 service points, along with 13 kills. Ahunna James also played well at the net for KP with 11 kills while Emma Brooks added 11 digs, three aces, and two kills.
Boys Winter Track
Stoughton, 55 @ Canton, 45 – Final – For Canton, Jonathan Chery was a double-winner and also had a second place finish in a close loss to Stoughton. Chery won both the 100M (11.0) and the 200M (22.4) while taking second in the high jump (5’4″). Jack Hernon was the winner for the 1 Mile race (5:08.4) and crossed second in the 800M (2:13.5).
Girls Winter Track
Stoughton 38, Canton 62 – Final – Canton’s Maddie Rousseau and Kiara Cerruti were both double-winners for the Bulldogs in a win over visiting Stoughton. Rousseau crossed first in the 200M (26.3), won the long jump (15’8.25″), and took second in the high jump (4’8″) while Cerruti won both the 1 Mile (5:54) and the 800M (2:40.3). Kiley Hanlon won the 100M (12.8), took second in the 200M (26.3) and was third in the high jump, Leah Murphy also had a first place (high jump, 4’8″) and second place (100M hurdles, 17.9), and Corrine Campbell had a pair of second place finishes.
Sharon, 6 @ Canton, 17 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (C) Robert Botelho 33-yard pass to Vincent O’Brien, Will Keefe XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) W. Keefe 33-yard field goal; (S) Kiran Chandrasekaran 20-yard pass to PJ McManus, XP blocked; (C) Jack Albert 32-yard pass to Andrew Butler, W. Keefe XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Foxboro, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (OA) Collin Williamson 17-yard rush, 2pt rush failed.
2nd Quarter: (F) Cam Prescott 29-yard pass to Luis Sulham, Sam Carpenter XP good; (F) Dylan Gordon 10-yard rush, XP blocked; (F) C. Prescott 12-yard pass to L. Sulham, 2pt rush failed; (F) C. Prescott 57-yard pass to Tom Sharkey, S. Carpenter XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) Rashaad Way 92-yard kickoff return, S. Carpenter XP good; (F) Mike Norvish 2-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Mansfield, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – After splitting the first two sets, Franklin win two in a row to complete a 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-18, 25-10) win over the visiting Hornets. Cailyn Mackintosh dished out 26 assists in the win while Ally Bonnet-Eymard (eight kills, 11 digs), Lindsey Tarantola (seven kills), and Emma Chase (six kills, two blocks, two aces) paced the attack for Franklin. Alina Nowakowski (nine kills, eight digs) led the charge offensively for Mansfield while Olivia McGrath (five kills, eight aces) and Julia Kelly each registered 18 digs apiece.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – For the past seven seasons, the road to the Kelley-Rex division title has gone through either Franklin or Wrentham, and sometimes both.
With an abbreviated season on tap this year, those head-to-head matchups take on extra importance as the Panthers and Warriors of King Philip stand as the favorites for the division crown again this year.
Franklin volleyball King Philip volleyball
Round one of the home-and-home series between the two went to Franklin, who came through in key moments down the stretch in all three sets to earn a 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-22) sweep of the visiting Warriors.
“It comes down to trust, trusting yourself, trusting who you’re on the court with, and trusting all of your teammates,” said first-year Franklin head coach Samantha Elliott. “It’s not a one-person sport, a one-person game…I think they showed a lot of teamwork closing those sets out. We can’t just rely on one person, we have to play our game as a team.”
Franklin battled through adversity during all three sets, the match playing out closer than the 3-0 score would indicate. In both the first and second sets Franklin saw their sizable advantage shrink down in the closing moments of each set. And in the third, the Panthers played from behind for the most part.
Franklin volleyball King Philip volleyball
But when push came to shove, Franklin made the key plays in the key moments. The Panthers fended off KP in the first set by winning the final four points and then repeated that in the second set. After coming back in the third set, the game was tied until Franklin won three straight points to clinch the match.
“They were obviously the better team today,” said King Philip head coach Kristen Geuss, now in her sixth year at the helm of the Warriors. “We kind of hurt ourselves in some ways and we have to work on some things, having to have some practices with the whole team will definitely help. We haven’t had the whole team for one practice yet but that’s no excuse, we have to fix our mistakes.”
Franklin looked on its way to a comfortable win the first set, extending its lead to 19-12 behind a nice tip kill from freshman Taylor Lacerda (seven kills), a tip and block from junior Brigid Earley (six kills), and a nice line shot from senior Ally Bonnet-Eymard (12 kills). But KP had a renewed energy coming out of a timeout, sparked by a block from senior Paige Kannally, a perfectly placed pass over the net from senior Emma Brooks, a good serve from sophomore Ahunna James, and a kill from senior Giovanna Fruci off a nice set from Lauren Peterson that made it 21-18.
Franklin volleyball King Philip volleyball
James added an ace after a Franklin timeout that made it a two-point game but Lacerda landed a big kill, and three straight strong serves from Maia Pilof, including an ace, sealed the 25-19 win.
“King Philip has a great defense and it showed our girls how hard they need to work in order to rally and finish off games,” Elliott said. “And it was good to see them battle tonight and see that they can do it.
“It was a great test for our defense too, they kept us on our toes. We had to switch some things up because both [James] and [Coughlan] were fantastic, definitely players we had to watch out for and try to take away the lanes because they were able to take advantage with some good swings.”
Franklin carried that momentum into the second set as the Panthers won the first seven points, getting a kill from Lacerda, another from senior Emma Chase (four kills, three blocks) on a quick set in the middle, a perfectly weighted tip from Earley, and an ace from junior Cailyn Mackintosh (25 assists).
The Panthers kept that lead for the majority of the set, pushing the advantage to double digits, 16-6, on a kill from Lacerda, but similar to the first set the Warriors made a run to make things interesting. Kills from Fruci and Nicole Coughlan started the run and the Warriors used their momentum to force the Panthers into some errors.
Franklin volleyball King Philip volleyball
A nice swing from the back row from Lily Carloww got KP within three, 20-17, forcing a home timeout. Earley landed a nice kill from the right side and back-to-back KP hitting errors forced a Warrior timeout. KP couldn’t return the ball on back-to-back plays and Bonnet-Eymard finished the set off with an ace.
While Bonnet-Eymard led the Panthers in kills, Franklin’s ability to attack from each spot at the net during multiple rotations helped keep the Warrior defense off-balance. Mackintosh, who is in her second year starting at setter, did a nice job spreading the ball around to get swings from the outside, the middle, and the right side.
“We have 100% full faith in Cailyn to make the right decision,” Elliott said. “She’s been a rock on this team for the past two years, only a junior, she makes great decisions. She trusts everyone on the court too and I think that’s important when it comes to setting and spreading it around. She’s just a junior but it feels like she’s been playing forever.
“And everyone knows who Ally is, she’s such a weapon for us on offense so it’s really important for us to kind of spread things out and keep the defense off-balance, we don’t want the defense to get comfortable, start cheating that way. We have a lot of talent so it makes sense for us to spread it out.”
After falling behind in each of the first two sets, KP had a better start to the third game but Franklin kept pace with the Warriors. The game was tied six times and had seven lead changes in the first 20 points, the teams split 10-10 at that point.
Fruci registered a kill off the block, Coughlan slammed down a kill, and a Franklin net error gave the Warriors a 13-10 lead but Franklin responded with a 6-1 surge with Lacerda, Chase, and Bonnet-Eymard each registering a kill to put the hosts back ahead.
The teams went back-and-forth again, tied at 17, 19, 20, 21, and 22. A hitting error gave Franklin the lead, the Panthers earned a point after a nice swing from Bonnet-Eymard from the back row, and the Panthers clinched the win after another hitting error from the visitors.
“We have to work on our serve receive a little bit more and that just starts everything, it all goes from there,” Guess said. “I think we were a little bit not ready for today, we weren’t prepared for today. It’s a big game against [Franklin] so hopefully Saturday we’ll be ready and not make as many mistakes that we did today.”
Franklin volleyball (3-0) returns to action on Saturday when they hit the road to Wrentham to take on the Warriors in a rematch at 1:00.
Milford, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Franklin opened its season with a sweep over visiting Milford (25-16, 25-20, 25-15). The Panthers jumped out to a big lead in the first set and never looked back, battled back and forth for a win in the second set, and then overcame an early deficit in the third to complete the sweep. Senior Ally Bonnet-Eymard led the charge offensively with 11 kills and four aces, freshman Taylor Lacerda added six kills, and senior Emma Chase chipped in with five kills. Junior Cailyn Mackintosh dished out 25 assists and junior Maia Pilof had five aces.
There is a new level of excitement in the gymnasium at Attleboro High as Mary Katherine Runey takes over as the varsity coach for the Bombardiers.
Attleboro has a mix of returners with experience and new faces to the varsity level, and Runey believes her squad has a tremendous amount of potential. It all starts with senior Ana Leonardo, a four-year starter at the setter position for the Bombardiers. Attleboro has plenty of depth at the setter position with freshman Natalie Brojek joining the mix right away. Leonardo and Brojek will have some experienced hitters to work with including senior opposite Krista Greening, senior middle Kosi Igbobi, and junior outside Delia Barthel. Junior captain Lilly Boedeker brings a lot of energy and experience to the defensive end as the libero, anchoring the Bombardiers’ back row.
“Our program is very excited to be back on the court,” Runey said. “We have a great mix of returning players as well as athletes new to the varsity level. I believe our team has a tremendous amount of potential, and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish this year. Ana and Natalie will certainly bring an intensity to our offense and Lilly matches that defensively.”
2019 Record: 22-3 (Davenport Division Champions) 2019 Finish: Division 2 State Champions Coach: Pat Cawley
The 2019 season was a banner year for the Bulldogs, claiming the Davenport division, the D2 Central sectional crown, and the program’s first ever D2 State Championship.
The returners have been eager to defend their championships, and after waiting just a little bit longer, the Bulldogs have their chance to at least battle for another Hock title. There’s an obvious void in the lineup with the graduation of HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Taylor Harris, one of the most feared hitters in the entire state. But longtime head coach Pat Cawley has an arsenal of weapons at her disposal that makes Canton the team to beat again this year. Senior middle Liz Bickett gets it done both offensively and defensively at the net and is a reliable option in the back row. Senior outside hitter Angie Elias is a reliable option at the net as well as senior middle Shannon Malloy. Senior Jackie Morrissey stepped into the setter role last year and really improved as the season went on while classmate Olivia Chinsen, a captain, is another option at setter after returning from injury. Seniors Nikki Desjardins (libero) and Stephanie Trendell will anchor the Bulldogs’ defense in the back row.
“We are excited and grateful to be back on the court,” Cawley said. “Although we have big shoes to fill at the outside hitter positions, we return several experienced players at middle blocker, setter, and defense. Senior captain Olivia Chinsen and junior Sydney Gallery are back from season-ending injuries and will help make us a stronger team. We are concentrating on building better chemistry and communication, always striving to be the best we can be!”
2019 Record: 11-10 2019 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round Coach: Vicki Santana
In head coach Vicki Santana’s first year in charge, the Warriors won 11 games and reached the postseason and Foxboro will hope to build on that momentum this season with 10 seniors on the roster.
Defensively, the Warriors should be tough. Kelsey Treweek returns at libero along with defensive specialists Pam Nelson and Grace Fortune. Nelson and Treweek were among the league leaders in digs in the 2019 season. Leading hitter Grace Boudreau graduated, but Santana is counting on several players to provide points with versatile hitters Emma Keefe and Shannon McDonald in the starting lineup. Underclassmen Sami Sloan and Mallorie Meyer will add depth at the net and have the potential to provide an instant impact
“Tryouts and practice were a little bit of a challenge to make sure we are following the Covid guidelines while still having fun and being competitive,” Santana said. “The girls have been so great and are staying positive through all of this. They are taking all of the guidelines seriously because they are so happy to be back in the gym!”
Franklin is coming off back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles and is in search of their third straight this season, but will be doing so under new guidance. Sam Elliott takes over as head coach of the Panthers after Kelsey Weymouth moved on to the collegiate level after two successful years at the helm.
Elliott is familiar with the program after serving as an assistant last season and she knows she has the pieces to make a push to hang another division title banner in this abbreviated season. Senior captain Ally Bonnet-Eymard enters her fourth year with the team and is among the most dangerous hitters in the league (205 kills) from the left side. She’ll be flanked by senior Emma Chase, who is back for her second straight year starting at middle and gives Franklin a weapon both offensively and defensively. Junior Cailyn Mackintosh really impressed in her first season last year and will be the starting setter while Jill Benoit returns as the starting libero. Elliott is also looking for some younger faces to push for time including sophomore Meghan Linkkila and freshmen Taylor Lacerda and Grace Lacerda.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to play this year, with six seniors it is important that they were able to have their final season,” Elliott said. “As a program we are excited to compete and improve, our group is a mix of returners and new players so it will be fun watching them all come together.”
There will be a lot of familiar faces on the court this season for King Philip, who is looking to ride a strong senior class and an experienced group of players to a second straight Kelley-Rex crown.
Head coach Kristen Guess has weapons all over the court, starting with her three senior captains. Middle Nicole Coughlan has been a force at the net for the past two years and will be one of the toughest players to stop this year. Fellow captains Emma Brooks and Lily Carlow, who both have a lot of experience at the varsity level will anchor the Warriors’ defense from the back row. Senior Giovanna Fruci will be one of KP’s top options at the net as well as sophomore Ahunna James, who had some impressive swings in limited action last year. Guess is looking for seniors Paige Kannally and Camryn Buckley to step up and help with blocking at the net while senior Lauren Peterson will set the entire team in motion from the setter position. Junior Stella Bailey and sophomore Sami Shore have played well in preseason and should be in the mix as well.
“This the most experienced team I have coached, we have depth on the team with strong newcomers,” Guess said.
We are excited to have a season and are ready to play.”
2019 Record: 8-11 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Mark Ledwich
Longtime head coach Melissa Heeden stepped down over the offseason so the Hornets enter this season under the guidance of their new head coach Mark Ledwich. Ledwich is familiar with volleyball in the area as the director of the sport at Mass Premier Courts and brings experience from the collegiate level to the job.
Ledwich has an experienced group to work with during his first year with six players back from last year’s team, most of which saw either starting or at least valuable minutes at the varsity level. The Hornets will have a variety of weapons on the offensive end with its top four attackers back from last year. Junior Julia Kelly (124 kills) led the squad in kills as a sophomore and will be one of the most dangerous hitters in the league this year while Alina Nowakowski, Olivia McGrath, and Kacey Veiking all provide legitimate threats at the net. All four will start the Hornet defense will their blocking with Veiking (35 blocks) among the top returners in that category.
“Our focus this season is on error management and when to stretch a point,” Ledwich said. “We have a lot of heavy hands this year, so knowing when to utilize them in each situation has been a huge focus of the pre-season. With the consistent height we have available in the front row this season we are spending a lot of time discussing approach paths of opposing attackers and how we should funnel each attack to best utilize our attacking strengths.”
2019 Record: 10-10 2019 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round Coach: Tammy Webber
The Hawks have reached the postseason in each of the past two seasons, and while there isn’t a state tournament this year, Milford is aiming to attain the success that comes with a playoff berth.
Making the switch to the Kelley-Rex will be challenging, but one the Hawks are ready for. With a strong mix of returning players with varsity experience and some new players looking to make a splash, Milford could surprise some teams along the way. Elise Fauerbach returns for her senior season after missing significant time last year due to an injury. Fauerbach will patrol the right side, giving the Hawks a good option defensively with her size, and has a high volleyball IQ. Milford has two key defensive players back with senior Eva Parson (106 digs), who took on the role of libero last season but is in the mix to step into the full rotation, even getting swings as an outside hitter. Junior Sarah Brogioli can play just about anywhere on the court, a reliable option in the back row (106 digs) while also capable of stepping up to the net and connecting on some big swings (96 kills). Lexi Stark is an athletic option at middle that can move side-to-side to help with blocking in all three spots at the net. Sophomore Emily Crouteau is penciled into the setter role to start the year while Aliza Syed will be an option at the net for the Hawks.
2019 Record: 13-6 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Kim Marshall
North Attleboro has been one of the biggest challengers to Canton’s reign atop the Davenport division in recent years, and the Rocketeers are going to be right back in the mix again during this Fall 2 season.
Head coach Kim Marshall has four returning seniors that all have valuable experience at the varsity level and then a strong junior class with consists of eight players ready to make a splash at the varsity level. Senior Joanna Collins-Bilyeu is one of the most experienced players in the league and will be a cornerstone at the net for the Rocketeers after putting down 67 kills a year ago. She will be joined by classmates Annie Grunewald and Jasmine Anderson along the net to give North a formidable attacking trio. Belle Clarkin will anchor the back row that features some new faces so the Rocketeers will be learning as the season goes on. Junior Katherine McHoul is stepping in to take over at the setter position to run the offense.
“I am really excited for this season to start, I just wish it wasn’t so short,” said Marshall. “I am very fortunate, again, to get a wonderful group of student-athletes who continually work so hard, support each other and are so much fun to be around.”
2019 Record: 18-5 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Chelsea Cunningham
Oliver Ames made a run to the Div. 1 South final in 2019 and pushed perennial power Barnstable to a decisive fifth set and, after moving to the Davenport division this season, the Tigers have the potential to give defending state champ Canton a serious challenge for the league title.
Senior Caroline Flynn will be one of the team’s primary attackers on the outside and will get help from classmate Jordan Bennett, who is recovering from an injury but can play multiple positions along the front line. Senior Tori Harney is back after missing all of last season with an injury and will compete for a starting role as a middle hitter. Senior Sarah Morley will transition from defensive specialist to libero this year with senior Allie Zwerle providing leadership in the DS role. Junior Hadley Rhodes will step in as the setter this season, replacing the program’s all-time leader in assists, Allie Kemp, while sophomore Maddie Homer will add athleticism on the back row.
“This team has so much potential to build off of the best season this program has had to date- and we have work to do,” said OA coach Chelsea Cunningham. “With this season being so short, we are hoping to make every moment count in the gym. From bonding with everyone on the team, to mixing up the lineups, and everyone being ready to compete- it’s exciting to FINALLY play after the long wait.”
2019 Record: 6-13 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrea Lovett
The foundation of the Sharon volleyball this season will be its senior class, a strong group of experienced players hungry to make some noise in the Davenport division this season.
The Eagles have four returning seniors in Brynne Aidlin-Perlman, Yvette Nau, Leah Fandel, and Sarah Fandel; all four can play in a variety of roles for Sharon. Aidlin-Perlman is a leader both on and off the court and provides the Eagles with solid defense plus a strong swing from the outside hitter position. Nau is back for another year as the team’s setter and will quarterback the offense, having all three of her classmates as good options at the net. Sara Fandel put a lot of work in during the offseason and has improved greatly at the net and provides the Eagles with a reliable defensive option in the back row while Leah Fandel is a two-way threat at the net from the middle position.
“We have four returning seniors that provide a very solid base for a talented team,” said Sharon head coach Andrea Lovett. “The team is rounded out with talented juniors who will be taking us into next year. Sharon expects to be a threat in our “Hock Bubble” this season.”
2019 Record: 2-14 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Felicia Baptista
The Black Knights are looking to bounce back in a big way during the Fall 2 season. Felicia Baptista is moving up from subvarsity to take over the varsity squad.
Baptista will have a lot of new faces that are new to the varsity level so she plans to rely heavily on her two returners, especially in the early going. That means senior Shanice Landrum and senior Camille Firmin will be key leaders both on and off the court this year as Stoughton looks to battle for the Davenport division crown. Landrum led the team in kills last season with 86 and was one of the best blockers in the Hockomock League with 63. Firmin should see an expanded role at the net as the Knights look to integrate new faces into its lineup under Baptista.
“Even though it is a big building season for us, our team dynamic seems like we have been playing together for years,” Baptista said. “Every day I see big improvements with communication on the court and our defense is looking solid. This year is unique for us because we do have a few boys on our roster and, not only do they bring talent, but they add a light and fun atmosphere to the gym.”
With a large group of experienced players returning this season, the Tigers are eager to put last season behind them and make a splash this year.
Taunton has 10 seniors in total, with nine of them returning players from last season along with one returning junior, so experience will be a strength for this year’s squad. The Tigers will be looking to turn their experience at the varsity level into success on the court in the abbreviated Fall 2 season. Senior captain Jaelyn Fernandez will put the offense into motion from the setter spot and will have some weapons to work with along the net. The Tigers have all three of their top attackers back from a year ago, including senior captain and outside hitter Ella Dunderdale, who led the Tigers in kills last season with 89 kills. Senior Sonya Fernandez (83 kills) and junior Mikayla Cleary (63 kills) will also give the Tigers options from the middle and opposite spots. Seniors Makena Travers, Kailara Andrade, and Fabiana Pereira will anchor the back row for the Tigers. With experience in multiple spots, depth will be key for Taunton this year.
“We are just looking forward to the competition but as we know in the Kelley-Rex you have to be focused and be ready to bring it every night as every team is tough,” said Taunton head coach Toby Chaperon. “We are just hoping we can rise to the challenge each and every match and hope that our execution is sharp.”
Team: Franklin Volleyball
2018 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2018 Division 1 Central-West Champions
2018 Division 1 State Semifinalists
With a strong group of returning players, the Franklin volleyball team entered the season as the top-ranked team in our Hock 5 rankings. But there were few, at least outside of the program, that expected the Panthers to be as good as they were.
While the Panthers graduated a couple of key pieces from the lineup a year before, first-year head coach Kelsey Weymouth inherited a talented, experienced group that looked primed to get back atop the Kelley-Rex division. There were signs very early of just how talented Franklin was, including a 3-0 sweep over non-league foe Bishop Feehan, a 3-0 sweep over defending division champ King Philip, and a 3-1 win on the road over Hockomock power Canton — all in a five-day span.
Senior Lauren McGrath returned for her third year as the team’s starting setter was a key piece in orchestrating the offense as well as an important part of the Panther defense. After dishing out 545 assists her junior year, McGrath crossed the 1,000-assist mark as a senior with 547 assists. McGrath had plenty of choices to work with offensively with four players reaching the 100-kill mark: Ellie Wisniewski (151), Maggie Doyle (135), Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (102), and Hailey Sanders (100).
“I knew from our first practice that we had the skillset and drive to go all the way,” Weymouth said. Weymouth was a former standout at Hock rival North Attleboro before a successful career at Stonehill. “I was coached hard while playing at Stonehill College and in doing so, we were successful. I wanted to bring the same drive to my girls at Franklin High School … I was not easy on this group because I knew they had what it took but they needed that push and confident booster! They worked so hard day in and day out and I could not be more proud of them and all of their hard work during our 2018 season! These ladies had natural-born talent and when they came together as a team they were unstoppable.”
What made Franklin’s offense so dangerous was their ability to hit successfully from all three spots at the net. It wasn’t just a rotation between two outside hitters or forcing to just one player. Not only did the Panthers have one of the best outside hitters in Wisniewski, but they also had two very good options in Doyle (middle) and Sanders (opposite). Bonnet-Eymard and Emma Chase, both sophomores that season, provided strong attacking depth for Franklin.
On the flip side, the Panthers were strong defensively at the net as well. Doyle led the charge with 65 total blocks while Sanders added 35 and McGrath stepped up defensively while in the front row with 16 blocks. Riley Marino was the team’s defensive specialist, recording 218 digs. Wisniewski, Bonnet-Eymard, McGrath, and Shannon Gray were all reliable in the back row as well.
“Our 2018 season was amazing,” McGrath said. “Undefeated in the Hock, a league championship, first Sectional Championship for Franklin High School Volleyball, and a team and coach that was hardworking, resilient, and a lot of fun to be around. It will be a season I remember forever.”
Only three teams avoided being swept by the Panthers during the regular season with Oliver Ames (3-1) and Mansfield (3-1) being able to take a set along with Canton. But the playoffs were a different story and the Panthers really showed their mettle during the postseason run.
Entering the D1 Central West bracket as the #2-seed at 17-0, the Panthers were tested right away by #7 Concord-Carlisle. In their first five-set match of the season, the Panthers pulled out a victory to advance to the sectional semifinals. Franklin fell behind 0-2 to #3 Hopkinton, who was the home team because of a predetermined site, but the Panthers rallied to force a fifth game. Once again Franklin prevailed to move on to the sectional final. Despite going up 2-0 on #4 Shrewsbury, Franklin was forced to a fifth set for the third straight playoff game. The pattern continued as Franklin won the fifth set and the match, this time to clinch its first ever sectional championship.
“The girls were out with vengeance [against Hopkinton], you could cut the tension with a knife and I wanted nothing more than a hard-fought win for them that night,” Weymouth said. “After being down 2-0, they had no choice but to fight. I made some drastic but necessary changes that match and they adapted the best that I’ve ever seen. Ending in yet, another deserving five-set victory!
“Ending up top four in the state is something every young athlete hopes of doing. I did not accomplish that during my high school career and I wanted nothing more than for this group to accomplish that. Words honestly cannot describe how proud I am of that group of young ladies. They deserved everything they accomplished and then some.”
In the state semifinals, the Franklin volleyball team faced off against the standard-bearer of volleyball in the state of Massachusetts in Barnstable. The Raiders won the match 3-0 but not without an incredible effort from Franklin, who fell 25-17, 25-22, 25-23.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin opened the defense of its Div. 1 Central/West title against an unfamiliar foe on Saturday afternoon, but it turned out to be a perfect way to ease into another postseason run.
The Panthers needed only about an hour to dispatch Doherty in the first round, winning 25-12. 25-12, 25-11 to advance to the quarterfinal. While it wasn’t a perfect performance, Franklin coach Kelsey Weymouth was pleased with the team’s ability to focus on the task at hand and not allow the visitors to get any momentum.
“I wanted them to just focus on what was happening on their side of the net and playing Franklin volleyball at the pace that Franklin volleyball is played at,” she said. “I wanted them to be aggressive and to stay aggressive. Now was kind of the time to run some plays and try some things but mentally stay focused.”
It was a quick start for the hosts. Franklin won the opening 10 points of the match with sophomore setter Cailyn Mackintosh recording three aces in the stretch, senior Makayla Raffin adding a pair of kills, and senior Sophie Lyons adding one strike.
Doherty came back with seven straight points, but the Panthers regained their focus at that point and went back on the attack. Junior Allyson Bonnet-Eymard, the lone player with experience from last year’s sectional title run, had a pair of aces in the first and junior Emma Chase had a kill, as the Panthers cruised to a lead in the match.
The second set didn’t go much better for the team from Worcester. Franklin won 12 of the first 13 points to take control. Mackintosh continued to be a force at the service line, winning three straight points, Bonnet-Eymard had a couple of kills and an ace, and Raffin had a block.
Franklin’s defensive shape wasn’t significantly challenged by the Doherty hitters, but they still had to be awake and the match offered the opportunity to try a few rotations and plays that may prove useful in the coming rounds.
“I wanted our offense to be a little faster,” Weymouth explained. “On free balls that we were getting on our side, I wanted our offense to be faster because we’re going to see a faster team on Monday. I understand the level that this game was at but I need them to still realize what’s coming and be ready.”
Bonnet-Eymard had a hat trick of kills during the closing stretch of the set, libero Jill Benoit and middle hitter Sarah Jackson each had aces, and Raffin rose up to blast a cross-court kill to seal a 2-0 lead.
There was no let up for the Panthers in the third set, as they jumped out to another solid lead. Chase, Mackintosh, Raffin, and Jackson all won points to put Franklin on the precipice of the quarterfinal. Senior Bridget Jackson added an ace in the set and Benoit closed out the match with back-to-back aces.
“A match like this was great for them,” Weymouth said. “I plan on having a different starting lineup for the playoffs, but I think this was a good time for them to get a win like this under their belt and be like, okay we’re going to keep going. I know this team can go far, but it’s up to them if they decide to do so.”
Franklin (15-3) will travel to face No. 3 seed Algonquin on Monday night.
Attleboro, 2 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Attleboro scored twice in a five-minute span in the second half to earn a comeback win over Taunton and punch its ticket to the state tournament. Sarah McMahon and Amanda Burns scored just under four minutes apart as the Bombarders overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit. Jocelyn Pagliuca scored with just under two minutes left in the first half to put the hosts ahead.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Canton, 6 – Final
Sharon @ Foxboro, 3:45
Franklin, 8 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames cut it to a one-goal game 10 minutes into the second half but Franklin scored four straight goals to finish the game and pull away for the win. Hannah Stryke scored her second of the game with just over 20 minutes left in the game to make it 4-3, but Amanda Lewandowski answered a minute later, Kaitlyn Carney scored her third goal to increase the lead, and Jill Fenerty scored a pair of unassisted goals to complete her hat trick to give the Panthers an 8-3 win. Carney scored twice in the first half and set up Olivia Rondeau on a corner with no time left to give the visitors a 3-1 lead at half. Neilee Hess had four saves in net while Kate O’Rourke came up with a big defensive stop for Franklin.
King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Sophomore Christian Gifun had a goal and an assist to help King Philip claim a win on the road at Mansfield. Gifun used a beautiful cross to set up junior Isabelle Crocker for her first varsity goal in the 10th minute. Gifun then tipped in a feed from senior Sammy Robison to make it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Makenzie Manning earned the shutout with 15 saves while Charlotte Colella and Haley Izydorczak turned in stellar defensive performances for KP.
Milford, 2 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Alexa Agnew and Kat Swineford each scored once as Milford went on the road and picked up a win over Stoughton. Paige Reisman mad six saves to earn the win for the Scarlet Hawks. Morgan Lessa scored for the Black Knights.
Attleboro, 0 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this match – Taunton rallied to win the opening set and went on to win the next two to earn a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-21) sweep over Attleboro. Jaelyn Fernandez set up the Tigers’ offense, dishing out 29 assists to go along with six kills and four aces. Hailey Sullivan added 10 digs and two aces while Riley Edwards chipped in with four kills and two blocks. Sonya Fernandez (six kills, three aces), Ella Dunderdale (five kills, three aces), and Mikayla Cleary (five kills, block) all played well for Taunton.
Sharon, 2 @ Foxboro, 3 – Final – Sharon and Foxboro went back and forth, with the Warriors taking the first and fourth sets and the Eagles winning the second and third. The Warriors pulled out a tightly contested fifth set to earn the 3-2 win (25-16, 26-28, 25-27, 25-19, 17-15). Grace Boudreau led the way for Foxboro with 17 kills, four blocks, and 23 digs, Shakirah Ketant chipped in with three kills and four total blocks, and Grace Fortune finished with 23 digs and 12 service points.
Franklin, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames avenged a loss from earlier this season, winning two straight sets to break a 1-1 tie to earn a 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21) win over Franklin. Allie Kemp set the offense in motion for OA with 38 assists as Jordan Bosse (14 kills, four aces), Ryley McNeeley (13 kills), and Jordyn Vella (six kills, four blocks) had strong performances at the net. Alison Barth anchored the defense with 32 serve receptions and 27 digs. For Franklin, Sophie Lyons had 15 kills, Allyson Bonnet-Eymard added 12 kills and 15 digs, Bridget Jackson and Emma Chase each registered six kills, Cailyn Mackintosh added 39 assists, and Jill Benoit had 11 digs.
King Philip, 3 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Kristen Masse shined on the service line for the Warriors, leading her team to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-9) win on the road at Mansfield. Masse had 16 service points with 12 aces to lead the way while Lily Carlow added two aces, two kills, five digs, and 12 service points. Nicole Coughlan (14 kills), Catherine Waldeck (10 kills, two blocks), and Ali McNamara (four kills) paced the KP attack. For Mansfield, Steph Walker had nine assists and Alina Nowakowski had seven kills.
With the win, Franklin moves into a first-place tie atop the division with the Warriors with four league games left apiece
“The girls are much more confident compared to the beginning of the year,” said Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth. “They were playing together for the first time then and now they’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in their roles. They know who does what, how girls like their sets, they are learning to do their jobs. I think they were all trying to do too much when the season started.”
The Panthers used a balanced attack offensively and a strong net presence defensively to earn the win.
“Sometimes you’ll have a player or two that’s on, or a player or two that’s having an off night,” Weymouth said. “But tonight everyone was playing well, it was great to see.”
Franklin got off to a strong start, building a 10-7 lead. The Panthers went on an 8-2 run that featured a big kill from Lyons through a block. KP got within four points but Franklin hit back with four straight, punctuated by a kill from Bonnet-Eymard.
The teams traded points before a pair of KP errors set the Panthers’ up for set point. Off a set from sophomore Cailyn Mackintosh (26 assists, 12 digs, three aces), Chase hit around a block in the middle and hit the line for a kill to secure the 1-0 advantage.
It was all Franklin in the second set. The Panthers jumped out to a 5-1 lead and kept that advantage over the first 15 points. The separation came in the form of an 11-3 run that featured an ace from Bonnet-Eymard, a kill from Sarah Jackson, and a kill from Lyons off a KP block.
Holding a 19-8 lead, the Panthers finished the set behind another two kills from Bonnet-Eymard, including one that hit the 10-foot line on a cross court shot. In the set, KP only mustered five earned points.
“We didn’t play our game,” said KP head coach Kristen Geuss. “The better team won tonight. Our energy was definitely better in game three. We tend to start off slow, and unfortunately, we didn’t pick it up quickly enough.
“We couldn’t get more than a few points in a row. We’d win a point but then we ‘d have an unforced error or a serving error. You can’t win playing that kind of volleyball.”
But the Warriors were a completely different team with their backs against the wall in the third set. Senior Catherine Waldeck (15 kills, four blocks) gave the visitors an early spark, scoring four of KP’s first five points. Two came in the form of blocks while two were kills.
It was a lead that KP never surrendered, though the Panthers made a strong push to keep it close. Junior Nicole Coughlan (11 kills) had back-to-back big swings and junior Giovanna Fruci came up with a big block to give KP an 8-4 edge early.
An ace from Kristen Masse gave the Warriors a 13-7 advantage, and freshman Ahunna James and Waldeck had consecutive tip kills that forced the hosts into a timeout at 15-9.
Behind some strong serves from Jackson, the Panthers kept pace with KP, even getting within three on a kill from Mikayla Raffin. But the Warriors never let the lead slip, getting a key ace down Lauren Peterson.
Fruci, Coughlan, and Waldeck each recorded a kill to earn three of the final four points for KP, with the latter getting the set sealing shot to keep the Warriors alive in the match.
Both sides started strong in the fourth set with the teams tied at 6-6 and again at 8-8. But from there, the Panthers were able to slowly pull away to secure the win.
The big difference came in the form of a quick 6-0 burst that put the Panthers up 14-8. Bonnet-Eymard had a kill and an ace, Jackson added a block, and KP had three hitting errors in the sequence.
“I think the girls were a little too comfortable in the third set but they did a great job of coming back in the fourth,” Weymouth said. “We changed a couple of things up but we went back to what they are confident in and were able to pull away.”
KP got within four points with the help of a kill from James and a net violation, but Franklin’s Sarah Jackson landed a kill on the next play and the Panthers never looked back. Bridget Jackson had a solo block and combined with Bonnet-Eymard for another one down the stretch to help finish the match.
Franklin used a double block on KP’s middle attacks throughout the match, with Jackson and Bonnet-Eymard’s last block highlight the success it had.
“We brought [the double block] anytime they went to the middle,” Weymouth said. “They got their share of hits but we were able to get some good blocks. We practiced it yesterday, we wanted to try and get four hands on the hit. Our blocking was on point tonight. The middles did a good job setting the block, and the defense around it did great too.”
Franklin volleyball (10-2 Hockomock, 11-2 overall) is back in action on Thursday with a trip to Franklin. King Philip (10-2, 12-3) will look to bounce back at home against Taunton on the same day.