KP’s Reign in D1 South Ends Against the Raiders

King Philip field hockey
King Philip freshman Meghan MacDonald chases down a ball on the sideline in front of Somerset-Berkley’s Alex Millar. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


TAUNTON, Mass. – It has been a remarkable two-year run for King Philip. The Warriors have won back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles in dominating fashion, leading the league in goals scored and fewest goals allowed both years, and won a Div. 1 South crown in 2018.

The quest to repeat as sectional champions came to an abrupt end on Thursday night in the semifinal at Taunton’s Tiger Aleixo Stadium, as the Warriors gave up three straight goals, including two in two minutes, against Somerset-Berkley and lost 3-1 in a rematch of last year’s South final.

“I think the girls were nervous coming in,” said Kim Meehan, who, along with Erin MacDonald, was one of King Philip’s two coaches this season. “There was so much hype around this game that we’ve tried to keep them focused on their game.”

There was plenty of excitement surrounding this matchup of two of the top programs in the state, and a little bit of controversy as well. The Raiders have two boys, Alex Millar and Lucas Crooks, in the starting lineup and there has been a debate raging about whether or not that is fair to other programs.

The question was put to the KP coaches after Millar scored the game-winning goal on Thursday and Crooks added the insurance goal that sealed the victory, but both wanted to focus on the play of their team and not on something that can’t be changed.

“I’m more concerned about the game,” said Meehan. MacDonald added, “We’ll talk about our team and the strategy. We don’t want to talk about the rest.”

It was an end-to-end game, played at a pace that few teams in the state would be able to match for a full 60 minutes. KP had an early chance to try and break the deadlock with Nicole Connor finding Alli Meehan off a corner and she quickly swung it to Katie Lindmark for a shot that was just wide of the post.

Somerset had a good look minutes later when Crook got in behind the KP defense off a pass from Megan Salsinha, but he couldn’t put his shot on target. Meehan again got going with a winding run through the defense and her shot into the middle was redirected just wide by freshman Meghan MacDonald.

Camryn Crook had a good look at goal in the 17th minute but pressure from KP defender Emma Izydorczak put her off enough that the shot went wide. Millar also went close with a powerful backhand shot off a corner.

Meehan drew a save with six minutes left in the first half and the rebound came to Connor but her effort hit the side of the goal. A minute later and the Raiders missed a golden opportunity when Salsinha stole the ball on the restart and broke free only to rifle a shot wide when clean through.

Lucas Crook had another good chance just after halftime when he stole the ball in the attacking zone, but Grace May came up with a big kick save. MacDonald nearly fashioned a good chance for KP when she took it off Millar’s stick and tried to hit Abby Nixon right in front, but again it went wide.

The breakthrough finally came in the 39th minute. Meehan picked out Claire Lawler on the left side of the goal. Lawler played it back to Meehan in space and she was able to draw a save our of Madison Ferrara. The rebound went right back across goal to the far post, where Lawler was ready for the tap in.

Rather than give KP a momentum boost, the goal seemed to spark the Raiders into life and Somerset-Berkley quickly turned the game on its head.

“I was a little surprised by that,” MacDonald admitted. “I thought scoring the goal would take us to the next level intensity-wise and I don’t know that it did.”

In the 45th minute, Camryn Crook forced May into a save and Millar drew another good save off the resulting corner but finally on the third try Salsinha managed to knock in a rebound and tie the game.

When asked about the play of May in goal, Meehan said, “She made a couple of great saves,” while MacDonald added, “She was like a super hero out there today.”

All the energy was with the Raiders and they quickly went back to work in the attacking half of the field, earning another corner. The ball was played out to Millar and he fired a shot into the mass of players in front of the goal. It took a deflection off a KP stick and looped into the top corner of the net for what turned out to be the game-winner.

KP tried to push and get back into the game, but the Warriors were struggling to create clear chances against the Somerset-Berkley defense. In the end, it was the Raiders that would add another goal. Lucas Crook drove across the crease onto his backhand and he fired a shot into the far corner.

“I’m super proud,” said Meehan. We have 10 athletes on the field who have given 100 percent all season long, six seniors, and they’ve just put in so much work. It wasn’t that we didn’t play well. We held our own.”

King Philip finishes the season at 18-2-1.

Second Half Surge Sends King Philip Into South Semis

King Philip field hockey
King Philip’s Alli Meehan brings the ball up against Barnstable in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip field hockey dominated the first half, applying a lot of pressure and keeping the ball in its attacking half, but the Warriors had no success finding the back of the net.

Despite five penalty corners and three shots on goal — and one that hit the post, and one just over the crossbar — King Philip’s offense was stymied by a compact Barnstable defense and went into the halftime break scoreless.

So King Philip co-head coaches Erin MacDonald and Kim Meehan decided to even up the numbers to start the second half, bringing up sophomore Abby Nixon from the midfield to be a fourth forward.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The change paid off as King Philip’s offense finally broke through off the stick of Nixon, and from there the third-seeded Warriors rolled to a 4-0 win over #11 Barnstable.

“We had to put another forward up top,” MacDonald said of the adjustment. “We took a midfielder and moved her up because we weren’t getting through all of the players they had inside the circle. Abby Nixon getting the first goal started the momentum, that one goal changed everything.”

King Philip’s best chances of the first half came in a five-minute span. In the eighth minute, senior Nicole Connor hit a hard shot through traffic but it bounced off the post and hit off a teammate’s foot to give possession to the Raiders.

And four minutes later, Connor found senior classmate Kate Lindmark on a corner and Lindmark lofted a shot over the defense but the ball bounced just over the crossbar and on top of the cage.

The Warriors continued the pressure in the second half, and the adjustment of Nixon up top paid off in the 42nd minute. King Philip peppered the Barnstable keeper with four shots in a shot, first off the stick of Alli Meehan, then from Nixon, again from Meehan, and the final one from Nixon into the back of the cage to make it 1-0.

“We needed more forwards, we had so many opportunities in the beginning but we weren’t scoring.” Kim Meehan said. “So we made some adjustments to get another player forward. It felt like we got the right mix on the field and then we scored.”

After going scoreless for just over 40 minutes, King Philip’s offense needed less than a minute to double its lead.

The Warriors quickly pushed the ball up field and earned a corner. Off the corner, the ball worked its way around to freshman Meghan MacDonald and she used a nice back hand shot to beat the keeper to make it 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

“When you have four forwards, it just changes the whole dynamic because you get more touches in the offensive end,” Kim Meehan said. “We’ve been playing with three forwards the whole season but we had to adjust to their line. They had everyone but one player back in the circle at times. It shows we’re doing something right on offense but we had to make an adjustment.”

The offense continued to click, converting another corner in the 50th minute. After Lindmark sent the ball into the circle, Alli Meehan and Connor executed a perfect give-and-go. Meehan found Connor, who dished it right back and Meehan smashed her shot in to make it 3-0.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With so many numbers back trying to stop KP’s offense, Barnstable’s best chance offensively was on the counter attack. One of the few chances they had going forward came in the 53rd minute. Barnstable’s forward came streaking up field but her counter bid was thwarted by Emma Izydorczak.

King Philip added one final tally in the 54th minute. The Warriors used its speed to get past the defense as Alli Meehan connected with Nixon right in front. But instead of shooting, Nixon used an extra pass to find Raegan Simeone all by herself in front of goal and the junior buried her chance to make it 4-0.

King Philip field hockey (18-1-1) advances to the D1 South Semifinal and will play #2 Somerset-Berkley (19-1) in a rematch of last year’s D1 South Final (KP won 1-0). The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 at Taunton High School.

Field Hockey: 2018 Hockomock League Preview

Hockomock League Field Hockey Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock League Field Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 5-13-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes

Attleboro is looking to bounce back from a five-win season in 2017 and make a push up the league standings by mixing experienced players with a talented group of underclassmen that could make instant contributions for the Bombardiers.

The midfield will be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with returning starters like senior Kyra Lyons and junior Anna Back. Up front, leading scorer Grace Mayer graduated but senior Alex Compton was second on the team in points and will be counted on to fire in the goals. Attleboro will be hoping for more consistency from the defensive group this season to cut down on the 76 goals it allowed last year and senior goalie Shealyn Harrison will help keep things organized.

Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes said, “We are looking forward to this season, as we have a lot of strong returning players throughout each line. We are fortunate to be pairing these returners with a very skilled and unsuspecting younger class, who I am certain will be instrumental in making a positive difference on our team.”

Canton

2017 Record: 16-4-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor

Davenport division champion Canton went to overtime against top seed Somerset Berkeley in last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal and was a goal away from setting up an all-Hock final. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of talent from last year’s squad and will be hoping to make a run at back-to-back titles.

Senior forward Maggie Malloy will once again be the focal point up top after leading the Bulldogs with 27 goals and eight assists last fall. Malloy will be joined up top by sophomore Maria Femia. Junior Kaitlyn Goyetch, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is back in the midfield and she will get helped out by sophomore Meghan Labelle. Senior Katie Trerice will be the leader of the defense and sophomore Rose Malloy will jump in and contribute as well. Sophomore Riley O’Connor will take over in goal this fall.

Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “We are looking forward to seeing the hard work and effort our players put in this pre-season pay off on the field.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 15-4-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal.
Coach: Melissa Bordieri

With 14 seniors on the roster this season, Foxboro has set its sights on regaining the Davenport division crown that it lost by just two points to Canton last year. Two years removed from winning the Div. 2 South title, the Warriors seem poised to make another deep tournament run with a team loaded with talent, depth, and experience.

Senior forward Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer each of the past three seasons, will once again team up with classmate Sophia DiCenso to form one of the league’s most dynamic attacking units. Senior Molly Murphy and junior Jamie Notarangelo will add to an already formidable offense. Senior Meghan Curran will lead the midfield unit along with classmate Carly Stern and the defense will be guided by seniors Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen, while senior goalie Julia Carangelo.

After come narrowly short of the league title last season and reaching the sectional semifinal, expectations are typically sky high for one of the league’s perennial powers.

Franklin

2017 Record: 10-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Michelle Hess

Michelle Hess returns to the Franklin bench this season after eight years away from the program and she inherits a team that has the talent to compete for a league title and expectations of being able to make a deep run in the state tournament as well.

Senior midfielder Cassi Ronan is the primary playmaker for the Panthers and was the team’s leading scorer last fall with 16 goals and eight assists. One of the league’s top players, Ronan will be the primary focus of the opposition, but senior Regan Paterson can take some of that pressure off and will chip in with goals from the forward position. Senior Emily Valentino and junior Maeve Ledwith will provide organization for the defensive unit and senior Christina Luccini will be back in goal to backstop the defense.

“We are looking to improve on last years record and would love to go further in the tournament,” said Hess.

King Philip

2017 Record: 19-3-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald

King Philip had a dominating run through the 2017 season, winning the Kelley-Rex title while losing just two games in the Hock all season, and then claiming the Div. 1 South title for the first time. This year, KP has a new coaching staff, with Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald taking over the reigns, and high expectations with an experienced and talented roster.

The Warriors return six seniors, who will be counted on to keep the team focused in its quest for a second straight title. Alli Meehan will be the primary attacking threat again this season. The Northeastern University-commit scored 40 points last regular season, despite missing a couple of games. Senior Claire Lawlor will be on the left wing to support the attack, and senior Nicole Conner will jump into the attack from her midfield position as well. Three-year starter Dana Truini will run the midfield for the Warriors, providing support on both ends of the field. Defensively, senior Emma Izydorczak, a St. Anselm-commit, will be the leader of the back line to keep things organized. Fellow senior Kate Lindmark will also help out for a defense that last year allowed only 13 goals in 23 games.

Expectations remain high for the program this season and the new coaches “anticipate a very successful season led by their powerful seniors.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 7-7-5
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhen

Mansfield reached the state tournament again last year and was the only team in the league to beat Kelley-Rex champion King Philip (twice, in fact), but the Hornets have their sights set on returning to the top of the league standings as they did in 2014 and 2015. With a balanced roster that has depth all over the field, the Hornets have a chance to unseat KP in the division.

The Hornets have 10 seniors and experience all over the field. The forward line will include seniors Lauren Clang, Tori Farrington, Alicia Hottleman, Brooke Downy and Hayleigh Crawford. The midfield unit will be led by seniors Maggie Danehy and Kelly Doherty, who showed her versatility last season in several positions. Senior goalie Kayla Hunter is also back to help keep the defense solid. Newcomers like sophomore forward Abby Varricchione and sophomore midfielder Stori Rounds will jump in and contribute as well.

“We have some speed, some strong and some finesse,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhen. “Mansfield field hockey is a team of heart and hustle. As a team, we still have lots of work to do but are looking forward to the fun competition in the Hockomock League.”

Milford

2017 Record: 3-15-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Katie Blackburn

New head coach Katie Blackburn will try to improve on Milford’s three wins from last season with a group that has a lot of experience, especially on the back line, and speedy forward line that will try to fire in the goals.

The defense is filled with upperclassmen with seniors Eliza Valente and Emily Haley anchoring the back line along with junior Paige Reisman. Juniors Bella Gonzalez and Kathryn Swineford will be key players in the midfield and sophomore Madison Carneiro is a player to watch in the Milford front line, which Blackburn said would include a number of players that have a variety of skill sets.

Blackburn added, “Each player is unique and it has been exciting to see them all learning how to play together. We have a lot of speed as well as ball handling skills that will help us move the ball up the field and into the attacking circle.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 9-7-4
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Karen Folan

North Attleboro got back into the state tournament last fall, only to run into perennial power Walpole in the second round, and the Rocketeers have a deep roster to make another run this year and potentially challenge Canton and Foxboro at the top of the Davenport. The new turf at Beaupre Field should also help North utilize the team’s speed.

The Rocketeers have a ton of experience coming back this season, including seniors Abby Calistra, Julia Feid, Shaylee Maxcy, and Lizzie Frost, who will form a solid defensive corps in front of junior goalie Emma Strachan, who head coach Karen Folan said has improved her quickness in the off-season. Speedy midfielders Michelle Pothier and fellow junior Lindsay Robinson will join senior Jess Strachan, while senior Tara Nair and junior Faith Graveline will be up top.

Folan said, “We are looking forward to another year in the competitive Hockomock League. Our offense will start with our defense this season. We hope to use our cohesive ball movement to transition the ball quickly up the field and into the offensive circle to generate lots of shots on net.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 9-7-3
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round.
Coach: Sharon Lawrence

Oliver Ames is coming off a strong regular season performance, tying for third place in the Kelley-Rex division with 18 points, but they had to go on the road to Taunton in the playoffs and lost an overtime heartbreaker. First-year coach Sharon Lawrence takes over this season and has a roster with 11 juniors and seniors to try and make another run at a postseason bid.

Senior Meghan Rockey is one of the players that the Tigers will turn to this year and she will try to control the middle of the field. Fellow senior Kayla Lozzi can step in at forward or midfield and scored 10 points (four goals and six assists) for OA last season, while senior Samantha Clapp adds a defensive presence whether in midfield or defense. Lawrence is also excited for the contributions from the younger players, including sophomore forward Hannah Stryke, who is the Tigers top returning scorer with seven goals and four assists as a freshman.

“As a first-year coach, my focus has been on learning and assessing our talent and athleticism to position our players as a team for optimal success,” Lawrence said. “We have returning starters as well as new young talent on both offense and defense, and look to be competitive this season.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 0-18-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ashley Courville

First-year head coach Ashley Courville is looking to build the program from the ground up, and she is counting on a large roster and a core of returning players to get Sharon moving in the right direction this season. With only one sophomore on the roster, experience shouldn’t be an issue for the Eagles as they turn things around.

The defense will be led seniors Varsha Poreddy and Rebecca Clayman. Junior Blaize Hanna will also be part of that group this fall. The midfield has seniors Georgia Cheney and Lauren Yaffe to help out in the attack and also chip in on the defensive side of things. Sophomore Lauren Prenaveau is another player to watch in the Eagles midfield. Up top, senior forward Elizabeth Romantz will be counted on to add to Sharon’s goal tally.

Courville said, “We have a large team this year with a handful of returning players giving the team consistency and determination. Our defense has added strength and depth, while our offense has added speed.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 7-12-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark

Stoughton graduated 13 players from last year’s team and then lost leading scorer Julia Russell to a knee injury, but there is hope for the Black Knights to make a run at a state tournament spot as the inexperienced players gain valuable minutes at the varsity level.

Defense will be a strength for Stoughton this fall, with returning seniors Katie Widrow and Jeanna Girolamo adding stability and keeping things organized at the back. Sophomore Kayla Lobby will start in goal for the Black Knights. In the midfield, senior Jordan Lyons is a strong two-way player and she will be looking to get the ball forward to the sticks of seniors Allie Howe and Alanna McCormick, who will both be trying to make up for the production that was expected from Russell.

Stoughton coach Dan Mark is hopeful that his team can meet its potential. He said, “We will be inexperienced in many areas, but do have several players who played regularly last year.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 11-8-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway

Taunton had one of its best seasons in program history last year, winning 11 games and advancing in the playoffs for the first time by beating Oliver Ames in an overtime thriller. The Tigers will look to build on that success and compete with the top teams in the ultra-competitive Kelley-Rex division.

The Taunton midfield will be a strength this season, as it is filled with experienced players. Seniors Jillian Pagliuca, Lauren Torres, and Mabel Smith are all capable of making plays on both ends of the field and all read the game well to keep the Tigers moving in the right direction. Senior forward Ciera Bartel will be joined up front by last year’s playoff hero Alana Tavares. The sophomore forward scored the game-winner against OA and has the speed to cause defense lots of problems. The Tigers defense will be led by junior Kathryn Robinson and sophomore Jocelyn Pagliuca and if anyone gets through then senior goalie Emma Sheehan will be there to stop them.

Taunton coach Liz Hathaway said, “This team has come together and have a great on field bond that allows them to successfully execute plays and breakaways.”