Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Olivia Quinn, Franklin
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Meghan Gordon, Attleboro
Narissa Smith, Attleboro
Olivia Quinn, Franklin
Erin Quaile, Franklin
Caroline Aaron, King Philip
Emma Glaser, King Philip
Kayla Vine, Mansfield
Abby Wager, Mansfield
Emma Lawrence, Milford
Davenport Division MVP
Katelyn Mollica, Foxboro
Davenport Division All Stars
Kiara Cerruti, Canton
Fay Gallery, Canton
Katelyn Mollica, Foxboro
Jordyn Collins, Foxboro
Amanda Kaiser, North Attleboro
Caroline Flynn, Oliver Ames
Caroline Peper, Oliver Ames
Trinity Payne, Sharon
MacKenzie Manning, Stoughton
Below are the official 2021 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Even with some of its regular starters on the bench cheering on, Franklin started Tuesday night’s game with Attleboro locked in defensively and crashing the glass. The Panthers held Attleboro scoreless in the first and to just six points in the second quarter, allowing their offense time to click into gear.
Once Franklin got going on that end of the floor, knocking down 10-of-12 threes as a team in the second half, there was no way back for the Bombardiers. Franklin rolled to a 64-27 win, extending its win streak to nine games this season and 34 games overall and clinching a third straight Kelley-Rex division title.
“We have something to win,” Franklin coach John Leighton said of his team’s focus. “Beyond Thursday, there’s nothing out there. It’s the abyss. So, this was one tangible thing that they could do and they’ve been very fired up about it.
He added, “It’s a great league. It’s a great league when we play 20 games and a great league when we play 10. There’s great balance in the league, so I’m very proud of the girls for closing that out.”
Celebrating senior night, some of the usual suspects weren’t in the starting lineup, but the Panthers came out intent on controlling the boards and giving Attleboro no good looks.Katelynn Taylor (five rebounds) and Elizabeth Wilson (eight rebounds) set the early tone.
“We tried to limit their first and second looks and make their third or fourth look beat us,” Leighton explained. “The seniors this is their final home game and there was a spark across all 14 kids. I was impressed how they played.”
When junior Olivia Quinn, the team’s leading scorer, came in off the bench, the offense started to get going as well. She scored six of her game-high 15 in the first and Emma Sousa added a bucket for an 11-0 lead after one.
“Defensively in the first quarter I thought we did a good job when the game was still on the line, but then you go eight minutes and don’t score,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “We haven’t played from behind like that this year, from that kind of deficit so it’s a lesson learned.”
Emma Reilly (eight points) got Attleboro on the board with a pair of jumpers and Narissa Smith (eight points) hit a pull-up for her first points of the night, but Franklin’s depth and its strength in the paint was able to extend the lead to 17 by halftime. Katie Peterson scored all six of her points in the second and Brigid Earley chipped in with four of her six points in the frame.
Leading 23-6, Franklin was in control at halftime, but things still seemed out of sorts on the offensive end. The Panthers were getting good looks, but were making very few of them. Something seemed to click in the three-minute break before the start of the third quarter.
Quinn drove and kicked out to Erin Quaile (six points, five rebounds, and five assists) for a three to start things off. After Earley and Gabby Bosh traded drives, Stefany Padula spotted up in the corner for a three. Then Earley grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked out to Quaile from beyond the arc.
Out of nowhere, the lead was now 24 and Franklin was just getting started. Quinn had a nice lefty finish and then got an easy bucket after Quaile’s rebound and long lead pass. Teagan Collins (10 points) got into the act, burying her first three of the night, followed by one from Quinn, then one from Kaleigh Houlihan (11 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals), then another from Collins.
When the dust had settled, Franklin had knocked down seven threes and scored 29 points in the third and had built a 52-14 advantage.
“We got a lot of good looks, but missed a lot of wide open threes,” said Leighton. “When they started to connect in the second half, we just couldn’t miss. I said in the first half, they’re all good threes, no one is jacking up shots, but we don’t want to live by the three either, just keep playing. Then the roof came off the hoop and away they went.”
To Attleboro’s credit, the Bombardiers didn’t stop and had their best offensive quarter in the fourth. Meghan Gordon, who came into the night as the league’s leading scorer at more than 20 points per game, got a layup off a Smith steal and dish and then added a three. She finished with seven points and seven rebounds. Smith also knocked down a pair of threes in the fourth.
Franklin didn’t stop scoring either. Houlihan showed off her range, hitting a pair of threes including one from a few feet behind the line. Collins added her third three as well.
“In the third quarter, they probably could’ve been in the parking lot and not missed a shot the way things were going,” Crowley joked. “We held them 11 points in the quarter, so defensively you’re doing your job, but offensively we just couldn’t find a rhythm early on. We have great kids who work hard and tonight was just [Franklin’s] night.”
Franklin (9-0) will try to cap off an unbeaten season when it travels to Attleboro (5-2) on Thursday night.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – After playing at King Philip’s pace for the opening eight minutes and heading into the first break down by a point, Franklin coach John Leighton implored his team to slow things down, move the ball around, and look for good shots not just the first shot.
Over the next two quarters, the Panthers did just that, scoring 40 points in the second and third quarters combined and turning that deficit into an 18-point lead. Franklin would lead by as many as 25 points in the fourth and earned a sweep of the Warriors with a 62-48 victory.
“Something you never want is a slow start and that’s exactly what we had,” said Leighton. “We had way too many turnovers, we went too fast, but what I was impressed by is that by the end of the quarter they had bought into the idea of slowing it down, seeing the next step, and when you start getting defensive stops they can’t press as much.”
KP had the Panthers on the run in the first, playing the frenetic style that the Warriors thrive on. After back-to-back threes by Emma Glaser and Courtney Keswick (10 points), the hosts held a 10—6 lead. Olivia Quinn (game-high 22 points, six rebounds, and four steals) answered back with a three of her own and a layup to put Franklin in front, but Caroline Aaron’s drive to the basket put the Warriors up 12-11 after one.
Franklin has plenty of experience on its roster and the players talked in the huddle about the need to settle down and play their game. The defending state champions started to look more like themselves in the second.
Brigid Earley scored six of her 10 points in the second, as Franklin made an effort to get the ball inside. Elizabeth Molla responded with a three that cut the lead back to three, at 25-22, but the Panthers scored the final seven points of the half to lead by double digits.
Elizabeth Wilson crashed the boards for a putback and then Earley (four assists, seven rebounds, and two blocks) picked out Quinn for a short jumper. Quinn was the focal point of the offense, scoring eight points in the second and 13 in the first half, as Franklin led 33-22.
“I said to them that we were down 11 at halftime, but it felt like it could’ve been tied,” said KP coach Dan Nagle, who was on the bench for the first time this season. “We had a couple of live-ball turnovers where we missed wide open layups and they go down and we get a steal and throw it to them right under the basket. You can’t even be mad because your kids are flying around and working hard.”
Things clicked into high gear for the visitors in the third. After Jackie Bonner (eight points) drilled a three to start the second half, Franklin went on a 16-0 run to break the game open.
KP scored seven straight to get some momentum, including threes by Cat Spellman and Keswick, but Peterson’s offensive rebound and layup put the Panthers ahead by 18 heading to the fourth.
Leighton said, “This year, we have three or four kids who can score every night. The pressure isn’t on Liv to carry us on her back, we have a lot of kids who can contribute. This is the deepest group we’ve had in a very long time.”
One of the features of Franklin’s play was its passing. Quaile finished with eight assists, while Earley had four and Padula had three. The Panthers were spreading the ball around and making it difficult for KP to trap.
“Unselfish ball is good, especially today,” Leighton explained. “When they’re going to double you, they’re trying to make you go faster, so if you can pass and find the open kid then everyone has more time. It buys time and space.”
That continued at the start of the fourth, as Quinn hit a short jumper after a good drive and kick out by Bridget Leo and then Quinn played provider on a corner three by Emma Sousa, who had missed the first three games of the season. Franklin stretched its lead to 60-35.
Although a comeback was unlikely at that point, the Warriors never stopped running and pressing and kept battling to the final whistle. Bonner had a steal and layup and Julia Marsden assisted on Keswick’s third three of the afternoon. Aaron (11 points) had another drive through the lane and stepped back to knock down a three of her own to help the Warriors cut the deficit to 14.
“Us just realizing that all those little plays matter is a good lesson,” Nagle said. “Franklin is where we want to be eventually and we competed with them at a high level. We had them playing faster than they want to, we turned them over a good amount. Today was progress, not perfection, but it was a good effort.”
Franklin (4-0) will have a few days off before it faces Taunton on Thursday, while King Philip (1-3) will look to get back in the win column when it faces Milford on Tuesday.
Foxboro, 49 @ Sharon, 68 – Final – After escaping with a one-point win on the road earlier this week, Sharon put together a complete performance on both ends of the court to earn a season sweep of Foxboro. The Eagles connected on five of their 11 three-pointers in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 23-10 to build a 39-21 lead by halftime. Senior Kiran Chandrasekaran hit a pair of triples in the second, senior Matt Baskin added two more, and junior Sam Cohen had one of his five trifectas in that frame to help the Eagles take a lead they would never relinquish. Chandrasekaran scored 15 of his career-high 17 points in the first half while Baskin had 10 of his 13. Foxboro had a strong third with 18 points, with sophomore Alex Penders scoring half of his 16 points in the frame, but Cohen had a trio of threes in the period and sophomore Matt Baur chipped in six points to keep the Eagles head. Junior Dylan Gordon led the way for the Warriors with a career-high 17 points.
Franklin, 55 @ Milford, 41 – Final – Starting the second half with a five-point lead, Franklin doubled up on Milford in the third, outscoring the hosts 24-12 in the third to pull away for the win and the season sweep. Senior Jake O’Brien got the Panthers off to a strong start, scoring half of his career-high 14 points in the opening quarter as Franklin established a 14-7 lead. Milford’s defense clamped down to hold the Panthers to just eight points in the second with Sean Murray scoring eight of his team-high 10 points in the opening half to keep the Hawks close, down just 22-17 at the break. Declan Walmsley came alive with eight of his 12 points in the third quarter, O’Brien added seven more, and sophomore Ben Harvey hit a big three as Franklin dropped 24 points in the third to extend the lead to 46-29.
Oliver Ames @ North Attleboro – Postponed to TBD.
Sharon, 14 @ Foxboro, 75 – Final – Ten players scored for the Warriors, as they completed the sweep of Sharon. Katelyn Mollica led the way with 19 points, Aislinn Servaes added 10, and Erin Foley scored eight to lead Foxboro to its second win of the season.
Milford, 23 @ Franklin, 71 – Final – The Panthers used a balanced attack to extend its win streak to 27 games, going back to the start of last season. Olivia Quinn and Jessica Pingeton each scored a dozen to pace the Panthers, while Erin Quaile, Teagan Collins, and Brigid Early each had eight points. Twelve Franklin players scored in the win. Jillian Michelson had nine for the Hawks.
One of the most dynamic offensive players in the league, Cerruti has jumped right into the lineup at Canton, as part of much-hyped class of 2022, and demonstrated an array of consistently produced for a program brimming with potential. Cerruti led the Bulldogs last season at just under 15 points per game. She also chipped in with five rebounds and nearly two assists and two steals per night. Her size and skills make her an awkward matchup for opposing defenses. She can step away from the basket and has become a consistent shooter from beyond the arc but can also take smaller players into the post or crash the boards for easy baskets. If a defender is too aggressive closing out at the three-point line, Cerruti can beat them off the dribble and get to the rim with a creative array of finishes. Cerruti looks to be in good position to be just the second player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone with more than 600 points through her first two seasons. She is also an improving defender, with her length and smarts putting her in the right position to close off passing lanes. Canton has been a program on the rise for the past few seasons, with young talent at every position, and now the Bulldogs hope to couple that talent with experience and make a run at a first league title since 1992.
Although not a natural point guard, Flynn slid into the position for OA and became one of the league’s top playmakers as the Tigers gave Franklin a challenge for the Kelley-Rex division title. Flynn’s size and versatility allowed her to be one of the best rebounding guards in the Hock, while consistently finding a way to get into the lane. She has the strength to bully smaller guards and the ball-handling ability to get past bigger forwards, making her a tough matchup on both ends of the floor. Flynn scored 12 points per game last season and dished out four assists per game, while guarding multiple positions. Her vision and unselfishness were critical to the Tigers getting out on the break and transitioning from defense into instant offense. An improved shooter and talented finisher in traffic, Flynn causes a lot of problems for opposing defenders, but her passing ability in the half court makes it difficult to send help. OA will be aiming for a Davenport title this season and Flynn’s continued growth as a point guard is a big reason why.
King Philip head coach Dan Nagle wants his team to embrace the chaos of a high-pressure, non-stop attacking style and Glaser appears to be the perfect fit for that type of attack. A versatile, athletic combo guard, the Springfield College-commit has the right mix of skills to potentially have a big senior season and help the Warriors put in a title challenge. Glaser’s speed and aggressiveness make her a factor on both ends of the floor, whether chasing down a ball-handler or racing out on the break for an easy basket. She is also a strong finisher at the rim and doesn’t shy away from contact. Glaser can also stretch the floor as a capable three-point shooter. When the outside shot is falling, Glaser is very tough to handle because defenders don’t know whether to close down and give up a potential drive or back off and let her have the perimeter shot. It’s a confusion that Nagle wants his team to thrive on and Glaser forces defenders to make those quick decisions that create openings in the halfcourt. With a year of experience in the system, Glaser seems poised for a breakout season and has the Warriors thinking about ending a nearly two-decade wait for a league title.
Last winter, Attleboro secured it first playoff appearance in four years, winning its regular season finale to book a spot in the state tournament. While Nyah Thomas’ scoring was a big reason for the Bombardiers being in position to extend their season, Gordon developed over the course of the season into a critical player for Attleboro. The junior forward averaged eight points per game last year but that total increased over the course of the season, as she grew in confidence and expanded her repertoire on that end of the court. By the end of the year, Gordon was a double-double machine, as evidenced by her 16-point, 18-rebound performance in the finale against North Attleboro. A lanky forward, Gordon was a force on the block. She found ways to score at the rim and was tenacious crashing the boards. With her long arms and athleticism, she found ways to score at the rim even in traffic and to protect the rim at the other end of the floor. Gordon also showed off a nice touch out to 10 feet, punishing defenders that dropped off to try and keep her out of the lane. After her breakout season, Gordon will be drawing plenty of attention from opponents and Attleboro will be counting on her continuing to grow into one of the league’s top post threats.
North Attleboro was just one win shy of making a return to the playoffs last season and Kaiser was a main reason why. The senior guard led the Rocketeers with nearly 13 points per game, but also was a major factor on the other end of the court. Kaiser averaged two steals a game and her long arms and quick feet enabled her to cause havoc on the perimeter, which North took advantage of to get out on the break as often as possible. One of the league’s top deep threats, Kaiser has unlimited range and showed right from her first moments on varsity that she’s not afraid of taking big shots. She has also developed into an effective off-the-dribble player, getting into the lane and attacking the rim or finishing in transition. Opposing teams plan to try and take Kaiser out of games and she continues to build her skills to adapt to that. Kaiser fits into the get out and run mentality that head coach Nikki Correia has brought to North and her growth on both ends of the floor will be needed to keep Big Red in the hunt for a Davenport title.
Mollica has already cemented her place as one of the top players in program history with the rare feat of being a starter on two state championship-winning teams and she has steadily climbed the all-time scoring list, reaching the 1,000-point mark as a junior. Last season, Mollica led the Warriors to a third straight league title, finishing second in the Hock at just under 19 points per game. Arguably the league’s best pure shooter, Mollica buried 92 threes and shot over 90 percent at the line, while also being Foxboro’s primary ball-handler and the focal point of opposing defenses. As she has turned into a star for the Warriors, Mollica has faced numerous defenses all set up to stop her, but she continues to consistently put up big numbers. With unlimited range, the ability to knock down shots off the dribble with a quick release, and the speed to get a step on her defenders, it’s hard to prevent her from getting off a shot every trip down. As with most great shooters, Mollica isn’t going to let a few misses deter her and will continue to fire away. She also continues to develop as an on-the-ball defender with quick hands to force steals. There may be a lot of new faces for the Warriors this season, but with Mollica leading the attack the expectations remain high.
For the past two seasons, Peper has been one of the top three-point threats in the league, knocking down shots from well beyond the arc and at big moments. She forces defenses out of the lane and gives Oliver Ames room to attack the paint. As one of the taller guards in the Hock, Peper can also take players into the post and has had success attacking the basket in transition or in the halfcourt. She is a tough defender, with her long arms making it tough to pass around her, and she can crash the boards. Last season, Peper battled a back injury and still average more than 12 points per game while shooting 39 percent from three and 81 percent at the line. The backcourt combination of Peper and Caroline Flynn gives OA a unique look. Although neither are pure point guards, both are strong on the ball, can look over the defense, and can attack in multiple ways. Peper’s range and ability to knock down shots spotting up or off the dribble have made her a standout since her freshman year. With OA back in the Davenport division for the first time in four years, the Tigers will be hoping that Peper continues to expand on her game and help them reclaim the league title.
It isn’t often that a player can change a game without scoring, but Quaile was a critical piece in Franklin’s perfect season while only rarely looking for her own shot. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year controlled the action on both ends of the floor for the Panthers. She regularly locked down the opposition’s best perimeter player and also ran the offense, getting Franklin into its sets, handling pressure with composure, and limiting turnovers. It is on the defensive side of the ball that Quaile has made her mark. She is tenacious, using her quickness to stay in front of the player she is guarding and willing to take the contact to draw a charge. Last season, Quaile had 45 steals, 54 deflections, and 55 defensive rebounds. Although not the tallest guard in the league, Quaile had the strength to matchup with bigger players and never lost the aggression regardless of the type of player she was guarding. This season, Quaile will be counted on to look for her own shot a little more but it will be her ability to run the show on both ends of the floor that puts Franklin in position to retain its Kelley-Rex title.
Franklin put together a historic season in 2019-20, going undefeated and bringing home the program’s first state championship. Having Ali Brigham in the middle certainly didn’t hurt, but it was Quinn’s emergence as one of the league’s top players that took the Panthers to another (unbeatable) level. Quinn was second on the team at 15 points per game, shooting 56 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. The 5-foot-11 forward used her size to shoot over the top of smaller players and her quickness off the dribble to blow past defenders that closed out on the three-point line. She showed off a range of offensive skills, from scoring in the paint to running off screens and knocking down jumpers. Quinn also developed an eye for a pass, driving into the lane and kicking out to open shooters or hitting cutters at the basket, and developed into a solid defender who used her length and quickness to guard multiple positions. She stepped up in the clutch for the Panthers, having some of her biggest games against title challengers King Philip and Oliver Ames and scoring 16 points in both the D1 Central final and state semifinal. As the Franklin offense adapts without Brigham in the middle, Quinn will get the chance to use her wide range of skills to try and earn another title for the Panthers.
There will be a new look to Mansfield this season with former player and assistant Heather McPherson taking over for longtime coach Mike Redding, but there are a number of players returning to give the lineup a familiar feel. Although the Hornets missed out on a playoff spot last year, they showed flashes of potential, including a late season win over Bishop Feehan. Vine is one of the players that is back, and the senior guard was instrumental in running the Mansfield offense last winter. Vine scored a team-high 12 points per game and showed that she had more in her locker than just a threat on the perimeter by getting to the rim and being able to finish in traffic. She remains one of Mansfield’s most consistent outside threats but has also become one its best playmakers. When Vine gets into the lane, she can get her own shot or pick out the open teammate, which helps creates scoring opportunities for a team that boasts a strong front line. Vine was also a disruptor playing at the top of the zone last season, getting into passing lanes and using her quick hands to force turnovers. After a solid debut season on varsity, the Hornets will be hoping Vine can help them make a leap this season and challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.
2019-2020 Record: 10-12 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Martin Crowley
After a couple of rebuilding years, Attleboro made a jump last winter and clinched its return to the playoffs in the final game of the regular season. While the Bombardiers will miss the all-around game of Nyah Thomas, who is at Worcester State after a breakout senior season, Attleboro will count on six returners from last year’s roster and a couple of promising newcomers to make some noise in the Kelley-Rex.
Thomas’ scoring and ball-handling will be tough to replicate, but the Bombardiers have strength and athleticism in the post. Junior Meg Gordon developed into a double-double machine last year, using her quickness and length to cause problems in the paint. Senior Ryan Johnson is another forward with length that can impact the game on the glass and protecting the rim.
In the backcourt, senior Gabby Bosh is back to run the point as well as being a pesky defender. Juniors Hailey and Lindsey Perry will also add to the depth at the guard position and to the team’s overall speed and defensive effort. Freshmen guards Kayla Goldrick and Narissa Smith are newcomers that have the potential to make an instant impact and should immediately find themselves in the backcourt rotation.
Attleboro coach Marty Crowley said, “For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound. This is by far the most athletic team we have had and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We are blessed to be in the gym everyday with such great kids and that is a win in itself.”
2019-2020 Record: 13-10 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jim Choquette
Canton has been a youthful team with potential for the past two seasons and the Bulldogs come into the winter with an opportunity to turn that potential into the program’s first league title since 1992. After graduating just one player from last year’s team and with many of its standout players now in year three as starters, Canton has the experience to match its talent.
Juniors Fay and Sydney Gallery and Kiara Cerruti have been standouts since their first games as freshmen and have the all-around games to cause match-up problems for the opposition. All three can score from the perimeter, but Sydney gives the Bulldogs a presence on the post while Fay can score off the dribble and be a playmaker on offense. Cerruti is a pure scorer, with good range and the ability to take defenders off the bounce.
Depth should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season, with players able to come off the bench and produce at every position. Carly Fitzgerald and Marissa Staffiere will return in the backcourt, giving Canton solid ball-handlers and a pair of strong defenders. Senior Kayla Albert adds length and rebounding in the paint and sophomore Samya DaSilva showed off great footwork last year and will be another scoring threat on the block.
“I’m very excited to take the floor with this group of girls,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “I love their desire to improve, win games and represent the town of Canton to the best of their abilities. We all want to improve on our past successes, and we’ve been working hard to do so. Very lucky to be coaching this team!”
2019-2020 Record: 24-2 2019-2020 Finish: D2 State Co-Champion Coach: Lisa Downs
Foxboro closed out the 2019-20 season by winning its final 16 games and securing a second state title in the past three seasons. The Warriors graduated four starters from last year’s team, so players will have to step into bigger roles this season and newcomers will have to produce right away to make it five straight Davenport titles.
Defense and tempo are the hallmarks of Foxboro’s success under head coach Lisa Downs and that should be the same this year. For scoring, the Warriors are going to count on senior Katelyn Mollica. One of the top players in the league for the past three seasons, the Stonehill College-commit is one of the league’s top shooters and strong help defender. Senior Jordyn Collins is another key component from last year’s team, as a tenacious defender and a slasher who can get to the rim.
Senior Hannah Blake will step into the starting lineup at center this winter and Downs thinks that she has the potential to be one of the best bigs in the league. Senior Morgan Sylvestre had some big moments last year (for instance, the D2 South final against Hingham) and will see more time at point guard this year. Freshmen guards Camryn Collins and Erin Foley will both be in the mix right away and sophomore Lauren Miley is back after missing all of last year with an injury.
“We graduated a large chunk of our roster from last season so we will have quite a few new faces on the court to accompany Katelyn,” Downs said. “We will continue to focus on our defensive efforts and will strive to pursue the fast pace that we have become familiar with. Safety of the girls is obviously my first concern, but it is also my hope to be able to provide the most fulfilling season possible in terms of overall improvement on both ends of the court.”
2019-2020 Record: 25-0 2019-2020 Finish: D1 State Co-Champion Coach: John Leighton
Last winter, Franklin went start-to-finish as the top team not only in the league but in the state and capped off an undefeated season with the program’s first state championship. The graduation of center Ali Brigham, who was arguably the program’s best-ever player, is a big change for the Panthers this year but there is plenty of talent and experience on the roster to make a push for a three-peat of Kelley-Rex titles.
Junior Olivia Quinn is one of the main reasons that the Panthers are considered the favorites in the Kelley-Rex again this year. Quinn scored nearly 400 points and was one of the top three or four players in the league last season. She continues to develop and improve and will be the focal point of the offense this year. Senior Erin Quaile is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year but is also a solid point guard who limits turnovers, calms things down, and gets Franklin into its sets.
The offense will obviously look a little different this year, without a 6-foot-3 center in the middle, but the Panthers have talent on the wings to cause problems. Seniors Elizabeth Wilson and Kaleigh Houlihan, and junior Stefany Padula can all stretch the defense with their ability to knock down perimeter shots. The forward position should also be strong with Emma Sousa, Brigid Early, and Katie Peterson giving Franklin length and athleticism on the block.
“We are excited to be back on the court and I have been very impressed by our depth,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “Our girls have been committed to getting better and competing on every play.”
2019-2020 Record: 12-9 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip head coach Dan Nagle has implemented a unique system based on high pressure and constant running. The Warriors don’t have to worry about shot clock violations. With a roster of athletic players who will all be counted on at some point and have a year of experience in the system, Nagle hopes this year’s team can create even more chaos that last winter and push Franklin at the top of the Kelley-Rex.
Senior Emma Glaser is the team’s top returning scorer and the Springfield College-commit will be counted on to take a step up, as the Warriors lost their top three scorers to graduation and transfers. Glaser is an athletic wing with range out beyond the three-point line. Athleticism is a common theme for this roster. Senior Caroline Aaron is another versatile wing who can contribute on both ends of the floor.
Depth won’t be an issue for the Warriors, who regularly sub five players at once and everyone gets playing time. Junior guards Elizabeth Molla, Liv Lafond, Grace Clyde, and Julia Marsden will provide scoring punch. At 6-foot-3, sophomore center Emily Sawyer gives KP a unique weapon in the middle and looks more comfortable with the speed at varsity. Senior Courtney Keswick battled injuries last year but is back healthy and gives KP a consistent three-point threat. Sophomore Jackie Bonner is a scorer being moved up from JV who could be poised for a breakout year.
Nagle said, “It’s year two in the system, so the learning curve has been a lot smaller and kids are picking things up fast. What we do is no secret. It’s going to be pandemonium every game, win or lose. This year’s team might even be a better fit for it because generally we have better team speed and it being year two makes a huge difference.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-14 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Heather McPherson
After more than two decades in charge, Mike Redding retired as head coach after last season. There will be some continuity for the program however, as former player and assistant coach Heather McPherson will move into the first seat this year. McPherson can count on continuity on the floor as well, with six seniors among the returning players for the Hornets.
While the Hornets missed the playoffs last year, they also had some impressive wins against playoff teams along the way, beating Attleboro, King Philip, and Bishop Feehan. Senior Kayla Vine was one of the league’s top perimeter shooters and also a solid playmaker with her ability to get into the paint. Senior Ashley Santos extended her range as a shooter last year was a strong all-around player that was a tough matchup on both ends of the court. Sophomore Abby Wager showed flashes of her potential as a scorer during a strong rookie season and her development could be a big boost this year.
Mansfield will have plenty of depth to call on. Senior Ally Prentis adds another shooter, senior Sarah Dooling is another versatile forward, and seniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking give the Hornets a lot of height in the paint. Junior Anna Darlington and sophomore Olivia Salisbury should see more time in the backcourt.
McPherson said, “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to begin my varsity coaching career, they have set an exciting tone to the season with their energy, effort, enthusiasm. With all of the uncertainty that this year has brought we are excited for the opportunity to be playing basketball. For us to compete each night we will need to play good fundamental basketball.”
2019-2020 Record: 3-17 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: TJ Dolliver
While Milford went winless in league play last year, the Hawks lost no one to graduation and will have seven seniors on this season’s roster. Experience will be a key for Milford, which for the first time will be playing in the Kelley-Rex division. Although the Hawks have struggled at times offensively, no one can argue with the team’s effort and athleticism, especially on defense (ask state champion Foxboro, which was held to just 44 points last year) and that should once again be the team’s strength.
Senior Emma Lawrence will be the team’s focal point this year after an all-star junior season. Lawrence has long arms, endless energy, and the ability to get to the basket. Fellow senior Jillian Michelson is another player who will shadow the opposing team’s top offensive player and use her speed and length to cause problems. Sophomore Brooke Ferreira stepped in at point guard last year and had an impressive rookie campaign. Her ball-handling and ability to get into the lane was critical to the team’s offense, which could at times struggle from the perimeter.
Milford is not a tall team, but the Hawks have several versatile forwards that crash the boards and will make it tough for teams to score in the paint. Seniors Carly Ferreira, Katie Maietta, and Elise Fauerbach add physicality on the block for a team that likes to get up and pressure the ball.
“Having a senior-heavy roster and a team of hard working girls, this season will be a lot of fun,” said Milford coach TJ Dolliver.
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Nikki Correia
Under first-year head coach Nikki Correia, North Attleboro bounced back last year and went into the final game of the regular season with a chance of clinching a return to the postseason. Although Big Red missed out on the tournament, the Rocketeers come into this season with optimism. A year of experience in Correia’s system and a strong corps of returning players gives North hopes of springing a surprise in the Davenport division.
Senior guard Amanda Kaiser will remain the focal point for opposing defenses and will force them to extend beyond the three-point line to prevent her from getting going. Kaiser is also a strong defender, who can kickstart the North break by forcing turnovers. Sophomore Summer Doherty is another wing player whose quickness and length causes problems on defense and her strength allows her to get into the lane on offense.
Senior Siobhan Weir keeps things calm even as North tries to get out and run as often as possible, while also adding a strong mid-range game. Senior Lydia Santos missed last season with injury and will be another strong ball-handler and leader in the backcourt. Sophomore Ava McKeon had an impressive rookie season on the wing and uses her strength and athleticism to get into the lane and her energy to get on the boards. Fellow sophomore Taylor McMath got called up last season and made an instant impact as a post player. North isn’t the tallest team, but McMath gives the Rocketeers extra length in the paint on both ends of the floor.
“I know with my team they have been so excited just to be on the basketball court again with their teammates and ready to compete,” said Correia. “Overall we have a strong unit and I can not wait to start the basketball season and see what these girls will do as a team. They all bring different strengths to the game so once they can mesh it all together on the court it will be great to see.”
2019-2020 Record: 14-7 2019-2020 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division for the first time since 2016, when the Tigers won their last league title. OA returns with the goal of ending Foxboro’s four-year run as the top team in the division and has a talented, experienced roster to try and win the program’s Hock-best 23rd league title.
The Tigers pushed Franklin for the Kelley-Rex crown all the way to the final week of league play last year and that experience has given them added confidence heading into the new season. Injuries took their toll down the stretch, but when fully healthy OA boasts one of the deepest rosters in the league. Caroline Flynn is more of a point forward than a point guard but she has developed into one of the league’s top playmakers, while also being one of its top rebounding guards. Caroline Peper battled a back injury all of last season, but when healthy is one of the top shooters in the Hock.
Junior Hailey Bourne has emerged as one of the top defensive players in the league, capable of guarding players on the perimeter or in the post. Senior Jess Erlich adds shooting from her forward position. OA has six returning players who will be bolstered by an exciting crop of newcomers, including freshman guard Jasmyn Cooper.
OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook, who passed the 700-win mark last season, said, “OA’s strengths will come from the depth of their lineup and a cast of young and upcoming players with great intensity and love for the game. Despite the challenges associated with pandemic, OA is excited to have the chance to play this season and value every second they get to compete for the top spot.”
2019-2020 Record: 4-16 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Sandy Lombardi
Sharon finished with only four wins last season, but the Eagles also lost seven games by 10 points or less, including five games by five points or fewer and twice lost by a single basket. With a good core of versatile players returning, the Eagles are hoping to make a move up the standings in what continues to be a competitive Davenport division.
The graduations of Ally Brown and Kaitlyn Wallace take away two of the team’s top ball-handlers and perimeter scorers, but the Eagles can make up for that with strength in the paint. Senior Leah Fandel and junior Trinity Payne are difference makers on both ends of the court, capable of crashing the boards, protecting the rim, and offering interior scoring. Both players are capable of stepping back and knocking down short jumpers too, adding a different dimension to the offense.
Sophomore guards Tess Letendre and Emily Freeman will be counted on to pick up some of the slack on the perimeter and get the Eagles into their offensive sets. Seniors Gaby Cabral and Julia Early will also be counted on to take bigger roles this season. The Eagles will also have a pair of freshmen, Rachel Hager and Eva Poulton, who will be expected to contribute right away.
“I’m excited for the girls to have an opportunity to play this season,” said Sharon coach Sandy Lombardi. “Looking back a few months ago I would not have imagined us having a season at all.”
2019-2020 Record: 9-11 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last year, falling just one win short of qualifying for the tournament (that included a one-point loss to North Attleboro midway through the season). The Black Knights will have to try and make up for the graduation of their two leading scorers, Aliyah Wright and Shyanne Trinh, but head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan expects that this year’s roster will live up to the program’s standard of hustle, hard work, and aggressiveness.
Mackenzie Manning is the team’s top returning scorer and Steele Jordan is counting on the senior guard to provide leadership and passion for the younger players. Fellow seniors Cate Downey and Jess Maddalena (who is out for the season with an injury) are also going to be counted on to set the tone for the team.
Junior guard Makaiyah Singleton Rivera saw plenty of time last year and gives the Black Knights a boost of speed and energy on the perimeter. There are also several underclassmen who will be jumping up to varsity and could add important minutes this season. Sophomore guards Kiara Scardina and Shayla Ford and freshman forward Alyssa Edwards are newcomers to keep an eye on this season.
Steele Jordan said, “I’m really thankful for all the players that came out for our program this year in the middle of pandemic. Looking forward to kicking off the season in 2021. Our goals have not changed, the Black Knights will play hard, play together and represent the Stoughton community with pride this season.”
2019-2020 Record: 5-15 2019-2020 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Amy Siggens
Taunton has struggled to get going this winter, as practices were halted after just three days and the teams won’t resume basketball activities until next week, which has forced the opening games with Attleboro to be postponed. The Tigers will also be without last year’s leading scorer, sophomore Kameron St. Pierre, who has opted out. With all of that, second-year head coach Amy Siggens is still excited that the team this season and building on the fundamentals of her system.
The Tigers will be an experienced, if still young, team this season. Seniors Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will be the focal points on the offensive end. They are both versatile players capable of stepping back and knocking down shots and also taking their defenders off the dribble. Their athleticism on both ends of the court makes them a tough matchup. They also provide leadership for a team that is building consistency. The Tigers won five games last year, but also lost seven times by single digits, including once in overtime.
A strength of the team will be its depth in the backcourt. Senior Tori DaRosa is a tough defender and gets the Tigers into their sets. Juniors Abby Souza and Braeley McDonald are also strong options to provide shooting off the bench. Sophomore Maddie Michenzie can be a force on the boards and adds a different dimension in the post on both ends of the court.
“We’re rolling with the punches here,” said Siggens about having to postpone practices until the New Year. “Everyday is something new and you just have to adjust. We’re focusing on the leadership of our seniors but also the development of our young kids. This is a year to really pull it back and go after the fundamentals and the basics.”
Below are the official 20020 Hockomock League Girls Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
Briley Harnois, Attleboro
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Briley Harnois, Attleboro
Isabella Salviati, Attleboro
Jessica Gates, Attleboro
Erin Quaile, Franklin
Sydney St. Marie, Franklin
Julia Bertone, Franklin
Kiera Lindmark, King Philip
Paige Varvarigos, King Philip
Maria Sevastos, Mansfield
Cathryn Cooney, Mansfield
Katie Miller, Mansfield
Dani Atherton, Milford
Catherine Madden, Milford
Davenport Division MVP
Kailee McCabe, Foxboro
Davenport Division All Stars
Mia Gilmore, Canton
Sarai Costello, Canton
Olivia Rodman, Canton
Elisa Diletizia, Canton
Allie McCabe, Canton
Kailee McCabe, Foxboro
Jordyn Collins, Foxboro
Jordan Carman, Foxboro
Camryn O’Connor, Oliver Ames
Emma Pereira, Oliver Ames
Stephanie McKenna, North Attleboro
Kaylah Seavey, North Attleboro
Sofia Goclowski, Sharon
Cass Barbera, Sharon
Eleanor Graber, Attleboro
Morgan Sylvestre, Foxboro
Anya Zub, Franklin
Ella Pisani, King Philip
Kara Santos, Mansfield
Alyssa Monahan, Milford
Summer Doherty, North Attleboro
Allison Evin, Oliver Ames
Molly McAlevey, Sharon
Sabrina Rodrigues, Stoughton
Isabella Anslow, Taunton
MANSFIELD, Mass. – As Franklin raced away from the corner kick with the ball, there was the faint sound of a whistle. There was some hesitation but the Panthers kept running and, with no other signal from the officials, the Mansfield players chased back. The play continued upfield and Franklin was able to get off a shot that went wide of the post.
Before Hornets goalie Olivia Salisbury could put the ball back into play, confusion erupted. The official that had been trailing the play ran across the field to talk to his partner. After a conversation, the officials ruled that a Franklin player had headed the ball on the corner and, despite the amount of time that passed, pulled play back to the edge of the Franklin penalty area for an indirect free kick.
Mansfield didn’t waste the opportunity. Isabella Lennon took the touch to set up Cathryn Cooney and the senior blasted an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner, out of the reach of Franklin keeper Rachel Welch’s dive.
It was the game’s only goal. For the second time in two days, the Hornets beat Franklin 1-0, sweeping the season series, making it six games unbeaten, and moving within two points of the league-leading Panthers in the Kelley-Rex division standings.
However controversial the decision that led to the goal, there was no question about the quality of Cooney’s strike. “She’s come up with a couple of those this year,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith. “She’s come a long, long way and controlling a lot of our attack. She’s everywhere and you can see that she wants to be on the ball. She’s playing really, really well.”
It was also a goal against the run of play. Franklin stormed out of the halftime break and had the Hornets on their heels.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Bridget Leo picked the pocket of a Mansfield player and started a quick transition that led to a long shot from Sydney St. Marie that was just wide. A minute later, Erin Quaile blocked a clearance and set up Anya Zub for a shot from the edge of the box that was charged down by Kayla Doherty.
The Panthers had another chance just a minute after that, Quaile again played provider, picking out Leo for a strike that Salisbury was able to collect on the second attempt. In the 51st minute, St. Marie forced another save with a shot off the bounce.
It was all Panthers until finally Mansfield got one good counter attack in the closing minutes of the quarter and forced a corner. Franklin cleared it. The Mansfield bench initially called for a free kick from a header but turned its attention to the Panthers’ break. Then came the call and Cooney’s go-ahead goal.
Franklin coach Tom Geysen said, “The official wouldn’t explain the call to me. He wouldn’t come to the sideline and explain why he made that call. It was at least 30 seconds after the infraction.”
“If you don’t score, you can’t win,” Geysen admitted, “I thought we played really well and kept them off-balance. I wasn’t happy with the result, but I was happy with the performance.”
The game certainly wasn’t over after the Hornets went in front. Quaile had a free kick from the left side that she played into the middle of the box. After a couple of good blocks by the Mansfield defense, including one from Kara Santos, the ball popped out to Katie Ewald whose deflected strike was punched out by Salisbury.
Cooney forced Welch into a save with a long distance strike and Olivia Homsi nearly doubled the lead when she slipped the ball under the onrushing keeper but Cariss Alers stretched to clear it off the line.
With three minutes to play, St. Marie took a kick-in from the far side of the field and played a low cross through the box to Clare Bowen, who hit it first-time just over the bar.
“The whole second half until maybe after the goal and they were starting to push and push and push and we had a little more space to play, they were on top of the game,” Smith said. “They’re an excellent team. They pass the ball well and their spacing is so disciplined. They knew exactly who to move. We had to fight tooth and nail to stay with them.”
The first half was more even and had fewer chances, as both teams played it around in the midfield and both defense stood strong.
Mansfield almost scored in the first minute when Cooney’s free kick was spilled by Julia Bertone and Tarynn Smith had a chance on the volley, but Bertone made amends with a good stop. It was the lone scoring chance of note in the opening 20 minutes.
Franklin started to get going in the second, as its winger started to get into the game. Zub nearly got on the end of a cross, only to be denied by a combination of Santos and Salisbury. Then Zub played in Leo, who set up Bowen on the left side, but the cross flashed across the face of goal with no Panthers on hand to get a touch.
Bertone had to be quick to recover and stop a deflected cross from Avery Hawthorne that nearly snuck in at the near post in the final minute of the first half.
Mansfield (4-2-2) faces a difficult stretch to close out the regular season, with two games against Milford over the weekend. Two wins could give the Hornets a shot at the league title. Franklin (6-2-0) needs two points to clinch at least a share of the league title and faces Attleboro on Monday.
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Two days after suffering a 4-0 loss, Attleboro battled to a scoreless draw with the Hornets to earn a point. Mansfield goalie Jack Lansbury-Casey had a strong outing in net with eight saves.
Canton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Canton scored two minutes into the third quarter and that was enough for the Bulldogs in a win on the road. Sophomore Jake McCabe converted a feed from junior Jacob Crugnale for the lone tally of the match. David Floyd had a solid outing in net for the Rocketeers with eight saves.
Stoughton, 1 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – Foxboro sandwiched a pair of third quarter goals around a tally from Stoughton to earn two points and a season sweep of the Black Knights. After a scoreless first half, Foxboro’s Max Beigel opened the scoring in the 44th minute, tucking his show low to the left into the back corner for a 1-0 advantage. Rhuan Carvalho helped bring the Black Knights level, sending a perfectly paced through ball to Joao Marotti, who was fouled in the box for a pen. Carvalho blasted a left-footed shot that Foxboro keeper Nick Penders got his fingertips to but the ball kissed off the post and in to bring Stoughton level at 1-1. The deadlock lasted less than 10 minutes as Matt Angelini raced onto a loose ball behind the defense and hit a left-footed shot on the run just inside of the far post. Stoughton keeper Nolan Gerome had a strong outing with eight saves.
Taunton, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Franklin scored a pair of first quarter goals a minute apart and held on the rest of the way to earn two points at home over visiting Taunton. Ben Moccia opened the scoring for the Panthers, finishing off a feed from Charlie Amante for a 1-0 advantage. Just a minute later, Ryan Witt set up Ethan Cain, who scored for the third straight game, for a 2-0 lead. Taunton sophomore Riley Rebello cut the deficit in half with an unassisted goal in the second quarter.
Milford, 2 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – King Philip battled back from a 2-0 deficit, scoring right before the halftime whistle and then just seconds before the final whistle to grab a point over visiting Milford. Junior Avi Seri put the Hawks ahead in the eighth minute on an assist from Leo Coelho, who scored in the 31st minute on an assist from Arthur Tome to make it 2-0. King Philip cut the lead in half with less than a minute to go in the first half when junior Stephen Griffin converted a free kick. And then with just 12 seconds left, Conor O’Neill buried a service from Evan McCoy to bring the Warriors level at the death.
Sharon, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 8 – Final – Oliver Ames exploded for six second half goals to earn a big win at home over visiting Sharon. The Tigers built a 2-0 lead at halftime on goals from Mathias Taylor (from Ben Cohen) and Anthony DaCosta (from Colin Milliken). Senior Brady deVos added a second half brace for the Tigers while Milliken, Kevin Louhis, Dillon Cupples, and Jared Goldman also scored. Senior Ryan Ventura and freshman Joey Carney added assists.
Mansfield, 2 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Cathryn Cooney scored twice in the second quarter to lift Mansfield to a win on the road. Olivia Salisbury and Kelsey Hubler combined to keep a clean sheet for the Hornets.
Foxboro, 9 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Alyssa Vandenboom scored three times and Jordyn Collins and Erin Foley each scored twice, as Foxboro’s offense clicked into gear with a big road win. Kailee McCabe recorded five points on the day, finishing with one goal and four assists, and Katelyn Mollica added three, scoring one and assisting on two. Meghan Burke, Jordan Carman, and Collins all had one assist in the win. Stoughton coach Hermes Lima credited the leadership of seniors Mackenzie Manning, Nikki Anderson, and Rebecca DeSousa for keeping the Black Knights going. He said the team had several good attacks for forward Shayla Ford but just couldn’t find the finish.
Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Clare Bowen’s hat trick keeps the Panthers rolling along, having won all six of their games so far this season and extending their lead to six points in division standings (second-place KP plays on Thursday). Jamie Tanner and Riley Fitzpatrick also scored for Franklin. Izzy Arnold had a pair of assists, while Norah Anderson, Erin Quaile, and Tanner each had one helper apiece.
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Sharon’s goal came on a first half penalty kick by Sofia Goclowski that put the Eagles ahead 1-0 but the Tigers scored four straight to get the win on the road. Katie Gibson (assist), Camryn O’Connor (two assists), Emma Pereira, and Carly Gibson scored for OA. Lucinda Cotter notched an assist for the Tigers.
Canton, 147 @ North Attleboro, 156 – Final – Another day, another new golfer steps up to lead the Bulldogs as Conor Hunter fired a match-medalist even par round of 35 as Canton notched a win on the road at Heather Hill Country Club over North Attleboro. Will Gefteas and Owen Donovan each chipped in with a 37 while Aiden French carded a 38 for Canton. Sophomore Jake Gaskin led the Rocketeers with a team-low round of 37, Sam Gallagher added a 38, Jordan Paradis shot a 40, and Tyler DeMattio finished with a 41.
Taunton, 194 @ Franklin, 149 – Final – Franklin earned its eighth straight win to start the season behind an impressive two-under par round of 33 from senior Jack Paterson. Sean Connelly added a 38 in the win while both Nolan Norton and Pat Dolan carded rounds of 39. Spencer Andrews was Taunton’s top performer, coming in with a team-low round of 44.
King Philip, 158 @ Milford, 173 – Final – King Philip went on the road and earned a win over Milford at the Hopedale Country Club. Jared Curran was the match medalist, shooting a team-low round of 36 to pace the Warriors. Mike Matheson added a 37 and Gavin Croke chipped in with a 42 for KP.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – In a shortened season, jumping out to an early lead in the division standings could be critical and Wednesday afternoon’s meeting of Franklin and King Philip at Macktaz Field was the chance for one to grab the lead in the Kelley-Rex after both went undefeated in the first week of play.
Behind goals from senior Erin Quaile and freshman Anya Zub and a typically strong defensive performance, Franklin beat KP 2-0 and took a one-game edge in the standings with the second game of a home-and-home coming up on Friday.
Over the past year, Franklin has become synonymous with defense. The Panthers recorded clean sheets in 11 of their final 12 games of the 2019 regular season, then held Oliver Ames scoreless through regulation of the playoff game before the Tigers scored the winner in extra time. This season, Franklin has tossed shutouts in all three games, remaining stout and hard to break down even with the modified rules that discourage physicality.
“We lack experience with a lot of these kids,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “If you don’t have that kind of experience right now then you want to speed up the other team’s play faster than they want to get rid of the ball. So, if we can pressure them and make them make earlier decision than they want to, you’ve got a better chance to win the ball. It kind of worked.”
It was clear from the opening whistle that Franklin was the aggressor on Wednesday. A long ball over the top to Ava Tormey gave the Warriors an early chance but pressure from Izzy Arnold gave goalie Julia Bertone time to slide out and grab the loose ball. It would be the last chance of note for KP in the first half.
Franklin’s best chance of the opening quarter came in the final two minutes with Riley Fitzpatrick playing a nicely weighted pass into the right channel for Zub to run onto. The freshman hit a shot from a tough angle and saw it go right through the box and just wide of the far post.
The visitors carried momentum into the second quarter and had two golden chances in the span of two minutes, only to be denied both times on goal line clearances by Taylor Thompson. The first chance came when Jamie Tanner got behind the defense and managed to bundle the ball by KP keeper Emma Glaser, but Thompson intervened at the last second. Two minutes later Quaile crossed it from the left to Tanner and again the ball was redirected towards the line but Thompson got there in time to clear.
With three minutes remaining in the half, Franklin’s pressure finally turned into a goal and from an unlikely source. Quaile collected the ball in midfield and found space for a 20-yard strike that sailed over Glaser’s hand and just under the bar for what turned out to be the game-winner.
Geysen said, “Erin I thought played really well on both sides of the ball today. She just does a lot of good things.”
“At halftime, I was telling them you had three days out of four off and you come back and you look like you’ve been working out for 10 days straight,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “I told them, the team I put out on Friday will be very different than today because you didn’t work for it and you didn’t earn it.”
Ella Pisani had three goals in the first two games but the Franklin defense was able to keep her largely in check on Wednesday. She did manage to get a shot early in the third quarter but it sailed wide, as the Warriors reacted to Pichel’s halftime team talk with a spark of energy.
It didn’t take Franklin long to reassert control. Arnold’s long ball out of defense picked out Zub on the run, but Glaser was able to slide and make the stop. Almost immediately after, Bridgette Ginley had a chance from the right side and her shot was narrowly wide of the post.
Kiera Lindmark gave Franklin freshman keeper Rachel Welch a scare with a free kick late in the third, but it curled wide from 25 yards out. Lindmark nearly found the right pass to Jenny Montville at the start of the fourth but Montville couldn’t get a solid touch and Welch was able make the comfortable stop.
Eight minutes into the final quarter, Franklin doubled its lead and secured the two points. Zub and Fitzpatrick played a nice one-two on the edge of the box, springing Zub beyond the back line. She managed to hold off the defender on her back and fire a shot past Glaser to make it 2-0.
“Anya is a special player,” said Geysen. “She’s so freaking smart. She puts herself where she knows they’re going to play the ball and a lot of times I don’t have to tell her.”
The Panthers nearly added a third in the final minute with another piece of solid ball movement. Tanner started the play with a pass to Zub on the wing. Her low cross was just behind Tanner in the middle of the box and found Tory Carmignani at the back post, but her shot skimmed the bar on its way out of play.
Franklin (3-0-0) and King Philip (2-1-0) will do it all over again on Friday, with the Warriors looking to rebound and get back to even in the standings.