Foxboro’s Comeback Comes Up Short In D2 East Final

Foxboro girls lacrosse
Foxboro’s Meghan Curran is double teamed by a pair of Walpole defenders in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
MILFORD, Mass. – While it wasn’t a favorable position, it wasn’t an unfamiliar one. For the second time this season, Foxboro girls lacrosse trailed Walpole at halftime, but this time around it was just a two goal deficit.

Unfortunately for the second-seeded Warriors, the second half played out in familiar fashion. Foxboro rallied back from a five goal deficit to cut it to one, but couldn’t get over the hump, falling 12-10 to the top-seeded Rebels in the MIAA D2 East Sectional Final.

“We were hoping we’d have the push we needed to get ahead over the last 25 minutes,” said Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry. “We’ve had games we were down and come back before so we’ve been in that situation. But it was just too much of a lead today. Our shot selection wasn’t great and we needed to take care of the ball better than we did.”

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A highlight goal from Catherine Luciano tied the game at 3-3 with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half, but the Rebels rattled off three straight goals over a seven minute span. Luciano took a feed from Caroline McGeary to cut the deficit to two with just over a minute remaining and freshman goalie Sara Addeche had a big save with 10 seconds left in the half to keep it at 6-4.

But unlike in the first meeting when Foxboro completely shut Walpole out int eh second half, the Rebels went right to work on the offensive end in the second half. Emily Curtis put Walpole up three, 7-4, with a goal less than two minutes in but after an interception from Hallie Canfield, Foxboro responded with an 8-meter goal from Luciano.

The big difference in the game came in the next ten minutes as Walpole used lengthy possessions and finishes right in front to complete a 4-1 lead.

Back to back goals from Alison Foley in a two minute window put the Rebels up by four before Meghan Curran could get Foxboro back on the board on a restart two minutes later. After a four minute break between goals, Walpole cashed in on a long offensive spell with Curtis depositing one in.

A minute later, Foley tallied another and Walpole took a commanding 11-6 lead with 11 minutes to play.

“[Walpole] did great with manipulating our zone,” Sherry We tried to get our girls to be closer but Walpole has speed, size and they see the cutters and the open players very well.

“We were on a five or six game roll of taking care of the ball and not having silly turnovers but we see those Walpole uniforms and we seemed to panic. We practiced it but the turnovers were a killer.”

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But just when it looked like that might be it the Hockomock League’s Davenport division champs, its offense came to life.

With just under nine minutes to go, Lauren Flahive scored on an 8-meter try with a bounce shot. Just over two minutes later, Mackenzie Cusack took a feed from Christina Rogers – who had made a nice defensive play at midfield – and tossed her shot over the shoulders of the Walpole keeper.

Foxboro’s defense came up with its biggest stop of the game after another lengthy Walpole possession. On the offensive end, Curran used her speed to blow around the Walpole defense and fired one in to make it 11-9.

After a draw win from Caroline Boudreau, the Foxboro offense went right back to work. Luciano continued her terrific performance, beating a defender one on one and going low to get the Warriors within one, 11-10, with 3:16 to play.

“We were driving more,” Sherry said of what changed during the comeback. “Luciano had a great game, I think she had four goals and it was because she was driving. Others just weren’t pulling the trigger on that and weren’t driving to the cage. It’s tough to put points on the board if you’re just passing it around instead of driving. We had our spurts at times and then other times, not so much.”

Walpole capitalized on a Foxboro turnover in the defensive end and scored with just under two minutes left and then took possession for the final minute, running the majority of the clock out until a very late break from Foxboro.

Foxboro girls lacrosse finishes the season 17-5.

“This is the furthest we’ve gone and the kids have worked really hard to be here,” Sherry said. “And it wasn’t easy either. Wayland was tough the other day, and our schedule was set up all year to be tough. Next time, hopefully we get the result we wanted.”

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Foxboro Stunned By Medway’s Late Comeback

Foxboro boys lacrosse
Foxboro’s Mike Moses shields off a Medway defenseman in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – When the final buzzer sounded, it was an all too familiar situation for Foxboro head coach Matt Noone ands his Warriors.

For the sixth time this season, and fourth time in their final seven games, eighth-seeded Foxboro lost by a single goal, falling 10-9 to ninth-seeded Medway behind a fourth quarter comeback in the MIAA D2 Central-East First Round.

The Warriors took their largest lead behind back-to-back goals, the latter coming with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter to go up 8-4.

However, Medway netted one with just 12 seconds to play in the third quarter to cut it to three and then outscored Foxboro 5-1 in the final quarter. The Mustangs took advantage of four straight Foxboro turnovers and scored the game-winner with 18 seconds remaining.

Foxboro won the final draw but a desperation shot just before the buzzer went just over the bar.

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“It was the bug that bit us all year, our youth took over,” Noone said. “The turnovers at the end…we just get tight, that’s youth. We have a freshman, a sophomore and a junior on defense, we have almost all juniors on attack. We’re a young team and at times it showed today.

“We get in these situations and I’m not sure they always fully trust what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes you revert back to old habits and today we got out of our system in the fourth quarter and it hurt us.”

Two early goals from the visitors cut the deficit to one, 8-7, with just over eight minutes to play in the game.

The Warriors were able to survive their third turnover of the frame as junior goalie Jake Addeche (nine saves) denied a close range bid from Medway’s Jake Tomsik.

“We were in this game because of Jake,” Noone said. “He made some great saves. I thought our defense got tired, we played a lot of defense in the fourth quarter. I’m not sure how much offense we even played. The turnovers, you can’t have that many in the playoffs. I said all season long that the turnovers will be the disease that kills us. And it was evident today.”

Foxboro capitalized three minutes later, restoring a two goal lead with just over three minutes to play. Louis Piccolo took possession behind the ned and found Trey Guerini. The senior battled his way through a sea of defenders and tucked his shot top shelf to put Foxboro up 9-7 with 3:32 to go.

But that would be the final time the Warriors found the back of the net. Just 22 seconds later, right off a draw win, Jeff Wenzil buried one for the Mustangs to make it a one goal game.

Foxboro was whistled for too many men on its next offensive possession and the Mustangs took advantage. Senior Tim Nicklas scored the equalizer for Medway with just over a minute remaining.

Medway came away with another draw win and set up their offense. With under 30 seconds to play, the Mustangs put the play into motion: Tomsik cut across the middle, taking a pass with back towards goal, jumping, turning and bouncing in the game-winner with 18 seconds to play.

“Just costly, costly turnovers,” Noone said of the fourth quarter. “When we needed to possess the ball, we couldn’t. They stepped up the pressure and we couldn’t handle it. I didn’t want to play defense as much as we did today. I knew they had guys that could score, [Tomsik] is a beast and [Wenzel] can shoot the ball really well.

“Just small things, like we had the chance to clear and we had a guy open on the sideline and we forced it into the middle. Just things we’ve talked about all season long. Medway is a good team so you can’t do that against those teams.”

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Piccolo finished with four goals and two assists, Pete Conley netted two goals, Guerrini had a goal and an assist and Colin Spinney and Brendan Tully each scored once.

While the Warriors graduate three seniors, the majority of the team returns with plenty of experience. All nine of Foxboro’s losses this season were by four goals or less, and six were by two or less.

“It hurts now,” Noone said. “There’s a reason we try to play a tough schedule. When these kids get more experienced, they will be battle tested. Unfortunately sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Now it’s about working hard and getting better in the offseason.”

Foxboro boys lacrosse finishes the season 11-9.

Franklin Holds Off Foxboro In Crossover Clash

By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor

FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro won the final draw control of the game and charged down the field. But with just under 10 seconds remaining, there wasn’t enough time to set a up a play. Instead, time ran out just before the Warriors could release their final shot.

If there was another second left, Foxboro might’ve scored its seventh goal of the half and completed a stunning comeback.

Instead the clocked hit double zeros and Franklin recorded its second straight one goal victory, 9-8, over Foxboro in a battle of division leaders. The win clinched at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title for Franklin — the sixth straight for the Panthers.

Foxboro’s Molly Murphy cut the deficit to just one with 11 seconds to play, but Foxboro couldn’t get a shot off to tie the game before the buzzer.

Similar to its victory over defending state champions Westwood on Monday, Franklin relied on its defense and clung to its lead.

“Franklin is top three in the state,” Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry said. “So hanging with them first of all, and winning would be a plus. We’ve never beat them – it’s a program goal of ours, always has been.”

When the division champions battled a year ago, Franklin handled Foxboro 13-8 — and this year’s game began in similar fashion.

Senior Caroline Lounsbury scored the first two goals for Franklin on feeds from freshman Erin Walsh. The senior attack caught both feeds at full speed, cut towards the net and finished to the left of Foxboro goalkeeper Sara Addeche. A mishap in front of the net led to an own goal for Foxboro, giving the Kelley-Rex leading Panthers an early three goal advantage.

But after that, Foxboro’s defense settled in. The Warriors’ zone stifled the Panthers over the last 35 minutes allowing just six goals to a Franklin team which had previously been held to single digit scoring just four times this season. Addeche compiled 10 saves while her counterpart, Franklin freshman Gianna Cameron, tallied eight.

“We kind of took advantage of the fact that they were young and our zone just kept their composure,” Sherry said. “We try not to put them on the line and make them make them mistakes.”

After trailing 5-2 at the half, Foxboro dictated pace in the second half. The possessions lengthened from barely half a minute in the first half to nearly two minutes per possession in the second half. The Warriors’ offense was patient and waited for opportunities to arise.

And they did.

Jackie Brion scooped a ground ball and cleared it the length of the field. She moved the ball on to Meghan Curran, who scored twice in the first half, as the sophomore was cutting down the alley. An additional pass reached Lauren Flahive before the senior fired it into the back of the net.

“If we played like we did in the second half in the first half I think we would’ve gotten a different result,” Sherry said.

In the few possessions, Franklin did capitalize. The Walsh sisters, Annie a sophomore, and Erin a freshman, combined for three of the last four goals of the games for Franklin. On the team’s second to last goal, Annie stood outside the circle of Warrior defenders and carefully lobbed the pass over their heads. The ball landed perfectly in a streaking Erin’s stick and the freshman cranked the shot just under the crossbar.

A few possessions later Lauren Bissanti ran from the bench straight through the Foxboro defense and caught a pass on the run down the center of the defense. She sent the eventual game winner to the bottom left corner.

Foxboro would make a late push with goals by Sophia DiCenso and Murphy, but it wasn’t enough and Franklin remained unbeaten in league play.

“A win is a win,” Franklin head coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said. “Our defense did well our goalie played well, we were aggressive but we could’ve played a lot better.”

Franklin (17-1 overall, 8-0 Hockomock) will look to clinch the Kelley-Rex title outright when it travels to Taunton on Thursday. Foxboro (13-3, 8-1) will look to bounce back on Friday with a trip to Attleboro.

Strong Second Half Sends Foxboro Past Canton

Foxboro boys lacrosse
Canton’s Gabe Galeotos defends Foxboro’s Louis Piccolo in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – If there was one word that describes how Foxboro head coach Matt Noone wants his offense to play, patient would be near the top of the list.

With limited depth, Noone stresses long offensive possessions that lets his defense get plenty of rest. On Monday night, the Warriors were able to convert enough of those long possessions into goals and limited the Bulldogs’ time on attack, especially in the second half, to manufacture a 4-2 win.

“We were pressing early, making a lot of mistakes,” Noone said. “It felt like they were tight or just pushing too hard, thinking they all had to do it individually. At halftime, talked about doing all the little things right. Making simple 10 yard passes, changing the formation up a bit. We just made some adjustments and the boys just possessed the ball better in the second half.”

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Foxboro earned a pair of man-up opportunities in the first quarter but couldn’t convert on either chance. On the first chance, the Warriors nearly broke through when senior Trey Guerrini collected a pass in close and ripped a shot but Canton freshman Jack Connolloy (11 saves) robbed him with a point blank save.

After neither side scored in the opening 12 minutes, Foxboro finally broke through with the first goal of the game. The Warriors were actually whistled for a penalty but forced a turnover and took control on offense. Sophomore Brendan Tully spun past his defenseman and found Guerrini right in front for an easy finish to make it 1-0.

Foxboro’s goal seemed to give the Bulldogs a little but of a spark as Canton controlled the final four minutes of the half.

Canton tied the game just over three minutes after giving up the first goal. Senior Ryan Lodge held possession in the corner and hit Griffin Roach – streaking in from the bench on a sub – in stride and the sophomore bounced his shot in to tie the game.

Just over a minute, the Bulldogs netted their second goal of the game. Lodge once again held possession in the corner but this time, he eluded his defenseman, sprinted toward goal, spun past a second opponent and bounced his shot in from in close to give Canton a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Although Canton took the momentum into the halftime break, it was Foxboro who controlled the entire second half.

The Warriors took advantage of long possessions on the offensive end while allowing just three shots on net for the entire second half.

“We have to possess the ball,” Noone said. “When we go back and forth, we just don’t have the depth. If we can possess the ball and rest our defense, our defense is damn good, they’ll get the ball back to you. We’re still getting better at offense. Every win is a win and then its onto the next one.”

Foxboro’s lengthy possessions finally paid off with two goals in the final four minutes of the third quarter. Senior Mike Moses faked his way around a defender and gained just enough space to tie the game with his shot with 3:44 to go in the third.

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The Warriors took possession once again and worked the ball around. With under a minute to play, their patience paid off once again. Moses fed junior James Silveria and his bounce shot through traffic put the visitors up 3-2 heading into the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Canton registered just two shots total on goalie Jake Addeche in the second half.

“All we kept saying is be patient on the offensive end,” Noone said. “We talked about playing five minutes and 30 seconds of defense total tonight…we did it in the first eight minutes of the game so it was a lesson. We had have to possess the ball a lot if we want to win. That’s a great team, [Bill Bendell] is a great coach. We’re the same…small town, we both have freshmen out there. Guys are always learning. Ronnie MacLellan was a little out of sorts on Saturday, he was one of our best defenseman today. Matty Lathrop also had a big game, another freshman.”

Foxboro netted an insurance goal just over the midway point of the final quarter. After another lengthy possession, Louis Piccolo fed Guerrini with a perfect pass right and front and the senior buried it with what was essentially a one-timer.

Canton had a couple of offensive possessions in the final minute but none resulted in a shot on goal – two resulted in turnovers because of poor passes and Foxboro’s Patrick Kaveny forced another.

“They pressed out a lot, especially off ball and especially against our attack and we really didn’t handle it well,” said Canton head coach Bill Bendell. “We have pretty good attack so it was a little unusual for us. We tried to attack from the midfield in the second quarter, we did a great job of doing it. Then by the third quarter I think we were a little tired. They had some long possessions, they made us work. They do a great job of possessing the ball. When we got on offense, we were a little gassed by the end.

“They wear your down. They’re so well coached. They are aggressive but they have such long possessions, they make you learn it. They’ve played some close games, they have a great schedule. I think this where we can learn some things. We’ll see how we’ll respond because this was our first close loss and first loss in the league. It was a lot of fun but we came up just short.”

Canton (4-2, 2-1) looks to bounce back the same day when they host North Attleboro in another key divisional showdown.

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2017 Hockomock Softball Preview

2017 Hockomock Softball Preview
With a deep and experienced lineup and both pitchers returning, Milford will once again be the favorite to retain the Davenport division title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Softball Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 2-18
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Mark Homer

Attleboro struggled through a difficult 2016, the first season under new head coach Mark Homer, winning only two games while giving up a league high 177 runs and scoring a league-low 46. Heading into this spring, the Bombardiers will be counting on a group of young players to try and turn things around and it seems to be working so far, as Attleboro has played two games and already matched last year’s win total.

One of the true bright spots from last season was freshman pitcher McKenzie Bergdoll, who showed flashes of the potential to be an ace for Attleboro, and this season she will be counted on to keep the Bombardiers in games and to provide big hits from the three-spot. Julia Woyton will be behind the plate this year while senior Ilea Caverley and junior Casey Whelan (outfield) and Jordyn Lako (second base) are the few returning players on the roster.

The Bombardiers are going to turn to youth this spring with freshman MacKenzie Killough taking over at shortstop. Freshmen twins Emma and Jenna Gittle will add depth to the Attleboro pitching staff and classmate Ashley Macia will take over in centerfield. Homer also said that there were underclassmen who would provide speed off the bench.

“The expectations are to play hard, be committed and get excited with every game and practice that they take part in,” said Homer. “With the added depth in each position this year, the girls hope to gain advantages from the previous year and reach their set goals for the season.”

Canton

2016 Record: 3-17
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Jennifer Robillard

Former King Philip and Sacred Heart University shortstop Jennifer Robillard takes over the Canton program this spring with the hope of bringing some of the success that she enjoyed playing for two state champions and a Division I college to the Bulldogs, who are coming off a three-win season.

The Bulldogs will be looking to their experienced players to help turn things around in 2017, including seniors Molly Loughran, Taylor Carrington, and Julia Ezepik and junior Hannah Jerrier, who are all captains this spring. Jerrier and Ezepik will start the season injured, but Robillard is hoping that other players can step up until they return. Canton will have depth in the circle, as both junior Caitlyn Cahill and freshman Caroline Hughes will see action at pitcher.

Lillian Carrington and Samantha Keefe are two other players that will be counted on to contribute and both provided home runs in a loss to Mansfield in the second game of the season. Robillard is excited about the opportunity to get back into the Hockomock League and she sees a team that “wants to learn.”

“This team has a lot of potential. If we can tap into this potential, I truly believe that we are going to take teams by surprise,” Robillard said. “I am here to share my passion for and knowledge of the game I love with these girls. It is important to me that these girls learn how to be strong, independent and respectful young women.”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 9-13
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round
Coach: Mark Maguire

In 2016, Foxboro finished 6-10 in the Hockomock League but got its chance to play in the postseason and took advantage with a preliminary round win over Westwood and a near-upset of Abington in a nine-inning classic. The Warriors will hope to build on that experience this spring with a number of key players returning.

League all-star Hannah Davis is back behind the plate for the Warriors and will be one of the top hitters in the Hockomock. Davis will likely be in the three-spot in the lineup and right behind her will be senior Kelly Fisher, who head coach Mark Maguire called one of the best first basemen in the league. Kelly McCarthy will try to set the table for the power hitters in the lead-off spot.

Sophomore pitcher Emma Rohan is back in the circle and Maguire expects that she will compete every game and build on her rookie campaign. Behind Rohan, Cam Willis will moved from second base to short and Chelsea Gibbons will provide good ‘D’ and a solid bat at third. Lefty Lexi Buckner could grab the second base spot and senior Jamie Gorham could provide an unexpected boost as a first-year player in the outfield. Mandy Ryan and Kayla Wheatley are two of the players coming up from JV that Maguire is hoping will step in to provide depth.

“They’re all working hard and they’re ready to build together as a team,” said Maguire. “The expectations are really to compete every game.”

Franklin

2016 Record: 12-11
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Kate Fallon

Once the rains go away for a few days, Franklin will be able to open its new field and make official its move back to the high school after a couple seasons playing at Dean College. The Panthers are excited about the new facility and about the team’s potential for success this spring with seven returning starters from last year.

Leading the way is third baseman, and four-year starter, Olivia DiGiacomo, who has been a mainstay at the hot corner and provides leadership for the infield. To her left is shortstop Alyssa DaSilva, a three-year starter with two years of experience at short. Sophomore Allie Shea is back at first base and senior Clara DeCarvalho is back behind the plate and poised for a “breakout season,” according to head coach Kate Fallon. The outfield is also filled with veterans, including seniors Rachel Cousineau in left and Olivia Haba in center.

The seventh starter is senior Alex Niss, who started as a pinch hitter last season before taking over the DP role and turning into one of the top power hitters in the Hockomock League. The Panthers should be solid defensively and at the plate and Fallon is hoping that sophomore pitchers Jackie Cherry (who carried a shutout into the seventh in the season opening loss to North Attleboro) and Emily Valentino can make an instant impact in the circle.

“Win 11 games and make the tournament again,” said Fallon when asked about the expectations for the team this season. “I expect the seniors to provide leadership and be role models for the underclassmen. It’s always a dogfight in this league…but I think we are a good team.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 24-4
2016 Finish: Won Div. 1 State Championship
Coach: Norm Beauchemin

King Philip comes into 2017 on the back of its third state title in the past six years and, while expectations remain high for one of the region’s top programs, there are key pieces from last year’s team that need to be replaced in order for the Warriors to get back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and in the state.

The biggest absence this season is, of course, pitcher Kali Magane, who is now in the circle for Boston University and who was dominant during KP’s playoff run a year ago. Senior Jenn Hutnyan will step in to be the team’s starting pitcher after several starts and relief appearances in the past two seasons. Hutnyan will also be an important bat in the lineup. Junior Brie Lacy will be back behind the plate to help Hutnyan and head coach Norm Beauchemin noted that junior Jessica Bonner will be a solid defensive third baseman.

KP rarely rebuilds and almost always reloads for another title push. This year should be no different with a lineup that features several familiar names from last season’s title run, including sophomore Meghan Gorman and juniors Brooke Taute, Elise Pereira, and Hailey McCasland. Each of those players had important roles last season and will be ready to step up for the Warriors this spring as KP tries to regain the league title after Taunton ended its nine year run in 2016.

“Though it’s hard to replace last year’s seniors,” said Beauchemin, “we have a solid core of returning players ready to represent King Philip and its proud softball legacy.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 13-9
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Lori Letendre

Mansfield is coming off a 13-win season that included a tournament win against Notre Dame Academy, but after four years of being able to count on Maddie Letendre in the circle the Hornets will be handing the ball over to a new pitcher this spring, although as it turns out only the first name will be changing.

Megan Letendre, who played shortstop as a freshman, will take over in the circle for the Hornets and her development as the No. 1 pitcher will go a long way to determining if Mansfield can repeat last year’s success. Pitcher is not the only position that needs to be replaces, as the Hornets will have a new catcher and three new infielders. Still, with nine returning players, there is plenty of experience on the roster.

Kara Bendanillo will move from third base to second, according to head coach Lori Letendre, and Megan Letendre will sometimes see time at second when not pitching. Liz Mackin will take over at first base, while Marissa Staffier and Amanda Giambanco will take the corner outfield positions. Mady Bendanillo will be back in center after an impressive first season for the Hornets.

“This is one of the hardest working teams I have had at Mansfield and they have been putting in a lot of effort to get ready for the season,” said Coach Letendre.

Milford

2016 Record: 17-5
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Steve DiVitto

Milford has been the class of the Davenport division for the past four seasons and the Hawks come into 2017 with the expectations of being heavy favorites for another league title, but, with three seniors and nine juniors on the roster and eight starters returning, head coach Steve DiVitto is hopeful that the talent will translate to a deep run in the state tournament.

The Hawks are one of the few contenders to return not just one but two starting pitchers from last season. Senior Ali Atherton is back to be the primary option in the circle and the Southern New Hampshire-commit has been dominant at times in her career. If Atherton gets into trouble or needs a rest, junior Kelley Reichert has demonstrated that she is more than just a fill-in but can also shut down opponents. They will be pitching to sophomore Emily Hartman, who will step into the starting lineup this season.

There are very few question marks in this year’s lineup with junior Emily Piergustavo moving from second to short to replace Jill Powers, which is Piergustavo’s natural position and one she has played several times in the past year. Junior Jess Tomaso is back at first base and in the heart of the lineup where she will be joined by senior outfielder Maggie Farrell and senior third baseman Kaitlyn DeCapua. Junior Kate Irwin will try to be the table-setter at the top of the order and juniors Maddy Bonvino (second base) and Shannon Cormier (outfield) will also be contributors.

“This has been a focused and driven group ever since the end of last season,” said DiVitto. “They have worked hard in the off-season and that was very apparent in the early stages of the season. We are excited to compete in the best league in the state, which will hopefully prepare us for a long run into June.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 11-10
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Bill Wallace

North Attleboro returned to the postseason in 2016 and for the Rocketeers to get back to the tournament this spring it will be the younger players that will lead the way. Head coach Bill Wallace knows that his team will be “green” (with only four seniors on the roster), but he is excited about North’s athleticism and versatility.

Pitching may be North’s biggest strength this season with five players in the rotation, led by freshman Bella Erti, who won her first career start, and last year’s starter Amelia Murphy. Juniors Olivia DesRoches, Jaclyn Buckley and Abby Warren could also step into the circle to help out. Senior Sam Courtemanche will be behind the plate to help the pitchers.

Senior Liz Morehouse returns at first base and Andrea Miceli will be at second. Megan Barlow moves in from the outfield to take over at short (and provided the walk-off hit in North’s season opening win), while Murphy will see time at third when she’s not pitching. Olivia Capobianco will play center with Katherine Munley and Kristina Murphy in left and right with freshmen Ashley Cangiano and Abby Gallagher getting playing time.

“With only four seniors on the roster, I am hoping the learning curve will be brief!” said Wallace. “This may be the year we see a lot of pinch hitting and pinch running! For a young team, they are very focused between the lines!”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 10-11
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Lindsey Allison

Oliver Ames finished in second in the league in 2016 and qualified for the postseason, but that will be an even tougher task now that the Tigers have made the move to the Kelley-Rex division. Even with facing the likes of defending state champion King Philip twice this spring, head coach Lindsey Allison is optimistic that the 10 returning players have the experience to get back into the playoffs.

Senior Victoria Ziner will be the spark on offense for the Tigers this season, but OA also has a number of juniors that Allison said can “do some damage at the plate.” Among those players is Caroline Mahoney, whose bat “is still as dangerous as ever,” according to Allison. Freshman Katie Abreu will be a newcomer to watch for the Tigers as her versatility will make her a valuable member of the lineup.

The Tigers will bring back sophomore Kayla Georgeu in the circle and will be hoping that she continues to develop and keep OA competitive against the league’s top teams. Junior Alexis Campbell will be a second pitcher and also help out at second base.

“We have a solid 10 players returning from last year’s roster,” said Allison, “and we are looking to fill holes behind the plate, in the outfield and at first base this year. Definitely hoping to use some of the speed we have on our team to our advantage this year.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 4-16
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Deb Parker

Sharon is coming off a four-win season in 2016 but head coach Deb Parker believes that the Eagles have the potential to be a contender in the Davenport division this spring as long as the players continue to develop over the course of the season.

Although the Eagles are a relatively young team, Parker is counting on senior captains Clara Cook and Sam Marglous to provide the leadership needed to keep the team on the right track. Cook will be back in the circle for Sharon, while Marglous will be back behind the plate. Parker said, “Both have been solid contributors for their entire high school careers.”

Sophomore centerfielder Rebecca Clayman and shortstop Ally Small, who Parker referred to as “standouts,” will be the anchors of the defense. Freshman Shoshanna Lowe will step in to play third base and should have a positive impact in the lineup as well.

“I believe we have the right combination of experience, talent and drive to be a contender in the Hock,” said Parker. “This is a team that works hard every day to be better than they were the day before. They have great chemistry and our captains have done an excellent job leading them into the season.”

Stoughton

2016 Record: 10-11
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Tim Norton

The Black Knights made a return to the state tournament in head coach Tim Norton’s first season in charge, and nearly pulled out a win against Braintree, and Stoughton will be counting on last year’s freshmen to continue developing and keep the program heading in the right direction.

One of the sophomores that the team will be leaning on is third baseman Jordan Lyons, who brings a strong bat to the hot corner and her leadership skills had her named a captain for this spring. Brianna Ferrandiz will take over behind the plate for Sam Tullis and Karly Estremera will move into the infield and continue to be the table-setter as the leadoff hitter.

Norton is excited to have depth in the circle with Shannon Flaherty and Gina Carafa both capable of racking up innings and “setting great examples on and off the field.” Stoughton will also have depth in the outfield with first-year starters Krista Michienzi, Val Whalen and Alessandra Loffredo.

“We were extremely fortunate in Stoughton last year to have such a strong freshman class with great senior leadership,” Norton explained. “This year that sophomore class is going to have to come into their own. While this team is young they got a taste of the post season last year and are hungry for more.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 22-2
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Dave Lewry

Last season, Taunton won its first outright league title, ending King Philip’s nine-year reign atop the Hockomock. It was a fitting coda to the impressive careers of Taunton’s senior class, but this spring the Tigers will now have to move forward with six new faces in the starting lineup, including at pitcher and the middle infield positions. Taunton typically reloads quickly and head coach Dave Lewry believes this year’s team has a plenty of potential.

Senior Courtney Fisher will step into the circle hoping to make a seamless transition from 2016 Player of the Year Aimee Kistner. Fisher tossed three shutout innings and had three hits in the season opener and got several opportunities to pitch in the past two seasons. She will be pitching to junior captain Kya Enos, who is making the move back to catcher after two seasons in the outfield. Other starters coming back include first baseman Katie VanZandt, junior outfielder Liana Duarte, and sophomore Jaime Brown, who is in her third year at third base.

The Tigers have always found young players who can step right in an make an impact at the varsity level and this year could be a breakout season for eighth grader Hannah Aldrich, who will take over from Jordan Wade at short. Sophomore Alexa White looks ready to step in at second, while senior Rebekah Lajoie and junior Hailey Medeiros are in line to start in the corner outfield places. Taunton could also get contributions at pitcher from eighth grader Kelsey White and freshman Jaylin Couto.

“While we lost six starters from last season, I am excited about the potential of this year’s team,” said Lewry. “I expect there will be some growing pains with six new starters in the lineup, but with some seasoned veterans and good young talent we are optimistic that we’ll be competitive this season.”

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview
Sophomore attacker Sophia DiCenso (1) and Foxboro will be favorites for a sixth straight Davenport division crown this season but will face tough challenges from North Attleboro, Sharon, and Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 6-12
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Kevin Patton

Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.

One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.

In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.

“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”

Canton

2016 Record: 8-9
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Christine O’Connor

Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.

Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.

One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.

“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 16-5
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Semifinal
Coach: Brittany Sherry

Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.

Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.

Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.

“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”

Franklin

2016 Record: 19-5
2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.

There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.

Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.

“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”

King Philip

2016 Record: 12-10
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Julie Boudreau

King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.

Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.

KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.

“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 5-11
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Alexis Kobey

Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.

Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.

Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman

“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”

Milford

2016 Record: 3-15
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Tim Dowd

It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.

Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.

Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.

“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 13-7
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Vitelli

Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.

North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.

Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.

“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 8-11
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Abby Tepper

Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.

Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.

Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.

“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 10-9
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Colleen Carchedi

In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.

Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”

Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.

“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 2-16
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Kerry Northup

With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.

The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.

Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.

“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”