In the 56th minute of the University of Vermont’s fourth game of the season, former Foxboro standout Joe Morrison was able to cushion a ball into the path of fellow senior Alex Nagy, who rifled a shot under the bar for what turned out to be the game-winner against Princeton. While Morrison would admit that the finish may have overshadowed the pass, it was an important moment for the midfielder, who has been battling an injury for several years, to record his first assist since the 2019 season.
“It wasn’t much of an assist really,” Morrison said with a laugh. “Being able to celebrate with him and the guys, there’s nothing better than celebrating a goal with the team, especially at home with your home fans finally back.”
Each of the last three seasons, Morrison has been managing a groin injury that has kept him from being able to play a full 90 minutes and forced him to adapt his game. After playing 19 games with nine starts as a freshman and starting 14-of-15 games as a sophomore, he only played off the bench in four of UVM’s eight games last year and has yet to make a start this fall.
He was an all-conference performer as a freshman, scoring once and assisting on another, and scored twice and had three assists in his second season in Burlington. Heading into this weekend’s America East opener with Stony Brook, Morrison received word that he has been cleared to play full games and he hopes that will allow his role to expand.
“Last game was really the first game where I felt like myself,” he explained, “but I think it’s just something I’m always going to have to deal with and manage and treat it. Learning how to play limited was definitely an obstacle, but it was better than not playing.”
When asked about the difficulty of trying to fight through an injury and continue to contribute, Morrison replied, “It’s just frustrating more than anything. Knowing that I don’t have that extra burst to beat a guy off the dribble, instead I’m going to have make an easy pass. It’s something you learn to play with. Instead of using my athleticism, you use your intelligence more, be smart, and know when to take chances. It’s really frustrating.”
In 2020-21, due to the pandemic, UVM was only able to play eight games, going 5-2-1 and losing to top seed UNH in the America East Tournament final. This fall, things are feeling a little more normal around the program and Morrison appreciates the moments on the pitch that provide a much-needed distraction from the real world.
“In a way, it’s kind of like a therapy,” he said. “It’s two hours a day where you don’t think about anything besides playing soccer. You’re not even really thinking about playing soccer, you’re just playing. When you’re off the field, there are so many distractions.”
Having teammates to share the experience of this past year has been critical to overcoming the challenges and the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“What we were going through for a year, year and a half, was terrible,” Morrison reflected, “but you had 30 of your best friends going through it with you. We all knew how bad it was but when you do it together, with your closest friends, it makes it a lot easier.”
Morrison came to UVM after an award-filled four years at Foxboro. He played two years with the soccer team, earning All-State honors and being named to the HockomockSports.com Best XI both years. The 2014 Underclassman of the Year helped the Warriors make two deep playoff runs, but he chose to play for the Boston Bolts academy during his junior and senior seasons.
“Those high school kids, I played soccer with for 15 years and I guess you can kind of say it was a selfish decision to play academy,” he said, “but it was something I really had to at least for one year. I really wanted to play high school my senior year, but looking back it was probably a good decision I didn’t. Playing academy, it was high level, it was five, six days a week and it really helped. Right when I got here, I felt like I was ready to contribute.”
Unlike most of the academy players, Morrison did continue his basketball career for all four years at Foxboro and was named the HockomockSports.com Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and Player of the Year as a senior. He continues to have a positive relationship with Foxboro coach Jon Gibbs, who went to a recent UVM game to see him play.
“There was nothing better than playing a sport with all your buddies that you grew up with, playing for your town,” Morrison said. “It was so special. Jon was incredible too. He was an incredible role model, mentor, he still keeps in touch with all of us. He did so much for me in high school, I appreciate him so much.”
It has been a bright start to the season for the Catamounts, who opened with five straight wins and hadn’t allowed a goal until this weekend’s game with Stony Brook. Despite having a 17-to-7 edge in shots (seven to three in shots on goal), UVM suffered its first loss of the season against the Seawolves. Morrison recorded a season-high three shots in the match.
Although UVM suffered a loss in its conference opener, the Catamounts have started well and Morrison feels the squad has the potential to make this a special season, especially as his confidence, health, and overall play continue to improve.
“Yeah, we’re doing well,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. Winning is fun…We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of guys that just want to win games. We have a really cohesive team and that’s the goal, make the NCAA Tournament and make a run for the title.”
MILFORD, Mass. – Milford graduated almost all of its starters from last year’s prolific offense. There were concerns that it may take the Hawks a few weeks to integrate new faces in new positions and start producing close to what they were able to during the Fall II season. It turns out, the new players didn’t need long at all to find their footing.
Junior Isaiah Pantalone (four receptions, 296 yards) touched the ball six times in the game and accounted for three touchdowns and more than 350 total yards. Junior Evan Cornelius stepped into the quarterback position, replacing UMass quarterback Brady Olson, and threw for two scores and rushed for two other. Senior Tyler Lane took over as the primary back from Carter Scudo (also playing at UMass) and rushed for 116 yards and a pair of scores.
It all amounted to a 49-28 season-opening win for the Hawks against Foxboro, one of the favorites in the Davenport division. The Milford sideline clearly felt that they were underrated coming into the year and they believed this was an emphatic statement to the rest of the league that they shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Losing nine kids on offense from last year’s team, but I knew we had a good core group of kids coming up,” said second-year Milford coach Dale Olson. “Our sub-varsity went undefeated and we had some talented kids. You saw that kid tonight, Isaiah Pantalone, he’s a special kid.
“They struggled to stop our run off tackle and made them put everybody in the box and then you get one-on-one matchups and Evan Cornelius delivered the ball a few times.”
Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli admitted that his team struggled to contain Milford’s balanced attack and was undone by allowing too many big plays. “They were a lot more physical than we were and they deserved to win the game. We didn’t quit, we kept coming back, but just didn’t have the ability to stop them in any way or fashion.”
It took only 13 seconds to show how explosive the new faces on offense could be. Milford turned to a little trickery on the first play from scrimmage, as Matt Girard looked upfield on a halfback pass and saw Pantalone all by himself. It was an 80-yard strike that set the tone for how the Hawks would attack.
Foxboro’s offense answered right back on its first possession. The Warriors marched 64 yards on 10 plays, twice converting third downs thanks to offsides calls against Milford, to tie the game. Tom Marcucella rolled out and threw a strike to Tre Stith for a 10-yard score to bring Foxboro level. Marcucella was impressive throughout, completing 26-of-45 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns.
“Offensively, we did what we had to do,” Martinelli said. “It was the other end, the defensive end, we had no answers for them. We’d put seven in the box to stop the run and they were good enough to throw the ball.”
On Foxboro’s second possession, Sam Carpenter (4-for-4 on extra points) attempted a 52-yard kick that was short to the left. By rule, Milford took over at the 20. On third and four, Cornelius fired the ball across the middle to Pantalone, who eluded a pair of Warriors and was off to the races again. This time it was a 74-yard touchdown and a 13-7 lead.
The Warriors had a chance to try and tie or take the lead after Cornelius’ fumble was recovered by Dylan Kerrigan at midfield. Milford’s defense came up with a three-and-out to get the ball back. Carpenter did his job in the punting game, pinning the Hawks at their own two.
Milford proved that it also had the ability to put together a long drive. Lane took the first carry for 22 yards to get out from the shadow of his own end zone and the Hawks never looked back, producing a 10-play, 98-yard drive (six carries for Lane and four for Grant Scudo) to extend the lead. Lane finished it with a one-yard plunge and Cornelius ran in the conversion to make it 21-7.
Foxboro answered right back. Three plays later, Marcucella swung the ball to Dylan Gordon (158 total yards), who proceeded to break three tackles on the sideline, somehow staying inbounds, and broke free for a 76-yard touchdown. Pantalone made sure the momentum was short-lived, returning the ensuing kick 61 yards to the Foxboro 37. Lane got the ball to the one and Cornelius punched it in, restoring the two-score lead.
After nearly hitting a Hail Mary pass to end the half, Foxboro came out and put together another strong drive to start the third quarter. Marcucella was 5-for-5 and found four different receivers on the possession. He picked out Tommy Sharkey on an out-route to the front pylon for an 18-yard touchdown that got the Warriors back within seven.
Lane came up less than a yard short on fourth down at midfield, giving Foxboro the chance to pull even, but again the Hawks were able to make a key defensive stand and force a punt. With Foxboro trying to step up and stop the run, Cornelius hit Pantalone on another slant route. This time it was for 76 yards but Sharkey hustled to delay the touchdown. Two plays later, Lane got his second of the day, barreling over the goal line from four yards out.
Jaden Agnew then came up with a huge play, reading the bounce off the receiver to pick off Marcucella and return it down to the Foxboro 12. Pantalone went 11 yards to the one and then, after Foxboro’s line stuffed two attempts from inside the one, Cornelius started the fourth quarter by getting just into the end zone for a 42-21 lead.
“They’ve got skill all over the place, the quarterback puts the ball on the money, and them coming down and making it a one-score game, but then we answered and then we answered again,” Olson said about going up by more than two scores. “I knew we were going to be alright because they couldn’t stop us off-tackle. It was just over and over, it was no secret we were running over (senior lineman) Marco [Monteiro].”
Following a Foxboro punt, helped by a couple of solid coverage plays by Scudo, Milford effectively sealed the win. No surprise, it was Pantalone again. The Warriors had bunched up at the line expecting the run and the receiver was able to beat his coverage at the line and caught a 66-yard pass from Cornelius for his third score of the night.
To their credit, the Warriors kept fighting despite the big deficit. Marcucella went 6-of-10 on the next drive, including a highlight-reel sidearm toss to Rashaad Way ( nine catches, 121 yards) and a 10-yard touchdown to Gordon. After Agnew was ruled to have fumbled out of the end zone as he dove for the pylon, Foxboro mounted one more drive to try and make it a game, getting all the way to the Milford six with five minutes to play, but the drive stalled.
“They’re a good program, they’re well-coached, but we kind of thought we’d be able to enforce our will,” Olson explained. “We did graduate a lot but we’re good up front, we’ve got some good kids, and I couldn’t be prouder.
“People were writing us off, saying they’re one-and-done, they’re rebuilding, but I think we’ve got one of the better teams in the Hock. We want to keep rising this program.”
Milford (1-0) will travel to Wellesley next Saturday. Foxboro (0-1) will try to bounce back with a trip to Whitman-Hanson on Friday.
WRENTHAM, Mass. — King Philip head coach Lisa Cropper has been around long enough to know anytime you can get a win over Foxboro, you take it.
Add in the fact that her Warriors pitched a shutout against the traditional powerhouse in the first game of the season and Cropper was very pleased with the outcome.
“That was a good game, pretty happy for a first game,” Cropper said. “We didn’t have many first game jitters either. We had three good scrimmages and we looked pretty good in our last one against Moses Brown on Wednesday so I was really encouraged by that. Even my young guns, they aren’t overwhelmed by varsity.”
KP entered this season with an experienced roster but there were questions on the offensive end after the Warriors lost their top four leading scorers from a season ago.
Some of those questions were answered in the season opener as sophomore Mara Boldy and freshman Makenzie McDevitt each scored in their varsity debuts while junior Haley Bright recorded the shutout in her first career start.
Boldy scored just past the midway point of the second quarter while McDevitt iced the game with a goal inside the final minute of play.
A lot of credit goes to the King Philip defense, which withstood a lot of pressure from Foxboro early. The visitors started with the ball and spent the majority of the first quarter in the attacking half but KP’s defensive unit, featuring seniors Haley Izydorczak, Lily Brown, Molly Piller, and Morgan Cunningham along with support from the midfield, did a good job handling the pressure and didn’t allow many serious chances on goal.
“But the pace of play was nice, it wasn’t as clean as I’d like but that’s expected in the first game,” Cropper said. “We had two or three practices plus the scrimmage leading up to this. Foxboro started with the ball and we just backed right in, gave up a corner right off the bat. But they turned it around for the second quarter and on.”
Foxboro did earn five penalty corners in the first half but never had a clear chance against Bright. The best chance of the opening frame came off the stick of Kate Collins, who found some space on the left side but her low shot skipped just wide of the near post.
King Philip turned things around in the second quarter with the majority of its three penalty corners coming in the second quarter. And it was on one of those corners that the host Warriors finally cashed in.
Freshman Abby MacDonald slid a pass off the corner out to senior Christina Gifun, who gathered the ball before rifling a pass towards the front of the goal. Boldy was positioned in a great spot at the near post and one-timed a shot into the back of the net in the 25th minute.
“She definitely has a nose for the net, she can finish,” Cropper said of Boldy. “She’s still working on some individual stick skills through the middle of the field but her positioning is really good, especially in the circle. She can finish so my wings are real fast and can handle the ball. And Kelly [Holmes], who was awesome in the middle, can get the ball up there.”
KP nearly doubled the lead just two minutes later when Gifun linked up with Sydney O’Shea but Foxboro goalie Lilli Jones made a nice pad save to keep the deficit at one. Foxboro came flying up the field in the final minute to earn a corner but Brown raced out to thwart the attack.
“We have some things to clean up, we have to work on the free hits both offensively and defensively,” Cropper said. “We weren’t reacting, it was just one or two people but not together as a team. We didn’t take advantage enough of our offensive hits and we gave up too many rushes and corners.”
Midway through the second, Foxboro had its best chance when Mary Collins tossed the ball into the circle in front of the net for a scrum but Bright stood tall and KP gained possession on a whistle. Jones came up with another big save for Foxboro in the 43rd minute as sophomore midfielder Kelly Holmes, who was all over the place making places, set up sophomore Lauren Barriero for a bid on goal but it was denied.
King Philip field hockey
KP tacked on an insurance goal with under a minute to go. Gifun had her first shot blocked by Jones but Boldy was the first to the rebound, tossing a shot towards goal that McDevitt redirected in for a 2-0 lead.
King Philip field hockey (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts an upstart Taunton squad. Foxboro (0-1, 0-1) will have its first home game of the season against rival Mansfield.
2020 (Fall II) Record: 1-11 Coach: Mary Katherine Runey
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the program as the Bombardiers are set to take the court for their second season, but first full season, under head coach Mary Katherine Runey.
The Bombardiers boast a large senior class featuring a lot of returning players along with a handful of juniors and even some freshmen ready to make an immediate impact on the court this Fall. It all starts with senior captains Lilly Boedeker, Marissa Conroy, and Summer Pereira, who will provide key leadership both on and off the court. Boedeker is the anchor of the defense as the libero while Pereira is making the switch to the right side to provide key blocking plus another offensive option.
Options will be vital for sophomore setter Natalie Brojek, who is back for her second season on the team as the setter. Seniors Delia Barthel, Holly Berg, Kate Petrosso, and Gabby Bolduc are all returning players and are joined in the roster by classmates Corina Lugo, Celina Lugo, Ellie Amaral, and juniors Brianna Frissora and Tigin Bombardier. Petrosso and Frissora will take care of business at the net as middle hitters while freshman Julia Leonardo could see time right away as an outside hitter.
“As a program, we are certainly looking to continue to build and grow,” Runey said. “Last year, we had to learn to play together and figure out which pieces of the puzzle work together. This year, we continue to work hard to minimize errors, control the pace of the game, and learn how to win. I believe that hard work will pay off this season.”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 10-2 Coach: Pat Cawley
Canton made it 13 league titles in the past 14 seasons when it edged Sharon to the Davenport title a year ago. This season, the Bulldogs will have a lot of new faces, as only five players return from 2020’s abbreviated campaign, but there still remains a lot of enthusiasm for a new season and the potential to rebuild for yet another title challenge.
Senior Sydney Gallery returns as the team’s middle hitter after a solid season contributing off the bench. Gallery has improved and seen her playing time increase each season and will now be one of Canton’s primary weapons. Seniors Anna Verille and Tayla DeGraw will add to the attack on the outside. Both saw significant minutes as juniors and can also provide points from the service line. Sophomore Jess Wright is a newcomer that could make an instant impact on the outside as well. Senior setter Taylor Reynolds is back to run the Bulldogs offense and put the hitters in the right spots. She is also a strong presence on the back row defensively. Seniors Amaiah Christian, Katie Dever, Ella Lewis, Kelly McDonald, and Jess Vo will all see the floor and add depth to the Canton roster.
“What we lack in experience, we make up in work ethic and desire,” said Canton coach Pat Cawley. “This year’s team is motivated and anxious to keep the strong Canton volleyball tradition going! Led by a great group of seniors, the entire team has the same goal – to play at the highest level possible and to be the best they can be!”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 3-9 Coach: Vicki Santana
This will be a season of transition for the Warriors, who return only five players from last year’s team. Despite graduating 10 seniors and only featuring two seniors on this year’s roster, Foxboro is excited about the potential of its younger players and looking to grow as a team over the course of the new season.
Juniors Sami Sloan and Mallorie Meyer will both step into bigger roles after gaining some varsity experience as sophomores last year. They are part of a big junior class (eight players) that will be counted on to carry the Warriors this fall. Both Sloan and Meyer have been working not only on their hitting but also the defensive part of the game to be able to help in the back as well as the front row. Junior Alyssa Cloherty will be the setter and classmate Shannon McElhinney will take over as the libero and both have shown capable of making smart decisions with the ball on the back row.
“I am seeing a lot of talent and can’t wait to see how the team performs,” said Foxboro coach Vicki Santana. “Our focus is to build team chemistry for the team to be successful. As long as the players are ready to put in the work this fall, I am anticipating a successful year.”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 12-1 Coach: Samantha Elliott
Franklin has won at least a share of the past three Kelley-Rex titles and last year also claimed the first-ever Hock Cup. Even while graduating important players, like leading hitter Ally Bonnet-Eymard, the Panthers continue to build squads that look ready to compete for the title every season.
The strength for the Panthers is at setter. Senior Cailyn Mackintosh is a three-year starter and one of the best passers in the league. Her ability to spread the ball around and hit spots opens up the floor for the offense and makes Franklin hard to match up against. Sophomore Taylor Lacerda will be one of Mackintosh’s top targets this year following a strong freshman season on the outside. Senior Lindsey Tarantola will be the main threat in the middle and senior Brigid Earley will be back at opposite. Defensively, the Panthers will count on senior Meghan Linkkila, who will be moving from defensive specialist to libero this season, to control the back row.
“I have high expectations for these players but more importantly they have high expectations for themselves,” said second-year Franklin coach Samantha Elliott. “This team is striving to continue proving themselves and working hard to be the best they can be, and hopefully, that is another Hockomock title.
2020 (Fall II) Record: 11-2 Coach: Kristen Geuss
When you look at the class that graduated from last season, the Warriors certainly lost a lot of talent from a team that won a share of the Kelley-Rex division title. But this is a program that doesn’t have many rebuilding seasons, they simply reload.
The Warriors have several returning players that will play a significant role this season. Senior captain Stella Bailey will take over as the primary setter, and she’s a confident player that can run the offense very well (136 assists last season). Bailey will have two very good options to work with in senior captain Liv Carey and junior captain Ahunna James. Not only is James one of the most lethal hitters in the league (124 kills last season), she’s a very good defender (104 digs) and server (94.6 serve percentage) as well.
King Philip will lean heavily on a pair of seniors to lead the way defensively in the back row with Samantha Asprelli taking over as libero and classmates Sofia Reidel and Gianna DeLorenzo as defensive specialist options. The graduation of the team’s top hitter and blocker Nicole Coughlan leaves a big void at the net but junior Sami Shore gained some key experience last year as she prepares to give the Warriors a boost at the net. Junior Emily Sawyer is a new addition that has been promising in the preseason as a middle while senior Molly O’Brien has played well on the right side. Juniors Kiera Hagen, Missy Canning, and Olivia O’Neil as well as sophomores Kate O’Neil and Shea Mellman are all battling for time on the court.
“I am very pleased with how prepared the players have come back from last season, they have been working very hard at practice,” Geuss said. “I think we will be strong on both offense and defense. The players are ready to go and are looking forward to a more normal season!”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 6-6 Coach: Tara DeGirolamo
For the second season in a row, Mansfield will have a new coach. The Hornets are turning to JV coach Tara DeGirolamo this fall and hoping that a mix of experienced returning players and some new faces can help them pose a challenge to defending league champs Franklin and King Philip.
Mansfield will run its offense through senior hitter Julia Kelly. A three-year-starter, Kelly is a versatile layer who rarely takes a rotation off and gives the Hornets a lift on both attack and defense. The middle should be a big threat as well with senior Nicole Santos and junior Alexandra Scibilia giving the Hornets good net presence. Senior Christina Lydon and junior Isabella Flint will be back at the setter position and senior Nora Buckley adds to the attack on the right side. Sophomores Elyssa Buchanan and Anna Goulet and junior Lily Verheggen will be new hitters to add depth for the Hornets. Defensively, senior Lauren Knight will lead the back row with senior Calysta Robyn and junior Jackie Zelic able to step in and provide defensive cover as well.
“The Hornet volleyball team has a great group of veteran and new players rounding out the roster this season,” said DeGirolamo.
2020 (Fall II) Record: 4-8 Coach: Tammy Webber
Volleyball is back in the fall and the Scarlet Hawks are hoping to make it back to the postseason with a strong core of players on the roster.
Despite only four seniors on the roster, head coach Tammy Webber has a lot of experience on the squad after a lot of the players experienced the varsity level for the first time during the Spring. One player who has been around for a long time is senior outside hitter Sarah Brogioli, an All-Hockomock selection from last season. Not only is she one of the top hitters in the league, but she is also a top defensive option for the Hawks. A big advantage for Brogioli and the rest of the Hawk hitters is having junior Emily Croteau back at setter. Croteau emerged as the team’s top setter during the Fall 2 season so she knows the pace of the varsity level and has some options to distribute too.
Beyond Brogioli, Croteau will have two experience middles to work with. Senior Lexi Starks is a good two-way player, providing the Hawks with some good swings on offense and key blocks defensively. She can also rotate all the way through the lineup, playing defensively in the back row. Junior middle Aliza Syed had a really strong sophomore season and can be really hard to stop when she gets into a groove; she’s also a strong server for the Hawks. Carley Haley, Jess Douglas, and Molly Hartman will anchor the back row for Milford.
“With the players we have returning, we are hoping to challenge the top teams in the league,” Webber said.
2020 (Fall II) Record: 2-9-1 Coach: Courtney Lambrese
It has been four seasons since North Attleboro ended Canton’s reign atop the Davenport division. Last year, the Rocketeers were rebuilding after graduating a big senior class and there were some growing pains but first-year coach Courtney Lambrese has eight seniors returning and will hope that experience can carry North to a much better 2021.
North will look to be aggressive on offense, utilizing the strength of senior outside hitters Amira Boory and Sara Carter. Senior Madelyn Corsetti will give the Rocketeers another look in the middle, adding some balance to the attack. All three move well at the net and should also be effective in the block. Senior Katherine McHoul will be the setter and is joined in the back row by senior defensive specialists Ava Dunlevy and Julianne Chen. It is a defensive unit that Lambrese praised for its ability to read the hitter and be aggressive getting to the ball.
“This will be my fourth season with the program, I am looking forward to taking on a new role as the varsity coach with the group of athletes we have,” said Lambrese. “Overall, I’m excited for the talent and drive this team expresses and to see their successes this season.”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 8-4 Coach: Chelsea Cunningham
Head coach Chelsea Cunningham always has high expectations for her Tigers, and this year is no different. OA boasts some key returners on the court while Cunningham is excited to integrate some new faces into the lineup after the void left by graduation.
Anytime you can bring back your starting setter, you’re already at an advantage and the Tigers have one of the better ones in the Hock in senior captain Hadley Rhodes. She learned a lot last year and can spread the ball out to the weapons the Tigers have. Rhodes can also get involved in the attack as a solid option at opposite hitter. Another key piece to the puzzle will be junior Maddie Homer, who is a three-year starter and the team’s libero. Homer’s veteran presence will help solidify the back row for OA.
Senior captain Shannon Willard will be in the mix as a setter as well while junior Courtney Raymond is poised for a breakout season as a middle hitter after gaining valuable experience during the Fall 2 season. Sophomore Sarah Hilliard learned what the varsity level is all about and is back as one of the main hitting options for OA.
“Returning to more ‘normal’ practice in athletics is exciting enough as it is and being able to continue working with such wonderful student-athletes makes it even better,” Cunningham said. “This group is full of new faces and they all bring something unique to the team. This season, some of our main goals include playing “our” game, always being ready to compete, and making every moment count. I am privileged to coach another season for such an amazing, supportive, and competitive program and cannot wait to see what’s in store for us!”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 9-3 Coach: Bill Schustek
Sharon is coming off one of the best seasons in program history. The Eagles won nine times last season, picked up a very rare win against perennial power Canton, and finished just a game behind the Bulldogs, narrowly missing out on the program’s first league title. Graduation will have taken its toll, with Sharon losing its top hitters from last year, but first-year coach Bill Schustek will be hoping the momentum can carry over into 2021.
Although the Eagles lost the top four players from last season, they do return eight players with varsity experience. On the front row, seniors Simone Dunbar and Erin Schustek will be the primary weapons. Dunbar will be a threat in the middle, along with classmate Savannah Gray, and Schustek will be on the outside with help from junior Tess Letendre. Senior Trinity Payne is another strong player at the net, either in the middle or on the right side. Emily Rubenstein is in her third year as the starting libero and is the leader of the back row.
“Without a dominant hitter, we will need to be a defensive and ball control focused team to have success this year,” said Schustek. “Our goal for the season is to qualify for the state tournament.”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 3-8-1 Coach: Felicia Baptista
With key players back in key positions, Stoughton is looking to bounce back after a down year during the abbreviated Fall II season. Kiara Scardina, Patrik Oliveira, and Vanessa Philemond give the Black Knights a solid core of veterans to build around for the 2021 season.
The Davenport is wide open this season with most teams graduating the majority of their lineup from a season ago. That means every team is in the mix and whoever is playing best down the stretch might be the one to take it. Scardina, a junior captain, got a lot of experience as a sophomore last year and will anchor the back row. Oliveira took over as setter last year and now has a good amount of playing time under his belt and will be ready to set the Stoughton offense in motion. Philemond will be one of the go-to options for Oliveira from her middle hitter spot, and she will also help set the tone defensively with her blocking.
Head coach Felicia Baptista, in her second overall season but first full Fall season, will be looking for some of the younger players to step up this year, including sophomore outside hitter Annalia Eschleman, sophomore outside hitter Maya Ashu, and freshman Angelina Barry, who will see some time as a defensive specialist.
“The fall 2021 season is one we are ready for,” Baptista said. “We are so happy that this season could go back to normal and start the fall season on time. Our program has worked hard all summer to make sure they were ready for August preseason this year. We have a large team this year and each one of them brings something different to the team which makes us that much stronger.”
2020 (Fall II) Record: 3-9 Coach: Toby Chaperon
Taunton won two of its first three matches in Fall II but only won once for the remainder of the season, as the Tigers went through the teeth of a loaded Kelley-Rex division. Taunton will have nine seniors on this year’s roster, many of which saw significant playing time last year, so there is hope that the Tigers can build on the experience of 2020 and be more consistent this fall.
The middle should be a strength for Taunton this season. Senior Mikayla Cleary and junior Hayley Krockta give the Tigers good size and athleticism both while attacking and defending. Senior Angie Lynch is a supreme athlete and has shown flashes of being a major weapon on the outside as she learns the nuances of the game and that position. Senior Dani Lofgren will be the libero. A good passer, Lofgren is another player that is growing into her role. Senior Jess Foley will help out defensively on the back row. Junior Anna Abouzeid is the new setter for the Tigers. Taunton coach Toby Chaperon said Abouzeid is athletic and has a good volleyball IQ and they are working on refining her play in the setter position.
2020 Record: 5-5-5 Coach: Steve Santos
Attleboro has been on the brink of tournament qualification for the past several seasons, but narrowly missed out. Last fall’s team had the potential to end head coach Steve Santos’ wait to get back into the playoffs only for the pandemic to force an abbreviated season. After graduating the team’s leading scorers and playmakers (Bella Salviati, Jessica Gates, and Briley Harnois), the Bombardiers will count on new faces stepping in and giving them a chance to taste the postseason.
The Bombardiers will be hoping to build on a strong defense. Senior Olivia Calderone and junior Ella Stromfors will be the anchors in the heart of the back line and their leadership will be critical. Attleboro will miss senior Olivia Cook, who had a strong preseason at outside back but suffered an injury that will keep her out for the season. Junior goalie Alexis Campbell also has an injury at the start of the season but will hopefully be back soon to take over in net.
In midfield, Attleboro has several returning players who will be looking at slightly different roles this year. Junior Emily Dunlea is a dynamic and versatile midfielder and could be the team’s playmaker this season. She will get help from senior Emily Khang, who missed the 2020 season. Another skillful midfielder, Khang will give Attleboro an attacking boost. Sophomore Bethany Alves can play as a holding or attacking midfielder, depending on the situation. Up top, junior Kacey Parker and sophomore Jamie Davies will be counted on to make up some of the goals that were lost to graduations.
“We graduated a solid core of players who brought a lot to the team, so we’re trying to figure out who’s going to embrace those roles,” said Santos. “We have some good talented players who can keep the ball on the ground and play some solid soccer. We have some more to grow on and learning how to play aggressive, Hockomock soccer.”
2020 Record: 8-3-1 Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Last season, Canton edged Foxboro by a single point to win its first league title since 2012. The Bulldogs graduated a strong class of seniors, particularly in the midfield and the attack, but there is plenty of returning talent on both ends of the pitch and second-year coach Idris Seyonjo to feel confident of another title challenge this fall.
The attack will look very different this season after graduating prolific forward Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia (17 goals combined in 2020), but senior Gabriella Herivaux returns after scoring five times last year and could be poised for a breakout season as the primary target up top. Seniors Fay Gallery and Anne Hoban (who played at outside back last season) will also join in the attack and freshman Emma Cahill is a newcomer that could provide creativity in the final third. Sophomore Emily McCabe will step into the attacking midfield role and try to provide the killer pass from the center of the pitch.
Defense should be a strength for the Bulldogs this season with a mix of veterans and several incoming freshmen who could step in right away and contribute. Senior Allie McCabe continues to be the lynchpin of the Canton defense, commanding the heart of the back line with her strong play and leadership. There is plenty of experience in goal as well with senior Elyse Broderick back and healthy and junior Marissa Staffiere ready to step in, after being the starter all of 2020.
Seyonjo said, “Most important thing about this season is that I believe all teams are looking forward to what will hopefully be a normal season. I am excited. I look forward to my first full season as head coach. Every game will be different and we hope to be able to match or even better our performances from last season.”
2020 Record: 7-2-2 Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro was just a single point short of a three-peat last season, dropping to second in the Davenport behind Canton, and the Warriors will have a lot of new faces this fall as they try to get back on top in the division. The Warriors graduated 10 seniors, but still have a lot of varsity experience, especially in the midfield, that will make them a tough challenge for their title rivals.
Senior Kailee McCabe, the reigning league MVP, is back in the middle for the Warriors this season. The four-year starter tied for the team (and league) lead with 11 goals in 2020 but she may have to take on a bigger scoring role this fall with Jordyn Collins now at Bryant. She should have a lot of help in the middle of the pitch. Senior Brooke Barreira, junior Lauren Milley, and sophomore Erin Foley all played significant minutes last year and capable of the quick combination passing that has been a hallmark of Foxboro’s play. Senior Jordan Carman will bring her versatility to the forward line this season, after playing pretty much every position (including goalie) last year.
Defensively, senior Meghan Burke will be the leader in the back line. An aggressive, solid defender, Burke has regularly been tasked with marking the opponent’s best attacker. Sophomore Lindsey Resnick had a strong rookie season and will add some game experience to the defense. Senior Maddie Maher and sophomore Alexis Sougaris will be the goalies tasked with replacing Morgan Sylvestre between the posts.
Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said, “We had some major losses with our 10 graduating seniors last year, but I am very excited about this team and what I have seen from them so far and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do against the tough competition in this league.”
2020 Record: 6-4-2 Interim Coach: Jodi Klein
Long-time head coach Tom Geysen is dealing with a medical issue, so former JV coach Jodi Klein will take over this season and is emphasizing pressure high up the pitch and keeping possession in attack. Franklin returned to the top of the Kelley-Rex last season and Klein has an experienced squad to work with this fall, as they look to go back-to-back in what should be a wide-open title race.
The Panthers have built a lot of their recent success on a strong defense. This season should be no different. Junior Norah Anderson has been a mainstay in the heart of the back line for the past two seasons and she’ll be joined by junior Reilly Lorenzo and sophomore Maddie Horton. Senior Izzy Arnold and junior Katie Ewald give the Panthers speedy outside backs to provide width in attack and cover in the defensive third. Sophomore Rachel Welch will get the nod in goal after splitting time as a freshman and her reading of the game will help direct the defensive unit.
Franklin’s midfield has the potential to control games. Seniors Stella Regan and Chloe Barca and junior Bridget Leo bring plenty of experience to the middle of the pitch. Each are quick and solid in possession. Juniors Avery Greco and Chloe Stavely and sophomore Selene Hammad will step into the midfield to add depth. The Panthers will be looking to use the speed of the forward line to create chances. Senior Riley Fitzpatrick is the most experienced player up top and sophomore Anya Zub had three goals and four assists as a freshman. Freshman Kelly O’Connor is a new player to watch out for in the forward line.
“This is an exciting season for all of us,” said Klein. “I am a new coach to all of our returning varsity players and any of these girls who have played for me in the past have never played at the varsity level before. We are working through a brand-new system and style of play and we’re all very eager to see what we can accomplish together this season.”
2020 Record: 7-5-2 Coach: Gary Pichel
After graduating a large, talented group of seniors, including the top two scorers in program history, last year was bound to be transitional for King Philip, but it was also an opportunity for several players to step up into bigger roles. As it turned out, the Warriors had plenty of talent still on the squad and stayed in the hunt for a league title right to the final week.
The Warriors will be hoping last year’s game experience will pay off with a title challenge this season. The midfield should be a strength for KP. Junior Ella Pisani had a breakout 2020 season, showing off her skills as both a forward and midfielder and leading the team in scoring. She will be at the center of the KP attack again this year. Senior Paulina Baczkowski will give the Warriors width on the outside and delivers accurate crosses. Senior Morgan Norrman is an accurate passer who can push the Warriors into quick counterattacks.
Senior Brooke Mullins has improved every year in the KP defense, and she adds aggression and a willingness to get the ball forward quickly. After an impressive rookie year, junior Grace Lawler missed all of 2020 with an injury, but she is back and gives KP an instant upgrade in the back line with her ability to mark the opposing team’s best attacker. Freshmen Dani Lamuscio (midfield), Mikayla Thompson (defense), and Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn (defense) should make an instant impact and add extra energy for the Warriors this season.
“I see this team keeping up with our KP tradition of good old-fashioned hard work and dedication to the cause,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “Our team will be competitive in every game as we go through the gauntlet of the Hockomock League.”
2020 Record: 6-4-3 Coach: Kevin Smith
Mansfield entered the abbreviated 2020 season with a relatively inexperienced group, and it showed during the early parts of the fall, but the Hornets put things together quickly and finished only a point back of Franklin for the division title. With nine starters returning, including most of the defensive corps, the Hornets should be in the mix for the title again this year.
Although the Hornets will definitely miss the on-field leadership and versatility of senior Maria Sevastos, who was injured in the spring, Mansfield has plenty of experience in the back line. Senior Anna Darlington will be the leader in the defense alongside sophomore Kara Santos, who is coming off an impressive rookie season at centerback. Junior goalkeeper Olivia Salisbury brings two years of experience in net and classmate Caitlin Zajac is a capable backup.
Senior Katie Miller will control the middle of the field. A four-year starter, Miller provides an extra layer of protection for the back line and can get the Hornets into the attack as well. Up front, senior forward Tarynn Smith is a willing runner, who can give opposing defenses a physical challenge. Sophomore Carly Devine is a creative playmaker that will give the Hornets an offensive spark.
“We are still very young with only four returning seniors,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained, “but it’s a good core of players who have multiple years of varsity experience already.”
2020 Record: 3-6-3 Coach: Lou Colabello
Milford closed the 2020 season on a strong run, going 2-1-1 over its final four games that included two hard-fought games with Mansfield. Only three seniors are returning from last year’s roster, so the Hawks will be young this fall, but not necessarily inexperienced since many of the underclassmen stepped into the lineup last year.
The key to the Milford attack is junior Dani Atherton. She was the team’s leading scorer with eight goals last season (more than half of the team’s total) and most of the offense will flow through her feet. The Hawks will hope for more creativity and goals from the rest of the team, including juniors Brooke Ferreira and Amy Oliveira, a pair of players who can start up top or in the midfield. Junior Brianna Guerreiro is also back in the center of the pitch.
At the back, seniors Aubrey Korpi and Aislinn Bennett will provide much-needed leadership for this young crew and senior Jill Araujo can jump into the back line or help supply cover from the midfield. Junior Catarina Mestre is another returning defender from last season’s squad.
2020 Record: 5-5-3 Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro battled to a .500 record in 2020 and did it thanks to a strong defensive foundation. The Rocketeers allowed only 11 goals in 13 games last year and had five clean sheets. After graduating 15 players from that squad, and losing a starter to an injury, North coach Bill Wallace is enthusiastic about the potential for this year’s team to make a playoff push.
The Rocketeers return both of last year’s leading scorers. Senior Steph McKenna and junior Emma Pratt each scored five times last season and they will be counted on to improve those numbers with a full season (and without the restrictions that were in place in 2020). Behind the strikers, North’s midfield got a lot of experience last year. Senior Brayden Rice and junior Caroline Ferrin will be in the middle, while senior Autumn Hewitt and juniors Brooke Sullivan and Lily Adams provide the width.
Defense was a strength last year and it should be again in 2021. Senior Summer Doherty returns after missing a lot of last season with an injury. Her leadership and athleticism will be important in the middle of the back line. Seniors Meaghan Dowd and Charlotte Moynihan and junior Haley Sinacola make up the rest of the starting back four with junior Maddie Ferrin in goal.
“Right now, we are organized and making opponents work hard to develop their offense,” Wallace said. “Our goal is to play faster and with more urgency. The work rate is high, and the girls are looking forward to competing in the always tough Hockomock League!”
2020 Record: 8-1-5 Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames lost only once in 2020 and avenged that defeat by beating Canton in the Hock Cup final. The Tigers did draw five matches last season, but with eight starters returning, and several younger players who got valuable experience, OA will hope to turn those single points into two and bring home its first league title since 2016.
The Tigers pride themselves on being a tough team to break down and the defense should be stout again this fall. Senior Emily Meyers is back in goal and will be a vocal leader at the back. Senior Allison Evin moved from up top to the heart of the defense last season and her speed and understanding of the game made her a tough marker for opposing forwards to get away from, while juniors Mary Cross and Sophia Byron are looking to build off strong sophomore seasons. Senior Kyla Melton has transferred in from Milton Academy and her versatility will be a boost to the back line or in midfield.
Midfield will continue to provide cover for the back line with the likes of seniors Katie Gibson and Lauren Sellmayer not only giving the Tigers a physical, aerial presence, but also consistent delivery on set pieces. Senior Camryn O’Connor, a Boston University-commit, adds creativity to OA’s bite in the center of the pitch and will be a key to turning defense into attack. Junior Jenna Gilman will also provide playmaking and width and speedy sophomore forward Lucinda Cotter has been in good scoring form during the preseason.
“We have eight starters returning from last season, plus some younger players pushing for playing time,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “We are hoping our depth will be an advantage for our team this year.”
2020 Record: 2-8-2 Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Sharon won a pair of games in 2020, but was also competitive in several losses that showed there was potential for improvement heading into the new season. The Eagles will be young this year, particularly after a pair of preseason injuries cost them returning starters, including junior Sally Brouhard, but there is still reason for optimism about the athleticism in the squad.
The Eagles will lean on the midfield, as the most experienced group. Junior Sofia Goclowski stepped in last year and had an all-star-caliber season and will be the primary playmaker in the center of the pitch. Junior Amber Marcus-Blank is moving up from the back line and her aggression will be key to shielding the defense. Junior Olivia Soby combines physical presence with technical skills and will be an important piece to the attack.
Senior forward Wendy Wooden will be the team’s primary threat up top and her speed will stretch opposition defenses to open space for the midfielders. On the other end of the field, the Eagles will be very young. Senior Amanda Hu is the only returning player in the back line and she’ll be counted on to keep everything organized. Sophomore Jordanna Morris will add much needed speed and athleticism to the defense and already looks comfortable at the varsity level.
“We have a very young squad this year, but I am excited about our mix of talent and athleticism,” said Sharon coach Catherine Sullivan. “As always, the league looks to be extremely competitive, but we welcome the challenging matches that help us grow and continue to move our program in the right direction.
2020 Record: 0-11-1 Coach: Hermes Lima
Second-year Stoughton coach Hermes Lima is still looking for his first win, but he is confident that this year’s team has the right combination of skill and speed to give teams problems. The Black Knights are counting on increased depth and the pairing of experienced players and talented newcomers to get back in the win column.
One of the key players for Stoughton this season is junior Shayla Ford. Blessed with great speed, Ford can either stretch the opposition and attack the space behind the defense or drop into the Stoughton back line and give cover for her teammates. Freshman Makenzie O’Connor is going to step in up top and will add another dynamic element to the attack, while classmate Morgan Cook can slot in as a forward or in the back line to add aggression and a physical element. Junior Isabella Rodrigues gives the Black Knights speed on the wings and gives more speed for the forwards to run into.
The Black Knights will have experience in defense. Senior Abigail Durand is back in goal and provides vocal leadership for the back line. Senior Samantha Tran can play anywhere across the back line and her versatility is important. Junior Emma Tremblay and freshman Lauren Mitchell will both play in the center of midfield and can protect the back line or facilitate the Stoughton counter attack. Both can also slot in at central defense when needed. Junior Sabrina Rodrigues is another versatile player, jumping in at wingback or in the heart of the midfield.
“Every player bought into the culture last year and the new/returning players have bought in to every word/thing said and given to them this year!” said Lima. “The players are ready to fight for one another, represent their school and make this program proud of every achievement in their path. As a coach, I cannot ask anything else of them! This will be an intriguing but yet good step in the right direction for this program.”
2020 Record: 0-3-7 Coach: Mike Couture
Taunton coach Mike Couture only got four games to assess his team in 2020 before the season came to an abrupt end. Now in his second year, Couture is building around a young roster, composed mostly of sophomores, and is excited about the talent and the potential. The Tigers will be hoping to get off to a good start and end their wait for a nearly two-year wait for a league win.
Senior Isabella Anslow will be the leader of the defensive unit. She has been a busy goalkeeper in the past but has come up with several big games against big opponents. An example of that was being able to hold Mansfield to a scoreless draw in the first meeting between the teams last year. Junior Emily Calderon will lead the Tigers on the other end of the field. The forward is quick and experienced and she’ll be counted on to give Taunton a cutting edge in attack.
“This is a strong group and how quickly this good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start,” said Couture.
2020 Record: 5-3-6 Coach: Lindsey Antunes
With a large senior class full of experience, the Bombardiers are looking to make the tournament and a run at the Kelley-Rex division title. Attleboro has players back all over the field and could be a serious contender for the division crown.
The offense starts with returning All-Hockomock selection Madison Ellis, who enters her third year with the team. Ellis has been one of the best attackers over the past two years, leading the Bombardiers during last year’s abbreviated season and was third on the team as a sophomore. Classmate Sarah McMahon should see an expanded role this year and will be tasked with helping pace the offensive attack for Attleboro.
Defensively, the Bombardiers have senior Ava Haggerty back in the cage and that is a big boost for the defense. Haggerty has started since her sophomore year and is one of the most experienced goalies in the league. Stand out defender Emma Briggs will anchor the defensive unit in front of Haggerty. Senior captain Emelia Westwater and classmate Jordan Croteau highlight the midfield unit for Attleboro.
“We are looking forward to transitioning back into the 11v11 model and a more traditional season,” said head coach Lindsay Antunes. “We have a great senior class, who has been working diligently in the offseason which we feel will positively impact our program and our overall season.”
2020 Record: 8-2-2 Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
After missing out on back-to-back league titles but just two points, Canton graduated a host of long-serving players. Despite those graduations, the Bulldogs return several key players who are looking to step into bigger roles and help the team get back on top in what should be another difficult Davenport division title race.
Canton will obviously feel the loss of the league’s co-leading scorer, Maria Femia, but the Bulldogs have a lot of attacking talent that should be able to make up for at least some of those goals. Junior forward Ellie Bohane is a three-year varsity player and her quickness on the wing and finishing ability have her poised for a breakout year. Senior Erin Lane has been a playmaker from midfield and classmate Payton McDonough is a skillful, physical presence in midfield or inside the circle. Senior Sarah Cunningham and junior Audrey Koen will also be factors in what remains a dynamic attack.
The defense will be a young group this season. Senior Carly Fitzgerald is the lone returning starter and will be the backbone of the defensive unit. Junior Carolyn Durand and Jackie Smith are vying to take over the goalie position and there are several younger players that look capable of jumping into the defense and contributing right away. Sophomore Maggie McCready will be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this year.
“Offensively we have some versatility with several players with scoring potential,” said Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor. “While we have several slots to fill on defense, we have our returning starter Carly Fitzgerald, who will undoubtedly be the backbone of our defense.”
2020 Record: 7-3-2 Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Foxboro slipped to third place in the Davenport last fall, but was only four points back of first-place Oliver Ames and went into the final week of the regular season with a shot at the title. The Warriors were impacted by graduation and transfers, so there will be some new faces in new spots this season, but there is still confidence that the pieces will come together for another division title challenge.
Even with the transfer of leading scorer Dylan Rappoli, the Warriors still have a lot of firepower up top. Senior Kate Collins will be the focal point at the center forward position, coming off a season in which she led the team with eight assists. Junior Mya Waryas and sophomore Mary Collins will be in the forward line and both have shown the ability to get into good scoring positions in the circle.
Midfield will be led by senior Paige Simoneau, who will bring much-needed experience. Alongside Simoneau will be junior Mia DiNunzio, who adds club experience to her time on varsity and adds a burst of energy. Sophomore Val Beigel is another dynamic player who can be counted on at both ends of the field. The midfield will play a big role in Foxboro’s team defense, but the Warriors can also count on two strong goalies. Senior Lilli Jones returns from varsity last year and Katherine Ferguson will make the jump up from JV and is expected to see some time this year as well.
“We’re looking good,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “We’ve got some new players and some returning players, so I’m feeling good about it. Trying to put players in the right position to get the maximum out of the team. I think, as a unit, we’ll be a competitor in our division for sure.”
2020 Record: 11-0-2 (Kelley-Rex division champions) Coach: Michelle Hess
Franklin has won back-to-back league titles and enters the season on a run of 30 league games unbeaten (26-0-4) going back to 2018. After graduating 11 seniors from the Hock Cup champions, the Panthers will be inexperienced at several spots this season, but there is confidence in the new players that they can step in and keep Franklin’s impressive run going this fall.
It is in attack that the Panthers will have a lot of new faces, but Franklin coach Michelle Hess sees a lot of skill from the new group, and a willingness to get into dangerous positions. Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Carney is back after tying for the league lead with 22 points last year (15 goals and seven assists). Her aggressive personality will be a major factor in getting the Panthers into the attack. Defensively, Franklin is quick and experienced. Seniors Kate O’Rourke and Kendall Jones are both returning to provide leadership at the back. Senior Jill Fenerty is carrying an injury into the season, but the Panthers will hope she returns quickly.
“We are looking forward to defending our 2-year title and working hard towards a three-peat as champions,” said Hess. “Although we are inexperienced and have some positions to fill from last year, I feel we have players that will step up nicely into their new roles and do a great job.”
2020 Record: 8-3-3 Coach: Lisa Cropper
King Philip lost three games last season and all three were to league champ Franklin, by a combined four goals, including a one-goal loss in the Hock Cup final. The Warriors graduated their three starting forwards from last year, but return a roster that is as experienced (15 seniors) as any in the league and KP coach Lisa Cropper will be hoping that they have enough experience to end her former team’s two-year run at the top of the Kelley-Rex.
While the three all-stars are no longer leading the line for the Warriors, there is still plenty of firepower up top. Seniors Sydney O’Shea and Jen Daniels will be expected to take on bigger responsibilities and get into good goal-scoring positions. Sophomore Mara Boldy and freshman Makenzie McDevitt are a pair of newcomers to watch and could provide an instant burst of energy in the KP attack. Sophomore Kelly Holmes will run things from the center of midfield and senior Christina Gifun provides support for both the attack and defense.
The strength of the team should be an experienced back line. Seniors Morgan Cunningham, Lily Brown, and Haley Izydorczak are strong on-ball defenders and, if anyone gets through the first line of pressure, senior Molly Piller is always there at sweeper to clear the ball. Junior Haley Bright will be stepping in to be the new starting goalie.
“We should have some good depth and play about 14 kids rotating thru the lineup,” said Cropper. “Losing all three starting all-star forwards and goalie to graduation, we have some big shoes to fill at both ends of the field, but we should be solid in the midfield and on defense with a senior-heavy team.”
2020 Record: 2-7-3 Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield will be leaning on its senior leadership this season but it will need to be a complete group effort as the Hornets are looking for key contributions from both its juniors and sophomores on the roster. There are seven seniors on the roster with captains Celia Puleo (striker) and Caitlin Dumouchel (defense) leading the way on each end of the field.
Puleo spearheads a veteran offensive unit as she is joined by classmates Sadie Mello and Maddie Brown, giving the Hornets a trio of experienced players in its attack. Dumouchel is the anchor of the defense with senior Bethany Sears and junior Hallie Popat currently in the mix. Head coach Theresa Nyhan expects to see some new faces emerge both offensively and defensively as the season progresses throughout.
Senior Grace Bertolino is just one of six players back from last year’s team and is going to control the midfield for the Hornets, getting up the field to get involved with the attack while also transitioning back to help solidify the defense. Junior Danni Cuzzi and sophomore Lola Varricchione look to fill out the midfield for the Hornets. Junior Lily Danehy made the switch from the field to the cage last season and returns as the starter this year.
“The Hornets are excited to get back to the traditional field hockey format,” Nyhan said. “Team play, fluidity and communication will be tenets of Hornet success!”
2020 Record: 0-9-2 Coach: Tim Dowd
The Hawks will be putting a major emphasis on defense this season, hoping to establish a solidified front and work their way up the field against the always tough Hockomock League competition.
Senior captain Maddie Hunt returns in the cage for the second straight season, and she has played against a lot of tough competition already. Her experience will be key as the Hawks look to improve each game. Seniors Emma Tredeau and Stephanie Wong are also captains for the team and they’ll be counted on their leadership both on and off the field.
Head coach Tim Dowd is not only counting on his captains to lead the way but the entire senior class. Carmela Bon Tempo, Ashley Maldonado, Gill Meaney, and McKenna Smith will all play key roles for the Hawks this season. Tredeau and Smith will be the focus of the offense alongside Tessa Scrimgeour and Stella Portes as Milford looks to build cohesion on the offensive end of the field. Newcomers Sam Fazo and Lindsay Casman will be in the mix as well.
The midfield could be the strength of the team with dynamic players Jordan Douglas and Ashlynn Ringo — both juniors — ready to take a big step forward this year after getting experience at the varsity level last year. Bon Tempo will be joined by Sophia Soares and Hailey Beagle to help strengthen the defense in from of Hunt.
“We’re looking forward to a great season and getting back to the normal rules of play,” Dowd said. “As a team, we’re going to be focused on defense first and try to give our goalkeeper as much help as we can. We’re also going to try to work hard as a team and stay positive.”
2020 Record: 3-10-0 Coach: Karen Folan
Expectations are high for the Rocketeers this season with a strong mix of experienced seniors and juniors back in the fold. With key players back at all positions, North Attleboro is looking to get back into the mix for the Davenport title.
North Attleboro will try to be on the front foot this year, using speed and skill to apply pressure to opposing defenses. Senior captain Zoe McKeon is back for her second year up front and will be a target for the Rocketeers’ talented midfield unit. Senior captain Kelsey Briere will provide key leadership both on and off the field and will be joined in the midfield by junior Julia Puccio, the team’s leading scorer last season and All-Hockomock selection. Puccio is among the top players in the league and will be an important link in the transition game for North.
The midfield also will feature junior Caroline Folan, another two-year member of the varsity program. Her speed will help North get the ball up the field as the Rocketeers push from defense into offense, setting up teammates in the circle. Junior Ava Mckeon will add a strong defensive presence to the midfield while still firing drives on net from the top of the circle.
“We have high expectations for ourselves this season,” said head coach Karen Folan. “With a core line up of experienced players that mesh well, there is a drive to generate lots of offensive pressure. We will look to keep the energy on the field high by utilizing the depth on our roster.”
2020 Record: 9-1-2 (Davenport division champions) Coach: Sharon Lawrence
Oliver Ames edged Canton and Foxboro to win the Davenport title in 2020. In each of the last three seasons that the Tigers have played in the division, they have come out on top. OA will have a challenge to make it four straight titles, as the Tigers graduated 11 seniors (eight of which were two-year starters), but there is a lot of talent returning to keep the expectations high going into the new year.
With nine returning seniors, eight juniors, and two sophomores that saw significant minutes last season, OA has reloaded to take on the league’s best. The key for the Tigers will be rebuilding the defense, after graduating an entire back line. Junior Maddie Proia will be the anchor on that end of the field. Senior Ava Costello will be the driving force in the midfield, which is loaded with experienced seniors, and she is a key to the Tigers getting forward into the attack.
Senior Georgia Costello is the team’s top returning scorer and the combination between the twin sisters will give OA plenty of chances in transition. The Tigers will also return junior Julia Maclaine and sophomore Erin Cottam, who were both vital to OA’s title run last year. The speedy wingers give the Tigers a consistent outlet and both showed a nose for the goal. Depth will also be a strength, as OA coach Sharon Lawrence believes her bench can step in to produce and give fresh legs.
“We are a brand new team this year with lots of re-positioning,” Lawrence said, “but we are improving every day and building on our passing game. There is magic in the air with our season back on track, and I know good things and lots of goals are in our future this fall.”
2020 Record: 0-11-0 Coach: Paulina Kosmadakis
Sharon has four captains this season and they will be leading the way as the Eagles look to improve each and every game, getting better as the season progresses.
Seniors Abby Gott, Rachel Glass, Ashley Young, and Shiraz Becker are all captains for the Eagles this team with Young back in the fold after missing last season due to injury. Young and Glass will help in all areas of the field while Becker and Gott will make up a strong forward line for the Eagles. Head coach Paulina Kosmadakis has been impressed with the captains’ heart, determination, and “true grit” so far.
Junior Natalie Kessler will start in the cage for the Eagles, who are looking to improve on the defensive end as they tackle an incredibly tough schedule against Hockomock foes. Sophomore Jane Hendrixson joins the varsity squad this year and will be an important piece of the Eagles’ defense.
“The girls have been working hard to try and be more of an offensive team,” Kosmadakis said “Sharon’s defense has always been strong but as an overall team, we are looking forward to playing both sides of the field this year.”
2020 Record: 5-7-0 Coach: Dan Mark
Varsity experience will be in short supply for Stoughton this season. The Black Knights graduated 20 players from last year’s team and return only four starters. This will be a season of transition, as a host of new faces get acclimated to playing against Hockomock competition, but with hope that the talent could carry the team to a playoff spot.
Senior Zofia Bangs scored 10 goals last season and she is back to give the Black Knights a consistent goal-scoring threat. Senior Mia Allie is also back at forward and will be looking to step into a bigger role and take advantage of more chances this season. Seniors Kate Bulger and Sydney Menz will bring athleticism to the midfield and senior Melody Casna will be stepping into goal this season. Although the Black Knights will have 11 seniors on this year’s roster, the vast majority will be getting their first varsity appearances.
“We lack experience at many key positions,” said Stoughton coach Dan Mark, “but the [returning] players will supply stability and experience for less experienced players.”
2020 Record: 0-2-8 Coach: Liz Hathaway
Taunton are another team that will be turning to youth this fall. The Tigers graduated eight seniors from a team that only saw the field four times in a very abbreviated season. There will still be plenty of speed and athleticism on display for Taunton, which has consistently proven over the past few seasons to be a tough team to beat even for the top teams in the league.
Senior forward Ashley Amaro scored three times in four games last year and will lead the line for the Tigers, using her ability to carry the ball and her speed to stretch the opposition. Junior Caelen O’Leary is a newcomer to the attack, who will offer Amaro a good partner up top. Senior Kylie Thorpe returns in the midfield and has been an important player supporting both the defense and the attack. Senior Emily Gannon is back in goal and will once again be one of the league’s top shot stoppers. Junior Thalia Nogueira is going to be a key player in the Taunton defense, with her aggression and leadership needed in a young group.
“We do have some returning speed and ball handlers that we will be really counting on,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway. “Our returning players do demonstrate a good field awareness that translates well both offensively and defensively.”
Canton was bound to have a rebuilding year in 2020, as the Bulldogs moved on from a historically successful class of players that won back-to-back league titles for the first time since the early 80s. With a second year under head coach Anthony Fallon, Canton will be looking to build on that experience and try to climb back up the standings this fall.
The strength for the Bulldogs will be on defense. Canton has a tough linebacking corps and an experienced secondary to try and slow down opposing offenses. There will be some new faces up front after graduations on the line of scrimmage but there are playmakers in this defensive unit. Senior Colin Albert is a tough tackler and someone who covers a lot of ground at linebacker and he’s joined by classmate Bashor Mahn, who is a leader on that side of the ball. Senior Andy Butler and junior Charlie Cox return at the safety positions and senior Vincent O’Brien is the top cover guy at corner.
Offensively, Canton battled injuries and consistency last year, but there are players capable of making big plays. Albert is a bruising runner, who filled in nicely last season after an injury to starting running back Cam Sanchez. Mahn will add depth and a different dynamic in the backfield. Butler, O’Brien, and Cox are a trio of tough receivers that can be used in various ways. As on defense, there will be some new faces up front but decent size and there is also youth at the quarterback position.
“Our strength will be our defense,” Fallon said. “With a strong core of LBs back and three of our four secondary guys we should be tough to score on. On offense we will be young but big up front and have a couple of guys who can spring some big plays.”
Foxboro came as close as anyone to beating North Attleboro last season and nearly forced a three-way tie at the top of the Davenport division. As usual, the Warriors did it with defense, allowing only 48 points in five games with only Stoughton and North reaching double digits. This season, the Warriors should be right in the mix again with experienced skill position players and speed all over the field.
Senior Tom Marcucella is the returning quarterback from last year and he should have a lot of weapons to utilize in the Foxboro offense. Dylan Gordon is stepping in as the primary back this year with dynamic athletes Rashaad Way and Tom Sharkey lining up on the outside. Foxboro should have good balance on that side of the ball. There is also plenty of experience on the line, led by seniors Dylan Kerrigan, Steven Bridges, and Eric Kristenson. Special teams should also chip in with points this year, as junior kicker Sam Carpenter is back after a strong sophomore season and Way will be one of the top return threats in the league.
Defense is something the program prides itself on and the Warriors are looking at a deep, experienced group at linebacker and a playmaking secondary. Senior nose tackle Ryan Addeche, junior defensive end Andrew Finn, and senior Aidan Hughes will add to the strength at the line of scrimmage. Senior Omarion Otto-Broomstein and Kerrigan will be the players to watch at linebacker with their combo of speed and aggressiveness. The secondary is filled with ball-hawks, including Gordon, Sharkey, and Way.
“We are greatly looking forward to a somewhat normal football season even with a very short turnaround period from last year,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “The kids are excited, resilient, and appear to be making the focused transition while retaining a great deal of what was taught last year.”
North Attleboro has won the league title in five of the past six seasons, including four out of five in the Davenport. The Rocketeers bounced back last year by going unbeaten and regaining the title. Now Big Red returns an experienced crew on both sides of the ball and, as usual, will have the target on its back as the team to beat in the division. North faces Bishop Feehan, Mansfield, and King Philip to start the season so will know right away where it stands.
It starts on offense with senior Tyler DeMattio. North’s quarterback is a playmaker using either his arm or his legs and is just as capable grinding out a long drive as hitting a big play for a touchdown. Keeping DeMattio healthy will be a key and to help give other weapons in the backfield, senior Tyler Bannon will be used as a power back. There is a lot of talent in the slot and out wide with seniors Danny Curran, Gavin Wells, and Joey Perriello among the players who could step in and contribute. Up front, senior Jared Vacher will be the leader of the offensive line, and his versatility allows some flexibility as to where players slot in. Senior Keysun Wise will also be counted on to open holes for DeMattio and the offense.
On defense, North will have several positions to fill and players that will be building experience over the course of the season. Linebacker should be a strength. Bannon is a playmaker on the outside, whether he lines up on the end as a pass rusher or drops back into coverage. Junior Greg Berthiaume started as the “mike” last year as a sophomore and has great instincts when reading the play. Vacher and Wise will get help on the line from junior Zach Gallagher, who started on the offensive line as a sophomore. The secondary is athletic, with Nathan Shultz (a three-year varsity player) joined by Wells, Curran, and Perriello.
“On the proverbial ‘paper’ we’ve got some experience coming back that should enable us to be competitive, but every year is a new team that comes with new leadership and a cast of different players that have to find a way to get it done,” said North coach Don Johnson. “We have to develop some quality depth and stay healthy if we want to be in the hunt in the end.”
Oliver Ames is in its second year back in the Davenport division and head coach Ed DeWitt is looking for the Tigers to push up the standings and be more competitive with the teams above them. With experienced players coming back, especially at the skill positions, OA will be focused on more consistency on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the Tigers only scored 46 points in six games last year, and only twice did they score more than 10 points in a game. OA will need more scoring punch to try and make a bigger impact in the league. Junior running back Chad Silva will be the focal point of the attack again this season. A bruising, every down back, Silva is a downhill runner that is hard to tackle. Senior Collin Williamson gives OA a change of pace with his ability to get to the outside and make people miss. Senior quarterback Jake Grimaldi is the leader on that side of the ball with classmate Sean Friel being a top target on the outside.
Up front, OA returns several players who will have key roles on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Senior Onyekachukwu-Obinani Nwadiugwu will play on the line on offense and drop back to linebacker on defense. Seniors Minh Nguyen and Jaden Hinton and juniors John Carey and Chris Young add to the size at the line. Silva and classmate Jack Morley are both strong linebackers who can cover a lot of ground. Williamson, Friel, and junior Robert Jenkins will give OA playmakers in the secondary. The concern for the Tigers will be depth over the course of a long season.
“We are trying to get to a more competitive level within the league,” DeWitt said. “We need to take that next step of being a team that makes other teams work hard. We want to be a difficult team to play against.”
The Black Knights came up just short in the quest for the Davenport division during the Fall 2 season, and there will be plenty of new faces stepping into new roles this season. Stoughton graduated a very talented senior class that featured nearly a dozen players that played at least two years at the varsity level, highlighted by division MVP Christopher Ais, Christian Ais, Christian Georges, and quarterback John Burke among others.
Now there’s a group mixed with some returners and some new faces eager to prove that Stoughton isn’t in a rebuilding year, but just reloaded and looking to battle for the division crown. Senior linebacker and fullback Anthony Girolamo was one of Stoughton’s most impactful players last season before an injury cut his season short. When he’s back in the mix, he’ll be one of the top players on both sides of the ball for the Black Knights. Senior Jonah Ly was a two-way starter last year and will likely see an increased role on the offensive end alongside classmates Emmett Pearl and Konrad Rogers.
Both Pearl and Rogers will be key targets for new senior quarterback Brady Clark, who is eager to take over after the Knights had three seniors at the position last season. After the Knights introduced a handful of new faces to the line for the Fall 2 season, now Stoughton has a good amount of experience helping protect Clark while also paving the way for Stoughton’s ground game, which is always dangerous. Returning starter and senior Liam Joyce will be an anchor the offensive line for Stoughton this season.
Defense is always a calling card for Stoughton and the Knights will be looking to continue that tradition this year. Against division opponents last year, only North Attleboro (14 points) scored more than one touchdown against Stoughton, who allowed just one touchdown to each OA, Foxboro, and Canton. Rogers, who will get snaps at running back on offense, had a breakout year on defense a year ago and will be one of the top linebackers in the league this year.
On top of the always challenging Davenport division, Stoughton has a tough non-league schedule that features a pair of teams from the Kelley-Rex in Mansfield (Week 3) and Milford (Week 7).
“Hopefully we can stay healthy and get through a super tough schedule,” said longtime head coach Greg Burke.