Defensive Adjustments Effective for KP at Foxboro

King Philip Football
KP quarterback Robert Jarest (6) celebrates after scoring the first of his two touchdowns in a 20-10 victory at Foxboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – For the second week in a row, King Philip reacted to the offensive game plan of its opponents, made changes to its defensive approach, and clamped down to secure a victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Last week, KP held North Attleboro to only two first downs following the Rocketeers’ opening drive. On Friday night at Jack Martinelli Field, KP gave up 94 passing yards in the opening half against Foxboro but then after the break held the hosts to just 20 yards of offense (11 of those with seconds remaining) and intercepted three passes.

One of those interceptions came on the first possession of the second half and led to a KP touchdown that opened a two-score lead and was decisive in a 20-10 victory.

“We gave up some things and they had some wrinkles that we weren’t ready for and we had to make some adjustments,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “It got to the point that we thought, if we don’t make any more mistakes on ‘O’ and give them the short field then I think we’re going to be okay.”

KP’s offense scored three touchdowns in the second half of the opener against North and that momentum appeared to carry over to week two. The Warriors marched 68 yards on 10 plays on their opening drive to grab the lead. Senior Robert Jarest (4-10, 64 yards) hit Alex Behling on a 37-yard completion to get down to the Foxboro 20-yard-line. Jarest capped the drive with a four-yard keeper for a 6-0 advantage.

Jack Norberg ended the first Foxboro drive with a big sack of Shayne Kerrigan, but TJ Perry got the ball right back for the hosts when he read Jarest’s eyes as the QB rolled out and picked off the pass. Perry returned it to the KP two. Two plays later, Kerrigan punched it in from a yard out and Foxboro grabbed a 7-6 lead.

Foxboro struggled offensively last week against Norton, but things were clicking for the Warriors early on Friday night. Kerrigan (7-18, 94 yards) was causing problems with his ability to make throws on the run. He found Luis Sulham for a 17-yard completion and Ryan Hughes for 23 yards. On third down from the KP eight, Sam Callanan pressured Kerrigan and forced an incompletion.

Despite a low snap, Tyler James managed to split the arms of several KP players and split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal.

Needing a response, KP’s offense put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive that gave it a lead that the Warriors wouldn’t relinquish. Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 87 yards) got the ball four times on the drive, for 25 yards, and then Jarest hit Drew Danson for 15 yards down to the Foxboro five. Jarest (12 carries, 57 yards) kept it himself for his second touchdown of the night.

The hosts didn’t go quietly. Tommy Sharkey returned the ensuing kick out to the 35. On third down, Kerrigan connected with Sulham for 14 yards into KP territory. Two more completions got the ball down to the KP 35. Halliday and Callanan sacked Kerrigan and a spike gave Foxboro fourth and eight from the KP 38 with only eight seconds left in the half.

Kerrigan looked underneath the deep coverage to find Brian Derba down the far sideline. The play went for 23 yards and Derba went out of bounds with one second on the clock. James had a chance to tie the game heading into the break, but KP blocked the kick.

“We had a shot to tie it before the half and it shouldn’t have made an emotional difference but maybe it did,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “We improved on a few things offensively in the first half but they dominated the second half.”

Foxboro got the ball to start the second half, but on third and 13 Kerrigan was picked off by Nick Viscusi. After completing 6-of-10 passes in the first half, Kerrigan would complete only 1-of-8 after the break for zero yards. Two plays after the interception, Halliday burst through the line and ran over a couple of defensive backs to score a 15-yard TD.

Lee said, “I think when happened we all felt, okay we’ve got the short field and we can execute. There’s plenty of good things there, but as I said to the guys we have a long way to go.”

KP started to control the line of scrimmage. Pat Zarba stuffed Bobby Yerardi as Foxboro was forced to punt. The visitors would put together a 12-play drive, including a pair of fourth down conversions, and marched to the Foxboro seven, but KP was unable to add to its lead. Sean Ferguson made a big stop on third down to keep KP out of the end zone.

“That was a good football game, a lot of good hitting in there, good plays either way,” said Martinelli. “We just couldn’t muster enough in the second half, gave them the short field, and that kind of spelled the difference.”

Three snaps later, Jack Collentro ended any momentum from that defensive stand when he picked off a deflected pass over the middle. Charlie Grant would add the third interception of the half with seconds remaining, as KP clamped down and Foxboro never got past its own 30-yard-line in the second half.

“We’re still working the kinks out with some of our offensive stuff but I think the upside is still there,” said Lee. “We just need to get better at executing and of course their kids had something to do with that.”

King Philip (2-0) will have a week off before opening league play at Franklin. Foxboro (1-1) will also have next week off and opens Davenport play the week later at North Attleboro.

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Field Hockey: 2019 Hockomock League Preview

2019 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview
Another competitive Hockomock League field hockey season is about to kick off. Read a full team-by-team breakdown of Hock field hockey teams below. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-11-1
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes
The Bombardiers are looking to climb off the foot of the Kelley-Rex division standings this fall and challenge for a return to the state tournament. With a number of players making the move up after successful seasons on JV, Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes is confident that her team will have the firepower to compete with the league’s top teams this year.

Senior Anna Beck will lead the way for Attleboro again this fall. The midfielder led the team in scoring last year and was one of the top scorers in the Hock, and she will be counted on to open up chances for her teammates. Junior Campbell Compton will add to the midfield group with her playmaking and stick skills. Junior Kiera Murray will be the lynchpin of the defensive unit, providing leadership at the back. The forwards are going to be a combination of returning players and new faces that are expected to provide additional scoring this season.

“Though spots are still being established and player combinations being determined,” Antunes said, “we are confident that this year’s offensive line is going to make a significant impact on the league.”

Canton

2018 Record: 15-4-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton finished just one point shy of back-to-back league titles and for the second season in a row saw its season ended by the eventual South champion, but the Bulldogs remain one of the teams to beat in the Davenport thanks to a roster filled with returning, experienced players ready to make another tournament run.

Midfield will be an area of strength for the Bulldogs this season with senior Kaitlyn Goyetch back to create scoring chances for her teammates. She was second on the team in scoring last year and is capable of opening up space for the attackers. Juniors Maria Femia and Meghan LaBelle will help Goyetch out in the middle of the field, adding to both the attack and the defense, and senior Meg Aldrich provides energy to push the team on both ends of the field. Junior Riley O’Connor returns in goal to shore up the defense. The attack will certainly miss leading score Maggie Malloy, but there are a number of players that are ready to step in and try to make up for that loss of production.

“Canton field hockey is excited for the regular season to begin,” said head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Our captains Kaitlyn Goyetch, Meg Aldrich and Rose Malloy along with several key returning players will be major contributors to our success this season. We are working towards a strong showing in the always competitive Hockomock League”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 17-2-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Melissa Bordieri

The Foxboro Warriors will have almost an entirely new look this season after graduating 10 starters and 14 seniors overall.

While it will be almost an entirely new team, there is definitely plenty of talent and a lot of team speed. Jaime Notarangelo is the lone starter to return and will see time at both center forward because of her goal-scoring abilities plus time at center mid because of her distribution skills. Ella Waryas will see a significant increase in her role in the midfield alongside Molly McElhinney. Anna Marcucella and Mikayla Cloherty will see time both in the midfield and defensively for head coach Melissa Bordieri, who is still moving all the pieces around in search of the right combination. Lauren Foster is a team captain and will be tasked with anchoring the defense while junior Hannah Trombley and sophomore Lily Jones battle for minutes in goal. Kate Collins picked up some valuable minutes last year and will be relied on offensively alongside Olivia Simoneau.

“We still have a lot of talent, it’s just a matter of piecing together who fits where and who works well together,” Bordieri said. “We are a tenacious team so we are optimistic about the season.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 13-6-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Michelle Hess
After finishing second in the Kelley-Rex division and making a run to the Div. 1 South semifinal, where they led perennial power Walpole by two goals with 10 minutes remaining, Franklin wants to build on that momentum and return to the top of the league standings for the first time in three seasons. The experience of last year’s run, which included finishing on an 11-2-2 run, has confidence brimming through the program.

The loss of do-everything midfielder Cassi Ronan will certainly hurt, as well as defender Emily Valentino and goalie Christina Luccini, but the Panthers still have a solid foundation of returning standouts to rely on. Senior Maeve Ledwith will continue to lead the defensive unit and is one of the league’s top distributors out of the back. Junior Amanda Lewandowski saved her best for the end of the season and playoffs and will be one of the team’s top attackers. Freshman Kaitlyn Carney is expected to contribute right away and possibly ease the loss of Ronan from the midfield. Junior Neilee Hess will take over between the pipes.

“The players worked very hard in the offseason, and I am proud of them for their dedication and determination,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “I look forward to watching this team come together and earn a top spot in the Hockomock League along with another deep run in the tournament.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 18-2-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Lisa Cropper
After winning the league and South titles in 2017, the Warriors made a coaching change. After making it back-to-back Kelley-Rex crowns and getting back to the South semifinal last season, the Warriors are making another change on the sideline. Former Franklin coach Lisa Cropper is back in the Hock after two years at Dean College and she will be trying to keep the momentum going for KP this fall.

While the Warriors dominated the league in goals scored last year, thanks in large part to HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Alli Meehan, and that drew a lot of attention, but the Warriors were even more impressive defensively, allowing only 15 goals in 21 games. Senior Sammy Robison is back to hold down things on defense along with classmate Grace May and junior Mackenzie Manning, who may end up sharing duties in goal. Sophomore Christina Gifun and junior Paige Berdos will drive the team in the midfield.

In addition to the graduation of Meehan, KP will be without reigning Underclassman of the Year Meghan MacDonald, who transferred to Tabor Academy. Senior Raegan Simeone and juniors Abby Nixon and Grace Crocker will be counted on to try and make up that production in the attack.

“We have a lot of really solid players with no real superstars, which should give us a very balanced team,” said Cropper.

Mansfield

2018 Record: 9-8-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhan
The Hornets are only four years removed from back-to-back league titles and a trip to the South final and the experience on this year’s roster gives Mansfield hope that another deep tourney run could be on the cards. With seniors in every layer of the field and talented underclassmen to fill in the depth, the Hornets look like a serious contender at the top of the Kelley-Rex division standings.

In attack, Mansfield will count on a speedy trio of seniors to try and boost the goal totals. Paige Peterson, Becca Hottleman and Gabby Devlin are all back on the front line. In midfield, Kelly Doherty and Grace Doyle provide the engine that pushes the Hornets forward, while also providing the necessary cover for the defense. Senior Kayla Hunter is back in goal and will try to organize the back line, which will include seniors Grace Maher, Mallory Burke, and Angela Burnham.

“Overall we have a good balance of juniors and seniors at each level,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhan. “We should be able to keep fresh legs on the field at all times. Looking forward to a good season.”




Milford

2018 Record: 2-14-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Katie Blackburn
The Hawks have a number of players returning who have several years of varsity experience and will try to blend in players that are making the leap from JV in order to improve from last year’s two-win season, which included five games that Milford lost by only one or two goals.

Senior goalie Paige Reisman will be the key on the defensive end, solidifying a back line that will see several new faces that are trying to get up to varsity speed. Her communication and vision will help the newcomers be ready for opposing attacks. Senior Megan Hart is also back on defense to add leadership in front of Reisman. Junior Olyvia White can play in midfield or defense, while senior Kathryn Swineford will try to push the Hawks into the attack from the middle of the field.

“We have a lot of returning players on offense that have experience playing together,” said Milford coach Katie Blackburn. “This experience will help in creating an offensive attack throughout games. The players have worked hard this offseason to improve on skills and come into the season conditioned.”

North Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-10-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Karen Folan
The Rocketeers are hoping that an experienced lineup will be the key to challenge the top teams in the Davenport division and also to make a return to the state tournament. North Attleboro only missed out on a playoff spot by four points last season and there is the potential to make a bigger push this fall.

Senior Emma Strachan will be in her third year as the starting goalie and will continue to lead the defensive unit. Senior Lindsay Robinson heads into her second year as a force in the North midfield and senior Michelle Pothier will start her third year generating offense as one of the starting forwards. Senior Grace Cole adds speed on the wings to open space for the attack and senior Faith Graveline will move into the midfield from defense, adding another layer of cover for the back line and another weapon in the offensive circle.

“We have a solid group of returning varsity players for the 2019 season,” said North coach Karen Folan. “We hope to utilize our knowledge and experience to come out strong at the start of the season and continue to build on our strengths as the season moves forward.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 8-9-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Sharon Lawrence
While Oliver Ames brings back 11 returning players from last year’s playoff team, the Tigers remain relatively young, with a strong junior class anchoring the team throughout the roster. That level of experience gives OA the potential to make noise in the loaded Kelley-Rex division and be competitive with the perennial title challengers.

The offensive unit is deep and expectations are high for an improvement on last year’s 31 goals scored as a team. Juniors Haley Gilman and Hannah Stryke and seniors Maura Kiernan, Ellie Waters, and Cassie Gennis will all play up top and are all capable of making plays inside the offensive circle. Several younger players will get the chance to impress right away, including sophomores Ava Costello and Lily Gaskill and freshman Julia Maclaine.

Junior Maggie Woods is the leader of the midfield group, constantly finding herself around the ball and propelling the Tigers forward. Sophomore Georgia Costello will join her in the middle of the field. Juniors Emily Han and Emily Dionne will lead the defense, while juniors Abbey Boyce and Courtney Lake are newcomers to the defense that will contribute right away. Senior Kara Ostrander and junior Peyton Phillips are both capable of being the starter in goal.

“The team shows improvement in skill and confidence from last season after a strong off-season commitment to the game,” said OA coach Sharon Lawrence. “We have a deep bench with lots of talent in the forward and midfield lines to keep legs fresh and performance strong, giving us good game endurance.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 0-18-0
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Ashley Courville
After a winless season, with no goals scored, there is plenty of room for improvement for the Eagles this fall. Sharon ended that goalless stretch in the opening game of the season against Norwell and there is an increased level of confidence that the program is mixing in more experienced players with newcomers that can help make the team more competitive this year.

The defense will be led by an experienced corps of players. Seniors Holly Davis, Blaize Hanna, and Anya Lane are all back to solidify a back line that reduced the goals allowed by 27 from 2017 to 2018. Senior Lauren Glass will be the team’s primary playmaker in midfield and she will get help from junior Jenna Goldstein. There are a lot of new faces in the attack, including sophomore Ashley Young, who got Sharon’s first goal of the season in the opener. Juniors Samantha Sherman and Jillian Parker will also chip in up front.

Sharon coach Ashley Courville said, “Our strengths on defense this season are consistency and strength. We have a handful of returning players back on defense giving us stability. Our offensive strengths are added speed leading to the ability to carry the ball on the field more effectively.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 7-11-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
The Black Knights would love to make a push for a playoff appearance this fall and Stoughton will rely on is experience in midfield and attack to overcome some of its inexperience in defense to try and make that run possible.

In the midfield, seniors Skylar Carroll, Madison Araujo, and Juliana Rush give the Black Knights speed and stick skills to push forward and make the transitions that will break down opposing defenses. In the attack, senior Brittni Paul and juniors Haley Nelson and Sarah McGrath have a nose for being in the right spots around the goal to create scoring chances. While the defense is relatively new, junior Kayla Laboy will be back between the pipes to add leadership and organization at the back.

Stoughton coach Dan Mark said, “We have a good nucleus of returning players, but do have some inexperience defensively. I think the key to our team will be a strong offense.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 8-7-4
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway
The Tigers have made great strides as a program, becoming a regular in the state tournament and competing with the top teams in the Hock, but after graduating 10 seniors Taunton will have its work cut out to make sure that another playoff berth is secured this fall.

Junior forward Alana Tavares will carry a lot of the scoring load for the Tigers this season. Tavares led the team in scoring last year and showed that she can also play in the midfield to create opportunities for teammates. Senior Kathryn Robinson will move up from defense into the midfield and her stick skills added to her defensive mindset will give the Tigers cover on both ends of the field. In defense, junior Jocelyn Pagliuca returns to provide leadership and cover in the back line with her ability to step into a challenge.

“We graduated 10 seniors last year and have many players stepping up for this season,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway.

Girls Soccer: 2019 Davenport Division Preview

Foxboro won the Davenport title last season and the Warriors brought all bur four players back to make a run at a second straight division crown. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview

Canton

2018 Record: 8-9-2
2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Kate Howarth
The Bulldogs finished third in the Davenport division last season and made it back to the state tournament, despite carrying a relatively young roster. Now, a year later, Canton brings back a strong corps, especially in the attack, and will look to take steps forward to try and challenge for the league title.

The best form of defense may be the attack for the Bulldogs, who will pair juniors Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia again in the forward line. The classmates are a dynamic pairing and critical to Canton scoring 52 goals last season, which was the fifth-best total in the league. Senior Morgan McCabe and sophomore Gabriella Herivaux add depth to the forward line.

In the midfield, sophomore Allie McCabe is coming off an impressive rookie season as a playmaker and will be the engine in the heart of the pitch. Sarah Collins will be tough to replace in the defense, but seniors Alexa Maffeo, Caroline Tourgee, and Kerstin Hansen are back. Sophomore Elyse Broderick is back to take over between the posts and will be the anchor of the defensive unit.

“I think the key for us this year will be consistency,” said Canton coach Kate Howarth. “Our girls are bought in and want to find ways to win! I think we will find ways to win some tough games and get better every single day! That’s always our goal. Every time we step out onto that field, improve and get better. If we do that, we will put together a great year.”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 15-2-3
2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Katie Stalcup
Last season, a young Warriors roster brought home the program’s first league title since 1993 and it could start a run of success for Foxboro, which graduated only four players from last year’s team that led the league in scoring and allowed less than a goal per game. Adding a year of experience could make this year’s team even more of a threat not only for a division crown but for a deep tourney run.

Youth was on display all over the pitch last season, particularly up front. Junior Jordyn Collins had a breakout season putting her speed together with clinical finishing to become one of the league’s most dangerous forwards. There is plenty of help for the forwards from the midfield, senior Lizzy Davis and junior Kailtyn Mollica are both dangerous on the wings, creating chances and the odd goals as well.

The lynchpin last year was a freshman. Sophomore Kailee McCabe, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, had a remarkable rookie season. She controlled the midfield and drove forward to add scoring punch. Senior midfielder Kendra Wentling also adds a layer of protection for the defense, which will miss the graduated Alex Stamatos but has experience in senior Yara Fawaz and junior goalie Morgan Sylvestre.

“I am so excited about this team and what we are capable of this season,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I know if we stay focused and work together we will do great things.”

Milford

2018 Record: 5-12-0
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Lou Colabello
This is the second season in charge for Milford coach Lou Colabello and he is hopeful that his team will build a comfort level with his expectations and systems to try and get the Hawks into the state tournament picture and push up the Davenport division standings. With a strong core of returning players, many with two or three years of experience on varsity, Milford has the opportunity to make a leap this fall.

The midfield will be a strength for the Hawks with seniors Juliana France and Ashleigh Starks are capable of breaking up opposition attacks and turning those quickly into attacks. Freshman Daniella Atheron will jump right into the attack and is expected to contribute goals this season. Defensively, the Hawks have experience in the form of seniors Maddie Boyle and Annie Flanagan and can count on solid play from both goalies, senior Olivia Marshall, and junior Carly Ferreira.

“We are really excited about our opportunities this year,” Colabello said. “With a heavy nucleus returning on defense and in the midfield, we hope to improve offensively. With a good mixture of experience and youth, I feel that we will make a vast improvement from last year.”




North Attleboro

2018 Record: 12-3-4
2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro is entering a transition season after graduating 14 seniors, including nine starters, from last year’s Davenport division runners-up. The Rocketeers will especially have to cope with the loss of leading scorer, and 2018 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Ashlyn Gaulin, but there is hope that the new faces will be able to step in and rise to the challenge this fall.

The attack looks very different this season with junior Tess Collins, who is battling a preseason injury, taking on the responsibility of leading the line along with Steph McKenna. There have been promising signs from that duo during the preseason. Midfield is more experienced for North this year, with seniors Alex Moulson, Abi Slaney, and Lily Cameron back from last year, while Olivia Wills and Abby Noreck are making the jump from JV. The defense is mostly new, but senior Lydia Hershey is back and will offer much-needed leadership, while senior Regan Fein has the starting job in net.

“Right now we have six players who have been unable to practice preseason with injuries,” said North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace. “Once we get everyone healthy we should iron out some assignments and figure out our rotations.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 2-15-1
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Second-year head coach Catherine Sullivan will have a lot of new faces to work with this season after graduating 11 seniors from last year’s roster and she is hoping that the Eagles can use an experienced midfield to create more scoring opportunities and continue to improve over the course of the season.

The midfield combines technically-sound players with energy and speed. Seniors Marika Fillion sets the tone with her work rate and senior Bella Berger is one of the team’s top playmakers. Junior Amelia Scappaticci adds skill to the team’s passing game, while freshman Olivia Soby is expected to provide an attacking spark in the middle of the pitch. Up front, junior Emily Griffin will try to use her speed to create chances. In the back, junior goalie Cass Barbera got a lot of experience between the pipes last season and she will count on classmate Molly McAlevey to hold things down in front of her.

Sullivan said, “I’m excited about the mix of strong returning players and new talent stepping in this season. It’s a great group of kids who are dedicated to improving our style and speed of play, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 0-17-1
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Tara Daniels
It has been a decent preseason for the Black Knights and head coach Tara Daniels hopes that they carry that over once things kick off for real. Stoughton has been building cohesion for the last several seasons and Daniels believes that there is the right mix of upperclassmen and newcomers to make the Black Knights a competitive team this fall.

Senior Nicole Weir has found a spot in the back line and will provide the vocal leadership that the defense needs. Senior Brianna Buckley has won the starting job in goal this year after earning time between the posts last season. Junior Mackenzie Manning is the key to the Stoughton midfield, having led the team in points in each of her first two seasons on varsity and continuing to be the team’s primary playmaker. Freshman Shayla Ford will step into the attack this season and there is hope that she can make an instant impact with her speed and finishing ability. One of the most important developments of the preseason is the growing understanding between Manning and Ford going forward.

“This year we have a strong core of returning upperclassmen that have worked the past few years to help shape and strengthen this overall program, with the level of play I am seeing from this group of upperclassmen and the freshman class, it is going to be an extremely competitive season for the Knights,” said Daniels.

First Half Run Puts End to Foxboro Season in Semifinal

Foxboro girls lacrosse
Foxboro junior Julia Kelley (27) scored three times and had an assist, but the Warriors couldn’t get past South champ Cohasset in the state semifinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


WELLESLEY, Mass. – With back-to-back goals, Foxboro rallied to tie South champion Cohasset in Tuesday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Babson College’s MacDowell Field. The Skippers, who won the state title in 2017, took a timeout to regroup and proceeded to break the game wide open.

Cohasset scored five goals in the final 4:04 of the first half, propelling the Skippers on a game-closing 12-3 run and a 17-8 victory that ended the most successful season in the Foxboro program’s history.

“That four, five-goal lead they got going into half was killer,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “It’s too hard to dig yourself out of those. We’ve had games where we’ve been in positions where we’ve had to do it but we’ve never had the result that we needed. We’ve dug ourselves out but not enough.”

The Skippers had the first good look of the game but the shot caromed off the far post, after a loose ball was scooped up by the Warriors an outlet pass sent Molly Murphy on a break. She picked out Julia Kelley at the ‘X,’ who hesitated to draw a defender and open space for a pass to sophomore Lilly Vey for a close-range finish.

Northwestern University-bound Jane Hansen (five goals and two assists) cut through the Foxboro defense to tie the game, but the Warriors answered back. This time Vey played provider, setting up Sophia DiCenso as she cut across the front of goal and the University of Richmond-commit unleashed a side-arm shot under the bar to make it 2-2.

After three straight goals by the South champions, DiCenso scored her second goal of the night, this time with a lefty shot from a tight angle to bring the Warriors back within one.

Hansen assisted on Cohasset’s fifth of the night to restore the two goal lead, but Foxboro scored two in rapid fire to tie the game. Sara Addeche (four saves) made a big stop on a free position on one end and the Warriors again broke quickly with Meghan Curran getting the ball up the near sideline to Murphy, who bounced a shot through the five-hole to make it 5-4.

Right off the ensuing draw, DiCenso was inches away from tying it, but her shot came off the post. Kelley (three goals and one assist) was in the right spot to snag the rebound and finish.

It was the high point for the Warriors, as the favorites took control. Kate Cunning scored to break the deadlock and 12 seconds later assisted on a goal by fellow sophomore Gennie Littlejohn. Hansen scored back-to-back goals only 30 seconds apart to extend the lead to four and with just 22.9 left in the half Cunning got another assist on a Madie Donovan goal.

“Going into half, it was just about putting pressure on the ball and not letting them have a relaxed thought,” Sherry said about the frame of mind of the Warriors at the break. “I think we kind of did that but they had too much time to find their feet and hit their cutters. They got space and they got open, so that was an adjustment that we needed to make and we didn’t make it enough.”

The Warriors came out of the break with the right attitude and gave themselves hope of a comeback with the first goal of the second half. DiCenso was unlucky again, as another shot came off the post, but Curran chased down the ground ball to keep possession and seconds later Vey (two goals and two assists) combined with Kelley to bring the score to 10-6.

Foxboro had two opportunities to cut into the lead further, but the Cohasset defense forced a turnover and Hansen made it 11-6 with 19:30 to play. The Skippers added two straight, including a nice give-and-go between Hansen and Molly Greer, to push the lead up to seven.

Vey got a goal on a free position but another three-goal run by the Skippers eliminated any momentum that may have been gained by Foxboro. Jaime Notarangelo added the eighth and final goal for the Warriors from a free position with two minutes left.

Experience was a benefit for the Warriors in the East final against Medway and Foxboro (16-8) brought home its first-ever sectional title. It was the main goal of the season, Sherry explained, and she thinks it will help the returning players to have gotten a taste of the state semifinal atmosphere.

“They have so much exposure in this environment,” Sherry said about Cohasset. “I think we played really well. I think this was the best competition they’re going to see (outside the South). I think we gave them a fight and we hung in with them and it just wasn’t enough.”

Warriors Use Experience to Bring Home Sectional Title

Foxboro Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro captains Molly Murphy (9) and Sophia DiCenso (1) lift the Div. 2 East trophy, the first sectional title in the program’s history. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WALPOLE, Mass. – With seven minutes to go in Friday night’s Div. 2 East final at Walpole High, Medway scored its second straight goal and grabbed its first lead since midway through the first half. Having managed to pull out close wins in each of the first two rounds, Foxboro needed to keep its composure and find a way to make it three in a row.

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The Warriors could call on the experience of 14 seniors who were part of the program’s first sectional final appearance two years ago, a disappointing loss in the East quarterfinal last season, and a regular season that featured many of the state’s best teams. All of that came into play on Friday.

Of course, it also helps having a player like senior midfielder Sophia DiCenso. The University of Richmond-commit, and recently announced member of the U.S. U-19 national team, split the defense to tie the game and then scored her sixth goal of the night with three minutes to play to put Foxboro ahead for good. Julia Kelley tacked on another goal with 1:05 left and the Warriors celebrated an 11-9 win and the program’s first East title.

“She’s on cloud nine,” Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry said of DiCenso. “She puts the weight of the world on her shoulders. She carries this team and we really look to her to get it done and she got it done.”

DiCenso said, “I feel like everyone’s just been wanting it since we lost to Walpole our sophomore year and every day at practice we talk about this is our year, we’re going to win a trophy, and we did it. Everyone’s literally on top of the world right now.”

Similar to the semifinal against top seed Wayland, it took a while for someone to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore Lilly Vey cut though the defense and put Foxboro ahead 10 minutes into the game. Medway scored twice over the next five minutes to grab the lead, while Foxboro was struggling to finish off the chances that it was creating.

Senior Meghan Curran hit the post twice on free positions and Molly Murphy smacked the post with a shot on a fast break. Curran also had a chance in the final second of the half that bounced up off the turf and kissed the bar.

“If we’re hitting the post then it means we’re placing the ball, we’re not throwing it randomly, but they needed to drop eventually,” said Sherry. “Wayland [in the East semifinal] really helped us knowing that we could make mistakes offensively and still prevail.”

DiCenso finally got a chance with three minutes left in the half and she made it look easy from a free position. A little more than a minute later, DiCenso added her second of the night, again from a free position, to make it 3-2 at the break.

Abby Hassman had an early free position opportunity saved and Medway raced down field to tie the game at 3-3 just two minutes into the second half. DiCenso completed her hat trick from a free position but then had one miss the net and Medway took advantage to tie the game again at 4-4.

Curran came through with her next direct opportunity, picking the top corner with an unstoppable shot. Ninety seconds later, DiCenso cut across the defense from the left and went side-arm to rip a shot under the bar for a two-goal lead, the largest lead of the game for either team.

Medway bounced back with two straight goals to tie it again. Foxboro once again had the response to avoid allowing the Mustangs to grab the lead. Curran scored her second of the night, going side-arm after spinning back to her left.

The lead was short-lived and the Mustangs scored back-to-back goals to put Foxboro on its heels and take its first lead since the score was 2-1. No surprise to anyone, but the Warriors again turned to DiCenso. She showed good patience as she worked her way across goal, making the goalie commit before firing in the tying goal.

With the clock winding down on three minutes to play, Medway was inches from tying the game, but a shot came flying back off the post and ricocheted out towards midfield. Senior Molly Murphy reacted first and chased the ground ball down at the near sideline and got possession for the Warriors.

DiCenso drove towards the back of the cage but then spun back on her marker, tried to split two defenders, and earned a free position and a yellow card for her opponent. She made no mistake on the big opportunity and put the Warriors ahead 10-9 with 2:58 to play.

Foxboro got the ball back and tried to run out the clock. With a minute to play, Kelley drove to the cage and finished from close-range to make it a two-goal game. The Warriors won the next draw and proceeded to run the clock down, smiles stretching across their faces as they realized that the dream that started two years ago, the chance to make history for the program, was coming to fruition.

“It feels amazing,” said Sherry, who may have had the biggest smile on the field at the final whistle. “Even in the semifinals when they started picking away at leads, I think that exposure of playing top D1 teams, we do it because we learn from it every single time.” She added, “We’ve battled and we’ve gotten tested and we prevailed because of it.”

When asked about playing a schedule with perennial D1 powers like Notre Dame Academy, Longmeadow, Walpole, Franklin, and others, DiCenso joked, “At first we saw it and were like what is she doing but honestly now I can say it was so worth it.”

She added, “I think there were moments when we were like, wow we’re getting beat pretty bad by these teams and going into tournament we need to step our game up, but I feel like those losses were more motivators. Our schedule prepares us for 30 seconds left and we’re up by one or two and we’re so composed on the field because of the competition that we face.”

Foxboro (16-7) will play South champion Cohasset in the state semifinal on Tuesday night at Babson College.

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