Freshmen Propel Foxboro to Victory Over KP

Foxboro girls lacrosse
Freshman Sophia DiCenso (1) scored six goals and had three assists to lead Foxboro to a win over KP in the regular season finale. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry called Wednesday’s league meeting with King Philip a “must win” game, as the Warriors try to build their resume ahead of the state tournament seeding on Friday.

As it has all season long, Foxboro has turned to its underclassmen to provide the scoring punch and freshmen Sophia DiCenso and Caroline McGeary came through in the clutch. The duo combined for the final three goals of the game to halt a KP comeback and lift Foxboro to a 15-13 victory that split the season series.

DiCenso led the way with six goals and three assists, all of which came on goals by McGeary, who finished with five, including the eventual game-winner with 5:51 left in the game.

“They’ve been playing together for so long, probably since sixth grade, and they just feed off each other,” said Sherry about the freshmen duo. “They play really well together and they know where each other are going.”

At the start of the game, it looked as though KP was going to be able to pull away a win similar to the first meeting (a 15-8 win at Macktaz Field). The visitors had a 3-1 lead with Katie Crowther, Abigail Buchanan, and Jen Lacroix all getting on the board and with KP winning each of the first five draw controls.

Foxboro made a change in the circle with Caroline Boudreau and Hallie Canfield taking the draws against Lacroix and the home team would win 10 of the next 11 draws to take control of the half.

“I put Hallie [Canfield] on the draw and different people around it,” Sherry explained. “Ultimately, we were losing to a 50-50 ball…so people in the circle needed to get it in their sticks and transition and not panic and stay poised.”

Junior Ally Curran spun and scored to cut the KP lead to one and then McGeary scored back-to-back goals both off DiCenso assists to put Foxboro ahead 4-3 and complete her hat trick. Foxboro extended the lead with another freshman, Lily Feeney, scoring a pair, the second on a great catch in traffic on a pass by classmate Megan Curran.

KP called a timeout to regroup and Lacroix gave the Warriors a boost by scooping a ground ball in the defensive zone and racing the length of the field for a goal. With 27 seconds left in the half, Lacroix repeated that trick, this time from half, to keep KP in it before the break.

“Jen is probably all-around our best player,” said KP coach Julie Boudreau. “For a middie who runs up and down the field, who is super tired, but still has the stick work when she gets down into attack and can score. We’ll definitely miss her and those are big shoes to fill.”

KP scrambled in a goal that cut the lead to 6-5 but again Foxboro had a response. DiCenso scored with a sidearm shot on a free position, sophomore Catherine Luciano added another, and DiCenso drove to push the lead to four.

“The momentum was definitely going back and forth,” said Boudreau. “I think we were rushing it a little on attack, getting a little frantic, but I was happy with how we played today going into tournament.”

With Foxboro leading 10-7 at the break, Luciano scored to make the lead four, but only a minute later Crowther got one back with a low angle shot and then 33 seconds after that Francesca Tonelli bounced in an eight-meter shot that made it a two-goal game.

McGeary temporarily halted the comeback with a drive, but Lacroix scored her third of the game while KP was up a player. After Buchanan cut the lead to one, KP got an important boost from an unlikely source. Dana Truini scored a pair of goals to give KP its first lead since early in the first half.

“I pulled her up from JV a couple games ago because she was doing great on the draws and ground balls,” said Boudreau. “We need a spark on the field, so I think different people have been being that for us.”

Sherry started feeling like the game was slipping away and starting to resemble the first meeting, so she called timeout to settle her team down.

“Once we called timeout, we caught our breath and I told them that we can’t be putting them on the line,” she explained. “We needed to limit our fouls and we need to win the draw and we need to hit the net.”

Sherry added, “I like for them to feel the pressure and see if they can figure it out but sometimes a timeout is necessary to give them a little head check.”

The timeout worked wonders as DiCenso scored with another free position to tie the game at 13-13 and a little more than a minute later she fed McGeary on a cut into the middle to put Foxboro back in front. With 3:08 left, DiCenso dodged past her marker and fired in a goal that put the game away.

Sherry said, “It was a must win for us. I love the game that we had, putting the pressure on us and we had to perform.

“If we want home field advantage or possibly a bye then we needed to win. It was huge that we did.”

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Lacroix Fires Warriors to OT Win Over North

King Philip girls lacrosse
Jen Lacroix (4) scored her fourth goal of the game with :08 remaining in OT to give KP a win against North. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – Prior to Friday morning’s game, Mike Vitelli took his son inside the building to look at some of the trophies that King Philip earned while he was coaching the Warriors from 2002-2007. It was a quick trip down “memory lane” before Vitelli led North Attleboro onto Macktaz Field to face his former team for the first time.

The non-league meeting between the two teams would turn into an instant classic.

North battled back with three goals in the final 3:33 of regulation, including a goal by Erin Holley with 14 seconds on the clock, to force overtime. Amid controversy about North being denied the opportunity to take an eight-meter chance in the OT period, Jen Lacroix notched her fourth goal of the game to lift King Philip to a 13-12 victory.

“I told the girls, whatever the outcome it’s a great game to be in,” said KP coach Julie Boudreau. “Not a lot of people can say they’ve played in an overtime let alone won one, so it’s a good high pressure game. It’s fun.”

With 3:18 left in the sudden death overtime period, following a big save by North goalie Brooke Ebert (11 saves) to deny Angela Vellante from close range, North drew a free position chance. The clock continued to tick down while the eight-meter chance was being set up and when it hit 3:00 the horn sounded signifying the teams had to switch sides.

The officials ruled that North would not be able to take its eight-meter chance and the game restarted with a draw control to the bewilderment of many in attendance (on both sides).

North won the draw and sophomore Chloe Olsen had a good shot in transition, but it was denied by Caroline Watson (11 saves). KP would go on attack and the ball cycled around to Lacroix, who turned the corner and slung a shot just inside the post to win the game.

“I’m disappointed about how that rule worked out,” Vitelli said after a long discussion with the officials after the winning goal, “but there’s not guarantee that would go in anyway the way that the goalie was playing and we still had a shot had after that. We really gave ourselves a chance and we just couldn’t finish it.”

North trailed 3-1 early in the game, but the Rocketeers would go on a 7-3 run to close out the half and led 8-6. Hana Caster scored a first half hat trick, while Holley added two of her four goals, and Mackenzie Rosenberg had a pair.

After the break, KP changed things up defensively to face-guard Caster with Mackenzie Nickerson and Francesca Tonelli and it limited the UMass-Lowell commit’s touches. The switch worked and the Warriors allowed only one North goal in the first 22 minutes of the second half and took control of the game.

“We like to run our offense through her,” Vitelli explained, “so it was definitely a bit of an adjustment. We stalled a little bit in the second half until I was able to call a timeout and draw up where we wanted her to go and when we wanted her to go in and how we could use her effectively.”

The KP offense also kicked into gear. Katie Crowther scored her fourth goal of the game to open the second half and Katherine Yetman scored a pair to put the Warriors back in front at 9-8. After Holley tied the game with 15:18 to play, Lacroix snagged a ground ball on the draw and went straight down the middle to regain the lead.

“I think we were just being more patient on attack,” said Boudreau about what worked better in the second half, “and letting the clock run a little and not forcing a fastbreak or forcing the first shot right away. It makes a big difference.”

Crowther showed off an array of moves to build the KP lead to three. She ducked out from behind the cage to score and then six minutes later she went side-arm to beat Ebert and force North into a timeout.

“I know they were sending the double team, but she’s been getting some tricky shots around the crease so that’s been fun to watch,” said Boudreau of Crowther. “Today, I think there was a lot of good movement and a lot of people touching the ball, so that helps.”

In the timeout, Vitelli told his team not to panic with more than three minutes remaining. The Rocketeers won the draw control and the ball fell to Caster who sped up the middle to score, taking just 15 seconds off the clock.

KP had chances to put the game away denied by Ebert and the North defense, which forced a turnover and came back up the field in the final minute. Caster fed Rosenberg for her third goal of the game with 47 seconds left. After KP went down a player, North again came forward and Holley found space in the middle for a side-arm shot past Watson to tie the game.

“To come back from 12-9, we really learned a lot about our kids today; we’ve got kids with rug burns, rolled ankles,” said Vitelli.

Boudreau told her team not to panic and to get ready for overtime. She explained, “That’s lacrosse. We expect that and that’s how we’ve come back in games too. I’m just thankful for our defense right now because Caroline came up with a few huge saves at the end and the defense came through with the clears.”

In the end, the Warriors were able to hold their nerve and pulled out the victory, which sets up an interesting rematch in the final week of the season at North Attleboro.

Despite the defeat and the controversial ending, Vitelli was happy to have come back and praised his former star player for keeping the program’s standards high. Julie Boudreau (née Pasquantonio) and her sisters Kelly and Mary played for Vitelli during KP’s dominant period of five straight league championships and a 2006 South sectional title.

“I’m excited to be on this side now,” Vitelli said, “but I don’t forget what Julie and all her sisters did for the program. If we have to lose, I don’t mind losing to someone like Julie.”

King Philip (3-3) will try to keep the momentum going on Monday against Foxboro. North Attleboro (4-2) will travel to Canton on Wednesday.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Girls Lacrosse: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2016

Kelley-Rex girls lacrosse
Franklin is once again the favorite in the Kelley-Rex with senior midfielder Emily Spath one of the key returning players. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 6-11
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jackie Beland

Attleboro comes into its third season of varsity play after winning  pair of Hockomock games last spring and six games overall. As the Bombardiers continue to develop, head coach Jackie Beland will be hoping that Attleboro can start climbing the standings and be competitive with the strong teams above it in the Kelley-Rex as well as with Taunton, which is beginning its first season in the league.

Attleboro will be led by its senior captains Katie Patton and Hannah Lamothe in attack and Sam Spaziano and Kayla Merritt in the midfield. Mish Logie will highlight the juniors, who will be stepping in to fill the void left by Kerri Beland’s graduation, and senior Amy Cadle will be back in goal this spring. Sophomore Grace Mayer saw some time last year as a freshman and could be ready for a breakout year.

FRANKLIN
2015 Record: 15-5
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

Franklin enters this season as it does just about every season, as the heavy favorite to win another Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers will need to replace the scoring and all-around game of Emily Jeffries, but have plenty of players that can step in to fill that production.

Senior midfielders Kenzie Pleshaw and Emily Spath will continue Franklin’s strength in the middle of the field and Sam Jones will be back to lead the defense. University of New Haven-commit Julia Jette will spearhead the attack along with junior Kendall Reardon, last year’s Underclassman of the Year.

Freshmen Annie Walsh and Halle Atkinson will also step into the lineup and show the future remains bright for the league’s top program.

Head coach Kristin Igoe, who has loaded the schedule this year with six of the top seven teams in the state, said, “We have a lot of talent, and when we put all the little pieces together, it is fun to watch. Our goal is to win the Hock and make it back to the sectional final.”

KING PHILIP
2015 Record: 10-11
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East first round
Coach: Julie Bourdeau

King Philip has been a perennial power in the Kelley-Rex division and will be hoping that a large pool of players that came out this spring will help the Warriors get back on top for the first time since it shared the title with Franklin in 2012. The key for KP this season is the senior class, especially in the midfield.

Jen Lacroix is back after a season in which she scored 60 goals and has been a four-year starter and draw control specialist for the Warriors. While Lacroix gets forward to score the goals, fellow captains Abigial Buchanan and Olivia Dort provide the defensive coverage in midfield. Defensively, KP will miss Rylie Dalzell, who is out injured, but Makenzie Nickerson is back after missing most of last season with an injury and fellow seniors Meghan Reilly and Francesca Tonelli will try to keep things away from KP’s freshman goalie.

In the attack the Warriors will turn to their underclassmen Katie Crowther and Angela Vellante and will also be bringing senior Katharine Yetman from defense to add another weapon up front. Head coach Julie Boudreau said, “We have a strong team this year, we are just looking to pull together a dynamic attack with multiple goal scorers…Last year we had a small team and didn’t have the opportunity to sub much-this year we will many different players in the midfield and on attack.”

MANSFIELD
2015 Record: 6-11
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Alexis Kobey

Mansfield got off to a strong start to last season, including an overtime win over Hingham that was later turned into a tie, but the Hornets could not sustain it and missed the playoffs. This year, Mansfield is looking to build on that and get back into the tournament behind senior attacker Caroline Maher, who was one of the league’s top scorers last year.

In addition the Hornets will count on seniors Julia Todesco and Claire Maroney and juniors Maggie Dunn, Maire Foley, Meg Lydon and Tori Lawlor. Head coach Alexis Kobey is also hoping that freshmen Emily Vigeant and Katie Garvin can steo right in and contribute this year.

Kobey said, “We missed out on the tournament and are ready to get back there (to the tournament) as well as really compete with a tough Hockomock league. Our key returning players are all seasoned veterans and we will be looking to them as the backbone of the squad.”

NORTH ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 13-6
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East first round
Coach: Mike Vitelli

Last year, North Attleboro had the program’s best ever season with 13 wins and a trip to the state tournament. The Rocketeers were knocked out in the first round, but come back this season with renewed energy and high expectations under first-year coach Mike Vitelli, who won five straight league titles and a sectional championship while at King Philip.

The Rocketeers will lean on UMass Lowell-commit Hana Caster for offense and senior goalie Brooke Ebert will be a key for the North defense, which promises to be much-improved this spring. Sophomore Kenzie Rosenberg has drawn praise from opposing coaches and will be a solid addition to the attack along with classmates Chloe Olsen, Julia Tolfa and Julia Dakin. Emily Schromm and Sam Taggart will join sophomore Alaina Mello to try and lock things down at the back.

Vitelli said, “There’s a lot to digest, but as I’ve told the kids it’s a marathon not a sprint. Mistakes we’ll make in March, April and early May should turn into great results come mid May and hopefully beyond.”

TAUNTON
2015 Record: n/a
2015 Finish: n/a
Coach: Kerry Northup

Taunton is opening its first season of varsity play (and already has recorded its first win with a blowout of Bristol-Plymouth), so its entire roster is filled with newcomers that will be learning on the job. Head coach Kerry Northup admits there will be bumps in the road, but that there is also a chance for the Tigers to “make a name” for themselves in the Hock.

Layne and Abbey Kingman and Delaney Powell will be the key players for Taunton in the first season and combined for 10 goals in the season opener. Hannah Moniz will be another player that the Tigers will be counting on this season. 

Northup said, “My goal for what I want my girls to accomplish this season is to come out hard and showcase what they’ve got…We know it may be a difficult season being our first year, so we are staying positive, keeping up the morale, and maintaining our resilience.”