CANTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames girls soccer team started the season without a win in its first four games.
The Lady Tigers ended the 2020 campaign as the hottest team in the Hockomock League, earning a pair of trophies including the Hockomock Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win over Davenport division champion Canton.
Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer
After defeating King Philip on Tuesday to win the Hockomock Cup, the Tigers avenged their only loss of the entire season by taking down the Bulldogs in the Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup was created after Canton was forced to quarantine out of an abundance of caution after playing a team that had a positive COVID test. It gave the Bulldogs, the top seed out of the Davenport, a chance to play in the postseason after having to forfeit their first round of the Hockomock Cup.
“We’re a young team and it’s also about a coach learning who can do what,” said Oliver Ames head coach Britt Sellmayer of the turnaround from the start of the season. “We’re not playing the same positions that we were the first couple of games. COVID put everybody behind but for us, it was just a little bit more because we were younger. When you have experience, when you come back you get rolling a little bit sooner. We peaked at the right time, I’m very proud of the girls for how they played at the end of the year.
“Canton got a chance to play another game, they are a great, great team that I really feel like taking two weeks off didn’t help their cause. They were on a roll themselves when they were playing. They have some super players and the coach has done a great job in his first year. But it’s tough to sit out for two weeks and come out and play a team that’s hot, and we’re playing well, and we’ve been playing every three days for the past two weeks. I think that kind of hindered them a bit. I don’t want to take anything away from them being a great team.”
The Tigers started with four straight ties, finally breaking into the win column in their fifth game with a 2-0 decision over Sharon. Canton and OA tied in their first meeting of the season, and the Bulldogs handed the Tigers their only loss (3-1) in the second meeting.
OA caught fire after that loss, winning five straight to win the Hockomock Cup, and earned its sixth straight victory with the win on Thursday evening.
“We weren’t overly excited about [playing again] at first but then we looked at what it meant for Canton,” Sellmayer said. “And I said to my seniors ‘this is it, this is a chance to play one more game’ and we talked about playing for the seniors. We made sure all the seniors played.”
Although the result wasn’t what Canton, who had just one loss in the regular season, had hoped, the Bulldogs relished in the opportunity to get back on the field. The Bulldogs hadn’t played or practiced since the final week of the regular season, getting one training session in on Wednesday evening.
“It was amazing to least get out there to have one more chance to compete…a team that was having such a great season only to be cut short by, unfortunately, unforeseen events,” said first-year Canton head coach Idris Senyonjo. “Our seniors, especially, they needed this. Of course it didn’t end how we wanted it, but they needed to finish the season. They’ve worked so hard to be able to get there.
Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer
“A big layoff is such a big difference in this spot, it means everything. Even if you only take a couple of days, but you take 10 days …that’s a long time not kicking the ball. We practiced for the first time just last night out in the cold. [OA] had a gameplan, they stuck to it and they were the better team today, so you can’t take that away from them. You just hope we could have done better on a couple of chances in the first half but that’s how the game goes. If you don’t take your chances, the other team will.”
The Tigers scored in each the first and second quarters, and tacked on a key insurance goal in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled one back in the final minutes.
Before Oliver Ames opened the scoring late in the first quarter, Canton had a pair of chances to take the lead. Just nine minutes in, Gabriella Herivaux played a through ball into the area for Olivia Rodman but her chance from in close was met with a terrific stop from OA keeper Emma O’Donnell. Minutes later, Rodman returned the favor for Herivaux but her bid skipped wide at the far post.
Off a kick-in in the attacking third, Katie Gibson knocked down a service into the area. Alexa Lane was the first to pounce on the loose ball, a quick touch past the keeper from in close to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going into the second quarter.
At the midway point of the second quarter, OA senior Emma Pereira took down a clearance and used her time and space to turn and fire a rocket inside the far post from 25 yards out to double the Tigers’ advantage.
Canton opened the second half with a pair of chances to get back into it but Mia Gilmore’s free kick a minute in was just off frame, and an intercepted pass by Elisa Diletizia led to a chance but her shot was over the bar.
Canton girls soccer Oliver Ames girls soccer
COVID restrictions nearly led to a goal for the Tigers in the 50th minute when Pereira’s cross was met with a good take off Carly Gibson’s shoulder but it was right at the keeper.
Canton’s Allie McCabe came up with a big stop on the goal line to deny a shot from Lane to keep the score at 2-0 at the end of the third quarter, but the score didn’t stay that long at the start of the fourth.
Oliver Ames was quick to clear a Canton corner and sophomore Jenna Gilman latched into the loose ball and used her speed to race up the right wing. Her cross into the area was cleared away by a defender but only as far as Pereira, who brought it down and laid it off to junior Lauren Sellmayer. Sellmayer took a touch to put it on her left foot and fired a perfectly placed shot off the far post and in to make it 3-0.
“Emma had a great goal, Lauren had a great goal, and Alexa’s scored two games in a row coming off the bench for us, and her work and her speed has helped with pressure,” Britt Sellmayer said. “We’re not the most skilled team but I think we’ve outworked everybody the last four games. Our work rate in the midfield, contesting every 50-50 ball. They showed a lot of heart. Canton is definitely more skilled than us but I think we had a little more work rate today and maybe our team is a little bit deeper. But we’re also fresher, those two weeks off is huge. I tip my hat to [Canton], they are a great team, and congrats on being Hockomock champs.
“We definitely connected a lot more passes today than the first two times we played Canton. We started playing better as a team, the communication came together. Plus, finding the right role for everybody. Sometimes as a coach, it takes a while to put people in the right spot where they can be successful.”
Canton continued to fight back against OA’s back four of Sophia Byron, Mary Cross, Allison Evin, and Madeleine Taylor. After coming close on a couple of chances before, Gilmore blasted a free kick from 30 yards out just under the bar to get the Bulldogs on the board.
“It’s been a rollercoaster for us, having to start late and then cut the season short, only to go back again,” Senyonjo said. “The team had a new coaching staff so they had to adjust to the new system, the way we want to play. So kudos to them, it speaks volumes the kind of kids that are here. I’m definitely looking forward to going again next year.”
Oliver Ames girls soccer finishes the season at 8-1-5 and won both the Hockomock Cup and the Challenge Cup. Canton’s record finishes at 8-3-1, though one loss was via forfeit at the start of the Hockomock Cup.
CANTON, Mass. – Following Foxboro’s 1-0 win on Monday afternoon, Canton knew that it would need a win in Wednesday night’s rematch at WWII Veterans Memorial Field to overtake the Warriors and win the Davenport division title.
After twice taking the lead and having Foxboro quickly bounce back to tie the game, Canton’s third lead of the night turned out to be the charm. Gabriella Herivaux’s goal three minutes into the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs the lead for good and they held on for a 3-2 victory and a first league title since 2012.
“Both teams played hard the whole game,” said first-year Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “It was tough, we scored a goal and then give up one like two seconds later. That’s always a demoralizer, but I knew they were going to become a little more defensive the longer the game went on because they didn’t have to win, we had to win.
“We had to force it, but there was nothing left in the tanks after that.”
Coming into the game, Foxboro and Canton boasted five of the top six scorers in the league this season. Fitting for a big game, all five of those star players found the back of the net on Wednesday, including Canton’s trio of senior forwards Olivia Rodman, Elisa Diletizia, and Herivaux.
“I spoke to each one of them yesterday,” Senyonjo explained. “I told them, all the goals you’ve scored are going to be irrelevant if we can’t get the result. Every goal that you’ve scored has led you to this moment. This is going probably going to be the last home game you play and why not finish with a championship?”
Foxboro started well, with the Warriors aggressively pressing and pinning Canton back. Aislinn Servaes had an early chance after a misplaced clearance inside the opening 10 minutes and forced Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere into a save. Seven minutes later, Jordyn Collins got space on the edge of the box but her shot was charged down by freshman Ava Gilmore.
“It was a very evenly-matched game,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was a great game. I knew it was going to be a battle out here and I knew they were going to want to beat us so much because of what happened on Monday.”
It took most of the first quarter, but the hosts started to find ways into the attacking third. Diletizia switched play out to the right and Anne Hoban stepped past a defender before firing a long shot that was saved by Foxboro goalie Maddie Mayer, who was called up from JV to replace the suspended Morgan Sylvestre.
The chances kept coming for both teams. Rodman fired a cross from the left that Herivaux teed up for Emily McCabe to put on goal from just outside the box. Collins made a run on the left side of the box and knocked the ball off Staffiere, but Allie McCabe got back and cleared it off the line. Rodman then showed quick feet to shift the ball to her left and send a shot just wide.
Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts were in front. Mia Gilmore whipped in a cross from the right and Rodman showed great skill to bring it down off her chest and hit it quickly on the turn.
The excitement of the opening goal was short-lived. Within a minute, Foxboro got the ball into the box and Collins drew a foul. Kailee Mccabe made no mistake from the spot, firing Foxboro back level.
Early in the second half, Sarai Costello freed Diletizia with a long, curling pass around the left back and the forward forced Mayer into a save from a tough angle. A couple minutes later, Kailee McCabe slipped past her marker to get space for a shot from 25 yards that was just over the bar.
In the 49th minute, Herivaux managed to keep the ball in play on the near touchline and get it into the middle. The ball was played into the feet of Rodman with Foxboro defender Lindsey Resnick on her back. She was able to get her head up and slide an inch-perfect pass into the path of Diletizia, who was clean through on goal and powered her shot past Mayer’s dive and into the far corner.
Again, Canton celebrations were cut short just five minutes later, as Foxboro responded with a second equalizer. McCabe stepped up and let rip from the edge of the box. The shot was blocked, but looped to the left onto Collins’ foot. After taking a touch, she bent a shot inside the far post and tied the game at 2-2.
The home team came out flying for the fourth quarter, needing a goal to win the title. Rodman had a good chance from the left that initially looked like it was flying into the top corner, but ended up settling into Mayer’s gloves.
“I told them just throw everything you’ve got right now,” Senyonjo said about the message heading into the final 20 minutes. “It just came down to could we get lucky today because this game was going to give me a heart attack.”
A minute later, the Bulldogs were in front for a third time. A kick-in from the right was fired into Herivaux at the near post. She managed to bring the ball down off the bounce and, surrounded by defenders, managed to turn and get a foot on the ball as she was falling down, knocking it past the keeper.
After losing two leads, Canton tried to add to its advantage. Gilmore hit another great cross to the back post and Rodman directed it towards goal but Jordan Carman was there to block.
Foxboro’s best chance in the closing minutes came off the foot of a Canton player. Katelyn Mollica fired in a low cross from the right and Mekhala Costello stretched to block, tipping it towards goal but right into the grateful grasp of Staffiere.
“I just can’t help but wonder if it would’ve been different with Morgan in net but that’s something I can’t control,” said Stalcup about her senior goalie who was out because of a red card in Monday’s game. “They played well, Canton worked hard and they just got more goals than us tonight. My girls fought hard, we gave it our all out there.”
Senyonjo added, “It feels good. We beat a really good team.”
Canton (8-1-1) and Foxboro (7-1-2) will wait to find out the details of the Hockomock League’s cup tournament. When asked about the possibility of a third meeting in the cup final, Stalcup said, “That’s what I’m hoping. That’s what I would really love to have is one more chance.”
The Warriors had starting goalie Morgan Sylvestre sent off for a foul on the edge of the box that the officials deemed a denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. Junior Jordan Carman grabbed the goalie shirt and gloves for the first time in her career, which meant Foxboro was losing not only its keeper but also one of its best defenders.
Going up against the league leaders, a team with the second most goals in the league (behind only Foxboro), and an attacking unit boasting three of the top five scorers in the Hockomock for 50 minutes, it was improbable that the Warriors could come away with a victory.
But that’s exactly what happened. Foxboro dropped back into a solid defensive shell, largely holding Canton to long distance chances, and Carman dealt comfortably with everything she faced, helping the Warriors hold on for a 1-0 win that moved them into first place in the Davenport with one game remaining.
“I’m smiling very big under this mask right now,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was just about containing, keeping them outside of the box as much as possible, not diving in, not letting them get any near shots off, and not letting them just pass the ball around. We did a good job of cutting off the angles for them to get it out wide.”
Despite the unseasonably cold weather, the teams looked ready to go from the start and settled into a tough, midfield battle.
The first quarter saw only a couple of half-chances for either side. Jordyn Collins settled a cross from the left but tried to play the ball out wide to Katelyn Mollica rather than shoot on the turn. Three minutes later, Olivia Rodman sent a left-footed cross into Gabriella Herivaux but the side-footed effort was easily held by Sylvestre.
Things livened up over a 12-minute span in the second quarter that saw the hosts go ahead and then quickly drop down to 10 players.
In the 24th minute, Collins blocked a clearance that forced Canton back into its own box and then Alyssa Vandenboom blocked the second attempt to get through on goal only to hit her shot right at Bulldogs keeper Marissa Staffiere. A minute later, the same duo combined for the opener.
Vandenboom played a perfectly weighted through ball between the center back and left back that Collins ran onto and the senior striker made no mistake, firing her shot in off the far post to put Foxboro ahead.
Just five minutes later, Elisa Diletizia got free for the first time in the match and was storming in on the Foxboro penalty area. Sylvestre was off her line quickly but her tackle caught the Canton forward. The officials conferred and agreed that if not for the foul Diletizia had a clear sight at goal and gave a straight red to the keeper and a free kick on the edge of the box.
With no backup keeper, Stalcup was forced to give Carman her debut in goal, which meant taking her from the stopper position where she has been so effective all season.
“Not even in practice, but she’s always told us that if need be that she would be the one that would step up,” Stalcup said about Carman’s goalkeeping experience.
Mia Gilmore wasn’t able to test the new keeper with her free kick, as it went narrowly over the bar. Six minutes later Gilmore had another chance from the edge of the box, after good interplay between Emily McCabe and Sarai Costello, but again it went just over.
The expectation was that Canton would create chance after chance in the second half, laying siege to the Foxboro goal in search of the equalizer, and the Bulldogs had plenty of possession, but the Foxboro defense continued to hold out. Lindsey Resnick in the middle, flanked by Meghan Burke and Peyton Feldman with Emma Dahl taking Carman’s spot at stopper alongside Kailee McCabe playing deeper than usual proved difficult for Canton to break down.
“I think we started forcing it a little bit too much,” Canton coach Idris Senyonjo admitted. “I think the idea of we need to score started getting in our heads more than actually we’re going to score if we keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing. But they did a good job defensively. They’re a good team.”
In fact, Foxboro had one of the best chances of the third quarter. Collins got free on the break and laid a pass off to Mollica on the right but the shot went just wide.
“That was what was so brilliant about it, when we did get the counters we were able to keep possession of the ball and at least get a few runners on the side,” Stalcup said. “They thought they were going to pound it on us and when we got the counter it put them on their heels.”
Canton’s best chance came nine minutes into the fourth. Anne Hoban broke free down the right wing and the defender hit a low cross into the box that Herivaux met first time. It was a well-struck shot but it skimmed the crossbar on its way past. Two minutes later, Rodman had a chance on the left but tried a cross rather than a shot and Carman got a touch and Burke was able to block the rebound attempt.
“It forced them to go much further deep to defend and it meant that we had to break up two blocks of four, which made it much harder,” Senyonjo explained. “You still have to make sure you do your job. We had probably, what 80 percent of the possession after the red card happened? But that doesn’t do you any good if you don’t get score a goal.”
Although the Warriors haven’t won a third straight title yet, it leaves them needing just a point on the road in Wednesday’s rematch to clinch the division.
“They came in [today] and the pressure was on them to get a win and now that pressure is on us,” said Senyonjo. “It’s kind of switched around.”
Foxboro (7-0-2) will travel to Canton (7-1-1) on Wednesday night in the regular season finale.
CANTON, Mass. – It was a frustrating Monday night for the Davenport division leaders at WWII Veterans Memorial Field. Canton was pressing forward, trying to find an equalizing goal that would maintain its unbeaten start to the season, but the Bulldogs kept running into the wall of the Oliver Ames defense.
As the clock ticked down under three minutes remaining, sophomore Emily McCabe collected a loose ball 30 yards from goal and let fly. The shot dipped down just under the crossbar and just over the fingertips of OA keeper Emily Meyers, securing a 1-1 draw and a point that pushes the Bulldogs back above Foxboro at the top of the league standings.
“Emily’s job was to make those runs into the final third and hopefully we’d have doubled up numbers to see if we could get more people shots,” said first-year Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “We closed the gaps and give them no time on the ball then we were able to create more chances in the final third.”
It was typically hard-fought game between two rivals who were used to battling for the Davenport crown until the Tigers moved into the Kelley-Rex division for four seasons. Both teams pressed high up the pitch, compressing the space and giving little time on the ball for anyone to take an extra touch.
The OA defense was going to be under pressure against Canton’s prolific attack, but the combination of center backs Allison Evin and Mary Cross stymied the Bulldogs.
“They have two DI players up top and I thought with did a really nice job on them,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “Defensively, I was happy with what we did. We just couldn’t hold on for those last few minutes.”
Elisa Diletizia had a good early chance for Canton, after a Sarai Costello through ball, but the forward shot wide with a defender on her back. Lucinda Cotter set up Carly Gibson for a good chance in the middle of the Canton penalty area, but Allie McCabe charged down the shot.
OA grabbed the lead in the final minute of the first. Madeleine Taylor touched the indirect kick, teeing it up for Lauren Sellmayer to have a go from 35 yards. The ball was smashed just inside the post, giving Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere no chance.
The Bulldogs tried to answer early in the second. Olivia Rodman played the ball into the middle to Diletizia, who slipped a pass into the right channel for Gabriella Herivaux. With defenders racing over to try and block the shot, Herivaux hit it early but sent it narrowly over the bar.
As the half wore on, the Tigers seemed to be taking control of the tempo and the style of the match. Jenna Gilman intercepted a clearance and nearly set up Alexa Lane, but she couldn’t bring it under control in the six-yard-box.
Midway through the second, Camryn O’Connor had a steal in midfield, raced forward nearly 30 yards and then played in Reese Pereira, but her shot went just wide. With two minutes to play in the half, Sellmayer played a cross from the right that O’Connor knocked down for Emma Pereira, but the shot was over the bar from the edge of the box.
“Just getting in the final third and making their goalie make a great save, we just kicked some field goals and Reese had a chance that just went wide,” said Sellmayer. “Cam didn’t score for us but she had some great through balls, which we’ve been working on.”
The third quarter was largely a stalemate. Neither team was able to create a clear-cut scoring chance for the first 18 minutes. Mia Gilmore nearly changed that with a late free kick that she flashed just across the face of goal and just past the outstretched toe of Diletizia sliding in at the back post.
With 20 minutes to go and trying to avoid a first defeat, Canton started pressing into the attack and the OA defense started soaking up more and more pressure.
Senyonjo said, “We started playing too much of their game. I told them we have to stop that because if we do that then we’re not going to get a goal. We had to stay composed on the ball and our chances would come.”
Just three minutes into the fourth, Costello picked out Diletizia in the middle but her shot was over the bar. Seven minutes later, Gilmore had a go from 30 yards and that too was just over the top. Gilmore also had a free kick opportunity in the 73rd minute, but Meyers was able to make the save and it looked like Canton’s chance at staying alone in first place was gone.
Then McCabe stepped up to save the day and get an important point for the hosts, while the Tigers remained unbeaten as well, but had to settle for a fifth draw this season.
“One of the things I tell them all the time is if you keep playing and keep fighting hard then the chances are going to come,” Senyonjo explained. “The hardest lead to keep is a 1-0 lead because the more pressure you put on the other team, the more they just try to keep the lead instead of scoring a second goal. If we can keep moving then it will give us a chance to put some shots on target.”
2019 Record: 7-9-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Santos
Last year, Attleboro was just one win away from ending its playoff drought and while the Bombardiers aren’t going to have a tournament to look forward to this season they have plenty of experience and talent coming back to be in the mix in what should be a wide open Kelley-Rex division. The Bombardiers will also have an extra week to prepare after the first two games against Taunton were postponed.
Attleboro should be potent in front of goal this season. Senior forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois have been dynamic scoring threats for the past three years and have proved to be a tough combination for teams to handle. Senior Jessica Gates also returns to play provider and pull the strings from midfield.
Sophomore Emily Dunlea will pair up with Gates in the center of the midfield, while senior Cassondra Stuger and Meghan Panzer were on the outside. Panzer can also step in and give Attleboro minutes up top when Harnois or Salviati need a breather.
At the back, senior Eleanor Graber and junior Olivia Calderon have been teaming up in the center, while seniors Gabby Bosh and Riley Sullivan have been the outside backs. Sophomore Alexis Campbell will be back in goal after seeing time as a freshman last year. Experience won’t be an issue for the Bombardiers, which should help them cope with the challenges of a unique season.
“The rule modifications cater to our style of play maybe more than it does for other,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “There are a lot of returning players, so I think we’ll be okay. We just have to be able to adjust.”
2019 Record: 12-9-0 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Canton made a run to the Div. 2 South semifinal a year ago and the perpetually young Bulldogs will be hoping to build on that experience and challenge Foxboro for the division title this fall. Former coach Kate Howarth is plying her trade with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride, so Idris Senyonjo takes over this season and picked up an impressive win on his debut with the team scoring eight goals in the process.
The attack has been a strength for Canton for the past several years and with senior forwards Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia back to lead the line the Bulldogs have a pair of potential match winners up front. Junior Gabriella Herivaux adds a different dynamic to the forward line and senior Mia Gilmore emerged last year as one of the league’s top playmaking midfielders.
In the heart of the pitch, Canton has plenty of players who can contribute both on offense and defense. Sophomore Emily McCabe is coming off a strong rookie season and combines well with Gilmore in the middle. Senior Sarai Costello is another player that the coaches expect big things from this year.
Consistency on defense will be a big point of emphasis this year and junior defender Allie McCabe and junior goalie Elyse Broderick should give the Bulldogs a foundation to build on. Freshmen Mekhala Costello and Ava Gilmore have impressed coached during the preseason and both are expected to step in and add strength to the back line.
“I am coming into a program that has a great group of girls who love the game and play for each other,” said Senyonjo. “This made it easy for me to start implementing my philosophy and approach of the game. No matter how short the season might be, I believe we have a good group of girls who will be hungry for a great season.”
2019 Record: 16-2-2 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro has won back-to-back Davenport division titles and comes into this season with eyes on a three-peat and a roster loaded with talent and experience. The Warriors had one of the best attacks in the Hock in 2019, scoring 80 goals as a team, while only allowing 12. Expectations are very high for Foxboro to win a third title in a row, something it hasn’t done since winning the league from 1985-90.
Attack continues to be one of the strengths for the Warriors led by senior forward Jordyn Collins. The Bryant University-commit scored 23 goals last year and already has two to her name after one game this fall. Junior Kailee McCabe is the lynchpin of the midfield, dominating with and without the ball and adding to the team’s scoring punch. Senior Katelyn Mollica can get up and down the wing and her crossing ability gives the strikers more opportunities to get on the board.
It isn’t all about the offense. The Warriors are also stingy on the other end of the field. Senior defender Emma Dahl will lead the back line this season and senior Grace Ferguson will be a key player in the heart of the midfield, helping Foxboro play the possession style of soccer that it prefers. Senior Morgan Sylvestre gives the Warriors an experienced, talented shot-stopper in goal.
“We are all just so excited to be playing soccer and I am so excited about this team and our talent,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “We know that this season will look a little different, but we are going to make the most of it and enjoy ourselves and enjoy winning soccer games.”
2019 Record: 12-5-1 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tom Geysen
Franklin had one of the league’s top defenses in 2019, holding teams scoreless in 11 of the final 12 games of the 2019 regular season. The Panthers will hope to be just as stingy this year and, with the rule changes in place, try to add more scoring punch, as they look to get back on top of the Kelley-Rex division standings for the first time since 2015.
Sophomore Norah Anderson will be back in the heart of the Franklin defense after an impressive rookie campaign and her physicality will be important after the graduation of Sabrina Addi. Senior Carissa Alers will partner Anderson in the middle and junior Izzy Arnold will be on the outside. Senior Julia Bertone and freshman Rachel Welch will both see time in goal, replacing Brenna Atwood.
Senior Erin Quaile will be in the heart of the midfield for the Panthers, providing endless running and contributions in both boxes. Sophomore Bridget Leo saw a lot of time at the end of last season and she will be in the midfield again. Junior Stella Regan is also back after a long time out with broken leg and gives Franklin a different option with her skill on the ball as she continues to work back to 100 percent.
In the attack, senior Sydney St. Marie will be the primary goal scorer, and she is off to a good start after two goals in the season opening win against Milford. Junior Riley Fitzpatrick will join St. Marie up front and there are several younger players that could step in and help out the offense, including freshman Anya Zub, who had an assist on her debut.
“We’re moving along,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “it’s just hard to assess progress because of the changes in rules and everything. The kids are hesitant. My advice is play as hard as you have to play to get the job done and if they call an indirect, then they call an indirect.”
2019 Record: 21-1-0 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Gary Pichel
King Philip reached the Div. 1 South final last year, for the second time in three seasons, but enter the fall without not only the program’s top two all-time scorers but with a large group of seniors that helped the program win two of the last three league titles and nearly finish an undefeated season. Even without some of the big names from last year, KP brings back a number of players who saw action in that finals run and will be counted on for bigger roles this year.
With Chloe Layne and Avery Snead, goals were never an issue for the Warriors. This season, several players will look to pick up the scoring load. Sophomore Ella Pisani and senior Kiera Lindmark will both lead the attack but will get help from senior midfielder Jenny Montville, who had several big goals during the playoff run in 2019.
Seniors Ava Tormey and Maeve Lawlor will provide control in the midfield and will get a boost from the return of senior Charlotte Majer to the program. Majer spent last year with a development academy program and will be a big boost to the Warriors in the center of the pitch.
Defense could be a strength for KP, with several returning players. Sophomore Grace Lawler was impressive as a freshman, regularly marking the opposition’s top attacker. Senior Paige Varvarigos is also back after a strong season at outside back. Seniors Taryn Greenberg, Jillian Anderson, and Taylor Thompson will also help out at the back. Senior Emma Glaser will take over in goal.
“We will all do the best we can and hope for the best in a much abbreviated season,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “I hope the best for all of our teams and to have fun and to do it safely. The most important thing is to keep our girls healthy while returning to competition so they can do what they like to do best!”
2019 Record: 6-8-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Smith
Last season was a learning experience for a young group of Hornets, but even with only four returning varsity players Mansfield finished just one win shy of a playoff appearance. This year, Mansfield brings back 18 players from last season’s roster, including nine starters, so the Hornets will expect to quickly return to being one of the challengers for the Kelley-Rex title.
Even with all of the returning players, Mansfield remains a young team. There are three freshmen, five sophomores, and six juniors on the roster. Despite their youth, many saw plenty of time on the field last year and will be leaning on that experience for more success this fall.
Junior Katie Miller returns in the heart of the midfield and gives Mansfield a foundation to build its attacks and to stifle the opposition. Junior Maria Sevastos will return in the defense and the speedy converted forward gives the Hornets a threat on the outside. Junior Tarynn Smith will be back up top after a solid season leading the line and sophomore Olivia Salisbury returns in goal after a strong rookie year.
“After a year of experience under the young kids’ belts, I’m excited to see how much they’ve learned and how they can apply it this fall,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith.
2019 Record: 9-6-4 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Lou Colabello
Milford made a run at a league title last fall and reached the state tournament, but now the Hawks are moving into the Kelley-Rex division and doing so without 32 goals and several key pieces from the spine of last year’s team. With experience at the back and in goal, the Hawks will be hoping to be tough to beat and let the young attack have a chance to win games.
Senior Carly Ferreira is back in goal this season and has already been busy, coming up with more than 20 saves in the season opener against Franklin. With seniors Catherine Madden and Alyssa Monahan in the back line, the Hawks won’t lack for leadership and experience in the defensive third. Senior Brianna Franzini will add more of that veteran presence in the midfield, which was hard-hit by graduation.
Up top will be sophomore Dani Atherton, who reached double digits in goals during her freshman season and can play as a forward or as a creative midfielder. Sophomores Brooke Ferreira, Serena Borges, and Brooke Guerreiro all saw limited action as freshmen, but will be expected to step into bigger roles this year to shore up the center of the pitch and push into the attack.
“I think the season will depend on how quickly we adjust once games begin,” said Milford coach Lou Colabello. “Replacing key players in the midfield will be a big part of how successful we are. Hopefully, we can get better from game to game. One thing is for sure, we will play hard and have fun doing it.”
2019 Record: 4-10-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro will have a lot of new faces in the lineup this season, coming off a tough, four-win campaign. Although many of the names will be new, the Rocketeers feel confident that the revamped defensive unit will make them tough to beat this year and allow them to compete against the top teams in the division, as they proved in a scoreless draw with Oliver Ames in the season opener.
Senior Jordyn Sullivan and junior Summer Doherty are the lone returning players that saw time in the back line last year, but they will be pushed by a host of other players ready to step in. Seniors Ari Newth and Katie Manning, juniors Charlotte Moynihan and Autumn Hewitt, and sophomores Brooke Sullivan and Haley Sinacola will all see time in the defense. Senior Kaylah Seavey and sophomore Maddie Ferrin will be in goal this season.
After missing last season with a knee injury, senior Lydia Santos will provide leadership in the midfield. Classmates Abby Noreck and Ari Rice will also see time in the middle, while a trio of sophomores – Clara Giuliano, Lily Adams, and Caroline Ferrin will add energy and speed in the center.
Up top, senior Tess Collins and junior Steph McKenna are back to lead the line with their speed and creativity. Senior Ally Scott and junior Brayden Rice will give North depth and different looks up top, while sophomore Emma Pratt is a newcomer that could contribute in the attack right away.
“We are working hard to figure this all out,” said North coach Bill Wallace. “Spirits are high and practices have been productive. Girls are possessing better and better and hopefully that will equate to more success on the scoreboard.”
2019 Record: 14-5-2 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames returns to the Davenport division this fall. The Tigers won three straight Davenport titles before moving to the Kelley-Rex (making it four straight titles in their first year in the new division) and with an experienced, if still relatively young, group they expect to challenge Foxboro’s place at the top of the standings this season.
The Tigers have only four seniors on the roster this year, but they have 17 players with varsity experience. While the attack will certainly miss the scoring Erin Holmberg’s scoring touch and the new rules will hinder OA’s typically prolific set piece scoring, there is plenty of strength throughout the roster to be both tough to break down and tough to keep away from goal.
Senior Emma Pereira is a dominant presence in the middle of the pitch and she will be joined by Reese Pereira and Lauren Sellmayer to try and take control of the midfield. Junior Allison Evin can play up top or in the midfield and classmate Camryn O’Connor is a dynamic playmaker and tough to stop when she starts running at defenses.
Kathryn Gibson will solidify the defensive unit, while Jenna Gilman provides speed on the wings. In goal, OA has two solid options with senior Emma O’Donnell and junior Emily Meyers sharing time between the pipes.
OA coach Britt Sellmayer said, “The biggest issue for the new rules is the interpretation by referees, we have had them come to practice twice and one scrimmage. Let’s just say the games were different. Hopefully the kinks get worked out.”
2019 Record: 0-17-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Despite its record last season under first-year head coach Catherine Sullivan, Sharon demonstrated the ability to compete with the top teams and Sullivan is hoping that with an experienced corps and the addition of talented younger players the Eagles will be a tough team to beat in a very competitive Davenport division this year.
Experience will be a key at the back. Three-year starting goalie Cass Barbera has proven to be a solid shot-stopper and her leadership is a confidence boost for the entire defensive unit. Senior Molly McAlevey will be the anchor of the back line with her physicality and communication. Sophomore Sally Brouhard is coming off a strong freshman season, where she emerged as one of the team’s top defenders.
Senior Amelia Scappaticci adds steel to the midfield and gives cover to the back line and classmate Emily Griffin adds the speed from the center of the pitch to get forward as often as possible. Sophomore Sofia Goclowski and freshman Kate McLaughlin are a pair of newcomers that should step into the midfield and add a different dimension with their skill. With new faces helping out in the attack, Sharon will be looking to find the back of the net more consistently this year.
“We have excellent leadership this season with a great mix of strong returning players and new talent stepping in,” said Sullivan. “The Davenport division looks to be extremely competitive this year, but our kids are dedicated to improving our style and speed of play, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of growth in short time this season.”
2019 Record: 3-13-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Hermes Lima
Stoughton made strong strides last season, scoring 34 goals as a team, which was three times the total from the year before and the Black Knights will be hoping to keep that going this fall under new coach Hermes Lima. A tough loss to Canton on the opening day won’t deter Stoughton, which is hoping to continue building on the experience gained last season.
The attack should be potent again with the combination of sophomore forward Shayla Ford, coming off an impressive rookie campaign, and four-year starter and leading scorer Mackenzie Manning, who has developed into a dynamic playmaker either up top or in the midfield. Senior Rebecca Desousa and sophomore Isabella Rodrigues will both be expected to use their speed and aggressiveness to add to the offense, as the Black Knights promise to be a threat on the counterattack.
Senior Nikki Anderson is a versatile defender who can play in the center of the pitch or drop into the back line and she will be counted on to lead a young defensive group. Sophomore Sabrina Rodrigues is tenacious at the back and Liv Tran’s speed will help stymie the opposition. Speed and pressure will be two keys for the Black Knights at the back this season.
“I am here to continue the growth and culture of this program while also helping them become young successful individuals not only on, but off the field,” said Lima. “My goal is to ensure players learn a few things, create their own path, and reach for the moon!”
2019 Record: 2-14-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Michael Couture
For the second time in two seasons, Taunton heads into a new season with a new coaching staff and with the goal of building a foundation for the program to compete against the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division. First-year head coach Michael Couture will be counting on a mix of experience and youth to improve on last year’s results.
The Tigers have players up front that can ask questions of the opposing defenses and on the other end of the field Taunton will try to soak up pressure and break quickly. They will also get an extra week of practice before games kick off after the games with Attleboro were postponed.
Experience will come from a group of seniors that have spent multiple years at the varsity level. Seniors Emily O’Gara and Madison Ribeiro can both play up top or in the midfield, while classmates Caitlin Smith, Kayla Botelho, and Morgan Zakrzewski provide leadership in the defensive third. Junior Isabella Anslow will be between the pipes this season. Sophomore midfielders Abigail Gamble and Christina DeCosta and sophomore forward Emily Calderon will provide energy and could step right in to contribute this season.
“Our main goal during the season is to get better every single day and play like it can be taken away from us at any time,” said Taunton coach Michael Couture. “We are on our way to building something special here at Taunton High and have the right group of dedicated girls.”