Franklin Holds Off Foxboro to Keep Streak Alive

Franklin girls lacrosse
Erin Walsh (1) scored twice and assisted on another goal to help Franklin continue its long league unbeaten streak by beating fellow division champion Foxboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – For nearly a decade, two teams have dominated Hockomock League girls lacrosse. Foxboro and Franklin have each won eight straight division titles, including the league crowns that both have already clinched this spring. The last time a team other than those two finished on top in the league was 2012, when King Philip shared the Kelley-Rex title with the Panthers.

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On Wednesday evening, the league’s top two teams squared off at Sam Berns Community Field. Behind a quick start that saw it jump ahead 5-0 and seven goals from senior midfielder Annie Walsh, Franklin pulled out a 14-10 victory to extend its remarkable league winning streak to 80 straight games dating back to April 2012.

“I thought we did really well on the draws early, we were really feisty in the circle, and just took good shots in the first half,” Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said of the good start. “I think their goalie played awesome and really stepped up her game as it went on but we got on her early.”

The Panthers got off to the perfect start, scoring the game’s first five goals, all but one from free position chances. Freshmen Jackie O’Neil and Stella Regan got the visitors going, the second goal created after freshman Kate O’Rourke scooped a ground ball to keep the possession alive.

After Annie Walsh hit the post, Erin Walsh went over the top of Foxboro goalie Sara Addeche (11 saves) to make it 3-0. The Walsh sisters combined for nine of Franklin’s goals and Erin also chipped in with an assist. O’Rourke bounced in a free position goal for Franklin’s fourth and then O’Neil picked out a cutting Annie Walsh for her first, forcing a Foxboro timeout.

“We’ve struggled all year with playing the entire game,” Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry explained. “When you have to start at a deficit and have to pick away, it’s too much. We can’t let a team like Franklin have that lead. It’s a momentum-changer for us and puts us in a slump and we have to work the rest of the game to get out of it.”

Following a draw control, Foxboro got on the board. Sophomore Lilly Vey cut across the front of goal and managed to bounce a shot inside the post. Two minutes later, Sophia DiCenso set up Abby Hassman in front of goal to make it 5-2.

A free position goal by Kelsey MacCallum restored Franklin’s four-goal lead, but only for a short time. Julia Kelley hit the outside of the cage from a tough angle and then Meghan Curran sliced through the defense to make it 6-3. Addeche stuffed Erin Walsh on one end and the Warriors converted on the other, as DiCenso’s head fake opened a sliver of space down the right channel to make it 6-4.

Just when it looked like Foxboro might be taking control, Annie Walsh stepped up. She went straight down the middle of the Warriors’ defense to score with 2:30 left in the half and then she forced a turnover and scored on the resulting free position just 17 seconds before the break to extend the lead to 8-4.

Igoe Guarino said, “Annie is an excellent dodger and I thought she did a good job of taking good, smart dodges in space and mixing up her shot placement so she could finish.”

Walsh made it a five-goal game early in the second half when she scooped a rebound, after Addeche made another good stop, and flicked it in from close-range.

Foxboro needed a spark and junior Jaime Notarangelo provided one. She used a big pump fake to free herself in the middle of the Franklin defense and scored to make it 9-5. After winning the draw, Notarangelo twice beat the defense and Franklin goalie Gianna Cameron (five saves) only to see the ball come back off the post both times. The second rebound was gathered by Vey, who fired into the open net.

“Jaime came up huge,” Sherry said. “She does it in defense, in midfield, and if she loses the ball in attack she’s right back playing defense and getting the ball back for us.”

Walsh used a head fake and a quick step to beat her marker and then split two other defenders to get the goal back for Franklin, but Carly Stern got the Foxboro bench going when she carried the ball out of defense almost 60 yards before scoring to make it 10-7.

Another Walsh goal got the lead back to four and then Cameron came through with a big stop on Curran. Walsh followed that with her seventh goal to give the Panthers a 12-7 edge. “Gianna always steps up in the most critical time and is always so focused,” said Igoe Guarino. “She knows when we need her the most.”

Vey completed her hat trick, spinning her way into the middle of the defense, but then Erin Walsh got her second on a feed from O’Rourke and Regan added another in transition to make the score 14-8 with less than two minutes remaining.

Sherry said, “The draw wasn’t consistent enough for us. If we don’t win the draw, then we don’t win the game. We had bits and spurts but in those key moments they were beating us.”

The Warriors kept coming. Curran scored off a free position and then Notarangelo added another to make it a four-goal game in the end.

“It totally helps us and that’s the reason that we have those games,” Sherry said of playing the likes of Div. 1 powers Walpole, Wellesley, and Franklin this season. “But, we also have to hold ourselves accountable. At this point in the season, only about a week away from finding out where we are in the playoffs, it can’t just be helping us. We have to use it successfully. It has to be we played hard teams and we got a win from it.”

With 80 straight wins in the Hock and the potential for a seventh straight perfect league campaign, Igoe Guarino was pleased with the way her team responded to the challenge from their rivals.

“We take pride in it and we know that Foxboro is going to be the toughest league game every year,” she said. “[The players] just have a lot of pride and they know Foxboro is out to get us. Foxboro was ready for us but we had to be just as ready back.”

Franklin (14-2, 9-0) can complete another undefeated league season if it beats Canton on Monday. Foxboro (9-7, 7-1) will face Div. 2 East rival Medfield on Friday and look to secure an outright league title when it faces Milford on Tuesday.

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Foxboro Dominates In Win Over King Philip

Foxboro girls lacrosse
King Philip’s Ava Tormey defends Foxboro’s Sophia DiCenso in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – The Foxboro girls lacrosse team might not have one of the best records in the state, but the hope is that facing top competition throughout the season will have the Warriors primed for the postseason.

The battle-tested Warriors showcased their talents in a battle of league unbeatens on Monday afternoon, earning a 19-6 win over visiting King Philip in dominating fashion.

“Our record isn’t great, not what it usually is but we’ve played so many of the top teams in the state that we’re so mentally prepared for the games now,” said Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry. “The end result hasn’t always been what we want but we’re competing for the most part with those teams. We knew this was a big league game and we wanted to prove ourselves, the games leading up to this have prepared us for this.”

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Foxboro entered the contest at 7-6 overall, but four of those losses were to four of the top seven teams in Eastern Mass — Notre Dame Academy (1), Walpole (2), Norwell (5), and Wellesley (7) — another to Western Mass powerhouse Longmeadow, and the sixth to Natick, who is ranked in the top 20.

After trading a pair of goals each to start the game, Foxboro’s offense went into high gear and rattled off eight straight goals to turn a close game into a comfortable lead for the host Warriors.

King Philip closed the first half strong to give themselves a shot in the second half, but Foxboro once again had eight straight goals and pull away for the win.

“We had a long talk after the Walpole game about what we can do to better prepare for games, and we haven’t put together two halves yet,” Sherry said. “Just because we say to be here at 3:00, doesn’t mean you can’t come early and get some shots up. It was the first time it hasn’t rained and they came early today and got ready for the game.”

Foxboro junior Julia Kelley scored a pair of goals inside the first four minutes to give the hosts the lead, the first off a feed from junior Jaime Notarangelo and the second assisted by sophomore Lilly Vey.

King Philip responded with a pair of goals to tie it 2-2 six minutes into the contest. First, freshman Julia Marsden carried possession from her own half and sliced through the Foxboro defense, finishing with a shot in close. Caroline Klim followed with a goal off a feed from Victoria Tormey to tie the score.

But from that point on, Foxboro owned the first half. The host Warriors dominated on draws, winning 11 of 16 in the first half, and won eight of the first nine which directly led to a big lead.

Senior Sophia DiCenso scored back-to-back goals, the first off a free position and the second off a feed from Vey. Vey then took a pass from Kelley and scored to make it 5-2. Senior Molly Murphy netted her first of three goals with a bounce shot with 12:31 left to make it 6-2 and force a KP timeout.

Foxboro didn’t take its foot off the gas though with Notarangelo tucking in a low shot for a 7-2 lead. King Philip goalie Caroline Watson (12 saves) was strong in net and turned away a Warrior chance with just under 10 minutes to go but Foxboro was first to the rebound and Abby Hassman connected with DiCenso to make it 8-2.

Vey scored back-to-back goals, the latter with four minutes to play in the first half.

King Philip put together a mini-run to end the first half and stay within striking distance. Buoyed by some draw controls, Klim scored off a nice individual effort, senior Allie Wilson found the back of the net off a free position chance, and junior Jessica Sullivan buried a nice shot with a minute to go to make it 10-5.

But Foxboro was relentless in the second half, holding King Philip to just one offensive possession through the first eight minutes. Watson made some stellar stops in close to keep Foxboro off the board but the host Warriors’ continual pressure paid off.

Vey found DiCenso in transition and just 17 seconds later, Notarangelo scored after controlling the draw. Hassman, Notaragenlo, and Murphy scored over the next five minutes to push Foxboro’s lead to 15-5.

“Credit to Foxboro, they came out strong with high energy and really wanted to play today from start to finish,” said King Philip coach Kourtnie Wilder. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to play that full 50 minutes. We had a few good sparks but not a full game of lacrosse and it showed, and they were able to pile it on.

“Having that short term memory is something we need to work on. Even if they score a couple of goals, we have to move on and focus on the next play. Credit to our goalie Caroline Watson, she had a lot of saves and kept us in it for most of the game.”

Even when King Philip was able to get a stop, Foxboro’s pressure made it tough for the visiting Warriors’ to clear the ball cleanly.

“We haven’t been that strong [pressuring defenses] but we did a nice job today,” Sherry said. “We wanted to put pressure on the goalie, the girls did very well with their ride today.

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“I think we had the edge [on 50/50 balls]. We haven’t had that every game so far but today we did and that’s been one of our biggest things. We’re either really strong or really weak, and today we were on the strong end of things.”

Meghan Curran added two goals, Murphy scored once more, and senior Kristin Whalen found the back of the net once to cap the Foxboro scoring. Klim scored King Philip’s lone goal of the second half with 2:30 to play.

Foxboro girls lacrosse (6-0 Hockomock, 8-6 overall) is back in action on the road at Attleboro on Wednesday. King Philip (5-1, 8-3) is on the road at Canton on the same day.