There aren’t many strikers in the league with the amount of varsity experience that Foxboro senior Matt Angelini has. A four-year member of the Warriors’ varsity team, Angelini has improved each and every season and could be poised for a breakout year in 2021. He bagged a pair of goals as a sophomore and then was Foxboro’s leading scorer during last year’s abbreviated season with six goals, which was tied for the fourth-most during the regular season. He is very dangerous inside the box and has a knack for finding a loose ball or a rebound but he can also play with the ball at his feet; he’ll make defenses pay when given space outside the area.
King Philip lost a very large senior class to graduation but head coach Mike O’Neill has some veteran players to lean on, including three-year player Caleb Cassetta. Cassetta is a true box-to-box midfielder and we’ve seen over the course of the past two seasons just how skilled he is with the ball on his feet. He can help translate defense to offense and is a calming presence on the ball. When King Philip is looking to build its offense, it’s likely going to come through Cassetta at some point. Whether it’s just keeping possession, hitting the through ball in the final third, or having a go from distance, expect him to be the engine for the Warriors this season.
It could be a pretty big year for Mansfield senior Matty Hyland, both on the pitch this fall and on the court during the winter. Head coach Steve Sheridan said the midfield unit is the backbone of the team this year and Hyland is a big reason for that. He’s not only a great option in the air, which fits really nice in the Hornets’ attack plans, but he’s very smart with the ball at his feet. He will be tasked with pulling the strings in the central midfield. He showed last year the ability to link the defense with the offense. He can also drop back and be a key piece of the defense while smoothing the transition and solidifying the middle. We’ve seen it in the past and it’s bound to happen again this season: Hyland can be= lethal from distance. If defenses decide to sit back and give him space, he has no problem putting one on target from distance.
There isn’t much to say about Franklin senior Terry O’Neill that we haven’t already said sometime over the past two seasons, but that won’t stop us from doing so again here. A truly versatile player, O’Neill can play just about anywhere on the pitch, playing mostly in a holding mid spot as a sophomore and then dropping deeper to solidify the defense last season. One thing we’re looking forward to this season is the return of heading the ball. The players did a nice job adjusting to the rules modified by COVID, but heading is such a key aspect of the game and it’s certainly a big part of O’Neill’s game. He does a nice job really standing out in his box against set pieces, and on the other end of the pitch, he’s the one setting the offense up whether it’s with a cross, a set piece service, or a shot on a free kick.
Taunton had its already abbreviated season cut short last fall, only getting four games in early on in the season. That means there weren’t many players that were able to gain valuable experience, getting used to the speed of the varsity level. Junior Riley Rebello already had a full season under his belt, playing nearly every minute as a freshman. That will be huge for head coach Taylor Whitters and her Tigers this season because they have a very young roster. Whether it’s at center back — where he played the majority of his freshman year — or further up the pitch, which is what we saw more of recently, Rebello will be a key cog in the middle of the pitch. His versatility will be important too as he can step up front and score (like we saw in the season opener against Stoughton) and if the Tigers need to pack it in or park the bus to protect a lead, they have Rebello’s height and skill to rely on.
Canton could be poised for a big year with a strong core of players, including a pretty talented senior class that top goal scorers Jacob Crugnale and Erik Valdovinos plus the calming veteran presence of Dylan Baird. But if there’s one thing in common that recent division champs of the Davenport division have in common, they are among the top defensive units in the league. Canton has a strong core back there which is anchored by senior goalie Giovanni Ruggeri, who is entering his second year as the starter in net but has two years of experience after getting good minutes as a sophomore. We saw a big jump last year as Ruggeri played with a lot of confidence and came up with some big saves for his squad. Now a senior, Ruggeri will be one of the top keepers in the league and he does a nice job controlling his area. That will be key as opposing teams try to break the Bulldogs down and use set pieces to attack the back four.
There was a lot of spotlight on the Class of 2020 for Oliver Ames, and for good reason as that group led the program to back-to-back division titles, one in the Kelley-Rex and last year in the Davenport division. Losing over a dozen players is always tough, especially when they made up nearly the entire starting lineup. But one key piece to the puzzle is back for the Tigers in senior captain Mathias Taylor, who has two years of varsity experience under his belt and is hoping to lead a young and inexperienced group back atop the division. Taylor is very skilled with the ball at his feet and moves the ball well, he seems to always find space to be an option for teammates. He played striker for a lot of minutes last year so he can certainly get up field and be a threat in the final third, whether it’s with a shot or getting on the end of a service.
Milford has had some of the most gifted offensive players over the past couple of seasons from Hock MVP Walisson de Oliveira two seasons ago, Pedro Araujo in 2019 during the run to the state final, and most recently All-American selection Leo Coelho. But the Hawks have had some pretty good defenders during that span as well and senior Chris Tocci has been one of them. Now in his third year starting at center back, Tocci has gotten better each and every season. After being a big reason that the Hornets allowed just six goals last season (in 13 games), Tocci is back to anchor this year’s defense which looks to be a strong point for the Hawks. Tocci is like a quarterback in the defensive third, helping the backline keep its shape. He is strong in the air as well, often being the one to come up with a big clearance on corners or set pieces.
Attleboro sophomore Alex Vecchioli had a breakout season in his first year of high school, emerging as one of the most reliable options for the Bombardiers, patrolling the center of the pitch. His strong freshman season saw him lead the Bombardiers in goals scored. He’s a very confident player and very strong with the ball at his feet. Not only can he find teammates with nice through passes or balls over the top, but he can also go at defenders one-on-one and beat them. He showed off a strong shot last year and will be a dangerous option on set pieces for Attleboro again this season. Defenses will be keying in on him a bit more, so it will be interesting to see how he does against the added pressure.
Anyone who saw Sharon play a year ago knows just how important James Zhang was for the Eagles. Now a senior, Zhang patrolled the middle of the pitch for the Eagles a season ago, helping them transition from defense to offense and had some nice takes on goal from distance. Zhang can play anywhere up the middle, as he’s just as comfortable sitting back as a part of the defense as he is getting the ball at his feet and attacking opposing defenses. Zhang’s versatility is what really makes him stand out among his peers. If the Eagles need a goal, expect Zhang to be a top candidate to come up with the key play. Opposing defenses aren’t going to want to give him much space, especially in the attacking third. Expect Zhang to be an on-field leader this season for the Eagles.
King Philip, 2 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – King Philip scored twice in the fourth quarter to secure two points on the road, grabbing a victory at Attleboro. Evan McEvoy opened the scoring after a short corner, taking three touches towards goal before blasting a shot into the side netting. With two minutes left, McEvoy set up a key insurance goal with a long ball over the top. Caleb Casetta-Waxman raced onto the ball and beat the oncoming keeper, lobbing a volley that found the back of the net.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ Canton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames clinched the Davenport division title outright with a 2-0 decision on the road over the Bulldogs. Colin Milliken gave the visitors the lead, converting a chance from Anthony DaCosta in the first half. Milliken then set up Matt Nikiciuk for a goal in the second half. Drew Nickla had the shutout in net, getting help from Ben Cohen, Hector Bucio, Jimmy Keane, Brady deVos and Mathias Taylor.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro broke the deadlock midway through the third quarter to earn two points on the road. With the score tied 1-1, North Attleboro senior Eddy Mendoza took a pair of touches before dishing off to Matt Conley, who one-touched Mendoza through on a textbook give-and-go and Mendoza finished in alone on the keeper to make it 2-1. The Rocketeers took the lead in the opening quarter when Connor Ward smashed a 30-yard bomb off the crossbar that bounced down and deflected off the keeper and in. Foxboro drew level in the second quarter when freshman John Hollis played Max Beigel into space and he cut his shot past a defender from just inside the 18-yard line. Big Red keeper David Floyd had a strong day in net, making two big saves in the fourth to preserve the win.
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – A well-played, competitive match ended up with both Mansfield and Franklin earning a point on Wednesday night. Both coaches praised the work ethic from both sides and agreed it was a hard-fought match from both squads. Eric Sullivan earned the shutout in net behind a strong defensive performance from the Hornets. Franklin’s Luc Boudreau picked up his first shutout, earning the praise of head coach Fran Bositis for his continued improvement throughout the season.
Sharon, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Sharon scored a pair of second half goals to earn a pair of points on the road with a win over the Black Knights. Playing under the lights on the new turf at Stoughton, the Eagles peppered the Black Knights with a handful of good chances in the third quarter but Stoughton goalie Nolan Gerome stood on his head to keep Sharon off the board. Finally in the 56th minute, senior Bryce Nathan rifled a shot from distance that went just under the bar for a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, junior James Zhang took advantage of time and space atop the area and placed a perfectly weighted shot into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Attleboro, 1 @ King Philip, 0 – Final – Attleboro scored midway through the first quarter and put in a solid defensive performance to get the road win and split the series with KP. Meghan Panzer got credit for the game’s only goal, when her cross deflected off a KP defender and into the back of the net. KP coach Gary Pichel said of Attleboro, “They played great defense all game long.”
Canton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames took an early lead but Canton responded with three unanswered goals to earn the win on the road. Lauren Sellmayer (from Emma Pereira) scored in the first quarter to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Elisa Diletizia scored a pair of goals and Mia Gilmore had a goal and an assist to bring the Bulldogs back on the road and keep Canton atop the Davenport division. Marissa Staffiere saved a penalty kick late in the second half to keep Canton ahead by two. Sarai Costello added an assist in the win.
Foxboro, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Jordyn Collins scored twice and assisted on another, as Foxboro swept the season series with North and kept the pressure on league-leading Canton. Collins had a hand in all four goals that Foxboro scored against North this week. She opened the scoring in the third quarter, assisted by Jordan Carman, and doubled the lead in the fourth, assisted by Kailee McCabe. In between the first two goals, North nearly equalized. Steph McKenna struck the crossbar and the ball went straight down but not over the line. Collins also set up McCabe for the third goal that sealed the points and keeps Foxboro within a point of Canton heading into two games against the Bulldogs next week. North coach Bill Wallace said that Summer Doherty, Charlotte Moynihan, and Jordyn Sullivan played well defensively.
Stoughton, 0 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Stoughton went on the road and earned its first point under first-year coach Hermes Lima. Shayla Ford moved from striker into defense for most of the game to try and slow down the Sharon attack. Lima said, “Shayla was by far my best player on the field today and played a heck of a game. We had our chances but could not capitalize but I am proud of the way the girls played today!” He also highlighted Isabella Rodrigues for her play moving from center mid to forward.
Stoughton, 6 @ Sharon, 2 – Final
Franklin, 154 @ Mansfield, 145 – Final – Mansfield set a new home course record and finished undefeated against division opponents, clinching the Kelley-Rex division title outright with a win over Franklin. Mansfield senior Ryan Dow fired a two-under par round of 33 to pace the Hornets to the division title clinching win while Cian Goulet added a 36, and both Nate Morreale and Jason See shot 38. Franklin’s Nolan Norton shot an even par round of 35 while Pat Dolan added a 38 and Jack Paterson shot a 39.
Sharon, 181 @ Stoughton, 179 – Final – Stoughton earned its first win of the season with a two-stroke decision over Sharon at Easton Country Club. Max Huminik led the way for the Black Knights with a team-low round of 44. Anthony Hern, Jake Curtis, and Patrick Smith all chipped in with a 45. Eric Carter was the match medalist, leading Sharon with a low round of 42. Nathan Daley added a round of 45 for the Eagles.
King Philip, 149 @ Attleboro, 163 – Final
Oliver Ames, 166 @ Canton, 145 – Final – Canton completed an undefeated regular season with its second straight win over Oliver Ames. Nate MacDonald was the match medalist, shooting a low round of 35 to pace the Bulldogs. Thomas Singleton added a 36 while Will Gefteas and Ryan Doucette each shot a 37. Noah Isleib and David Rodgers led the way for OA, each carding a round of 41.
Foxboro, 154 @ North Attleboro 150 – Final – North Attleboro senior Aidan Weir and sophomore Dillon Harding both a great day on the links at Heather Hill Country Club, leading the Rocketeers to a win over visiting Foxboro. Weir and Harding split match medalist honors, shooting a one-over round of 36. Sam Gallagher and Tyler DeMattio each shot 39 in the win. Foxboro’s Dylan Quinn, Jack Watts, and Dylan Pothier each shot 38 while Mat Sullivan and Matt Fossella finished at 40.
2019 Record: 6-9-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
One more goal scored or one goal less allowed could have changed the entire outcome of the 2019 season for the Bombardiers, who suffered six one-goal losses and three draws. Now with more varsity experience under their belts, Attleboro is aiming to surprise some teams in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season.
Longtime head coach Peter Pereira is counting on that experience to translate into leadership on and off the field. Senior goalie Zackary Brown is back in net for the Bombardiers and is showing more confidence inside the area. Senior Joey Soucy is making the transition to defense and will play alongside classmates Jayden Lockhart and Andrew Fasoldt. Junior Cashel Stuger is also back in the mix defensively while seniors Henry Marini and Alejandro Jimenez could factor into the defensive unit as well.
Jackson Singer emerged as a strong option in the midfield in his first season with the Bombardiers and should be a big piece again this year. Singer will pair up with Hugo Henriquez to give Attleboro an experienced duo in the heart of the pitch. Seniors Ben Fasoldt, Emilio Amaya, and Tyler Sar will all be apart of the midfield while juniors Tom Russo and Emilio Ticas should see valuable minutes for the Bombardiers. Freshman Alex Vecchioli has shown a lot of versatility so far and could play in a variety of roles.
Up front, Attleboro will be relying on a combination of speed, tough, and work effort as they challenge opposing defenses. Depending on the pairing, Attleboro will be able to attack in a variety of ways. Seniors Justin Lurssen and Connor Paquin as well as juniors Liam Bischoff and Yianni Skordas will all see time in the attack. Sophomore Esvin Morales emerged as one of the top attacking threats a year ago and will be among the top finishers in the league.
“We have a good group of seniors and hope that this experience will pay off,” Pereira said. “We believe we will have a more competitive, more mature, and more balanced team.”
2019 Record: 4-12-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Danny Erickson
The Bulldogs were very young during the 2019 season with just a half dozen seniors on the squad, but that meant plenty of young players were able to gain valuable on-field experience at the varsity level. Now the Bulldogs will be looking to contend in a very competitive Davenport division in the shortened 2020 season.
The defense will be the backbone of the team this season as the Bulldogs have a lot of experience at the centerback position. Senior captain Matt Giglio is back for his third year with the squad after being a key piece in each of the previous two years. He will be joined in the middle of the defense by Will Keefe, who anchored the Dogs’ backline last year and earned All-Hockomock honors.
Junior Dylan Baird had a breakout sophomore season and will be one of the main pieces in the midfield. After a down season for Canton on the offensive end as a whole last year, Baird’s presence in the midfield will help create opportunities going forward. Up front, the Bulldogs are counting on senior Colton Marliani to be a go-to scoring threat.
Canton already suffered a big blow as senior captain TJ McCabe, who has been with the squad since he was a freshman, will miss the season due to injury. On the flip side, the Bulldogs are getting a boost with the addition of Abdul Barrie. Barrie played in the youth leagues in Canton but will make his CHS debut this fall and could make a big impact for the Dogs.
“I think the rule modifications will challenge us all equally,” said longtime Canton head coach Danny Erickson. “But after a week or so of training, to me, it’s still soccer.”
2019 Record: 7-8-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Ambrosio
The Warriors had a sour taste in their mouth at the end of last season, losing the last game of the year to miss out on the playoffs. While Foxboro won’t have the chance to get back to the postseason this year, the Davenport division title is certainly in reach.
Foxboro graduated a couple of stalwarts (Joe Cusack, Dylan Barreira, Will Morrison) that were important pieces of the squad in each of the last couple of seasons, but there are plenty of experienced players back from last year’s seven-win squad plus a handful of new faces anxious to make their mark. Seniors Max Beigel and PJ Frost will give the Warriors plenty of leadership and experience, especially in the midfield and attacking third. Foxboro will look to play quick, using the counterattack to hit on the break.
After giving up nearly two goals a game a season ago, the Warriors are aiming to tighten up the back as they navigate through a very competitive Davenport division. First-year head coach Dan Ambrosio is also counting on new players like John Hollis and Ryan Flaherty to make an impact during the shortened season.
“We are a tight-knit group who like to have fun playing the game and look forward to representing our school and town,” Ambrosio said.
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Fran Bositis
With returning players in most areas of the pitch and a trio of top midfielders in the Hockomock League, the Panthers should be in the mix for the Kelley-Rex title, although it could be one of the most competitive seasons since the league split into two.
With just 10 games and all six teams in the Kelley-Rex possible contenders, there is little margin for error. The Panthers will be put to the test right away as they take on Milford, who won the Davenport two years in a row and went to the D2 State Final last season, in the opening week. But longtime head coach Fran Bositis has plenty of talent on his roster to try and make a push for the division title. It all starts in the midfield with a trio of returning starters in Ethan Cain, Tyler Powderly, and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Terry O’Neill.
All three bring something different to the table which will make Franklin’s midfield among the most dynamic in the league. Powderly’s speed on the wings will give defenses fits while Cain will bring plenty of creativity as the Panthers push forward. O’Neill won’t be able to dominate in the air like he did a season ago thanks to the new modifications that ban headers, but the junior is also such a calming presence with the ball at his feet and will help Franklin keep possession. Ben Moccia, who started in the midfield a season ago, is moving up top to the number 9 spot, while Charlie Amante, Ryan Witt, Jack Moran, and Kevin Proenca will also see time in the attack.
The Panthers have some new faces in the defensive unit. Will Fox is the lone returning starter and has impressed in the early stages of the season. Sam George, Robbin Tappin, and Karl Gruseck will all factor into the Panthers’ defense while Aidan Griffith, Nelson Martinez, and Connor Scagliarini will be options for Bositis to play either defense or in the midfield. Newcomers Trey Lovell and Rex Cinelli could see valuable minutes right away. Former Panther standout goalie Freddie Backmann, who is without a season at Regis College, is mentoring Luc Boudreau, this year’s starting keeper for Franklin.
“I think that we have a very good group of athletes (soccer players) who have worked real hard in preparation for this season,” Bositis said. “I know that they are all excited to be playing and that they are looking forward to competing against the other Kelley-Rex teams and putting themselves in a position to challenge for a league championship.”
2019 Record: 8-5-6 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip was the surprise team of the 2019 season, overcoming a large amount of inexperience to take third in the Kelley-Rex and qualify for the state tournament. While the Warriors won’t sneak up on anyone this season, the skill and experience they return should put them in the mix for the division title.
Second-year head coach Mike O’Neill has strong players in all areas of the pitch, starting with senior captain Evan McEvoy. A four-year player with the program, McEvoy is coming off a breakout season in 2019 and will be among the top midfielders in the league. He will control the pace for the Warriors from the center of the pitch, working with fellow captain Alex Leon, who will use his speed to patrol the wings and get in behind the defense. Both Caleb Waxman and Stephen Griffin made an impact last season and should see expanded roles in the shortened 2020 season. Sophomore Matt Crago is a new face that could make a splash in his first year.
The Warriors should have one of the top defenses in the league again this season. Senior captain Aidan Lindmark is back in goal and his distribution skills will factor in heavily to how KP plays out of the back. Jeremy White had a strong 2019 season at center back and will bolster the Warriors’ backline when he returns from injury. In the meantime, four-year player Ajae Olsen, who is normally patrolling the wing or up top, will have his versatility on display as he slides into the centerback spot.
“Our players and coaches are thankful that we are at the point where we can have a season,” O’Neill said. “So much work and sacrifice have gone into getting the Hockomock League schools to this moment. I’m looking forward to some excellent and competitive soccer. I expect every game to be extremely competitive – there are no easy games in the Hock. Five wins may win the division.”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Sheridan
With just 10 games scheduled for the season, every game – from the first to the last – is going to be important. No one understands that more than the 2020 Hornets, who came up just short of the state tournament last year. After a slow start, Mansfield became one of the toughest teams to beat down the stretch, finishing on an eight-game unbeaten streak that featured an upset of division champion Oliver Ames but came just one point shy of postseason play.
With the postseason not in the picture for this year, the focus shifts on the division title. The Hornets are hoping to carry the momentum from the end of last season into this year. Mansfield will have a mix of veterans and inexperience in its defensive unit. Senior captain Evan Eames will be the centerpiece of the group alongside classmate Michael Jeans, who missed all of last season due to injury. Sophomores Grady Sullivan and Nate Kablik round out the Hornets’ back four while senior captain Eric Sullivan will take over starting in goal.
Senior captain Tommy Lanzillo will run the show from the center of the pitch, helping the Hornets transition from defense to offense. Lanzillo is strong with the ball at his feet and will help distribute as the Hornets hit on the counter. Senior Colin True and juniors Matt Hyland and Dan Rowe will join Lanzillo in the Hornets’ midfield. Junior Dylan Buchanan is back for his third year with the squad and will play up top alongside Aiden Steele.
2019 Record: 18-1-2 2019 Finish: D2 State Finalists Coach: Antonio Pinta
Milford arrives in the Kelley-Rex division with a huge target on its back. Coming off back-to-back Davenport division titles and a trip to the D2 State Final a season ago, the Hawks enter their new division as the favorite. But game in and game out, Milford can expect to get everyone’s best.
First-year head coach Antonio Pinto might be new to the varsity position but has been with the program during this successful run as an assistant and JV coach. It will all start with the reigning HockomockSports Player of the Year and Hockomock League MVP Leo Coelho, who can play just about any position on the pitch at a high level. If there is a need to shut down a high-powered offense, you might see Coelho playing defense. Or if the Hawks need a boost offensively, he can just as easily move up front and provide creativity in the final third.
The Hawks are far from a one-trick pony with both Lucas Da Silva (eight goals, seven assists) and Joao Pedro Da Silva (six goals, three assists) back in the mix this season. Replacing the Hockomock’s leading scorer in Pedro Araujo (25 goals, 11 assists) will be tough but we saw the Hawks do just that when Araujo took over for former HockomockSports Player of the Year Wallison de Oliveira.
Defensively, the Hawks will be strong up the middle. Junior Kevin Gomes returns to start in goal for the Hawks after getting valuable experience there during last year’s season and deep playoff run. And junior Chris Tocci is back in the heart of the defense at centerback after a breakout sophomore campaign. While the new regulations will certainly challenge the Hawks defensively with heading and slide tackling banned, Milford should have a big advantage offensively because of their strong possession skills.
“I’m very excited to be out there with the guys this season,” Pinto said. “We are ready to play no matter what the rules and conditions are! We’re ecstatic to have a season.”
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Geoff Burgess
The Rocketeers and head coach Geoff Burgess have found a recipe for success over the past couple of seasons and will be looking to replicate that again this year. Defense always comes first for the Rocketeers, who allowed just 0.68 goals per game last year. While every team is being forced to make changes because of the new modifications due to COVID-19, the Rocketeers might be affected more than most with heading, slide tackles, and shoulder-to-shoulder challenges banned.
But the Rocketeers have adjusted during the preseason and will be relying on defense and goalkeeping once again this season. Replacing two-time HockomockSports Best XI selection Kyle Briere in net won’t be easy but the North Attleboro is turning to junior David Floyd, who is one of the most athletic players on the team this season according to Burgess. The Rocketeers also boast one of the best centerback combinations in the league with seniors Justin Silva and Donovan Carter back in the fold this year. With a season of experience playing together, it will be tough for teams to find ways to get by the defense anchored by that duo.
While defense remains a top priority for the Big Red, that doesn’t mean North isn’t a dangerous team in the attacking third. As they’ve shown over the past two seasons, speed can kill. Relying on the counterattack and set pieces for the majority of their offensive chances, North brings back senior forward Matt Conley (one goal, five assists) to try and beat defenses with his speed and skill. Junior Connor Ward will have a lot to say about the pace the Rocketeers play at as he orchestrates the team from the center of the pitch.
“With an abbreviated season and a large senior class, we hope to challenge OA for the league title,” Burgess said. “This will obviously be a huge challenge but our defense will be tough to breakdown and you can’t lose if the other team does not score.”
2019 Record: 15-4-0 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal Coach: John Barata
Oliver Ames has reached the D2 State Final three times since 2014 and with a large group of experienced and skilled players back from last year’s team that went 15-4, another trip to the finals might have been in the cards for 2020. But with postseason canceled due to COVID-19, the Tigers are looking to make as big of an impact as they can.
After a four-year stint in the Kelley-Rex, one that included a pair of division titles (2017 and 2019), the Tigers are back in the Davenport division where they won five titles in the first six years after the Hockomock split. OA brings back nine players that either started or saw a good amount of minutes on the pitch last year, highlighted by HockomockSports Best XI selections Colin Milliken, Brady deVos, and Kevin Louhis. Milliken will help the Tigers transition from defense to offense from his center mid spot, Louhis will be a go-to option on the offensive end, and deVos is back to anchor the defense for the second straight season.
The Tigers will have plenty of options to go along with Milliken (10 goals, 14 assists) and Louhis (4 goals, 9 assists) in the attacking third. Jimmy Keane (six goals, one assist) bolsters the midfield while Anthony DaCosta (six goals, one assist) has improved each of the past two seasons and will be a handful for opposing defenses. Senior Matthew Nikiciuk really emerged as a force in the middle of the pitch last season and will be a big part of the offense, especially through set pieces. Both Mathias Taylor and Dillon Cupples burst onto the scene a year ago and will be in the mix as the Tigers push forward.
Senior goalie Drew Nickla returns in net after a strong year in 2019. The Tigers graduated the most from the defensive unit so the early challenge will be developing chemistry quickly in the backline. Head coach John Barata is also looking for Ben Cohen, Michael Haikal, and Hector Bucio as viable options for the Tigers while sophomore Jake Williams and freshmen Ryan Linhares, Joey Carney, and Diego Rivera are new faces to keep an eye out for.
“We are looking forward to competing this fall and enjoying the opportunity to grow as people and players,” Barata said. “This is a unique situation for a very unique group of players and we are going to make the best of it and play the best soccer we can. These young men are fantastic and we are going to have a great time this season regardless of the on field results…but we hope to have a few of those too!”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Scott Nathan
The Eagles enter the 2020 campaign with a chip on their shoulder, coming up just one point shy of the state tournament a year ago. While Sharon can’t make up for that with a tournament appearance this year with the playoffs canceled due to COVID-19, the Eagles can certainly make some noise while challenging for the Davenport division title.
Sharon said goodbye to a handful of experienced veterans including Michael Baur, Brian Higgins, and Isaiah Stessman, but first-year head coach Scott Nathan has a group of proven players plus a bunch of news faces eager to make their mark. Senior captain Bryce Nathan and junior captain James Zhang will lead the way both on and off the pitch this year as the Eagles compete for the Davenport crown.
Bryce Nathan is one of the most versatile players in the league, playing anywhere from defense to striker during his tenure with the Eagles. Zhang, fresh off an impressive sophomore campaign, is very confident with the ball at his feet and does a nice job distributing from the center of the pitch. Sophomore Matthew Baur is back in goal after getting a varsity season under his belt. Rhys Davis and Brandon Mauricio highlight a list of returners defensively while Coby Jacobson, Samid Khandaker, Adam Landstein, Aaron Livshin, and Daniel Zagoren are all back with varsity experience as well.
The Eagles will focus on a sound defense first before transitioning into offense. Patience will be key this year as Sharon looks to make the most of each opportunity as they push forward. Brady Daylor, Malachi Diaz, Adam Eastman, Daniel Fishman, Amjad Kordab, Jack Landstein, Rohan Prakash, Elliot Pototsky Nicholas Rincon, Aaron Tamkin, Jeffrey Xiang, and Tony Yang are new to the varsity level and will be looking to make an impact on the pitch for the Eagles in 2020.
“The game will be different…for players, coaches, referees, and fans,” Scott Nathan said. “I am just happy for the boys that they have the opportunity to play the game they love!”
2019 Record: 3-13-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Grant
With a year of experience under coach Jon Grant, the Black Knights are aiming to have a bounce back year and compete with the top teams in the Davenport division.
There were plenty of bumps in the road during the 2019 season but Stoughton certainly showed some bright spots, including wins over Mansfield and Canton. Now the Black Knights will try to compete in each game and string some results together. Captain Nolan Gerome returns in goal for Stoughton and is among the best keepers in the league. Opposing head coaches have raved about saves Gerome has made over the past couple of seasons and he will be the anchor of the Black Knights’ defensive unit.
Playing in front of Gerome will be senior captain Ryan Sears and junior Owen Roddy, who both played valuable minutes last year. With a good amount of experience and skill in the back, Stoughton is hoping defense will be a cornerstone for the 2020 season. Grant is looking for Rhuan Carvalho to be a top playmaker for the Black Knights, distributing from the center of the pitch to create some offensive chances.
“Our goal for this year to improve on last season,” Grant said. “This year the players came in to the short season fairly well conditioned and with a great attitude. All the players are so grateful to have this opportunity to be back out on the field. This will definitely help us in this short season.”
2019 Record: 2-9-7 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
It’s easy to look at Taunton’s record from a season ago and make assumptions, but upon further review, the Tigers were in just about every game they played. Five of the nine losses were decided by just one goal and the Tigers had a league-high seven draws; one goal either way and the Tigers were that close to a spot in the tournament. It goes to show how competitive the league was and how important each goal is.
With a strong nucleus of players back from last year’s squad, the playoffs wouldn’t have been such a far reach for Taunton this season. But with the postseason not in play, the Tigers will shift focus on being a darkhorse in the Kelley-Rex division title hunt. The new modifications will make it tough for all teams when it comes to defending, but it will also benefit something that Taunton has plenty of: speed. The Tigers plan on utilizing their pace on both ends of the pitch, getting behind the defense on one end while using their speed defensively to fend off opposing offenses.
Taunton will be strong up the middle with senior Travis Nunes back in the heart of the pitch and sophomore Riley Rebello back to anchor the defense. Senior Hunter Cabral will give the Tigers flexibility by playing in both the midfield and up front. Head coach Taylor Whitters is looking for sophomores Joseph Renquinha Jr., Aidden Fitting, Quincy Jones-Sylvia, Jonathan Trinh, and Nathan Keenan to all be in the mix this season.
“Despite everything that has occurred in recent months, we have one of the most versatile and technically sound teams that Taunton High School Boys Soccer has seen in a long time,” Whitters said. “This group of young men have the number one factor in the success of any team: chemistry. They have the willingness to play for the team, not for themselves. I feel with their talents, abilities, and desire to work together as a unit, we will be a team to watch in our division this season.”
Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 6 – Final – Milford built a 3-0 lead with a strong first half but had to survive a wild second half to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Junior Lucas Da Silva scored the first two goals of the game with Pedro Araujo and Jordan Borges earning assists. Borges then set up Araujo to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at the break. Sharon’s Brian Higgins scored from Bryce Nathan to begin the second half, Nathan grabbed a goal of his own to make it 3-2. Araujo (from Leo Coelho) restored Milford’s two-goal lead only for Higgins to bring the Eagles back within one on James Zhang’s second assist. Coelho set up Da Silva for his hat trick and Araujo completed his hat trick on a pass from Joao Pedro Da Silva to make it 6-3. Nathan bagged his second of the game to get Sharon within two.
Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Taunton keeper Nolan Melo made save after save to keep the visiting Tigers in the game but Oliver Ames was able to solve him once, and that was enough for two points. “Their keeper was ridiculous, he was great,” said OA head coach John Barata. OA junior Matthew Nikiciuk scored in the 60th minute on a shot from outside of the area to put the hosts ahead. OA’s defense of Harry Ahearn, Matthew Nosalek, Jon Freeman, and Brady deVos played well in front of keeper Drew Nickla (sixth shutout).
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – Franklin keeper Breanna Atwood was terrific in net for the Panthers but King Philip scored a pair of first half goals to earn the win. Chloe Layne finished off a corner from Makayla Griffin in the 22nd minute to give the hosts the lead, and Avery Snead doubled the advantage four minutes later, heading in another corner from Griffin. Atwood made eight great saves to keep Franklin in the game. King Philip’s defense of Grace Lawler, Paige Varvarigos, and Griffin along with keeper Taylor Butler earned their 12th shutout of the season.
Boys Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 35 – Final
Girls Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 30 – Final
North Attleboro, 165 @ Canton, 149 – Final – Canton earned a win over North Attleboro to finish unbeaten in division action this season, going 10-0, and improving to 13-0 overall this season. The Bulldogs had a trio of golfers share match medalist honors with Chris Lavoie, Conor Hunter, and James O’Keeffe all finishing with a 37. Will Gefteas and Mike Leonetti each shot 38 in the win. North Attleboro’s Jake Gaskin had a team-low round of 38, Jillian Barend and Jared Bankert each shot 42, and Aidan Weir chipped in with a 43 for the Rocketeers.
Oliver Ames, 160 @ Mansfield, 149 – Final – Mansfield picked up some momentum heading into the league championship meet, earning a win over Oliver Ames at home. Brian See fired an impressive three-under par round of 33 to earn match medalist honors. Ryan Dow added a 35, Jason See shot a 40, and Cian Goulet finished with a 41 for Mansfield.
Milford, 179 vs. Nipmuc, 188 – Final
Foxboro, 156 @ Milford, 179 – Final – Foxboro earned a win on the road to close out its division schedule, finishing 8-2. Noah Hicks led the way for the Warriors, firing a round of 37 to earn match medalist honors. Matt Lathrop added a 39 for Foxboro while Jack Rounds and Dylan Quinn each shot 40. Tyler Wetherbee and Wes Murdock each carded a 42 for the Hawks.
Taunton, 174 @ Stoughton, 181 – Final – Taunton earned a win on the road at Easton Country Club over host Stoughton. Kyle Robinson and Dillion Schofield led the way for the Tigers, each shooting 42 in the win. Stoughton’s Max Huminik was the match medalist with a 39.
Game of the Week – Football
Mansfield, 15 @ King Philip, 13 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 33-yard pass to Danny Rapoza, Michael DeBolt XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Crawford Cantave 1-yard rush, XP blocked.
4th Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 20-yard rush, Nick Marciano 2pt rush; (KP) Robert Jarest 16-yard pass to Alex Behling, Dylan Conti XP good.
Attleboro, 21 @ Taunton, 3 – Final
Foxboro, 20 @ Canton, 26 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 33-yard pass to Gersom Rivera, Owen Lehane XP good; (F) Shayne Kerrigan 46-yard pass to Ryan Hughes, Tyler James XP good; (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) O. Lehane 24-yard field goal; (F) S. Kerrigan 11-yard rush, T. James XP good; (C) O. Lehane 32-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, 2-point conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (F) S. Kerrigan 6-yard rush, XP blocked.
Attleboro, 1 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Attleboro and Sharon traded first half goals, splitting the two points in a draw on Friday night. Attleboro freshman Esvin Morales put the visitors ahead off an assist from Joey Soucy, putting the Bombardiers ahead in the 7th minute. But four minutes later, Sharon senior Brian Higgins brought the hosts level on an assist from James Zhang.
Franklin, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin netted a pair of first half goals, added an insurance strike in the second, and posted a shutout on the road at Foxboro. Junior Ethan Cain opened the scoring on an assist from senior Sam Stowell while sophomore Terry O’Neill put the Panthers up 2-0, converting a feed from senior Donny Tappin. Senior Jacob Cummings made it 3-0 with Cain grabbing the assist.
King Philip, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Senior Owen Teixeira scored the lone goal of the game with just over three minutes left to help KP grab two points on the road. Teixeira took a pass from junior Anthony Zappala and rifled a shot from 25 yards out to put the Warriors ahead.
Foxboro, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – The Panthers hit on a counterattack nine minutes into the game, Sydney St. Marie heading in a cross by Chloe Barca, to hand Foxboro its first defeat of the season. The Warriors pressured throughout the game, but the Panthers defense was excellent, according to head coach Tom Geysen, to keep Foxboro off the board. Anna Balkus had the job of marking Foxboro forward Jordyn Collins and she was helped in the first half by freshman Norah Anderson, who got across on the cover to clear away a chance with a sliding tackle. Breanna Atwood made 12 saves in goal to earn the clean sheet.
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip got off to a strong start, netting four first half goals to earn a win at home over North Attleboro. Ally Stanton scored in the 4th minute off a feed from Makayla Griffin, and again in the 15th minute, converting a cross from Ava Tormey. Avery Snead (22nd minute) and Chloe Layne (26th minute) set one another up for goals. Snead added a strike in the second half in the 46th minute with Stanton getting the assist.
Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Maria Sevastos and Abby Jean scored for the Hornets, while goalies Olivia Salisbury and Kelsey Hubler combined for three saves and the shutout. Stoughton goalie Brianna Buckley had a strong game in goal for the Black Knights.
Milford, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – After trading first half goals, Oliver Ames found the game-winner in the second half to earn two points against the Hawks at home. Senior Abby Hodges put the Tigers up in the first half while sophomore Camryn O’Connor scored the game-winner, finishing off a corner from senior Erin Holmberg.
Stoughton, 2 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final – Haley Nelson and Morgan Lessa each scored to lead the Black Knights to a win at home over visiting Brockton.
Canton, 3 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 0 – Final – Canton earned a regular season sweep of NDA, winning 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 27-25) at home. Taylor Harris had a standout performance, hitting 0.487 while putting down 22 kills along with 11 digs. Claire Quinn added eight kills and 13 digs while Jackie Morrissey dished out 27 assists while recording three kills and nine digs for the Bulldogs.
Mansfield, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames avenged its season-opening loss to the Boxers with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) sweep at home. Sarah Morley had a strong game with 10 digs and five aces, Allie Kemp added 25 assists, and Alison Barth added 27 digs. Caroline Flynn and Jordan Bosse paced the offense with 10 kills apiece.
Mansfield, 152 @ Attleboro, 169 – Final – Mansfield picked up a win over Attleboro at Stone-E-Lea, clinching the Kelley-Rex division title outright. Ryan Dow was the match medalist with a low round of 35 while Ava Haggis, Brian See, and Joseph Gormley each shot 39 in the win.
Franklin, 170 @ Foxboro, 173 – Final – Franklin’s Jack Paterson was the match medalist, shooting a team-low round of 40 to pace the Panthers to a close win over Foxboro. Pat Dolan added a 41, Brian Sandham shot a 43, and Jake Blaney chipped in with a 46. Foxboro’s Matt Fossella (three pars) sank a birdie, finishing with a 41. Dylan Quinn (five pars) added a 43, Noah Hicks shot 44, and Jack Rounds finished with a 45 for the Warriors.