The Campus Report: 2016-2017 School Year Wrap Up

Campus Report
The HockomockSports.com Campus Report is an update on former Hockomock League athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.

While David MacKinnon selected in the MLB draft earlier this month, two other former Hockomock players also had success in the America East this season. Brendan Skidmore finished a memorable career at Binghamton University, leading the Bearcats to a 30-win season. Skidmore, a Franklin graduate, started in 148 games in his four years as a Bearcat and recorded 152 hits, 117 RBI, 84 runs and 20 home runs. He posted an impressive .997 fielding percentage during his senior campaign. A broken wrist kept the former Hockomock League MVP out of postseason action.

And at Maine, former Taunton ace Connor Johnson made a team-high 23 appearances for the Black Bears, who reached the America East Championship game. The southpaw posted a 4-4 record with one save in 39 innings of work, coming out of the bullpen for all of his appearances. He struck out 30 while allowing just eight extra base hits all season.

Last year’s HockomockSports.com Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year Hana Caster had a terrific first year at UMass Lowell. She led all River Hawk freshmen with 22 points and notched 14 goals and eight assists on her way to becoming one of six River Hawks to record over 20 points this season, while leading the squad with 12 points (9g, 3a) during conference play. The midfielder was named to the America East All-Rookie team and finished the season third on the team in assists and draw controls (16), while her 17 ground balls tied for fifth best.

A pair of former Hockomock hurlers were both named to National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Northeast Region teams for their work this Spring. North Attleboro grad Meg Colleran was named to the first team as well as the Atlantic 10 First Team All-Conference. Colleran was also named A-10 Championship Most Outstanding Player after helping UMass Amherst reach the final. On the season, she posted a 20-14 record with 22 complete games and a 2.60 ERA. King Philip alum Renee Poirier was selected to the third team, posting a team-best 2.19 ERA with a 14-8 record and five saves. She tossed 15 complete games in 21 starts with four shutouts and had two no hitters on the season (Columbia and Lafayette). She finished with 78 strikeouts on the season.

Taunton graduate Aimee Kistner, last year’s HockomockSports.com Softball Player of the Year, was selected to the NFCA DIII All-New England third team for her tremendous rookie season at Western New England. On top of that, Kistner was tabbed Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and named to the All-CCC Second Team. Kistner hit .393 (33-for-84) with six doubles, one triple, four home runs and 27 RBI while scoring 24 runs and drawing 16 walks. She emerged as one of the top players in the CCC over the second half of the season, batting .568 (21-for-37) with four doubles, four home runs and 21 RBI in 14 games since April 11. She was also a top pitcher for the Golden Bears all season, appearing in 12 games with seven starts (four complete games), posting a record of 5-3 with a 2.53 earned run average and 44 strikeouts in 58 innings.

The 2015 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Kali Magane saw plenty of time in the circle for Boston University this spring. Magane tossed a team-high 155 innings as a freshman, striking out 70 while posting a 13-11 record. She had 11 complete games and one save. Milford’s Rachel Levine also saw a lot of time for the Terriors, starting in 39 games. She finished with a 0.240 batting average with 24 hits, including a home run, and 10 RBI. Levine also had an impressive 0.938 field percentage.

Katie Notarangelo was named to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Women’s Lacrosse All-Conference Second Team for the first time in her career. Notarangelo, a starting midfielder for MIT, is 10th in the NEWMAC in draw controls (42) and as a midfielder she is fifth on the team in goals (23), points (29), groundballs (26), and caused turnovers (13).

Former Panther Jared Trainor was second on the Wheelock men’s lacrosse team in scoring despite being just a freshman. Patrolling the midfield for the Wildcats, Trainor recorded 15 goals (second) and 14 assists (first) for 29 points. He also scooped up 26 ground balls with 38 caused turnovers.

Luke Figueira, last year’s HockomockSports.com Baseball Player of the Year, saw plenty of action in his first season at the collegiate level with the Bentley Falcons. The Taunton graduate played in 34 games and was fourth on the team with 34 hits, batting .245. He added 10 RBI, 16 runs and one home run. Figueira had a seven-game hit streak in April and had a season-high four hits against Merrimack in early May.

Taunton’s Kelly Reading had a successful sophomore campaign with Cedar Crest on the softball field. The former Hockomock League MVP batted 0.313 on the year, belting out 31 hits with 22 runs scored and eight RBI. She also stole four bases on the season while drawing a team-high 11 walks. She finished the season with 15 hits in the last 14 games.

Sharon graduate Ryan Riley posted a 3-1 record during his sophomore campaign at Clarkson University. Riley started two games and made relief appearances in 11 more games. He recorded two saves over 28.8 innings of work, allowing 21 earned runs while striking out 25 – third most on the team. Riley finished the season with a five-inning outing, allowing just three hits and striking out five in a win against Union.

Former Canton Bulldog Sam Sullivan was named to the Little East Conference Women’s Lacrosse First Team following a stellar season for Plymouth State. Sullivan has scored more than 50 goals for the second year in a row, just the second player in school history to achieve that feat. She has scored a team-high 53 goals this spring, fourth-most in the Little East, and ranks ninth in the conference with 61 points. A two-time LEC Offensive Player of the Week this spring, Sullivan was also named Most Outstanding Player in the Little East Conference Tournament.

Milford’s Steve Morganelli had a solid senior season at Endicott, helping the Gulls win 25 games this season. The former Scarlet Hawk appeared in 33 games, recording 26 hits – including three triples, 15 runs and 17 RBI – posting a .310 batting average. Morganelli finished the season strong, notching two hits in three straight games and 15 hits in the last 14 games.

Franklin graduate Nicole Ellin earned All-Liberty League Women’s Lacrosse Honorable Mention for the second straight year. Ellin started every game, leading Bard with 41 draw controls. She had 18 goals (on just 30 shots) and added two assists; two of her goals were game-winners, including the overtime goal that beat Nichols in March.

A pair of former Hockomock rivals both had superb seasons up north at Keene State. Foxboro’s Connor Longley got it done at the plate and Sharon’s Nate Pederson was just as effective on the mound, helping the Owls make an impressive run in the Little East Conference. Longley was selected First Team All-Little East Conference as well as the D3Baseball.com Third Team All Region after batting .395 in 30 games with four home runs, 24 RBI and a .605 slugging percentage. On the mound, Pederson made 15 relief appearances for the Owls, tossing 30 innings while allowing just six earned runs (1.80 ERA) and striking out 12.

Former North Attleboro star Mycala Moody continued her ways at Framingham State, earning MASCAC Softball Rookie of the Year and first team All-MASCAC honors. Moody batted .348 on the year with a pair of doubles, a pair of triples and 12 RBI. She also crossed the plate 21 times, stole 10 bases and had a .402 slugging percentage. Moody, who was selected as Rookie of the Week five times, was also named a Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England All Star.

Canton’s Michael McMahon saw action in 16 games during his rookie season with Becker College’s baseball team. The former Bulldog recorded eight hits (batting .306), scored five runs and knocked in three runs with a pair of stolen bases.

A pair of former Hock rivals teamed up to help the Bridgewater State women’s lacrosse team. King Philip alum Alex Lynch, a senior, scored 29 goals in 19 games played, adding seven assists for 36 points. Brooke Buckner, a junior and former Foxboro standout, finished with 12 goals and five assists, adding 19 ground balls and 35 caused turnovers.

Canton’s Meghan Lennon and King Philip’s Jennifer Lacroix played pivotal roles in helping Endicott College claim the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship this season. Lennon, a senior, was named to the All-CCC First Team for the second time. After missing last season to injury, Lennon has started all 15 games for the Gulls thus far and currently leads the team in points (66), goals (41), and assists (25). Her 66 points is tied for the fifth-most in the CCC. Lacroix was also named to the All-CCC First Team and was named CCC Rookie of the Year – just the second Endicott women’s lacrosse player in program history to earn the honor. Lacroix is third on the team in points (47) for the most among rookies and tied for third overall in goals (32). Additionally, she is fourth on the team in assists (15) for the most helpers among the Gulls’ rookies. Lacroix leads the team in draw controls (72), which is good for fourth-most in the conference. She is second on the team in ground balls (28) and fourth in caused turnovers (14).

Plenty of players dream of hitting the big hit to earn their team a big win, but former Foxboro Warrior Mike Slaby saw his dream turn into reality in the New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship in early May. Slaby’s fourth-seeded Lesley University and top-seeded Mitchell College were tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, Slaby launched a game-winning walk-off grand slam to hand the Lynx the title. Slaby was named the tournament MVP for his heroics. On the season, Slaby led Lesley in at-bats (142), RBI (23) and stolen bases (10) while batting .289 during his senior season. You can watch Slaby’s walk-off grand slam below.

King Philip graduate Malorie Knowlton was named to the Commonwealth Coast Conference women’s lacrosse All-Conference First Team following a great season for Curry. She made 17 starts and led the team and the conference in caused turnovers with 71. Knowlton finished second on the team and tied for third in the conference with 52 ground balls. She tallied 43 goals and dished out seven assists for 50 points which ranked her second on the team for both points and goals. Attleboro’s Kayla Merritt, a freshman, also started in 17 games and scored three goals, four assists and 25 draw controls.

Two former Hockomock rivals completed their collegiate careers at Wheaton College this season. Franklin’s Rebecca Seifert was one of the team’s top hitters, batting .306 with 34 hits (both second on the team). Seifert was second on the team with 18 RBI and scored 30 runs in 36 games played. Milford’s Caroline Fairbanks had 21 hits on the season, including two home runs and 15 RBI, while leading the Lyons in walks. Fairbanks had 120 RBI in her four-year career at Wheaton.

Foxboro alum Alex Pacitti concluded his lacrosse career at Saint Anselm this past spring, notching double figures in points for the second straight season. For his senior year, Pacitti scored 18 goals and added seven assists for a total of 25 points. He also had 25 ground balls this year. He finished his career with 43 goals and 62 total points.

Former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Max Lancaster continued his strong career at MIT with a stellar junior season. The Attleboro High grad batted .299 (sixth) on the season with 27 RBI, 10 stolen bases, five home runs, 11 walks and 31 runs scored to help the Engineers record 21 wins.

Franklin’s Maegan Schmauder had the best offensive season of her collegiate career so far for RIT. A junior captain, Schmauder scored a career-high 20 goals this season with five assists. She also had 23 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers and 22 draw controls.

Although just a freshman, Franklin graduate MacKenzie Pleshaw was one of top offensive producers for Stonehill women’s lacrosse. Pleshaw netted 29 goals and had two assists for a total of 31 points. She also had 15 ground balls during her rookie season.

North Attleboro graduate Matt Hardy concluded a successful career with Nichols College with a strong season, helping the Bison earn 23 wins. Hardy was fourth on the team with a .309 batting average, starting in 40 games this season. He collected 43 hits, including eight doubles, knocked in 16 runs and posted a perfect fielding percentage.

Carrie Long, who previously was a standout player for Foxboro, had a strong junior season for Fitchburg State and was named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III North Women’s Lacrosse First Team. Long scored 27 goals (third on the team) and added seven assists for 34 points. She finished with a team-high 94 ground balls and 88 caused turnovers, while leading the nation in caused turnovers per contest (4.63) and being seventh nationally in ground balls per game (4.95) as of May 16th.

Mansfield’s Kimmy Foley was also named to the MASCAC All-Conference First Team as well as the ECAC Division III North Women’s Lacrosse Second Team. Foley, a midfielder for Framingham State, tallied a team-best 56 points on the year which included 37 goals and 19 assists to go along with 54 ground balls, 46 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers. Canton’s Casey Bradley, a freshman, was just one of four players to start all 19 games for the Rams this season and recorded 26 ground balls.

Former HockomockSports.com Baseball Underclassman of the Year Nick Santucci made a big splash in his first year at Rollins College. Just a freshman, Santucci appeared in 35 games, including 23 starts, and posted a .313 batting average. Of his 25 hits, eight were doubles and he knocked in 10 runs while recording a .923 fielding average.

Franklin’s Samantha Jones was named to the Mountain East All-Conference Second Team after a tremendous freshman season for the University of Charleston. Jones started in all 13 games for the Golden Eagles, netting 24 goals and adding two assists. She also had 34 ground balls and 33 draw controls during her freshmen season.

Although it feels like just yesterday that Shannon Smith was winning back-to-back state championships at Milford, the Massachusetts high school strikeout record holder concluded her career at Kentucky. In her senior season, she posted a 6-3 record, making 17 appearances and 11 starts. She had two complete games, striking out 55 batters in 50.1 innings of work. She limited batters to a 0.203 average with just five doubles allowed. In her collegiate career, Smith struck out 207 batters.

Jack Vail, the only male athlete to win HockomockSports.com Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, is continuing his strong play at Springfield College. After getting his feet wet with with just three games played last year, Vail tied for a team-high 32 goals in 17 games played in 2017. He also recorded 16 assists, good for 48 points, while adding 28 ground balls.

The only female athlete to win HockomockSports.com Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, Marta Versprille, had her best offensive production of her collegiate career during her junior season at Saint Anselm. Versprille scored 15 goals along with seven assists for 22 points, her career best in all categories. She also had 38 draw controls and 29 ground balls.

Two Hockomock alums were a big part of Salve Regina’s pitching staff this season, helping the Gulls to 36 wins. Canton’s Jimmy Fitzgerald, who was named to the 2017 ABCA//Rawlings NCAA Div. III New England All-Region Second Team, posted a 6-2 record for the Gulls this season, striking out a team-high 73 batters with just 16 earned runs allowed in 52.1 innings of work (2.75 ERA). Sharon’s Will Ginsberg made nine appearances, including six starts, posting a 2-0 record with 37 strikeouts in 34.1 innings of work (3.15 ERA).

Fitzgerald wasn’t the only former Hockomock standout to be on the 2017 ABCA//Rawlings NCAA Div. III New England All-Region Second Team: Taunton grad Matt Nunes was also on the list as a pitcher. Nunes, a star pitcher for Westfield State, posted a 6-2 record, including five complete games, a 2.04 ERA and allowed just 36 hits in 54.2 innings of work.

North Attleboro grad Anthony Rinaldi posted a 3-1 record this season for the Endicott men’s tennis program. He went 2-0 at No. 5 singles and 1-1 at No. 6 singles play. He also went 1-0 in doubles play. He was named to the 2017 CCC Academic All-Conference Team.

Former King Philip standout Brandon King continued to impress for the Clark University men’s lacrosse team. As a sophomore, King led the Cougars with 42 goals in the 2017 campaign. He also added eight assists, finishing with 50 points (second on the team). King was just one of three players to start all 18 games this season.

Attleboro’s Hannah Smith had a very impressive junior season for UMass Dartmouth. Smith was the Corsairs’ top pitching option, tossing a team-high 157.0 innings while striking out 89 batters. She started in 23 games, earning 11 wins with 15 complete game efforts, posting a terrific 1.78 ERA for the year.

Former Sharon Eagle Jacob Berish emerged as one of Skidmore College’s most reliable pitchers during his sophomore season. Berish was the lone pitcher on the team to post a sub 3.00 ERA, allowing just 12 earned runs in 39.2 innings of work (2.72 ERA). He had nine appearances – six of them starts – and posted a 2-3 record while striking out 21 batters.

Brian Buckner had a strong rookie season with the Colorado Mesa men’s lacrosse team. The former Foxboro standout appeared in 14 of the team’s 18 games, helping the Mavericks to an 16-2 overall record. Colorado Mesa won its second straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament Championship with a 20-7 win over Westminster, a game that saw Buckner record his first two collegiate assists.

Former Taunton girl’s tennis head coach Dave Purpura led the Bridgewater State Bears to a Little East Tournament Title this past fall and an NCAA tournament berth this spring. Another former Tiger, Alisha Silva, was the top singles player for the Bears, playing 18 matches at first singles. Mansfield’s Rachel Tarantino played 18 matches at No. 5 singles, recording six wins.

After losing his first year to injury, former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Brendan Welch, a redshirt freshman with Southern New Hampshire, finally got his first taste of collegiate baseball. Welch made 19 appearances, all in relief, and posted a 3-1 record with one save for the Penmen. It won’t come as a shock to former players to faced Welch but the left-handed pitcher struck out 27 in 23 innings of work.

Sharon’s Spencer Aubin and North Attleboro’s Marshall Blackman both played pivotal roles for the Lyndon State men’s lacrosse program this spring. Aubin, a sophomore, started in 15 games, netting 28 goals (second on the team) as well as recording 18 assists (third on the team) for a total of 46 points (third on the team). Blackman was one of four players on the team to start in all 17 games, shoring up a strong defensive unit. Blackman had 36 ground balls on the year.

Alyssa DeLuca, a King Philip alum, was named Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conference (MWLC) Co-Attacker of the Year and was also a First Team All-MWLC selection. Also garnering first-team honors for a second straight season, DeLuca led the MWLC in goals scored with 77, ranking her sixth in all of NCAA Division III and also 15 more than the league’s next-closest player. She is also tied for the league-lead in points (84), ranked 15th in draw controls (40). DeLuca set a school record with 10 goals in a single game back in April.

Attleboro’s Nate Tellier had no problem making the transition from high school to college, based on his production in his first season with UMass Dartmouth. Tellier led the Corsairs in at-bats (177) and stroked 52 hits – nine doubles, two triples and two home runs – with 18 RBI total. He led the team with 27 stolen bases and posted a .294 batting average. While making just seven appearances on the mound (7.2 innings), Tellier only allowed two hits with nine strikeouts and no runs allowed. Former Mansfield Hornet Zac Courier also enjoyed a nice season, batting .310 with 19 RBI and three home runs, playing in 30 games.

Former Oliver Ames standout Lexi Soucie had a strong senior year at the plate at Salve Regina. Soucie was fourth on the team with 33 hits, batting .311 with a .387 slugging percentage. Her eight doubles were tied for the team lead, and she added 23 runs scored and 12 RBI and 11 stolen bases. For her career, Soucie had 159 hits at Salve Regina and a career batting average of .322.

Canton’s Carly Scanlon posted an impressive 13-1 record in singles action for the Regis women’s tennis team. After starting the season 1-1, Scanlon rattled off 12 straight wins, including the last two in April. Another former Hockomock tennis player, Emma Prinos, had a strong season in singles action for Stonehill College. Prinos went 10-6 playing at a variety of different singles spots for the Skyhawks. Prinos rattled off seven wins in a row back in the fall. Taunton’s Mollie McCaffrey went 8-6 for UMass Dartmouth over the past year, including a 5-0 record at third singles.

King Philip alum Jake Cavanagh had an immediate impact during his freshman year with Utica College. He made four appearances out of the bullpen for the Pioneers, posting a 2-2 record in 18.1 innings of work, striking out 13 with just 10 earned runs allowed.

After setting the record for hits at Oliver Ames, Mike Ferrara has continued to rake at Worcester State. A sophomore, Ferrara was third on the team in at-bats (149) and posted a .322 batting average with 48 hits this season. Of his 48 hits, six were doubles and four were home runs, totaling 30 RBI for the year with a pair of stolen bases.

Former Franklin goalie James Keane had a strong year for Nichols College. Keane started in nine games this season, making 12 overall appearances, and posted a 7-3 record. He made 107 saves with a .601 save percentage and a 7.18 goals against average. North Attleboro alum Pat Nally won 51 face-offs, second most on the tam, in 18 appearances in his rookie season.

Milford graduate Allie Piergustavo was a reliable option for the St. Bonaventure softball squad this season. Piergustavo started in all one but game for the Bonnies this spring, recording 38 hits (second on the team) for a .273 batting average. She added seven doubles and six home runs, scoring 15 runs with a team-high 29 RBI. She had a team-high 316 putouts with a .976 fielding percentage.

Panthers Run Past Foxboro With Strong Second Half

Franklin boys lacrosse
Franklin sophomore Eric Civetti (28) beats four Foxboro defenders to score one of his three goals. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Foxboro had already clinched its first Davenport title since 2012 and was still unbeaten in the league when it traveled to Beaver St. field on Wednesday afternoon to take on fellow division leader Franklin. The Warriors hung tough for a half, trailing 3-2, but the Panthers showed their strength in depth to run away after the break.

Sophomore attacker Eric Civetti scored three goals and added three assists and senior Austin Kent scored a hat trick as well, as Franklin outscored the Warriors 8-1 in the second half of an 11-3 victory that moves the Panthers one game closer to clinching a fourth straight league title.

“Our goal is to go through the league undefeated, as we did last year,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi, “and that’s our motivation. We’ve got the best talent in the league, but we have to play like it. Sometimes we don’t.”

Foxboro coach Matt Noone was disappointed in the way the second half went, but he insisted that it is not from lack of effort. He remarked that his team is working as hard as ever, just couldn’t pull off the upset, similar to the Warriors’ loss to Cohasset on Friday.

“That’s about what our depth can do,” said Noone, “and then we get exposed for what we are – freshmen, sophomores…we just couldn’t handle their pressure. It’s been the story of our season.”

The young Warriors nearly took the lead inside the first minute when senior long pole Brian Buckner got forward and split a pair of defenders but struck the bar. Foxboro had a few other chances as well, forcing Franklin goalie Connor O’Rourke into four of his six saves in the first quarter.

The game was fairly uneventful for the next 10 minutes with neither team able to create consistent chances, but with 46 seconds left in the first Franklin found the breakthrough. Sophomore midfielder Chase Tanner was picked out by Sam Arsenault on a cut through the middle. Tanner made a great catch on the high pass in and in one motion was able to score.

It did not take Foxboro long to tie it back up. Just 1:07 into the second, Louis Piccolo fired a perfect pass from the ‘X’ to fellow sophomore James Silveria for a close-range finish. Civetti gave Franklin back the lead but then two minutes later sophomore goalie Jake Addeche (12 saves) stuffed Civetti on one end and then raced forward to score a rare goal and tie it at 2-2.

With 5:43 left in the half, Civetti bullied his way past two defenders on the edge of the crease to give the Panthers the lead heading into the break. Verrochi was no happy with the lack of ball movement in the first half and laid into his team at the break.

“A lot of times it’s the Kent and Civetti show and we’re not getting enough movement,” Verrochi explained. “Guys aren’t moving intelligently off the ball and I think after [halftime] we assisted on a lot of goals and that’s what is important, getting everyone involved in the offense.”

Luke Downie scored the first goal of the second half on a long-range bouncing shot but things stayed close for another three minutes until a quick burst over 28 seconds broke the game open for Franklin.

Packie Watson drove at the Foxboro defense and opened space for Austin Kent, who let rip with a laser into the corner just seconds before Patrick Kaveny was able to close him down. Freshman Jake Alexander won the face-off (Franklin won all but three in the game) and Watson again fed Kent for another rip.

On the ensuing face-off, Watson chased down a ground ball on the near sideline and flipped a pass to Civetti, who in turn fired a cross-crease pass to Arsenault for the first of his two goals.

“If I had 12 Packies I’d win a state championship,” Verrochi raved. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s not the most gifted of goal scorers but everything else that doesn’t show up on the score sheet, he’s just aces. He’s everything you want in a midfielder.”

Noone said, “We couldn’t win a face-off again and against Franklin that’s a minute of possession. They handle the ball for a while, we overextend, and then we get beat.”

Junior Colby Nickerson got one back for the Warriors but a minute later Civetti pump faked to get space and scored from the edge of the crease to make it 8-3. He added his second assist with 18 seconds left in the third to find freshman Nitin Chaudhury for a nifty finish in traffic.

Things continued to be a struggle for Foxboro in attack. “How many turnovers did our attack have today? We can’t complete a 10-yard pass because they don’t ‘V-cut’, they don’t get of their way,” Noone said.

Downie assisted on a goal by Arsenault to make it 10-3 in the fourth quarter and then Civetti fed Kent, who got a little time, a little space and rifled a shot just under the bar to wrap up the scoring.

The Panthers pulled out the win, but Verrochi admitted that the team was distracted, especially at the start of the game. After school on Wednesday, inside two hours before the opening face-off. senior midfielder Jared Trainor was injured in a car accident and was taken to UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

The players wanted to visit their teammate in the hospital, but Verrochi said that after conversations with the school administration and with first responders it was explained that it would be better for the players to wait. They held a team meeting to decide whether or not to play.

“They were definitely shaken by the whole situation,” said Verrochi. “I left it to them if they wanted to play or not and they said that they wanted to play for Jared.”

It took a half to get into the flow, but once they did, the Panthers put it together and honored their teammate with a big win.

Franklin (10-4, 7-0) will have a chance to just about clinch the league title on Monday night when it hosts King Philip, which is just one game back. Foxboro (9-4, 7-1) will host Norwood on Saturday.

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

Franklin Lax Falls By a Goal at Cohasset

Franklin boys lacrosse
Luke Gordon (32) battles with a Cohasset player in Friday’s non-conference matchup. (Phil Garceau/ESPN Boston)

By Phil Garceau, HockomockSports.com Contributor

COHASSET, Mass. – It comes as no surprise that the Franklin boys lacrosse team come loaded with plenty of offensive standouts. Eric Civetti, Austin Kent and Jared Trainor are a few that jump off the page, but we are quickly learning about perhaps the Panthers’ best kept secret in a shutdown defense.

That unit, led by long poles Wyatt Arsenault and Sean Lockhart and aided by goaltender Connor O’Rourke quieted a volatile Cohasset offense on Friday evening, but the Skippers had just enough to spoil a monumental road victory.

While Franklin largely shutdown the Skippers’ Danny Axelson on the evening, the Providence-bound midfielder emerged in the final five minutes of play, splitting a Franklin double team to net the eventual game-winner in Cohasset’s 8-7 victory over the Panthers.

Civetti (three goals) scored a minute later cutting the deficit down to one, but an untimely slashing call with 1:54 remaining, paired up with four turnovers between the two squads in the final 72 seconds was enough to give Cohasset the win.

“We made some mental errors that cost us and they extended on us,” Franklin coach Lou Verrochi said. “They out-toughed us in a lot of ground ball situations and that dictated how the game went.”

Franklin falls to 3-2 on the season, with both losses coming to non-conference juggernauts in BC High and Cohasset, two losses that while they may sting, will certainly make for the better in the long term.

The Panthers fell to the Eagles after holding an early 4-0 lead last week, and inconsistent offense down the stretch again led to their downfall on Friday evening.But that learning lessons will likely go far for a young team that is loaded with speed and talent.

“These kids will regroup, they are really resilient,” Verrochi said. “We have the Creators’ Cup next week and it will be very competitive. Last year we had Billerica and lost 10-9, and I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get there again because we have the horses to play with anyone.”

Between the second and third quarter, the Panthers scored just one goal, a transition tally that came from Kent in the second period that at the time gave Franklin a 5-4 lead.

The offense that erupted fro four first-quarter goals was shutdown by a Cohasset defense that began to solve the Panther’s tendencies. Mixing in the loss of Trainor to a knee injury in the second quarter didn’t help the cause.

“They were just very, very good, (Kent and Civetti) had a tough time driving on their poles, they are very good and sort of neutralized us,” Verrochi said. “They have been our big weapons all year, they got their share of goals, but we lost one of our middies in Trainor.”

While the offense sputtered during that period, the Franklin defense thrived in that span, as O’Rourke (six saves) came up with a handful of saves, none bigger than a point-blank stop on Cohasset’s Ryan Donovan.

Cohasset began to figure out the Franklin defense in the fourth quarter, taking a 4-4 game at the start and scoring two quick goals off the stick of Will Thomas (two goals) and Kyle Mcfetridge sent the Panthers onto the wrong side of a two-goal deficit.

Kent (two goals) again emerged in crunch time, closing the gap to one goal, but Axelson’s individual effort to get to the cage was the dagger than Franklin couldn’t recover from.

The Panthers go into the break with a 3-2 record, with three games slates over vacation week, all which are apart of the Creators’ Cup. That begins with Masconoment (1-5) at Walpole High on Tuesday afternoon.

Franklin Shut Out In Fourth Quarter at BC High

Franklin boys lacrosse
Austin Kent scored a pair of goals against BC High, but the Panthers could not hold onto a fourth quarter lead on the road. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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BOSTON, Mass. – For the second year in a row, Franklin held a lead against BC High, but also for the second year in a row the Panthers failed to hold onto it and allowed the Eagles to walk away with the victory.

BC High shut out the Panthers 5-0 in the fourth quarter, with senior attacker A.J. Kucinski recording a goal and three assists, and turned around a two-goal deficit to pull out a 10-7 victory in the Eagles’ season opener.

“We have to play teams like this,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “These guys are always going to be a good challenge, just the second year in a row that we sort of imploded in the fourth quarter.”

The Panthers got off to the perfect start on a blustery afternoon. Senior Jared Trainor opened the scoring inside the first minute and just two minutes later sophomore Eric Civetti scored the first of his three goals to double the lead.

A quick outlet pass by junior Patrick Watson sprung Civetti, who picked out senior Austin Kent for his first goal of the game and the Franklin bench was going crazy on the sidelines. The energy got ramped up even more when Kent forced a turnover in the attacking zone and then fed Civetti for his second and a the Panthers’ fourth.

Kucinski got on the board after a turnover early in the second quarter, but Civetti answered right back for Franklin just a minute later. It would be the last goal of the half for the Panthers, as the BC High defense started to clamp down.

“They shut down Eric and Austin and we just didn’t get enough out of our midfielders,” said Verrochi. “We just weren’t driving forward the way we should have…when those two start to tire we just don’t have the kids to throw in like we did last year.”

After a pair of goals by the Eagles, sophomore goalie Connor O’Rourke stepped up with a huge close-range save on Kucinski to keep the score 5-3. Franklin raced down the field and freshman pole Patrick Morrison had his goal wiped out because there was a man in the crease.

BC High sophomore Will Bowen took advantage of the ruling and beat Franklin in transition, racing straight down the middle of the field and beating O’Rourke in the bottom corner.

“We threw the ball away, we were in the crease a few times, bad substitutions, we were sloppy out of the box…but once we got ourselves set and it was time to make plays they stepped up,” said BC High coach Steve Lydon.

O’Rourke took over between the pipes this season after playing as an attacker during his freshman year. Verrochi said that there was an opening in goal and the sophomore spent the offseason learning the new position.

Verrochi said, “I can’t say enough about what he did this year. He went to all sorts of camps and he’s now playing goalie for Laxachussets in his age level. That says a lot about his athleticism and how he goes after the game.”

Junior Sam Arsenault restored the two-goal lead with a man-up goal three minutes into the third quarter, but Kucinski answered back for the Eagles. With time running down in the third, Kent capped a long possession with an unstoppable rocket into the top corner, which made it 7-5.

The Franklin defense, led by seniors Matt Pleshaw, Sean Lockhart, and Gabe Murphy, had managed to limit the chances for Kucinski and the Eagles attack. But in the fourth quarter, everything turned around.

Pat Greene scored to cut the lead to one, Andrew Helfrich completed his hat trick (on a Kucinski assist) to tie it, and then Kucinski gave BC High its first lead with a shot on the run, across his body, and into the top corner.

“We went to sleep on him,” said Verrochi. “I was disappointed in how our close defense played in that fourth quarter. I talked to the players that we can’t allow that to happen.”

“That type of stuff, with a senior defense, we can’t have that.”

Kucinski assisted on the final two goals of the game. Franklin’s chances were limited, although it did force BC High goalie Michael Haggan into four saves in the fourth and Kent smacked the post with a shot in the final minute.

“We had a couple guys go out and make plays for us,” said Lydon. “A.J. made a couple of really big plays in the fourth and our defense locked down after a slow start.”

Despite the loss, Verrochi insisted that it is a positive for his team to play top non-league competition and challenge his players early in the season.

He said, “Give credit to them; they’re bigger, faster, stronger than we are right now, but my kids worked their butts off. I think the better team won…but we played them really tough for three quarters.”

Franklin (2-1) will get back into league play on Wednesday with a trip to Sharon.

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

Boys Lacrosse: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2016

Franklin's Austin Kent will be one of the top players in the league this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
Franklin’s Austin Kent will be one of the top players in the league this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

ATTLEBORO

2015 Record: 4-13
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Chris Kiley

Now in its third year at the varsity level, Attleboro is looking to once again take another step in the right direction. With a handful of returning players back this season, the Bombardiers will look to improve on their 4-13 season in 2015.

Junior Sam Corrado shined in the cage on multiple occasions last season and will look to continue that this season. Seniors Brian Letourneau, Mitch Caruso and Owen McKenna were named captains for this year’s team and will all look to contribute.

Caruso found the back of the net throughout the 2015 while junior attack Jay Mota was another key piece to the offense. Junior Andrew Milliken is also back after earning Hockomock League Honorable Mention a season ago.

FRANKLIN

2015 Record: 17-4
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinals
Coach: Lou Verrochi

After a historic campaign in 2015 that saw the Panthers get to the D1 South Semifinals, Franklin is looking to build upon it in 2016.

Hockomock League All Stars Austin Kent, Sean Lockhart and Eric Civetti are all back along with a handful of experienced players. Kent will spearhead the Panthers attack and will be one of the most complete players in the Hockomock League in 2016. Lockhart was a lockdown defenseman during his junior year and will anchor that unit again this year. Civetti had a tremendous freshman year and will look to build on that this year, partnering with Kent up top.

Junior Packie Watson and senior Jared Trainor return to bring some experience to the midfield alongside newcomer Brian Vieten while freshman Jake Alexander will handle a lot of the faceoffs. Senior LSM Matt Pleshaw and senior Gabe Murphy will be key pieces in the defensive unit. Head coach Lou Verrochi said he expects junior Mike Keane and sophomore Connor O’Rourke to battle for the starting spot in goal.

“Hopefully we will be in the hunt for a league championship,” Verrochi said.

KING PHILIP

2015 Record: 14-8
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Jacob Kravitz

King Philip is looking to continue its growth as a program, hoping to take another step in the right direction in 2016. The Warriors return experienced players all over the field.

“We have a lot of two way guys in the midfield,” KP head coach Jacob Kravitz said. “We should be a balanced team that is led by our captains.”

The 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Paul Macrina is back in goal after a stellar year and will be one the three captains for KP. Mike Riggs and Connor Khung are returning starters on defense along with Steven Eaton, a captain, that will see time at pole and LSM.

In the midfield, senior captain Anthony Truini will play a big role especially offensively while Kravitz is looking for a mix of other players to fit into the middle of the field. Offensively, seniors Sam Agricola and Harrison Fallon will look to take over at attack while junior Tim Watson is looking to to build upon his 29 goal season last year.

MANSFIELD

2016 Record: 10-9
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tim Frias

After making a late charge last season to reach the playoffs, the Hornets are returning a large core back this season. Mansfield won seven of their last 10 games to reach the playoffs and with only three very valuable players graduated, head coach Tim Frias is hopeful for another postseason trip.

“Our strengths will be the experience and play at the midfield and defense we will have to wait to see who pulls full time duty at attack for our seniors that we lost last year,” Frias said.

Senior captains Connor Finerty and Billy Grant will be key pieces in the midfield with Finerty also seeing time at attack. Senior Mike Wilcox will also be an important piece in the middle of the field while sophomores Hunter Ferreira and Joe Cox could have breakout seasons.

Defensively, Sean Powers is back in the cage while three year starter Josh Schafer will anchor the line in front of him along with Tommy Donnelly. Frias is relying on some of the younger poles to step up in that role. Offense will be one of the biggest questions after graduating some talent there but senior Ryan Smith is back and will be a big part of setting up the offense.

NORTH ATTLEBORO

2015 Record: 13-6
2015 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals
Coach: Kevin Young

The Rocketeers will have to replace the program’s all time leading scorer Sean Young but to start the season, head coach Kevin Young is confident they have the defensive end covered.

Senior captains Anthony Baiungo and Andrew Casson return and will be relied upon heavily to handle opponent’s offense. Junior Dan MacDonald will take over in the cage to help solidify the defensive end.

In the middle of the field, seniors Brody Barr and Connor Dunn bring a lot of experience to both sides of the field, which is another reason Young is confident in the defensive end. Patrick Nally will be look at to take over on face offs with help from LSM James Schromm.

When it comes to offense, although Big Red has to replace a near 300 point producer, junior Zach McGowan
has proved in the past he has what it takes to find the back of the net and create opportunities for teammates. Classmates Owen Costello and Jack Dakin will also make an impact on the offensive end for the Rocketeers.

TAUNTON

2015 Record: N/A
2015 Finish: N/A
Coach: Kris Metea

Taunton is looking to make a splash in its inaugural season after competing for two years at the JV level and posting 20 wins. Kris Metea, who guided the Tigers hockey team to a record season on the ice this season, is the head coach for the lacrosse team as well.

“The team has some good upperclassmen,” Metea said. “But the talent is on the young end which will take time for them to become successful against upperclassmen from solid Hockomock programs. The key to success will be how fast depth can develop and youth can step up.”

Seniors Santiago Lopez and Jared Williams will be called upon to anchor the defensive unit in front of freshman Ryan Williams, who will take the majority of minutes in goal. In the midfield, senior Ethan Patterson will be joined by sophomore Will Walsh and junior Andrew Wellington.

Offense can sometimes be the hardest challenge for new programs but Taunton will look to younger players Josh Grasso, a sophomore and Griffin Speicher, a freshman to take care of the attack.