2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview
Sophomore attacker Sophia DiCenso (1) and Foxboro will be favorites for a sixth straight Davenport division crown this season but will face tough challenges from North Attleboro, Sharon, and Canton. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 6-12
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Kevin Patton

Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.

One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.

In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.

“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”

Canton

2016 Record: 8-9
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Christine O’Connor

Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.

Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.

One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.

“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 16-5
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Semifinal
Coach: Brittany Sherry

Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.

Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.

Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.

“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”

Franklin

2016 Record: 19-5
2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.

There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.

Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.

“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”

King Philip

2016 Record: 12-10
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Julie Boudreau

King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.

Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.

KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.

“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 5-11
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Alexis Kobey

Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.

Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.

Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman

“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”

Milford

2016 Record: 3-15
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Tim Dowd

It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.

Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.

Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.

“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 13-7
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Vitelli

Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.

North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.

Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.

“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 8-11
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Abby Tepper

Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.

Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.

Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.

“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 10-9
2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Colleen Carchedi

In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.

Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”

Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.

“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 2-16
2016 Finish: Missed Postseason
Coach: Kerry Northup

With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.

The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.

Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.

“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”

Freshmen Propel Foxboro to Victory Over KP

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

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lacroix Fires Warriors to OT Win Over North

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

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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