SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Two years ago, Foxboro was on the verge of beating Medfield before a late goal forced overtime and eventually Medfield won on penalties. It was the third straight year that Foxboro’s season ended at the hands of Medfield. On Saturday afternoon at Southeastern Regional, the two teams squared off again, with Foxboro seeking a measure of revenge.
In the 71st minute, sophomore forward Jordyn Collins made a near post run and met Katelyn Mollica’s corner kick with a textbook volley. The ball arrowed into the top corner and Foxboro held on for the final nine minutes to secure a 1-0 victory and a spot in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
“I told them at one of the timeouts, if we get another chance at a corner kick, put it in the net,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I don’t do too many set plays on corners. Jordyn just happened to be there and a perfect finish.”
Following Collins’ goal, Medfield came storming back upfield, as was expected from a physical game that featured end-to-end action. Foxboro survived a dangerous free kick in the attacking third and a number of attempts to play the ball in behind the defense.
At the final whistle, the players swarmed to goalie Morgan Sylvestre (four saves) to celebrate the latest in a long line of battles between two perennially strong programs.
“It was scary,” senior defender Alex Stamatos said of the minutes after taking the lead. “It was actually very nerve-wracking, but we were able to pull through and get the win.”
The first half featured a number of scoring chances for both teams. It started just two minutes into the game when Lizzy Davis turned a corner on goal only for Medfield keeper Izzy Brown to make the save. Two minutes later and it was Medfield’s turn, with Marissa Gorog forcing a save out of Sylvestre.
Mackenzi Fraser was next to test the keeper after a nice touch took her past the defender but forced her into a tight angle. Kendra Wentling had a shot from inside the box charged down and the rebound fell to Collins, but she sent it over the crossbar.
Medfield looked dangerous on the counter and from set pieces. In one sequence, Stamatos was forced to head a corner over from the shadow of her own goal and then the following corner was nodded on frame, but Sylvestre was quickly down to her right to parry it. The rebound was prodded just wide of the post.
“At first we just weren’t playing our game,” Stamatos explained. “The ball was in the air a lot and we just needed to keep it on the ground and we just needed to stay with their speed.”
Fraser had another chance running onto a through ball from Davis in the left channel but her shot was saved. Medfield nearly got on the board when Stamatos, under pressure, slipped while trying to clear but Emma Keating couldn’t keep her shot down.
Grace Ferguson forced a save with a shot from 20 yards and then Alyssa VandenBoom nearly fashioned an opening with a cross from the left that flashed across goal but couldn’t be turned home at the back post by Jackie Dizney.
“Especially the beginning of the first half, their intensity was so high and they were winning almost every ball,” Stalcup said of Medfield. “We started to pick up our intensity towards the end of the half.”
When asked if this was a learning experience for a young roster, Stalcup replied, “I think it was a slap in the face because last year a lot of them were freshmen and sophomores and it was the preliminary round and we got beat pretty bad. This was a hard-fought battle. I think they saw that they had to bring just as much intensity to get any momentum.”
In the second half, the field tilted as Foxboro took control of the midfield. Wentling and freshman Kailee McCabe were starting to dictate play and get the ball out to Mollica and Davis on the wings. Collins, Fraser, and freshman Kaitryn Franchino all made strong runs at the Medfield defense.
Despite the pressure that the hosts were exerting, the only real scoring chance that they fashioned came in the first 10 minutes of the half. Collins was close to breaking the deadlock when she got free on the right side but Brown made a diving, one-handed stop to keep the game scoreless.
In the 71st, Collins had another chance and this time gave Brown no chance to make the stop, sealing the win and Foxboro’s place in the next round.
“I was really excited. It was great. I knew that she could do it,” Stamatos said. “We just all worked together throughout the whole game and worked hard to do our thing.”
Stalcup added, “It’s huge. It gives us even more confidence going into the next round and I feel like we have nothing to lose at this point. We have this huge momentum and I’m nothing but excited about it.”
Foxboro (15-1-3) will host Notre Dame Academy on Tuesday at a time and location to be determined.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro not only put its unbeaten record on the line against Milford on Tuesday night at Jack Martinelli Field but also wanted to restore its three-point lead atop the Davenport division, which had been cut to just a single point after North Attleboro’s win in the afternoon.
The Warriors, who are the third-highest scoring team in the Hockomock League, came out strong and had the Hawks on their heels from the opening kick, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Foxboro hit the post three times and forced Milford goalie Olivia Marshall into three saves in the first half alone.
Frustration was setting in for the Warriors with two minutes left until halftime when Milford cleared a corner to the center of the field. Defender Alex Stamatos, who celebrated her senior night before kick-off, raced onto the loose ball and unleashed a 30-yard blast that smacked off the underside of the crossbar and over the line.
It was an impressive first career goal for the center back and it turned out to be the game-winner, as the Warriors added a second after the break to earn a 2-0 victory and stay unbeaten this fall.
“Amazing,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup about Stamatos’ goal. “Her first ever, on senior night, and she’s a sweeper.” Stalcup also admitted, “We needed that.”
Milford had the game’s first good chance when Olivia Sullivan slipped a pass in behind the Foxboro defense to Juliana France. The junior midfielder appeared to be clear on goal, but left back Yara Fawaz was able to race back and pressure the shot, which went wide of goalie Morgan Sylvestre’s near post.
It would be the best chance of the half for the Hawks, as the field started to tilt towards Marshall in the Milford goal and the Foxboro midfield started to take control.
In the 16th minute, Jordyn Collins had a shot cleared off the line by Madelyn Boyle and the follow-up from distance by freshman Kailee McCabe went over the bar. Four minutes later, Mackenzi Fraser got into space on the right side of the box and her cross was forced onto the post by Marshall.
Collins had another look from inside the box, but again it struck woodwork. Katelyn Mollica played a ball back into the box from the right but Lizzy Davis had her shot go high. McCabe then forced Marshall into a save with a 20-yard free kick to the bottom corner. On the ensuing corner, Marshall tipped a Davis header away and Alyssa Vandenboom knocked the rebound off the post.
“At halftime I counted the shots and we had 17 shots and just the one goal,” said Stalcup. “I felt like we weren’t taking quality shots. They were going wide or they were weak or we were crossing the ball when we should’ve been shooting. Yeah, it was frustrating.”
After all those chances, it took a golazo to put Foxboro in front. While the Warriors went into the break with momentum, Milford flipped things around to start the second half and controlled the opening 10 minutes.
Boyle had a long free kick that was saved by Foxboro’s new keeper Jamie DeVellis and France had a chance off a corner, but her far post header was blocked and she was leaning back on the second effort and the shot went high.
“I didn’t have my starting lineup at the beginning of the second half and I think that threw us off a little bit but they came out hard and were fired up,” Stalcup said. “It was tough, but I think once we settled down and started playing our game like we do, playing to feet, don’t just play kick and run, that’s when we’re at our best.”
In the 59th minute, Foxboro sealed the two points. A corner from Mollica picked out Davis on the edge of the six-yard-box and her downward header deflected off the foot of a defender and flicked into the goal.
Marshall was huge down the stretch to keep the Hawks in it. Vandenboom set up McCabe for a one-timer that was saved comfortably, then Davis forced a diving save with a long shot from the right side and Vandenboom had her rebound effort saved.
Collins had a breakaway in the closing minutes but was forced to hold up by Boyle and Marshall was able to make the save and then a Mollica corner found Collins’ head but again Marshall made the reaction save.
“I wish we would’ve had more, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” Stalcup said.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2018 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview
2017 Record: 10-6-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round.
Coach: Kate Howarth
Canton has been on the cusp of getting back to the top of the Davenport division in recent seasons and on their day the Bulldogs can be very difficult to play against. As one of the favorites for the league title this fall, consistency will be the biggest challenge for Canton as it tries to unseat North Attleboro at the top of the Davenport standings.
To get the attack in gear, Canton will be turning again to its youth. The Bulldogs will look to sophomores Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia to run at opposing defenses and continue developing a partnership that was one of the most potent in the league last fall. Senior defender Sarah Collins will be the leader of the Canton defense, which will look to improve on the 34 goals allowed from last season. Junior Morgan McCabe will be stepping into a larger role this season, with her versatility as a forward or midfielder, and senior Julia Hamilton adds tenacity in the center of the pitch.
“I think this is going to be an exciting year for us, with strong players returning and some exciting new talent stepping in,” said Canton coach Kate Howarth. “Our goal as a group is to push passed being a really good team and become the great team we know we can be. The Hock is such a strong league and every team pushes each other to become better.”
2017 Record: 10-9-0
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round.
Coach: Katie Stalcup
Last year was a transition season for Foxboro under first-year head coach Katie Stalcup, as a group of talented young players made their debuts at the varsity level. The Warriors improved over the course of the season, made the playoffs, and now with a year of experience for a young squad there is a lot of buzz about Foxboro this fall.
The graduation of Lily Sykes, who was one of the league’s top players for all four years of her career, leaves big shoes to fill, but Foxboro has a number of players with potential to make up some of her production. Senior Mackenzi Fraser will be the main striker for Foxboro this year but sophomore Jordyn Collins will add speed on the wing and freshman Kaitryn Franchino will contribute up top as well. Junior Kendra Wentling returns in the midfield and freshman Kailee McCabe is a player to watch in the center of the pitch. Defensively, Foxboro has a lot of experience in senior Alex Stamatos, who will be joined in the back line by junior Yara Fawaz. Sophomore Morgan Sylvestre will be in net again this fall.
Stalcup praised the team’s tenacity and speed. She added, “I am very excited about this season. Even though we are still a young team, I think we will do very well. We have a team full of hard workers and great attitudes.”
2017 Record: 6-10-2
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Lou Colabello
For the past several seasons, Milford has been on the verge of getting back to the playoffs and now new coach Lou Colabello, who formerly coached at Douglas, will look to push the Hawks up the league standings with a number of experienced players in key positions.
The midfield will be patrolled by seniors Siena Pierce and Cassie Probert and junior playmaker Juliana France, who was named a league all-star as a sophomore and demonstrated the ability to cover a lot of ground in the middle of the pitch. The Hawks scored only 24 goals last season, so the attacking unit will be hoping to step it up this year, including senior Hannah Martin and junior Ashleigh Starks. The defense also has plenty of experience with junior Olivia Marshall back in goal and her classmates Maddie Boyle and Annie Flanagan in front of her to keep things organized at the back.
Colabello said, “We should have a solid midfield and many other players who can play different positions,and we expect big things from our returning goalkeeper. I feel this team is capable of competing with some of the elite teams in the league. There work ethics and attitude have been outstanding,thus I expect it will be a rewarding season and hopefully a playoff berth.”
2017 Record: 14-3-3
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal.
Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro will need a number of players to step into bigger roles this season, if the Rocketeers are going to make it three league titles in a row. North graduated 14 seniors and eight starters from last year’s team, but there are a number of familiar names and big contributors who are back and aiming for a three-peat.
The Rocketeers scored 60 goals last year and senior Ashlyn Gaulin contributed on 27 of those (17 goals and 10 assists). She will be the focal point of the attack this season, after the graduation of 100-point scorer Haley Guertin, and her sister Emma will try to provide the assists from the midfield. Seniors Kayla Pasquel and Haley Ferris will add to the experience in the center of the pitch for North and classmates Morgan Silver, Liz Smahi, Lexi Sinacola, and Lauren Pezzi will add depth in the midfield and defense. Seniors Sam Hawkins and Brieann Westcott will be at heart of the defensive unit with classmate Emma Noreck in goal.
North coach Bill Wallace said that sophomores Lydia Santos and Tess Collins will be contributors this season in midfield and attack. He added, “This group is a pleasure to work with, they want to work hard and get better.”
2017 Record: 3-13-2
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Sharon alum Catherine Sullivan takes over the program this season, as the Eagles look to rebuild and work towards a return to the state tournament. With the graduation of Ali Filipkowski, Sharon lost a lot of firepower but Sullivan is excited about the potential and the growth of the team during the preseason.
One of the key returning players is senior goalie Lydia Chase, who is a fearless shot stopper and her distribution will be important for the Eagles’ transition game. In front of Chase, senior Rose Wald is back in the heart of the defense and will partner with sophomore Molly McAlevey, who is a newcomer to the varsity but already showing a lot of composure on the ball. The midfield engine is senior Maxine Gordon, who will drive the Eagles forward, and junior Bella Berger will add playmaking and vision in the center of the pitch. Senior Bridget McManus will be the main forward and she will be expected to not only provide goals but also set up her teammates and get others involved in the attack.
“As a Sharon graduate, I’m really excited about the opportunity to once again represent the maroon and gold,” said Sullivan. “I think this team has a lot of talent and athleticism, and we will be striving to create a cohesive group that can consistently compete at a higher level.”
2017 Record: 0-15-3
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Tara Daniels
Although Stoughton was unable to pick up an elusive league win last season, Black Knights coach Tara Daniels felt that there was progress from the team, particularly in attack. A group of speedy, young attackers made Stoughton a more dangerous team and that experience has Daniels hopeful for even more in 2018.
Speed on the edges is going to be a key strength for the Black Knights this season led by senior outside back Cintia Khouzami and sophomore Nikki Anderson, who has gained a lot of confidence after playing a lot of minutes as a freshman. In the heart of the defense, senior Corina Kavanagh will be the leader of the group, ensuring everyone is organized. Sophomore Mackenzie Manning is another player who grew a lot over the course of her rookie season and will again be the primary playmaker for the Black Knights and a key to keeping possession. Senior Gabriela Diaz played a lot at the back last season, but this year her speed will be utilized up front to create even more opportunities.
Daniels said, “Our strength this year is our speed; our team has many players that excel on the track in the off-season. Last year we made big strides offensively and this year we plan on using the speed of many players to help us continue the offensive push we need.”
MANSFIELD, Mass. – After winning the program’s first ever league title last fall, Mansfield comes into this season with a deep and experienced roster, but it was youthful Foxboro that started Thursday evening’s season opener at Alumni Field with energy and confidence. The Warriors were pushing the Hornets back towards their own goal and putting pressure on the Mansfield back line.
But, 15 minutes into the game, the Hornets picked out a pass over the top, a bad bounce took it past the defender, and junior Amanda Mangano slid the ball past Foxboro keeper Jamie DeVellis to open the scoring.
That goal changed the game. The Hornets clicked into gear and dominated from that point on, running out to a 5-1 win behind a pair of goals and three points from junior forward Stephanie Kemp and a pair of assists by senior Emma Oldow.
“Foxboro came out flying. They were physical and quick and tried to press us as high as they could,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith. “They had five in the midfield and we couldn’t figure out how to play through it with our typical passing game. I said, stretch the field, just put it over into space. That will stretch them out and then we can go back to the middle.”
He added, “Once we trusted that, two balls over the top and two goals; the game changed because of that.”
Foxboro was putting pressure from the opening whistle, using a high line and high pressure to win the ball and then quickly releasing freshman Jordyn Collins into the channels. Collins was able to run at defenders along with sophomore Lizzy Davis and win the Warriors a few early corners. The best chance in the opening minutes was a 30-yard free kick by Lily Sykes that swerved over the bar.
In the 16th minute, Oldow fired a pass forward towards Mangano and the ball skipped through the center of the Foxboro defense to create a one-on-one with the keeper. Foxboro struggled to sustain the pressure after falling behind.
“We came out on fire and really working hard,” said first-year Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “The ball was in our half, we were in the attacking half for the first part of the first half and then they got that goal and we got a little deflated. That’s something I need to talk to the girls about, but they didn’t stop fighting.”
Once the momentum turned, Mansfield took full control of the game. Junior Cassidy McMahon sent a shot wide from the right corner of the box and then sent a free header over the bar from the six-yard box. Kemp, who had an early chance that she sent wide, doubled the lead in the 31st minute when she ran onto a long ball from Erin Daniel, rounded the keeper and tapped it in.
Kemp nearly played provider a minute later, but Oldow shot wide when free on goal and then Kemp missed a chance that DeVellis appeared to get a finger to, but was ruled a corner.
Foxboro could have made the game closer before halftime, but Sykes had a free kick saved at full stretch by Mansfield keeper Caty DeMassi. On the resulting corner, the ball was redirected up and off the bar to keep it 2-0 heading into halftime.
Despite the speed of the Warriors’ attack, the Mansfield defense was able to hold strong, particularly the combination of center backs Emily Vigeant, Daniel, and Taylor Smith, a senior defender who transferred from Seattle, Wash. (and is already committed to play soccer at the University of Minnesota next year).
“It’s nice to have three center backs,” Smith said, “so I can rest them when they need and so many kids are interchangeable. Erin plays defense, midfield, outside back, and I can put the players anywhere.”
The third goal came nine minutes into the second half. Bryn Anderson picked out Oldow with a defense-splitting pass but Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre (who took over at halftime) made a sliding save. The ball bounced out to Kemp, who calmly side-footed the ball home. Two minutes later, Kemp knocked down a long ball, Anderson took a touch to her left, and curled a shot past a diving Sylvestre.
Sykes was being smothered by the Mansfield midfield, with Anderson and fellow junior Melissa Reef constantly keeping an eye on Foxboro’s star. She finally got space in the 54th minute and curled a shot that DeMassi could not hold. Mackenzie Fraser was first to the loose ball and patiently took a touch before finishing the rebound.
“She’s always going to be out there playing a big part in the game,” said Stalcup of Sykes, “but they new who she was and they knew how to shut her down and she had a really hard time tonight.”
In the 57th minute, Mansfield restored its four-goal advantage. Mangano had a chance in the box, but the ball was cleared off her foot by Mackenzie Cusack. The clearance went directly to McMahon on the right side of the box and she hit it first time into the far side-netting.
Smith said, “We talked about using our experience but now playing with urgency. You can’t just say, we’re good and show up. I thought they came out with some urgency, which is good.”
Stalcup knows that it was always going to be difficult starting the season against the defending champ. She said, “We’re a young team, but we know how to battle. We’re going to keep fighting and we can build from that. You can’t teach hard work and we have that.”
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2017 Davenport Girls Soccer Preview
2016 Record: 10-8-2
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Kate Howarth
For each of the past two seasons, Canton has finished second in the Davenport division and, with only three seniors graduating from the 2016 roster, the Bulldogs are poised to make another run at a league title this fall. Enthusiasm is also high after a strong closing stretch to last year, which included a draw with Kelley-Rex champ Mansfield and playoff victories over Greater New Bedford and Milton.
Senior Riley Duserick is the focal point of the Canton midfield and her ability to open space, pick out the right pass, and shoot from distance gives the Bulldogs a consistent threat in the attack. Junior Julia Hamilton emerged last season as a solid counterpoint to Duserick in the heart of the midfield with her tenacity and speed adding even more cover to the back line. Sophomores Lauren and Morgan McCabe will be added to the midfield options after strong rookie seasons. Lauren Fitzpatrick could see more time up front to replace the graduated Hannah Link and Tessa Cudmore and head coach Kate Howarth expects several freshmen to contribute as well.
The defense had inconsistent moments early in 2016, but the Bulldogs seemed to figure things out midway through the season and with the back four all returning defense should be a strength for Canton. Seniors Sarah Connolly and Carly Hutchinson will lead the defensive unit and junior Sarah Collins brings energy and speed from her right back spot.
“We are working really hard every day to get better at the little things that will push us beyond being a good team this season,” Howarth said. “I think our biggest weakness last year was consistency, so if we can get ahead of that right away we will be in a much better place than we were last year.”
2016 Record: 11-9-0
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro had an inconsistent 2016, but demonstrated the talent in the program by beating perennial power Notre Dame Academy in the first round of the playoffs and nearly going on the road to beat Medfield in the second round, only to fall in a penalty shootout. The Warriors have seven returning players, so this will be a young team in 2017, but new head coach Katie Stalcup will be familiar with those players after her stint as the JV coach last year.
The Warriors will be able to count on senior Lily Sykes. The four-year starter is one of the most dynamic players in the league and is capable of dominating the midfield by beating a defender off the dribble or picking out a defense-splitting pass. Senior Shaina Abbott will be one of the forwards that Sykes will be looking to set up, while senior Olivia Dantona adds speed on the wings. Senior Mackenzie Cusack is also back to lead the defensive unit along with junior Alex Stamatos.
Stalcup is counting on a number of young players to step in and contribute right away. Sophomore Lizzy Davis played for Stalcup on JV last year and brings speed and physicality to the forward position. Among the freshmen that will be on the roster are midfielder Katelyn Mollica, forward Jordyn Collins, and defender Emma Dahl.
“I am very excited about being the new varsity coach this year,” said Stalcup. “We have seven returning varsity players, four seniors who are all captains and five very impressive freshmen on the team for this season as well as some great players coming up from JV. We are a young team, but I am excited to see how well we can play together.”
2016 Record: 5-9-4
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jay Mastaj
Milford is looking to bounce back from a five-win season to challenge for a spot in the state tournament this fall. The Hawks have a roster filled with youth and bring the majority of the starting lineup back and head coach Jay Mastaj is confident that the talent is there to make a push up the table and compete with the top teams in the league.
The Hawks are deep and experienced on the back line and the defense could be a real strength for Milford this season. Seniors Rachel LeBlanc and Brianna Braza will be the leaders in the heart of the defense and will try to keep everyone organized. Senior Leeanne Kibbee will lead the attack and will be counted on to finish off chances created by senior Maggie Boyle and sophomore Ashleigh Starks, who will look to create from the center of midfield.
Mastaj said of the attackers, “The combination brings strong skills, familiarity and solid varsity experience.” He is also excited about the younger players and what they can bring to the table this year, including sophomores Madelyn Boyle, Julianna France, and Annie Flanagan.
“This season we expect to be very competitive across the entire league,” Mastaj added, “and with a little bit of luck we believe we can challenge for the top of the Davenport.”
2016 Record: 14-4-2 (Davenport Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Bill Wallace
Despite changing coaches midway through the 2016 season, North Attleboro rolled to its first league title in its first season in the Davenport division. The Rocketeers racked up 14 wins and a goal differential of plus-40. Expectations are even higher coming into this fall with North returning a roster filled with experienced upperclassmen.
URI-commit Haley Guertin is the player to watch for the Rocketeers, as the senior forward is both a goal threat and also a playmaker who consistently opens up opportunities for her teammates. Her 37 career assists is tied for the most in program history. Head coach Bill Wallace said that there is a change in systems coming up front, but with Leah Jette and Ashlyn Gaulin joining Guertin, North will have a formidable attack.
In the midfield, Aine Mendonca returns to hold things down in the center of the pitch. Her poise in posession and ability to break up opposing attacks is critical for the Rocketeers. Of course, if anyone gets through, HockomockSports.com Best XI defender Rachel LaBonte and fellow senior Emily Chiasson are on hand to clean it up. North also returns both Nina Beauvais and Emma Noreck in goal.
“We should be up tempo and have a lot of depth,” said Wallace. “These kids have played together for years and generally care about each other. As always, the Hock is a ‘bear’ of a league and for us to continue last years success we are going to have to work hard and continue to improve!”
2016 Record: 7-9-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Furnival
Sharon narrowly missed out on reaching the playoffs last season under first-year head coach Brad Furnival. This year, making the playoffs could be even more difficult after the team lost nine seniors and seven starters from last year’s team. The Eagles will be building with youth this fall and gaining experience for a number of new faces.
One returning player that the Eagles will be counting on is senior Ally Filipkowski, who is coming off an exciting summer that saw her named to the U-20 Puerto Rican national team. The George Washington-commit is one of the most talented players with the ball in the league and she will be tasked with creating most of the chances for the Eagles. Senior Sabrina Robbins will step into a leadership role at the heart of the Sharon defense this fall and will be counted on to organize a young group.
Among the new faces to watch is junior Maxine Gordon, who will be starting in the attack this fall and is hoping to build off her experience from last season to be a consistent goal scorer. Sophomore Bella Berger is another player that Furnival believes could be in for a strong season. Berger will be influencing the game from the center of midfield.
“This season will be more of a transition season for Sharon girls,” Furnival said. “We have a very young team so the vision for this team is a couple of seasons down the line. We are hoping to continue playing an attacking brand of soccer and are looking forward to coming up against some top opposition that the Hock will pit us up against.”
2016 Record: 0-17-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Tara Daniels
Stoughton has been in a rebuilding mode for the past couple of seasons, but entering 2017 head coach Tara Daniels is making changes to the formation and counting on an experienced back line to get the Black Knights moving up the table in the Davenport division.
The leader for Stoughton is senior Sarah Widrow, who was the team’s lone league all-star last fall and impressed during the HockomockSports.com Charity All-Star Game. As an attacking fullback, Widrow pushes the Black Knights forward and adds vocal leadership to the back line. She will be joined at the back by the speedy Gabriela Diaz, who was converted from striker to defender. Senior Mia Greene will be the focal point in the midfield to try and keep possession for Stoughton.
Sophomore Chinazo Odunze returns from a injury-shortened season to lead the line for the Black Knights attack. She had a strong start to her freshman campaign before her injury and Daniels calls her combination of speed and physicality a “game-changer” for the attack.
Daniels said, “This season we are trying a new formation to give us more offensive opportunities…Staying healthy and in good shape is key to a successful season. We are looking to step up our possession game and having more of an offensive push this year.”