CANTON, Mass. – Following Foxboro’s 1-0 win on Monday afternoon, Canton knew that it would need a win in Wednesday night’s rematch at WWII Veterans Memorial Field to overtake the Warriors and win the Davenport division title.
After twice taking the lead and having Foxboro quickly bounce back to tie the game, Canton’s third lead of the night turned out to be the charm. Gabriella Herivaux’s goal three minutes into the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs the lead for good and they held on for a 3-2 victory and a first league title since 2012.
“Both teams played hard the whole game,” said first-year Canton coach Idris Senyonjo. “It was tough, we scored a goal and then give up one like two seconds later. That’s always a demoralizer, but I knew they were going to become a little more defensive the longer the game went on because they didn’t have to win, we had to win.
“We had to force it, but there was nothing left in the tanks after that.”
Coming into the game, Foxboro and Canton boasted five of the top six scorers in the league this season. Fitting for a big game, all five of those star players found the back of the net on Wednesday, including Canton’s trio of senior forwards Olivia Rodman, Elisa Diletizia, and Herivaux.
“I spoke to each one of them yesterday,” Senyonjo explained. “I told them, all the goals you’ve scored are going to be irrelevant if we can’t get the result. Every goal that you’ve scored has led you to this moment. This is going probably going to be the last home game you play and why not finish with a championship?”
Foxboro started well, with the Warriors aggressively pressing and pinning Canton back. Aislinn Servaes had an early chance after a misplaced clearance inside the opening 10 minutes and forced Canton keeper Marissa Staffiere into a save. Seven minutes later, Jordyn Collins got space on the edge of the box but her shot was charged down by freshman Ava Gilmore.
“It was a very evenly-matched game,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was a great game. I knew it was going to be a battle out here and I knew they were going to want to beat us so much because of what happened on Monday.”
It took most of the first quarter, but the hosts started to find ways into the attacking third. Diletizia switched play out to the right and Anne Hoban stepped past a defender before firing a long shot that was saved by Foxboro goalie Maddie Mayer, who was called up from JV to replace the suspended Morgan Sylvestre.
The chances kept coming for both teams. Rodman fired a cross from the left that Herivaux teed up for Emily McCabe to put on goal from just outside the box. Collins made a run on the left side of the box and knocked the ball off Staffiere, but Allie McCabe got back and cleared it off the line. Rodman then showed quick feet to shift the ball to her left and send a shot just wide.
Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts were in front. Mia Gilmore whipped in a cross from the right and Rodman showed great skill to bring it down off her chest and hit it quickly on the turn.
The excitement of the opening goal was short-lived. Within a minute, Foxboro got the ball into the box and Collins drew a foul. Kailee Mccabe made no mistake from the spot, firing Foxboro back level.
Early in the second half, Sarai Costello freed Diletizia with a long, curling pass around the left back and the forward forced Mayer into a save from a tough angle. A couple minutes later, Kailee McCabe slipped past her marker to get space for a shot from 25 yards that was just over the bar.
In the 49th minute, Herivaux managed to keep the ball in play on the near touchline and get it into the middle. The ball was played into the feet of Rodman with Foxboro defender Lindsey Resnick on her back. She was able to get her head up and slide an inch-perfect pass into the path of Diletizia, who was clean through on goal and powered her shot past Mayer’s dive and into the far corner.
Again, Canton celebrations were cut short just five minutes later, as Foxboro responded with a second equalizer. McCabe stepped up and let rip from the edge of the box. The shot was blocked, but looped to the left onto Collins’ foot. After taking a touch, she bent a shot inside the far post and tied the game at 2-2.
The home team came out flying for the fourth quarter, needing a goal to win the title. Rodman had a good chance from the left that initially looked like it was flying into the top corner, but ended up settling into Mayer’s gloves.
“I told them just throw everything you’ve got right now,” Senyonjo said about the message heading into the final 20 minutes. “It just came down to could we get lucky today because this game was going to give me a heart attack.”
A minute later, the Bulldogs were in front for a third time. A kick-in from the right was fired into Herivaux at the near post. She managed to bring the ball down off the bounce and, surrounded by defenders, managed to turn and get a foot on the ball as she was falling down, knocking it past the keeper.
After losing two leads, Canton tried to add to its advantage. Gilmore hit another great cross to the back post and Rodman directed it towards goal but Jordan Carman was there to block.
Foxboro’s best chance in the closing minutes came off the foot of a Canton player. Katelyn Mollica fired in a low cross from the right and Mekhala Costello stretched to block, tipping it towards goal but right into the grateful grasp of Staffiere.
“I just can’t help but wonder if it would’ve been different with Morgan in net but that’s something I can’t control,” said Stalcup about her senior goalie who was out because of a red card in Monday’s game. “They played well, Canton worked hard and they just got more goals than us tonight. My girls fought hard, we gave it our all out there.”
Senyonjo added, “It feels good. We beat a really good team.”
Canton (8-1-1) and Foxboro (7-1-2) will wait to find out the details of the Hockomock League’s cup tournament. When asked about the possibility of a third meeting in the cup final, Stalcup said, “That’s what I’m hoping. That’s what I would really love to have is one more chance.”
The Warriors had starting goalie Morgan Sylvestre sent off for a foul on the edge of the box that the officials deemed a denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. Junior Jordan Carman grabbed the goalie shirt and gloves for the first time in her career, which meant Foxboro was losing not only its keeper but also one of its best defenders.
Going up against the league leaders, a team with the second most goals in the league (behind only Foxboro), and an attacking unit boasting three of the top five scorers in the Hockomock for 50 minutes, it was improbable that the Warriors could come away with a victory.
But that’s exactly what happened. Foxboro dropped back into a solid defensive shell, largely holding Canton to long distance chances, and Carman dealt comfortably with everything she faced, helping the Warriors hold on for a 1-0 win that moved them into first place in the Davenport with one game remaining.
“I’m smiling very big under this mask right now,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “It was just about containing, keeping them outside of the box as much as possible, not diving in, not letting them get any near shots off, and not letting them just pass the ball around. We did a good job of cutting off the angles for them to get it out wide.”
Despite the unseasonably cold weather, the teams looked ready to go from the start and settled into a tough, midfield battle.
The first quarter saw only a couple of half-chances for either side. Jordyn Collins settled a cross from the left but tried to play the ball out wide to Katelyn Mollica rather than shoot on the turn. Three minutes later, Olivia Rodman sent a left-footed cross into Gabriella Herivaux but the side-footed effort was easily held by Sylvestre.
Things livened up over a 12-minute span in the second quarter that saw the hosts go ahead and then quickly drop down to 10 players.
In the 24th minute, Collins blocked a clearance that forced Canton back into its own box and then Alyssa Vandenboom blocked the second attempt to get through on goal only to hit her shot right at Bulldogs keeper Marissa Staffiere. A minute later, the same duo combined for the opener.
Vandenboom played a perfectly weighted through ball between the center back and left back that Collins ran onto and the senior striker made no mistake, firing her shot in off the far post to put Foxboro ahead.
Just five minutes later, Elisa Diletizia got free for the first time in the match and was storming in on the Foxboro penalty area. Sylvestre was off her line quickly but her tackle caught the Canton forward. The officials conferred and agreed that if not for the foul Diletizia had a clear sight at goal and gave a straight red to the keeper and a free kick on the edge of the box.
With no backup keeper, Stalcup was forced to give Carman her debut in goal, which meant taking her from the stopper position where she has been so effective all season.
“Not even in practice, but she’s always told us that if need be that she would be the one that would step up,” Stalcup said about Carman’s goalkeeping experience.
Mia Gilmore wasn’t able to test the new keeper with her free kick, as it went narrowly over the bar. Six minutes later Gilmore had another chance from the edge of the box, after good interplay between Emily McCabe and Sarai Costello, but again it went just over.
The expectation was that Canton would create chance after chance in the second half, laying siege to the Foxboro goal in search of the equalizer, and the Bulldogs had plenty of possession, but the Foxboro defense continued to hold out. Lindsey Resnick in the middle, flanked by Meghan Burke and Peyton Feldman with Emma Dahl taking Carman’s spot at stopper alongside Kailee McCabe playing deeper than usual proved difficult for Canton to break down.
“I think we started forcing it a little bit too much,” Canton coach Idris Senyonjo admitted. “I think the idea of we need to score started getting in our heads more than actually we’re going to score if we keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing. But they did a good job defensively. They’re a good team.”
In fact, Foxboro had one of the best chances of the third quarter. Collins got free on the break and laid a pass off to Mollica on the right but the shot went just wide.
“That was what was so brilliant about it, when we did get the counters we were able to keep possession of the ball and at least get a few runners on the side,” Stalcup said. “They thought they were going to pound it on us and when we got the counter it put them on their heels.”
Canton’s best chance came nine minutes into the fourth. Anne Hoban broke free down the right wing and the defender hit a low cross into the box that Herivaux met first time. It was a well-struck shot but it skimmed the crossbar on its way past. Two minutes later, Rodman had a chance on the left but tried a cross rather than a shot and Carman got a touch and Burke was able to block the rebound attempt.
“It forced them to go much further deep to defend and it meant that we had to break up two blocks of four, which made it much harder,” Senyonjo explained. “You still have to make sure you do your job. We had probably, what 80 percent of the possession after the red card happened? But that doesn’t do you any good if you don’t get score a goal.”
Although the Warriors haven’t won a third straight title yet, it leaves them needing just a point on the road in Wednesday’s rematch to clinch the division.
“They came in [today] and the pressure was on them to get a win and now that pressure is on us,” said Senyonjo. “It’s kind of switched around.”
Foxboro (7-0-2) will travel to Canton (7-1-1) on Wednesday night in the regular season finale.
FOXBORO, Mass. – When Foxboro and Oliver Ames meet there is a distinct clash in styles, with one team trying to keep the ball on the ground and trying to pass its way up the field and the other looking to be more direct and hit longer passes for quick transitions. Regardless of the approach, both teams are very effective with what they do best.
On a rainy Friday night at Sam Berns Community Field, Foxboro and OA showcased their different approaches but neither was able to get the upper hand in an entertaining 1-1 draw. For the second time in two days, the teams went home with a point apiece.
“We just struggled with our finishing,” Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup said. “I was playing a flat back three and had the midfield and offense packed, and we created plenty of chances, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
After storming back with two late goals to earn the tie on Wednesday, Foxboro carried that momentum into Friday’s game and took a lead in the opening minutes. Aislinn Servaes’ cross from the wing found Kailee McCabe in the middle and the junior midfielder showed off her skills with the ball at her feet to work a shooting opportunity and continue her torrid start to the season.
Foxboro also hit the side netting in the early going, as the Warriors got off to a great start, but OA worked itself back into the game and used set piece opportunities to cause problems. Allison Evin had a corner kick routine deflected right in front of Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre and then cleared and Lauren Sellmayer had a free kick chance that went just over.
In the 17th minute, the Tigers found the equalizer. It came on another corner routine, as Camryn O’Connor took the short pass from Evin and then laid it back into her path on the left corner of the box. Evin took a touch and then curled a shot over the keeper’s outstretched hand and into the top far corner.
Another OA corner caused a scramble in front and a chance for Ali Byron but her shot went over the bar and then McCabe teed up Katelyn Mollica for a shot from the edge of the box that also went high.
The Tigers nearly grabbed the lead five minutes into the second, but Sellmayer’s free kick from 20 yards out struck the post. Emma Pereira hit a long free kick into the path of Reese Pereira, whose cross from the right pinballed to Jenna Gilman at the back post but the touch was heavy and Sylvestre saved. Mccabe tried to put Foxboro ahead in the final minute of the half but her 35-yard free kick was wide of the goal.
Foxboro came storming out of halftime and put together its best quarter of the match.
Jordyn Collins finally started to get a little room against an almost constant double team from Emma Pereira and Evin. Just two minutes into the third, Collins got loose in the right channel but her shot was saved by OA keeper Emily Meyers. A minute later, Meyers came up with an even better stop down low to her right to deny Alyssa Vandenboom’s effort from the edge of the box and then did well to palm a dipping McCabe free kick over the bar.
“Our keepers really stood up today, both Emma )O’Donnell) and Emily, and Emma Pereira two games in a row has shut out Jordyn, which doesn’t happen a lot. Jordyn’s a great player,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “Our keepers and backs played great today, but our mids and our forwards have to improve. We’ve got to get more chances up front.”
All the pressure seemed to be on the OA defense, but O’Connor nearly snuck a goal against the run of play. She picked off an attempted outlet pass on the right side of the box. Seeing Sylvestre off her line, O’Connor went for the shot and sent it inches over the bar. It was a scare for the Foxboro back line, marshaled by Emma Dahl, which had otherwise been dealing with OA’s attacks.
Stalcup said, “I was really happy with the way the defenders played. I told them, I know it can be frustrating when a team plays kick and run. It breaks up the flow of our passing, but they did a good job stopping the dangerous plays.”
In the final minute of the third, Collins showed the physical side to her game, holding off Pereira and Evin to get behind the OA defense but Meyers was equal to the shot. Then rebound was cleared to Servaes who let fly from distance but the keeper was ready for it and made a comfortable stop.
Seven minutes into the fourth quarter, Collins would have her best chance to try and snag two points for the Warriors. A through ball by Vandenboom split the OA defense and left Collins free on goal, but Meyers reacted quickly to slide out and close the space, flashing her left arm to rob the Foxboro striker of a potential winner.
“We were moving the ball around so well and keeping possession,” Stalcup said. “It was exactly what I wanted. I told the midfielders to not be afraid to attack the goal and for Jordyn to lay it back and play off of them. We just couldn’t find a goal.”
As the clock stopped with two minutes remaining, OA had a break down the right wing. Gilman carried the ball from just inside her own half all the way to the Foxboro penalty area, but seemed to run out of steam there and her shot was right at Sylvestre.
“We’re very athletic,” Sellmayer explained. “Taking away the corner kicks and being able to head the ball and being able to play really takes away from us but we’re adjusting and doing our best. Foxboro is a great team. They move it really well but we hung in there.”
Foxboro (2-0-2) will be back home on Monday to host Stoughton. Oliver Ames (0-0-4) will return home to take on Sharon.
2019 Record: 7-9-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Santos
Last year, Attleboro was just one win away from ending its playoff drought and while the Bombardiers aren’t going to have a tournament to look forward to this season they have plenty of experience and talent coming back to be in the mix in what should be a wide open Kelley-Rex division. The Bombardiers will also have an extra week to prepare after the first two games against Taunton were postponed.
Attleboro should be potent in front of goal this season. Senior forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois have been dynamic scoring threats for the past three years and have proved to be a tough combination for teams to handle. Senior Jessica Gates also returns to play provider and pull the strings from midfield.
Sophomore Emily Dunlea will pair up with Gates in the center of the midfield, while senior Cassondra Stuger and Meghan Panzer were on the outside. Panzer can also step in and give Attleboro minutes up top when Harnois or Salviati need a breather.
At the back, senior Eleanor Graber and junior Olivia Calderon have been teaming up in the center, while seniors Gabby Bosh and Riley Sullivan have been the outside backs. Sophomore Alexis Campbell will be back in goal after seeing time as a freshman last year. Experience won’t be an issue for the Bombardiers, which should help them cope with the challenges of a unique season.
“The rule modifications cater to our style of play maybe more than it does for other,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “There are a lot of returning players, so I think we’ll be okay. We just have to be able to adjust.”
2019 Record: 12-9-0 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal Coach: Idris Senyonjo
Canton made a run to the Div. 2 South semifinal a year ago and the perpetually young Bulldogs will be hoping to build on that experience and challenge Foxboro for the division title this fall. Former coach Kate Howarth is plying her trade with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride, so Idris Senyonjo takes over this season and picked up an impressive win on his debut with the team scoring eight goals in the process.
The attack has been a strength for Canton for the past several years and with senior forwards Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia back to lead the line the Bulldogs have a pair of potential match winners up front. Junior Gabriella Herivaux adds a different dynamic to the forward line and senior Mia Gilmore emerged last year as one of the league’s top playmaking midfielders.
In the heart of the pitch, Canton has plenty of players who can contribute both on offense and defense. Sophomore Emily McCabe is coming off a strong rookie season and combines well with Gilmore in the middle. Senior Sarai Costello is another player that the coaches expect big things from this year.
Consistency on defense will be a big point of emphasis this year and junior defender Allie McCabe and junior goalie Elyse Broderick should give the Bulldogs a foundation to build on. Freshmen Mekhala Costello and Ava Gilmore have impressed coached during the preseason and both are expected to step in and add strength to the back line.
“I am coming into a program that has a great group of girls who love the game and play for each other,” said Senyonjo. “This made it easy for me to start implementing my philosophy and approach of the game. No matter how short the season might be, I believe we have a good group of girls who will be hungry for a great season.”
2019 Record: 16-2-2 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Katie Stalcup
Foxboro has won back-to-back Davenport division titles and comes into this season with eyes on a three-peat and a roster loaded with talent and experience. The Warriors had one of the best attacks in the Hock in 2019, scoring 80 goals as a team, while only allowing 12. Expectations are very high for Foxboro to win a third title in a row, something it hasn’t done since winning the league from 1985-90.
Attack continues to be one of the strengths for the Warriors led by senior forward Jordyn Collins. The Bryant University-commit scored 23 goals last year and already has two to her name after one game this fall. Junior Kailee McCabe is the lynchpin of the midfield, dominating with and without the ball and adding to the team’s scoring punch. Senior Katelyn Mollica can get up and down the wing and her crossing ability gives the strikers more opportunities to get on the board.
It isn’t all about the offense. The Warriors are also stingy on the other end of the field. Senior defender Emma Dahl will lead the back line this season and senior Grace Ferguson will be a key player in the heart of the midfield, helping Foxboro play the possession style of soccer that it prefers. Senior Morgan Sylvestre gives the Warriors an experienced, talented shot-stopper in goal.
“We are all just so excited to be playing soccer and I am so excited about this team and our talent,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “We know that this season will look a little different, but we are going to make the most of it and enjoy ourselves and enjoy winning soccer games.”
2019 Record: 12-5-1 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tom Geysen
Franklin had one of the league’s top defenses in 2019, holding teams scoreless in 11 of the final 12 games of the 2019 regular season. The Panthers will hope to be just as stingy this year and, with the rule changes in place, try to add more scoring punch, as they look to get back on top of the Kelley-Rex division standings for the first time since 2015.
Sophomore Norah Anderson will be back in the heart of the Franklin defense after an impressive rookie campaign and her physicality will be important after the graduation of Sabrina Addi. Senior Carissa Alers will partner Anderson in the middle and junior Izzy Arnold will be on the outside. Senior Julia Bertone and freshman Rachel Welch will both see time in goal, replacing Brenna Atwood.
Senior Erin Quaile will be in the heart of the midfield for the Panthers, providing endless running and contributions in both boxes. Sophomore Bridget Leo saw a lot of time at the end of last season and she will be in the midfield again. Junior Stella Regan is also back after a long time out with broken leg and gives Franklin a different option with her skill on the ball as she continues to work back to 100 percent.
In the attack, senior Sydney St. Marie will be the primary goal scorer, and she is off to a good start after two goals in the season opening win against Milford. Junior Riley Fitzpatrick will join St. Marie up front and there are several younger players that could step in and help out the offense, including freshman Anya Zub, who had an assist on her debut.
“We’re moving along,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “it’s just hard to assess progress because of the changes in rules and everything. The kids are hesitant. My advice is play as hard as you have to play to get the job done and if they call an indirect, then they call an indirect.”
2019 Record: 21-1-0 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Gary Pichel
King Philip reached the Div. 1 South final last year, for the second time in three seasons, but enter the fall without not only the program’s top two all-time scorers but with a large group of seniors that helped the program win two of the last three league titles and nearly finish an undefeated season. Even without some of the big names from last year, KP brings back a number of players who saw action in that finals run and will be counted on for bigger roles this year.
With Chloe Layne and Avery Snead, goals were never an issue for the Warriors. This season, several players will look to pick up the scoring load. Sophomore Ella Pisani and senior Kiera Lindmark will both lead the attack but will get help from senior midfielder Jenny Montville, who had several big goals during the playoff run in 2019.
Seniors Ava Tormey and Maeve Lawlor will provide control in the midfield and will get a boost from the return of senior Charlotte Majer to the program. Majer spent last year with a development academy program and will be a big boost to the Warriors in the center of the pitch.
Defense could be a strength for KP, with several returning players. Sophomore Grace Lawler was impressive as a freshman, regularly marking the opposition’s top attacker. Senior Paige Varvarigos is also back after a strong season at outside back. Seniors Taryn Greenberg, Jillian Anderson, and Taylor Thompson will also help out at the back. Senior Emma Glaser will take over in goal.
“We will all do the best we can and hope for the best in a much abbreviated season,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “I hope the best for all of our teams and to have fun and to do it safely. The most important thing is to keep our girls healthy while returning to competition so they can do what they like to do best!”
2019 Record: 6-8-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Smith
Last season was a learning experience for a young group of Hornets, but even with only four returning varsity players Mansfield finished just one win shy of a playoff appearance. This year, Mansfield brings back 18 players from last season’s roster, including nine starters, so the Hornets will expect to quickly return to being one of the challengers for the Kelley-Rex title.
Even with all of the returning players, Mansfield remains a young team. There are three freshmen, five sophomores, and six juniors on the roster. Despite their youth, many saw plenty of time on the field last year and will be leaning on that experience for more success this fall.
Junior Katie Miller returns in the heart of the midfield and gives Mansfield a foundation to build its attacks and to stifle the opposition. Junior Maria Sevastos will return in the defense and the speedy converted forward gives the Hornets a threat on the outside. Junior Tarynn Smith will be back up top after a solid season leading the line and sophomore Olivia Salisbury returns in goal after a strong rookie year.
“After a year of experience under the young kids’ belts, I’m excited to see how much they’ve learned and how they can apply it this fall,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith.
2019 Record: 9-6-4 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Lou Colabello
Milford made a run at a league title last fall and reached the state tournament, but now the Hawks are moving into the Kelley-Rex division and doing so without 32 goals and several key pieces from the spine of last year’s team. With experience at the back and in goal, the Hawks will be hoping to be tough to beat and let the young attack have a chance to win games.
Senior Carly Ferreira is back in goal this season and has already been busy, coming up with more than 20 saves in the season opener against Franklin. With seniors Catherine Madden and Alyssa Monahan in the back line, the Hawks won’t lack for leadership and experience in the defensive third. Senior Brianna Franzini will add more of that veteran presence in the midfield, which was hard-hit by graduation.
Up top will be sophomore Dani Atherton, who reached double digits in goals during her freshman season and can play as a forward or as a creative midfielder. Sophomores Brooke Ferreira, Serena Borges, and Brooke Guerreiro all saw limited action as freshmen, but will be expected to step into bigger roles this year to shore up the center of the pitch and push into the attack.
“I think the season will depend on how quickly we adjust once games begin,” said Milford coach Lou Colabello. “Replacing key players in the midfield will be a big part of how successful we are. Hopefully, we can get better from game to game. One thing is for sure, we will play hard and have fun doing it.”
2019 Record: 4-10-4 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro will have a lot of new faces in the lineup this season, coming off a tough, four-win campaign. Although many of the names will be new, the Rocketeers feel confident that the revamped defensive unit will make them tough to beat this year and allow them to compete against the top teams in the division, as they proved in a scoreless draw with Oliver Ames in the season opener.
Senior Jordyn Sullivan and junior Summer Doherty are the lone returning players that saw time in the back line last year, but they will be pushed by a host of other players ready to step in. Seniors Ari Newth and Katie Manning, juniors Charlotte Moynihan and Autumn Hewitt, and sophomores Brooke Sullivan and Haley Sinacola will all see time in the defense. Senior Kaylah Seavey and sophomore Maddie Ferrin will be in goal this season.
After missing last season with a knee injury, senior Lydia Santos will provide leadership in the midfield. Classmates Abby Noreck and Ari Rice will also see time in the middle, while a trio of sophomores – Clara Giuliano, Lily Adams, and Caroline Ferrin will add energy and speed in the center.
Up top, senior Tess Collins and junior Steph McKenna are back to lead the line with their speed and creativity. Senior Ally Scott and junior Brayden Rice will give North depth and different looks up top, while sophomore Emma Pratt is a newcomer that could contribute in the attack right away.
“We are working hard to figure this all out,” said North coach Bill Wallace. “Spirits are high and practices have been productive. Girls are possessing better and better and hopefully that will equate to more success on the scoreboard.”
2019 Record: 14-5-2 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames returns to the Davenport division this fall. The Tigers won three straight Davenport titles before moving to the Kelley-Rex (making it four straight titles in their first year in the new division) and with an experienced, if still relatively young, group they expect to challenge Foxboro’s place at the top of the standings this season.
The Tigers have only four seniors on the roster this year, but they have 17 players with varsity experience. While the attack will certainly miss the scoring Erin Holmberg’s scoring touch and the new rules will hinder OA’s typically prolific set piece scoring, there is plenty of strength throughout the roster to be both tough to break down and tough to keep away from goal.
Senior Emma Pereira is a dominant presence in the middle of the pitch and she will be joined by Reese Pereira and Lauren Sellmayer to try and take control of the midfield. Junior Allison Evin can play up top or in the midfield and classmate Camryn O’Connor is a dynamic playmaker and tough to stop when she starts running at defenses.
Kathryn Gibson will solidify the defensive unit, while Jenna Gilman provides speed on the wings. In goal, OA has two solid options with senior Emma O’Donnell and junior Emily Meyers sharing time between the pipes.
OA coach Britt Sellmayer said, “The biggest issue for the new rules is the interpretation by referees, we have had them come to practice twice and one scrimmage. Let’s just say the games were different. Hopefully the kinks get worked out.”
2019 Record: 0-17-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Despite its record last season under first-year head coach Catherine Sullivan, Sharon demonstrated the ability to compete with the top teams and Sullivan is hoping that with an experienced corps and the addition of talented younger players the Eagles will be a tough team to beat in a very competitive Davenport division this year.
Experience will be a key at the back. Three-year starting goalie Cass Barbera has proven to be a solid shot-stopper and her leadership is a confidence boost for the entire defensive unit. Senior Molly McAlevey will be the anchor of the back line with her physicality and communication. Sophomore Sally Brouhard is coming off a strong freshman season, where she emerged as one of the team’s top defenders.
Senior Amelia Scappaticci adds steel to the midfield and gives cover to the back line and classmate Emily Griffin adds the speed from the center of the pitch to get forward as often as possible. Sophomore Sofia Goclowski and freshman Kate McLaughlin are a pair of newcomers that should step into the midfield and add a different dimension with their skill. With new faces helping out in the attack, Sharon will be looking to find the back of the net more consistently this year.
“We have excellent leadership this season with a great mix of strong returning players and new talent stepping in,” said Sullivan. “The Davenport division looks to be extremely competitive this year, but our kids are dedicated to improving our style and speed of play, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of growth in short time this season.”
2019 Record: 3-13-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Hermes Lima
Stoughton made strong strides last season, scoring 34 goals as a team, which was three times the total from the year before and the Black Knights will be hoping to keep that going this fall under new coach Hermes Lima. A tough loss to Canton on the opening day won’t deter Stoughton, which is hoping to continue building on the experience gained last season.
The attack should be potent again with the combination of sophomore forward Shayla Ford, coming off an impressive rookie campaign, and four-year starter and leading scorer Mackenzie Manning, who has developed into a dynamic playmaker either up top or in the midfield. Senior Rebecca Desousa and sophomore Isabella Rodrigues will both be expected to use their speed and aggressiveness to add to the offense, as the Black Knights promise to be a threat on the counterattack.
Senior Nikki Anderson is a versatile defender who can play in the center of the pitch or drop into the back line and she will be counted on to lead a young defensive group. Sophomore Sabrina Rodrigues is tenacious at the back and Liv Tran’s speed will help stymie the opposition. Speed and pressure will be two keys for the Black Knights at the back this season.
“I am here to continue the growth and culture of this program while also helping them become young successful individuals not only on, but off the field,” said Lima. “My goal is to ensure players learn a few things, create their own path, and reach for the moon!”
2019 Record: 2-14-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Michael Couture
For the second time in two seasons, Taunton heads into a new season with a new coaching staff and with the goal of building a foundation for the program to compete against the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division. First-year head coach Michael Couture will be counting on a mix of experience and youth to improve on last year’s results.
The Tigers have players up front that can ask questions of the opposing defenses and on the other end of the field Taunton will try to soak up pressure and break quickly. They will also get an extra week of practice before games kick off after the games with Attleboro were postponed.
Experience will come from a group of seniors that have spent multiple years at the varsity level. Seniors Emily O’Gara and Madison Ribeiro can both play up top or in the midfield, while classmates Caitlin Smith, Kayla Botelho, and Morgan Zakrzewski provide leadership in the defensive third. Junior Isabella Anslow will be between the pipes this season. Sophomore midfielders Abigail Gamble and Christina DeCosta and sophomore forward Emily Calderon will provide energy and could step right in to contribute this season.
“Our main goal during the season is to get better every single day and play like it can be taken away from us at any time,” said Taunton coach Michael Couture. “We are on our way to building something special here at Taunton High and have the right group of dedicated girls.”
MILFORD, Mass. – With an opportunity to move just a point away from back-to-back league titles, Foxboro found itself chasing Friday afternoon’s game at Milford. A set piece goal put the Hawks ahead and, although the Warriors had come back to equalize before the break, Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup was not pleased with what she was seeing from her squad.
“I told them at halftime, we can’t keep coming from behind and letting them score first,” Stalcup explained. “It has to be a game of desire. They need to have the desire to win and the desire to score and stop these corner kicks from going in.”
The Warriors responded with a dominant second half performance, scoring four times to break the game wide open and move five points clear of the second place Hawks with only three league games remaining. Junior Jordyn Collins provided the offensive punch with a hat trick, including the eventual game-winner.
Stalcup was asking for better finishing after the loss to King Philip and she was pleased with what she saw against the Hawks. She said, “I did get it today. Jordyn had a great game, Kailee [McCabe] had a great game, Lizzy [Davis], my defense, it was good. The second half was good.”
Milford’s defense got off to a decent start, despite the visitors having the lion’s share of possession. Katelyn Mollica nearly played in Kendra Wentling with an angled cross in the 10th minute but Annie Flanagan was across to clear. A few minutes later, Collins nearly got the breakthrough but pressure from Alyssa Monahan and keeper Carly Ferreira smothered the chance.
A quick break earned the Hawks a corner kick opportunity in the 18th minute. Maddie Boyle swung the ball into the middle and the Foxboro defense struggled to clear, letting it bounce in the box. Freshman Dani Atherton was in the right spot to flick the loose ball into the back of the net for a lead against the run of play.
Foxboro continued to pressure for the remainder of the half. Collins played in Wentling on the left side but the shot went over the bar. Then Collins set up Lizzy Davis for a chance in the left channel but it was saved. Davis’ header on the ensuing corner was cleared on its way to goal by Juliana France. Seconds later, Wentling had another chance only to be denied by the quick feet of the keeper.
The pressure paid off with eight minutes to go before halftime. Collins got in behind the defense and coolly finished past the onrushing goalie to make it 1-1. Milford nearly regained the lead with another set piece, but Boyle’s curling corner kick was cleared off the line by Emma Dahl.
Seven minutes into the second half, Foxboro took the lead for good. Mollica played a long ball over the top of the defense and Collins showed off her sprinter’s speed to outrun the defender and then again showed a cool head in front of goal to finish the breakaway.
In the 57th minute, Foxboro added a third and essentially sealed the points. Wentling played provider this time, sliding a pass from her own half through the Milford back line. This time it was Davis that showed off her wheels, and strength, to get through and put away another killer break.
Milford was seeing some success in getting the ball in behind the advancing Foxboro fullbacks, especially down the right hand side where France was able to look up and send Atherton or Jillian Michelson on a run. The Hawks just couldn’t do it consistently enough to break the Foxboro pressure. An Atherton cross that Morgan Sylvestre cut out at her near post and a Boyle free kick headed on goal by Atherton were the best chances.
“We start to play kick ball a little bit,” said Milford coach Lou Colabello. “We get frustrated and we start to put the ball in the air. You can’t put the ball in the air against good defenders because the ball is just going to get rejected.”
The visitors were continuously finding spaces and seams to exploit. Mollica put in a left-footed cross that skipped through the box, barely evading the feet of Davis and Grace Ferguson. Kailee McCabe then won the ball back in midfield and sprung Mollica down the left but Collins was unable to finish the cross.
In the 75th minute, McCabe showed off her vision and touch to slip a through ball beyond the right back for Mollica to run onto. This time the junior took the chance herself, finding the bottom corner for a 4-1 lead.
“That’s my game,” said Stalcup about the Warriors combining in the final third. “That’s what I want them doing and if we can get that and the finishing then it’s going to be tough to stop us.”
It could’ve been worse for the Hawks, but for the play or Ferreira (eight saves, including six in the second half). She made a great stop on a Davis chance from the middle of the box and then used her legs to, temporarily, keep Collins from netting her third.
“She’s a gamer,” Colabello said about Ferreira. “She’s a three-sport athlete and it probably could’ve been worse if she didn’t make some of those foot saves. I thought she was playing hockey for a while.”
Collins did complete her hat trick with just about the last kick of the game. It was another stellar move for the Warriors with Mollica sending Davis into space down the left channel and her cross picked out Collins in the middle for a deft finish into the far corner.
“We have to take this game and push it aside,” said Colabello. “The calendar is very favorable to us for the rest of the way, we’ve gotten all the juggernauts out of the way, and we need one more win to get in and then hopefully get a couple more to get a decent seed.”
The Warriors need only one more point to repeat as Davenport champions. “I felt like this was a big win for us,” Stalcup said. “We needed this one to kind of seal it.”
Foxboro (10-2-2, 10-2-1) can win the league title outright with a win against Stoughton on Tuesday. Milford (7-4-2, 7-4-2) will try to secure a postseason berth with a win at North Attleboro.
FOXBORO, Mass. – To run through a perfect season, especially against the level of competition in the Hockomock League, sometimes you have to be lucky as well as good. King Philip rode its luck on Friday afternoon at Sam Berns Community Field to upend fellow division leader Foxboro.
Senior Makenzie Shandley scored the game’s only goal with 20 minutes remaining in the second half to lift KP to a 1-0 victory, but the perfect start to the season owed a lot to the crossbar, which Foxboro struck twice in the final three minutes, and to the play of keeper Taylor Butler, who made several important interventions when Foxboro got behind the defense.
“Holy smokes, that was insane,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “We knew it was going to be one of these games and it was. This was back and forth all game long. I’m pretty happy with the kids for hanging in there.”
The game’s only goal came with the visitors kicking into a stiff wind. Jenna Hitchen played the ball into the left channel for Chloe Layne to run onto. The senior forward was able to keep the ball in play but seemed to be bottled up on the end line. That was until she pulled off a spin move past her marker, opening space for a cross. Shandley beat her marker to it and then showed a deft touch to redirect it into the net.
“Who would’ve figured?” Pichel replied when asked about it being Shandley that came through with the only goal rather than some of the league’s top offensive threats. “Kenzie is a hard-working kid though and to have that kind of touch in tight like that, where she just kind of redirected it.”
KP had plenty of work left to do to preserve the one-goal advantage for 20 minutes. With 10 minutes left, Jordyn Collins had her progress halted 25 yards from goal but was able to lay the ball off to Kailee McCabe. The sophomore midfielder was clean through on goal, but Butler was out quick and appeared to make a huge save, although it was ruled a goal kick not a corner.
The hosts upped the pressure over the final few minutes of the game, putting the KP defense on its heels. As the clock wound down under three minutes left to play, Lizzy Davis got room to fire a shot from just outside the box that looped over Butler but came back off the bar. Just a minute later, from almost the exact same spot, McCabe was first to a loose ball and had a go but again the bar came to KP’s rescue.
“I just came over here and told them from what I saw, we were the better team,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I might be a little biased but that’s what I saw out there.”
She added, “We had through balls, we had great crosses, I feel like we had so many chances, it was just they finished and we didn’t. That’s kind of been our problem all season in tough games.”
Foxboro was looking to its speed in transition to break down a KP defense that had only allowed two goals all season and had recorded 10 shutouts in 12 games entering Friday. Collins only needed five minutes to show how dangerous she was on the break, holding off Olivia Berry and forcing Butler to come out and block the shot.
“She is quicker in person that she was on film,” Pichel said of Collins. “The film doesn’t do her justice. Jordyn just goes from touchline to touchline all game and then she settles in the middle and that’s the cue for their midfielders to send it through the middle to her.”
Midfielder Ally Stanton was out injured for the visitors and that forced Pichel to alter his lineup, moving forward Avery Snead back into the center of the pitch, which kept the Providence College commit from having much impact in the final third. Caroline Cass, Emma Dahl, and Yara Fawaz mostly were able to keep Layne, the league’s leading scorer, from having much impact as well.
“My defense was amazing today,” said Stalcup. “I feel like we shut Chloe down pretty well. She did get that cross off but we didn’t let her get any shots off from close in, from inside the 18. I’m really proud of my defense.”
KP’s best chance of the first half was created by Jenny Montville, who broke free into the center of the Foxboro defense, creating space for Ava Tormey on the right side of the box, but her effort was held by Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre.
Collins created several chances on the other end. She was tightly marked by freshman Grace Lawler all day but with 10 minutes left in the first half Collins had the strength to hold her marker at bay and force Butler into a save. Two minutes later, Collins sent the ball forward to Davis, who won a challenge with a KP defender on the edge of the area but dragged a shot wide.
Montville and Snead forced Sylvestre into saves early in the second half, while Collins tried to beat Butler at the near post from a tight angle. In the 59th minute, Layne finally was able to find enough room in the penalty area to fashion a chance and Shandley finished it.
Layne had a goal wiped away for a very tight offside call that could have put the game away, but with only a one-goal lead against a potent attack, KP needed to hang on down the stretch. Between the defense, with senior Makayla Griffin and Berry joined by Snead for the final minutes, and the woodwork, KP did just that and maintained its perfect record.
King Philip (13-0, 11-0) will try to keep its perfect start to the season alive against Franklin on Wednesday. Foxboro (8-2-2, 8-2-1) will host division rival Canton on Tuesday.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames was seconds away from escaping the first half unscathed, just moments away from going into the halftime break scoreless against a Foxboro side that had a plethora of chances through the opening 40 minutes.
But just before the halftime whistle, the Warriors were finally able to solve Oliver Ames goalie Emily Meyers (12 saves), who had denied bid after bid from Foxboro.
That goal, off of the foot of sophomore Kailee McCabe, proved to be the game-winner and Foxboro added an insurance tally just over midway through the second half to secure a 2-0 win over the Tigers on the new turf field at Val Muscato Stadium.
“We were ready for this one,” said Foxboro head coach Katie Stalcup. “We knew they were undefeated just like we are, Britt [Sellmayer] is a great coach, he always puts together a great team. They are dangerous on corners, they always press hard. So we knew we had to come out ready to play today.”
Both sides had good chances in the opening minutes as OA’s Camryn O’Connor dispossessed a Foxboro defender but had her shot go wide. The Warriors had a similar chance on the other end but Jordyn Collins’ bid was just off frame.
From there, it was mostly chances for Foxboro for the rest of the half. Katelyn Mollica forced Meyers into a diving save on a shot from 25 yards out in the 10th minute. Two minutes later, McCabe and Alyssa VandenBoom combined with the latter being denied by Meyers.
Foxboro’s opportunities continued to pile up as sophomore Jordan Carman found Mollica inside the 18 but Meyers made a leaping stop to tip the shot over the bar. Two minutes later, Meyers made a pair of stops, denying Carman point-blank from in close, and then handling a shot from Lizzy Davis on the bounce.
Meyers’ best save came in the 25th minute as Mollica connected with Carman, who put a shot labeled for the back of the net but a great one-handed stop kept the ball from crossing the line.
“Emily Meyer played great for us,” Sellmayer said. “We have two great goalies, with Emma O’Donnell coming back from an injury. Emily really stepped up today and made a lot of great saves, she kept us in the game.
“[Foxboro] is just so strong, I think they have a legitimate chance to make a run in D2. You have to play a perfect game to beat them. We’re young from everywhere from the midfield to up front and it showed today. I thought my back four played as best as they could. We’ll learn from this and get better from it.”
Davis had another chance in the 28th minute but had her shot go over the ball after good pressure from OA defenders Abby Hodges and Leah Johnson, who both had strong performances along with outside backs Emma Pereira and Olivia Carroll. A corner kick in the 38th led to a chance by McCabe but Carroll was well-positioned at the far post.
McCabe started the sequence that led to the goal by winning a challenge near midfield. After Mollica played a ball wide for Davis, McCabe made a darting run through the defense and Davis played her in behind. She took a touch, was able to shield off a pair of defenders and slotted her shot in at the far post to make it 1-0.
“The chemistry is there with the girls. We’ve been working a lot in the preseason and so far during the season offensively, just about switching up our runs, using quick passes, and playing off each other well. And I feel like it’s clicking, it’s working.
“We had a frustrating result the other day so it was nice to get the win. We had a lot of chances like we did the other game but something felt different about this one. I think the girls learned a lot from the Milford game so I think they did a good job of turning things around quickly.”
Oliver Ames looked like a different team coming out of the halftime break, applying a lot of pressure on the Warriors’ defense over the first 10 minutes. O’Connor and Allison Evin combined to get into the area but Foxboro’s Kendra Wentling disrupted the chance.
Despite a strong push to open the half, Foxboro’s defense stood tall and preserved the lead.
“We didn’t have Yara [Fawaz] today and she’s our starting center back, she’s our rock on defense,” Stalcup said. “So I was a little nervous on how we’d respond but I was happy with how they played. Grace, my other center back, stepped up for us, and Emma [Dahl] came in and they held it, they did an awesome job.”
Foxboro added a second goal in the 64th minute as junior Ryan Sullivan won a foot race to a loose pass, eluding the oncoming keeper and burying a shot into the open net to make it 2-0.
OA had one final push late but Warriors’ goalie Morgan Sylvestre did well to come off her line and make the clearance.
Foxboro girls soccer (4-0-1 Hockomock, 4-0-1 overall) has a big non-league test on Monday with a trip to Medfield. Oliver Ames (4-1-0, 5-1-0) renews acquaintances with rival Mansfield on Tuesday night.
2018 Record: 8-9-2 2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Kate Howarth
The Bulldogs finished third in the Davenport division last season and made it back to the state tournament, despite carrying a relatively young roster. Now, a year later, Canton brings back a strong corps, especially in the attack, and will look to take steps forward to try and challenge for the league title.
The best form of defense may be the attack for the Bulldogs, who will pair juniors Olivia Rodman and Elisa Diletizia again in the forward line. The classmates are a dynamic pairing and critical to Canton scoring 52 goals last season, which was the fifth-best total in the league. Senior Morgan McCabe and sophomore Gabriella Herivaux add depth to the forward line.
In the midfield, sophomore Allie McCabe is coming off an impressive rookie season as a playmaker and will be the engine in the heart of the pitch. Sarah Collins will be tough to replace in the defense, but seniors Alexa Maffeo, Caroline Tourgee, and Kerstin Hansen are back. Sophomore Elyse Broderick is back to take over between the posts and will be the anchor of the defensive unit.
“I think the key for us this year will be consistency,” said Canton coach Kate Howarth. “Our girls are bought in and want to find ways to win! I think we will find ways to win some tough games and get better every single day! That’s always our goal. Every time we step out onto that field, improve and get better. If we do that, we will put together a great year.”
2018 Record: 15-2-3 2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Katie Stalcup
Last season, a young Warriors roster brought home the program’s first league title since 1993 and it could start a run of success for Foxboro, which graduated only four players from last year’s team that led the league in scoring and allowed less than a goal per game. Adding a year of experience could make this year’s team even more of a threat not only for a division crown but for a deep tourney run.
Youth was on display all over the pitch last season, particularly up front. Junior Jordyn Collins had a breakout season putting her speed together with clinical finishing to become one of the league’s most dangerous forwards. There is plenty of help for the forwards from the midfield, senior Lizzy Davis and junior Kailtyn Mollica are both dangerous on the wings, creating chances and the odd goals as well.
The lynchpin last year was a freshman. Sophomore Kailee McCabe, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, had a remarkable rookie season. She controlled the midfield and drove forward to add scoring punch. Senior midfielder Kendra Wentling also adds a layer of protection for the defense, which will miss the graduated Alex Stamatos but has experience in senior Yara Fawaz and junior goalie Morgan Sylvestre.
“I am so excited about this team and what we are capable of this season,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I know if we stay focused and work together we will do great things.”
2018 Record: 5-12-0 2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Lou Colabello
This is the second season in charge for Milford coach Lou Colabello and he is hopeful that his team will build a comfort level with his expectations and systems to try and get the Hawks into the state tournament picture and push up the Davenport division standings. With a strong core of returning players, many with two or three years of experience on varsity, Milford has the opportunity to make a leap this fall.
The midfield will be a strength for the Hawks with seniors Juliana France and Ashleigh Starks are capable of breaking up opposition attacks and turning those quickly into attacks. Freshman Daniella Atheron will jump right into the attack and is expected to contribute goals this season. Defensively, the Hawks have experience in the form of seniors Maddie Boyle and Annie Flanagan and can count on solid play from both goalies, senior Olivia Marshall, and junior Carly Ferreira.
“We are really excited about our opportunities this year,” Colabello said. “With a heavy nucleus returning on defense and in the midfield, we hope to improve offensively. With a good mixture of experience and youth, I feel that we will make a vast improvement from last year.”
2018 Record: 12-3-4 2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro is entering a transition season after graduating 14 seniors, including nine starters, from last year’s Davenport division runners-up. The Rocketeers will especially have to cope with the loss of leading scorer, and 2018 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Ashlyn Gaulin, but there is hope that the new faces will be able to step in and rise to the challenge this fall.
The attack looks very different this season with junior Tess Collins, who is battling a preseason injury, taking on the responsibility of leading the line along with Steph McKenna. There have been promising signs from that duo during the preseason. Midfield is more experienced for North this year, with seniors Alex Moulson, Abi Slaney, and Lily Cameron back from last year, while Olivia Wills and Abby Noreck are making the jump from JV. The defense is mostly new, but senior Lydia Hershey is back and will offer much-needed leadership, while senior Regan Fein has the starting job in net.
“Right now we have six players who have been unable to practice preseason with injuries,” said North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace. “Once we get everyone healthy we should iron out some assignments and figure out our rotations.”
2018 Record: 2-15-1 2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Catherine Sullivan
Second-year head coach Catherine Sullivan will have a lot of new faces to work with this season after graduating 11 seniors from last year’s roster and she is hoping that the Eagles can use an experienced midfield to create more scoring opportunities and continue to improve over the course of the season.
The midfield combines technically-sound players with energy and speed. Seniors Marika Fillion sets the tone with her work rate and senior Bella Berger is one of the team’s top playmakers. Junior Amelia Scappaticci adds skill to the team’s passing game, while freshman Olivia Soby is expected to provide an attacking spark in the middle of the pitch. Up front, junior Emily Griffin will try to use her speed to create chances. In the back, junior goalie Cass Barbera got a lot of experience between the pipes last season and she will count on classmate Molly McAlevey to hold things down in front of her.
Sullivan said, “I’m excited about the mix of strong returning players and new talent stepping in this season. It’s a great group of kids who are dedicated to improving our style and speed of play, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
2018 Record: 0-17-1 2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Tara Daniels
It has been a decent preseason for the Black Knights and head coach Tara Daniels hopes that they carry that over once things kick off for real. Stoughton has been building cohesion for the last several seasons and Daniels believes that there is the right mix of upperclassmen and newcomers to make the Black Knights a competitive team this fall.
Senior Nicole Weir has found a spot in the back line and will provide the vocal leadership that the defense needs. Senior Brianna Buckley has won the starting job in goal this year after earning time between the posts last season. Junior Mackenzie Manning is the key to the Stoughton midfield, having led the team in points in each of her first two seasons on varsity and continuing to be the team’s primary playmaker. Freshman Shayla Ford will step into the attack this season and there is hope that she can make an instant impact with her speed and finishing ability. One of the most important developments of the preseason is the growing understanding between Manning and Ford going forward.
“This year we have a strong core of returning upperclassmen that have worked the past few years to help shape and strengthen this overall program, with the level of play I am seeing from this group of upperclassmen and the freshman class, it is going to be an extremely competitive season for the Knights,” said Daniels.
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.