2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
By HockomockSports.com Staff

2021 Hockomock Girls Lacrosse Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Only teams that responded to HockomockSports.com with information regarding their team and the upcoming season are listed in this year’s preview.

Attleboro

2019 Record: 3-16
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Chrissy Quinn

A program that is still developing, Attleboro will be looking for its first league win since 2018 when things get started this spring and the Bombardiers are looking to combine returning players with exciting newcomers to compete with the teams in the Kelley-Rex.

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

Senior Hannah Webster and Isabella Salviati are the most experienced attackers on the roster and the Bombardiers will hope that the addition of sophomore Jordan Mooney and freshman Molly Moore will add a different dimension to the offense. Mooney and Moore have already scored half the team’s goals this season. Defensively, senior Carlie Jamieson and juniors Avery Vieira and Ally Haigh are the returning players who give Attleboro a good foundation. Sophomore Ella Stromfors is a newcomer that will give Attleboro depth in defense. Senior Maggie Porecca is back between the pipes this spring and has been busy in the early going with 35 saves in the opening three games.

“We have a lot of potential that we need to work hard to build on this season,” said Attleboro coach Chrissy Quinn. “It is very important that we set our own goals as a team, rather than worry so much about the score at the end of the game. The most important thing is that we continue to stay healthy, remain positive, and celebrate small victories!”

Canton

2019 Record: 5-11
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Dani Aquino

Canton struggled in 2019, missing out on the postseason, but it was a season of transition with a lot of young players getting their first taste of varsity action. Although they’ve had to wait two years to use that experience, those players are now the core of a Bulldogs team that is looking to make a push up the standings under first-year head coach Dani Aquino.

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

Junior midfielder Allie McCabe is a leader on both ends of the field and will be a key part of Canton’s transition game. Junior Tess Khoury will step into a bigger role in the defensive unit with sophomore Erin Beatty making her debut as the starting goalie. Juniors Fay (attack) and Sydney Gallery (defense) will also play more prominent roles this spring with sophomore Emily McCabe stepping in to add energy in the midfield. Senior Kayla Albert is a versatile attacker, who can take advantage of her size to give defenders issues near the cage, and junior Carly Fitzgerald can create scoring chances with her athleticism and tenacity. Sophomore Ella Yeaton and freshman Devan Spinale are exciting additions to the midfield, adding extra speed and creativity in the attack.

“Our outlook this season is to be competitive,” said Aquino. “I want to put up a fight for those crossover Kelly-Rex teams that we play, while taking away necessary lessons and walk off the field better than we walked on. My focus as a coach with this program to conquer the basics and ‘Master the things we can control.’”




Foxboro

2019 Record: 16-8
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 State Semifinal
Coach: Kathleen McCullough

The defending Div. 2 East champions have a lot of new faces, including on the bench where former Medfield coach Kathleen McCullough has taken over from (new Mansfield coach) Brittany Sherry, but the expectations don’t change for a program that has dominated the Davenport division, winning the league title in each of the past eight seasons. While the Warriors get to know each other and their new coach, they will still be looking to keep the run of title going this season.

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

Foxboro is going to lean on several returning players who had key roles in winning the program’s first sectional title two years ago. Senior midfielder Ella Waryas can control things on both ends of the field and senior attacker Lilly Vey had a breakout sophomore season and is the team’s top returning scorer. Junior Kate Collins joins Vey and Waryas as captains this season and can play as either a midfielder or defender. The Warriors are reloading with a strong sophomore class as well. There are seven sophomores on the roster this season (and also four freshmen), including Paige Curran, Mia Dinunzio, Jenny Gallagher, Maddie Maher, Dylan Rappoli, Grace Riley, and Mya Waryas.

“We are going in with a clean slate and looking at each team as a new team and opportunity to grow and learn,” said McCullough. “We will focus on our game and daily improvement. I look forward to working with this group and having a great season.”

Franklin

2019 Record: 20-3
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East Semifinal
Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino

It may have been two years since Franklin last took the field, but the Panthers will have a lot of familiar names on the roster this season and the same set of expectations. Franklin has not lost a league game since 2012 and won the last eight Kelley-Rex division titles (sharing the title with King Philip in 2012). Heading into this spring, even with only three seniors on the roster, the Panthers will be favorites to bring home the league crown yet again.

After missing a lot of 2019 with an injury, senior Katie Jones is ready to lead the attack, while classmate Sydney Hawkins will be the leader in the defensive zone. Junior midfielders Kenzie Baker, Kate O’Rourke, Jackie O’Neil, and Stella Regan were all part of an impressive freshman group that stepped right into the lineup two years ago and are part of a dynamic group that could score a lot of goals this season. Newcomers include sophomores Kaitlyn Carney, Katie Peterson, Lindsay Atkinson, and Jamie Tanner, who just add to the abundance of attacking and midfield options that Franklin boasts. Junior Brigid Earley has taken over in goal and impressed with her athleticism.

“Once we start meshing, I think we will be a very strong team,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igo Guarino. “Offensively, any group of seven players who is in has the potential to be a threat, either as a dodger, feeder or cutter. This group is very dynamic in their stick skill and game sense. Defensively, we are athletic and have some solid leadership.”

King Philip

2019 Record: 12-8
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East Quarterfinal
Coach: Kourtnie Wilder

King Philip is the last team other than Franklin to win a Kelley-Rex division title and the Warriors enter this spring hoping to end the seven-year reign for the Panthers. After two years off, KP returns an experienced group, especially on the defensive side, as it gets ready to challenge for a league championship.

Seniors Peyton Mellman and Caroline Pasquantonio will provide leadership for the Warriors this season and will be counting on a strong junior class to live up to the potential it showed in 2019. Julia Marsden, Lily Brown, Haley Izydorczak, and Colleen Crowther all saw ample playing time as freshmen and will now be expected to take the step up to be regular contributors. Head coach Kourtnie Wilder is hoping that the experience in the defensive end will make the Warriors tough to score against and has three goalies vying for the starting role. On offense, Wilder thinks the Warriors will be “crafty and aggressive.”

Wilder said, “We are excited to be back out on the field and finally playing together again. We have a great group of hard-working student-athletes that are dedicated and eager to get the season started.”

Mansfield

2019 Record: 11-8
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Brittany Sherry

Former Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry will finally get her first season on the sideline at Mansfield and will be getting her first chance to work with a Hornets roster that saw a lot of turnover from two years ago. A couple of exciting newcomers and experience along the back line have Sherry confident that the Hornets can get back to the level that saw them win 11 games in 2019.

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

The defensive side will be bolstered by senior Melissa Shanteler, who adds aggression to the back line. Juniors Gabriella Geminiani, Grace Bertolino, and Kayla Doherty will provide depth in defense, while sophomore Caitlin Zajac will get the start in goal in her first varsity season. Seniors Grace Danehy and AnnMarie McCoy provide size on the draws and versatility in the attack. A couple of newcomers will give Mansfield an added boost of playmaking, as sophomore attacker Ava Adam and freshman midfielder Lola Varrichione have the potential to create a lot of goals this spring.

“We’re definitely rusty but the girls are putting in the work to get back to where they were two years ago,” said Sherry.




Milford

2019 Record: 6-12
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Nicole Culhane

Milford is making the move to the Kelley-Rex division this spring and the Hawks will be hoping that its returning players will be up to the challenge of a new season. There were positive signs in the opening game of the spring, as the Hawks were right in the game with Sharon.

Defense has the potential to be a strength for the Hawks this year with an experienced and athletic group coming back from the 2019 season. Seniors Jillian Michelson, Eva Parsons, and Katie Maietta will lead the team from the back and push the team into the transition as well. Junior midfielder Aislinn Bennett got playing time as a freshman two years ago and now she is looking to step into a bigger role on both ends of the field. Sophomore midfielders Emily Croteau and Carly Haley are newcomers to the varsity roster and will give an added boost of energy and creativity in the attack.

“Our team is growing stronger and stronger every day and it is a truly wonderful thing to witness as their coach,” said Milford coach Nicole Culhane. “I have so much faith in them and I know they are capable of surprising themselves with how much they can accomplish.”

Oliver Ames

2019 Record: 5-13
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Gen Rogan

Oliver Ames is making the move to the Davenport division this season and will be looking to jump right into the mix and be competitive with the top teams. The Tigers will hope to make a leap under first-year head coach Gen Rogan, who is very familiar with the league and the competition having been an all-star at Foxboro.

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

The Tigers enter the season with nine seniors and six juniors on the roster, so experience shouldn’t be an issue. Seniors Emilee Nuss and Liliana Lozano will be the leaders on the defensive end, locking the opposition down in front of senior Emma O’Donnell or junior Jess Widdop, two vocal and quick goalies that OA can count on. Senior Emma Pereira will patrol the midfield, helping out on the defensive side and then pushing the Tigers forward into the attack. Freshman Taylor McAndrew is a newcomer who could make an instant impact this spring and provide a scoring boost. Versatility and balance will be important as Rogan is hoping that a lot of players will be able to chip in and add to the OA attack.

“I think this season will be a good test to our ability to stay tough and fight through some hard battles,” Rogan said. “We play in a very competitive league, but I have no doubt that this team is up to the challenge and will be exciting to watch this season.”

Sharon

2019 Record: 12-9
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round
Coach: Shara Ginthwain

Sharon has developed into a program that consistently gets into playoff contention, battling for the second spot in the Davenport division and looking to take the next step to put pressure on perennial league power Foxboro. The Eagles will a few seasoned veterans coming back this spring, but also a lot of newcomers and building that connection on the field will be a key early in this shortened season.

Senior Jenna Goldstein has been a standout in each of her first two seasons on varsity and will have a much bigger role this year, as the team’s primary playmaker. Senior Cass Barbera will lead the attacking unit and her combination with Goldstein will be a key to Sharon’s offensive output. Junior Athena Merck and freshman Anna Hertzel are newcomers that will add a different dimension to the attack. Senior Molly McAlevey is moving into the midfield this season to provide extra speed and athleticism. At the back, seniors Abby Hoffman, Amelia Scappaticci, and Carly Romanow give Sharon an experienced defensive unit in front of new goalie sophomore Tess Letendre.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to play together this season,” said Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain. “We really look forward to developing team chemistry as the season progresses, as this is the first time many of these girls have played together at this level.”

Taunton

2019 Record: 8-9
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Kerry Northup

Taunton was on the brink of a playoff spot in 2019, coming up just one win shy of qualifying for the postseason and have several players returning, especially in the midfield, to compete with the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division.

Senior Alana Tavares is the centerpiece of the Taunton midfield. The reigning league MVP and HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year has put up big numbers in her first three seasons and the Marist-commit will be counted on to produce a lot of offense again this spring. Senior Anastasia Lajoie joins Tavares in the midfield. Committed to the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Lajoie is another dynamic attacker who gives the Tigers a lot of energy at both ends of the field. Other seniors returning this season include Madison Vigliotti, Rosemary McGrath, Rebecca Berry, and Tori DaRosa. Junior Emily Gannon is back in goal and will be a vocal presence on the defensive side of the ball.

“We are very excited to be back out on the lacrosse field,” said Taunton coach Kerry Northup. “However successful we are with our record this year, we are just happy to be able to get out there again and play the game we love.”

2021 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview

Cooney Goal Helps Mansfield Score Sweep of Franklin

Mansfield Girls Soccer
Cathryn Cooney (12) struck with a third quarter free kick to lift Mansfield to a second straight 1-0 win against Franklin. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – As Franklin raced away from the corner kick with the ball, there was the faint sound of a whistle. There was some hesitation but the Panthers kept running and, with no other signal from the officials, the Mansfield players chased back. The play continued upfield and Franklin was able to get off a shot that went wide of the post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Before Hornets goalie Olivia Salisbury could put the ball back into play, confusion erupted. The official that had been trailing the play ran across the field to talk to his partner. After a conversation, the officials ruled that a Franklin player had headed the ball on the corner and, despite the amount of time that passed, pulled play back to the edge of the Franklin penalty area for an indirect free kick.

Mansfield didn’t waste the opportunity. Isabella Lennon took the touch to set up Cathryn Cooney and the senior blasted an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner, out of the reach of Franklin keeper Rachel Welch’s dive.

It was the game’s only goal. For the second time in two days, the Hornets beat Franklin 1-0, sweeping the season series, making it six games unbeaten, and moving within two points of the league-leading Panthers in the Kelley-Rex division standings.

However controversial the decision that led to the goal, there was no question about the quality of Cooney’s strike. “She’s come up with a couple of those this year,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith. “She’s come a long, long way and controlling a lot of our attack. She’s everywhere and you can see that she wants to be on the ball. She’s playing really, really well.”

It was also a goal against the run of play. Franklin stormed out of the halftime break and had the Hornets on their heels.

Five minutes into the third quarter, Bridget Leo picked the pocket of a Mansfield player and started a quick transition that led to a long shot from Sydney St. Marie that was just wide. A minute later, Erin Quaile blocked a clearance and set up Anya Zub for a shot from the edge of the box that was charged down by Kayla Doherty.

The Panthers had another chance just a minute after that, Quaile again played provider, picking out Leo for a strike that Salisbury was able to collect on the second attempt. In the 51st minute, St. Marie forced another save with a shot off the bounce.

It was all Panthers until finally Mansfield got one good counter attack in the closing minutes of the quarter and forced a corner. Franklin cleared it. The Mansfield bench initially called for a free kick from a header but turned its attention to the Panthers’ break. Then came the call and Cooney’s go-ahead goal.

Franklin coach Tom Geysen said, “The official wouldn’t explain the call to me. He wouldn’t come to the sideline and explain why he made that call. It was at least 30 seconds after the infraction.”

“If you don’t score, you can’t win,” Geysen admitted, “I thought we played really well and kept them off-balance. I wasn’t happy with the result, but I was happy with the performance.”

The game certainly wasn’t over after the Hornets went in front. Quaile had a free kick from the left side that she played into the middle of the box. After a couple of good blocks by the Mansfield defense, including one from Kara Santos, the ball popped out to Katie Ewald whose deflected strike was punched out by Salisbury.

Cooney forced Welch into a save with a long distance strike and Olivia Homsi nearly doubled the lead when she slipped the ball under the onrushing keeper but Cariss Alers stretched to clear it off the line.

With three minutes to play, St. Marie took a kick-in from the far side of the field and played a low cross through the box to Clare Bowen, who hit it first-time just over the bar.

“The whole second half until maybe after the goal and they were starting to push and push and push and we had a little more space to play, they were on top of the game,” Smith said. “They’re an excellent team. They pass the ball well and their spacing is so disciplined. They knew exactly who to move. We had to fight tooth and nail to stay with them.”

The first half was more even and had fewer chances, as both teams played it around in the midfield and both defense stood strong.

Mansfield almost scored in the first minute when Cooney’s free kick was spilled by Julia Bertone and Tarynn Smith had a chance on the volley, but Bertone made amends with a good stop. It was the lone scoring chance of note in the opening 20 minutes.

Franklin started to get going in the second, as its winger started to get into the game. Zub nearly got on the end of a cross, only to be denied by a combination of Santos and Salisbury. Then Zub played in Leo, who set up Bowen on the left side, but the cross flashed across the face of goal with no Panthers on hand to get a touch.

Bertone had to be quick to recover and stop a deflected cross from Avery Hawthorne that nearly snuck in at the near post in the final minute of the first half.

Mansfield (4-2-2) faces a difficult stretch to close out the regular season, with two games against Milford over the weekend. Two wins could give the Hornets a shot at the league title. Franklin (6-2-0) needs two points to clinch at least a share of the league title and faces Attleboro on Monday.

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Attleboro Rallies to Earn Feisty Draw at Mansfield

Attleboro girls soccer
Attleboro’s Jessica Gates (11) and Mansfield’s Katie Miller (20) battle for a ball in the midfield on Monday night. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – The new rule modifications in place this season are meant to limit physical contact between players, but once Monday night’s game at Alumni Field kicked off neither Attleboro or Mansfield was going to shy away from a challenge or give their opponents an inch.

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It led to a competitive, hard-fought match with chances to win it at both ends of the field. In the end, Eleanor Graber’s third quarter strike matched Amira Walcott’s second quarter opener and the teams walked away with a point apiece following a 1-1 draw.

Attleboro dominated the opening few minutes of the match, as Mansfield worked to meet the aggressiveness of the visitors. In the third minute, Emily Dunlea slid a pass into the run of Isabella Salviati but the Attleboro forward dragged her shot through the box.

Once the hosts settled down, Mansfield started to assert itself and take control of the game. Tarynn Smith had the first good look for the Hornets after nine minutes but Alexis Campbell was there for the save. Following a corner, Carly Devine teed up Cathryn Cooney but her shot was wide of the far post.

Cooney almost created an opener with a cross from the left but it was deflected out to defender Kayla Doherty, whose shot from distance was blocked into the path of Kaylee Smith. The senior took a touch and put a shot on target from eight yards, but it was right at Campbell.

“It was just a matter of weathering their first adrenaline rush and maintaining our compactness in the middle and at the back and absorbing it and completing a pass going out,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained. “Once we did we were able to get a foothold in the game.”

In the 27th minute, Attleboro got a look for Briley Harnois but the senior’s shot from 25 yards out went wide of the post.

Mansfield took the lead in the 33rd minute. Campbell went up in traffic to collect a long free kick from Maria Sevastos, but couldn’t handle it cleanly and Walcott was in the right place to knock in her second of the season.

The Hornets had several chances to double their lead before halftime. Cooney had an indirect kick inside the box blocked at the near post by Olivia Calderone and then Katie Miller played Tarynn Smith behind the right back but Campbell came up with a big save, palming the shot over the bar.

“We started off okay and we got away from our style of play and more into their style of play,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos, “and it felt like were trying to defend the long ball and the races, so we dropped our defense back a little bit in the second half and got a little more composed and the flow of the game got a little bit better.”

Campbell came up with another big stop to keep it a one-goal deficit in the 51st minute. A ball over the top picked out Abby Jean on the run. The Mansfield sophomore decided to cut it back onto her right foot and bring it to the center of the box, forcing a full-stretch save down to the keeper’s right.

Santos said, “Lexi played well. She came out at the right times, made a key save when we needed it. She just got unlucky on that transition bringing the ball down.”

That save proved to be crucial as just five minutes later Attleboro was level. Mansfield keeper Olivia Salisbury had an outlet pass intercepted by Graber just outside the box. The Attleboro midfielder drove forward and made the turnover count with a shot into the bottom corner.

“That was a great hustle play by Eleanor,” Santos said. “She was in the right spot at the right time, made the right moves, and finished it.”

Much like Campbell, Salisbury had the chance to atone for her mistake and came up with the save of the game. Graber picked out Cossandra Stuger in the middle, who split the lines with a pass into Harnois on the left side of the box. The Attleboro forward was clean through on goal but Salisbury came sliding out to make a game-saving block.

“We talked about that in the intermission (between quarters),” said Smith. “We said, alright so we made a mistake and it cost us a goal. What do we want to do? React. So, we want to have a good, positive reaction and I thought everyone did.”

Mansfield started to regain control after Attleboro’s post-goal surge, putting pressure with a series of long free kicks by Sevastos and freshman defender Kara Santos. Bridget Hanley’s through ball sent Devine free, but the shot was held by Campbell. Attleboro created one more notable chance after Graber and Jessica Gates played a one-two and Gates set up Harnois in the box but again Salisbury was held onto the shot.

Smith said, “We had a lot of good pressure, a lot of possession, and a lot of good passing movements, and once we broke that down in the second half then they started coming back at us. Then you get that goal, but the last 10 minutes we recovered.”

Attleboro (1-1-1) and Mansfield (1-2-2) will do it again in two days when the teams meet at Tozier-Cassidy Field. Expect the same level of intensity and physicality for round two.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.