Mansfield Sweeps Rocketeers to Stay On Top of League

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield sophomore center Meg Hill (31) scored a game-high 12 points and pulled in nine rebounds as the Hornets swept the season series with North. (Josh Perry/

Josh Perry

MANSFIELD, Mass. – It should have had a playoff atmosphere. Mansfield came in needing a win to stay tied with Attleboro atop the Kelley-Rex division and North Attleboro still needs a win to qualify for the state tournament and avoid a season sweep by its rival.

Maybe it was the snow outside, maybe it was because it was the first day back from a four-day weekend, but even though the game had a lot of meaning there was a distinct lack of energy in the Albertini Gym on Tuesday night.

The Rocketeers struggled to find consistent offense but cut the Mansfield lead to nine points in the third quarter, but the Hornets broke the game wide open with a 17-2 run and cruised to a 45-30 victory to remain tied for the league lead with two games remaining.

“It’s always like this when we play – points aren’t easy to come by – but the way the first half went, I thought we were pretty good on offense, but probably should’ve had 30,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “The second half we got into a funk again, just not finishing well, but played good defense.”

North Attleboro started the game in a funk. The Rocketeers were missing junior forward Caroline Collard, who is second on the team in scoring, and after an Emily Peters (six points, nine rebounds) layup tied the game at 2-2, the visitors went nearly the remainder of the quarter stuck on two points.

Jackie Carchedi (nine rebounds) scored four of her seven points in the first, including layup following a Jen Peel steal and outlet pass and a jumper that made it 10-2. Liz Morehouse stepped into Collard’s spot and scored on an offensive rebound and a free throw to make it 10-5 after one quarter.

“I thought Kiersten [Bixby] and Liz did a great job in [Caroline’s] stead and gave us quality minutes and doing some damage on the offensive end and giving us some energy,” said North coach Derek Herber.

The spark at the end of the first was quickly erased by the Hornets who started the second on an 11-0 run. Freshman Madyson Bendanillo scored on a pair of drives down the left side of the lane, sophomore Meg Hill added four of her game-high 12 points, and Caroline Maher knocked down a three to break the game open.

“We missed a couple shots and we started thinking about those things instead of just playing basketball,” said Herber. “Unfortunately we need to be tougher mentally and need to keep playing through that.”

North did recover near the end of the quarter and cut the lead, which bloomed to 17 at one point, down to 12 by halftime. Peters scored four points in the second and Emily Schromm knocked down a shot as well.

Despite having a solid lead at the break, Redding felt his team left points on the board, particularly in the paint where Hill had a distinct size advantage over the North forwards.

He said, “We were begging at halftime, get Meg some touches inside. We just didn’t get her enough touches. We feel like she could’ve dominated more.”

Mansfield came out for the second half cold and North continued to creep back into the game. Schromm scored to cut the lead to 10 and then Morehouse (team-high eight points) scored on a layup after a nifty block-to-block bounce pass by Peters that cut the lead to 26-17.

Just when North thought that it was back in the game, Carchedi knocked down a long jumper off a skip pass from Maher and the Hornets found their groove again. Mansfield would go on a 17-2 run into the fourth quarter that essentially put the game away.

“If we could’ve gotten a stop then maybe it’s a different ballgame and maybe we get a little energy into ourselves,” said Herber.

“It’s never easy when you have a couple days off because of the weather or when you’re not in your normal routine. We needed to make our own energy and we didn’t do a good job.”

Following Carchedi’s jumper, Hill scored on a short jumper off an inbounds, Jen Kemp hit a pair of free throws, Olivia Broyles scored on a rebound and all of a sudden it was a 35-19 lead heading to the fourth.

Hill scored on another inbounds layup from Peel (six assists) and then Caroline and Ann Maher each knocked down threes to build the lead to as high as 24 (43-19) and knock out the Rocketeers.

“It was one of those games that you never felt like you’re going to lose but we couldn’t shake them either,” said Redding. “Defensively, we played good man in the second half and never let them get to the point where they can make a run.”

North finally got an offensive spark in the fourth after Mansfield had made some changes to its lineup. Turnovers led to easy baskets in transition and Ashley Ahern scored all seven of her points in the fourth and freshman Julia Feid buried a jumper to cut the lead back down to 15.

Offense continues to be a struggle at times for the Hornets and Redding admitted that the team still needs to find its “rhythm” heading into the playoffs, but Mansfield is still in the running for just the program’s second Hockomock League title (the only title was in 2011), so he will take the win however it plays out.

He said, “Now we’re down to two in the league and they’re both at home. I don’t care if we score 38 or 68, right now wins are wins.”

Mansfield (15-3, 13-1) will get another test of its title credentials on Friday when rival Franklin pays a visit. North Attleboro (9-7, 8-6) will try to book its place in the tournament when it travels to King Philip.

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

North Gets Past Offensive Struggles to Beat Stoughton

Caroline Collard
North Attleboro struggled offensively at times, but found enough points, led By Caroline Collard’s nine, to beat Stoughton. (Josh Perry/

Josh Perry

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Offense was in short supply in the Kenneth Pickering Gym on Tuesday night, as for long stretches North Attleboro and Stoughton looked like there was a lid over both baskets.

In the end, the home team had just enough spurts of scoring coupled with a strong defensive effort to hold off the Black Knights and pull out a 45-26 victory that puts the Rocketeers within one win from clinching a spot in the state tournament.

The game was essentially decided in the first half. North Attleboro ran out to a 13-1 lead after the first quarter with five players getting on the board, including Ashley Ahern who scored five of her seven points on the night.

It did not get much better in the second. With 4:22 remaining in the half, Stoughton had the lone point of the quarter on a free throw by Ava Seigel, who also scored the Black Knights’ lone point of the first. With 3:07 left in the half, Stoughton got its first field goal on a jumper by Sarah Quattrucci to cut the lead to 10.

“I think we were a little hurried, a little anxious,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “We only scored four points in the first half, so everyone is anxious to score and you’re doing things faster than you normally would.”

North put together a 9-0 run to close out the first half with all nine points coming in the final three minutes of the second. Caroline Collard (team-high nine points) knocked down three straight free throws and then the lid lifted for a couple of minutes to allow Emily Haskell and Julia Feid to knock down threes for their only points of the game.

“Right now, we play great defense, rebound, and just can’t score a basket,” said North coach Derek Herber. “I think we get a little frustrated because we’re not scoring.”

He continued, “The kids work really hard, just right now we got through those stretches where we have to hang our hat on defense and try to hang in…but we do need to get a little better on offense, more efficient.”

Stoughton came out of halftime and scored as many points in the opening 1:55 of the third quarter as it did in the entire first half.

“They fight,” said Steele Jordan. “We talked about that at halftime. It’s a clean slate; we’re not going to get it all back at once, but lets start in the third quarter and chip away. They just ran out of gas.”

Senior Alecia Quinones, who came in as the league’s leading scorer, suddenly found her groove driving to the basket and scored all of her game-high 11 points in the quarter and got the Black Knight as close as 12 twice.

Steele Jordan added, “We brought it to within 12 but we got shaky at our point guard position and when we’d turn it over they’d score or I felt like they got a million second chance opportunities. And the ball didn’t go in the basket and you need that too.”

Herber said, “Quinones is a matchup nightmare. You try to put a guard on her and she goes in the post and you put a post player out there and you’ve got some issues.”

North answered again. Emily Schromm picked up a steal and took it the length of the floor for a layup and Liz Morehouse came off the bench to score in the paint. Collard hit two free throws and then Samantha Taggart scored four quick points to end the quarter and send the Rocketeers to the fourth up by 16 (35-19).

The Rocketeers were like a boxer who knows when the end of the round is coming and always seemed to put together the spurt they needed to extend the lead.

Herber explained, “We can feed off of that defense and we can put in those runs. When we do find it then we can score some points, but it’s when we do find it.”

After Jordan Motley opened the fourth with a basket, Collard scored plus the foul and Schromm (six points) added a pair of layups to extend the lead out to 21.

Stoughton could not keep up with the Rocketeers offensively, but did hold its own on the boards. In a game with plenty of rebounds to be had, Val Whalen pulled down a game-high 16 and Motley added 10. North was led by senior Emily Peters who snagged 13 rebounds, while Collard had 11, Kiersten Bixby had nine and Haskell grabbed eight.

“They’re the team that’s most like us in the post,” said Herber. about the battle on the glass. “They’ve got three or four bodies that can go in there and they bang and there’s no one afraid of going in there.”

Stoughton will try to find its shooting touch before the visit of Canton on Friday. The Black Knights still need two wins to qualify for the postseason and Steele Jordan is confident the team will be able to put Tuesday night’s struggles behind it.

“They work hard, they fight, and I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now in the season.,” she said. “They all want it and I know they’ll be ready to go back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Stoughton (7-6, 7-5) will be at Canton on Friday, while North Attleboro (9-5, 8-4) will be at Attleboro.

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

Attleboro Overcomes Another Injury to Defeat North

Emily Houle
Emily Houle (3) scored eight of her 13 points in the second half as Attleboro survived the loss of Sarah Deyo to pull out a road win at North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

NORTH ATTLEBORO – The Bombardiers have been snakebitten with injuries this season. A day after finding out that junior Julia Strachan was lost for the year to a knee injury, Attleboro watched as Sarah Deyo walked off the court holding her elbow just 1:17 into the second half against North Attleboro on Friday night.

Deyo had a first half double-double and scored the first bucket of the third quarter, but she would be done after scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and helping the Bombardiers grab a slim, five-point advantage.

Rather than allowing the disappointment of losing another key player cost it the game, Attleboro, as it has all season, had other players step up.

Sophomore Sam Pierce scored 15 points (nine in the second half) and had 12 rebounds and senior Emily Houle, in only her third game back from her own injury, had 13 points (eight in the second half) and 11 rebounds to lead the Bombardiers to a 51-43 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader at the Pickering Gym.

“I think our box out and rebound stuff was outstanding,” said Attleboro coach Rick Patch. “We didn’t really run much [on offense] but the big thing they did was compete. They didn’t let up, they focused.”

North came out strong at the end of a tough week that saw it face three of its fiercest rivals (Mansfield and Bishop Feehan were the others). Emily Schromm started the game with the first of her three three-pointers on the night and later in the quarter Ashley Ahern completed a four-point play on the far sideline. Sam Taggart scored four points in the first, including a long two at the buzzer.

The Bombardiers counted on Deyo to stay close in the opening quarter. The junior scored six points, many of them on second chance opportunities, as Attleboro dominated on the glass.

“They’re a tough matchup,” said North coach Derek Herber about trying to keep Attleboro off the boards. “Defensively, we rebound okay but it’s the offensive rebounds we don’t force a lot of teams to play on the defensive boards.”

In the second, Attleboro went on a run to grab the lead. After Emily Peters (seven points) and Schromm knocked down threes to put North ahead 24-19, the Bombardiers scored nine of the next 10 points. Deyo tied the game with a jumper, then Emma Vlashi, in her first game back from injury, hit two free throws to give Attleboro the lead and Houle made it four with a steal and transition layup.

“She just got cleared today,” said Patch of Vlashi. “The plan was to only have her play like six minutes and then a couple of things where Sarah goes down and you just go by how you feel.”

With Deyo on the bench icing her arm, Taggart (nine points) buried a three to bring North back within two and then Kiersten Bixby scored on an offensive rebound to tie it at 32. Momentum seemed to be on the home team’s side, but first Houle and then Pierce knocked down threes from opposite corners to give the Bombardiers a 38-34 lead heading to the fourth.

“Sam posts up all the time but she can play on the outside,” Patch explained. “We give those kids the green light. They can shoot anytime they think they can make it.”

Attleboro carried the momentum into the final quarter with some help from poor shooting by the Rocketeers. Time and again, North created openings for Ahern, Schromm, and Taggart but the shots just would not fall.

“We played some good offense but right now we’re having a tough time shooting,” said Herber. “Part of that is Attleboro and the teams we’re playing but part of it is us. To use a golf reference, we have the ‘yips’ right now.”

Houle picked off a pass and assisted on a fast break bucket for Fatima McDonald that built the lead to 10 and Houle later completed a three-point play to answer an Ahern layup and essentially ice the game.

“At halftime we kept saying they’re starting to tire,” said Patch. “On the offensive side, even when we weren’t running a play, just put pressure on them and make them work and wear them down a little bit.”

North has dropped three straight games this week and the three-time defending league champions are now two games behind league leading Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex standings.

Herber is hopeful that this level of competition will lead to positive results later in the season, but at the moment the shooting woes are making for some tough nights. He added, “Unfortunately, there’s no easy nights in the league and no easy nights on our schedule. We’ll be battle-tested but hopefully we can get a little offensive flow at some point.”

Attleboro (8-1, 4-1) will travel to Milford in its next game on Tuesday, while North Attleboro (3-3, 3-2) will travel to Canton.

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

Carchedi Propels Mansfield to Road Win Over North

By Lance Reynolds, Contributor
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – When the Mansfield high girls’ basketball team traveled to take on North Attleboro Monday night in a battle of league unbeatens, both teams knew that the contest was going to be a defensive battle. Though, the two top teams in the Kelley-Rex might not have anticipated how much of a challenge it was going to be to register a basket.
The Hornets, highlighted by a strong performance from senior captain Jackie Carchedi, made enough plays to walk away with a 39-31 victory over the Rocketeers. The win places Mansfield alone atop of the Kelley-Rex.
The Hornets held a 13 point advantage, 29-16, entering the final eight minutes of play and the lead, at the time, seemed like a comfortable one. However, the Rocketeers rattled off seven consecutive points on baskets from Sam Taggart and Ashley Ahern to cut the deficit to six at the 4:25 mark. Mansfield then responded as Caroline Maher, who hadn’t hit a shot from the field, drilled a three point shot from top of the key to push the Hornet lead back to nine and erase North’s hopes of pulling off a comeback.
“I think if we missed that and they come down to make another three, it’s going to get very interesting if they got to five,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said of Maher’s three pointer. “You could just see that at some point that they’re going to make shots.”
“I thought we get a stop there and it’s a whole momentum changer,” North Attleboro head coach Derek Herber said. “That’s why they’re a good team, they answered the bell – to make it 12 or 11, it was a big shot by her, and we didn’t get a good look coming back down. I liked our effort better in the second half both offensively and defensively.”
Meg Hill started the game’s scoring on a two pointer inside the first minute of play, and gave the Hornets a lead that they never saw taken away from them. The closest the Rocketeers would get to Mansfield was on their first basket from Emily Peters to make the score 3-2. Hill and Carchedi were the main fixtures on the offensive side of the ball for the Hornets, combining to score 25 of the team’s 39 points. Carchedi was the game’s high scorer with 19 while Hill contributed with six to go along with seven rebounds. Juliana Newell had a team high eight rebounds.
“(Carchedi) was a little sick yesterday and we were worried about her, and Meg (Hill) didn’t practice as she had the stomach flu. Thank god they both showed up,” Redding said. “I thought Meg had a great first half and got a little fatigued in the second half. Jackie just hung in there and gave us a great effort at both ends of the floor. It’s a good win on the road – they’re tough, they have big kids inside, their guards are aggressive. It’s an ugly win but it’s a good win on the road to get to 4-0 in the league. We just have to find our rhythm on offense, once we get back up into the 50’s, I think we will be okay.”
Scoring a mere five points in all of the first half, North aspired to come out of the halftime break strong, and start putting the ball through the hoop. Just two minutes into the third quarter, the Rocketeers tallied the same amount of the baskets they had in the first 16 minutes on two jumpers from Peters. There seemed to be some momentum building for North until Maher stole the ball away and found an open Carchedi for a layup putting the margin back to 13. Ahern and Kiersten Bixby answered with baskets to see the Rocketeers get within eight at 22-14, however, Mansfield ended the quarter on a 7-2 run as Carchedi nailed a three pointer and Jen Kemp sunk two free-throws.
“We played good defense, we handled the ball pretty well but we just have to start finishing and executing,” Redding said.
When asked about the offensive stranglehold, Herber responded, “The two teams know each other, and they understand the stakes so I don’t know if it’s timid-ness or mutual admiration that they’re trying to get. Both teams play good defense no matter what, and it’s a premium for good shots. When you think you can take a shot, you go from there.”
Mansfield (5-1) travels to Bishop Feehan on Wednesday night for a rematch of last year’s Division 1 South Semifinal while North (3-2) looks to get back into the win column on Friday night when they host Attleboro.

Balanced Rocketeers Hold Off Sharon Rally

Caroline Collard
Caroline Collard led eight North Attleboro scorers with 13 points as the Rocketeers continued their unbeaten start with a win against Sharon. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In the first half, the North Attleboro full-court press was dominating. The Rocketeers smothered Sharon, forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter alone and pulling out to a 21-point advantage by halftime.

The second half was very different. North pulled back into its half-court defense to try and preserve the energy of a short bench, the Eagles turned the ball over less and Sharon cut into the Rocketeers lead, getting it as low as 13 twice in the fourth quarter.

The first half deficit was too large for Sharon to overcome and the Rocketeers, the three-time defending Hockomock League champions, got points from eight of the nine players on the roster to pull out a 57-44 win at the Kenneth Pickering Gym and move to 3-0 on the season.

“They’re a well-coached team,” said North coach Derek Herber, “and they’ve got some players that can do some damage. They posed us some problems on the edge. We played well and luckily we hit some shots early that kept them off-balance.”

The game started with neither team able to find the bottom of the net. It took three minutes for the first basket and that was scored by Sharon freshman Emma Eberhardt, who was making her first career start, on a driving layup.

“I talked to her before the game and she was very calm. She’s like coach I feel good,” said Sharon coach Cliff Tomassian. “What I like about Emma is when we emphasized taking it to the basket, she’s one of the ones that will do it.”

North countered with senior Kiersten Bixby, who came off the bench and scored a pair of buckets in the paint. Caroline Collard (team-high 13 points) added a pair of layups, Ashley Ahern buried a three-pointer and the Rocketeers closed the quarter on a 7-0 run.

Turnovers continued to plague the Eagles throughout the half and in the second quarter North pulled away.

The Rocketeers knocked down four threes, including a pair by Emily Schromm who scored eight of her 10 points in the second. Sophomore Emily Haskell hit one from beyond the arc and even senior forward Emily Peters got in the act with a shot from straightaway that made it 34-11.

“The second quarter kind of got away from us,” said Sharon coach Cliff Tomassian. “We tried a bunch of different defenses – 2-3, 3-2 – and nothing really worked so that’s what we talked about in halftime was getting back and rotating and talking to each other on defense.”

The defense improved in the second half, as the Eagles held North to just 10 points in the third. The Rocketeers also pulled out of the press and Sharon was able to get the ball into senior Alyssa Piazza in the post. Piazza (10 rebounds) scored seven of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, five of those from the free throw line.

Charlotte Ransom knocked down the first of her two second half threes and Sharon had cut the lead to 16. Ransom (13 points) would add seven points in the fourth quarter, including a three inside the final two minutes that cut the lead down to 53-38.

“We talked about being patient and not looking to try and score on the fast break but to set up and get into our offense,” said Tomassian about the improved offensive play in the second half.

Herber admitted that North is probably at its best when it is pressing and forcing the game to be played at its tempo, but he was also worried about wearing his team out so early in the season.

He explained, “A couple of the kids were out sick so we can’t put it on the whole time. In the second half we stayed away from it because we had some illness and we’re trying to keep people fresh.”

Although Sharon cut into the North lead and the Eagles defense was much better in the second half, particularly in rotating from side to side, the Rocketeers’ ball movement opened up passing lanes and created good scoring opportunities.

One sequence of quick passes around the perimeter led to an angled skip to Samantha Taggart (five assists) at the three-point line and she fired a quick pass into the post for a Collard layup. On another sequence, Ahern (13 points, six assists) drove through the lane and was able to squeeze a drop pass between two defenders for another layup.

“Everything is going to start with them and we’re trying to get them to be more assertive, but they want to share the ball sometimes to a fault,” said Herber of his two junior guards, Ahern and Taggart. “They’ve been playing great for us all year.”

He continued, “These kids share the ball very well and I’m very proud of the way they play that aspect. There’s not one kid who is trying to take a lot of shots.”

Piazza scored a pair of buckets in the final minute, both times cutting the North lead to 12. In the end, the Eagles had only four players get on the scoresheet (none off the bench) compared to the Rocketeers’ eight and it was too much to overcome.

North Attleboro (3-0) will now prepare for rival Bishop Feehan on Dec. 30. Sharon (0-3) will host Sandwich two days earlier.

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

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/15/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Foxboro, 73 @ Attleboro, 49 – Final – Senior Jason Procaccini scored a game-high 17 points in his Warriors debut, junior Mark Clagg added 16 points and Alex DuBrow had 10 points. Junior Andrew Milliken led Attleboro with 12 points and junior Jake Dunkley added 10 points.

Canton, 24 @ Franklin, 61 – Final – The Panthers jumped out to a 19 point lead after the first quarter lead and never looked back. Senior Tim Prunier scored a game-high 19 points in the win for Franklin.

Stoughton, 74 @ King Philip, 61 – Final – After being outscored 17-4 in the first quarter, Stoughton won the second quarter 32-9 to take control of the game. Senior Brandon Teixeira had a game best 22 points and had nine rebounds and six assists. Jared Maher and Jared Costa-Haywood each came off the bench to score 15 points apiece for the Black Knights. King Philip’s Noah Goodwin scored 20 points and Seth Sullivan had 16 points for the Warriors.

Oliver Ames, 44 @ Taunton, 72 – Final – After leading by just three after the first quarter, Taunton ran away with the win. Jose Mercado had a game-high 28 points, which was a league-high on Tuesday. Junior Tommy MacLean chipped in with 15 points and senior Carlos Borrero added 10 points.

Sharon, 39 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – Mansfield junior Matt Ehrlich scored a game-high 16 points (64% shooting), junior Max Boen had eight points and seven rebounds and junior Christian Weber had seven points, three boards and three assists. Sharon’s Matt Lowerre had 12 points and four rebounds, Ricardo Ripley added 11 points and Mitchell Sirota had 10 points and three rebounds. 
Girls Basketball
Franklin, 55 @ Canton, 31 – Final –  Carli Koffinke led the Panthers with 14 points. Lauren Rudolph chipped in with nine, Kristen Donaghy and Margaux Welsh each had eight for Franklin. The Bulldogs were led by Shannon Foley with seven points, while Meaghan Hunter and Hannah Jerrier each had six. 

Attleboro, 53 @ Foxboro, 52 – Final – Sarah Deyo led all scores with 24 points and added eight rebounds for the Bombardiers. Sam Pierce added 18 points and six blocks and freshman Jordyn Lako had six points and took a crucial charge with 15.2 seconds remaining that helped Attleboro pick up the win. Foxboro was led by senior Cassidy Harrison with 17 points, including five three-pointers, while Lily Sykes and Ashley Sampson each had nine points.
King Philip, 45 @ Stoughton, 55 – Final – Alecia Quinones scored 25 points and added nine rebounds for the Black Knights and Jess Greer added 16 to give head coach Charmaine Steele Jordan a win on her debut. KP was led by Sam Madden with nine points.
Mansfield, 57 @ Sharon, 32 – Final – Sharon senior guard Charlotte Ransom led all scorers with 16 points.
North Attleboro, 62 @ Milford, 37 – Final – Senior Kiersten Bixby scored a career-high 21 points for the Rocketeers, who also got 15 points from junior Caroline Collard. Milford was led by senior Jill Powers, who scored 10 points. Jess Tomaso scored eight and Kate Irwin had seven for the Hawks. 
Taunton, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 48 – Final – Oliver Ames had a big lead at the half and never looked back to pick up the win. Kayla Raymond led Oliver Ames with 11 points and Hannah Carroll had nine points. Kaitlyn McCarthy’s six points in the first half helped create a big lead. Freshman Sadie Homer had five steals in her varsity debut. 
Canton @ Taunton, 4:00

Rocketeers Continue Upset Run With Win at Franklin

North Attleboro girls soccer
The North Attleboro girls’ soccer team knocked off its second straight Hockomock champion on Sunday to advance to the Div. 1 South semifinal. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – Hana Caster was the only player to score a goal against the Franklin defense during the regular season. On Sunday afternoon at Pisini Field, Caster also became the only player to score against the Panthers in the postseason and in the process knocked Franklin out of the tournament in the Div. 1 South quarterfinal.

Caster scored just nine minutes into the game to give North Attleboro a lead that it would never relinquish. The 1-0 victory advances the Rocketeers into the semifinal and ends Franklin’s streak of sectional final appearance at three (and four of the last five).

If there were any nerves going against the league champions, North Attleboro certainly hid them well. The Rocketeers, coming off a 3-2 win against Davenport champion Oliver Ames, started well with pressure in the midfield and quick transitions to the front two of Haley Guertin and Caster.

“Franklin, I’ve always said, there’s no question they’re the best team in the league,” said North coach Glenn Pasquel, “but when we came out we thought, it’s just another game.”

He added, “The main thing is these girls focusing. When they focus, we’re on fire; they’re unstoppable.”

In the ninth minute, the pressure paid off when Guertin sprung Caster down the right channel only for the senior forward to hit a tame shot at Franklin keeper Dani Lonati. The ball was quickly heading back towards the Franklin goal and Grace Guertin flicked a header towards Caster who split the central defenders with her speed and then composed herself to chip Lonati.

“She’s a huge impact to our offense the way she’s moving the ball,” said Pasquel.

North continued to pile on the pressure and in the 15th minute, Ellie Teixeira was forced to clear a ball of the line.

Franklin had a chance in the 29th when left back Abigail Gipson crossed but barely missed the head of Molly Duncan and the toe of Meghan Doherty. In the 34th minute Alexis Stowell went on a long, weaving run only to hit a shot from the edge of the box right at North keeper Kiersten Bixby.

“They were the better team,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “That [goal] was the difference but it doesn’t tell the tale of the game. We couldn’t create anything up front, nothing consistent.”

The lack of sustained attack for Franklin was putting extra pressure on the defense to step up and just four minutes after the break, North almost doubled the lead. Haley Guertin got behind the defense but with the goal at her mercy dragged a shot narrowly wide.

In the 54th minute North again came close to the back-breaking goal when a ball was played over the top to Caster and she showed off her speed to outpace Lauren Rudolph. With only Lonati to beat, Caster elected to square the ball and it was cleared.

Two minutes later, another ball was played behind the defense and bounced toward Lonati. Caster never gave up the chase and there was a terrible collision between the keeper and the forward. Caster took a blow to the head and was down for several minutes before walking off with assistance. She would not return following that very scary moment.

Pasquel said, “Hana or anyone of our players, when we see them on the ground, and when she went down and wasn’t moving that was scary, the whole team said to itself that we have to help Hana and go out and win this game.”

Franklin knew that it had to press for an equalizer and the attack started to create more chances and to push higher up the pitch. The problem for the Panthers was that every time Victoria Stowell or Emily Spath or Meghan Georges got any momentum Rachel LaBonte was there for North to sweep up and to lear the attack.

LaBonte spent her freshman season playing mostly as an attacker, but Pasquel moved her back to sweeper in the preseason. He explained, “She’s unbelievable, She reads the play instantly. I just saw it and said to myself, you know what, she’s a defender and I’m going to give her a try.”

The best chance for Franklin came in the 71st minute when Gipson stepped into a full volley off a Stowell corner but hit it right into the chest of Bixby. A yard either side and the game would have been tied.

With four minutes remaining, Geysen called timeout to rally his team. He explained, “You have to push up. Everything goes over the top and you have to go get it. They created some chances but it was too little too late.”

Pasquel told his team, “This is the time we have to get past those injuries and we have to work together. We have four minutes left and then we go on to the next step.”

The clock wound down to nothing, the final whistle sounded, and for the second time in four days, North Attleboro raced onto the pitch to celebrate a victory at the home of one of its rivals.

“It’s the heart that leads this team,” said Pasquel, “and these girls have the biggest heart. Our goal from the beginning was that we’re going to finish to the end.”

Geysen struggled to put into context all that his senior class had accomplished in four years at Franklin. From a state championship as freshmen to three straight sectional finals (in one of the most competitive brackets in the state) to four straight league titles, the seniors had a lot for which to be proud.

“That may be one of the few teams that we’ve lost at home to in four years,” he said. “I had seven [senior] starters and three coming off the bench and they all played well tonight. They each gave it their all.”

North Attleboro will face Whitman-Hanson in the Div. 1 South semifinal on Veterans Day at Marshfield High.

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

Caster Hat Trick Blasts Rocketeers Past Oliver Ames

Hana Caster
Hana Caster (24) was a blur for North Attleboro on Thursday as she scored three times to lift the Rocketeers to a win at OA. (Josh Perry/

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

NORTH EASTON, Mass. – North Attleboro shocked Oliver Ames during the regular season, beating the Tigers for the second year in a row and for the first time in 13 years at Kelly Field. On Thursday night, the two teams met again at Muscato Stadium with far more than bragging rights on the line.

OA had the lead twice, but both times North bounced back and senior forward Hana Caster scored her third goal of the game with just seven minutes remaining to lift to the Rocketeers to a 3-2 victory in the opening round of the Div. 1 South tournament.

When asked how long it has been since North last won three in a row against the Tigers, North coach Glenn Pasquel shook his head and said, “I don’t think it’s ever happened.”

Trying to explain why the sudden success against the Davenport champions, Caster added, “We really play good against teams that are equal to us or even better. When it comes to a team where we know what they’re doing because we do the same things we get up for it.”

The Rocketeers were certainly enthusiastic at the start, but it was the Tigers that jumped into the lead. Following an early chance for Francesca Calabraro that sailed over the bar, OA took advantage of a poor clearance on a corner and Jess Robarge knocked it in from six yards out.

The lead lasted 13 minutes before Caster showed off her wheels to get on the end of a through ball by sophomore Haley Guertin down the middle of the field. Caster raced past the defenders and managed to get there just ahead of OA keeper Regan Benton, took a touch past her, and rolled it into the empty net.

“We told her that we’re not going to put the ball down the lane; we’re just going to pop them up over the top and you chase after them,” said Pasquel.

North Attleboro set out to limit the effectiveness of Calabraro with double teams, but OA still had chances in the first half with Jackie Mills heading straight at North keeper Kiersten Bixby and then twice Lauren Wright went close but could not find the back of the net.

The Tigers pressure paid off in the 35th minute when Calabraro was brought down in the box. Delaney Benton stepped up to put away the penalty and restore the lead. The Rocketeers almost equalized right after the restart but Caster was denied on a breakaway by Regan Benton.

Caster tied the game for a second time nine minutes after the break. Again she sped past her markers on a quick counterattack. Her first shot was saved by new keeper Bethany Dunk but she settled the rebound and fired it into the back of the net.

“You’re up 1-0, you’re up 2-1 and you have to be a little firmer in limiting their chances,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer. “You know Hana Caster is there and we can’t leave her open and we can’t give her chances and, to be honest, [North] played with more composure.”

The game was mostly a stalemate in the second half, thanks in large part to the play of the North Attleboro defense, which limited OA’s normally potent offense. The Rocketeers central defenders, Rachel LaBonte and Emily Chiasson closed down the middle of the field.

Pasquel said, “Our defense keeps everything together. When times were getting tough, we pulled back a little bit and they stayed together.”

Sellmayer agreed, “I thought their back four was outstanding. We tried to force the ball down the middle and then as the game got closer and tighter our decision-making got worse and worse.”

The Tigers nearly restored the lead in the 67th minute when Kiana Lozzi got free in the six-yard box, but Bixby got down quickly and blocked the chance.

That was a crucial stop, as six minutes later the Rocketeers took the lead. A scramble in front of the OA goal was not cleared properly and Caster managed to escape a crowd, find the ball, and score her third of the night to send the Rocketeers into hysterics.

“That always happens when there is such a big jumble and you see the ball in front of the net and I just got my foot on it,” she explained.

“That was so exciting. There’s nothing better than breaking a tie in a tournament game.”

With three minutes left, OA had one last chance when Delaney Benton got free down the left flank but her cross just missed Calabraro racing in at the back post and went out for a goal kick.

“We have a really, really positive team,” said Caster. “Not even one second of the game were we questioning that we would win.”

Pasquel added, “That’s one thing about this team; they’ll stay together to the end.”

The Rocketeers may get a second straight Hockomock League rival as they await the winner of Franklin and Walpole, which will be played on Friday afternoon.

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

Bombardiers Score Big Upset Over Rival Rocketeers

By Cameron Merritt, Contributor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In their final game of the season, and for many of their seniors the final of their soccer career, the Attleboro High School Lady Bombardiers relied heavily on the defensive back line and sophomore goalkeeper Madison Brown to contain rival North Attleboro, a team which had beat them 5-1 earlier in the season.
Thanks to a goal from junior forward Rebekah Entwistle, Attleboro topped North 1-0 to take the Blue and Red Cup Thursday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field.
“An emotional, hard-fought win,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “I’m just so excited that the girls pulled it off. They worked really hard [and] we came in with a game plan, we made sure we had to shut down the people we needed to, and we packed it in on our defense and it worked out.”
Brown made 13 saves, including some very serious chances by the Rocketeer forwards, to help her team to victory and earn the Outstanding Player honors for her side. Senior forward Hana Caster took the honors for North Attleboro, having been key in some of Big Red’s biggest offensive threats.
“[It was] unbelievable, probably one of my best games ever,” said Brown. “I’m really pleased with myself and the rest girls also. North is a good team.”
The Rocketeers came out of the gates the stronger team, dominating possession and keeping play in the Bombardier defensive end, putting up a few chances within the first few minutes. They’d be given a free kick in the eighth minute.
The resulting kick, though in a dangerous area, would fizzle after not long after hitting the wall and the game would remain scoreless, and North Attleboro would continue to be the stronger side, nearly scoring in the 17th minute after Caster’s cross found sophomore forward Haley Guertin, who sent a hard shot right into the arms of Brown.
The Attleboro offense would soon begin to wake up and attempt to make some chances of their own, as Entwistle was stopped by North goalkeeper Kiersten Bixby in the 23rd minute. She’d get close again with Hannah Meier almost getting on a chance at an open net before Bixby fell on and covered the ball.
But after several chances, Entwistle would finally put one past the keeper in the 40th minute. Senior midfielder Kayla Merritt played a pass upfield to Entwistle, and despite being denied by Bixby on the first attempt, tucked the rebound into the net to give the Bombardiers the 1-0 lead shortly before the first half came to a close.
“[Entwistle’s] just one of those people that once she gets going, she gets the momentum behind her, [and] just a hard worker who fights for her goals,” said Santos of the junior.
As the second half opened, it was clear the tides had turned as Attleboro took control, though North Attleboro certainly showed no signs of giving up anytime soon. After a Bombardier chance early on, chaos erupted in front of their goal in the 53rd minute as a free kick sent in front of the net resulted in several close calls for an equalizer and forced two Brown saves before finally bouncing off the crossbar and out of danger.
Only five minutes later, Felicity Monfils’ shot would go off Brown’s hands and off the crossbar and out and off the football goal post above it.
Attleboro would switch to a more defensive-oriented plan for containing their rivals in the second half rather than trying to add to their totals. In their final game as Lady Bombardiers, the seniors certainly played strong roles in keeping North Attleboro at bay. Paige Medeiros and Hayley Cassidy both proved strong on the back line, as well as Madison Turner, and in midfield, Merritt, Breanna Eddy, and Cassandra Vivar did their best to disrupt their rival’s ability to create chances. Eddy nearly had an offensive chance of her own in the 64th minute before the ball was scooped away to safety by Bixby.
The rest of the game seemed to keep everyone on edge, as both sides looked to get their way but with Attleboro prevailing in the end. North Attleboro may have equalized in the 65th minute as Caster appeared to be on a breakaway but would called a very narrow offsides to end that opportunity. After making a few stops near the end, Brown would hold onto the ball on her last opportunity until the referee blew the final whistle to seal a Big Blue victory.
Following the end of the hard-fought match, the trophy was presented to the winners, who now tied the Blue and Red Cup series at two games a piece. For the seniors, who spent much time with the trophy taking picture after picture, it was bittersweet.
“It was a good way to go out,” said Merritt, who along with Medeiros and Vivar captained Attleboro this season. “Though we didn’t have the best record this season, this trophy was really an accumulation of all our hard work.”
Looking forward to the future, however, Santos seemed optimistic in his team and their chances to come.
“We’ve got a good core of sophomores and a couple of key juniors coming back next year,” said Santos. “The girls have learned a lot this year. Our record wasn’t exactly what we wanted but we had a lot of learning and we’ll be better prepared for next year.”
North Attleboro still has one game remaining in their regular season before they head into the tournament, as they’ll play hosts to Durfee Saturday for some non-league Halloween action.

Friday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/09/15

Today’s games are listed below.
North Attleboro, 14 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final
1st Quarter: (NA) Patrick Johnson 65 yard interception return, Connor Flynn XP; (NA) Nick Rajotte 30 yard rush, C. Flynn XP.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Canton, 22 @ Stoughton, 21 – Final (OT)
1st Quarter: (Sto) Guy Eddy 1 yard run, XP missed.
2nd Quarter: (Can) Jake Ragusa 2 yard run, Thomas Monagle XP.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (Sto) Jake Gibb 18 yard pass to Eddy, 2-point failed; (Can) Dennis Ross 35 yard pass to Michael Harris, Woanyen Mahn 2-point run; Gibb 27 yard field goal.
Overtime: Ragusa 2 yard run, Monagle XP; Gibb 2-yard run, 2-point failed. 
Foxboro, 42@ Milford, 14 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Mark Clagg 52 yard pass to Austin Ryan, John Cronin XP good; (F) M. Clagg 15 yard pass to Ronnie Martin, J. Cronin XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Blake Hill 5 yard rush, XP good; (F) Darren Kelly 12 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good. 
3rd Quarter: (F) Austin Ryan 99 yard punt return, J. Cronin XP good; (M) Zach Lanzetta 10 yard pass to Blake Hill, XP good; (F) R. Martin 11 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) D. Kelly 65 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good. 

King Philip, 10 @ Franklin, 3 – Final
1st Quarter: (KP) Zach Boari 17 yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: (F) Nick Yelle 20 yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (KP) John DeLuca 2 yard rush, Z. Boari XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

Taunton @ Mansfield – Postponed to 10/10, 12:00

Sharon, 28 @ Oliver Ames, 12 – Final
1st Quarter: (OA) Liston Funai 7 yard rush, 2pt fail.
2nd Quarter: (S) Tyler Smith 55 yard rush, Josh Rotman XP good; (S) Rob Bayha 21 yard pass to Craig Titus, J. Rotman XP good; (S) R. Bayha 21 yard pass to Bryce Smith, J. Rotman XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Juvan Elisma 43 yard rush, J. Rotman XP good.
4th Quarter: (OA) Charlie Ryan 12 yard pass to Shawn Cardoza, XP fail.
Boys Soccer
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Kevin Hall scored for the third straight game, this time off an assist from David Stowell to pace the Panthers. Austin Kent added an unassisted for for Franklin.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Kinge  Philip, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Keegan Nutt headed home the lone goal of the game, finishing off a rebound off of Chris Romero’s shot that hit the crossbar.

Milford, 1 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Lens Esquil scored for the second consecutive game, this time finding the back of the net twice for the Tigers. Senior Austin Botelho had two assists and Daeshawn Duffy scored once.
Sharon, 4 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Sharon found the back of the net just five minutes into the game when Lucas Allaria converted an assist from Jake Goloboy. James Dunlea doubled the league off an assist from Liam McManus and Stephen Higgins scored unassisted in the 34th minute to make it 3-0. Matt Lowerre capped Sharon’s scoring shortly into the second half off an assist from Dunlea. Gareth King netted a late goal for the Rocketeers.
Girls Soccer
Franklin, 2 @ Canton, 0 – Final – Megan Georges and Meghan Dieterle scored the goals for Franklin both assisted by Victoria Stowell.
Mansfield, 4 @ Foxboro, 2 – FinalJen Kemp scored two goals and assisted on a pair of Jackie Carchedi goals in the first half for the Hornets. Hannah Burns scored in the first half and Lily Sykes scored with five minutes left for Foxboro. 
King Philip, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Francesca Calabraro scored a pair of goals for OA. Emily Freeman and Julia Roy also scored, while Delaney Benton had three assists for the Tigers, who scored all their goals in the first half. 

Taunton, 1 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Kristen Franzini scored off an assist by Gabbie O’Neil and Katie Brown headed home the winner with fewer than two minutes remaining assisted by Francesca Shipperd. Christine Pye returned from injury to make 11 saves in goal. Abby Small had the goal for Taunton.

North Attleboro, 5 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Hana Caster scored once and had two assists, Shannon Kingsley netted a pair of goals and Haley Guertin picked up two points for the Rocketeers, who led 3-0 at half. Felocity Monfils also added a goal for the Rocketeers and Leah Jette had an assist. Kiersten Bixby and Nina Beauvias combined for the shutout in net.
King Philip, 1 @ Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final King Philip fell on the road, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 16-15. 
Mansfield, 1 vs. Needham, 3 – Final – Mansfield picked up a win in the second set to level the match but Needham took sets three and four to get the win, 19-25, 25-17, 22-25, 16-25. Cathryn Heavey had 33 assists and 10 digs in the loss for the Hornets.
Sharon, 1 @ Norwood, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 1 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final – Stoughton suffered a 26-24, 15-25, 24-26, 19-25 loss on the road. Bianca DeSousa had 16 assists, 14 digs, 10 service points, eight aces, five kills and two blocks and Val Whalen added seven kills and seven blocks.
Field Hockey
Milford @ Taunton – Postponed to 10/19
Attleboro, 184 @ Foxboro, 174 – Final

King Philip, 169 @ Oliver Ames, 157 – Final – Jack Green’s 37 paced Oliver Ames while Brian Lambert carded a 39. Todd Bushway and Danny McLoughlin each shot 41 for King Philip.

Stoughton, 190 @ Franklin, 165 – Final – Matt Dao and Matt Pleshaw each shot a 40 for the Panthers. 
Taunton, 208 @ Mansfield, 206 – Final (5 cards) – David Craig led Mansfield with a 39, who picked up its second straight win on a card off. Devon Barbero shot a 40, Mike Marry shot 41 and Matt Chirichiello carded a 42.