Wolfpack Rally Sinks King Philip in Central/East Final

King Philip Volleyball
King Philip celebrates a point against Boston Latin in the D1 Central/East final at Wellesley High. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WELLESLEY, Mass. – After falling behind by a set in Saturday morning’s D1 Central/East final at Wellesley High, King Philip turned the tables on No. 4 seed Boston Latin and won two sets in a row. The Warriors were returning every shot and asserting themselves in the middle, playing to their strengths, but then the match turned again.

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KP couldn’t close out the Wolfpack. Boston Latin dominated the fourth set, winning 25-15, and then kept that momentum going into the decisive fifth set as well, winning 15-8 to seal the comeback and the title. This was the second Central final for KP in the past three years and the second time that the Warriors were denied a first-ever sectional title.

“I think definitely their hitters were starting to come on stronger,” said KP coach Kristen Geuss about the Boston Latin comeback. “We had a hard time blocking (Breann Cleary) and blocking (Ashley Rooney). We worked on it in practice, but I just think we weren’t strong enough to keep the ball in. We were getting there, we were getting touches on it, but just hitting it out.”

Geuss added, “I think we played great. They played their hearts out. They worked very, very hard and it was good volleyball.”

The two teams spent most of the first set feeling each other out, trying to find the weak spots to attack. Neither team led by more than three points and the set was tied at 22-22 after an ace by KP libero Emma Brooks. Latin won the final three points of the set, two of them on kills by Cleary.

Boston Latin jumped out to a 4-3 lead early in the second after a Cleary block, but then KP rattled off eight straight points on the serve of Lauren Peterson (four aces) to grab control of the set. The Warriors started spreading the ball around with Nicole Coughlan (15 kills, two blocks) and Kristen Masse (five kills, six digs) each getting hits during that run.

After a hit by Ali McNamara put KP up 18-10, but Latin showed its resiliency by scoring five straight points and getting back within three. Needing a response, Peterson set middle hitter Catherine Waldeck (14 kills, four blocks) and she blasted a hit to regain a four-point lead. Brooks followed with an ace and KP was back in charge.

“They’re huge,” Geuss said about Coughlan and Waldeck. “They generate our offense. They’re our leading point scorers all year long, that’s the way we built our offense. The two outside hitters, Kristen and Ali, if Nicole and Catherine are off they step up to the plate. We had a couple weapons we could use.”

KP won the second set 25-20 to level the match. In the third, the Warriors put themselves in position to bring home the Central title.

Coughlan buried a pair of kills to make it 6-4 early on and then added another to regain the lead at 10-9. Waldeck and Coughlan both had blocks to make it 16-13 and the KP defense continued to excel with Peterson and fellow setter Kiley Sullivan and Lily Carlow keeping everything up and Brooks dominating from the back line.

“She’s all over the place. She throws her body to the ground day-in, day-out at practice. She goes for every single ball,” said Geuss about Brooks. “Lily Carlow as well, they’re like Energizer bunnies, they’re non-stop. They set up our offense. They’re there to pick up every single ball.”

Latin got back within two at 19-17, but a couple of errors and then a precise tip by Waldeck and an ace from Coughlan put KP on the brink of a 2-1 lead. After a long rally, Waldeck blocked another hit and then she closed out the set with a kill.

The Warriors were rolling and the excitement was palpable from the home bench, but then things flipped around in the fourth. Latin jumped out to a 12-5 lead with KP making uncharacteristic mistakes and its serve-receive game struggling for the first time in the match. The Wolfpack was suddenly getting every bounce, as kills were slamming off blockers and serves were hitting the net and landing for points.

KP just never really got going in the fourth, as Latin led throughout. The lead was pushed to 20-12 on a Cleary kill off the block, 21-13 off another hit that went off a KP hand, and then once more off the block to finish the set.

“I felt our passes were too close to the net and our setters were too close to the net and we had a lot of net calls, which we never get those calls like that,” said Geuss.

In the semifinal against Quincy, KP faced similar circumstances and was able to win the fifth set and the match. On Saturday, the energy that Latin built up in the fourth was too much to overcome.

The Wolfpack won five of the first six points in the fifth and never relinquished control. Waldeck had a tip drop in for a point to make it 7-3 and Carlow snuck a shot down the line to get within three, but another run made it 10-5.

Trading points was not going to be enough for the Warriors, who got kills from Waldeck and McNamara, but just never got close enough to put real pressure on Boston Latin. An ace finished off the win for the Wolfpack and sent KP home with its second runner-up trophy in three seasons.

King Philip finished the season with a record of 18-5.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

King Philip Knocks Off Quincy In Five Set Thriller

King Philip volleyball Catherine Waldeck
King Philip’s Catherine Waldeck swings at a ball in the opening set against Quincy on Wednesday. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
QUINCY, Mass. – An early deficit, the momentum against them, and their backs against the wall with the season on the line.

Those were just some of the obstacles the King Philip volleyball had to overcome on Wednesday evening on the road at Quincy.

King Philip fell behind 1-0, saw momentum swing to the hosts when the Presidents erased a 2-1 deficit to force a decisive fifth set, and then rallied when Quincy was just two points from a victory.

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Trailing 13-12 in the final set, the Warriors won three straight points when senior Kiley Sullivan dumped a second ball to an open space in the Quincy back row, junior Lily Carlow dropped in an ace into the center of the court, and senior Kristen Masse drilled a line shot for a kill that clinched a 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 25-14, 18-25, 15-13) win for #2 King Philip over #3 Quincy.

“They’ve worked so hard all season, day in and day out,” said King Philip head coach Kristen Geuss. “We’ve had some close games along the way. This game could have gone either way, it really could have. I think that game three gave us a lot of confidence. I know we lost game four but they knew they could it. And they fight to the end, and that’s impressive. Regardless of the outcome tonight, I couldn’t ask for anything more, they’ve been working hard.”

The fifth set was a rollercoaster symbolic of how the entire match went. Quincy jumped ahead with a quick 4-1 lead but the Warriors battled back with a 7-3 run that included a big block from Catherine Waldeck (21 kills, five blocks), aces from Emma Brooks (13 digs, three kills) and Masse (eight kills, four digs), and a double block from Nicole Coughlan (11 kills, three aces, two blocks) and Giovanna Fruci.

After switching sides, the Warriors twice took multi-point leads but Quincy wouldn’t go away. Waldeck had a big block and a kill to take an 11-8 lead but back-to-back points from the President made it a one-point game again.

Waldeck rose up and slammed a free ball down after a good defensive play from the Presidents for a 12-10 advantage but Quincy grabbed momentum back after a service error and a kill, tying it at 12-12.

After a timeout from Geuss, Quincy got a kind roll on a swing that just made it over the net and fell to the floor for a 13-12 lead, forcing Geuss into another timeout.

“I just told them, ‘we can do this.’” Geuss said of the message in the timeout. “We talked about how no ball touches the floor, we had been there before and we can do it again. We struggled with our serves at times so we needed to get our serves over and in. And we did it.”

An errant pass on a serve receive pulled Sullivan out of position but she alertly pushed the second touch deep into Quincy’s side, and with the defense pulled in, the ball fell to the floor to make it 13-13.

Carlow followed up but delivering a dipping ace right over the net and between the front and back rows to put KP on the verge of the win. After handling a Quincy swing, Sullivan set Masse up and she placed a perfect shot down the line for the win.

“We’re deep,” Geuss said of having so many players make plays down the stretch. “We work on these situations in practice and we talk about how not everything needs to be a kill. You look for the open spots, play smart. Sometimes it’s better to play smarter than to play harder.”

The opening set went back-and-forth with each team trying to feel the other out. The teams were tied six times over the first 22 points. King Philip had its largest lead behind a block from Waldeck, and then a double block from Waldeck and Ali McNamara to go up 17-12.

But Quincy fed off the energy of home court advantage and rallied with a 7-2 to knot the game at 19-19. KP won the next two points on back-to-back kills from Sullivan and Masse but Quincy won the final six points to secure a 25-21 win and a 1-0 advantage.

King Philip grabbed a small cushion early and held onto that for the majority of the match. A quick 5-2 burst midway through the set that featured a pair of kills from Waldeck gave King Philip a 15-10 advantage, and the Warriors never looked back from there. KP finished with a 10-4 run with Coughlan getting a pair of kills and using a strong serve late that helped clinch the win.

“Our defense, they’ve played well all year long,” Geuss said. “They are the start of everything. They don’t get the glamour but they set everything up for us.”

The momentum carried over for the Warriors, and they put on a stellar performance in the third game to take a lead in the match.

KP raced out a 15-5 lead with Waldeck, Coughlan, Carlow, Brooks (back row), and McNamara all recording kills early in the set, and Lauren Peterson chipping in with an ace and a handful of strong sets.

Quincy picked up a little steam late in the set but King Philip finished it off behind a tip kill from Waldeck, a block kill from Coughlan, and an ace from Brooks for the Warriors’ second straight 25-14 win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“My two middles have been incredible the whole year,” Geuss said of Waldeck and Coughlan. “They are our go-to players. We have some strong outsides but our middles have gotten it done all year so whenever we can, we go to our middles.”

The fourth set resembled the first, with it being close throughout before Quincy pulled away. Besides an early lead, KP’s only advantage came at 14-3 after a terrific save on a loose ball from Sullivan. But Quincy took the lead with a 6-2 run and never looked back, eventually winning 25-18.

King Philip volleyball (18-4) is back in the D1 Central/East Sectional Final and will take on #4 Boston Latin (14-6) on Saturday at Wellesley High with the start time still to be determined.

Panthers Pick Up Key Win Over King Philip

Franklin volleyball Allyson Bonnet-Eymard
Franklin junior Allyson Bonnet-Eymard swings at a ball against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin looked like it was on its way to a three-set sweep of visiting King Philip in a battle of the top two teams in the Kelley-Rex division.

The Warriors wouldn’t go quietly though, putting their best performance forth and winning the third set to grab momentum and put the pressure on the hosts.

But the Panthers responded well, pulling away after a tight start to the fourth set to earn a 3-1 (25-17, 25-12, 22-25, 25-16) win and a regular season sweep over King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With the win, Franklin moves into a first-place tie atop the division with the Warriors with four league games left apiece

“The girls are much more confident compared to the beginning of the year,” said Franklin head coach Kelsey Weymouth. “They were playing together for the first time then and now they’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in their roles. They know who does what, how girls like their sets, they are learning to do their jobs. I think they were all trying to do too much when the season started.”

The Panthers used a balanced attack offensively and a strong net presence defensively to earn the win.

Junior Allyson Bonnet-Eymard had a team-high 10 kills, senior Sophie Lyons (seven digs) chipped in with five kills, junior Emma Chase recorded four kills on .400 hitting along with three blocks, and senior Bridget Jackson finished with five blocks and four kills.

“Sometimes you’ll have a player or two that’s on, or a player or two that’s having an off night,” Weymouth said. “But tonight everyone was playing well, it was great to see.”

Franklin got off to a strong start, building a 10-7 lead. The Panthers went on an 8-2 run that featured a big kill from Lyons through a block. KP got within four points but Franklin hit back with four straight, punctuated by a kill from Bonnet-Eymard.

The teams traded points before a pair of KP errors set the Panthers’ up for set point. Off a set from sophomore Cailyn Mackintosh (26 assists, 12 digs, three aces), Chase hit around a block in the middle and hit the line for a kill to secure the 1-0 advantage.

It was all Franklin in the second set. The Panthers jumped out to a 5-1 lead and kept that advantage over the first 15 points. The separation came in the form of an 11-3 run that featured an ace from Bonnet-Eymard, a kill from Sarah Jackson, and a kill from Lyons off a KP block.

Holding a 19-8 lead, the Panthers finished the set behind another two kills from Bonnet-Eymard, including one that hit the 10-foot line on a cross court shot. In the set, KP only mustered five earned points.

“We didn’t play our game,” said KP head coach Kristen Geuss. “The better team won tonight. Our energy was definitely better in game three. We tend to start off slow, and unfortunately, we didn’t pick it up quickly enough.

“We couldn’t get more than a few points in a row. We’d win a point but then we ‘d have an unforced error or a serving error. You can’t win playing that kind of volleyball.”

But the Warriors were a completely different team with their backs against the wall in the third set. Senior Catherine Waldeck (15 kills, four blocks) gave the visitors an early spark, scoring four of KP’s first five points. Two came in the form of blocks while two were kills.

It was a lead that KP never surrendered, though the Panthers made a strong push to keep it close. Junior Nicole Coughlan (11 kills) had back-to-back big swings and junior Giovanna Fruci came up with a big block to give KP an 8-4 edge early.

An ace from Kristen Masse gave the Warriors a 13-7 advantage, and freshman Ahunna James and Waldeck had consecutive tip kills that forced the hosts into a timeout at 15-9.

Behind some strong serves from Jackson, the Panthers kept pace with KP, even getting within three on a kill from Mikayla Raffin. But the Warriors never let the lead slip, getting a key ace down Lauren Peterson.

Fruci, Coughlan, and Waldeck each recorded a kill to earn three of the final four points for KP, with the latter getting the set sealing shot to keep the Warriors alive in the match.

Both sides started strong in the fourth set with the teams tied at 6-6 and again at 8-8. But from there, the Panthers were able to slowly pull away to secure the win.

The big difference came in the form of a quick 6-0 burst that put the Panthers up 14-8. Bonnet-Eymard had a kill and an ace, Jackson added a block, and KP had three hitting errors in the sequence.

“I think the girls were a little too comfortable in the third set but they did a great job of coming back in the fourth,” Weymouth said. “We changed a couple of things up but we went back to what they are confident in and were able to pull away.”

KP got within four points with the help of a kill from James and a net violation, but Franklin’s Sarah Jackson landed a kill on the next play and the Panthers never looked back. Bridget Jackson had a solo block and combined with Bonnet-Eymard for another one down the stretch to help finish the match.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin used a double block on KP’s middle attacks throughout the match, with Jackson and Bonnet-Eymard’s last block highlight the success it had.

“We brought [the double block] anytime they went to the middle,” Weymouth said. “They got their share of hits but we were able to get some good blocks. We practiced it yesterday, we wanted to try and get four hands on the hit. Our blocking was on point tonight. The middles did a good job setting the block, and the defense around it did great too.”

Franklin volleyball (10-2 Hockomock, 11-2 overall) is back in action on Thursday with a trip to Franklin. King Philip (10-2, 12-3) will look to bounce back at home against Taunton on the same day.

Volleyball: 2019 Hockomock League Preview

2019 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 2-17
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Courtney Durocher

The Attleboro Bombardiers are determined to improve on last year’s season and are planning to use a lot of effort and hard work to do so.

Attleboro has key pieces back in key spots for head coach Courtney Durocher to use. It all starts with junior setter Ana Leonardo, who enters her third year playing at the varsity level. After splitting time as a freshman, Leonardo shined as the lone setter for the Bombardiers last year. Having that experience in such an important position will help the Bombardiers offensively. Durocher is looking for Emily McGovern to get a lot of swings at the outside hitter position while Hailey Thake should get opportunities on the right side. The defense will be anchored by libero Jessica Matheson.

“I feel we could have a breakout season this year with the group of girls we have,” Durocher said. “It will take effort and time, but know we can do it.”

Canton

2018 Record: 19-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central Final
Coach: Pat Cawley

After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, the Bulldogs were back with a vengeance last year with a terrific season that resulted in a division title and a trip to the sectional final.

The Bulldogs were back atop the Davenport after a one-year hiatus, picking up 19 wins overall. Canton graduated a lot of key pieces from last year’s successful squad, but expectations are still high for 2019 as the Bulldogs look to defend their Davenport title. Senior Taylor Harris will give the Bulldogs a lot of power at the net as one the league’s best hitters, and she will also be a key piece of the defense. Junior Liz Bickett is back as one of the middle blockers, and junior Olivia Chinsen will be tasked with some of the setting duties as well as an attacking option on the right side. Junior Angie Elias will be another option on the outside while junior Shannon Malloy has stepped up to take on the other middle spot for the Bulldogs. Head coach Pat Cawley is looking for seniors Emily Morrison and Rosana Cho to anchor a relatively inexperienced group of defensive players to try and fill the void left by last year’s libero Meghan McDonough. Junior Jackie Morrissey and sophomore Taylor Reynolds are also in the mix for the setter spot.

“While we have a totally new look this year, the preseason has shown there is great potential,” Cawley said. “We have several good defensive candidates and I am excited to see who steps up and wins the starting roles. Our setting is inexperienced but hardworking and improving every day. I am fortunate to work with a great group of fun, determined and dedicated athletes looking to elevate their game!”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 1-19
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Vicki Santana

Former Canton standout Vicki Santana takes over as head coach of the Foxboro Warriors and is aiming to help her team improve over the course of the season.

The Warriors are hoping 2019 will be a turnaround year after just one win last season. O’Brien brings a wealth of playing experience, winning multiple Hockomock League championships with the Bulldogs and setting multiple records while at Worcester State. She holds two single-season records for digs and is second in program history in total digs (1,271). Santana has a strong core of players back to work within her first year including senior captains Grace Boudreau, Sara Addeche, and Maddie O’Brien. Boudreau gives the Warriors experience at the net as an attacking option while Addeche and O’Brien both provide strong leadership on and off the court. Junior Kelsey Treweek will anchor the defense as the libero while newcomer Shakirah Ketant should factor in defensively at the net.

“We are focused on developing the team as a whole and strengthening the camaraderie on and off the court,” Santana said. “Volleyball is a mental game and building our team culture around trust, positivity, and motivation is a priority for the year.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 20-1 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinals
Coach: Kelsey Weymouth

It’s going to be a completely new look Franklin squad this fall, but second-year head coach Kelsey Weymouth is still expecting a strong season from the Panthers.

Coming off the best season in program history which featured an undefeated regular season, a D1 Central West sectional title, and a trip to the D1 State Semifinals, the Panthers will look to new faces to try and orchestrate another successful season. Allyson Bonnett-Eymard picked up valuable experience last season, registering 102 kills, and will be one of the go-to options on offense for Franklin this year. Weymouth also expects Bonnett-Eymard to be involved in the setting game as well. Other returners include Bridget Jackson and Emma Chase, both of which will play in the middle. Weymouth expects Chase to hit from various spots at the net this year. Sophomore Cailyn Macintosh had a strong offseason and will be in the mix for setting duties, junior Jill Benoit will be a key piece of the back row defense as the libero, and senior Sarah Jackson will see an expanded role at the net this season. The Panthers will be relying on their height to lead the defense at the net.

“We are more of a younger team this season but each player has made huge improvements,” Weymouth said. “Most of the team has not played together before, so our chemistry will be key. I love having a lot of variety on my team because that means I can move a lot of people around playing different positions.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 11-11
2018 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Quarterfinals
Coach: Kristen Geuss

After an up and down season in 2018, King Philip is looking to compete for the Kelley-Rex title again this year.

The Warriors have a strong mix of starters and experienced players due back this season so there is a lot of potential for this season. The heart of the offense returns with both senior Catherine Waldeck and junior Nicole Coughlan (the 2018 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year) back as the team’s middle blockers. Both had over 130 kills last season and combined for 77 blocks so the Warriors will certainly be strong up the middle again this year. Senior Kristen Masse will complement them as one of the outside hitters, the Warriors having their top three attack options back this season. Senior Kiley Sullivan and junior Lauren Peterson (both over 100 assists last year) are back to run the offense from the setter position. Juniors Lily Carlow and Emma Brooks bring experience to the back row defensive unit. Head coach Kristen Geuss expects juniors Ali McNamara, Paige Kannally, and Tori Claypoole to all factor in as well.

“There is a great deal of potential on the team,” Geuss said. “Many have put in the time in the offseason to improving their game. They are working hard in practice and are improving each day.”

Mansfield

2018 Record: 7-13
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Melissa Heeden & Cindy Conquest

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the 2019 version of the Mansfield Hornets, and for good reason with a lot of returning players back this season.

While the Hornets missed out on the playoffs a year ago, there is a lot of talent back that gained valuable experience and will be looking to compete for a division title this season. Last year’s inexperienced group is now ready to show off what they learned last season. There are five seniors that will lead the charge for Mansfield: outside hitter/defensive specialist Julia Buiser, outside hitter Emily Dardinski, setter Olivia Fernando, libero Sam Sternburg, and setter Stephanie Walker. Having a senior at almost every position gives Mansfield an edge in both leadership and experience. Junior Olivia McGrath, sophomore Julia Kelly, junior Alina Nowakowski, and junior Ashley Santos all saw valuable match time last year and will be looking to take the next step this season. With such a well-rounded team, head coach Melissa Heeden has been moving the pieces around looking for the right combination heading into the season. Heeden is hoping that the combination of more experience and a balanced team will translate into success on the court.

“I am really excited about our team this year,” Heeden said. “The girls have worked really hard and we have a lot more experience this year than we did last year. We have a great team with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We are well balanced and I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do!”




Milford

2018 Record: 9-10
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central First Round
Coach: Tammy Webber

After just making it into the state tournament a year ago, the Scarlet Hawks return an experienced group that is aiming to compete for the Davenport division title.

Milford has been in the mix before, their best chance at the division coming in 2016, but should be a serious contender in 2019. The Hawks bring back two talented middles in Allison and Lauren Corsini, Julia Riordan returns as the starting setter, Alyssa Williamson is back at the outside hitter spot, and right side hitter Elise Faurerbach has solid varsity experience. Sophomore Sarah Brogioli should see an expanded role as an outside hitter after getting some swings last year as a freshman. The Corsini sisters combined for over 200 kills and over 100 blocks and should give Milford an edge both offensively and defensively. Riordan dished out 420 assists a year ago and has plenty of weapons at her disposal, including Williamson (108 kills in 2018). The challenge early on will be replacing defensive specialists Sydney Sutton and Nina Pinto, who combined for the majority of the team’s digs and serve receives last year.

“We have the offensive pieces, but are working on the consistency we will need, especially in our passing, to be in the running for a Hockomock championship,” said head coach Tammy Webber.

North Attleboro

2018 Record: 10-9
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Kim Hallahan

With 10 seniors on the roster, North Attleboro coach Kim Hallahan is excited for upcoming season.

It all starts with the two senior captains for the Rocketeers, with seniors Hayley Gaskin and Brook Street leading the way for North Attleboro. Gaskin returns as the starting setter after a very strong junior campaign in which North Attleboro qualified for the state tournament. Street will step in to anchor the defensive line in the back row as the libero while Gaskin, who had 416 assists last year with just 10 ball handling errors, will have a lot of the same options back again this year. One of those options will be senior Kylie Melanson, who was second on the team last year with 124 kills, and junior Joanna Collins-Bilyeu, who is set to see an expanded role at the net this year. With a strong group of well-rounded players, the challenge now for Hallahan is finding the right combination of players and the right rotations heading into the season.

“I have a really good feeling about this year,” Hallahan said. “The girls all have good spirits and work really, really hard, but most importantly work really well together. I’m really excited for this season.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 14-8
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Chelsea Cunningham

Oliver Ames is riding a three-year streak of qualifying for the state tournament and is looking to make it four this season.

Head coach Chelsea Cunningham has two of her top players back from last year’s 14-win squad in senior outside hitter Jordan Bosse and setter Allie Kemp. Bosse was one of the top hitters in the league and led the Tigers with 240 kills, so having a strong, experienced player back at the outside hitter position will be a big boost early on. And on top of that, Kemp (the 2017 HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year) is back to distribute the ball so there should be an early connection between the two. Cunningham is also looking for senior Alison Barth to step into the libero role, Ryley McNeeley to get some swings both in the middle and right side, junior Caroline Flynn to play the other outside hitter role, and sophomore Hadley Rhodes (setter/opposite) to play a variety of roles.

“We are hoping to learn from every practice, game, and everything in between,” Cunningham said. “The girls are flexible in their roles and all have something to offer on and off the court. Offensively, we have many options this year and hope to utilize everyone on the roster. Defensively, we have some holes to fill but continue to adjust to each team we face. With this particular group, expectations have been set, and they have to work for everything. With all the different factors that play a role, I could not have asked for a better group of student-athletes to work with.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 7-12
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

Sharon has a lot of returning players with experience at the varsity level which has head coach Andrea Lovett excited for the upcoming season.

The Eagles will look to use their strength and experience at the front row to pace the offense. Juniors Sara Fandel and Leah Fandel are back after picking up good experience a year ago, and senior Jada Johnson returns after one year off. Johnson had a terrific sophomore campaign and could be a big difference-maker for the Eagles. Senior captain Maya Aidlin-Perlman and junior Brynne Aidlin-Perlman will provide the power from the outside hitter spots. Senior captain Ally Brown brings quickness and intelligence to the setter spot and will be a leader for the Eagles both on and off the court.

“Over the last several years, Sharon has been gaining skills, experience, and a renewed drive to win,” Lovett said. “We are looking forward to carrying that trend into the season.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 16-5
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Erica Batchelder

The Black Knights have put together back-to-back 16 win seasons and have graduated two straight strong classes, so expectations are high for the upcoming season.

With some key losses to graduation, the Black Knights will be changing up some tactics and strategies this year to best take advantage of the players they do have returning. There will be a lot of focus on the defensive side of the ball, with a strong emphasis on hustle and eliminating unforced errors. Senior Alexa Quinones will be changing positions to take over as the setter. Her experience as an attacking option makes her a dual-threat alongside middle blocker Amaya Morris. Morris had a strong season a year ago and will be a key piece of the net defense this season. Senior Sasha Hyacinthe will be one of the main offensive options after a breakout junior campaign. Stoughton will be turning to senior Veronica Noe to anchor the defense in the back row, junior Shanice Landrum will be stepping into one of the middle roles, and junior Camille Firmin will give the Black Knights an attacking option as both an outside hitter and on the right side.

“We have strong players filling gaps from last year,” said head coach Erica Batchelder. “I am excited for this season for Stoughton to show other teams not to ever count us out. We have a lot of heart, hustle, communication, and talent to back it up.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 5-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Toby Chaperon

There will be a learning curve this season for Taunton, which features an overall young team with limited varsity experience.

Head coach Toby Chaperon had a busy preseason with over 100 girls trying out for the program. Senior Alyssa Turcotte, an outside hitter and a middle hitter, will see a lot of time at the net for the Tigers this year as well as senior outside hitter Hailey Sullivan, who has “a tremendous feel for the game” according to Chaperon. Junior Ella Dunderdale brings a strong skill set so she can play in a variety of roles during the season while classmates Sonya Fernandez (middle) and Jaelyn Fernandez (setter) could emerge as top players this season. Fabian Pereira will be in the mix in the back row while sophomore Mikayla Clearly is likely to factor in in some capacity for the Tigers.

Volleyball: 2017 Hockomock League Preview

2017 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 2-17
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Richard Seibert

First year head coach Dick Seibert is hoping a mix of strong returning players and new faces will help Attleboro turn things around this season. One reason for hope is four-year varsity player Lexi Pereira, who was selected to the HockomockSports.com Second Team a year ago. Pereira provides the Bombardiers with a potent attack at the net as well as a strong defensive presence. Seniors Sarah Lynch (third year on varsity) and Rachel Perreault (libero) are also key members for Big Blue this season. Tabby Guinan, Olivia Protano, Mackenzie Christiansen and junior middle Amanda Kadisevskis all return this season with varsity experience. Protano and junior Faith Hindy will handle the setting duties this season.

“As a first year varsity coach at Attleboro, my goal is obvious: win some matches,” Seibert said. “Attleboro hopes to climb out of the cellar of the Hockomock League this year.”

Canton

2016 Record: 18-4 (Davenport Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D2 Central Final
Coach: Pat Cawley

It’s been a decade of dominance for the Bulldogs, winning a league title every year for the past 10 seasons. But that reign will be tested this season as the Bulldogs will boast a group that is mostly without varsity experience. Canton graduated 13 seniors from last year’s squad that reached the D2 Central Final. Senior Hannah Jerrier is one player back with some experience after playing middle a season ago. Jerrier will be joined by junior Erin Devine as the team’s middles while junior Nicole Brown, who saw little time a year ago, will take over as the team’s starting setting. While outside and right side hitting spots are up for grabs, Canton will look to senior Sofia Connor and juniors Megan McDonough and Julia Minichiello to anchor a defense that has been the calling card of the team the past couple of seasons.

“Many positions remain open at this point but all my players are working hard and looking better every day,” said head coach Pat Cawley. “We will be a team that will need to rely on and trust each other in order to succeed. I expect to improve with each match and be a team to be reckoned with down the line!”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 1-17
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Damish

Foxboro will lean heavily on its nine seniors, including captains Meagan Savage and Mary Booth, as well as a couple of younger players, as it tries to bounce back from last year. Dan Damish returns his leading blocker from last season in senior middle Delya Lorquet. Lorquet will be joined by sophomores Grace Boudreau and Calvi Goddard at the net. Senior Mandy Ryan and junior Shaelyn McCarthy will take over setting duties this season while Carly Madden and Maddie Elliott will be competing for attacking spots in the front row. Paulette Palomares will man the libero position with Gwen Calnan, Billie Prescott, Brynn Gilbert and Hannah St. Germain helping to solidify the back row.

“The team looks to play great defense, serve well, limit unforced errors, and communicate well on the court,” Damish said.

Franklin

2016 Record: 13-7
2016 Finish: Reached D1 Central/West Quarterfinal
Coach: Kate Horsmann

After losing just four seniors to graduation, the Franklin Panthers return an experienced and deep team ready to make a run at the Kelley-Rex division title. The Panthers bring back both of their middle hitters to anchor the attack and net defense. Senior Meaghan Maguire (42 blocks) is back for her third year while junior Maggie Doyle (57 kills) returns after a strong sophomore campaign. Franklin also brings back junior setter Lauren McGrath, who was selected as HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year last season. Ellie Wisniewski (63 kills) will be one of the team’s top offensive threats at outside hitter.

“We are deep and have experience on offense this season,” said FHS coach Kate Horsmann. “Our floor leader and top defensive player graduated, so finding a floor leader and shoring up our defense will be a big factor in how our season plays out.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 19-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Semifinal
Coach: Kristen Geuss

A year after winning the program’s third Kelley-Rex title, the Warriors look to be poised to earn back-to-back titles based on the returning talent they have. Leading the way is 2016 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and Hockomock League MVP Sydney Phillips, who had a tremendous season at outside hitter last year. She’ll be joined by senior Michaela Palumbo (outside hitter), Julianne Rando (defensive specialist) and Elise Pereira (libero). Junior Kat Kmetz is back as one of the team’s middle hitters after having a strong sophomore season, sophomore Grace Ely will step in as the other middle and senior Rachel Veilleux will take over as the setter.

“We are working hard for another successful season,” said KP head coach Kristen Geuss. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made on both offense and defense. We’ve had several scrimmages and I am happy with how our players have performed. We have a motivated team and are all looking forward to a strong start to the season.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 15-6
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Melissa Heeden

With two of the top net players back this season, Mansfield looks to be a true threat in a very deep Kelley-Rex division. Meg Hill, now in her fourth year on varsity, was fifth overall in kills a season ago and is one of the top net defensive players. Hill will be aided by Julia Harrison (104 kills) on the attack, now in her third year as an outside hitter for the Hornets. Junior Greenly Kelly will step into the other middle spot while senior Lexi Gardner will see time at outside hitter. Senior Emma Ascoli and sophomore Olivia Fernando will both see time setting for Mansfield.

“We have a lot of potential and have a great mix of senior leadership and experience as well as some young players who are going to add a lot to the team,” said MHS head coach Melissa Heeden. We have a lot to work on in the first few weeks, but I am very eager to see how this team come together.”

Milford

2016 Record: 15-6
2016 Finish: Reached D2 Central Semifinal
Coach: Dan Seaver

First year head coach Dan Seaver has a strong mix of returning experienced players and new faces and is excited for what the 2017 Scarlet Hawks can accomplish. Milford returns four players with significant playing time, including the team’s libero Kyra Alves. At the net, Kelley Reichert (outside), Gill Valanzola (outside/middle) and Juliana Tracy (middle) give the Hawks a strong net presence, both offensively and defensively. Elena Nosiglia (opposite) and Kate Lobisser (middle/opposite) are also back and could see increased roles in 2017. Junior Sydney Sutton will join Alves as a defensive specialist to solidify the back line.

“I believe that we have all of the pieces to the puzzle, but it is going to be finding their right spots,” Seaver said. “I think we have great leadership from our senior class and a lot of drive from different players to be good.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 12-10
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Jeff Crins

North Attleboro is looking to build on its state tournament berth a season ago and take the program a step forward in 2017. And Big Red has a good reason for optimism with so many key pieces back this year. The Rocketeers return their top three hitters from a year ago in Amelia Murphy (204 kills), Katie Demontigny (162 kills) and captain Caroline Vigorito. Leah Marceau is the team’s other captain and was a big piece of North’s defensive game, and a top server on the team.

“We are looking forward to a positive year this year,” Crins said. “We hope to have a stronger record than last year and compete against the top teams in the Hock league this year. With a big senior team this year I have high expectations for them and I am trusting that their experience will help them through some of the tough matches. My hope as a coach is that they come together as a team and really play to their potential.”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 11-11
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Chelsea Cunningham

Oliver Ames lost just three seniors to graduation, which means the majority of the Tigers are back this season and looking to compete in a deep Kelley-Rex division. Four-year varsity player Emma Petrillo (captain) returns as one of the team’s outside hitters and three-year varsity player Katie Flynn (captain) is back to man the right side of the attack. 2016 HockomockSports.com First Team selection Kayla Raymond (captain) will anchor net play from the middle. Sophomore Allie Kemp will step in to handle setting duties while Sadie Homer will lead the defense from the libero spot. Other returning varsity players include senior Maya Fetcho, senior Jacki Kandar, senior Caroline Cavanaugh, Grace McCallum and Jordyn Vella.

“This group of girls are feisty, committed and motivated to say the least; the girls come ready for all practice and have been anticipating for this competitive season to start,” said OA head coach Chelsea Cunningham. “From last year to this year, the chemistry is there for the majority of the team.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 4-14
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

Now in their second year under coach Andrea Lovett, the Eagles are looking to take yet another step forward. Returning six seniors, including four starters, is a good start for Lovett. Senior Jess Allan is back after a standout junior season that earned her HockomockSports.com Second Team honors in 2016. Cori Jermyn is also back and will be seeing time at outside hitter this season as the Eagles have found two capable middles to fill those spots. Ariana Chabot will continue as the team’s setter this season for the Eagles.

“I think we have a ton of talent and a group of athletes who are ready to go 100% from the first point to the last in every game,” Lovett said. “It’s going to be an exciting season for Sharon volleyball.”

Stoughton

2016 Record: 10-11
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Erica Batchelder

With two key pieces back from its offense a year ago, the Black Knights are looking to compete for the Davenport title and get back to the state tournament. One of the league’s top attacking options, Val Whalen, is back in the middle for Stoughton as well as classmate Jordan Motley. The duo not only provides Stoughton with offense, they are two top defensive options at the net. Senior captain Haley Stone will be tasked with anchoring the back line defensively.

“Stoughton hopes to make it to the postseason again with hard work and communication,” said Stoughton head coach Erica Batchelder.

Taunton

2016 Record: 5-14
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Toby Chaperon

The Tigers have graduated 20 seniors between the past two seasons, and now will rely on a group of younger players to help get back to the state tournament. However, Taunton has two seniors this season that they will rely on heavily. Sam Reaume (outside/middle) is back after being limited by injury a season ago and will be a top option at the net for the Tigers. Junior Kayli Fagan returns as the team’s setter after a stellar sophomore campaign while McKenzie Lucie (libero) also is back with varsity experience. Senior Rawan Hamie, juniors Kamila Cuevas, Adara Moreno, Sam Martin, Aaliyah Gillenwater, Michaela Felici, Sam Silviera and sophomore Alyssa Turcotte will be looked to fill voids up front while juniors Jaime Brown, Elaine Bodemer and Breanna Fevrier will be tasked with bolstering the defense from the back row.

“Obviously our goal is to get back to the state tournament,” said THS head coach Toby Chaperon. “Being in our league, every match is a grind and every win is hard fought so we know we have our work cut out for ourselves but I think with players like Sam Reaume and Kayli Fagan leading the way we can make a push to get back to the tournament.yeah

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

Jess Allan, Sharon – A four-year varsity player, Allan emerged as one of the top offensive players in the league last season with 133 kills. Not only is she a top hitter, she is also dangerous serving the ball.

Kyra Alves & Kelley Reichert, Milford – Alves emerged as one of the most reliable defensive players in the league last year. Her ability to read hitters helps put her in the right position to handle attacks and set Milford’s offense in motion. Reichert provided the Hawks with versatility a season ago. She will likely be one of the team’s top attacking options this season and will be one of the league’s top servers.

Kayli Fagan, Taunton – The Tigers had a down year in 2016 but Fagan stepped up and became one of the top setters in the league. Now with Sam Reaume back, Fagan will have a top attacking option to work with.

Meg Hill, Mansfield – Hill has improved every year both offensively and defensively. Her height helps her as one of the top blockers in the league and her power makes her one of the best attacking middles.

Lauren McGrath, Franklin – Even though she was just a sophomore last year, McGrath looked like a seasoned veteran setting the ball in 2016. She will have both middles back to work with this season while she works to create chemistry with outside and opposite hitters.

Amelia Murphy, North Attleboro – Murphy is one of four players back from the 2016 HockomockSports.com First Team. After registering 223 kills and 67 blocks a season ago, expect Big Red to rely on her offensive prowess again this season.

Lexi Pereira, Attleboro – Pereira is a do-it-all type player for Big Blue. Not only was she the team’s leader in kills, she was a top defensive player and a dangerous server as well.

Sydney Phillips, King Philip – Last year’s HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and league MVP is back and will be one of the top all-around players in the league, especially offensively.

Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames – Raymond led the Tigers in kills (202) and blocks (56) during her junior season. While she will have to adjust to a new setter this season, her ability to attack the ball will help whoever takes over that spot.

Val Whalen, Stoughton – As one of the top middles in the league a year ago, Whalen returns for her senior season. A lot of the offense runs through Whalen but she’s still able to beat opposing defenses who try to stop her.

Warriors Comeback Falls Short in Five-Set Thriller

King Philip Volleyball
King Philip battled back from two games down to force a fifth game against Quincy in the Div. 1 Central-East semifinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


WRENTHAM, Mass. – In the opening game of Thursday night’s Div. 1 Central-East semifinal, King Philip jumped all over visiting Quincy to build a 12-4 lead and then extending it back to seven points at 20-13. It looked like the Warriors were going to have a quick one-game lead on the Presidents in the rematch of last year’s five-setter at this same stage.

Instead, Quincy rallied to win 12 of the next 15 points and steal the game. Volleyball is a game of momentum swings and KP watched the Presidents carry their momentum over into a dominant second game that put Quincy on the verge of another sectional final.

That could have been it for another strong season for the Warriors, but instead KP fought back. Urged on by its home fans, KP swung the momentum back on its side and stormed back into the match, winning game three and saving a pair of match points to take game four.

Unfortunately for KP (19-3), Quincy was not rattled by the Warriors forcing a fifth game or by the Warriors jumping out to an early 4-1 lead in the deciding set. The teams battled back and forth and in the end, Quincy (19-3) had just enough to pull out the 3-2 (25-23, 25-16, 15-25, 26-28, 15-13) victory and advance again to the final.

“They played great,” said KP coach Kristen Geuss about Thursday’s opponent. “They are a great defensive team; they picked up everything.

“We tried. We played our game…We’ve come back from two games before, just couldn’t pull it out tonight. It wasn’t our night.”

Unlike on Tuesday, KP had the size advantage on Quincy, but the Presidents still had strength on the outside, especially senior Jessie Lei. Quincy took an early 4-1 lead but KP bounced right back with an 11-0 run to take control of the first set. Carly Adams had three straight aces at one point in the run and Sydney Phillips, who was chosen as the Hockomock League MVP by the coaches, added four kills.

The Presidents cut into the lead to get it down to four points, but again KP had an answer with Michaela Palumbo getting a big block to push the lead back to seven at 20-13. Things fell apart for the Warriors in the serve-receive game and Quincy stormed back into it. Geuss tried calling both her timeouts but the visitors took the set.

“We came out a little slow, as usual, and in tournament games you just can’t do that,” Geuss explained.

The energy of the first game carried into the second and Quincy built an early lead. After an error cut the lead to just two points, the Presidents went on a 9-3 run and took command at 19-11. The lone Warriors player who was having any success in the second was outside hitter Liv Baldufu>, as Quincy abandoned the block and sat back to seemingly dig every hit.

“They were getting all the digs,” said Geuss. “I guess they didn’t have to [block] cause they’re that good defensively.”

When asked if it is difficult to bounce back after losing a lead like KP did in the first, Geuss replied, “Absolutely. They had the enthusiasm for the second game. We didn’t. We just weren’t playing our game.”

The Warriors found their game in the third. Phillips had been quiet since her strong start but suddenly started clicking off the passing of Adams and the defensive play of libero Amanda Loewen. Phillips had seven kills in the second and Loewen closed out the game with back-to-back aces to keep the match alive.

Guess was asked about what got Phillips going in the third. She said, “She just needed her confidence back. I think once she got some more momentum, once you get one over and in you start to pick up some confidence.”

KP jumped out to a big lead in the fourth set as well with Loewen getting two more aces and the Warriors saving a point with Adams, Loewen, Kat Kmetz, and Molly Croke all keeping the ball alive before Balduf finished it with a blast down the line to make it 14-6.

The fifth set seemed inevitable at that point but again the Presidents showed resiliency to bounce back, cutting the lead to just three at 18-15. Phillips had the response for KP with three straight kills to give the home team a 23-17 lead, but the Warriors could not close it out and a kill by Shannon Foley tied it at 24-24.

Twice KP had to save a match point and then Emma Lopez rose up and earned her fourth kill of the game to seal a 28-26 win.

In the fifth, with the crowd riveted to every hit, KP took a 4-1 lead after a pair of Phillips kills. Quincy bounced back to win the next five points and force Geuss into a timeout. Lopez tied it at 8-8 with a kill but Quincy would regain the lead at 12-9 and force a second timeout.

A service error and a Phillips kill got KP within one. After an errant shot, Phillips made it 13-12. A service error set up the third match point for Quincy, but Phillips kept the game alive with another kill. The fourth match point turned out to be the difference for Quincy and fittingly it was Lei that got the winner.

“We weren’t picking up the tips. One or two points here or there could’ve changed the momentum easily,” said Geuss.

She added, “It’s good competition. It’s good volleyball and we had a great season. I’m so proud of them.”

Strong Serving Helps King Philip Overcome Oliver Ames

King Philip volleyball
(Jaron May/HockomockSports.com)

By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – One true test of character is the ability to bounce back from adversity and learn from your mistakes. Down one set to none, the King Philip Warriors were able to face adversity, in the form of the Oliver Ames Tigers, and bounce back winning the next three sets to grab a 3-1 victory.

Oliver Ames came out of the gates strong with a lot of energy and the team’s battled back and forth, with none getting too far ahead of the other. It came down to the wire, but strong serving from OA boosted the Tigers just enough to grab a 26-24 win.

“I think we started out slow. We weren’t playing 100% in game one, sometimes we tend to do that,” King Phillip head coach Kristen Geuss said.

The teams traded aces, kills and blocks in the second set. When it seemed like one team was about to pull away, their opposition would fight right back and even the score. The Warriors began to inch away towards the middle of the second set, only to lose a four point lead.

With the score knotted at 19 apiece, KP scored six straight to win the set and even the match 1-1.

The third set is when the Warriors came alive, starting the set on a 14-1 run, due in large part to great serving from Sydney Phillips. The Warriors closed the set with a score of 25-7.

The final set was a little more tightly contested, but some big serves from KP’s Amanda Loewen and Angela Vellante helped the Warriors finish off the Tigers with a final set score of 25-15. The final point of the game came to a very fitting end in the form of a booming spike from Phillips.

Geuss was extremely impressed Phillips, saying that she “holds her own on the outside, one of our strongest outside hitters and her serving tonight was incredible.”

Phillips finished with 28 service points and totaled up 10 aces on the day; while up front, she added nine kills. Carly Adams added 22 service points and four aces, Loewen had 13 service points and nine digs and Jess Stoffel had a big day at the net with four kills and a pair of timely blocks.

Oliver Ames’ Alyssa Gavin and Maya Fetcho highlighted the group of very strong Tiger servers, who tested KP with a strong serves.

“That was probably the strongest serving team we have faced so far,” Geuss said of OA.

When asked about the undefeated record and the top spot in the Kelley-Rex, Geuss said “It’s wonderful. We don’t like to think about that, but we are proud of the girls.”

King Philip (5-0) will be back in action on Friday, when they take on the Taunton Tigers. Oliver Ames (2-4) is back in action on Friday against Attleboro.

Volleyball: 2016 Hockomock League Preview

Canton volleyball
Canton volleyball will look to continue its dominant stretch in the Hockomock this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 2-18
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsey McDonald

The Bombardiers are hoping to take a step forward and make a dent in the very competitive Kelley-Rex Division. Attleboro picked up a pair of non-league wins last season and is hoping that success can start to translate to league play. Head coach Lindsey McDonald noted the offseason work of juniors Lexi Pereira and Sarah Lynch. Both Pereira and Lynch will play as outside hitters and McDonald said she expects both to bring a lot of power to the attack. Liz Howe, a captain, will be in charge of getting the attack going from the setter position while captain Julya Carlson will anchor the defensive effort for the Bombardiers.

“I am anticipating an improved season for us,” McDonald said. “[Our] captains are providing solid leadership on and off the court and the team has been gelling nicely.”

Canton

2015 Record: 16-5 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D2 Central Final
Coach: Pat Cawley

Canton has had a dominant run in the Davenport division over the past six years and the Bulldogs are looking to continue that tradition in 2016. Canton has a dozen seniors on the team and will be relying on their experience and leadership to make another run at the division title and in the playoffs. Nicole Poole returns as a second year starter at setter and will be the catalyst for Canton’s offense. Emma Murphy and Casey Shea both have varsity experience and will be important pieces at the middle of the net. One spot that Canton has to fill is at outside hitter and the Bulldogs have a handful of players in the running including seniors Emma Gobbi, Erika Lum, Cassie Loftus, Kelsey Irons, Malia Claiborne and Maria Mackie. Canton is hoping for another year of strong defense with seniors Julia Panico, Kehla Minkin and Emily Lynch all vying for time in the back row.

“We are a senior laden team although most have not seen significant playing time at the varsity level,” head coach Pat Cawley said. “CHS volleyball is a proud tradition and I am confident that this year’s squad will do they can to keep this team competitive and make their senior experience one which they won’t forget.”

Foxboro

2015 Record: 6-12
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Damish

Foxboro is hoping its upward trajectory continues in 2016 after making great strides a season ago. Head coach Dan Damish and the Warriors will rely on its three senior captains – Lindsay Greer, Julia DiCenso and Julie Bridges – to continue to push the program in the right direction. DiCenso will be the starting setter for the fourth straight season and will have Danielle Conlon, the team’s leader in kills last season, at her disposal. DiCenso will also have Greer, Bridges, Ana Sanchez and Molly Crocker as offensive options. Junior Delya Lorquet could emerge as a big threat as a middle hitter as well for Foxboro this season.

“I’m very encouraged with the way the team came into the season in great volleyball shape,” Damish said. “Our top goal is to improve everyday and compete at a high level.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 15-5 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 Central/West Quarterfinal
Coach: Kate Horsmann

Coming off the program’s second Kelley-Rex division title in the past five seasons, Franklin will be relying on youth to stay near the top of arguably the most competitive division in all of the Hockomock League’s sports. Senior Erin Skidmore (28 kills in 2015) is making the transition from the middle to the outside and will be a go-to attacking option at the net. At 6’3, junior Meaghan Maguire saw valuable time last year and will be a defensive leader at the net. The Panthers will look to sophomore setter Lauren McGrath to step in to set up the offense.

“This is the youngest team we have had since I started coaching,” head coach Kate Horsmann said. “We have five sophomores who could all be impact players for us this season. The outcome of our season will really depend on how quickly they adjust to the speed of the varsity game and how quickly we gel as a unit.”

King Philip

2015 Record: 16-6
2015 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Semifinal
Coach: Kristen Geuss

King Philip had another strong campaign a year ago and are looking to repeat it in 2016. The Warriors have six returning seniors and all are expected to play important roles for KP this season. Senior captain Carly Adams will set the offense in motion from the setter position, senior captain Emma Lopez will be a key piece in the attack from the outside hitter spot and senior captain Angela Vellante will be a defensive specialist in the back row for KP. Senior Amanda Loewen will also be a key piece to the defense as the team’s libero. Senior Liv Balduf will help balance the offense as a rightside hitter while Molly Croke will help bolster the team’s defense. Junior Sydney Phillips, another returner from last year’s squad, will be an attacking option as an outside hitter.

“I expect us to be a strong team once again this year,” head coach Kristen Geuss said. “We have lost significant depth at the outside hitter position from last year but am encouraged by how our returning players have stepped up and progressed during our practices.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 14-6 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Melissa Heeden

The Hornets will look to follow up a historic one with another strong showing and they have some experienced players to do so. It will start with defense for Mansfield, who return one of the top liberos in Jess Haradon and one of the top middle blockers in Meg Hill, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. Mansfield will have to replace some key pieces but senior Chloe Peters will be tasked with setting up the offense while junior Julia Harrison, who saw some minutes as a sophomore a year ago, will be one of the Hornets’ outside hitters.

“We have five great seniors who have been working hard to lead the team,” head coach Melissa Heeden said. “They are a great group of girls. We have some work to do to fill in from the six seniors who graduated last year, but a are really looking forward to the season.”

Milford

2015 Record: 9-11
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Linda Zacchilli

The Scarlet Hawks just missed out on the playoffs a season ago but with Linda Zacchilli back on the bench, Milford could be right in the mix for the Davenport title. Offensively, Milford will need some need faces to step up after its top three kills leaders graduated. Junior Kelley Reichert is back after 66 kills last season and senior Stefani Chiarelli and junior Juliana Tracy will both factor into the offense as well. Both of Milford’s setters – Lauren Zouranjian (301 assists) and Allie Collins (198) – are back for 2016, which should help the Scarlet Hawks’ offense flow. Libero Kyra Alves is back after being a strong point in the defense last year as well.

North Attleboro

2015 Record: 11-11
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Jeff Crins

The 2016 season will be a bit different for North Attleboro compared to a year ago. The Red Rocketeers now compete in the Davenport division and their attack has been bolstered by the addition of Amelia Murphy. Murphy was a top offensive player in the league a year ago at KP but has since transferred to North Attleboro. Murphy will be an attacking option along with junior Katie DeMontigny (100 kills last season) and Tori Melanson, who will also be a presence defensively at the net (82 kills, 70 blocks in 2015). North Attleboro will need to fill in the role of setter with Taylin Shultz graduated. Gabby Duva and Lindsay Howlett will be two key defensive players for the Rocketeers this season.

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 7-12
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Chelsea Correia

Oliver Ames has a strong mix of experienced players returning this Fall and are looking to take a trip back to the postseason after missing out in 2015. Senior captain Bridget McCarthy, in her fourth year on varsity, returns as the starting setter while fellow captain Alyssa Gavin returns as a top defensive option in the back row along with Rachel Foley. Junior Emma Petrillo will be one offensive option for the Tigers as an outside hitter, junior Katherine Flynn will be another as a right side hitter. Juniors Maya Fetcho and Kayla Raymond will rotate as offensive threats from the middle of the net while sophomore Sadie Homer will be the Tigers’ starting libero this season. Other names to keep an eye on include juniors Caroline Cavanaugh, Jacqueline Kander and freshmen Allison Kemp and Jordyn Vella.

“If we commit to it, I think we can rise to many challenges, prepare for all possibilities, and make the most of everything,” head coach Chelsea Correia.

Sharon

2015 Record: 2-16
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

New head coach Andrea Lovett is excited about the direction the Sharon volleyball program is headed and is hoping 2016 will be the first step in the right direction. Senior captain Faythe Gomolka returns this year as this the team’s versatile setter and has a great rapport with senior captain and middle hitter Natalie Kane. Seniors Marni Heitin, Luba Korn, Gesi Molla and Jonathan Dickerman will all factor in for the Eagles this season as well. Junior Jess Allan, now in her third year on varsity, will be an attacking option as an outside hitter while classmate Cori Jermyn will be an attacking option from the right side.

“As a new head coach, I am excited to work with the team on developing a more aggressive mindset and working on some more complex offensive systems to raise our level of play and be competitive in the league this year,” Lovett said.

Stoughton

2015 Record: 10-11
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Erica Batchelder

The Black Knights had a handful of talented players graduated from last year’s team but there is hope for optimism because of who is back this year. Stoughton’s kills leader junior Val Whalen is back for her third year of varsity after registering 129 kills a season ago. Junior Jordan Motley and senior Riley Bagley will also be big pieces of Stoughton’s attack this season after slamming 84 and 77 kills, respectively, in 2015. The biggest challenge for Stoughton will be finding players to step up in other areas. The team’s ace and assists leader from last season, Bianca DeSousa, the team’s leader in blocks and digs, Bridget Whalen, and the team’s leader in serve receives, Ava Siegel, all graduated. First year head coach Erica Batchelder will be looking to players to step up into those roles.

Taunton

2015 Record: 15-9
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Final
Coach: Toby Chaperon

Taunton turned a successful regular season and a fourth place finish in the Kelley-Rex into one of the more memorable seasons in Tigers’ history. Taunton made a run all the way to the D1 South Final before falling to eventual state champion Barnstable. It will be a tough task to repeat with the amount of players that Taunton graduated, but the Tigers are up for the challenge. Taunton will need a new setter to step up after graduating Tatum Speicher, one of the top in the area at the position. Offensively, Emily Moor (team-high 254 kills in 2015) is back for her senior season while junior Sam Reaume (69 kills), senior Abby Waldron (69 kills) and senior Delaney Powell (26 kills) are all back after making an impact at the net a season ago.

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

Carly Adams, King Philip – King Philip was a dangerous attacking team a season ago and Adams, the team’s setter, was the big reason why. Adams will be a catalyst in getting the Warriors’ offense going this season.

Julia DiCenso, Foxboro – There aren’t many players in the league with the experience that DiCenso has. Now a senior captain, DiCenso is in her fourth year as the starting setter for the Warriors and will be a key piece of the offense this season.

Jess Haradon, Mansfield – Haradon really impressed defensively in her first year on varsity and looks to do the same in 2016. The senior will look to continue as a defensive specialist after leading Mansfield with 264 digs a season ago.

Meg Hill, Mansfield – As just a sophomore, Hill led the Hornets in kills (222), and blocks (74). Now a year older, expect another strong attacking year at the net for the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year.

Bridget McCarthy, Oliver Ames – McCarthy is another four year varsity player and will likely eclipse a setting milestone this season. OA has a handful of young attacking options but things will be easier for them with McCarthy as the setter.

Emily Moor, Taunton – Moor had the most kills in 2015 for players returning this season, which is good news for Taunton. As the Tigers look for new names to emerge in other spots, they can rely on the consistent offense of Moor.

Amelia Murphy, North Attleboro –North Attleboro graduated a great attacking threat in Sara Youssef but now have KP transfer Amelia Murphy at the net. Murphy has the ability to hit around the block, which is very difficult for defenses.

Nicole Poole, Canton Canton has been the team to beat in the Hock for a good stretch now, including last season with Poole setting up the offense. Canton will need new names to step up as attacking options but having Poole as the setter will make things easier.

Erin Skidmore, Franklin – Franklin is in need of some players to step up as attacking options and Skidmore is looking to be one option as she moves from the middle to the outside. The Panthers have a good balance this year and Skidmore looks to be one of their top attacking options.

Val Whalen, Stoughton – The junior returns after leading the Black Knights in kills a year ago. If the Black Knights can find a replacement at setter, Whalen could be a tough player to stop this season.

Warriors Overcome Slow Start to Tame the Lions

Josie Rowean
Josie Rowean (4) led the way for the Warriors with 21 kills as KP bounced back from a first set loss to beat Newton South 3-1. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Following the end of the first set, King Philip volleyball fans and parents could be forgiven for thinking that it was going to be a long night and a very quick match.

Newton South opened the Div. 1 Central-East matchup with a dominating 14-3 start and, despite a short resurgence by the Warriors in the middle of the set, rolled to a 25-16 win in the first and an early lead.

Nothing was going right for the Warriors. KP was struggling to receive every serve, the passing was erratic and the hitters struggled to even find the court. Meanwhile, the Lions looked dangerous on every play with Grace Leuchtenberger in the middle and Emma Lee and Ella Kim finding the right angles on each of their hits.

The crowd was understandably antsy, but the KP bench was calm. The coaches had seen this type of start before and head coach Kristen Geuss felt the team was just nervous at the start of its first playoff game.

“We have a tendency to start off slow and we’re trying to work on that but I think it was a case of the nerves,” she explained. “They had jitters and once we get warmed up then it’s much better.”

The coach had reason to be calm, as the Warriors completely turned the game around and won the next three sets to close out a 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 25-9, 25-23) victory and advanced to the sectional semifinal.

KP fell behind early in the second set as well, but then setter Carly Adams (32 assists) got into a rhythm and started feeding outside hitter Josie Rowean, who had 11 of her 21 kills in the second set alone, and Gwen Uyrus, who added three of her nine kills.

A Rowean kill made it 7-6 in the second, a lead that KP would not relinquish. The crowd was getting louder and louder with every kill. Rowean fired through blockers and managed to take what the Newton South defense gave her whether it was the far corner or down the line.

Sophomore Amelia Murphy chipped in at the net with a couple of key blocks and two kills and defensively Micaela Murray had four of her 11 digs in the set, while Amanda Loewen added four of her own.

“They are our go-to people,” said Geuss of her top two hitters. “Josie and Gwen, give them any kind of set and they can do something with it.”

“But, it all starts with our serve-receive. Once everything gets into sync they can set up Josie all the time, can set up Gwen all the time and we get the momentum.”

The momentum carried over to the third set and suddenly it was as though the first had never happened. KP dominated and led by as many as 13 at several points in the set, including at 20-7 after another service error. The Lions looked like the team that was nervous and out of sync.

Rowean started the fourth set with three straight kills, as the Warriors built an early advantage. When the Warriors were going well, Adams fed the senior hitter over and over again.

“That’s what we do,” said Geuss with a smile.

Rowean had plenty of help with the KP servers causing problems for the Lions and not allowing Newton South to hit. Instead the Lions would be deep on their side of the court and forced just to send a free ball over.

Loewen in particular dropped in dangerous serves that had the visitors on their heels and Adams, Uyrus, and Emma Lopez each had service winners in the fourth set.

“We always hope that out strong serves will take them out of good positions to set up their hitters,” said Geuss. “So, we always serve strong and definitely our servers settled down in the second game.”

The fourth set was close throughout with Rowean providing seven kills, Uyrus adding a pair and sophomore Sydney Philips making several crucial plays at the net, including a big kill that made it 22-20.

When the final shot by Newton South sailed wide, the Warriors bench stormed onto the court to celebrate a playoff win. The first set felt like a distant memory and Geuss remarked that she knew her team could bounce back after a tough start.

She said, “It’s a team that never gives up. They’re battlers. They’ve been deep behind two games and they have a tendency to come back.”

KP advances to the Div. 1 Central-East semifinal and will travel to No. 1 seed Quincy on Thursday night.

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

Monday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/28/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Soccer
Franklin, 4 vs. Xaverian, 0 – Final Hatim Brahimi scored the opener for the Panthers and also added the final goal. Brahimi’s first goal was set up by David Stowell, who also scored a first half goal for Franklin off an assist from Austin Kent. Kent then found the back of the net in the second off off an assist from junior Cam LeBlanc. Henri Guilmette had the shutout in net for the Panthers. 
Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final
Girls Soccer
Franklin, 5 vs. Dartmouth, 0 – Final – Emily Spath scored a pair of goals for the Panthers and Victoria Stowell had three assists in the non-league victory.
Stoughton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final – Six different players registered a point for the Rocketeers, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and never looked back. Hana Caster opened the scoring off an assists from Felicity Monfils. Shannon Kingsley then doubled the lead off an assist from Grace Guertin and Haley Guertin made it three off Caster’s pass. Grace Guertin scored a fourth goal in the second half off an assist from Lauren Dowd. Freshman Emma Noreck made her varsity debut and combined with Kiersten Bixby for the shutout in net. 
Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip picked up a 25-12, 25-7, 25-12 sweep at home over Attleboro. Carly Adams had 12 service points in game alone to give the Warriors an early jump and Gwen Uyrus had 10 service points in game three, totaling seven aces for the match, to help the Warriors close. Head coach Kristen Geuss said Angela Vellante had strong defensive game.

Canton, 3 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Canton swept the Scarlet Hawks 25-13, 25-13, 25-15. Elizabeth Hamilton led the Bulldogs with 13 kills and also had a strong game on defense. Head coach Pat Cawley said Olivia Devoe sparked the defense and “made many great plays.” Cawley also said Erika Lum and Kehla Minkin played well on defense and Rye Verille and Emma Murphy both blocked well. 

Stoughton, 3 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Stoughton notched a 25-22, 25-20, 29-31, 25-23 win over division rival Foxboro. Stoughton junior Christina Gelin had 12 assists, 10 digs and eight service points and sophomore Valerie Whalen added 13 kills, five blocks, nine service points and four aces.
Franklin, 3 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – The Panthers won 25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 15-25, 15-5. Aubrie Kutil led Franklin with 12 kills and Hannah Chace had seven. Elizabeth Neal led the team with 18 assists and Dayna McCue had 37 digs. Emily Moor led the Tigers with 16 kills and Tatum Speicher had 32 assists, two kills and seven digs. Libero Molly Sullivan had 13 digs and Alyssa Gibson added six kills for Taunton.

Mansfield, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – The Hornets picked up a sweep but all three games were close, with Mansfield winning 25-22, 25-22, 29-27. Cathryn Heavey led the way with 39 assists while Meg Hill had 11 kills and Jess Haradon had 11 digs. 
Field Hockey
Foxboro, 4 @ Bellingham, 0 – Final

Canton, 0 @ Norwood, 2 – Final
Mansfield, 5 vs. Westwood, 3 – Final – Caroline Maher netted a pair of goals to lead the Hornets to a non-league win. Emily Ierardo, Caitlin Whitman and Olivia Horn each scored once for Mansfield. 
Milford, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Hannah Friend and Carly Cidado each scored in the first half to put the Tigers ahead while senior goalie Cassie Gavin made eight saves to prevent a Scarlet Hawks comeback. Elena DelloRusso scored 10 minutes into the second half for Milford.
Taunton, 1 vs. New Bedford, 4 – Final
Golf
Mansfield, 171 @ Foxboro, 191 – Final – Mansfield senior David Craig carded a 40. Foxboro’s Tim Luciano shot a 43.

Oliver Ames, 154 @ Sharon, 168 – Final – The Tigers became the first team to punch their ticket to the state tournament with the win. Brian Lambert carded a match low 36 while Ryan McGarry and Mark Bissonette each shot 39 and Eric LeBlanc shot a 40.

Franklin, 164 @ Attleboro, 169 – Final