Balanced Attack Leads Franklin Past King Philip

Franklin volleyball
Franklin’s Hailey Sanders connects on an attack in the second set against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – It doesn’t matter where Franklin volleyball is in its rotation on the court, first-year Panthers head coach Kelsey Weymouth is confident the offense can get it done.

Franklin’s balanced offense was on full display on Wednesday evening, with five players registering at least four kills to help the Panthers sweep visiting King Philip, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-16).

Senior Ellie Wisniewski (three aces) and sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (seven digs) tied for a team-high eight kills from the outside hitter spot, senior Hailey Sanders (two blocks) added five kills from the right side, and senior middle Maggie Doyle (three blocks) was responsible for four kills.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And on top of that, setter Lauren McGrath (27 assists, two aces) provided an extra offensive punch with five kills.

“No matter who is in the front row, I have confidence in them,” Weymouth said. “It’s a reassuring feeling knowing that whoever is up there, I have confidence they will put the balls down.

“And Lauren is a versatile setter, she knows how to run an offense, she knows when to put the ball to a certain player. Those four hitters [Sanders, Wisniewski, Doyle, Bonnet-Eymard] know how to work hard, find spots and put the ball down.”

The balance came in handy in an incredibly tight first set. Franklin’s largest lead was four points (three occasions) while King Philip led by three (9-6) early on. The set was tied on eight occasions, including at 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.

Bonnet-Eymard, Wisniewski, and Sanders each had two kills in the opening set. Holding a 21-20 lead, Bonnet-Eymard smashed down a kill to put the Panthers up by two. Back-to-back errors from KP pushed Franklin near set point. The Panthers had two errors of their own but clinched the set with a net infraction.

“In this environment, against a team like that, for the girls to come out and win that first was a big confidence booster,” Weymouth said. “We knew this wouldn’t be an easy game against KP, it never is. I told the girls that as long as they push every single point and make them do the work, we’ll be fine. We had to be ready for them to come back but the girls did a nice job staying on the attack.”

When KP had its largest lead of the opening set (9-6), Franklin responded with a 7-0 run to force a King Philip timeout. Two Warrior errors sandwiched a kill from Franklin’s Emma Chase to knot it 9-9.

McGrath caught the defense with a dump on the second touch for a kill, Bonnet-Eymard followed with an ace, and Wisniewski slammed down back-to-back shots for a 13-9 advantage.

“We were making too many errors early and we’re too good of a team to do that,” Weymouth said. “I think they just needed a deep breath and they did a nice job to rally back. We want our side out percentage to be high, we don’t want teams to go on runs.”

For Warrior head coach Kristen Guess, it was all about unforced errors in the opening set (12 errors).

“I definitely think the first two games we beat ourselves,” Guess said. “We made a lot of unforced errors, especially in the first game. It could have been a lot closer and it could have gone either way. We had a lot of miscommunication errors that we normally don’t do. We have a couple of young players on the floor that don’t have a lot of experience and I think that could have had an impact. I definitely think we need to communicate more.

“If we take the first game, then the momentum is with us and maybe we take the second game. But Franklin is a good team, they played well. You can’t take anything away from them. We could have played better, but it just wasn’t our night.”

The second set was just as close as the first one. A kill from McGrath and a KP error gave Franklin its largest lead of the match to that point (11-6). But the Warriors quickly rattled off a 5-1 run, including an ace from Grace Ely and a kill and ace from Nicole Coughlan to bring the Warriors within one (12-11).

But the Panthers responded by winning six of the next eight points. Wisniewski looked to have a kill an original attack but it was popped back up on a nice defensive play by KP libero Olivia Atkins. The ball floated back up by the net and Wisniewski reacted quickly, slamming the free ball back down for an 18-13 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Bonnet-Eymard ended the set with back-to-back kills to give the Panthers a 25-18 win and a 2-0 advantage.

The Warriors kept close through the early stages of the third set but Franklin was able to create enough separation with a 4-1 burst midway through. Doyle and Bonnet-Eymard had back-to-back kills, and the latter added an ace for an 18-11 lead. KP got within four (19-15) but the home side was able to finish the game off.

Riley Marino anchored the Panther defense with 10 digs. Ely had a team-high eight kills for the Warriors, Coughlan added seven kills, and Catherine Waldeck finished with six kills.

Franklin volleyball (2-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) hits the road on Friday to take on Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) is back in action on the same day when it visits Milford.

Volleyball: 2018 Hockomock League Preview

2018 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-16
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Courtney Durocher

A year after joining the Bombardiers as an assistant coach, Courtney Durocher takes over an Attleboro program hungry to make a splash in the Hockomock League. Attleboro lost four-year player and all-league selection Lexi Pereira to graduation but Durocher has a strong group of players to work with in her first year. Amanda Kadisevskis will be a vital part on both offense and defense, having led the Hock in blocks last season. Kadisevskis is a tri-captain along with senior Chelsea Calcagni and Faith Hindy (right side). Ana Leonardo had a strong year last year and will be relied upon to set the offense in motion while juniors Jessica Matheson (defensive specialist) and Emily McGovern (outside hitter) will be called upon to step up this season for the Bombardiers.

“I am excited for this season as I am now the head coach,” Durocher said. “I believe the team will have a good season and work well together.”

Canton

2017 Record: 7-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Pat Cawley

Canton’s decade-long run as league champion came to a close last season but head coach Pat Cawley is hoping the lessons learned last year will pay off in 2018. The Bulldogs only had a couple of players with varsity experience last year so a lot of new faces were able to gain experience throughout the year. Senior captain Nicole Brown is back for her second year as the team’s setter. Her athleticism and speed allow her to get around the court to get in position to make plays. Middle Erin Devine will be one of Brown’s main targets along with outside hitting Taylor Harris. Devine has impressed through the preseason and Harris brings an aggressive edge to the Dogs’ attack. Senior libero Meghan McDonough is one of the players Cawley expects to take the next step this season after getting a year of experience under her belt last season. Setter/opposite Olivia Chinsen and outside hitter Angie Elias are also in the mix for Canton this year.

“Canton volleyball is looking to turn it around this season,” Cawley said. “We have 10 seniors, many of whom saw a lot of playing time last year. We are hoping this experience leads to more aggressive and confident play.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 1-17
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Damish

The 2018 version of the Foxboro Warriors will rely heavily on its four captains while a handful of new faces get acclimated to the varsity level. Senior captain Paulette Palomares will set the tone defensively as the libero and will be joined by fellow captains Brynn Gilbert and Shaelyn McCarthy as defensive specialists. Grace Boudreau, a junior captain, will be a main piece of the offense from her outside hitter spot. Boudreau will be joined on the outside by Calvi Goodard while first-year players Ashelyn Moniz and Meg McDonald will be in the middle. First-year player Madison O’Brien will take over as the team’s setter.

“This year’s team will have to play great defense, serve well, serve receive well and play great team volleyball in order to have a successful season,” said Foxboro head coach Dan Damish.

Franklin

2017 Record: 15-5
2017 Finish: Reached D1 Central/West Quarterfinal
Coach: Kelsey Weymouth

Former North Attleboro standout Kelsey Weymouth takes over as head coach of the Franklin Panthers and she has a lot of talent to work with right away.

The Panthers have Lauren McGrath, Ellie Wiesniewski, Riley Marino, Maggie Doyle, and Hailey Sanders back, all of whom either starter or played in plenty of sets last season. McGrath is in her third year as the starting setting and is a vocal leader for the team while Marino is a standout defensive specialist as the libero. Doyle is a tall presence in the middle that will be a big part of the defense as well as Sanders, who plays on the right side. Wisniewski and sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard will be the main focuses on the outside for the Panthers.

“I am extremely excited to be apart of this Franklin program and coach these girls into being successful volleyball players,” Weymouth said. “I am going to do everything in my power to continue the previous success of this program. My girls have been extremely welcoming and that’s a good feeling coming in a new head coach.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 20-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D1 Central/East Final
Coach: Kristen Geuss

King Philip claimed its second straight Kelley-Rex title last season and fourth in the past five years. Now the focus turns to 2018 and the Warriors will be looking to compete for yet another division crown. Gone is two-time Hockomock MVP Sydney Phillips and four other starters but the Warriors bring back a solid core of players that will try to make their own mark this season. It starts with senior captains Livvie Atkins and Kat Kmetz, two of the more experienced players on the squad. Atkins is one of the top defensive players on the team and Kmetz will step into an outside hitter spot. Head coach Kristen Guess is relying on seniors Shayla Weitzman (defensive specialist), Caroline Robertson (opposite), Jessie Kornfeld (defensive specialist) and Kristen Masse (defensive specialist) to step up this season. Junior Kiley Sullivan steps in as an option at setter while classmates Grace Ely and Catherine Waldeck will handle the middle blocker spots. Guess also expects sophomores Emma Brooks (Setting), Nicole Coughlin (middle), and Lillian Carlow (defensive specialist) to see substantial time this year.

“Our strength will be our ability to distribute the ball to all of our hitters,” Guess said. “We are working hard each practice and I see us improving every day.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 8-11
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Melissa Heeden

There will be a lot of new faces in Mansfield’s lineup this season after losing seven seniors to graduation. The Hornets graduated their leader in kills and blocks (Meg Hill), assists (Emma Ascoli), and top two players in digs (Julia Harrison and Jolie O’Neil) so there is plenty of space for new players to step up and make a name for themselves. One key piece returning to the lineup is middle Greenly Kelly, who was among the best in the league at blocking. Her net defense will be key for a Hornet squad putting an emphasis on defense. Senior captain Katie Dardinski is a defensive specialist and will be another key piece on the back line. Sophomore Alina Nowakowski will take over as the other middle while sophomore Olivia McGrath will step into an outside hitter role.

“We will be a very different team this year in which I am hoping to be a little more defensive minded,” said Mansfield head coach Melissa Heeden. “While we are young and have a lot of work to do, they are ready for the challenge.”

Milford

2017 Record: 7-13
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Tammy Webber

The Hawks will need some new players to step up in 2018 after graduating the core of its team from last season, including eight seniors. Head coach Tammy Webber believes that her team is only going to get better the more they play. Seniors Briana Maiette, Sydney Sutton, and Nina Pinto will be relied upon for their leadership this season while Webber is looking for contributions out of juniors Julia Riordan and Alyssa Williamson. Middles Allison Corsini and Lauren Corsini could give the Hawks a boost at the net while sophomore Elise Fauerbach figures to get some time on the court right away. Senior defensive specialist and Ana Alvarenga and juniors Abbey Reichert and April Swain are also in the mix for playing time this season.

“Right now we are just working on consistency and confidence in our play,” Webber said. “We are working on finding the best combinations of players to be competitive and win games.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 18-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Kim Hallahan

Not many teams lost as much talent as the Rocketeers, who boasted a very senior-heavy roster last season that won its first-ever Davenport title. And on top of that, Kim Hallahan takes over as head coach after Jeff Crins stepped down after a lengthy run as the leader of the Rocketeers. Seniors Emma Gunn and Tatiana Sotelo are the two returning players this season and will be joined by 11 juniors. Sotelo will be counted on to be a main piece in Big Red’s offense while Hayley Gaskin and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu give North Attleboro options at the setter position. Hallahan said there are a lot of solid defensive players on the team but need to figure out which spots work best.

“We do have a young team, but after we get the season started, and some of the nerves out, I don’t think that it will affect us too much,” CHllahan said. “We have many hardworking, talented, versatile girls.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 11-10
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Chelsea Cunningham

While Oliver Ames is in a good spot with its defense and setter, the Tigers are in need of players to step up on the offensive end after the graduation of six talented seniors. Senior captain Sadie Homer is a four-year varsity player and returns as the team’s libero. She’s been a defensive specialist for the Tigers for all four years and will be one of the most seasoned and skilled players in the back row in the Hock this season. Junior setter Allie Kemp is also back and is the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after helping the Tigers win 11 of their final 14 games to qualify for the state tournament. One option OA has at the net will be junior Jordan Bosse. After serving as a defensive specialist last season, Bosse will be an offensive option at outside hitter this season.

“I see lots of potential with this group,” said OA head coach Chelsea Cunningham. “We have big shoes to fill after losing six seniors, all of offensive positions. We have a roster full of athleticism and commitment and I hope the girls come ready to play every day and grow as a team. If they play to their potential, this could be a great season for the OA Volleyball program.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Lovett

After improving its win total each of the last two seasons, the Sharon volleyball program will be relying on its eight seniors to continue that upward trend. The Eagles’ offense will run mostly through its two captains with Abby Fine acting as the engine for the attack. From her setter position, the offense will flow through her while one of her main targets will be fellow captain Jody Goldenberg. Goldenberg will also be key on the defensive side as a middle blocker. Ally Brown will also see time at setter and will have senior Jade Veth and sophomore Brynne Aidlin-Perlman to work with on the outside.

“Sharon’s program is building from the ground up,” said head coach Andrea Lovett. “As more and more talented younger players come up through the ranks, we are looking forward to seeing many more wins this season. The Eagles are a tough, tenacious group of players who I believe are going to surprise some teams this season.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 16-5
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Erica Batchelder

Last year was certainly a season to remember for the Black Knights and a big reason why was the two-way play of seniors Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Both Whalen and Motley played significant roles on offense and defense for the Knights, who set a program record for wins in a season. While those two weapons are gone, the Black Knights bring two other important pieces from their offense from last year. Setters Molly Turner (278) and Hanna Holden (179) are both back and will the engines of the team. Juniors Sasha Hyacinthe and Alexa Quinones have worked hard in the summer and will be two offensive options for Stoughton. Another key returner for Stoughton is senior Mia Bennett, who is back for her third year as the team’s libero.

“We may have a lot of new faces but we are taking the same approach to the game: become better players, coaches, and people every day and the wins will come,” said Stoughton head coach Erica Batchelder. “We have so much untapped potential in this team that is going to surprise the rest of the league. We will always try our hardest and have fun while doing it.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 4-16
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Toby Chaperon

After missing out on the state tournament the past two seasons, the Tigers are looking to get back into playoff contention on the backs of nine seniors. Everything will run through three-year starter Kayli Fagan, who is inching closer and closer to 1,000 assists as the team’s primary setter. Another key returner is senior Mckenzie Lucie, who will continue to handle libero duties and stabilize the back line. Middle Kamila Cuevas has taken a big step forward while Sam Silveira is back as an option on the outside. Other seniors that head coach Toby Chaperon is expecting to contribute include Sam Martin (opposite), Aliyah Gillenwater (outside), Michaela Felici (outside), Jaime Brown (defensive specialist), and Elaine Bodemer (defensive specialist).

“We will be integrating many new players and are hoping that gelling process will happen quickly as there are no let-ups in our schedule as we get started right away with a strong New Bedford team,” Chaperon said.

Warriors Overcome Tough Start to Beat Newton South

King Philip volleyball
Sydney Phillips led the way for the Warriors as KP beat Newton South for the second year in a row to return to the Div. 1 Central-East semifinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – It had been nearly two weeks since King Philip had taken the court for a meaningful game and there was noticeable rust, as Newton South jumped all over the Warriors in the opening set and held off a late rally to take a 1-0 lead in Tuesday night’s Div. 1 Central-East quarterfinal.

KP shook off the rust from its 12-day layoff and turned the momentum around, winning three straight sets for a 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23) victory and advancing to the semifinal.

“Absolutely, I think that hurts,” said KP coach Kristen Guess when asked about the long break between matches. “We’d rather play, play, play. We do well when we play three games a week. It is brutal not playing.”

The Warriors also put themselves in early holes in three of the four sets, showing resiliency to bounce back including a rally from 8-2 down in the third set that saw KP win 23 of the next 30 points to put themselves within a set of a victory.

Guess said, “It’s been the history of KP to start out slow, but these kids never give up. They fight for every point.”

The first set was dominated by the height of the Lions at the net (three players over six feet tall) and the hitting of junior Ella Kim, who tallied nine kills in the opening set alone. KP hung around in large part thanks to the play of junior hitter Sydney Phillips, who was recently voted the Hockomock League MVP by the coaches. Phillips had five kills and several service points in the set.

In the second, KP again fell behind by a couple of points and the crowd was starting to get a little antsy, but a series of mishits by the Lions allowed KP to pull ahead. Back-to-back kills by Liv Balduf and Emma Lopez put the Warriors up 10-5. The Lions pulled back in front at 20-19 but another Lopez hit tied it and then she set up set point with another kill before Phillips tied the match with a blast.

Lopez, a senior captain, has missed nearly four weeks with a back injury and Guess was happy to see her return to take some of the pressure off Phillips on the outside. Guess said, “I’ve been telling her all week that she’s peaking at the right time. From being out for four weeks, she’s definitely peaking.”

Newton South jumped all over the Warriors to start the third set with Kim again getting hot on the outside including a rip that made it 8-2 and had KP on the ropes. But the Warriors rallied again and started to put together a strong defensive effort highlighted by senior setter Carly Adams scrambling to one-hand a return while falling out of bounds and watching as it landed for a point on the other side.

Adams was helped by Elise Pereira and libero Amanda Loewen (nine digs) in starting to stem the tide from Kim’s big hitting. Angela Vallente served six straight points to break the set open and give KP an 18-12 lead. Phillips added a pair of kills and then Kat Kmetz dug out back-to-back rockets from Kim to save a point at 22-13.

Suddenly, the Warriors looked like the No. 2 seed and went into the fourth with confidence. For the first time in the match, KP also took an early lead in what turned out to be the final set. A Phillips ace made it 7-3. Two aces in a row from Balduf pushed the lead to 12-6 and great hustle by Pereira and Loewen to chase down a ball on the back line saved a point and stopped a Lions rally at 14-10. Kmetz followed that with two aces in a row.

When asked if the coaches had made any adjustments to try and stop the hitting of Newton South after the opening set, Guess responded, “We didn’t change anything. We don’t give up on them. We have confidence in them. If they get their serves over and in we try to get the other teams out of system so they can’t set up those great hitters.”

The Lions showed grit in battling back to keep the fourth set close, pulling to within 22-19 on a kill by middle hitter May Boucher. Facing match point, Newton South won four straight points to pull back within one but Phillips slammed the door on the comeback with a kill off the Lions block to seal the victory.

“That is Sydney,” said Guess of Phillips’ contributions on Tuesday. “Other team have a hard time picking up her balls or blocking her. She’s our go-to outside hitter.”

This is the second season in a row that King Philip (19-2) has knocked out Newton South at this stage and now the Warriors get another rematch with the visit of No. 3 seed Quincy, which beat KP in five sets in last year’s semifinal.