In the life of any top program, there is a moment that takes a team from being one with potential to one that should be considered a threat to win a title every season.
For the Franklin girls’ lacrosse program that moment came in 2014. The team not only reached its first sectional final but also won the program’s first trophy, a springboard to the Panthers being considered among the state’s top teams every season.
“We had talented players and players who really wanted to take it to the next level,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino, who was in her second year as the head coach in 2014. “They kind of got a taste the year before and then just set high goals and worked hard.”
In Igoe Guarino’s first season in charge, the Panthers went unbeaten in the league and won the Kelley-Rex division title outright (after sharing with King Philip the year before). Franklin was emerging as the dominant force in the Hockomock, which would be borne out by eight straight league titles and more than 80 straight league wins (and counting), but there was a desire to see the team compete at the state’s highest level against the likes of Westwood, Needham, Wellesley, and Notre Dame Academy.
The 2013 team reached the Div. 1 South semifinal but was beaten by Westwood, but left the season feeling like the program was on the brink of pushing through against the best teams. “The girls were confident in themselves, confident in their coaches, and vice versa,” said Igoe Guarino. “We kind of worked hard, saw improvements in the regular season, and we were just like, okay we can do this.”
It was a team loaded with talent. Senior midfielder Marta Versprille led the way in midfield and was both the league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year. Igoe Guarino explained, “Players like her and Maegan Schmauder, they weren’t just really good players but good people and good leaders and who really, really cared about the Franklin program and wanted to see it succeed and everyone just kind of fed off that.”
Franklin lost only three times in the regular season, by two to Needham, by 10 to Westwood, and by two to defending state champ NDA. It was the first season under the new realignment, which pushed the Panthers to the newly created East bracket and away from the only teams to be them in the regular season. They rolled to a win against Natick in the playoff opener.
In the semifinal against Lincoln-Sudbury, the Panthers battled back from 7-4 down at halftime thanks to a pair of goals from Emily Jeffries and one from Schmauder. Julia Jette had a chance to win it in regulation only to be denied with seconds left. L-S nearly took the lead in the final seconds of the first half of OT, but a free position goal was ruled after the horn. After Julia Bireley forced a turnover to get Franklin the ball late in the second half of OT, Schmauder scored from a free position with just six seconds left.
The final against Concord-Carlisle turned out to be even more dramatic.
Franklin led 10-9 and tried to hold the ball for the final four minutes. A turnover in the final minute turned into a tying goal and then the Patriots won the ensuing draw and raced upfield for the go-ahead score. The Panthers went from a goal up to a goal down in only 12 seconds and had only :31 left on the clock to try and save the season.
Franklin managed to get possession on the next draw and had a chance but Julianne Pisani’s shot was saved. Jeffries regained possession in midfield and was fouled. On the restart, she drew a triple-team as the clock ticked down but managed to squeeze a pass to sophomore Sheelagh Walsh, who angled towards goal and tied the game with just two seconds remaining.
“That game was back-and-forth the whole game then I think we tried to stall for a very long time and it didn’t work,” Igoe Guarino recalled. “It was right there and then it was gone and then it was tied again. That game was so up and down.”
After the Panthers forced a turnover in the first half of overtime, Schmauder scored what turned out to be the game-winner and sealed the first sectional title in program history. Although Franklin lost to Longmeadow in the state semifinal, bringing home a trophy added new goals and new expectations for the Panthers every spring.
“I think it was a huge springboard and a huge confidence boost,” said Igoe Guarino, who has won two more sectional titles since 2014. “I think a sectional title kind of justified all our work and efforts from the youth program up to the high school and kind of put us on the map.”
WALPOLE, Mass. – It was a game that could have gone either way. Neither team led by more than two goals at any point in the game. There were four lead changes (all in the second half) and eight ties. In games that are that close, every play gets magnified and the smallest margins can be decisive.
Concord-Carlisle took its largest lead of the game, 11-9, with 4:39 remaining in Tuesday night’s Div. 1 East semifinal at Walpole High’s Turco Field, but with 1:15 to play a turnover gave the Panthers a chance to get back within one. Stella Regan scored her second goal of the game to give Franklin (20-3) hope.
Despite losing the ensuing draw, an issue all night, and being down a player after a yellow card to senior Annie Walsh, the Panthers managed to force another turnover and regain possession inside the final minute. A foul stopped play right in front of the Franklin bench. As the players prepared to restart, one of the officials ran up and brandished a yellow card to the bench, which not only forced Franklin to remove another player, but also give up the ball.
The Patriots managed to keep the ball moving for the final 30 seconds, as the Panthers continued to chase, eventually running out the clock on an 11-10 victory and their second straight semifinal win against Franklin.
“Emotions were running high, intense game and I told them some things you can’t control and unfortunately we lost the ball again,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “They battled to the end and we all on the sidelines thought that we were going to tie this and win the draw and win the game.”
Franklin got off to the perfect start, as Walsh cut in from the right and scored with a low, lefty shot just 44 seconds into the game. That started the back-and-forth battle, as Concord-Carlisle answered two minutes later only for Kelsey MacCallum to fake out her marker, spinning back through the middle where she was found by Jackie O’Neil to make it 2-1.
Concord-Carlisle was consistently winning back and maintaining possession and putting the Franklin defense under pressure. After the Patriots scored to tie it again, they held the ball for several minutes with the Panthers holding on but failing to secure any of the ground balls that the defense was forcing.
“Its hard to win a game when you don’t have the ball,” Igoe Guarino said. “Draw controls definitely hurt us and when we did make stops or got it on the ground we couldn’t clear or made unforced errors. I think we hurt ourselves a little too much.”
While Franklin was under pressure, it held out and then took its largest lead of the night. First Erin Walsh dodged from the left side and her overhand shot had enough backspin that it bounced back over the line even after being saved. Then MacCallum went right down the middle for a lefty finish to make it 4-2.
After the Patriots got one back, Walsh smacked the bar with a free position chance and Ali Socci put in a timely stick check to deny a free position on the other end. MacCallum set up a cutting Regan in front but Natalie Slade stuck with it and made the save.
The Patriots tied the game with 3:56 left in the half but Erin Walsh was given a free position opportunity two minutes later. The junior went nearly underhand to fire an unstoppable shot just under the bar to put Franklin in front. Gianna Cameron made the lead last to halftime with a big stop in the final 30 seconds.
Concord-Carlisle came right back after the break, winning the opening two draws and scoring on both. Fallon Vaughn scored the first and assisted on the second. Vaughn nearly made it three in row but Cameron made a huge stop, getting a piece of a free position shot.
MacCallum completed her hat trick seven minutes into the half to tie the game at 6-6 and Franklin got the lead back when Regan showed great patience cutting across the front of the crease finally getting Slade to commit before firing her shot just under the bar.
A minute later and the game was tied again, but Franklin answered back with Kate O’Rourke using an Annie Walsh screen to get space down the middle and went high-to-low on her shot. The Panthers got the ball back to try and extend the lead to two, but an unforced error gave the ball back to the Patriots, who promptly scored.
“We didn’t have the ball a lot, so we couldn’t establish a rhythm on offense and our dodgers could never get going and couldn’t find space,” igoe Guarino explained. “They played excellent man-to-man, seven-on-seven ‘D’ and were very packed in and we just couldn’t find our space and finish our opportunities.”
That was the start of a run for Concord-Carlisle, which scored three times in a row to build the lead out to 11-9. Franklin had chances to cut into the deficit but Slade (six saves) came through with a series of stops, once each from Walsh and O’Rourke and twice from MacCallum.
“We felt like we didn’t have the ball a lot so when we did get it it was like, let’s go,” Igoe Guarino said about the uncharacteristic issues finishing. “We didn’t take all our best shots or we had an unforced error and that makes you feel like I have the ball so I have to shoot again as soon as you get it. I don’t think we were fully ourselves on the offensive end.”
Franklin continued to push, never giving in until the final whistle, but for the second straight season it will be the Patriots that advance to take on top seed Walpole in the sectional final.
FOXBORO, Mass. – For nearly a decade, two teams have dominated Hockomock League girls lacrosse. Foxboro and Franklin have each won eight straight division titles, including the league crowns that both have already clinched this spring. The last time a team other than those two finished on top in the league was 2012, when King Philip shared the Kelley-Rex title with the Panthers.
On Wednesday evening, the league’s top two teams squared off at Sam Berns Community Field. Behind a quick start that saw it jump ahead 5-0 and seven goals from senior midfielder Annie Walsh, Franklin pulled out a 14-10 victory to extend its remarkable league winning streak to 80 straight games dating back to April 2012.
“I thought we did really well on the draws early, we were really feisty in the circle, and just took good shots in the first half,” Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said of the good start. “I think their goalie played awesome and really stepped up her game as it went on but we got on her early.”
The Panthers got off to the perfect start, scoring the game’s first five goals, all but one from free position chances. Freshmen Jackie O’Neil and Stella Regan got the visitors going, the second goal created after freshman Kate O’Rourke scooped a ground ball to keep the possession alive.
After Annie Walsh hit the post, Erin Walsh went over the top of Foxboro goalie Sara Addeche (11 saves) to make it 3-0. The Walsh sisters combined for nine of Franklin’s goals and Erin also chipped in with an assist. O’Rourke bounced in a free position goal for Franklin’s fourth and then O’Neil picked out a cutting Annie Walsh for her first, forcing a Foxboro timeout.
“We’ve struggled all year with playing the entire game,” Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry explained. “When you have to start at a deficit and have to pick away, it’s too much. We can’t let a team like Franklin have that lead. It’s a momentum-changer for us and puts us in a slump and we have to work the rest of the game to get out of it.”
Following a draw control, Foxboro got on the board. Sophomore Lilly Vey cut across the front of goal and managed to bounce a shot inside the post. Two minutes later, Sophia DiCenso set up Abby Hassman in front of goal to make it 5-2.
A free position goal by Kelsey MacCallum restored Franklin’s four-goal lead, but only for a short time. Julia Kelley hit the outside of the cage from a tough angle and then Meghan Curran sliced through the defense to make it 6-3. Addeche stuffed Erin Walsh on one end and the Warriors converted on the other, as DiCenso’s head fake opened a sliver of space down the right channel to make it 6-4.
Just when it looked like Foxboro might be taking control, Annie Walsh stepped up. She went straight down the middle of the Warriors’ defense to score with 2:30 left in the half and then she forced a turnover and scored on the resulting free position just 17 seconds before the break to extend the lead to 8-4.
Igoe Guarino said, “Annie is an excellent dodger and I thought she did a good job of taking good, smart dodges in space and mixing up her shot placement so she could finish.”
Walsh made it a five-goal game early in the second half when she scooped a rebound, after Addeche made another good stop, and flicked it in from close-range.
Foxboro needed a spark and junior Jaime Notarangelo provided one. She used a big pump fake to free herself in the middle of the Franklin defense and scored to make it 9-5. After winning the draw, Notarangelo twice beat the defense and Franklin goalie Gianna Cameron (five saves) only to see the ball come back off the post both times. The second rebound was gathered by Vey, who fired into the open net.
“Jaime came up huge,” Sherry said. “She does it in defense, in midfield, and if she loses the ball in attack she’s right back playing defense and getting the ball back for us.”
Walsh used a head fake and a quick step to beat her marker and then split two other defenders to get the goal back for Franklin, but Carly Stern got the Foxboro bench going when she carried the ball out of defense almost 60 yards before scoring to make it 10-7.
Another Walsh goal got the lead back to four and then Cameron came through with a big stop on Curran. Walsh followed that with her seventh goal to give the Panthers a 12-7 edge. “Gianna always steps up in the most critical time and is always so focused,” said Igoe Guarino. “She knows when we need her the most.”
Vey completed her hat trick, spinning her way into the middle of the defense, but then Erin Walsh got her second on a feed from O’Rourke and Regan added another in transition to make the score 14-8 with less than two minutes remaining.
Sherry said, “The draw wasn’t consistent enough for us. If we don’t win the draw, then we don’t win the game. We had bits and spurts but in those key moments they were beating us.”
The Warriors kept coming. Curran scored off a free position and then Notarangelo added another to make it a four-goal game in the end.
“It totally helps us and that’s the reason that we have those games,” Sherry said of playing the likes of Div. 1 powers Walpole, Wellesley, and Franklin this season. “But, we also have to hold ourselves accountable. At this point in the season, only about a week away from finding out where we are in the playoffs, it can’t just be helping us. We have to use it successfully. It has to be we played hard teams and we got a win from it.”
With 80 straight wins in the Hock and the potential for a seventh straight perfect league campaign, Igoe Guarino was pleased with the way her team responded to the challenge from their rivals.
“We take pride in it and we know that Foxboro is going to be the toughest league game every year,” she said. “[The players] just have a lot of pride and they know Foxboro is out to get us. Foxboro was ready for us but we had to be just as ready back.”
Franklin (14-2, 9-0) can complete another undefeated league season if it beats Canton on Monday. Foxboro (9-7, 7-1) will face Div. 2 East rival Medfield on Friday and look to secure an outright league title when it faces Milford on Tuesday.
Attleboro is a relatively young program that is looking to build on a talented group of returning players, particularly in the attacking end of the field. New head coach Chrissy Quinn has a dynamic group of attackers that she is hoping will build on last season’s 113 goals, which was the second-lowest goals tally in the league.
The key player in the midfield and attack is senior Kyra Lyons, who accounted for nearly half of the team’s goals last spring despite drawing the attention of opposing defenders. Lyons will be joined by senior midfielder Rylee Fontes, a Worcester State-commit, who adds a secondary playmaker around the opponent’s goal. Junior attackers Sydney DiLiddo, Kelly Johnson, Rylee Turnes, and Ashley Piazza will get helped by sophomore Hannah Webster, Campbell Compton, and Isabella Salviati.
On the defensive side of the ball, seniors Sam Fasoldt and Sydney Viera will be the leaders of the back line, trying to protect sophomore Maggie Porreca and junior Dee Graham, who will both see time in goal this season. Juniors Julia Willis, C.J. Westwater, and Lynn McDonald will also be jumping into the defensive unit to add depth at the back for the Bombardiers.
2018 Record: 4-13 2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Laurie Chabot
Like many of the teams in the Davenport division, Canton comes into the spring eyeing a return to the state tournament. The Bulldogs last made it in 2016 after finishing in a three-way tie for second behind Foxboro in the Davenport division. With a mix of new faces and experienced returning players, second-year coach Laurie Chabot is hopeful that this season with see Canton make a run up the standings.
Canton will have a lot of experience in the defensive unit even after graduating a few key pieces. Senior Molly Cummings will be the leader at the back and will be joined by classmate Devyn McGrann and freshman Sydney Gallery, whose twin sister Fay will jump into the midfield this season. Junior Alexa Maffeo and seniors Maggie Connolly and Leah McLellan will also be critical for the Bulldogs to take control of the middle of the field and transition from defense into attack. Communication at the back will be key. There are several new faces in the attacking unit but Chabot is already seeing that chemistry is building. She was pleased with results in the preseason and is hoping that confidence will carry over into the games that count.
“We are off to a great start this spring,” Chabot said. “This year we not only have a strong team with both skill and speed, but we have size on our side. The team is coming together, starting with a win against Norwood in our scrimmage. We have strong players in all areas it’s hard to pinpoint just one.”
2018 Record: 14-6 2018 Finish: Reached D2 East Quarterfinal Coach: Brittany Sherry
Expectations may be as high for this year’s Foxboro team as any under head coach Brittany Sherry because the Warriors have a roster filled with talent and experience (14 returning seniors). Foxboro will be looking to clinch an eighth straight league title but also will have its sights set on bringing home the program’s first sectional title as well. With the weapons at the Warriors disposal, there is the potential for plenty of silverware to come their way this spring.
It all starts with two-time reigning Hockomock League MVP (and reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year) Sophia DiCenso. The senior midfielder has spent the off-season playing with the youth national team and will be the cog on which the Warriors build their attacks. She is joined in the midfield by classmate Molly Murphy, who is closing in on 100 goals in her career, juniors Abby Hassman and Jamie Notarangelo and sophomore Ella Waryas, who each provide Foxboro with solid two-way play. In attack, seniors Meghan Curran and Caroline McGeary have consistently provided goals in big games and sophomore Lilly Vey is a newcomer to watch this spring. The loss of Alex Stamatos to injury will be tough on defense, but senior Carlie Stern will provide the leadership for an experienced group that includes seniors Mary Spillane and Jenna Stamatov and junior Grace Boudreau. Of course, if anyone gets through then University of Louisville-commit Sara Addeche will be waiting in goal.
“This year our main goal is to take it game by game,” Sherry said. “We’re putting whatever has happened these last few years, as far as previous wins/losses and playoffs go, and putting it in our past. We need to continue to work hard every day, play as a team and have fun while doing it. We all have a common goal and know what it’s going to take to get there.”
It is a sign of just how far the Franklin program has come that being knocked out in last season’s East semifinal could almost be considered a disappointment. After winning the East title in 2016 and 2017, the Panthers come into the spring with another roster loaded with talent and experience and a schedule loaded with the top teams in the state to prep for a deep tournament run as well as trying to make it eight straight league titles.
Senior Annie Walsh will be the focal point for the Panthers again this year and the player that the offense typically runs through. Her sister Erin, a junior attacker, is one of the best finishers in the league and gives Franklin a dynamic one-two punch on offense. Junior Kelsey MacCallum adds another talented attacker to the forward line, while senior Hailey Toolin adds versatility as either a midfielder or defender and junior Alex Field will be a key piece of a defensive unit that was by far the best in the Hock last season. Junior goalie Gianna Cameron is another reason for the Panthers having such a strong defensive record after two straight seasons on the HockomockSports.com First Team. The Panthers haven’t lost a league game since 2012 (more than 70 straight wins) and have added an exciting freshman class with loads of potential, including six players making the instant jump to varsity.
“We have a ton of versatility where a lot of different players can play all positions. I am excited about the athleticism and skill level of our team,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “We have a ton of players with high level stick work and IQ that are capable of scoring and feeding. I am looking forward to us becoming a team with a high powered offense!”
Under first-year head coach Kourtnie Wilder, King Philip built on the momentum of its run to the 2017 East semifinal to put together a 14-win season and finish comfortably in second place in the Kelley-Rex division. The Warriors took Franklin to triple-overtime, coming as close as anyone has in recent years to ending the Panthers’ long league win streak, and battled with Lincoln-Sudbury in the East quarterfinal. Now, KP is hoping to use that experience to make a run at ending Franklin’s dominance in the division.
The key for KP may be the attack, which returns a lot of goals from last season. Senior Caroline Klim is back and will be a player that opposing defenses will have to watch out for after leading the league with 73 goals last season, including nine against Sharon in the playoffs. Klim will be joined up top by classmate Dana Truini and junior Jessica Sullivan. Defensively, Wilder points to the team’s aggressiveness and communications as being the keys to building on a season in which the Warriors only allowed 153 goals, which was second-best in the Hock. Senior Victoria Tormey, a HockomockSports.com First Team defender last season and Boston University-commit, will be the leader at the back and will have classmate Caroline Watson back in goal behind her to make a formidable group for opponents to break down.
Wilder said, “We are excited for the season and have a great group of returners. This season will be competitive as we are playing some strong teams, but we are up for the challenge! We are looking to build off of our success from last season and continuing to work hard and improve each day at practice.”
2018 Record: 9-10 2018 Finish: Reached D1 East First Round Coach: Lauryn Wilkie
New coach Lauryn Wilkie takes over the program this spring, looking to push an experienced Mansfield roster up the league standings, challenge Franklin at the top of the division, and make another run at a state tournament berth. The Hornets will be counting on its 11 returning seniors to keep things heading in the right direction this spring.
Senior attacker Katie Garvin will lead the forward line again this season after being among the league’s top scorers in 2018. Seniors Lauren Whitman and Maggie Danehy bring verve, energy, and experience to the Mansfield midfield, covering on draw controls and the transition game. Seniors Emily Vigeant and Kylie Tryder will cover the back line just in front of senior goalie Katie McCarthy, all of whom have multiple years of experience on varsity and should be a strength of the team. There are some underclassmen who will contribute right away for the Hornets, including sophomore midfielders Annemarie McCoy, Abby Varricchione, and Grace Fernandez and sophomore defender Melissa Shanteler.
“We are coming back this year with a brand new coaching staff looking to make some changes to the program,” said Wilkie. “We are breaking down the sport back to the basics and building it back up. Once this team finds their groove, I expect big things.”
Milford has a number of players back and a new head coach, Nicole Serra, looking to make a quick turnaround from last season in which the Hawks won only twice overall. With an athletic group back, Serra is working on building chemistry and putting the players in position to take advantage of their speed in transition. After scoring a league-low 82 goals last season, the attack will be a primary area of focus this spring.
Seniors Emily Haley, Katie Drysdale, and Sophia Bucal will give the Hawks leadership on the field, with Bucal providing a vocal presence in the attack. Senior Briana Maietta will join Bucal up front and they will be helped by junior midfielders Annie Flanagan and Elena Bon Tempo, who add athleticism whether in the attack or tracking back to help out on defense. Junior Hannah Bangert will be the leader at the back, controlling the defensive zone, along with sophomores Katie Maietta, Jillian Michelson, and Eva Parson.
“I am hoping to see the team really push themselves to improve every day and treat each practice like a game,” said Serra. “We are working on improving our speed, adding to our repertoire of offensive plays, and beating our record from previous years. I am looking forward to a great season.”
While North Attleboro finished below .500 last season, the Rocketeers only missed a postseason berth by a single game, ending up one game behind Sharon and in third-place in the Davenport division. Second-year coach Colleen Carchedi, who came over from Sharon last spring, is counting on the team’s young core (and the new turf at Beaupre Field) to help North get back into the postseason hunt and even challenge Foxboro’s reign at the top of the division.
Senior attacker Alexa Sinacola and senior defender Lauren Pezzi will be leaders on either end of the field, but North also has a strong junior class that will be counted on to produce this season, especially after the graduation of perennial all-star Kenzi Rosenberg. Junior Katie Lindstrom will be the focus of attention in the midfield after committing to UMass Lowell in the off-season, but she will have help from classmates Kathryn Kayata, Regan Fein, Lily Cameron, and Lindsay Spratt. Junior Faith Graveline will step into goal to try and help Pezzi lock down the defense along with sophomore starters Camryn Gonrdell and Aimee Baiungo. Sophomore Maggie O’Brien will add a spark to the attack.
Carchedi said, “We are young, but we are fresh. We are full of potential and certainly have the ability to compete at a high level of lacrosse. It is going to be a great season for us. Having the turf will be crucial in creating success for the program. I am very excited for this season and the future looks bright.”
2018 Record: 8-12 2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Nicole Lang
Oliver Ames continues to build the depth within its program to try and get that elusive berth in the state tournament. The Tigers have won eight games in each of the past three seasons, making the postseason in 2016 and narrowly missing out by two wins each of the last two years. This spring, OA will send out a relatively young squad that will look to get the Tigers over the hump and into the playoffs.
While there is plenty of youth on the roster, OA has leadership from a core of experienced players, including senior midfielder Olivia Piazza, who was on the HockomockSports.com Second Team last year and is committed to Merrimack College. She scored 91 points last season and will be the engine at the heart of the OA midfield. Senior Maddie Kullen will be in goal this season for the Tigers and classmate Grace McCallum returns to lead the defensive unit.
OA will try to improve its defensive record and make strides up the league standings under second-year coach Nicole Lang, who said, “We have a young team this year but with a lot of determination to learn the game. We continue to work hard each day to continue to build a competitive team for this League. The girls are definitely excited for the season so we are looking forward to their hard work paying off.”
2018 Record: 11-8 2018 Finish: Reached D1 East First Round Coach: Shara Ginthwain
Sharon has made the playoffs each of the past three seasons and has gone 7-3 in league play for the past two years. It has been an unprecedented run of success for the program and the challenge for the Eagles is to keep that momentum going even with the loss of key players to graduation. Second-year coach Shara Ginthwain will hope that new players can step in and that the team’s chemistry and effort will allow Sharon to continue battling at the top of the Davenport division standings.
Senior midfielder Emma Eberhardt is the key to the Eagles staying on track. The Lehigh University-commit scored 69 goals last year, including five against KP in the playoffs, and has been one of the top playmakers in the league the past three seasons. Eberhardt’s normal running mate in midfield, Sabrina Robbins, is now playing at the University of Colorado, so it will be important for her to build a rapport with sophomore Jenna Goldstein, who had an impressive rookie campaign, and senior Maeve Barbera. Senior goalie Rose Wald will be back between the pipes and classmate Bridget McManus is back to guide the defensive unit after being a HockomockSports.com Second Team performer last spring. Sophomore Molly McAlevey is a newcomer in defense to keep an eye on.
“Based on tryouts, practices, and scrimmages early this season, I can already tell that this team has a lot of heart, a lot of grit, and does not give up,” said Ginthwain. “I think their mental toughness is going to be a big strength for us this year!”
Taunton has been on the verge of getting into the postseason in each of the past two seasons, missing out by just two wins last year, including a one-goal loss to Canton and a pair of non-league losses to New Bedford. With a young crew coming into this spring, the Tigers will be looking to improve their performance in the league (2-8 in the Hock in 2018) to push themselves into the postseason conversation.
The key for the Tigers is sophomore Alana Tavares. The three-year starter has been one of the league’s most dynamic attacking threats since jumping onto the varsity scene as an eighth grader and so much of the Taunton attack runs through her. Junior Kamryn Li is also back for the Tigers after scoring 23 goals last season. The only seniors on this year’s team are Emma Sheehan and Mabel Smith, but Taunton will have 10 sophomores, eight freshmen and an eighth-grader on this year’s roster, so the underclassmen are going to have roles to play right away this spring.
“We are a young group this year, but added some promising players to our roster,” said Taunton coach Kerry Northup. “We are excited to work with and grow the young talent we gained towards building us as a confident, strong competitor in the league.”
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – A year ago, Franklin beat Concord-Carlisle in the D1 East Final. This year the teams met a round earlier, in the semi-final, and not only were the stakes different, but the result was as well, as Concord-Carlisle pulled off a 14-10 win in a back and forth game that featured four ties and five lead changes.
“They knocked us on our butts last year, they physically took it to us, but I think it was a learning experience for us, we really had something to prove today and I think we did an outstanding job,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Paul Morrison.
Franklin started out the game strong, with two good goal opportunities early, but two great saves by Natalie Slade turned the Panthers away. They were eventually able to capitalize, with goals from Kelsey MacCallum and Katie Jones giving Franklin a 2-0 advantage early on.
But, when C-C switched to Fallon Vaughn on the draw, the Patriots went on a huge run of draw controls, taking a 9-3 advantage in that category at the end of the first half. After MacCallum put Franklin up 3-1, Concord-Carlisle went on a four-goal run from 9:08 to 7:22 in the first half.
“Offensively, we were patient, especially when they went up by a couple in the first half, we didn’t rush it down there, we were patient, and we got good looks,” Morrison added
Franklin was able to cut the lead to 5-4 after Annie Walsh found Katie Jones, but a play that might have been the turning point occurred with just over three minutes to go in the first half when, after a Gianna Cameron save, Payton Vaughn read the clear pass perfectly, picked it off, and cashed in to put C-C up 6-4.
Franklin was able to get one back, however, as Jones scored her third of the game with 1:13 left in the half to cut the halftime lead to 6-5.
Erin Walsh came out ready to play for Franklin the second half, scoring back-to-back goals and assisting on a Jones goal that put Franklin up 8-6.
Payton Vaughn and Evelyn Karl scored for C-C to tie the game up, but MacCallum helped Franklin regain the lead at 9-8 with her second goal of the game. C-C got right back in it though, as Karl scored her second goal of the game and Payton Vaughn went on a three-goal run by herself to put Concord-Carlisle up 12-9 with 7:50 to play.
“We’ve talked about focus for about a week and just doing the little things,” Morrison said about his team’s energy. “Just doing the little things, go to the game and let it come to you.”
With the game at 12-9, Erin Walsh scored her third of the game to cut the lead, but back-to-back goals by Evelyn Karl finished off Franklin and gave the Patriots a 14-10 win and a bid to their second straight sectional final.
Concord-Carlisle will face Walpole in the D1 East Final after the Rebels Lincoln-Sudbury on Monday night. Franklin ends its season with a 14-6 record, but the future is promising for the Panthers with multiple underclassmen on their roster.
“We’re definitely going to miss our seniors, we thank them for everything we’ve done, but we do have a young team but hopefully a loss like this motivates us to work harder in the offseason and come back and get back here and win this game,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about the Panthers’ youth going forward.
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin and Foxboro have been the dominant girls lacrosse programs in the league for several years, winning a combined 14 league titles in a row (including this spring’s Kelley-Rex and Davenport crowns) and perennially making deep state tournament runs as well.
While the two teams have shared success in the league, the head-to-head matchup has recently been one-sided. The games have typically been close, but it is Franklin that has regularly come out on top, as part of the Panthers incredible win streak against Hockomock opponents that stood at 70 games entering the yearly matchup with the Warriors on Wednesday night at Pisini Field.
This felt like a year that Foxboro could flip the script and end the Panthers’ long unbeaten run, but instead it was a familiar storyline. Annie and Erin Walsh scored four goals apiece, Franklin goalie Gianna Cameron made eight saves (six in the second half) and the Panthers pulled out an 11-5 victory.
“They came out with a lot of energy, a lot of passion,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “it was our senior night so we were honoring them and that energy translated on the draw. Annie did a great job, our circle people (Hailey Toolin, Erin, and Kelsey MacCallum) did awesome fighting for the ball.”
Franklin won 9-of-10 draws in the opening half, which limited the Warriors ability to get the ball into the sticks of their talented attacking corps. Also, the Panthers took full advantage of the opportunities that they were presented with.
“They were using every opportunity they had, for the most part, and capitalizing on them,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “When it’s only being done on one side for us, the defense can only do so much, Sara [Addeche] can only make so many saves.”
Following a Nicole Houlihan steal, Annie Walsh put Franklin in front with a shot over Addeche’s stick into the top corner. Less than a minute later it was Erin Walsh bursting through the middle of the Foxboro defense to double the lead.
The Warriors got on the board three minutes later when senior Cat Luciano found space in the middle of the Franklin defense. Erin Walsh answered back with a pump fake and finish, but Foxboro again got the lead down to one with a lefty shot on the run by Sophia DiCenso.
Kelsey MacCallum scored her first of the night to make it 4-2 and then the Franklin defense made several big plays to keep Foxboro at arm’s length. Grace MacCallum was the vocal leader for the defensive unit, calling out switches, slides, and double teams. With the help of Halle Atkinson, MacCallum forced a turnover and scooped the ground ball to win possession back and on the other end Annie Walsh went high-to-low for Franklin’s fifth.
“Grace has been on this team for four years, so she’s a huge leader on the defensive end, kind of the director of the team,” said Igoe Guarino. “We’ve been pushing the defense to get even better and she’s been leading the way.”
She added, “Our communication was up, we were just playing as a team out there. Our doubling, we had a second slide ready and then our goalie just backing us up when they did shoot.”
Foxboro got one back with man-up goal by Molly Murphy off a perfect pass from DiCenso. With three minutes left in the half, Kelsey MacCallum was denied in transition by Addeche, but Franklin forced a turnover on the clearance and Erin Walsh found MacCallum with a precise pass across the crease for a close-range finish.
“We were moving the ball and ball-moving is great but eventually you’ve got to put points on the board,” said Sherry about the Foxboro attack. “We weren’t attacking the cage, we were looking to just a few players to get it done and when those players aren’t getting it done then other players need to step up.”
Murphy had one more chance before the half but Cameron read the bouncing shot and was able to deflect it up over the bar just as the horn sounded. At the start of the second half, Foxboro had several chances in the first few minutes to cut into the lead, but Cameron made three saves to keep it 6-3. Franklin then broke the game wide open.
“When we need her to save it, she does,” said Igoe Guarino of Camerron. “She had 15 saves against Walpole (on Monday) and she had a ton today against some of their best shooters. We’re just lucky to have her.”
Erin Walsh picked up her second assist when she connected with a cutting Katie Jones and the freshman went behind her back on the run for a highlight-reel finish. Walsh then added back-to-back goals on free positions to put the Panthers up by six. Annie Walsh got into the scoring with a drive from the left side to complete her hat trick.
“They play the whole game,” said Igoe Guarino of the Walsh sisters. “They hustle to get ground balls and win us possession and they just do an excellent job of reading when to take one-on-one and when to pass. They draw a lot of attention, but they both finished really well today.”
Murphy scored again to end the Franklin run and Mackenzie Cusack got the benefit of a bouncing ball through traffic on what appeared to be a pass that slipped past Cameron to make it 10-5 with 3:31 left, but Annie Walsh scooped a ground ball on the far sideline and took it herself to seal the win.
Foxboro came into the game on a nine-game win streak and had key players battling illness, but Sherry admitted that Franklin might be in the Warriors’ heads at this point.
“We love competition with Franklin,” she said. “We had the win streak going and…we’re just scared of Franklin. Every time we hear Franklin, we just don’t get it done and if this was any other team we would have a better result.”
Franklin (12-4, 9-0) has not lost a league game since April 2012 and the Panthers will try to complete another perfect league campaign next Wednesday against Canton. Foxboro (11-3, 7-1) will try to bounce back on Thursday with a trip to North Attleboro.
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – After scoring just over one minute into the game, the Franklin girls lacrosse team struggled to find the back of the net for much of the first half.
Despite eight shots on goal during the half, Bishop Feehan goalie Maggie Roberts came up with big save after big save to deny the Panthers, and with 1:06 left to go in the half, the Shamrocks led 2-1.
Kelsey McCallum scored off a shooting space penalty to tie the game at 2-2, and milliseconds before the buzzer sounded to end the half, Hailey Toolin found the back of the net to put Franklin up 3-2.
Those two goals proved to be the spark that Franklin needed, as in the second half their offense broke through with eight goals en route to an 11-4 victory over Bishop Feehan.
“I give credit to their goalie, she was really good, but we weren’t making the changes in our shots we needed to make, and those last two goals really gave us momentum going into the second half, and it kind of gave us an idea of where we need to shoot,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino.
To start the second half, Franklin scored four unanswered goals, including two from Erin Walsh, to put the Panthers up 7-2. With 16:23 left, Feehan scored to make it 7-3, but back-to-back goals by Annie Walsh and Elizabeth Wilson put the game pretty much out of reach at 9-3. Feehan would add another goal, but Franklin tacked on two more in the last 1:09 of the game to finish off the 11-4 win.
One of the keys for Franklin was their success with draw controls, as Franklin won fourteen out of sixteen draws, including ten out of eleven in the second half.
“Our draws have been pretty consistent all year, we’ve been beating teams in draws, we’ve been focused on our possessions on offense, and translating our draw wins into goals, and that’s been our struggle all year, and we were finally able to get more than eight goals this game,” Igoe-Guarino added.
In the first half, Erin Walsh started out the scoring early, netting Franklin’s first goal a minute and fourteen seconds into the game. For much of the first six minutes, Franklin controlled possession, and despite some good looks, they were turned away by Roberts.
With 17:28 left to go, Feehan tied the game up. They had another good opportunity with 10:13 left in the half, but a save by Gianna Cameron kept the game tied up at one with a nice save. Feehan took a 2-1 with 3:05 left to go, but that was the only lead they would hold for the rest of the game.
Franklin (4-3) will travel to Natick on Monday to take on the Redhawks in what will be a rematch of the 2017 MIAA D1 East Quarterfinals.
Bishop Feehan (5-2) will travel to Marshfield on Monday to take on the Rams.
2017 Record: 2-16 2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro went into 2017 with an inexperienced lineup and first-year head coach Kevin Patton tried to bring together a roster that had essentially never played together at the varsity level. With all but two players back for this spring, Patton is expecting the Bombardiers to be improved in all facets of the game and to be more competitive in the league.
Leading scorer Kyra Lyons is back for her third varsity season and the junior midfielder will be a key player, as the Bombardiers look to improve on last season’s league-low 88 goals. The offense will be bolstered by senior Emily Patton, who is a four-year varsity player, and fellow senior Alison Wall. Junior Alex Compton will also be back for a third season to make an impact for Attleboro. On defense, seniors Graycen Cassidy and Kim White will provide much-needed leadership for a unit that allowed 273 goals last year.
“Because we only lost two players to graduation last year, we have a lot of varsity experience on both sides of the field,” Patton said. “I am looking for the upperclassmen to take a leadership role and am looking forward to seeing the girls in essentially their second year all playing together on varsity.”
Canton has a new coaching staff this season that will try to build on a talented crop of underclassmen to get the Bulldogs back into the postseason. Laurie Chabot has taken over this spring and the coaching staff is excited to get the season underway and see what this Bulldogs roster, which has only three seniors, can accomplish.
Senior midfielder Molly Colburn will be the leader for the Canton attack this season, while fellow captain Colleen Boucher provides vocal leadership in the defensive zone to keep everything in check. Senior Jess Powers is still battling an injury, but Canton has a host of younger players that can step in, including juniors Maggie Connolly, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Maggie Malloy, and Leah McLellan and sophomore Alexa Maffeo, who all had success with their winter teams.
Chabot said, “With three seniors (all captains) we are looking at a young but skilled and talented group of girls. With speed and a strong stick skillset our girls are ready to compete.”
2017 Record: 17-5 2017 Finish: Reached D2 East Final Coach: Brittany Sherry
Last season, Foxboro reached the Div. 2 East final for the first time in program history, continuing the program’s upward trend as one of the top D2 teams in the state. The loss to Walpole in the final has left the Warriors, who had only four seniors on last year’s roster and return 10 starters, wanting more and the team comes into a new season experienced, battle-tested, and loaded with talent, including 2017 league MVP Sophia DiCenso, who in her two varsity seasons has already made quite an impression with her all-around game.
Joining DiCenso in the potent Foxboro attack is fellow junior Meghan Curran, who is coming off a breakout season and is capable of finishing against the best defenses. Senior Caroline Boudreau returns as one of Foxboro’s biggest threats on the draw and classmate Christina Rogers is back to lead the defensive unit, which is an aggressive group that puts a lot of pressure on the opposition. Sophomore Sara Addeche is back in goal after a very strong rookie season.
“Going into this year we’re looking to pick up where we left off,” said Foxboro coach Brittany Sherry. “Losing to Walpole in the sectional finals left us wanting more. These girls are ready to progress to the next level. They’ve dedicated their off-season and preseason to preparing our comeback.”
Franklin has emerged not only as the top program in the Hockomock League but in recent seasons as one of the top programs in the state. The Panthers have won the Div. 1 East title in three of the past four seasons, although they have yet to find a way past the state semifinal and get the opportunity to play for a state championship. Despite being a team loaded with underclassmen again this spring, Franklin comes into the new season once again as the team to beat in the league and with state title aspirations.
Reigning Underclassman of the Year Annie Walsh is back to spearhead the Franklin attack and create scoring opportunities for herself and for her teammates. One of the teammates that benefits is her sister Erin. The sophomore is a creative finisher around the crease and will be a top scoring threat again this year. Sophomore Gianna Cameron is back in goal for the Panthers after an impressive rookie campaign and senior Grace MacCallum is back to lead Franklin’s stingy defensive unit. Sophomore Kelsey MacCallum will be a player to watch in the midfield, while freshman Katie Jones is a newcomer that could make an instant contribution.
“We are definitely still young, but now our youth has experience,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “The team is doing a great job so far of playing fast, smart and together. We have some excellent leadership in our senior class, and we are working hard every day to get better!”
It was an up-and-down spring for King Philip in 2017, but it certainly finished on a high as the Warriors pulled off a pair of upsets in the state tournament to reach the Div. 1 East semifinal and a rematch with rival Franklin. The Warriors will have a new coach, Kourtnie Wilder takes over this season, and a number of returning players to make a run at unseating the Panthers from the top of the Kelley-Rex division, including senior attacker Katie Crowther, who comes into the season with more than 200 goals for her career.
One of the strengths for KP this season will be the defense, which is loaded with experience and vocal leaders. Christina Hathaway and Victoria Tormey will be the key defensive returners along with Caroline Watson, who has been one of the league’s top goalies for the past two seasons. The midfield will chip in on defense and help Crowther in the attack. Dana Truini, Alli Meehan, and Caroline Klim will all be back to solidify the midfield unit.
“We are going into the season with a clean slate and working to improve each week and being focused at practice,” said Wilder. “This is a hard-working and dedicated team and it will be exciting to see their hard work pay off.”
2017 Record: 10-9 2017 Finish: Reached D1 East First Round Coach: Alexis Kobey
Mansfield got back into the tournament last season and gave Bishop Feehan all it could handle in the first round. The Hornets come into this spring motivated by unfinished business, as they look to not only get back to the postseason but also to make a deep tournament run. The first week of the season will provide a good early test with Mansfield facing Natick, Sharon, and North Attleboro, all 2017 playoff teams, right out of the gates.
The Hornets return four seniors from last year’s team and they will be expected to provide the leadership to push a talented group of juniors. Ann Maher will be back to add steel to the midfield and will try to get the ball forward to senior attacker Lauren Whitman and junior Katie Garvin. The defense will be as strong as its ever been, according to head coach Alexis Kobey, anchored by senior Danielle Skinner and with senior Hannah Sternberg back in goal.
“Making the tournament last year but losing by two to Bishop Feehan, we are definitely coming into the season with a bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Kobey, “and want to improve on our record from last year and want to make it deeper into the playoffs.”
2017 Record: 4-14 2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Tim Dowd
In his second year in charge, Milford head coach Tim Dowd said that his team is focused on trying to outwork teams this season and to be “scrappy on the field,” as the Hawks look to make a move up the standings and compete with what has developed into a very deep league. The Hawks return several key players and have a few freshmen that will be added to the mix and given the opportunity to contribute right away.
Junior Emily Haley is the leader of the attack and Dowd said that he is expecting her to “have an incredible season.” Joining Haley in the midfield and attack are senior Jadyn White, junior Brianna Maietta, and sophomore Annie Flanagan. The defense has several players back from last season, including seniors Emily Condon and Alexa Lancisi, who provide the necessary vocal leadership to keep the defensive unit organized. Dowd added that there are a number of underclassmen that will play important roles this season, as the Hawks use their team speed to cause problems.
“We’re looking to be the team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field,” said Dowd. “One of the things I’m looking for is improvement every day. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”
North Attleboro has achieved quite a bit in the past few seasons, including its first home playoff game and its first playoff victories, and new coach Colleen Carchedi, who comes over from Sharon after achieving similar success in building that program up, is hoping to continue the Rocketeers’ upward trajectory. North will have a tough non-league schedule to prepare itself to make a deep tournament run.
One of the key players that North will rely on this season is senior midfielder Mackenzie Rosenberg, who was in the league MVP conversation last season and has been one of the league’s top scorers for the past two seasons. Senior Alaina Mello and senior goalie Kayla Moulin will lead the defensive effort along with classmate Caroline Vigorito. North will have plenty of speed to call on in the midfield this season with senior Julia Tolfa and sophomores Katie Lindstrom and Lindsey Spratt. The attack will be led by seniors Camille Pizarro and Julia Dakin, who are part of a very experienced roster that wants to lift North beyond the second round for the first time.
“These girls have been working really hard in the off-season and we are not willing to settle,” said Carchedi. “I have found that this team plays with passion and if we can continue to play with that energy and determination we are up for a great season.”
2017 Record: 8-12 2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs Coach: Nicole Lang
Oliver Ames is another developing program that has added depth to the Hockomock League in recent seasons and the Tigers are poised to make a breakthrough into the postseason as first-year coach Nicole Lang takes over this spring. While the coach is one of several new faces for the Tigers this season, Lang believes that OA will be able to build on its successes from the past few years to continue building the program.
Senior goalie Ariana Waldorf, fresh off a trip to Israel this winter to help spread the game of lacrosse, will be back between the pipes this spring for the Tigers, one of many talented goalies across the league. Chloe Kilkelly and Olivia Piazza, who was named to the HockomockSports.com Second Team last year, will provide leadership and be counted on to step up in all phases this year.
Lang said, “Our girls have been preparing harder than ever for the upcoming season. We have a lot of new faces to the team and are looking to our seasoned players to lead the way to a potential playoff berth.”
Sharon has been a program on the rise for the past several seasons, including best-ever second-place finishes in the Davenport division, the program’s first playoff appearance, and last spring the Eagles added a first playoff win as well. While Sharon will move on this year with a new coach and without leading scorer Alex Rabb, the Eagles still have the talent to make a run at the postseason and new coach Shara Ginthwain has been an assistant at Sharon for the last three years, so it should be a smooth transition for the players.
Senior Sabrina Robbins is back to add dynamism to the midfield in both defense and attack and she will be joined by junior Emma Eberhardt, who adds speed, size and finishing ability from the middle of the field. Senior Abbi Solomon is back in the attack and junior Bridget McManus will be back in the heart of the defense. With 10 returning players, experience will be a strength for the Eagles, particularly on the defensive side where goalie Rose Wald also returns. Freshman midfielder Jenna Goldstein is a newcomer to watch for Sharon this year.
“Having our first playoff win in program history last season really lit a fire for a lot of these girls, it’s clear that the girls put in a lot of work in the off-season and they are ready to go!” Ginthwain said. “The girls are really motivated to work hard and to win. They are determined to be competitive in the Hock and into playoffs.”
Taunton is still a relatively young program and it enjoyed its best season in 2017 with seven wins, including a pair of wins in the league, and now the Tigers are going to try to build on that despite the loss of several players that had significant impacts. The focal point for Taunton this spring will be freshman midfielder Alana Tavares, who put together a stellar rookie campaign as an eighth grader and was one of the league’s leading scorers.
While much of the attention will, deservedly, be on Tavares and the attack, senior goalie Lorna Li is also back to give the defense some solidity after a really strong junior season. Seniors Hannah Moniz, Diana Brens, and Kayla Phillips will also be back to try and chip in with goals and leadership, while sophomore Kamryn Li could take on a larger role after the graduations of Abbey Kingman and Delaney Powell. Freshmen Anastasia Lajoie and Rosemary McGrath also saw time with Tavares as eighth graders last year and could step in to contribute more this season.
“We lost some talented seniors but have a lot of promise in some of our younger players,” said Taunton coach Kerry Northup. “We are excited to see what they can bring to the team this year.”