By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – As the reigning D1 East Sectional Champs, and current top seed, the Franklin girls lacrosse team knows there is a target on their back.
Natick came out firing on Thursday afternoon at Franklin High, but a strong second half effort and nine goals from sophomore Annie Walsh led Franklin to an 18-10 victory over eighth-seeded Natick.
Heading into halftime, Natick led 7-6, completely controlled time of possession and led in draw controls at the break.
Kendall Reardon started off the scoring for Franklin, scoring three minutes into the game, but on the ensuing Natick possession Annika Streeter would answer back to tie the game up at one. Streeter then set up teammate Victoria Norchi open in front of the net, and she scored to put the Redhawks up 2-1. Reardon would then score her second goal of the game to knot the game at two, but Norchi scored on an empty net to give Natick a 3-2 lead.
After Streeter scored again, Franklin got back to back goals from Erin and Annie Walsh to tie it back up at 4-4. Molly Burnes put Natick up 5-4, but Reardon’s third goal of the half tied the game up again. Back to back Natick goals from Streeter and Meghan Rodino would put the Redhawks up 7-5, but Annie Walsh scored her second goal of the game with 1:33 left in the half to cut the Franklin deficit to just one at 7-6.
“Natick wanted it more in the first half,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about the first half. “They were winning the draws and the ground balls, so I kind of yelled at [my team] a little and said you gotta want it more, or you’re going home.”
The Panthers clearly took that message to heart, as seconds into the half Jordan Jette found Annie Walsh cutting to the net wide open for a goal to tie it at 7-7, and 30 seconds later freshman Kelsey MacCallum found the back of the net to make it 8-7 with 24:09 left to play.
Franklin wouldn’t look back from there with Annie Walsh netting five consecutive goals herself, to go up 13-7 with 10:58 left in the game.
Walsh’s fifth goal, which put Franklin up 10-7, was the 100th of the sophomore’s already incredibly successful career. She would finish with nine goals, including seven in the second half.
“She’s amazing at draws, ground balls, in between the 30s, and on offense, so I think that’s the kind of player to look for when you’re down, and she did it very well,” Igoe Guarino said about Walsh.
After Streeter scored the third of her five goals for Natick, Erin Walsh scored to make it 14-8 with 9:16 left to play, and then Reardon scored the fourth of her five goals to extend the Franklin lead to 15-8 with just over eight minutes to go in the game.
Streeter scored back to back goals to make it 15-10, but goals from Erin and Annie Walsh and Reardon would give Franklin a final advantage of 18-10.
For Franklin, the road to a state championship only gets tougher.
“We have to play 50 minutes. We have a target on our back, we’re the number one seed in the East and reigning East champions. Everyone’s going to want to beat us, and every single team in this tournament is good and capable of winning.” said Igoe Guarino about the rest of the tournament. “We want to win, but we have to play like, and I always challenge them to act like the number one seed, and that’s a lot easier said than done.”
With the win, the Panthers move onto the D1 East Semifinals, where they’ll play the winner of the King Philip-Lexington game, which will take place Saturday at 3:30 in Lexington.
Franklin girls lacrosse (20-1) is familiar with Hockomock League foe King Philip, beating the Warriors 18-6 on May 24th. The date and time of Franklin’s semifinal matchup is currently to be announced at the time of publication.
FOXBORO, Mass. – Foxboro won the final draw control of the game and charged down the field. But with just under 10 seconds remaining, there wasn’t enough time to set a up a play. Instead, time ran out just before the Warriors could release their final shot.
If there was another second left, Foxboro might’ve scored its seventh goal of the half and completed a stunning comeback.
Instead the clocked hit double zeros and Franklin recorded its second straight one goal victory, 9-8, over Foxboro in a battle of division leaders. The win clinched at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title for Franklin — the sixth straight for the Panthers.
Foxboro’s Molly Murphy cut the deficit to just one with 11 seconds to play, but Foxboro couldn’t get a shot off to tie the game before the buzzer.
Similar to its victory over defending state champions Westwood on Monday, Franklin relied on its defense and clung to its lead.
“Franklin is top three in the state,” Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry said. “So hanging with them first of all, and winning would be a plus. We’ve never beat them – it’s a program goal of ours, always has been.”
When the division champions battled a year ago, Franklin handled Foxboro 13-8 — and this year’s game began in similar fashion.
Senior Caroline Lounsbury scored the first two goals for Franklin on feeds from freshman Erin Walsh. The senior attack caught both feeds at full speed, cut towards the net and finished to the left of Foxboro goalkeeper Sara Addeche. A mishap in front of the net led to an own goal for Foxboro, giving the Kelley-Rex leading Panthers an early three goal advantage.
But after that, Foxboro’s defense settled in. The Warriors’ zone stifled the Panthers over the last 35 minutes allowing just six goals to a Franklin team which had previously been held to single digit scoring just four times this season. Addeche compiled 10 saves while her counterpart, Franklin freshman Gianna Cameron, tallied eight.
“We kind of took advantage of the fact that they were young and our zone just kept their composure,” Sherry said. “We try not to put them on the line and make them make them mistakes.”
After trailing 5-2 at the half, Foxboro dictated pace in the second half. The possessions lengthened from barely half a minute in the first half to nearly two minutes per possession in the second half. The Warriors’ offense was patient and waited for opportunities to arise.
And they did.
Jackie Brion scooped a ground ball and cleared it the length of the field. She moved the ball on to Meghan Curran, who scored twice in the first half, as the sophomore was cutting down the alley. An additional pass reached Lauren Flahive before the senior fired it into the back of the net.
“If we played like we did in the second half in the first half I think we would’ve gotten a different result,” Sherry said.
In the few possessions, Franklin did capitalize. The Walsh sisters, Annie a sophomore, and Erin a freshman, combined for three of the last four goals of the games for Franklin. On the team’s second to last goal, Annie stood outside the circle of Warrior defenders and carefully lobbed the pass over their heads. The ball landed perfectly in a streaking Erin’s stick and the freshman cranked the shot just under the crossbar.
A few possessions later Lauren Bissanti ran from the bench straight through the Foxboro defense and caught a pass on the run down the center of the defense. She sent the eventual game winner to the bottom left corner.
Foxboro would make a late push with goals by Sophia DiCenso and Murphy, but it wasn’t enough and Franklin remained unbeaten in league play.
“A win is a win,” Franklin head coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said. “Our defense did well our goalie played well, we were aggressive but we could’ve played a lot better.”
Franklin (17-1 overall, 8-0 Hockomock) will look to clinch the Kelley-Rex title outright when it travels to Taunton on Thursday. Foxboro (13-3, 8-1) will look to bounce back on Friday with a trip to Attleboro.
MEDFIELD, Mass. – Franklin did not follow the standard script on Monday night at Medfield High. Typically, girls’ lacrosse games are won by the team that has the ball the most. Coaches always preach winning draw controls and keeping possession, but the Panthers used a different formula to beat the Warriors.
Despite winning only 4-of-17 draws and spending long stretches of the game in the defensive zone, Franklin pulled out a 10-5 non-league victory over the perennial Div. 2 contender by hitting the Warriors with a series of quick counterattacks.
“I think that’s just a testament to our defense and our goalie,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about the Panthers winning without having the ball for much of the game. “We can score quickly, but we’ve got to get better at those things.
“I said, we didn’t win the draws and we didn’t win possession of the game and we still somehow won, so imagine if we put it all together. We still have room to grow and improve.”
Franklin opened the scoring inside the opening minute with a lightning break that stemmed from a point-blank save by freshman Gianna Cameron (nine saves, including six in the first half). The ball quickly flew up field and Jette finished off the transition for a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Brooke Deady got a shot past Cameron only to see it carom back off the crossbar. Franklin scooped up the ground ball and took off on another fast break that led to an eight-meter try for Erin Walsh. The freshman put it away and made it 2-0.
Medfield responded with goals by Jordan MacLean and Maggie McCarthy to tie the game up with 14 minutes left in the half.
The score stayed the same for seven minutes until Jette picked out a cutting Annie Walsh for the go-ahead goal. Medfield would get another long spell of possession to close out the half, holding the ball for several minutes, but only managed one shot off target and Franklin held firm to force a turnover and keep the lead.
When asked about the halftime conversation, Igoe Guarino said, “Get the ball more, so draws, which we didn’t do and we need to get better at that; 50-50 balls, which I thought we did better when it was on the ground; and just making our possessions count on offense because we didn’t have the ball a ton.”
The Warriors won the opening draw of the second half (and won 9-of-11 after the break) but the Panthers stole the ball and MacCallum turned it into a goal with a drive to her lefthand and bounced shot. Just 31 seconds later, after a rare draw control, the Panthers made it 5-2 on an Annie Walsh free position.
McCarthy scored again for Medfield to cut the lead back to two and then nearly added another just minutes later only to be blocked by quick reactions from Cameron. A quick outlet turned the momentum around, as Walsh fed Caroline Lounsbury down the middle for the goal.
“Gianna is a huge factor,” said Igoe Guarino of her freshman netminder. “Our defense in front of her is very good, but then she makes amazing saves and is the key to our transition. If we’re not winning draws then we’re counting on her to make big saves and she does.”
MacCallum scored her second with a drive off a free position and answered a Medfield goal with another lefty chance and low shot to the corner for an 8-4 lead. Walsh got her hat trick off an eight-meter try and after Medfield cut the lead back tok four, sophomore Halle Atkinson hit Jette in front for a backhanded, sidearm finish.
Igoe Guarino praised her team’s balance on the offensive end. She said, “We don’t rely on one person. I think we have a team where everyone is comfortable sharing the ball and putting it on a teammate’s stick to score. We’re trying to get everyone to see the open player and that’s why our breaks were so effective.”
With Monday’s win, the Panthers are now 11-1 on the season despite a roster filled with underclassmen and a schedule that featured some of the top teams in the state. On Monday, seven of Franklin’s 10 goals came from freshmen and sophomores and Igoe Guarino was pleased with the way the younger players were adapting to the varsity level.
“The underclassmen have done a really great job,” she said. “They’re still learning and we’re picking out a lot of things in film and practice and they’re improving every day but I think they’re handling the schedule well and I think the challenging games are the best types for getting better as individuals and as a team.”
Franklin will be back at home on Wednesday afternoon to host North Andover in a rematch of last year’s state semifinal.
2016 Record: 6-12 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.
One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.
In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.
“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”
2016 Record: 8-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Christine O’Connor
Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.
Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.
One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.
“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”
Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.
Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.
Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.
“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”
2016 Record: 19-5 2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino
Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.
There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.
Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.
“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”
King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.
Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.
KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.
“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”
Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.
Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.
Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman
“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”
2016 Record: 3-15 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Tim Dowd
It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.
Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.
Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.
“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”
2016 Record: 13-7 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal Coach: Mike Vitelli
Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.
North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.
Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.
“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”
2016 Record: 8-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.
Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.
Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.
“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”
2016 Record: 10-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Colleen Carchedi
In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.
Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”
Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.
“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”
With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.
The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.
Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.
“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”