Volleyball: 2017 Hockomock League Preview

2017 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

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

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

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

Canton

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

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

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

Foxboro

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

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

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

Franklin

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

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

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

King Philip

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

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

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

Mansfield

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

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

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

Milford

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

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

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

North Attleboro

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

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

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

Oliver Ames

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

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

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

Sharon

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

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

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

Stoughton

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

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

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

Taunton

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

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

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

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawks Heading to Tournament After Sweep of Hopedale

Milford Volleyball
Kelley Reichert (33) and Milford girls’ volleyball dominated on Dig Pink Night, beating Hopedale 3-0 to clinch a spot in the postseason in front of a packed gym. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – Ordinarily, the bleachers behind the benches remain closed during volleyball matches, but as the beginning of the varsity match approached Milford athletic director Peter Boucher was forced to pull out an extra section to accommodate the overflow of fans, the majority of whom were decked out in pink.

It was a special occasion for a special cause and the crowd piled into the gym at Milford High on Wednesday night to celebrate the volleyball team as it took on unbeaten Hopedale and to honor Dig Pink Night, which raised money for the Side Out Foundation’s mission of finding a cure for breast cancer and supporting breast cancer patients.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With a raucous atmosphere spurring them on and inspired by teammate Carli Gonzalez and head coach Linda Zacchilli, who both beat cancer in the past year (Zacchilli for the second time), the Hawks played arguably their best match of the season to sweep Hopedale in three sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-12) and clinch a return to the state tournament.

“We made very few unforced errors today,” said Zacchilli. “We played very sharp. We forced a lot of errors on their part. We were really focused.”

The Milford front line set the tone in the opening set. The Hawks dominated at the net, led by junior Kelley Reichert who recorded four of her team-high seven kills and two of her four blocks in the first. She also added a pair of aces and five digs in the match. Her back-to-back kills set up set point before a Hopedale error wrapped up the first.

In the second set, the Hawks fell behind very early but behind strong serving from Gillian Valanzola (two aces) and Lauren Zouranjian (team-high three aces and eight assists) Milford took control and pulled away. Valanzola added five kills and was a strong presence in the middle alongside Juliana Tracy, who finished with a team-high six blocks.

“My middles have come so far from the beginning of the season,” said Zacchilli. “We’ve done a lot of things in practice to make it muscle memory, come off the net so you can get something behind your hit. Blocking-wise too they’re doing a better job reading the hitters.”

The third set was another dominating performance by Milford. The Hawks never took the foot off the gas and used a strong defensive effort to put pressure on Hopedale, forcing the visitors into a number of errors. Libero Kyra Alves spearheaded the defense with 14 digs to lead the Hawks.

Much more than just a game

Last season’s Dig Pink event was particularly emotional because the girls took a moment to honor Zacchilli, who was then the boys’ volleyball coach and was battling cancer for a second time. Also, just days before the match, Gonzalez, then a freshman volleyball player, was diagnosed with cancer as well.

“I think it’s important for any team to run an event like this for a charitable reason,” said Zacchilli, “to have a purpose and give back a little bit. It’s important for them to understand there’s a bigger world out there beyond what’s right in front of them.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Unlike last year, Zacchilli did not want the event to be about her battle. The team did honor the coach before the game privately with flowers in the locker room.

“They want to make a big deal out of me, you know, but I said I don’t want that at all this time around,” she explained. “I’m a year out and I just want to be…out. I don’t want to think about it; I just want to leave it behind me.”

As she did last year (and recently did at Fenway Park during the NESN/WEEI Jimmy Find Telethon), Gonzalez sang the national anthem in front of a packed house. Gonzalez has a new perspective on Dig Pink Night after her battle with cancer.

“It’s so good to see everybody,” said Gonzalez after the match. “Everyone know someone with cancer, especially breast cancer, it’s so common.

“My grandmother had cancer but it was when I was little. I knew what cancer was but I didn’t know the severity of it and so after this year it means so much more to me…because I’ve seen it.”

Gonzalez and Zacchilli stayed in touch over the summer with the coach making sure that her player would be part of the event and the team, whether on the court or at the scorer’s table. Zacchilli also contacted Hopedale coach Andrew Mainini to be part of Dig Pink.

Mainini played volleyball at Milford for Zacchilli, was her assistant coach for several years and last spring took over the boys’ volleyball program with Zacchilli as his assistant. He jumped at the chance to be part of the event.

He said, “I was honored when she called and said, ‘Hey Andy, do you want to be our Dig Pink match?’ It was meaningful for me, my girls and obviously we wanted to do everything we could to contribute to the cause.

“There is always a ton of positive energy that comes out of events like these.”

On Dig Pink Night, the game is always secondary to the cause, but this display gives Zacchilli confidence that the Hawks have the potential to make some noise in the playoffs.

“I’m really proud of the way they played tonight,” she said. “If we play the way we played tonight, then we can play with anybody.”

Milford (9-3) will put that to the test on Thursday, as the Hawks have a quick turn around to host Kelley-Rex division co-leader Mansfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Scarlet Hawks Finish Off Franklin In Fourth Set

Milford volleyball
Milford’s Brianna Croteau and Juliana Tracy go up for a block against Franklin’s Erin Skidmore. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – Even though it’s just the second week of the season, Milford found themselves in a familiar position. But this time, they proved they had learned their lesson.

The Scarlet Hawks won the first two sets of the match for the third straight game, but unlike their loss to King Philip last week, Milford was able to finish off Franklin to get a 3-1 win.

Milford took a thrilling first set, 29-27, and followed with an impressive 25-15 win in the second set. Franklin rallied to win the third set, 25-21, giving the visitors a bit of momentum.

“We started off a little slow but then we got on track,” Milford head coach Linda Zacchilli said. “I thought we played pretty decent games one and two but momentum can shift. We just didn’t play in that third game and the momentum was with them. Once you let a team take the third game, they believe they can win and it’s harder to win it yourself. I tried to reinforce that.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Last week, KP won the third set in similar fashion (25-17) and used that momentum to go on and win the fourth and final set to get the win.

Zacchilli and Milford weren’t going to let that happen again, the lesson had been learned.

“But to be able to put it all together in game four was good,” Zacchilli said. “We’re a work in progress till, we have a long way to go. but as long as keep making improvements, we’ll be OK. Once we settled into this game, we started passing the ball and we looked good.”

Franklin battled back from a 24-20 deficit in the first set to force a seesaw affair but Lauren Zouranjian’s ace finally gave the Scarlet Hawks the win 29-27.

It was all Milford in the second set, racing out to a 8-2 lead following an ace from Jane Schuler, and kills from Stefani Chiarelli and Kelley Reichert. The Scarlet Hawks built a double-digit lead at 20-10 off an ace from Ally Zagami and went up 24-10 when Zagami registered two more aces. Franklin rallied for five straight points but Milford took the set 25-15.

The Panthers raced out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth game, a cushion that they kept the rest of the way. Franklin went up 24-16 before Milford rallied for five straight points to try and get back in it, but sophomore Maggie Doyle earned the set point with a kill for the Panthers.

Milford took care of business in the fourth set, slowly building a four point lead (9-5). The Scarlet Hawks really put things out of reach for Franklin with a 17-5 run, highlighted by kills from Kate Lobisser, Chiarelli and the final one from Reichert to get the win, 25-13.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“The big step was not letting that third game carry into the fourth,” Zacchilli said. “We were dominant but then we had difficulty passing the ball. But the kids rallied. After we dominated in game two, they dominated in game three. We needed to put on the brakes and stop their momentum, we need to be the ones to step up and the kids rose to the occasion. That’s something we didn’t do a week ago so I look at it as a successful thing.”

Reichert finished with a team-high 11 kills while Chiarelli had nine kills and Zagami had seven. Zagami (four aces) also led the Scarlet Hawks with 17 digs while Kyra Alves had 14 digs, and Allie Collins (18 assists) had 13 digs.

“We had some players really step up too,” Zacchilli said. “I thought Chiarelli probably had her best game, both Zagami and Reichert, they were very steady for us on the outside and in backcourt defense. They really did a nice job passing and serving, they both served tough.

“I think overall, in the end, it was a real team effort. We didn’t force the ball anywhere, all of the kinds swung, they all had some success.”

Erin Skidmore had six kills and a pair of aces for the Panthers, Maggie Doyle added six kills and Meghan Maguire had three kills and four blocks.

“We missed an awful lot of serves. I think we missed six or seven [in the first game] and you can’t do that,” Franklin head coach Kate Horsmann said. “We’re really young and I think the second game, if we had won the first set, it might have carried us through that second set. I think it’s disappointing for us but I don’t think it’s unexpected, that’s kind of what you see from young players. This was our first away match and we have five sophomores who are playing a lot. I thought when we played well we played really well. Milford was a good team today, they beat us. I’m not going to make any excuses, they were good.”

Milford volleyball (2-1, 1-1) travels to Taunton on Wednesday evening while Franklin (1-1, 1-1) will try to bounce back the same day when they host Foxboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Volleyball: 2016 Hockomock League Preview

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

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Hockomock Volleyball Preview

Attleboro

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

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

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

Canton

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

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

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

Foxboro

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

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

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

Franklin

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

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

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

King Philip

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

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

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

Mansfield

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

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

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

Milford

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

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

North Attleboro

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

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

Oliver Ames

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

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

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

Sharon

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

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

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

Stoughton

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

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

Taunton

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

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

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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