KP Holds Off Second Half Comeback Bid by Oliver Ames

King Philip field hockey
KP sophomore Christina Gifun (13) chases down a loose ball during the first half of the game against Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – With a minute left in the first half, King Philip appeared to be running away with a comfortable win. The Warriors scored the first four goals against Oliver Ames on Monday night at Macktaz Field, but then the Tigers got on the board and stole the momentum.

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Twice in the second half OA cut the lead to just two goals, but each time the Warriors were able to find a response, taking back control long enough to hold on for a 5-3 victory that keeps KP within five points of league leading Franklin.

“We fell asleep a little bit,” admitted KP coach Lisa Cropper. “We got a little too comfortable and they weren’t going to quit. They’ve got some really good goal scorers, some really nice crossing balls that we just fell asleep on. We’ve been really tight and good defensively lately and I think we felt a little too comfortable with that 4-0 lead.”

KP got off to the perfect start to the night. Only two minutes into the game, the Warriors broke quickly and a centering pass from the right found Olivia Kulesza in front. She was able to find the touch in a crowd and knocked it in.

In the 12th minute, KP nearly doubled the lead when Paige Berdos stole the ball and raced clean through on goal, only to be denied by OA goalie Kara Ostrander.

Four minutes later, the Warriors did find a second goal and then just seconds later made it 3-0.

Berdos started the move by racing free down the right wing before passing it ahead to Kulesza. The junior, who was moved up from defense to forward earlier this season, managed to keep the ball alive on the end line and then slipped a square pass across the front of goal where Abby Nixon was on hand to tap it in. Just 30 seconds later, Raegan Simeone finished off another nice KP move.

“We were so hyped up for the game,” said OA coach Sharon Lawrence. “I think we played a little frazzled in the beginning, very panicky, couldn’t settle the ball. We play a good possession hockey game and we were off of that game in the beginning. It took us a few minutes to get settled in.”

With about a minute remaining in the first half, King Philip appeared to put the game away. Berdos got space to take a whack from the right side and was able to find the back of the net to make it 4-0.

OA was on the brink of being run off the field, but then the Tigers finally found a successful attack of their own. Hannah Stryke got her first of the night to give some hope to the visitors before the break.

“Huge, we needed some momentum for sure,” Lawrence said of that late goal. “We just said, forget about the scoreboard. We’ve got some momentum, we’re chipping away and let’s just keep putting the pressure on.”

The message seemed to have gotten through as the Tigers dominated the opening portion of the second half, creating a series of corners and dangerous scoring chances. KP goalie Grace May made a big stop to keep the three-goal lead but then OA got its second. Cassie Gennis created space on the righthand side and crossed it to Stryke in front for a one-time finish.

Cropper said, “I called a timeout and I said, look we need to answer back. All of a sudden we stopped playing with each other and using each other and once we started doing that again we had our way down in their circle.”

Nixon helped KP respond and restore a three-goal edge. She weaved her way through the KP defense down the left side, getting all the way to the crease before the ball was knocked away. It fell to the stick of Christina Gifun, whose shot was saved by new OA goalie Peyton Phillips and the rebound came right to Nixon in front of an empty net.

“She’s getting better and better at that and she can do it from the left side, which is rare in a high school player,” Cropper said of Nixon. “Sometimes the left wing gets left out but with Sammy Robison at center back and Grace [Crocker] at center mid and Raegan at left mid, we look for her. Those four have combined really nicely.”

If there was any concern that OA may fold once KP added to its lead, it was quickly wiped away. Again it was Gennis that created the opening with a good run on the right and she sent the ball through the middle to Stryke, who capped her hat trick with another first-time hit.

“We got Hannah Stryke back on the scoreboard tonight, she was firing away,” said Lawrence. “Cassie Gennis was bringing the ball down on the right, she had an amazing game.”

The KP defense managed to stifle the Tigers from that point forward. Haley Izydorczak, Molly Piller, and Robison held down the OA right side, where Gennis was frequently running at goal, and limiting the impact of midfielders Maggie Woods and Georgia Costello in the center.

“Part of our game too is transferring the ball, which we didn’t do enough of tonight,” Lawrence explained, “but usually those two in the middle are good at kind of switching the field so we could move the ball up and around.”

It was the fifth win in six games for the Warriors, who remain in second place in the Kelley-Rex. King Philip (7-3-1, 7-2-1) will have a quick turnaround with a trip to Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) on Tuesday. Oliver Ames (5-7, 4-6) enter the closing stretch of six games needing four to clinch a playoff spot. The Tigers start by hosting Canton on Thursday.

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Panthers Push Past King Philip In Division Showdown

Franklin’s Amanda Lewandowski and King Philip’s Christina Gifun battle for possession in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Monday afternoon’s field hockey contest between host King Philip and visiting Franklin will be a learning experience for both sides.

An experienced Panthers squad, who earned a 3-0 win in the game, will look to fine tune their offense, mainly their shot selection. And the Warriors, with a roster filled with mostly new faces to the varsity level, will be looking to get to the same level as the visitors.

Franklin controlled the play for the majority of the game, peppering the King Philip net from start to finish. However, thanks to a terrific performance from KP junior goalie Makenzie Manning (22 saves), the Panthers only celebrated three goals.

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But three goals was all the Panthers needed, as they held the hosts to just one shot on goal with one penalty corner. Meanwhile, Franklin racked up 14 penalty corners and placed 27 shots on goal throughout the contest.

“We are a little green out there, most of them are juniors and sophomores but most of them haven’t played varsity yet,” said first-year KP head coach Lisa Cropper. Cropper previously coached Franklin for nine years (2009-2017). “[Franklin] has a lot of experienced kids. We looked good in some scrimmages when everything is calm, but as soon as it ramped up, we reverted some and played a little scared.

“We weren’t playing our angles correctly, they were exploiting that. And we were ball watching and worried about individual stuff instead of playing as a team. Now we have to transfer what we talk about in practice to the game, that’s the next step.”

The chances came often and early for the visitors, as junior Stephanie Bell sent a deflection just wide off a feed from freshman Kaitlyn Carney just seconds into the game. Manning was forced into a double said just minutes later as Carney set up Amanda Lewandowski for a shot.

Two minutes later, Manning came charging out to deny a bid from Hanna Richardson and defender Sammy Robison blocked the follow-up shot off the line to keep the game scoreless.

The Panthers finally broke through in the 16th minute with a little extra huddle. After a strong clear, Lewandowski hustled to win a foot race and went in alone towards good. Manning came charging off the line and forced Lewandowski to play the ball towards goal. Junior Leila Frankina pounced on the loose ball and buried it from in close.

Franklin continued the pressure early in the second half. Just over five minutes into the second frame, Manning made a nice stop on a shot from Bell and denied a rebound chance from Lewandowski. The Panthers were rewarded a penalty stroke after the second save but Manning came up big again with a blocker stop to keep the deficit at one.

“She’s phenomenal, she played even better than I expected,” Cropper said of Manning. “Our defense did channel things so she had a good look at the shot but we didn’t know what to do after the save. We marked for the initial shot but not after. I told them there’s no losing, just learning…and we did a lot of learning today.”

Robison once again deflected a shot away to keep the Warriors in the game but the pressure paid off for the Panthers, scoring back-to-back goals in a four-minute span.

Carney smacked a hard low shot from 12 yards out that took a slight deflection off a KP stick and into the back of the net to make it 2-0. After a corner, Carney got another look from a similar spot and lofted a bouncing shot through traffic that smacked the back of the cage.

“Their goalie played phenomenal but we have to do a better job picking our corners,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “That’s part of the early season learning curve. It’s hard because the goalie can become a target, so we have to get them shooting away from the goalie, but it’s a fixable issue. We had some issues at the beginning of last year and got things sorted out.

“We’ve got to mix up our shot selection, with some aerials and some hard shots. One of the hardest shot is the slow push that’s bouncing that can be hard for a goalie to time.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Since the Panthers had the majority of the possession, King Philip’s best offense spells came on the counter-attack. But chances were limited as the Franklin defense thwarted the Warriors’ bid to counter.

“Having Maeve [Ledwith] back there, she’s a brick wall back there, she’s not letting anyone by,” Hess said. “And my other captain Elizabeth Clark has really stepped up, she’s been playing well too. We’re pretty deep defensively which is good.”

Franklin field hockey (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) will entertain Milford on the same day.

Field Hockey: 2019 Hockomock League Preview

2019 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview
Another competitive Hockomock League field hockey season is about to kick off. Read a full team-by-team breakdown of Hock field hockey teams below. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-11-1
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes
The Bombardiers are looking to climb off the foot of the Kelley-Rex division standings this fall and challenge for a return to the state tournament. With a number of players making the move up after successful seasons on JV, Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes is confident that her team will have the firepower to compete with the league’s top teams this year.

Senior Anna Beck will lead the way for Attleboro again this fall. The midfielder led the team in scoring last year and was one of the top scorers in the Hock, and she will be counted on to open up chances for her teammates. Junior Campbell Compton will add to the midfield group with her playmaking and stick skills. Junior Kiera Murray will be the lynchpin of the defensive unit, providing leadership at the back. The forwards are going to be a combination of returning players and new faces that are expected to provide additional scoring this season.

“Though spots are still being established and player combinations being determined,” Antunes said, “we are confident that this year’s offensive line is going to make a significant impact on the league.”

Canton

2018 Record: 15-4-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton finished just one point shy of back-to-back league titles and for the second season in a row saw its season ended by the eventual South champion, but the Bulldogs remain one of the teams to beat in the Davenport thanks to a roster filled with returning, experienced players ready to make another tournament run.

Midfield will be an area of strength for the Bulldogs this season with senior Kaitlyn Goyetch back to create scoring chances for her teammates. She was second on the team in scoring last year and is capable of opening up space for the attackers. Juniors Maria Femia and Meghan LaBelle will help Goyetch out in the middle of the field, adding to both the attack and the defense, and senior Meg Aldrich provides energy to push the team on both ends of the field. Junior Riley O’Connor returns in goal to shore up the defense. The attack will certainly miss leading score Maggie Malloy, but there are a number of players that are ready to step in and try to make up for that loss of production.

“Canton field hockey is excited for the regular season to begin,” said head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Our captains Kaitlyn Goyetch, Meg Aldrich and Rose Malloy along with several key returning players will be major contributors to our success this season. We are working towards a strong showing in the always competitive Hockomock League”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 17-2-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Melissa Bordieri

The Foxboro Warriors will have almost an entirely new look this season after graduating 10 starters and 14 seniors overall.

While it will be almost an entirely new team, there is definitely plenty of talent and a lot of team speed. Jaime Notarangelo is the lone starter to return and will see time at both center forward because of her goal-scoring abilities plus time at center mid because of her distribution skills. Ella Waryas will see a significant increase in her role in the midfield alongside Molly McElhinney. Anna Marcucella and Mikayla Cloherty will see time both in the midfield and defensively for head coach Melissa Bordieri, who is still moving all the pieces around in search of the right combination. Lauren Foster is a team captain and will be tasked with anchoring the defense while junior Hannah Trombley and sophomore Lily Jones battle for minutes in goal. Kate Collins picked up some valuable minutes last year and will be relied on offensively alongside Olivia Simoneau.

“We still have a lot of talent, it’s just a matter of piecing together who fits where and who works well together,” Bordieri said. “We are a tenacious team so we are optimistic about the season.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 13-6-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Michelle Hess
After finishing second in the Kelley-Rex division and making a run to the Div. 1 South semifinal, where they led perennial power Walpole by two goals with 10 minutes remaining, Franklin wants to build on that momentum and return to the top of the league standings for the first time in three seasons. The experience of last year’s run, which included finishing on an 11-2-2 run, has confidence brimming through the program.

The loss of do-everything midfielder Cassi Ronan will certainly hurt, as well as defender Emily Valentino and goalie Christina Luccini, but the Panthers still have a solid foundation of returning standouts to rely on. Senior Maeve Ledwith will continue to lead the defensive unit and is one of the league’s top distributors out of the back. Junior Amanda Lewandowski saved her best for the end of the season and playoffs and will be one of the team’s top attackers. Freshman Kaitlyn Carney is expected to contribute right away and possibly ease the loss of Ronan from the midfield. Junior Neilee Hess will take over between the pipes.

“The players worked very hard in the offseason, and I am proud of them for their dedication and determination,” said Franklin coach Michelle Hess. “I look forward to watching this team come together and earn a top spot in the Hockomock League along with another deep run in the tournament.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 18-2-1
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Lisa Cropper
After winning the league and South titles in 2017, the Warriors made a coaching change. After making it back-to-back Kelley-Rex crowns and getting back to the South semifinal last season, the Warriors are making another change on the sideline. Former Franklin coach Lisa Cropper is back in the Hock after two years at Dean College and she will be trying to keep the momentum going for KP this fall.

While the Warriors dominated the league in goals scored last year, thanks in large part to HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Alli Meehan, and that drew a lot of attention, but the Warriors were even more impressive defensively, allowing only 15 goals in 21 games. Senior Sammy Robison is back to hold down things on defense along with classmate Grace May and junior Mackenzie Manning, who may end up sharing duties in goal. Sophomore Christina Gifun and junior Paige Berdos will drive the team in the midfield.

In addition to the graduation of Meehan, KP will be without reigning Underclassman of the Year Meghan MacDonald, who transferred to Tabor Academy. Senior Raegan Simeone and juniors Abby Nixon and Grace Crocker will be counted on to try and make up that production in the attack.

“We have a lot of really solid players with no real superstars, which should give us a very balanced team,” said Cropper.

Mansfield

2018 Record: 9-8-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhan
The Hornets are only four years removed from back-to-back league titles and a trip to the South final and the experience on this year’s roster gives Mansfield hope that another deep tourney run could be on the cards. With seniors in every layer of the field and talented underclassmen to fill in the depth, the Hornets look like a serious contender at the top of the Kelley-Rex division standings.

In attack, Mansfield will count on a speedy trio of seniors to try and boost the goal totals. Paige Peterson, Becca Hottleman and Gabby Devlin are all back on the front line. In midfield, Kelly Doherty and Grace Doyle provide the engine that pushes the Hornets forward, while also providing the necessary cover for the defense. Senior Kayla Hunter is back in goal and will try to organize the back line, which will include seniors Grace Maher, Mallory Burke, and Angela Burnham.

“Overall we have a good balance of juniors and seniors at each level,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhan. “We should be able to keep fresh legs on the field at all times. Looking forward to a good season.”




Milford

2018 Record: 2-14-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Katie Blackburn
The Hawks have a number of players returning who have several years of varsity experience and will try to blend in players that are making the leap from JV in order to improve from last year’s two-win season, which included five games that Milford lost by only one or two goals.

Senior goalie Paige Reisman will be the key on the defensive end, solidifying a back line that will see several new faces that are trying to get up to varsity speed. Her communication and vision will help the newcomers be ready for opposing attacks. Senior Megan Hart is also back on defense to add leadership in front of Reisman. Junior Olyvia White can play in midfield or defense, while senior Kathryn Swineford will try to push the Hawks into the attack from the middle of the field.

“We have a lot of returning players on offense that have experience playing together,” said Milford coach Katie Blackburn. “This experience will help in creating an offensive attack throughout games. The players have worked hard this offseason to improve on skills and come into the season conditioned.”

North Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-10-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Karen Folan
The Rocketeers are hoping that an experienced lineup will be the key to challenge the top teams in the Davenport division and also to make a return to the state tournament. North Attleboro only missed out on a playoff spot by four points last season and there is the potential to make a bigger push this fall.

Senior Emma Strachan will be in her third year as the starting goalie and will continue to lead the defensive unit. Senior Lindsay Robinson heads into her second year as a force in the North midfield and senior Michelle Pothier will start her third year generating offense as one of the starting forwards. Senior Grace Cole adds speed on the wings to open space for the attack and senior Faith Graveline will move into the midfield from defense, adding another layer of cover for the back line and another weapon in the offensive circle.

“We have a solid group of returning varsity players for the 2019 season,” said North coach Karen Folan. “We hope to utilize our knowledge and experience to come out strong at the start of the season and continue to build on our strengths as the season moves forward.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 8-9-2
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Sharon Lawrence
While Oliver Ames brings back 11 returning players from last year’s playoff team, the Tigers remain relatively young, with a strong junior class anchoring the team throughout the roster. That level of experience gives OA the potential to make noise in the loaded Kelley-Rex division and be competitive with the perennial title challengers.

The offensive unit is deep and expectations are high for an improvement on last year’s 31 goals scored as a team. Juniors Haley Gilman and Hannah Stryke and seniors Maura Kiernan, Ellie Waters, and Cassie Gennis will all play up top and are all capable of making plays inside the offensive circle. Several younger players will get the chance to impress right away, including sophomores Ava Costello and Lily Gaskill and freshman Julia Maclaine.

Junior Maggie Woods is the leader of the midfield group, constantly finding herself around the ball and propelling the Tigers forward. Sophomore Georgia Costello will join her in the middle of the field. Juniors Emily Han and Emily Dionne will lead the defense, while juniors Abbey Boyce and Courtney Lake are newcomers to the defense that will contribute right away. Senior Kara Ostrander and junior Peyton Phillips are both capable of being the starter in goal.

“The team shows improvement in skill and confidence from last season after a strong off-season commitment to the game,” said OA coach Sharon Lawrence. “We have a deep bench with lots of talent in the forward and midfield lines to keep legs fresh and performance strong, giving us good game endurance.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 0-18-0
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Ashley Courville
After a winless season, with no goals scored, there is plenty of room for improvement for the Eagles this fall. Sharon ended that goalless stretch in the opening game of the season against Norwell and there is an increased level of confidence that the program is mixing in more experienced players with newcomers that can help make the team more competitive this year.

The defense will be led by an experienced corps of players. Seniors Holly Davis, Blaize Hanna, and Anya Lane are all back to solidify a back line that reduced the goals allowed by 27 from 2017 to 2018. Senior Lauren Glass will be the team’s primary playmaker in midfield and she will get help from junior Jenna Goldstein. There are a lot of new faces in the attack, including sophomore Ashley Young, who got Sharon’s first goal of the season in the opener. Juniors Samantha Sherman and Jillian Parker will also chip in up front.

Sharon coach Ashley Courville said, “Our strengths on defense this season are consistency and strength. We have a handful of returning players back on defense giving us stability. Our offensive strengths are added speed leading to the ability to carry the ball on the field more effectively.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 7-11-2
2018 Result: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
The Black Knights would love to make a push for a playoff appearance this fall and Stoughton will rely on is experience in midfield and attack to overcome some of its inexperience in defense to try and make that run possible.

In the midfield, seniors Skylar Carroll, Madison Araujo, and Juliana Rush give the Black Knights speed and stick skills to push forward and make the transitions that will break down opposing defenses. In the attack, senior Brittni Paul and juniors Haley Nelson and Sarah McGrath have a nose for being in the right spots around the goal to create scoring chances. While the defense is relatively new, junior Kayla Laboy will be back between the pipes to add leadership and organization at the back.

Stoughton coach Dan Mark said, “We have a good nucleus of returning players, but do have some inexperience defensively. I think the key to our team will be a strong offense.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 8-7-4
2018 Result: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway
The Tigers have made great strides as a program, becoming a regular in the state tournament and competing with the top teams in the Hock, but after graduating 10 seniors Taunton will have its work cut out to make sure that another playoff berth is secured this fall.

Junior forward Alana Tavares will carry a lot of the scoring load for the Tigers this season. Tavares led the team in scoring last year and showed that she can also play in the midfield to create opportunities for teammates. Senior Kathryn Robinson will move up from defense into the midfield and her stick skills added to her defensive mindset will give the Tigers cover on both ends of the field. In defense, junior Jocelyn Pagliuca returns to provide leadership and cover in the back line with her ability to step into a challenge.

“We graduated 10 seniors last year and have many players stepping up for this season,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway.

Nagle Named New King Philip Hoops Coach

King Philip
King Philip announced that Dan Nagle will be the new girls basketball coach, taking over a team that went 14-8 and reached the D1 South quarterfinal last season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Former Fitchburg State University head coach Dan Nagle announced this week that he will be the new King Philip girls basketball coach this winter, replacing Amy Siggens, who left after a couple of seasons to take the coaching position at Taunton. Nagle is familiar with the Hockomock League and many of the players from his work at Mass Premier Courts and local AAU teams.

“Coaching at Fitchburg over the last three years was a great experience and I learned a lot from it,” Nagle said. “High school has always been a great fit and King Philip with its proximity and its tradition made it a really attractive job when I saw it open up.”

Nagle went 27-50 with Fitchburg State, winning nine games in each of his three seasons. He previously coached at Worcester Academy and at Bellingham High. With Bellingham, Nagle proved successful at the high school level, leading the Blackhawks to the 2014 Div. 3 Central title and a 20-4 overall record.

The Norton native will take over a team that had success last winter and has the potential to be one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division, bringing back a number of key pieces, including HockomockSports.com first teamer Faye Veilleux. Nagle introduced himself to the Warriors following a recent summer league game and he believes that the players will fit right into his up-tempo style.

“The good thing is that I knew a lot of them already from AAU and just from being at the facility all the time,” Nagle said. “It’s good to know there are good players. Sometimes when you take over a program you have to start over but the program is in a good spot right now.”

He added, “I think the expectations are really high and that’s exciting for me. I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge, but at the same time it’s nice to go where the ball is already rolling and I have to keep it moving in the right direction.”

In addition to the announcement of Nagle as the new basketball coach, King Philip announced that former Franklin and Dean College coach Lisa Cropper will be its new field hockey coach. Cropper won four league titles in eight seasons as head coach of the Panthers and will take over the two-time defending league champions.

Also, this summer KP announced that former JV coach Mike O’Neill will be the new varsity coach for the boys soccer team.

Strong Start Helps Franklin Land Big Win At Westwood

Franklin field hockey
Franklin’s Cassi Ronan (left) carries possession past a Westwood defender in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
 
WESTWOOD, Mass. – Playing on the road is no easy feat, especially in the playoffs.

The Franklin girls field hockey team started strong, survived a comeback attempt and finished with a comfortable 7-3 victory over #15 Westwood in the preliminary round of the MIAA D1 South State Tournament.

Just 19 seconds into the game, Franklin got their first corner opportunity, and while they were unable to convert, they would get two others before two minutes would tick down on the clock. On their third attempt, Cassi Ronan saw her aerial just got over the top of the net, but seconds later, on Franklin’s fourth corner of the first half, Ronan was able to find the back of the net to put the Panthers up 1-0.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin earned two more corners at the 23:50 and the 23:17 marks, but stout defense and play from Westwood goalie Megan Brown would keep the Franklin lead at 1-0. However, on their sixth corner of the first half, Victoria Quinn would find the back of the net, and the Panthers led 2-0.

“We scrimmaged a lot this past week, without our JV and freshmen teams playing we didn’t have to share the field this week, so we took advantage of that and did a lot more scrimmaging this week, practicing quick restarts. And having good energy on the bus, it was really about having more of an attitude,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper said about her team’s fast start

Westwood finally got its offense going with its first corner at the 21:57 mark of the first half, but Franklin was able to keep the Wolverines off the board.

Four minutes later, Maddy Hinckley’s stick found the ball after a kick save by Brown, and she flicked it past the keeper to put the Panthers up 3-0.

Westwood would get on the board ten minutes later when Theresa Healy was able to get around the Franklin defense and drive her shot into the back of the net to make the score 3-1. Two minutes later, on Franklin’s eighth corner of the half, Ronan once again had an aerial, but it just nicked off the crossbar, and Brown was able to clear it just in front of the net to keep the Westwood deficit at two goals.

In the second half, Franklin’s offense got off to another strong start with Ronan scoring just over five minutes into the half to extend the Panthers’ lead to 4-1.

After Ronan’s goal, Westwood came roaring back as Kayla Conway scored to cut the Franklin lead to 4-2 with 18:42 left in the game, and off another corner, Healy scored her second goal of the game to cut the lead to just one at 4-3.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With 10:15 left to go in the game, Ronan completed the hat trick and put Franklin up 5-3, placing a perfectly lofted ball over Brown off a corner, and from there the Panthers never looked back, as Amanda Lewandowski and Natalie Stott added goals in the final ten minutes to give the Panthers a 7-3 victory.

With the win, Franklin field hockey moves on to face Kelley-Rex champions King Philip Saturday afternoon. The two teams met twice this season, and both those times the Warriors came out on top.

“It’s difficult to beat a team three times, and we’ve been right there with them both times, even the game that we lost last week, we outplayed them in the middle of the field, we just didn’t convert on our chances and they converted on theirs. ” Cropper said about the Panthers’ next matchup.

The Warriors (15-2) received a bye in the MIAA tournament and will host the Panthers on Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 at Macktaz Field.

Truini Winner Lifts King Philip Over Franklin

King Philip field hockey
KP junior forward Alli Meehan scored a goal and assisted on another to help the Warriors beat Franklin 4-2 at Macktaz Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – Despite forcing 20 saves out of Franklin goalie Christina Luccini (20 saves) and having a 12-to-3 edge in corners, King Philip went into a timeout with a little under five minutes remaining tied with the visiting Panthers at two goals apiece in Monday evening’s Kelley-Rex rivalry game at Macktaz Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

KP coach Liz Hathaway brought her players to the huddle to draw up a corner that she hoped would finally break the deadlock that Luccini and the Panthers defense had held for more than 20 minutes.

Nicole Connor played the ball out to the edge of the circle and it was fired into a mass of bodies. The ball kicked around for a few seconds before popping out to Dana Truini and the junior midfielder knocked it past the scrambling defense and into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.

It would turn out to be the winner for the Warriors, who tacked on one more to beat Franklin 4-2 and rebound from last week’s loss to Mansfield, which was KP’s first of the season. It also ensured a two-point lead over Oliver Ames in the division, as the Warriors go after their first league title since 2008.

“We had so many opportunities,” said Hathaway, “but I’m glad I called that timeout where we drew up a play for the corner that we ended up scoring on because if they feel confident and they know the play then we’re going to be poised and execute.”

KP got off to a quick start, forcing Luccini into eight saves in the first half, including one on Claire Lawler just a few minutes into the game. After the Franklin defense cleared a chance off the line and Alli Meehan watched a shot skip just wide, KP finally found the breakthrough and added a second just 30 seconds later.

The first goal came off a rebound as the ball was kicked into the crease but was quickly pounced on by the Warriors. Connor was officially given credit for the goal, although it was Truini who brought the ball back to midfield.

KP forced a turnover right after the restart and came right back at the Panthers back line. Meehan stick-handled through a couple of Franklin defenders, driving at the goal from the right side, and coolly slid the ball past Luccini (Liz Furfari getting credit for an assist).

“Alli Meehan is just so fast,” said Franklin coach Lisa Cropper, crediting Marissa Canesi for her man-marking job on KP’s leading scorer. “We don’t have anyone that can just straight up match her. “I didn’t want to put two people on her to begin with because then it takes too much away from our team to do what we want to do. Late in the game, when it was tied, I told [Marissa] follow her wherever she goes.”

The game felt fully in the grasp of the Warriors until Franklin earned a corner with 11 minutes remaining in the half. The ball was played out to Cassi Ronan and the junior flicked a looping shot over the stick of KP goalie Abby Campbell (eight saves) and in. The ref initially waived the goal off but after a discussion it stood and cut the lead in half.

“It was huge,” said Cropper of the goal. “When we went down two I could see the whole body language drop and I thought, okay fire it up because this could get ugly if we don’t get one here. Cassi’s scored a couple like that now and she’s doing really well with that.”

The momentum carried over into the second half and Franklin completed the comeback. Regan Paterson had her first effort, set up by Annie Walsh denied by Campbell (her only save of the second half) with a point-blank block, but Paterson knocked in the rebound to make it 2-2.

“They’re very loose,” said Hathaway about her team. “They’re a bunch of goofballs, but they know when they need to turn it on and I think it’s a good lesson against a team like Franklin you can never stop or take a break.”

Franklin’s second goal spurred KP on and the Warriors created chance after chance only to continually be denied by Luccini. She stopped three shots in one sequence off a corner (two saves on Meehan) and then made a diving stop to deny Lawler at the back post. She then stuffed two chances by Lawler again, kicking the shot aside.

Cropper said of Luccini, “She played well against them last year here, so I had a feeling she would play well again. She gets up for them and she was just seeing the ball really well.”

With four minutes left, Truini finally got one past the Franklin goalie, setting off a celebration that was a mix of excitement and relief. With 1:40 remaining in the game, KP sealed the win on another corner. Meehan drove at the defense, forcing it to collapse, and dropped a pass to Christina Hathaway, who blasted it through traffic for the insurance goal.

“Yes, personally and it allowed me to breathe,” said Liz Hathaway. When you’re in first place then everyone is out to get you and Franklin is always a great game. It was a really key win for us to keep the momentum and get back in the win column.”

King Philip (8-1-0, 7-1-0) will play back-to-back games to finish the week with Stoughton on Thursday afternoon and Algonquin on Friday night. Franklin (3-4-2, 3-3-2) will try to bounce back on Thursday against Canton before hosting Chelmsford on Sunday morning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin, Mansfield Finish Level At Beaver Street

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – It felt like mid-summer on the turf at Beaver Field on Monday as Franklin hosted Mansfield in a Kelley-Rex showdown, but the weather didn’t slow down either sides’ offense as the two sides battled to a 2-2 tie.

Just two minutes into the game, Franklin had a scoring opportunity but the Panthers couldn’t find the back of the net. Four minutes later, Mansfield had an opportunity of its own but a kick save by Franklin goalie Anna Jardine (nine first half saves) kept the Hornets off the board. Ten minutes in, Franklin had another good scoring chance but a nice save by Mansfield goalie Kayla Hunter (11 saves) prevented the Panthers from taking an early lead.

With 16 minutes left in the half, Mansfield’s shot was kicked away by Jardine and to the top corner of the circle where Ann Maher put the ball on her stick and drove a shot to the corner to put the Hornets up 1-0.

Two minutes later, a would-be Franklin goal was waved off after it ruled the shot hit the foot of a Franklin player. Mansfield would then see their best scoring opportunity for the rest of the half when the Hornets had three shots on goal in a sequence with nine minutes left in the first half, but stout play from Jardine and the Franklin defense managed to keep the Franklin deficit at one.

With the first half winding down, Franklin junior Annie Walsh had her shot tipped and deflected in by sophomore Erin Walsh, and the Panthers tied the game up 1-1.

With the heat, Franklin made a goalie change at halftime, putting in Christina Luccini who would be tested immediately with an early Mansfield corner, However, Luccini was able to kick it away for the first of her six second half saves.

“Both Anna and Christina have been playing very well, Anna did an outstanding job against Walpole on Saturday, but I knew with the heat that’d we’d probably have to use both of them.” Franklin coach Lisa Cropper said about her team’s goalie play. “They’ve both been much more aggressive and covered their angles better.”

With 22 minutes left in the half, Franklin had a scoring chance of their own, but once again a save by Hunter kept the score tied. Eleven minutes later, a rebound after a Mansfield corner made it onto the stick of Kristina O’Connell, and she put it in the back of the net to give Mansfield a 2-1 lead.

Franklin kept attacking, however, and once again they broke through late in the half, as Regan Paterson scored off a rebound to tie the score up at two.

“I kept putting it to the girls that you gotta want it more than they do,” Cropper said. “Yes, it’s hot, but it’s hot for both teams, so we just had to dig deeper and it was about who wanted it more.”

Franklin wasn’t done after Paterson’s goal, however, as the Panthers had another scoring opportunity with just 1:40 to go in the game, as Cassi Ronan’s aerial off a corner went just over the net, and despite a late Mansfield push, the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Franklin (2-3-2) will head to Attleboro on Wednesday to take on the Bombardiers.

Mansfield (2-2-2) heads to King Philip on Wednesday to take on the unbeaten Warriors.

Daly and DiCenso Power Foxboro Against Franklin

Foxboro Field Hockey
Juniors Lily Daly and Sophia DiCenso (10) combined for three goals and two assists, as Foxboro held on to beat Franklin at Sam Berns Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Foxboro, Mass. – After struggling to get going on offense in the season opener against King Philip, defending Davenport division and Div. 2 South champion Foxboro clicked into gear and found its scoring touch against Franklin on Monday evening at Sam Berns Community Field.

Junior Lily Daly scored a pair of goals and classmate Sophia DiCenso had a goal and two assists, as Foxboro pulled out a 3-1 victory over the defending Kelley-Rex division champions.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It’s a great win,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “We needed that after our showing against KP. Honestly, it was back-and-forth in the middle of the field, which makes for a really exciting game, but I’m really happy with how they played.”

She added, “We came out on fire, which was key. Everyone worked as a team. The way we placed the ball, we were looking for give-and-go opportunities, we were looking for combinations where the other day we weren’t.”

The game started evenly with both teams racing through the midfield and trading attacks, although there were few clear chances in the opening 20 minutes. Annie Walsh had a one-timer hit the outside of the goal and then a minute later Julia Carangelo had a shot from distance kicked aside by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini.

In the 20th minute, Foxboro found a breakthrough with a quick break. DiCenso sent a pass in front and Daly slipped the ball past a few Franklin defenders and just past the line to make it 1-0.

Just a minute later, the Warriors doubled the lead. Daly created the opportunity with a run down the left wing and she hustled to keep the ball in play before cutting it back to Catherine Luciano. The senior crossed the ball into the middle for DiCenso, who finished with a first-time shot on the turn.

“Scoring totally gives a team confidence and I felt like once you play with confidence then you do more things,” said Bordieri. “There were so many things they started to do well once we played with confidence.”

Walsh had the first chance for Franklin in the second half but her shot was kicked aside by Foxboro goalie Kelli McCarthy, last year’s league MVP, which was only one of two shots on goal by the Panthers. Four minutes later and Foxboro added a third.

This time it was a run down the right wing that opened up the Franklin defense, which was missing senior center back Kate Morse to an injury. Junior Molly Murphy, who last week verbally committed to play lacrosse at Davidson, found space on the right to center to DiCenso. The ball bounced in the crease and Daly popped up at the back post to knock it home for her second of the day.

“They’re fast, they’re experienced, and they can finish,” said Franklin coach Lisa Cropper about the Foxboro attack. “I thought we played fairly well for most of the game, held our own other than in our defensive circle. We made three mistakes and they capitalized on all three.”

With seven minutes to go, Franklin got on the board. Walsh again beat her defender to open space and was able to pull the pass back to Cassi Ronan. The junior midfielder then flicked a pass into the middle and freshman Victoria Quinn batted the shot into the back of the net for her second goal of the season.

Cropper said, “Cassi had a lot of pressure on her because we didn’t have Kate behind her. Regan [Paterson] stepped in and did a decent job at center back, so we were a little undermanned but held our own.”

It was the rare chance that Franklin was able to create against the Foxboro defense, thanks in large part to the play of senior midfielder Jackie Brion, who seemed to be in the way of every Panthers attack.

“As a center-mid, she controls a lot of the play,” said Bordieri of Brion. “Defensively, she breaks up anything in the midfield, making it really hard for teams to crossover. She was awesome today; really, really strong.”

Despite the final result, Cropper was pleased with the effort and believed that her team put in a good performance. She said, “I told the kids that you learn from your mistakes and hopefully we can learn from this and build on it.”

Cropper joked, “To play these guys this early, we knew it was going to be tough. We had them this way last year, then they went on to win the sectional title. So, we’ll just do it our way this time.”

Bordieri is hopeful that this will spark the offense and get the Warriors on track for the season. She explained, “Our offense has totally stepped up. I think they’re all really starting to gel. It’s really starting to come together.”

Foxboro (1-1) will face Sharon on Thursday and Hopkinton a day later. Franklin will try to bounce back against Oliver Ames on Wednesday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Field Hockey: 2017 Hockomock League Preview

2017 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview
Foxboro will look to defend its 2016 Davenport division and Div. 2 South titles this fall. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 4-13-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes

After registering just four wins a season ago, Big Blue is hoping for a big bounce back year in 2017. The toughest task will be finding replacements for the large amount of seniors that have graduated over the past two seasons. A big reason for hope to get back towards state tournament competition is four-year varsity player Grace Mayer. Mayer has been one of the top players in the Hock over the past couple of the seasons and led the Bombardiers with six goals and three assists for nine points. She will be joined on the forward line by junior Alexis Compton and junior transfer Takara Keele. Head coach Lindsay Antunes said her midfield has been strengthened “immensely” by sophomore Anna Beck, who was pulled up mid-season last year.

“There is an immense amount of unity on this team, and an outpouring of teamwork,” Antunes said. “Under the leadership of our current captains, many girls have assumed these roles [left by graduation] and are taking over the field. Some girls have been forced to transition into roles that are similar to ones they played in in the past, but not quite exact.”

Canton

2016 Record: 13-5-2
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor

Canton is returning a strong core of players from a 13-win team a year ago and will be in the hunt for the Davenport title. Key returning players include senior forward Andrea McNeil and junior forward Maggie Malloy, who will be back to pace the Bulldogs’ offense, as well as senior midfielders Emily Campbell and Maggie Wade. With experience back in the mid, the Bulldogs expect to have a strong passing game and strong ball control. Senior Riley Brown will step in as the starting goalie and freshman Maria Femia could make an impact as a rookie.

“Coming into our second season we look to strengthen our passing game and game sense,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We look forward to another competitive season in the Hockomock League!”

Foxboro

2016 Record: 19-3-1 (Davenport Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D2 State Semifinal
Coach: Melissa Bordieri

Coming off its best season in program history, Foxboro is now focused on 2017 and trying to write its owm chapter in the history books. While the Warriors graduated over a half a dozen seniors, they return last year’s Hockomock League MVP in goalie Kelli McCarthy as well as 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Lily Daly. With experience on both ends of the field, Foxboro is set up nicely for 2017. Daly has led the Warriors in scoring in each of the past two seasons.

The middle of the field will look most familiar from last season with seniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano, and juniors Meghan Curran and Sophia DiCenso all returning after playing valuable minutes last season. The biggest challenge for the Warriors could be replacing starting defenders Kelly Fisher and Angela VandenBoom, who both graduated.

Franklin

2016 Record: 12-4-4 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Lisa Cropper

The defending Kelley-Rex division champions are in a good spot with so many returning players from last year’s squad. Leading the way is HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Annie Walsh, who led the Hockomock League with 25 points a season ago. Cassi Ronan (16 points) and Erin Walsh (10 points) are also back as Franklin returns its top three scorers. Another positive is that Franklin has some experience back on the defensive end as well. Kate Morse is back to anchor the unit after an impressive junior season and will be joined by Meri Gendreau and Emily Valentino in front of goalie Christina Luccini. Head coach Lisa Cropper expects senior Maddie Hinckley and freshman Victoria Quinn to also play big roles for the Panthers.

“Our biggest asset this season is depth,” Cropper said. “We are hoping to wear down our opponents and utilize our speed late in games.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 14-3-4
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Liz Hathaway

After coming just a point shy of splitting the league title with Franklin a season ago, King Philip returns a strong core that will look to make another push for the Kelley-Rex crown. One big reason that the Warriors will be in the mix is because senior goalie Abby Campbell is back in the cage this season. And in front of Campbell, KP returns senior Christina Hathaway – two big reasons why the Warriors allowed only 13 goals all season in 2016. The offense will look very familiar with senior Liz Furfari (13 points) and junior Alli Meehan (25 points) back in the fold. Juniors Kate Lindmark and Caroline Klim will help bolster the defense while Nicole Connor and Dana Truini will be important players in the midfield.

“We have speed and can create a quick transition game with our passing game and formation,” said KP head coach Liz Hathaway. “We also have a couple of big hitters which should help us generate getting the ball inside the offensive 25 and to execute on corners.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 13-5-2
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhan

Mansfield is relying on seven returning seniors and a mix of young players as they look to get back to the state tournament yet again this season. The Hornets have senior leadership all over the field, which will be important in a very deep and talented league. Up top, Mansfield had Heather D’Amdra and Kristina O’Connell, while seniors Emily Ierardo and Ann Maher will lead the way from the midfield. On the defensive end, seniors Nicole Berluti, Julia Burhman and Brittany Lam will anchor the back line.

“As a unit we are looking to move the ball at pace,” said Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan. “We have speed at all levels and look to transition quickly.”

Milford

2016 Record: 3-15-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kim Danish

Although the Hawks graduated 11 seniors from last year’s squad, they return some key pieces that head coach Kim Danish is hoping will help Milford take a step forward. The Hawks will lean on tri-captains Shannon Cormier (the team’s leading scorer last season), Danielle Fokas (who will start on the wing) and Emily Condon (a returning member of the Hawks’ defense) to pave the way this season. Kate Wimette, Colby Bowers and Megan Larouco will see time in the midfield while Julie Rabinowitz would see time all over the field, depending on need. Milford is looking to rely on speed on offense to try and get the offense going.

“We have a strong mix of seven returning seniors who are fantastic leaders and a great core group from last year’s JV team who will step up and make an immediate impact on the field,” Danish said. “Overall, the motivation and work ethic among this group has been top notch! We are looking forward to a great season.”

North Attleboro

2016 Record: 6-8-4
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Karen Folan

After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back years, Big Red field hockey is hoping to make a run at the Davenport crown and get back to the MIAA playoffs. One tough task will be replacing 14 seniors, including all-league goalie Liz Morehouse, all-star Mary Kummer and all-league honorable mention Teresa Bagarella. But head coach Karen Folan is confident she has the pieces to compete in a deep Hockomock League this year. Senior captains Emilie Pothier, Olivia Gedgaudus and Camille Pizarro return to make up the majority of the midfield. Senior Katherine Munley is also back on the wing, giving Big Red some speed on the outside. Sophomore Emma Strachan takes over in net this season, with Folan describing her as “quick and aggressive.”

“The returning members of the varsity team have shown they are ready to fill in any gaps our line up may have after graduating 14 seniors,” Folan said. “And our new team members are eager to step onto the varsity playing field.”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 11-6-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Abby Tepper

Oliver Ames will be relying on a mix of experience and youth as they try to stay competitive in a deep Kelley-Rex division. It starts with senior captain Sarah Stevens in the midfield, who will be the “quarterback” of the midfield according to head coach Abby Tepper. Senior Cristina Boudreau and junior Kayla Lozzi will bolster that midfield while senior Liz Nuss will provide speed to the attacking group. OA’s defense will be anchored by senior captain Sarah Tetrault while senior Caitlin Grant will be the starting goalie. Freshman Brynna Courneen has impressed defensively early on.

“This year our offense will be quick and have speed,” Tepper said. “We have some young players filling the wing spots and we are working on being hungry inside the circle. We want to be a scrappy team and get the ball in the bucket no matter what it takes. Our defense does a solid job recovering for one another in the circle and stepping to ball without hesitation. As a team we want to build a positive culture and work hard day in and day out.”

Sharon

2016 Record: 1-17-0
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Vandette

Now in her third year at the helm of the Sharon Eagles, head coach Andrea Vandette is confident that her squad is ready to take the next step and find some more success. The Eagles are led by three captains: Elyse Korn, Abbi Solomon and Grace Leavitt. Leavitt started to come on strong at the end of the year last season and will be the anchor for the Eagles’ defensive unit this season. Senior Lindsay Moses will be be in the cage and has a good amount of varsity experience under her belt. In the midfield, Leora Leavitt will be in the center of the field and one of the Eagles’ most reliable players. Vandette is also expecting juniors Veronica Wallace and Stephanie Edwards to continue their growth after picking up the sport a season ago.

“My main goal for the girls this season is to compete,” Vendette said. “Being that this is my third year with the program, I believe they know my expectations and the seniors have a good understanding of how to move the ball on the field and how to be successful. We certainly have enough talent to put a few more wins on the board this season!”

Stoughton

2016 Record: 8-9-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Dan Mark

Despite graduating a handful of talented players, including 2015 Hockomock League MVP Angela Connolly, Stoughton head coach Dan Mark is bringing back several key players for the 2017 version of the Black Knights. The Black Knights’ offense will look the most similar to last season’s team that qualified for the state tournament. Julia Russell, Kamryn Oliveira and Jackie Evangelista are returning forwards who played regularly last year. Lisa Ramanauskas is a returning midfielder, and Haley Bushlow is back to anchor the back line. Gianna Barbosa will be the starting goalie again this season.

“We have several returning players who played many minutes last year and are expected to step in as starters this year,” Mark said.

Taunton

2016 Record: 2-15-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway

With a strong core of experienced players back, and a couple of young talents looking to make an impression, the Tigers are hoping to improve on last year’s season. Senior Kya Enos has been a steady presence for the Tigers for the past four seasons and will be relied upon to lead the attack long with senior Liana Duarte. Juniors Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will be tasked with controlling the midfield along with freshman Alana Tavares. Sophomore Kathryn Robinson will be a key piece of Taunton’s defensive unit this season

“Our strength will be the ability of the forwards and mids to move the ball up the field,” said Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway. “Speed is also a factor that will help our offensive attacks.”

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

Abby Campbell, King Philip – Campbell has been one of the top goalies in the league for the past two seasons and helped KP come within a point of sharing the league title with Franklin last season and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. She had 11 shutouts in 2016 and saved 130-of-143 shots that she faced, finishing with a goals against average of 0.619.

Emily Campbell, Canton – Campbell was a versatile weapon for the Bulldogs, helping out both in midfield and defense to help Canton win 13 games and achieve a plus-40 goal differential for the season. With Campbell playing a critical role, Canton allowed only 14 goals on the year, which was second best in the league. She also chipped in with three goals and seven assists.

Lily Daly, Foxboro – Daly has been the leading scorer for the Warriors in each of her two varsity seasons, helping Foxboro win its first league title in 11 years and its first ever Div. 2 South title. Daly is a force near the net and was chosen as the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after scoring 16 goals and recording 11 assists.

Emily Ierardo, Mansfield – Ierardo emerged last season as one of the top offensive weapons for the Hornets, helping Mansfield make another run at the league title and reach the second round of the state tournament. She played five different positions in the forward and midfield areas and she scored nine goals and recorded six assists last fall.

Maggie Malloy, Canton – Malloy made quite the impact in her first season playing field hockey. She jumped onto the Canton varsity squad early in the season and finished as the league’s top goal scorer with 16 tallies for the year. She was a big reason for Canton’s improvement offensively and this year, with a season of experience, Malloy could have even bigger numbers.

Kelli McCarthy, Foxboro – Voted Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, McCarthy was the backstop for a Warriors defense that was one of the best in the league and helped Foxboro claim a Davenport division title and its first ever Div. 2 South title. She finished with 115 saves on the season and recorded 15 shutouts in 23 games, allowing only 13 goals total.

Alli Meehan, King Philip – Meehan was integral to KP making a run at the league title last season, holding a lead into the final week of the regular season, and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. Meehan scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists to tie for the league-high in points. She also assisted on the goal that forced overtime against Somerset-Berkeley in a state tournament win.

Cassi Ronan, Franklin – Ronan was a versatile cog in Franklin’s league championship season in 2016, playing both midfield and forward for the Panthers. She finished with 10 goals and seven assists, while being named to the HockomockSports.com First Team, but also did a lot of the defensive work that didn’t show up in the box score.

Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames – Stevens had a strong season for Oliver Ames in 2016 and the senior will be counted on to create scoring opportunities for the Tigers again this fall. She scored six goals and recorded nine assists for OA last season, helping the Tigers get to 11 wins on the season, beat Durfee in the first round of the playoffs, and push perennial power Walpole to overtime.

Annie Walsh, Franklin – Walsh is the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year (she was also Player of the Year in girls’ lacrosse) after leading the Panthers to a Kelley-Rex division title. A year after being named Underclassman of the Year, Walsh took her game to another level with 14 goals and 11 assists for a league-high 25 points.

Franklin’s Early Goal Stands Up Against Trojans

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is one that certainly held true for the Franklin girl’s field hockey team on Friday. The Panthers scored early and never looked back on their way to a 1-0 win over Bridgewater-Raynham in First Round of the MIAA D1 South tournament.

Franklin, who haven’t played a lot on grass fields this season, spent this week practicing on the surface to prepare for the game, and it showed. Just three minutes into the game, senior midfielder Alex Sullivan got the rebound following a save from B-R goalie Hailey Colon and put the ball in the back of the net to put Franklin up 1-0.

“We practiced on grass all week and we practiced going hard to the ball and beating them to the ball and that’s what we did, got the jump on them and popped one in early, so it felt good to have that lead,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper on the quick start.

Two minutes later Bridgewater-Raynham saw an opportunity of their own, but the shot by senior forward Kelly Page went just wide of the post.

The rest of the first half was all Franklin, as they had eight first half scoring chances, including a whopping six corner opportunities. But stout defense from the Trojans, especially senior defender Brooke Baran, limited Franklin to just the one goal.

The second half started off with both teams trying to take control, but it was B-R who had the first scoring chance, but the shot by senior Erin LaMarca went just wide right.

After Franklin failed to convert off of a corner at the 10 minute mark, B-R controlled the game for the rest of the second half, but after missing two shots wide at the 13 and 17 minute marks, they had their best scoring chance at the 18 minute mark.

A pass from Kelly Page to Katherine Swart got past Franklin goalie Christina Luccini, but a save by senior defender Maddie Derby kept the 1-0 Franklin advantage.

B-R wasn’t done yet though, as a shot by Swart went just wide to the left of the post with six minutes to play, and right after that they had another opportunity off of a corner — their first of the second half — but a good defensive stop from Franklin senior Kayla Marshall kept B-R off the scoreboard.

In the last five minutes of the second half, B-R controlled possession, but were unable to get any shots off, as numerous Franklin clears kept the ball around midfield. With one minute left, Page drove through the Franklin defense, but a clear by Derby followed up by another clear by Franklin’s Kate Morse 20 seconds later with B-R threatening again sealed the victory for the Panthers.

Franklin, winners of 12 games in the regular season, will look to avenge their worst loss of the year on Sunday in Walpole, where they fell 7-0 at back on September 24th. The Porkers, who beat Oliver Ames, 2-1, in overtime on Friday, won the Bay State Conference Herget Division title during the regular season, have yet to lose this year.