Warriors, Panthers Settle For Tie In Division Showdown

(Jaron May/HockomockSports.com)
(Jaron May/HockomockSports.com)

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Reporter
HockomockSports.com Student Reporter Jaron May contributed to this report.

FRANKLIN, Mass. – On a cold, rainy afternoon at the Beaver Street turf, Franklin and King Phillip battled hard for 60 minutes and finished level with a 1-1 tie.

The two teams, who were both ranked in HockomockSports.com’s latest Hock 5 rankings, with Franklin at #1 and KP at #3, came into the game unbeaten in Hockomock League play.

Early on, Franklin took control with two shots in the first three minutes, but sound defense from KP prevented the Panthers from scoring.

After the first few minutes, KP took control for the majority of the rest of the opening half. After a promising scoring opportunity off of a corner was stopped on a clear from Franklin’s Kayla Marshall, KP cashed in.

At the 13:14 mark, KP’s third corner of the opening half proved fruitful when sophomore Nicole Conner found senior Caitlin Donahue on the post to give KP an early 1-0 advantage. KP’s passing on corners made it tough for the Franklin defense, but they stood strong, as they stopped the Warriors on six of their seven corner chances.

Franklin saw another scoring chance off their only corner of the first half at the 8:34 mark, but a clear by sophomore Caroline Klim maintained a 1-0 lead for KP.

The Panthers started out the second half with two straight corners at 28:53 and 28:38, but big defensive stops by KP prevented the Panthers from scoring on either attempt.

“Our defense was awesome, we’re the number one [defense] in the Hock, we were squashing everything, and denied pretty much everything,” KP coach Liz Hathaway said.

At 24:45, Donahue had another scoring opportunity, but a save by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini kept the Franklin deficit at 1-0. Luccini came up big again for Franklin with 19:05 to go in the half, when KP’s Alli Meehan was all alone on a breakaway, but Luccini’s diving save knocked the ball away and back into Franklin territory.

“Christina’s brand new, a first year varsity kid who’s only a sophomore, and has only been playing goalie for two years, but she’s aggressive and she has great instincts,” said Franklin head coach Lisa Cropper.

Just over the halfway mark of the second half, Franklin’s Cassi Ronan’s shot got past KP goalie Abby Campbell to knot the game up at 1-1. After a save by Campbell off of a Franklin corner, KP had a corner of their own with 5:03 left in the second half, but the ball was knocked back into Franklin territory. Another Franklin opportunity with three minutes left was thwarted by KP, and the game would end in a 1-1 tie.

“We didn’t play perfectly well the way we were hoping to, but they’ve improved a lot. I knew they would be tough, but they’ve improved a lot even more since I saw them at the beginning of the season, and I was really proud with the way the girls fought back and were able to tie it,” Cropper said.

“It’s a quality tie,” added Hathaway

Franklin (4-1-3, 4-0-3) heads to Canton on Friday to take on the Bulldogs. KP (6-0-2, 6-0-2) will head to Stoughton on Friday for a matchup with the Black Knights.

Defense Continues to Anchor King Philip’s Strong Start

King Philip field hockey
(Jaron May/HockomockSports.com)

By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip used yet another stout defensive effort and cashed in twice on offense, rolling to an impressive 2-0 win over Taunton to remain undefeated.

The back line for KP, composed of Monica Harvey, Caroline Klim, Emma Izadorzcak and Kate Lindmark, weren’t tested too often, but when they were, they stood strong.

“Our defense is playing great,” King Philip head coach Liz Hathaway said. “We are not really giving any teams shots on net.”

The defense was tested by Taunton a few times in the first half, but mostly towards the end of the game. In the first half, the Tigers threw a couple of attempts towards the net, but most pushing just left or just right of the net. In the second half, Taunton was able to weave the ball up the field, though the first few layers of the Warriors’ defense but couldn’t breakthrough.

The combination of the back four and goalie Abby Campbell in net was able to shutout the Tigers and hold them to only two shots on goal.

KP’s strong defense translated into an impressive performance from the Warriors’ offense and helped control the ball for most of the game.

Hathaway noted that her defense and midfield were “doing such a good job getting the ball back on the front line that it is generating lots of shots.”

On the offensive side of the ball, KP’s Ali Meehan led the charge. She took control of the offense and was able to penetrate the Tigers’ defense multiple times throughout the game. Meehan was in on both of the goals, tallying two assists on the night.

Hathaway had high praise for her young star, saying Meehan “has great hand eye in front of the net. She is so fast. She knows how to position herself, and she is really good at getting the ball up field and creating our attack.”

With 3:20 remaining in the first half, KP threatened with a corner. The ball was passed in and crossed over to Meehan who was waiting on the right, looking at a wide open net. She controlled the ball and lifted it, aiming for the opposite side. Her shot looked like it was going to be just wide until Nicole Connor came crashing in to tip it back in and put a point up on the board for the Warriors.

A half hour passed by and Meehan and the Warriors created another chance. The Tigers’ goalie was able to come up with some big saves to keep Taunton’s hopes alive, but with 14 minutes remaining the Warrior attack was just too much. This time Meehan sent the ball across the goal and found Caitlin Donahue. Donahue then had an easy tap in for another KP goal.

“I think it was great today because it was a total team win, everyone got some minutes,” Hathaway said.

With the win, the King Philip field hockey improves to 5-0-1 and will face off against divisional foes North Attleboro and Mansfield next. Taunton falls to 1-4-0, looking to bounce back against New Bedford on Friday afternoon

Field Hockey: 2016 Hockomock League Preview

Stoughton's Angela Connolly, the reigning Hockomock MVP, will be a key piece for Stoughton in a competitive Davenport division. (Photo: Jeffrey Pickette/SMAC)
Stoughton’s Angela Connolly, the reigning Hockomock MVP, will be a key piece for Stoughton in a competitive Davenport division. (Photo: Jeffrey Pickette/SMAC)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 10-8-2
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Lindsay Antunes

After a year off from the postseason, Attleboro made its way back to the postseason in 2015 and is looking to continue that trend in 2015. The Bombardiers are returning a handful of playoff experienced players and also have spots open for players to step into and make a name for themselves. Some of the experienced players will also shift positions to help voids left. Marissa Dias is back to anchor the defense again this year while three year varsity player Grace Mayer’s versatility has shined as she’s played all over the field. Sophomore Alexis Compton will get minutes at forward and could be a breakout player for the Bombardiers this year.

“I have returners who have filled deficits on the field by transitioning into new roles,” Attleboro head coach Lindsay Antunes said. “The players who are sliding into new positions are facing these challenges with eagerness. Their willingness and immense capability are a large part of the reason behind the changes being made. I have a great deal of confidence in this newly built team, and are certain that they are going to work hard to compete with the high level of competitiveness within this league.”

Canton

2015 Record: 10-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor

With a good amount of returning varsity players, Canton is hoping it can return to the top of the Hockomock League. It also helps that coach Chrissy O’Connor – who won a D2 State Championship with Canton in 2004 – is back at the helm. O’Connor coached for over a decade, capping her final year with an undefeated season. Senior Julia Ezepik is back to anchor the defense while Taylor Carrington returns in the cage with starting varsity experience. Juniors Maggie Wade and Andrea McNeil are also back and will be key pieces in Canton’s midfield this season. Senior Caroline Hagan will be an important piece of the attack as well.

“With a new coaching staff this season Canton is looking to continue its tradition of being a competitive force in the Hockomock League,” O’Connor said.

Foxboro

2015 Record: 10-6-3
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Melissa Bordieri

Expectations are high once again in Foxboro this season. The Warriors have made the postseason for 14 straight years and are looking to extend it to 15 straight seasons this year. Foxboro has a large amount of returning starters and players that had varsity experience, which bodes well for another playoff berth. Things start with Foxboro’s offense as they bring back three forwards that can all score consistently. Sophomore Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer and MVP last year, is back alongside seniors Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly. Foxboro’s midfield will also have some familiar faces, including Ally Curran and Caroline Wheatley. The Warriors will have a new goalie between the pipes this year as Kelly McCarthy takes over for Jill Delaney. After two years as the understudy, head coach Melissa Bordieri is confident in McCarthy to take over.

“I’m confident we can achieve a lot of things,” Bordieri said. “We’ve set our sights on winning the division. We always want to get back to the tournament. This is one of those years I strongly feel a lot of girls can contribute because of our depth.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 16-3-2
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Lisa Cropper

Franklin has six returning starters back and a total of 10 seniors, setting the Panthers up for another successful season. It’s a mix of all grades for the Panthers, with seniors and captains Caroline Lounsbury, Dana Lewandowski and Kayla Marshall leading the way. Lounsbury and Lewandowski will patrol the midfield along with sophomore Cassie Ronan. Marshall will be a key piece in the defense along with junior Kate Morse. Sophomore Annie Walsh, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will lead a potent attack along with freshmen Maeve Ledwith and Erin Walsh.

“We have a solid group of field players with some young scoring talent and some depth on the bench,” head coach Lisa Cropper said. “Losing two-time Hock All-Star Samantha Jones to graduation leaves a hole in goal to fill, but if our defense plays strong while our inexperienced goalies develop, we should be able to contend for the league title.”

King Philip

2015 Record: 10-8-2
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway

King Philip has a bounce back year in 2015 and is hoping to continue that success this season. The Warriors are returning key players all over the field while new players are likely to help fill some voids. Senior captain Caitlin Donahue will be one of the main pieces of the attack while senior captain and junior captain Monica Harvey and Christina Hathaway will anchor the defense. Hathaway will also see time in the midfield while Abby Campbell returns to the cage after a standout sophomore year. Sophomore Alli Meehan is back in the attack after a breakout rookie campaign in 2015.

“We are a young team with some good athletes to build around,” head coach Liz Hathaway said. “Key players have really put in a lot of work in the offseason and summer and are looking fundamentally sound, fast and strong.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 20-2-0 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Final
Coach: Theresa Nyhan

Mansfield took one of the most storied programs to the limit a year ago, forcing double overtime against Walpole in the D1 South Final. The Hornets are looking to continue that success in 2016. Mansfield will need to replace some key pieces if they hope to compete at the same level this year. Julia Todesco Caroline Maher graduated but the Hornets do have league all-stars Amalia Todesco and Caitlin Whitman are back this season. Todesco and fellow senior captain Jen McCabe will be key pieces of Mansfield’s defensive unit while Todesco will also see time in the midfield. Whitman will be a key cog in the Hornets’ midfield as well. Junior Emily Ierardo and senior Olivia Horn are two returners that should help bolster Manfield’s attack this year.

Milford

2015 Record: 3-11-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kim Danish

The Scarlet Hawks are hoping senior leadership will help right the ship after just three wins a year ago. Milford has 13 seniors on the team, including some key experienced players in different parts of the field. Senior Emily Smith returns as the starting goalie again this year, which is already a good start for Milford. Senior captain Kaitlyn DeCapua will anchor the defense with her versatility, senior captain Tina Capone will bring speed to the midfield and senior captain Ali Atherton will relied upon to pace Milford’s offense. Shannon Cormier will also be a player to watch for the Scarlet Hawks this season.

“The 2016 Milford Hawks are persistent, determined, and resilient,” head coach Kim Danish said. “We have quickly come together as a team, and we are looking to battle through our Hock schedule.”

North Attleboro

2015 Record: 5-10-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Karen Folan

After missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro is looking to find its way back in 2016 and will try to do so by working from the back up. Senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella, who both have a lot of varsity experience, will anchor the back line. Senior Liz Morehouse takes over the starting job in the cage for North this season. Their defense will be the catalyst for the Rocketeers’ offense this season. seniors Kaleigh Cole and Jamie Cromidas, along with juniors Olivia Gedgaudas, Kaley Gorman, Emilie Pothier and Olivia Horricks will look to link up as the Rocketeers transition from defense to offense and go on the attack.

“We are a team that will get better with each game,” head coach Karen Folan said.

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 13-5-1 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Abby Tepper

Oliver Ames has experienced a lot of success in recent seasons and the goal remains the same this year, despite a coaching change. Former Foxboro and Salve Regina standout Abby Tepper has taken over at the helm and Oliver Ames is now competing in the Kelley-Rex division. Senior captains Kendall Clifford and Katie Davenport will be the leaders for the Tigers this season. Clifford will anchor the midfield unit while Davenport will continue as a top defensive player in the Hockomock. Dimitra Efremidis will be a key part of Oliver Ames’ offense this season, with the ability to set up teammates and find the back of the net herself.

“I am very proud of the girls so far during preseason putting in extra work even outside of practice times,” Tepper said.

Sharon

2015 Record: 0-16-0
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Vandette

The Eagles are hoping some added depth will lead to a turnaround season and a step in the right direction for the future. Sharon has three senior captains, Georgia Salvatore, Shafali Reddy and Michelle Lu, all of which are returning varsity players with experience. All three are defenders so Sharon is relying on a solid defensive foundation to lead the way in 2016. Lindsey Moses will be the starting goalie this season after seeing some minutes a year ago. Erica Dougherty and Stephanie Wasserman will be new options at forward this season alongside returning varsity player, Emily Locke.

“We made a lot of progress last year and I feel like we are picking up right where we left off,” head coach Andrea Vandette said. “This years squad is a lot bigger than last year and that depth on the bench is much appreciated.”

Stoughton

2015 Record: 10-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Dan Mark

Stoughton has been on the rise over the last three seasons and after an appearance in the D1 South tournament, the Black Knights will look to continue the upward trajectory in 2016. Reigning Hockomock League MVP and Northeastern-commit Angela Connelly is back to control the midfield for the Black Knights. Olivia Schlehuber and Mia Russell are both returning starters at the forward position, which bodes well for Stoughton’s attack. Kayla Oliviera, Kelly Corrigan and Kelly Joyce all saw plenty of playing time last season and will be important pieces in the midfield this season. Senior Meghan McSweeney and sophomore Gianna Barbosa will battle for the starting job in the cage.

“We are looking forward to a good season with a mix of veteran and new players,” head coach Dan Mark said.

Taunton

2015 Record: 1-15-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway

After finding the win column just one year ago, Taunton is looking to make a big step forward in 2016. The Tigers, playing in the incredibly competitive Kelley-Rex division, will have some experience to rely on in some parts of the field but will be looking to youth in others. Senior’s Katie Van Zandt and Bre Conlon will be key pieces on defense for the Tigers this season. Junior’s Kya Enos and Liana Duarte are returners that will pace Taunton’s offense this season. Both proved to be key pieces of the attack a season ago. Taunton will rely on youth in the middle of the field as sophomores Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will both play important roles at midfield.

“We are a young team, hoping to use speed and space to our advantage in offensive play,” head coach Liz Hathaway said.

Players to Watch

Players are listed alphabetically

Abby Campbell, King Philip – The class of 2016 included a lot of the top goalies in the league. However, Campbell emerged as one of the top netminders during her sophomore year and could be the top goalie in league in 2016.

Kendall Clifford, Oliver Ames – The Tigers have had a strong run as of late and will need another strong season to compete in the Kelley-Rex. Clifford’s presence in the midfield will be key for the Tigers as she helps the team transition from defense to offense.

Angela Connolly, Stoughton – The reigning Hockomock League MVP is back after helping Stoughton to the playoffs last year. She scored 11 goals and added 15 assists and will be a true double threat for the Black Knights this year.

Lily Daly, Foxboro – It’s rare that a freshman leads a team and scoring but that’s exactly what Daly did a year ago, being named team MVP. With forwards Meredith Cronin and Emma Daly back as well, Foxboro should have a potent attack.

Mary Kummer/Teresa Bagarella, North Attleboro – The Rocketeers should have a strong defense this season with senior captains Mary Kummer and Teresa Bagarella. The duo has a lot of experience and that bodes well for North Attleboro this season.

Dana Lewandowski, Franklin – The senior captain midfielder has a large presence on the field for the Panthers. Lewandowski controls the midfield, has the ability to get forward and score and can set up teammates at the same time.

Grace Mayer, Attleboro – Attleboro made a trip to the postseason in 2015 and Mayer’s 11 goals and three assists were a big reason. The Bombardiers will have a lot of competition in the Kelley-Rex but Mayer will be a top offensive producer again this year.

Jen McCabe, Mansfield – The Hornets had a historic run to the sectional final and the offense got a lot of attention but the back line was rock solid throughout the year. McCabe was one of the center pieces to that defense and is back as a senior captain this year.

Annie Walsh, Franklin – The defending HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year is back after a breakout rookie season. Walsh will be looking to produce numbers (nine goals and seven assists) like she did a season ago.

Walsh and Griffin Spark Franklin Sweep of KP

Kelsey McPhee
Kelsey McPhee (13) celebrates the opening goal against KP on Friday. It turned out to be the winner in a 4-0 victory. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin and King Philip faced off in the Div. 1 South tournament on Friday afternoon at the Beaver Street field. It was the third meeting between the two Kelley-Rex rivals this season with the Panthers winning each of the first two by a single goal both times.

Friday’s game would not be as close. The Warriors were coming off a thrilling, but draining, stroke-off win against Plymouth South in the opening round and the Panthers took advantage of the extra preparation time to create more offense.

It all worked for the home team and Franklin would come away with a 4-0 win that advances the Panthers to the sectional quarterfinal and a rematch with Dennis-Yarmouth on the Beaver Street turf on Sunday.

“I was not looking forward to having to beat [KP] a third time,” admitted Franklin coach Lisa Cropper after the game.

She added, “They had a long, emotional game on Wednesday, so I figured…they’d be pumped up and running on adrenaline, but maybe running on fumes and I felt if we got up on them early that we would have the upper hand the entire way.”

It was actually the Warriors that had the better chances in the opening minutes of the game. Franklin goalie Sam Jones was forced into two big saves right off the opening whistle and it looked like the confidence of Wednesday’s win may be leading KP to another upset.

But, after the first five minutes, Franklin took control. First the Panthers hit the post on a quick break and then Kelsey McPhee opened the scoring off an assist from freshman Annie Walsh in the 11th minute.

“They scored on some beautiful offensive corners,” said KP coach Liz Hathaway. “There was really no way to stop those and they’re strong; their defense is strong and it’s really hard to penetrate.”

In the 23rd minute, Franklin doubled its lead when another freshman, Cassi Ronan, found the back of the net on a first-time shot from senior Taylor Reutlinger’s assist.

“Having played them twice already,” explained Cropper, “we knew exactly how their defense was going to be and use what they do on defense against them. We kept using that short pass to Cassi and Annie.”

The Warriors tried to get the ball forward, particularly down the wings, looking for attackers Casie Curtin and Mary O’Connor, but each time the pay was cut off by Franklin’s strong midfield, including senior Kenzie Pleshaw who had a number of interceptions. As the game wore on, Franklin’s pressure intensified.

“We started out the first 10 minutes of the game really dominating and ready to go,” said Hathaway. “We got a few corner out of it and if we could have put one of those in then it could’ve been a different game.”

KP had a chance eight minutes after the break but again Jones was equal to the shot at her post and kicked it aside. Four minutes later and Franklin had the dagger. Walsh’s initial shot was saved by sophomore goalie Abby Campbell, who made 12 saves in the game, but Diana Griffin followed up and knocked in the rebound.

Two minutes after that, the Panthers struck again on the break. This time it was Griffin playing provider with a long pass out of midfield right to the stick of Walsh and the freshman coolly knocked it home.

“She was on fire today,” said Cropper of Walsh. “She was flying all over the place.”

“Our strength is definitely our midfield and our defense, our seniors, but she and Cassi and Christina [Quinn] provided a spark on offense.”

Although the final score was not as close as the two regular season games, Hathaway took nothing away from the play of her team and gave all the credit to the hosts.

She said, “I think that was just an amazing win [on Wedmesday]. We were ready for anything…but Franklin just did a good job today.”

A cheer went up from the Franklin bench when it was informed that the next opponent woul be Dennis-Yarmouth. The Panthers have been knocked out each of the last two seasons by D-Y and both times on the road. Now, D-Y has to come to Franklin.

Cropper joked, “Make them take the long ride this time.”

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Saturday's Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/12/15

Today’s games are below.
Boys Soccer
Mansfield, 0 vs. Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – Mansfield’s defense continued to start the season, posting its second shutout in as many games. Head coach Steve Sheridan said defenders senior Chris Elsner, junior Max Gurnon, sophomore Nick Hyland, sophomore Harry Braidt and freshman Ethan Brill-Cass all played well. 
Girls Soccer
Mansfield, 2 vs. New Bedford, 0 – Final – The Hornets scored both of their goals inside a one minute span in the first half. Freshman Stephanie Kemp netted her first career goal to put the Hornets up and then senior Jackie Carchedi added a second shortly before the half hour mark in the first half. 
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Senior Sam Bamford netted a hat trick for Oliver Ames and junior Lauren Wright scored once. Freshman Bethany Dunk recorded her first career shutout in net. Head coach Britt Sellmayer said seniors Delany Benton, Erin Fitzgerald and Kasey Hayes all played well. 
Field Hockey
Taunton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Taunton took the lead into halftime but Hannah Friend and Missy Krim linked up twice in the second half as Oliver Ames picked up its first win of the season. Friend and Krim each scored once and had an assist. Taunton’s goal was scored by Kya Enos. Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway said her team played “a very great defensive game” and credited Meghan Burke, Bre Conlon, Alexis Bissonnette, Jordan Wade, Katie Van Zandt and goalie Amanda Quigley with strong games.