NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – What a difference two weeks can make.
After starting their league schedule with a 5-1 setback on the road at Oliver Ames on September 9th, the Franklin boys soccer team has found its groove by rattling off a five-game unbeaten streak, the latest a 2-0 decision on the road at North Attleboro for their fourth shutout in the past five contests.
The win keeps the Panthers in a tie with Attleboro atop the table of the Kelley-Rex division heading into the midway point of the season next week.
“I’m not sure what has changed…Oliver Ames is a good team and on that day, we didn’t show up,” said Franklin head coach Fran Bositis, now in his 52nd season at the helm. “I was upset after that game but I just had to keep reminding myself that we aren’t that bad. I really think we have a good team.”
Franklin has picked up shutout wins over King Philip, Foxboro, Sharon, and now North over the last two weeks with a 2-2 draw against Taunton in the middle of it all.
Bositis noted that the Panthers have taken to one of the quotes posted in the locker room from Willie Mays.
“It isn’t hard to be good from time to time in sports. What is tough, is being good every day.”
“We’ve tried to focus on that,” Bositis said.
While the first chance of the game belonged to the Rocketeers as Kaden Burns intercepted a pass and carried it towards goal before unleashing a shot that went over the bar, the rest of the first half belonged to the visitors.
Sophomore Garrett Scagliarini put Franklin’s shot on target, rising up to head a free kick service from Trey Lovell but North keeper Owen Goeller made the first of his 11 saves on the day.
Just before the midway point of the first half, Franklin cashed in on its consistent pressure up top. Sophomore Matt Honekamp won a battle on the sidelines before putting a dangerous cross into the mixer where junior Andrew O’Neill found himself in some open space and connected on a one-time half volley into the far corner for a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Minutes before halftime, Cinelli smashed a long ball out of the back that went over the top of the defense. Senior Will Kryzak used his speed to track it down, dribble into the area, cut back to create some space, and then fired a blast to the upper 90 at the near post. Goeller got a piece of it but it still found its way under the bar for a 2-0 advantage in the 36th minute.
North had one final chance before the halftime whistle as Carson Dameron sprayed a ball wide for Burns, who was able to get around his defender and carry it along the end line. His low centering pass found Zach Smahi in the area but his low bid was blocked by Klawson.
Franklin boys soccer
Franklin continued to control play for the first 30 minutes of the second half. Hansy Jacques was played in behind the defense in the 54th minute but Goeller was quick off his line to thwart the chance.
A big reason why the Panthers continued to control the pace and continually force the Rocketeers out of possession was because of the fresh legs they had off the bench. Lovell and Scagliarini controlled the center of the pitch for the most part but Noah Cain, Gustavo Martinez, and Honekamp were key pieces in the middle as well.
“We definitely have a real good bench, there’s no doubt about it,” Bositis said. “We had a really good JV team last year and those kids who have joined us have made us a better team. We lost some good players [to graduation] but this year we have really good depth.
“They trust each other and they have confidence in each other. And what works with the depth is that everyone has confidence in the kids that come off the bench too. They’ve done a good job so far and I hope we can continue it, just have to take it one game at a time.”
North finally established some footing in the attack in the final 15 minutes. Jack Regan launched a free kick up field that deflected off a Panther defender, allowing Bryce Newth to run onto it but his bid was denied by Tolonen, who did well to come off his line and cut down the angle.
In the 77th minute, Smahi muscled his way into possession and launched a shot from distance that eluded a leaping Tolonen but hit the top of the crossbar and went over.
Franklin boys soccer (4-1-1 Hockomock, 5-1-1 overall) will carry its five-game unbeaten streak into Wednesday’s visit from Canton. North Attleboro (3-2-1, 3-2-1) is back in action on Monday in a non-league contest with Dartmouth.
King Philip, 1 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Attleboro junior Alex Vecchioli converted a penalty kick in the second half to put the Bombardiers ahead and junior Tyler Rocchio saved a KP pen with 10 minutes to go to preserve the win for the hosts. King Philip took the lead in the first half as Matt Crago finished off a pass from Oliver Blackburn but Richard Ferreira set up Vecchioli for a goal right before half to make it 1-1. Vecchioli was fouled inside the area early in the second half and converted the pen himself to give the hosts their first lead of the game at 2-1. KP had a chance to pull level late in the game but Rocchio denied the shot from the spot. Attleboro’s Lucas Marques had a standout performance at defensive mid.
Canton, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Canton freshman Vlad Francoeur scored his first two career goals to lead the Bulldogs to a rivalry win over neighboring Stoughton.
Sharon, 1 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – After a scoreless first half, Sharon found the winner just past the midway point of the second half to take two points home. In the 64th minute, freshman Diego Martinez played a ball behind the defense that senior Miguel Vasconcelos ran onto his and fired a cross into the area. The ball deflected off a Foxboro defender and down to sophomore James Jennings, who took a touch before turning and blasting a shot in at the near post for the winner. Matt Baur played well in net for his second shutout of the season. Foxboro’s best chance came in the final moments of the first half as a long throw from Pradyu Gubbala was bounced around in the area before sophomore Jackson Maling latched on but his bid hit off the inside of the post and bounced back to Baur for the save.
North Attleboro, 2 @ Milford, 1 – Final – North Attleboro scored twice in the final 15 minutes, including the game-winner with just under five minutes to play to stun the Scarlet Hawks at home. The hosts took the lead in the 33rd minute off a set piece as Arthur Tome touched a free kick from just outside the box in play and Nick Ribeiro smashed a shot off the far post upper 90 and in. Milford carried that lead until the 66th minute when North pulled level with a quick attack. Zach Smahi played Quinn Conley in behind the defense and he slide a low shot past the keeper that eluded the Hawks’ defense and was smashed home a step out by Kaden Burns to make it 1-1. In the 75th minute, a long throw from Jeremy Carter was flicked on by Bryce Newth and deflected off a Milford defender right to Carson Dameron, who calmly cut the ball onto his left foot and slide a shot to the far post for the winner.
Taunton, 2 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Franklin twice took the lead but Taunton answered each time and the two squads split the points in a 2-2 draw. Franklin junior Bradley Herndon opened the scoring for the hosts off a feed from Matt Honekamp but Taunton came back with the equalizer by the midway point of the first half on a goal from Javonte Fernandes on an assist from Az-Anael St. Marc. The Panthers pulled ahead early in the second half as Will Kryzak set up sophomore Garrett Scagliarini for his first career goal. But once again, the visitors answered as Aidden Fitting hooked up with Ian Robicheau for the equalizer.
Attleboro @ King Philip – Postponed to a date and time TBD.
Stoughton, 1 @ Canton, 2 – Final
Foxboro, 1 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – Sofia Goclowski had a goal and an assist to help the Eagles win their third straight game and move into second place alone in the Davenport division. Following a scoreless first half, Olivia Landstein finished off an assist from Goclowski to break the deadlock. Jessica Li latched onto Olivia Soby’s pass to double the lead. Erin Foley got Foxboro back into the game, but Sharon was able to seal the points with two minutes to play when Goclowski capitalized off an Olivia Soby corner.
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Anya Zub’s brace helped Franklin bounce back from its first loss of the season with a convincing win at Taunton. Zub opened the scoring late in the first half and then the Panthers scored three times in just eight minutes of the second half to put the game away. Kelly O’Connor doubled the lead in the 58th minute. Six minutes later, Zub got her second to make it 3-0 and less than two minutes after that Hailey Baima found the back of the net off a Katie Ewald assist. Alli Powderly added an assist as well. Franklin had a sizable advantage in shots but Taunton keeper Hailey Porter had a big night, making 22 saves. Taunton coach Dan Borges also praised sophomore Ava Uhl and eighth grader Maddison Crowley for their defensive effort.
Mansfield, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Behind a goal in each half, Oliver Ames secured two key points at home against Davenport rival Mansfield. Jolie Diaz gave the Tigers the lead in the first half, heading in a cross from Emma Gavin. Midway through the second half, Lucinda Li Cotter finished off a pass from Rhiya Fisher to double the advantage. Janiya Matier had a strong game in net for OA, making some key saves in the second half to earn the shutout.
Milford, 3 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – In a back-and-forth battle, Milford prevailed with the win after a late winner from junior Erin Michelson. The Scarlet Hawks took the lead early in the first half on an unassisted strike from Dani Atherton only for North to equalize less than 10 minutes later as Jess Hennessey set up Emma Pratt in the 18th minute. The same happened again in the second half with the visitors going up 2-1 in the 50th minute when Atheron netted her second of the game but once again, North leveled the match in the 65th minute with Hennessey once again setting up Pratt. Atherton grabbed her third point of the game, this time assisting Michelson for the winner in the 78th minute.
Foxboro, 3 @ Walpole, 1 – Final – Foxboro found its way into the win column for the first time this season, taking down Walpole in a non-league clash, 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 16-25, 25-18). Alyssa Cloherty set the offense in motion with 24 assists while adding seven digs, four aces, and three kills to lead the charge for the Warriors. Juliana Pettigrew added seven digs and six kills while Sami Sloan recorded eight kills and four aces in the win.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Dartmouth, 3 – Final – In a great match, Oliver Ames came up just short against visiting Dartmouth, falling 3-2 (23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 24-26, 15-13). Senior Maddie Homer continued to shine defensively for the Tigers with 41 digs, sophomore Clare Kavoulis notched 36 assists, and juniors Sarah Hilliard (21) and Claire O’Rourke (17) combined for 38 kills.
Taunton, 1 @ Durfee, 3 – Final – Taunton rallied to stay alive with a win in the third set, but Durfee closed it out with a competitive fourth set win, 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23). Hayley Krockta had a strong performance for the Tigers with seven kills and four aces while Courtney Martin (four aces) played well in the back row.
Canton, 3 @ Notre Dame Academy, 2 – Final
Franklin, 0 @ Lincoln-Sudbury, 3 – Final
Stoughton @ Attleboro, 2:20 – Postponed to a date and time TBD.
Franklin, 155 @ Mansfield, 159 – Final – Franklin went on the road and secured a key non-league win at Norton Country Club, taking down former division rival Mansfield. Liam Lewandowski had a birdie on the second hole and finished with a medalist round of 37 to lead the way for the Panthers. Jack Hagerty and Jack Nelson each added a 39 in the win and CJ Steel finished with a 40 for Franklin. Mansfield’s Drew Urban was a co-medalist with a 37, Brendan Vokey chipped in with a 40, and both Cody Nieratko and Nate McClean finished at 41 for the day.
North Attleboro, 157 @ King Philip, 149 – Final – King Philip was on fire on Monday with six golfers shooting 40 or better in a key division win over North Attleboro. Evan Regan shot a team-low round of 36 to share medalist honors while North’s Tyson Laviano also came in with a 36 on the back nine at Wentworth Hills.
Taunton, 100 @ New Bedford, 42 – Final (Stableford) – Taunton’s Sean Murphy and Jesse Chaves each shot a 44 to earn 19 points apiece to help the Tigers earn a win over New Bedford (stableford rules). Logan Letourneau added a 45 for 18 points, Alex Dias added a 47 for 16 points, and Noah Faidell shot a 48 for 15 points.
Stoughton, 0 @ Attleboro, 4 – Final – For the second straight game, Attleboro exploded offensively in the second half to run away with a big win. Alex Vecchioli took down a deflection off a throw from Luke Hagopian and somehow kept possession between a pair of defenders and ripped a shot to the far post to give the Bombardiers a lead right before halftime. In the second half. Vecchioli grabbed his second of the game early in the second half, tracking down a pass from Lucas Marques before cutting it back onto his left for a shot from just outside the box that was tipped by the keeper and in. Late in the second half, Vecchioli linked up with Kyle Neuendorf, who played a perfectly weighted through ball in behind the defense that was smashed home by Billy Badger to make it 3-0. In the final minutes, senior Steve Etienne tracked down a long punt from keeper Tyler Rocchio and hit a low shot into the back of the net from inside the area.
Foxboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin junior Hansy Jacques scored for the third straight game and the Panthers picked up two points in a 3-0 blanking of visiting Foxboro. Junior Michael Fernandez-Martin opened his varsity account, finishing off a pass from sophomore Matt Honekamp to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Jacques doubled the lead before halftime after an assist from Will Kryzak. In the second half, Trey Lovell buried a penalty kick to cap off the scoring for the Panthers.
Mansfield, 2 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – After a scoreless first half, Mansfield tallied twice inside a 15-minute span in the second half to pick up two key points on the road at North Attleboro. Aidan Lopes set up Tyler Znoj for a blast from 25 yards out to put the Hornets ahead, 1-0, in the 53rd minute. Mansfield doubled the lead in the 65th minute as Aiden Steele’s header off a corner from Dan Checkoway ended up at the feet of Sean Higgins, who dropped in a shot from just outside the box. Liam Doyle recorded his second straight shutout for Mansfield, making six saves. Derek McGrath anchored another strong Mansfield defensive effort with a great individual performance.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Each team converted off a set piece in a 1-1 draw at Milford. Visiting Sharon took the lead in the 18th minute as Adam Eastman buried a free kick from 25 yards out to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Milford pulled level in the 61st minute as Eduardo Santana buried a penalty kick, a call he earned himself, to bring the Scarlet Hawks level. Sharon goalie Matt Baur had a terrific performance in net.
Canton, 2 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – A late goal from Canton helped the Bulldogs pull even and earn a point in a 2-2 draw on the road at Taunton. Carson Eagles scored a late goal to help the Bulldogs erase a one-goal deficit and pull level at 2-2. Jake McCabe scored Canton’s first goal while Taunton’s Javonte Fernandes (first half) and Devin Poe (second half) scored for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 1 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – Morgan Cook’s goal just before halftime proved to be the winner, as Stoughton picked up its first victory of the season and its first under new coach Jon Grant. Shayla Ford opened the scoring in the third minute, running onto a Sabrina Rodrigues through ball behind the Attleboro defense. Jamie Davies leveled the match for the Bombardiers from the penalty spot in the 17th minute. Stoughton regained the lead in the 40th. Emma Byrne played a ball forward to Cook, who was able to get a telling touch on it and find the back of the net. Stoughton was able to limit Attleboro’s chances for a tying goal in the second half with a strong defensive effort. Katrina Varnum finished with 10 saves to help the Black Knights come out on top.
Taunton, 0 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Canton scored late in each half to earn its third win in as many games and move alone into first in the Davenport division. Emily McCabe scored both goals for the Bulldogs, her sixth and seventh of the season, the first assisted by Caira McKinney and the second by Gisella Berardi. While Canton held a sizable (17-4) edge in shots on goal and hit three posts, Taunton continued to fight and remained in the game until the final 90 seconds. Taunton coach Dan Borges praised the play of midfielders Juliana Matos and Emily Calderon for helping the Tigers compete to the end.
Franklin, 2 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin scored a pair of second half goals to maintain its perfect start to the season and hand Foxboro its first loss. Olivia Costa opened the scoring off a Norah Anderson assist and Costa then provided the assist for Selene Hammad’s goal that wrapped up the points for the Panthers. Franklin keeper Rachel Welch finished with six saves, while Foxboro’s Allie Sougaris made nine stops.
King Philip, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames sophomore Taylor deVos scored a pair of goals to lead the Tigers to a win over visiting King Philip. deVos converted a free kick opportunity in the first half to give the Tigers the lead. King Philip’s goal was scored by Heidi Lawrence, finishing a Rihanna Mason corner five minutes into the second half to bring the game level. Shortly after that, deVos buried another shot, which proved to be the game-winner. Catie Wilson, Rhiya Fisher, and Lucinda Li Cotter all had strong games for OA. Janiya Matier made six saves in net for the Tigers.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Mansfield and North each scored in the opening 20 minutes of the game and split a point apiece. Meghan McCann scored her first varsity goal four minutes into the game, off an assist from freshman Alexandra Fernandes. Emma Pratt equalized for North 15 minutes later, finishing off a corner to make it 1-1.
Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sofia Goclowski and Autumn Simon each scored a brace to lift Sharon to its second win of the season, already matching its league win total from 2021. Taylor Standring and Jessica Li each recorded assists for the Eagles and Kate Goloboy earned the clean sheet in goal.
Milford, 151 @ Attleboro, 157 – Final – After back-to-back close losses, Milford got back into the win column with its second win over the Bombardiers this season. Junior Anthony LaPierre was the match medalist, firing a low-round of 35 at Stone-E-Lea. Nate Lawrence added a 36 and David Fleming came in with a 39 for the Scarlet Hawks. Carter Shelton paced the Bombardiers with a 38 while Leo Lombardo chipped in with a 39.
North Attleboro, 155 @ Stoughton, 190 – Final – Tyson Laviano and Dillon Harding shared medalist honors to pace North Attleboro to a win over Stoughton at Easton Country Club. Laviano and Harding each fired a 38 in the win. Paul Medeiros had a team-low round of 45 for the Black Knights.
Foxboro, 172 @ Franklin, 149 – Final – Franklin junior CJ Steel fired a 35 to lead the Panthers to a win in their home opener at Franklin Country Club over visiting Foxboro. Steel, who had one birdie on the day, earned match medalist honors while Jack Hagerty added a 37, Tyler O’Brien shot a 38, and Brendan Collins finished with a 39. Mat Sullivan had a team-low round of 40 for the Warriors.
Mansfield, 162 @ Canton, 165 – Final – Mansfield had a trio of golfers all come in with a 40 to help the Hornets land a rare win for the visiting team at Blue Hill Country Club. Brendan Vokey, Jason Friedman, and Nate McClean each shot 40 in the win while Drew Urban chipped in with a 42. For Canton, Huck McCready earned match medalist honors after carding a 37 on the day. Brian Middleton added a 41, Brendan Tourgee chipped in with a 43, and both Joey Ryan and Teddy Shuman finished with a 44.
2021 Record: 9-8-3 Coach: Peter Pereira
While last year’s record doesn’t jump off the page, it was a good season for the Bombardiers and a step in the right direction for the program.
There were a lot of varsity debuts a year ago, and a lot of new faces in the lineup for longtime head coach Peter Pereira. This year is the opposite as many of those players are back and looking to make a serious challenge for the Kelley-Rex division title. Highlighting a deep and talented group of returners is a trio of HockomockSports Second XI selections from a year ago: senior forward Esvin Morales, junior goalie Tyler Rocchio, and junior midfielder and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Alex Vecchioli.
That trio gives the Bombardiers a top player in most key spots on the pitch. Vecchioli will be flanked by some familiar faces as senior Lucas Marques, junior Billy Badger, and junior Luke Hagopian are all back in the mix after starting last season. Juniors Kyle Neuendorf and Richard Ferreira provide key depth off the bench for the midfield unit. Up front, senior Steve Etienne will complement Morales at striker with juniors Nick Ticas and Clay Tyler able to provide energy off the bench.
Attleboro did graduate one of the best center backs in the league in Cash Stuger so there will be a hole to fill there but Pereira has a solid trio of experienced seniors in Jake Stomfors, Toby Smith, and Ian Miller to rely on defensively. Juniors Zack Diffenderfer and Joshua Codella are also in the mix for minutes in the back four.
“It is a hard-working group and I believe we have the potential to win some big games,” Pereira said.
2021 Record: 14-5-4 (D2 State Finalist) Coach: Danny Erickson
The Canton boys soccer team made history last year with its run to the Division 2 state final and while it will be a big ask to replicate such a special run, the Bulldogs have plenty of key pieces to at least challenge for a division title and have a go at another big run.
Canton lost the majority of its lineup from a year ago after graduating seven of the 11, but with a large, talented senior class, Hall of Fame coach Danny Erickson always has his squads ready to compete. The biggest piece back to the puzzle is senior striker Jake McCabe, a 2021 HockomockSports Best XI selection that tied for the league-lead in goals during the regular season a year ago with 13 goals.
Having 13 seniors on the squad will give the Bulldogs a boost, including veteran players like Caden Mirliani, Ashton Cetoute, Carson Eagles, and Brian Shea. Junior Zaza Francoeur picked up some valuable minutes a year ago and will be a key piece in the attack this year.
“We will certainly need to reinvent how we play after losing so many weapons but we have a great group,” said Erickson. “Lots of guys competing hard for the opportunity to contribute. That should help us compete in the always-tough league.”
2021 Record: 9-9-1 Coach: Dan Ambrosio
Foxboro has a strong core of returners back from last year’s squad that qualified for the postseason and will be looking to incorporate some young players to challenge for the Davenport division crown.
The Warriors will need to get the new players up to speed quickly because the injury bug has already hit, taking seniors Jorge Sanchez-Garcia (All Hock honorable mention last year) and starting defender Ian Foley for the season. Head coach Dan Ambrosio will lean heavily on his senior captains, striker Alex Penders and defender Marco Pacini. Penders, a standout on the hardwood for Foxboro’s basketball team, isn’t your typical striker but standing at 6’5, he’s a nightmare for opposing defenders and a dream for teammates serving the ball into the area.
Pacini is a seasoned veteran as a four-year member of the varsity team and will be the anchor of the back line. Sophomore Ryan Cotter will take over in net behind Pacini and the back line. The strength of the squad could be in the middle with a trio of juniors: John Hollis, Ryan Flaherty, and Pradyu Gubbala. All three are returners from a year ago and will be key pieces in not only helping the back line but orchestrating and organizing the attack.
“The strength of the attack lies in the ability to counter quickly, while defensive organization is a strength when without the ball,” Ambrosio said.
2021 Record: 11-5-4 Head Coach: Fran Bositis
Franklin will be looking to replicate its success from last year after the Panthers came just three points shy of the division title and earned a win in the state tournament.
The Panthers didn’t graduate a huge senior class but they did lose some key pieces like HockomockSports Best XI selection Terry O’Neill in midfield and Second XI selection Aidan Griffith on defense. But there is plenty of talent back all over the pitch for the Franklin, who will certainly be in the mix for the Kelley-Rex crown this year. Franklin’s four captains are spread throughout the field with Best XI selection Rex Cinelli back at center back, Will Kryzak up front, Trey Lovell in the middle of the pitch, and Griffin Tolonen in net.
Cinelli is coming off a very strong sophomore campaign and will join forces with Will Klawson to anchor the back line, which has impressed so far this preseason. Lovell will partner with Noah Cain at center mid to help the Panthers transition from the back, and orchestrate the offense. Juniors Hansy Jacques and Andrew O’Neill will provide depth alongside Kryzak up front. Michael Fernandez Martin, Garrett Scagliarini, and Matt Honekamp are new names to keep an eye on.
“It’s still early but our athletes are working hard and I know that we are all excited for the upcoming season,” said Hall of Fame head coach Fran Bositis. “We are looking forward to the challenge of competing in the Hockomock League.”
2021 Record: 3-13-2 Coach: Mike O’Neill
After battling through an injury-plagued 2021 season, the King Philip boys soccer team is aiming to be in the mix for the Kelley-Rex division title this year.
The Warriors boast a strong group of seniors that will be the heart and soul of the squad but will be looking to integrate some young and new faces in order to challenge in a very talented Kelley-Rex division. After scoring just 20 goals last year, the Warriors are hoping offense will be a strength this year behind a deep mix of creative and quick wing players. Senior Matt Crago returns after a terrific junior season (four goals, two assists) and will be a go-to option in the midfield and out wide. He’ll be joined by junior wing Will Bowen and junior wing Dermott Amorim.
Up top, KP will look to junior Tommy Lomuscio to find the back of the net. As a sophomore, he scored five goals and had nine assists – factoring in on just under half of the Warriors’ offense production. Senior goalie Connor O’Reilly made some huge saves a year ago and is back in net this year. Senior Tom Meader will anchor the back line at center back while senior Oliver Blackburn and sophomore Sayan Panda will lend some help to the defense from the center mid spot.
“I think the Hock is wide open this year, which is just another way of saying that there is a tremendous amount of parity,” said KP head coach Mike O’Neill. “Any win is a good win in the Hockomock League. We have strengths in our captains and our senior leadership. In order to be really competitive, we will need our younger players to contribute right away.”
2021 Record: 8-5-4 Coach: Steve Sheridan
Mansfield is looking to make a big splash in its first season competing in the Davenport division and enter the season as an instant contender.
The Hornets join the Davenport in a challenging year with Oliver Ames looking to make it three straight Davenport titles (four overall), a Canton squad fresh off of a state finals appearance, a revitalized Stoughton squad, a very skillful Sharon team, and a competitive Foxboro group. Despite losing 14 seniors from last year’s squad that went 8-5-4, Mansfield has a solid core intact for a big year.
It starts with captains Aidan Steele, Grady Sullivan, and Dan Checkoway – all three are seasoned veterans and know what it takes to compete in the Hock. Steele plays up top as a target forward while Sullivan and Checkoway patrol the midfield, along with the talented Connor Palinski. Junior Lucas DeSousa and sophomore Tyler Znoj have impressed early on in the midfield while sophomore Cooper Austin is in the mix up front.
Head coach Steve Sheridan is turning to senior Liam Doyle, who missed all of last year with an injury, to take over in net. Senior Derek McGrath will anchor the back line in front of Doyle while sophomore Matthew Sullivan has had a strong camp in the back as well.
“We don’t have as much varsity experience as I’d like, but we have a good bunch of kids that hopefully click sooner rather than later,” Sheridan said.
2021 Record: 12-4-3 Coach: Antonio Pinto
The defending Kelley-Rex champions might have some inexperience and youth in some spots in the lineup, but the Scarlet Hawks return a strong core of players ready to defend their title.
Milford has won four straight division titles, two in the Davenport and now two straight in the Kelley-Rex, and will be looking to make it five straight with another banner this year. Returning HockomockSports Best XI selection Nick Ribero is such a steady presence in the midfield and does a great job spreading the ball and finding open teammates. He will have a lot of options with Arthur Tome (seven goals, nine assists), Eduardo Santana (nine goals, five assists), and John Borges (two goals, eight assists), all back this season.
After losing Best XI selection Chris Tocci (center back) and Kevin Gomes (goalie), the Hawks will have some inexperience in their own final third. The Scarlet Hawks will turn to junior Nate Dinis to anchor the back line after he played some key minutes a season ago.
“We have a very young squad going into the season, but a tight group of kids who are together 24/7, a very family-like team here at Milford this season,” said Milford head coach Antonio Pinto. “Offensively we will have to figure out ways to score goals. Defensively we are very young and inexperienced but have a tight group of kids that will help each other out.”
2021 Record: 8-8-2 Coach: Mike Lacasse
An untimely departure from the girls’ program at North forced a bit of a shakeup in the coaching ranks as Geoff Burgess moves over to the girls and Mike Lacasse, who has coached the JV team for a number of years, moves up to take over varsity.
Lacasse and the Rocketeers will look to make some noise in a very talented Kelley-Rex division, and look to get back to the state tournament. The strength of the squad will be in the midfield as the Big Red has some familiar faces back in key spots. Senior Carson Dameron is back for his third year as a starter and will be joined by classmates Zach Smahi and Griffin Rodden. Juniors Kaden Burns and Quinn Conley will patrol the flanks while sophomore Patrick Etienvre could be poised for a breakout campaign after some impressive minutes as a freshman.
Defensively, North Attleboro has the challenge of replacing one of the better keepers in the league in David Floyd as well as HockomockSports Second XI selection Brody Rosenberg at center back. Seniors Jack Regan (outside back) and Sam Bush will try to solidify the backline with junior Owen Goeller in position to start in net. Up front, the Rocketeers will turn to senior Givany Carney, a powerful striker, and junior Bryce Newth, to produce some goals.
“We have a good mix of young talent and experience in some key positions,” Lacasse said. “I am excited to see what this team can accomplish this season, as they look to continue the progress they had toward the end of last year.”
2021 Record: 13-4-2 Coach: John Barata
For most programs, losing the league MVP plus the league’s top goal scorer would be a massive hurdle to get over. But this isn’t something new for Oliver Ames, who has won three straight division titles and eight overall since the 2011 season. While graduation will certainly hurt, the returners and new arrivals have OA right back in the mix for another title.
Despite the loss of Mathias Taylor (MVP) and Clide Neau (tied for a league-high 13 goals), the Tigers have plenty to be excited about, starting with sophomore Casey Milliken, who finished atop the points leaderboard during the regular season a year ago and earned HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year honorable mention.
On top of that, Joey Carney is back in the mix in the midfield looking to capitalize on a solid sophomore campaign (four goals, two assists), and sophomore Andrew Martins will see an increased role after impressing as a freshman. And like always for OA, they will lean heavily on the captains: senior Hector Bucio, who had a breakout year with seven goals and three assists, and senior Jake Williams. Sophomores Luke Churchill has also impressed so far this preseason.
“OA is excited to compete in the Hockomock League,” said OA head coach John Barata. “We are working to get into the tournament this season. We want to grow as a team and have a lot of fun.”
2021 Record: 6-9-3 Coach: Scott Nathan
Sharon battled its way through injury after injury last season, showing glimpses at times (wins over league champs Milford and Oliver Ames, finishing on a four-game unbeaten streak) but missed out on a spot in the state tournament.
With a host of talent returning this year, the Eagles are serious contenders to challenge for the division title in what is shaping up to be one of the deepest years in the Davenport. The Eagles look to have a strong defensive group this year anchored by HockomockSports Second XI selection Rhys Davis at center back. He’ll be joined by seniors Tyler Goodman, Brandon Mauricio, and Tony Yang to not only give the Eagles a veteran backline but one with skill and pace. Senior Matt Baur is back with the program and returns to his starting spot in net.
The Eagles also have some key pieces back in the midfield and up front. Senior captain Adam Eastman will be looking to build on his nine-goal season from last year, which was tied for fifth most in the Hock. Seniors Rishi Shetty, Malachi Diaz, and Miguel Vasconcelos provide depth up front. Cam Birnbaum and Kevin Lu are also returning players from last year’s squad that could see valuable minutes.
“The Hock is among the strongest leagues in the state,” said head coach Scott Nathan. “We look forward to getting the chance to play against so many quality teams. The boys can’t wait to get started!”
2021 Record: 0-17-1 Coach: Ruben Teixeira
Stoughton struggled through a difficult schedule last season but there is a bit of a buzz about the Black Knights entering this season.
First year head coach Ruben Teixeira, who has coached both at the high school and collegiate level, had a great turnout for tryouts and the Black Knights will be looking to bounce out of the bottom of the standings and make a serious run at the Davenport division title.
Stoughton has a good amount of returning players from a year ago, including a lot of young players that were getting their first varsity experience. Teixeira will look to his seniors to guide the way, especially early on. Senior Joao Marotti sets the tone with his hard work and will be a factor both defensively and offensively for Stoughton. His versatility will provide Teixeira with some flexibility in the midfield. Another senior to keep an eye on is Matheus Groberio, a new addition to the program that has a lot of experience and knowledge of the game. He could be an instant impact player for Stoughton this season.
2021 Record: 5-10-3 Coach: Taylor Whitters
Taunton had an excellent start last year, winning four straight to open the season but the momentum came to a halt and the Tigers finished at 5-10-3 and on the outside looking in for the postseason.
With nearly its entire squad back in the mix this season, the Tigers will be looking to replicate that start and then carry it even further and challenge for the Kelley-Rex title. Taunton was young last season as the lineup featured mostly juniors and sophomores, but now the Tigers are one of the most experienced groups and will be looking to use their speed to challenge the rest of the Hock.
Riley Ribello was a 2021 HockomockSports Best XI selection on defense but he’s shown he can play at center mid or move up top and be a dangerous attack, and it’s likely that’s where we’ll see him this season. The Tigers also have Quincy Jones-Sylvia back at center back while Josh Letourneau, Ian Robicheau, and Jonathan Trinh all saw time at outside back and will provide key defensive depth this year.
Conal Scully proved to be a top attacking option last year with the ability to score from a variety of spots on the pitch. Aidden Fitting plays with a ton of pace on the outside and the Taunton midfield will get another speedy player in Javonte Fernandes, who is back on the field after playing goalie last season. Vinicius Lira Lima and Az-Anael St. Marc provide attack depth for the Tigers.
“We have a lot of individual talent, however, it is our unmatched team chemistry and synchronicity on the pitch that will undoubtedly make this our year in the Hock,” said Taunton head coach Taylor Whitters.