Collins Volleys Foxboro Past Medfield in Playoff Opener

Foxboro girls soccer
Foxboro sophomore Jordyn Collins hits a volley off a corner with nine minutes left in the D2 South opener to lift the Warriors past Medfield and into the second round. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – Two years ago, Foxboro was on the verge of beating Medfield before a late goal forced overtime and eventually Medfield won on penalties. It was the third straight year that Foxboro’s season ended at the hands of Medfield. On Saturday afternoon at Southeastern Regional, the two teams squared off again, with Foxboro seeking a measure of revenge.

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In the 71st minute, sophomore forward Jordyn Collins made a near post run and met Katelyn Mollica’s corner kick with a textbook volley. The ball arrowed into the top corner and Foxboro held on for the final nine minutes to secure a 1-0 victory and a spot in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.

“I told them at one of the timeouts, if we get another chance at a corner kick, put it in the net,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I don’t do too many set plays on corners. Jordyn just happened to be there and a perfect finish.”

Following Collins’ goal, Medfield came storming back upfield, as was expected from a physical game that featured end-to-end action. Foxboro survived a dangerous free kick in the attacking third and a number of attempts to play the ball in behind the defense.

At the final whistle, the players swarmed to goalie Morgan Sylvestre (four saves) to celebrate the latest in a long line of battles between two perennially strong programs.

“It was scary,” senior defender Alex Stamatos said of the minutes after taking the lead. “It was actually very nerve-wracking, but we were able to pull through and get the win.”

The first half featured a number of scoring chances for both teams. It started just two minutes into the game when Lizzy Davis turned a corner on goal only for Medfield keeper Izzy Brown to make the save. Two minutes later and it was Medfield’s turn, with Marissa Gorog forcing a save out of Sylvestre.

Mackenzi Fraser was next to test the keeper after a nice touch took her past the defender but forced her into a tight angle. Kendra Wentling had a shot from inside the box charged down and the rebound fell to Collins, but she sent it over the crossbar.

Medfield looked dangerous on the counter and from set pieces. In one sequence, Stamatos was forced to head a corner over from the shadow of her own goal and then the following corner was nodded on frame, but Sylvestre was quickly down to her right to parry it. The rebound was prodded just wide of the post.

“At first we just weren’t playing our game,” Stamatos explained. “The ball was in the air a lot and we just needed to keep it on the ground and we just needed to stay with their speed.”

Fraser had another chance running onto a through ball from Davis in the left channel but her shot was saved. Medfield nearly got on the board when Stamatos, under pressure, slipped while trying to clear but Emma Keating couldn’t keep her shot down.

Grace Ferguson forced a save with a shot from 20 yards and then Alyssa VandenBoom nearly fashioned an opening with a cross from the left that flashed across goal but couldn’t be turned home at the back post by Jackie Dizney.

“Especially the beginning of the first half, their intensity was so high and they were winning almost every ball,” Stalcup said of Medfield. “We started to pick up our intensity towards the end of the half.”

When asked if this was a learning experience for a young roster, Stalcup replied, “I think it was a slap in the face because last year a lot of them were freshmen and sophomores and it was the preliminary round and we got beat pretty bad. This was a hard-fought battle. I think they saw that they had to bring just as much intensity to get any momentum.”

In the second half, the field tilted as Foxboro took control of the midfield. Wentling and freshman Kailee McCabe were starting to dictate play and get the ball out to Mollica and Davis on the wings. Collins, Fraser, and freshman Kaitryn Franchino all made strong runs at the Medfield defense.

Despite the pressure that the hosts were exerting, the only real scoring chance that they fashioned came in the first 10 minutes of the half. Collins was close to breaking the deadlock when she got free on the right side but Brown made a diving, one-handed stop to keep the game scoreless.

In the 71st, Collins had another chance and this time gave Brown no chance to make the stop, sealing the win and Foxboro’s place in the next round.

“I was really excited. It was great. I knew that she could do it,” Stamatos said. “We just all worked together throughout the whole game and worked hard to do our thing.”

Stalcup added, “It’s huge. It gives us even more confidence going into the next round and I feel like we have nothing to lose at this point. We have this huge momentum and I’m nothing but excited about it.”

Foxboro (15-1-3) will host Notre Dame Academy on Tuesday at a time and location to be determined.

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Medfield Upsets Foxboro In The D2 East Quarterfinals

By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor

FOXBORO, Mass. – The Foxboro Warriors defeated Medfield when the two teams met back in April, but on Thursday in the Division 2 East Quarterfinals, Medfield was ready to flip the script.

“Having played them once before we had a little game change and we started a little more defensively because they’re a huge fast break team,” said Medfield head coach Kathleen McCullough. “I think that helped us kind of defensively and we kept track of their top scorers… the girls’ defense was everything today.”

The defense first strategy worked out as the visitors, the sixth seed in the bracket, held third-seeded Foxboro to one its lowest scoring outputs of the season with an 8-6 result.

Foxboro looked like they were once again ready to easily get past Medfield, as Molly Murphy gave them a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the game. But as Medfield stayed true to their game plan, success followed.

Medfield rattled off three consecutive goals over the next seven minutes to open up a 3-1 lead, and goalkeeper Anna Lyons made several key stops to spark the team and maintain the advantage.

“That first save of the game kind of gave [Lyons] that confidence she needed and she was the spark,” McCullough said. “Once she’s hot it spreads to the defense and she was definitely focused today, it was awesome.”

Trailing by two, Foxboro wasn’t going to go down easy. With under five minutes left in the half, Foxboro struck twice in less than 20 seconds after a save from goalie Sara Addeche. Meg Curran scored off a free position then Sophia DiCenso scored immediately off the next faceoff to knot the game at three.

But Medfield had their own answer, using three straight draw controls to add two more goals before the half, both from Margaret McCarthy off of pretty feeds from Erin Seibel.

To start the second half, DiCenso netted her second goal of the game to draw Foxboro back to within two.

Medfield again had an answer, scoring three straight goals (two from Seibel and one from Brooke Deady) to open an 8-4 lead.

“I actually told the sideline that you guys won the game for us today,” McCullough said. “Just the spirit and the support and those cheers, that was something different today but I think it definitely helped the players who were on the field. It’s a great team win all around.”

With just under five minutes left, Foxboro tried to start a rally as Curran scored twice, but there was not enough time to complete the comeback. Medfield finished the upset with an 8-6 victory.

“[This win] just gives us the confidence that we can continue on and that the team we saw today is the team we should continue to be,” McCullough said. “They played their best game today of the season so they should feel confident moving forward.”

Medfield girls lacrosse will now take on Groton-Dunstable in the Division 2 East Semifinals. Foxboro finishes the season 14-6.

Franklin Pulls Away in Second Half to Beat Medfield

Franklin girls lacrosse
Annie Walsh (3) scored a hat trick for the Panthers on Monday to help Franklin to a non-league win at Medfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MEDFIELD, Mass. – Franklin did not follow the standard script on Monday night at Medfield High. Typically, girls’ lacrosse games are won by the team that has the ball the most. Coaches always preach winning draw controls and keeping possession, but the Panthers used a different formula to beat the Warriors.

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Despite winning only 4-of-17 draws and spending long stretches of the game in the defensive zone, Franklin pulled out a 10-5 non-league victory over the perennial Div. 2 contender by hitting the Warriors with a series of quick counterattacks.

Sophomore Annie Walsh and freshman Kelsey MacCallum each scored hat tricks and junior Jordan Jette scored a pair of goals, as Franklin broke open the game with a 7-3 second half.

“I think that’s just a testament to our defense and our goalie,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about the Panthers winning without having the ball for much of the game. “We can score quickly, but we’ve got to get better at those things.

“I said, we didn’t win the draws and we didn’t win possession of the game and we still somehow won, so imagine if we put it all together. We still have room to grow and improve.”

Franklin opened the scoring inside the opening minute with a lightning break that stemmed from a point-blank save by freshman Gianna Cameron (nine saves, including six in the first half). The ball quickly flew up field and Jette finished off the transition for a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, Brooke Deady got a shot past Cameron only to see it carom back off the crossbar. Franklin scooped up the ground ball and took off on another fast break that led to an eight-meter try for Erin Walsh. The freshman put it away and made it 2-0.

Medfield responded with goals by Jordan MacLean and Maggie McCarthy to tie the game up with 14 minutes left in the half.

The score stayed the same for seven minutes until Jette picked out a cutting Annie Walsh for the go-ahead goal. Medfield would get another long spell of possession to close out the half, holding the ball for several minutes, but only managed one shot off target and Franklin held firm to force a turnover and keep the lead.

When asked about the halftime conversation, Igoe Guarino said, “Get the ball more, so draws, which we didn’t do and we need to get better at that; 50-50 balls, which I thought we did better when it was on the ground; and just making our possessions count on offense because we didn’t have the ball a ton.”

The Warriors won the opening draw of the second half (and won 9-of-11 after the break) but the Panthers stole the ball and MacCallum turned it into a goal with a drive to her lefthand and bounced shot. Just 31 seconds later, after a rare draw control, the Panthers made it 5-2 on an Annie Walsh free position.

McCarthy scored again for Medfield to cut the lead back to two and then nearly added another just minutes later only to be blocked by quick reactions from Cameron. A quick outlet turned the momentum around, as Walsh fed Caroline Lounsbury down the middle for the goal.

“Gianna is a huge factor,” said Igoe Guarino of her freshman netminder. “Our defense in front of her is very good, but then she makes amazing saves and is the key to our transition. If we’re not winning draws then we’re counting on her to make big saves and she does.”

MacCallum scored her second with a drive off a free position and answered a Medfield goal with another lefty chance and low shot to the corner for an 8-4 lead. Walsh got her hat trick off an eight-meter try and after Medfield cut the lead back tok four, sophomore Halle Atkinson hit Jette in front for a backhanded, sidearm finish.

Igoe Guarino praised her team’s balance on the offensive end. She said, “We don’t rely on one person. I think we have a team where everyone is comfortable sharing the ball and putting it on a teammate’s stick to score. We’re trying to get everyone to see the open player and that’s why our breaks were so effective.”

With Monday’s win, the Panthers are now 11-1 on the season despite a roster filled with underclassmen and a schedule that featured some of the top teams in the state. On Monday, seven of Franklin’s 10 goals came from freshmen and sophomores and Igoe Guarino was pleased with the way the younger players were adapting to the varsity level.

“The underclassmen have done a really great job,” she said. “They’re still learning and we’re picking out a lot of things in film and practice and they’re improving every day but I think they’re handling the schedule well and I think the challenging games are the best types for getting better as individuals and as a team.”

Franklin will be back at home on Wednesday afternoon to host North Andover in a rematch of last year’s state semifinal.

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Kilduff Rescues a Point for Canton Against Medfield

Canton hockey
Canton senior Tommy Kilduff (2) scored in the third period to earn the Bulldogs a tie with defending state champ Medfield at the Canton Ice House. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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CANTON, Mass. – Canton and Medfield have developed quite a rivalry since the Warriors made the leap into Div. 2 several years ago. The teams consistently meet in the regular season, including last year’s shootout thriller in the Quinn Tournament in Raynham, and have also met a couple of times in the latter rounds of the South sectional.

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Although both teams have a number of new faces this season, the expectation was for a fast-paced, high-energy game. And with both teams looking for consistent offense after the graduation of key forwards, it was also expected to be tight.

On Wednesday night at the Canton Ice House, the teams met for the first time this season and the game mostly lived up to expectations, finishing in a 1-1 tie. Tommy Kilduff got the lone goal for the Bulldogs to even the score early in the third period, as the Bulldogs closed the game with a flurry after an inconsistent opening two periods.

Despite earning a point and outshooting the Warriors, who are the defending state champions, 29-16 (11-1 in the third period alone), Canton coach Brian Shuman was left wanting more from his team.

He said, “I’m happy that we battled back and had some good chances in the third period, but that’s a game that we need to go out there and put out a better effort.”

Shuman admitted that several of the players were frustrated in the locker room after the game. He said that he understood why. “They are in the elite of our division, so how do you not bring your best effort and get guys stepping up and performing?” Shuman asked. “That was the most frustrating part, not bringing the energy and making plays when we had the chance.”

Both teams are known for playing with speed and precision, but that was largely missing from the opening period. There were flashes of the passing that makes both teams hard to stop, but most of the game was played between the blue lines with the offenses struggling to make an impact.

Kilduff created the game’s first scoring chance with a good forecheck that forced a turnover but his shot was just wide across goal. The puck came back to Matt Cassamento and he fed Kilduff in front but Kevin Walsh (28 saves) came through with the stop. Canton goalie Quinn Gibbs (15 saves) made a nice stop on Dylan McNally and with 20 seconds left in the first Jack Goyetch had a chance on a 2-on-1 but Walsh managed to sit on the puck and cover up.

Medfield jumped in front a little more than a minute into the second period, and just seven seconds after a penalty on Bubba McNeice, when Ryan Johnson swung the puck across the blue line to Nick Wheeler. The senior defenseman flung a shot through traffic that Gibbs could not see.

The Warriors had their best period of the game, putting 11 shots on Gibbs in the second, but had few legit scoring opportunities. Kilduff nearly tied it with 7:15 left in the period and the rebound popped out to Ryan Nolte but his shot slid just wide of the post with Walsh prone on the ice.

The Canton forecheck created another chance two minutes later as first Goyetch and then Jackson Maffeo had shots beaten aside by Walsh. Freshman John Hagan had a snap shot kicked aside as well.

In the third, the Bulldogs finally found a way past Walsh. Nolte had a point-blank chance carom off the goalie’s shoulder when it looked destined for the corner, but the Bulldogs kept the play alive in the zone and Kilduff was able to pounce on a loose puck in front to slide in the goal.

“He was frustrated at the start of the season because the goals weren’t coming but to his credit, patience, he didn’t lose control of his emotions and he’s had a great couple of weeks for us,” said Shuman of Kilduff. “We’re going to need him going forward because it seems like we’re just riding his coattails right now.”

The Bulldogs dominated the third period and the defense limited Medfield to only one shot in the period, while Maffeo (paired mostly with Brad Murphy) and Martin (paired with D.J. Trerice) regularly found themselves pushing up into the attack.

“They weren’t feeling it this game, but they still battled through and they made all the plays they needed to, they recovered well, and they played a lot of minutes,” said Shuman of Martin and Maffeo. “The problem hasn’t been keeping guys off the board this year; we’ve been doing that pretty well. It’s getting more pucks to the back of the net.”

Canton had one last chance to try for the game-winning goal and again it was the top line that created the opportunity, Kilduff broke free down the left wing and fired a pass across goal to Nolte, but somehow Walsh managed to get across and make a sprawling save that left the Canton alumni on the opposite side of the rink mystified as to how it was not a goal.

Shuman knows that Canton is going to need more people to rise to the occasion if the Bulldogs are going to make a tournament run this season.

“We can’t rely on one line and that’s what is happening right now,” Shuman explained. “We have one line that is carrying our play, that everyone is looking to do something, and the other lines are sort of just along for the ride. We can’t get a full team going.”

Canton (7-2-2) will get back into league play on Saturday with a trip to Asiaf Arena to take on Stoughton before next week’s visit of Davenport challenger North Attleboro.

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Second Half Surge From Medfield Sinks Canton

Canton girls soccer
Canton’s Sarah Collins and Medfield’s Annie Phipps battle for possession on Friday afternoon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MILFORD, Mass. – For the first 30 minutes of the D2 South Semifinal, 15th-seeded Canton was not only the better side, but the Bulldogs were dominating sixth-seeded Medfield and held a 3-1 lead.

But a late surge from the Warriors resulted in two goals in the final three minutes to bring the teams level just before halftime. Medfield used that momentum — and the advantage of the wind — to go on and score four goals in the second half and come away with a 7-3 victory of the Bulldogs.

From the opening minute, Canton seized control of the play,. Junior Sarah Connolly won possession just over half, dribbled her way through the Medfield defense and unleashed a shot from atop the area that forced a save.

Canton finally broke through in the 18th minute when Hannah Link sent a pinpoint through ball that Tessa Cudmore ran onto. Cudmore muscled her way past one defender and held off another as her shot from just inside the area found the far post for a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, the Bulldogs doubled the lead. Riley Duserick whipped in a curling corner kick that forced Medfield keeper Sarah Graham into a save but the rebound fell right to Julia Hamilton, who one-timed it in from in close.

Medfield applied pressure after a timeout, first with Kathryn Doody coming off her line to thwart a break from Alanna Cooney. But a minute after the save, Cooney gained some space on the right wing and ripped a shot to the far post to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.

Canton was quick to respond, with Duserick nearly scoring an olimpico off a corner but the linesman deemed it didn’t cross the line. In the 27th minute, the ball popped into the attacking area and Cudmore played it perfectly, shielding off a defender to get some space before placing it into the corner for a commanding 3-1 lead.

But in the 37th minute, Annie Phipps used a turn just outside the area to gain a bit of space and fired top shelf to bring the Warriors within one. Two minutes later, Phipps centered a cross to Taylor Sherman, who got a touch past Doody as she charged out, and slid the ball into the net to make it 3-3.

“The momentum swung in their favor completely and it hammered us,” Canton head coach Kate Howarth said. “I think it’s a completely different game if we go into halftime with a 3-1 lead. It took the wind out of our sails for sure. We had the momentum for the whole first half until the last 10 minutes and we just crumbled.

“You lose all the footage that you gained. Instead of going forward a step, you go back three steps. It was still a winnable game but we just didn’t have it today. If we came out like we did the last two games I think we would have destroyed them. We didn’t have 80 minutes in us today.”

Medfield scored the game-winner in the 55th minute as a long throw eluded Canton’s defense and Sherman raced onto it. The break forced Canton’s defense to commit and Sherman centered to Cooney in the middle for an open shot and goal.

The Warriors made it 5-3 when a long throw found Maggie McCarthy at the near post for a flick to the far post. Medfield added a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes as the Bulldogs pushed numbers forward.

In total, eight of the 10 goals scored in the game came from the team playing with the wind at its back.

“The wind affected the game a lot,” Howarth said. “It’s not just a breeze, it’s significant. It can help take the ball when you have it and it can kill you when you’re against it.

“We weren’t come at the same level that we were the last few games. Some games you come into and you can’t be beaten, some games you struggle through. This was one we were going to have to struggle through. We didn’t look good, they didn’t look good. They kicked the ball around a lot. It was going to be a struggle for both sides but they struggled better than us and found ways to score some goals. I think if we played the second half like we played the first 30 minutes of the game, it’s a completely different game.”

Canton girls soccer finishes the season at 10-8-2. The Bulldogs, who were seeded 15th in the D2 South Sectional, knocked off #2 Greater New Bedford and #10 Milton in their tournament run.

“I don’t think our wins and losses showed exactly how good this team was,” Howarth said. “We play in one of the toughest leagues around here. You go into the tournament against someone who’s 13-1 and play nobody, we were able to go in and destroy them. We gained from playing tougher teams during the regular season. We’ve been through the adversity.”

Foxboro Eliminated on Penalties by Familiar Foe

Foxboro girls soccer
Hallie Canfield makes a save in the penalty shootout against Medfield. Canfield made a save and scored a PK but Foxboro lost the shootout 5-4 following an exciting 2-2 draw. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MEDFIELD, Mass. – It was the type of game that left spectators thinking it was a shame that either side had to lose. It was a game with wild swings of emotion and momentum. It had a coach with arms raised dancing down the sideline and it caused tears on both the winning and losing benches.

Twice Foxboro had the game in its grasp and both times Medfield managed to stave off defeat. A headed goal with only four minutes remaining forced overtime and then backup goalie Emma Hilvert became the hero, saving a penalty to stay alive and then saving a second to get the win.

For the third time in the past four seasons, Medfield knocked Foxboro out of the playoffs, winning 5-4 in a shootout following a breathless 2-2 draw Monday night at Calvin Fisher Field.

“Unfortunately with PKs it stinks,” said Foxboro coach Kaitlin Lamothe-Vaughn after the game. “It’s exciting, but it is what it is. It was a pretty good matchup between the two of us and when you get to PKs it’s anybody’s game.”

Foxboro led 2-1 inside the final five minutes when Medfield earned a corner kick. The ball was played into the middle by junior Maggie McCarthy and Sophia Ouimette out-jumped the Foxboro defense to head home from close range. Medfield almost won it in the final seconds of regulation but Alanna Cooney shot it right at Foxboro keeper Hallie Canfield.

The best chance of the first overtime fell to Foxboro senior Riley Collins, who got on the end of a cross by classmate Hailey Maling, but could not direct it on target.

In the second overtime, Medfield had the chances for the golden goal winner, but Allison Petit saw her long-range effort land on top of the goal and Canfield came through with a clutch save, denying Cooney with a sliding block a few yards outside of the box as the Medfield forward raced onto a through ball.

“Hallie had an amazing game,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “She came out when she needed to come out, she was directing players, I mean she’s made great saves the past two games.”

The game would be decided by penalty kicks. Both teams made each of the first three (Kristen Bortolotti, Lily Sykes, and Canfield scoring for Foxboro). On the fourth Medfield kick, Canfield got down well to her right to make the save and put Foxboro once again on the verge of the Div. 2 South semifinal.

Jamie Gorham added the fourth kick for the visitors and that was matched by Medfield. Lauren Flahive had a shot at the win, but Hilvert used her full reach to tip the shot away. After Medfield added a fifth off the fingertips of Canfield and just inside the post, Hilvert again went full stretch to deny Collins to seal the win.

“It’s a tough one, especially with 11 seniors,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “We’re losing a lot, so it’s hard.”

She added, “We’ve played them, we knew they were a senior team, we knew what they had, so that helped too. As much as I don’t want to see them, we know what we’re up against…I just kind of wish we would get someone new.”

Foxboro had started the game well, creating chances and denying Medfield time and space in the midfield and playing a high defensive line that caught star striker Taylor Sherman offsides several times in the first half. The partnership of Gorham and Flahive with help from Alexandra Stamatos on the left side managed to keep the hosts under wraps.

“We have great speed back there with the three of them,” said Lamothe-Vaughn. “[Medfield] had tons of speed and having them back there was big for us because we would have been blown out of the water if we didn’t have that kind of speed.”

Maling had Foxboro’s first chance with a looping shot that hit the crossbar and she provided a consistent outlet on the right wing running off center forwards Bortolotti and Olivia Dantona. On the opposite side was Collins and she had several chances, including a shot that was kicked aside at the back post after an angled cross by Sykes.

Lamothe-Vaughn said, “Hailey and Riley both had great runs up the sidelines…We were getting lost in the kick-and-run game, which if we had the ball down a little bit more and we were possessing it then we would’ve had even more opportunities with Riley and Kristen up top.”

Bortolotti opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a shot from 25 yards that took a bounce in front of the keeper and slipped through the five-hole for a fortuitous 1-0 lead. It would last until 10 minutes after the break when Sherman responded for Medfield, holding off two defenders before sliding a shot into the bottom corner.

Seven minutes later, Sherman almost gave Medfield he lead with another run down the right channel but her powerful shot smacked off the post. Almost immediately back down the other end, Bortolotti ran at the Medfield back line and opened space for a drop off pass to Maling who hit it first time and curled it past the static keeper.

The lead lasted 20 minutes, until Medfield’s late heroics snatched an equalizer. Despite the defeat, Lamothe-Vaughn was proud of the way her team finished the season against tough opponents like Notre Dame Academy and Medfield.

“We play in an extremely good league,” she said. “Our season is preparing us for tournament and even though our record is not what we want it to be it prepared us for Notre Dame and Medfield, some of the best teams in our division.”