Attleboro Edges Mansfield In Back-And-Forth Battle

Attleboro softball Meghan Gordon
Attleboro freshman Meghan Gordon swings at a pitch in the third inning against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – When the Mansfield and Attleboro softball teams meet, it doesn’t matter where the teams are in the standings, you know you’re in for a good game.

Even more so was the case when the 16th-seeded Hornets hosted the 17th-seeded Bombardiers in an MIAA Division 1 South Preliminary Round game, with each team’s season hanging in the balance.

And with seven of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2015 having been decided by two or fewer runs, its no surprise that Thursday’s contest came down to the final inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In a see-saw battle that saw Mansfield take its second lead of the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, Attleboro responded with two runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead for the third time and junior Emily Gittle (7IP, 11H, 2BB, 5ER, 13K) struck out the side in the bottom half to give the Bombardiers a 7-6 win.

“It doesn’t matter what the records are, it’s just one of those games,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “It’s a really good rivalry, it was a great game today. You have to be able to come back from things like errors and that’s what good teams do because you can’t play a perfect game. And our big players came through when we needed them.

“The kids persevered. We had the same type of game against Franklin, so we’ve been there before. We’re never out of it, especially when it’s one run. [Mansfield] is a good team, they battle, they find ways to get runs too. Those Bendanillo’s are two really tough outs. Emily Gittle was strong in the circle, a quiet 13 strikeouts tonight. We had some errors but I thought we got some big outs today at the right time.”

The Bombardiers had the first lead in the game after scoring in the first inning, the Hornets seized the advantage with three runs in the fourth, Attleboro jumped back in front with four runs in the fifth before setting up a frantic finish.

“This is how it’s been every time we play them,” said Mansfield head coach Lori Letendre. “I think if you play two more innings, it could have gone the other way. It’s that type of game every time we play Attleboro, unfortunately, they got us all three times this season.

“We hit the ball well today just not when we needed it most. That’s been the story of our season, leaving runners on base and having runners in scoring position and not getting the hit we needed. We had the bases loaded twice, runners on second and third at least once, we had our chances…just couldn’t get it done.”

Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, the Hornets struck for three runs to go back in front for the second time. Senior Sydney Woods clubbed a leadoff double and moved to third on a single from sophomore Ella Verheggen. Verheggen stole second but Gittle got a strikeout and a groundout to get the first two outs.

Kara Bendanillo battled to a walk to load the bases and all runners moved up a base with Woods coming in to score to bring the Hornets within one. Senior Megan Letendre drew another walk to load the bases again, bringing the Hornets’ top offensive player in Mady Bendanillo.

The senior delivered, lacing a single through the left side to bring in two runs to put Mansfield up 6-5 and the pressure on the Bombardiers with just three outs left.

Attleboro came up with a big response as freshman Hailey Perry drew a leadoff walk and classmate Meghan Gordon advanced the run into scoring position after Mansfield starter Sarah Cahill (7IP, 7H, 3BB, 6ER, 4K) induced a ground ball out. Freshman Lindsey Perry singled to put runners on the corners with the Bombardiers’ top offensive threat McKenzie Bergdoll coming to the dish.

Bergdoll delivered the clutch hit the visitors needed, blasting a double deep to left to bring in both runs and putting her team back ahead, a lead they’d hold onto for the win.

“It was the best [Bendanillo] against the best [Bergdoll] and we happened to be the last one standing,” Homer said. “That’s the way you want it to be. You come from behind like that, that’s great for the team, it’s good to persevere because we play a very good team on Saturday.”

Bergdoll put the visitors on the board in the top of the first inning. Gordon smacked a double to start the game and then stole third when Lindsey Perry took ball four and was walked. Bergdoll hit a fly ball deep enough to left for a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Mansfield’s offense came alive in the bottom of the fourth and used a combination of hits and Bombardier errors to jump in front. Kara Bendanillo led off with hard-hit single to left and took third when the ball was misplayed. An infield error allowed Letendre to reach and Bendanillo to score to tie the game. Senior Caty DeMassi followed with an RBI triple and scored herself when the throw home sailed high, putting the Hornets up 3-1.

The Bombardiers mounted a comeback just a half inning later with four runs on their own. Kayla Battisti led off with a single and Gittle reached on a throwing error, putting runners on the corner. Hailey Perry drove in a run with a single and Gordon followed with a triple to bring two more runs in. A single from Lindsey Perry brought in the fourth run of the inning to put Attleboro head 5-3.

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Freshman Hailey Perry, Lindsey Perry, and Meghan Gordon combined for five hits, five runs, and five RBI in the win.

“The bats came alive, and again at the end,” Homer said. “The Perry’s and Meghan Gordon…they are all freshmen. It was huge to get hits from all parts of the lineup.”

Attleboro softball (11-10) advances to the MIAA D1 South First Round and will travel to top-seeded Bridgewater-Raynham (19-1) on Saturday at 4:00. Mansfield finishes the season 12-9.

Franklin Edges Attleboro in Back-and-Forth Battle

Gabby Colace reached base three times and scored a pair of runs, as Franklin pulled out a 7-6, come from behind win against Attleboro on Sunday morning. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Both teams had already qualified for the postseason and Sunday morning’s matchup felt like preparation for the upcoming state tournament. It was a game in which both teams battled back multiple times and both learned what they will need to work on to make a playoff run.

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In the end, Franklin made enough plays to pull out a 7-6 victory over Attleboro. Senior Emily Valentino came off the bench to pitch 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief and drove in the game-tying run with a fifth inning single.

“Emily Valentino came in and kind of slammed the doors, so to speak,” said Franklin coach Kate Fallon. “She did a nice job out there.”

She also praised the Bombardiers for being aggressive and putting pressure on the Panthers. Fallon said, “They put a lot of pressure on us today. They came here swinging and trying to take some names. They put up a nice performance against us today and redeemed themselves from the first game (a 14-0 Franklin win).”

Attleboro was playing its third game in the span of 24 hours. The Bombardiers completed a rain delayed game with Taunton on Saturday morning and then drove 90 minutes to play Marblehead. Attleboro beat the Magicians to qualify for the tournament and carried that momentum to Franklin.

“They could’ve laid down coming into this one but they didn’t,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer about his team’s attitude on Sunday morning. “We’ve had some pretty bad injuries, so we had three freshmen out there today. They’ve been doing a good job up and down the lineup.”

Meghan Gordon led off with a single to right, followed by a swinging bunt from Lindsey Perry that turned into an infield hit. After a groundout moved both runners into scoring position, Lora Woynton brought in a run with a deep sac fly to center and Natalie Mansur singled to left and drove in a second.

The Panthers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first. A one-out triple by Gabby Colace was followed by a sac fly to left by Ally Shea. Gordon made a nice running grab for the out, sliding past the foul line, but it allowed Colace to come home without a throw.

There were no clean innings on Sunday. Even scoreless frames included at least one base runner. Franklin starter Jackie Cherry pitched out of trouble in the second and third innings to keep the Panthers within one. Colace turned a double play when she snagged a line drive at second and tagged the runner to end the third.

Franklin grabbed its first lead in the bottom of the third. Anna Balkus bunted her way on to lead off and stole second. A passed ball moved her to third and Colace reached when her bunt was unable to be fielded cleanly. An error brought in the first run of the third to tie it and Maddy White lined a single to put Franklin in front. Sarah Jackson added a third run with an RBI-groundout.

Attleboro starter Jenna Gittle managed to limit the damage with a strikeout and a pop up to first, but the Panthers were up 4-2.

The lead was short-lived. The Bombardiers rallied for three runs in the fourth. Autumn O’Connell got it started with a single and, after Cherry retired the next two batters, Perry drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive for power hitter McKenzie Bergdoll. She crushed a three-run homer over the fence in left-center to put the visitors back on top.

“That’s what McKenzie Bergdoll’s got to do,” said Homer. “That’s her job. She’s one of the better hitters in the league, she’s a power hitter, but it’s also the set up before that getting people on base. We weren’t doing that earlier in the season.”

In the bottom half of the inning, Franklin bounced back again to tie it. Maggie Hobby walked and advanced to third after a pair of passed balls. Balkus hit a sharp grounder to short but the throw to the plate was not in time and the game was evened up at 5-5.

The back-and-forth game continued to ebb and flow with the Bombardiers grabbing the edge in the fifth. Colace threw ahead of the lead runner to get a big second out for the Panthers and it looked like they may escape the jam but Hailey Perry singled to right to bring in Kayla Battisti. Valentino came in with runners at second and third and got a strikeout to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Valentino helped her own cause. With one out, he dropped a single into right that scored White to tie the game again. Battisti kept the game tied when she was able to field a Hobby bunt and flip to Woynton at the plate to cut down the potential go-ahead run. Gittle got a big break when Balkus’ two-out single to left, which scored two runs, was nullified by the home plate ump saying she stepped out of the box as she hit it.

Valentino managed to get out of a jam in the sixth and Franklin scored the eventual game-winner in the bottom half. Battisti made another play at third to get a runner at the plate, but with two outs a grounder was mishandled and the go-ahead run scampered home.

After an error put the lead runner on in the seventh and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position, Valentino got a pop up to Hobby behind the plate and then a fly ball to herself in the circle to close out the win.

“We came out on top,” said Fallon. “We pulled it together and we also learned a few things that we need to clean up, to work on heading into the tournament.”

Despite the loss, Homer was also positive about his team’s performance. He explained, “This was a great game for us, in this part of the season, because they battled all week. It would’ve been great to win, it always is, but I like where we’re at right now. For us to go to the distance and battle them right to the end, I’m okay with that because we’ll probably meet one of those six other [Hockomock League] teams in the tournament.”

Franklin (13-5, 12-3) has two more games this week to prepare for the tournament, starting with Canton on Tuesday. Attleboro (9-10, 8-7) will close out the regular season on Tuesday against North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

King Philip Knocks Off Attleboro For Fifth Straight Win

King Philip softball Meghan Gorman
King Philip’s Meghan Gorman hits a solo home run in the third inning against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With the calendar turned to May and the state tournament right around the corner, the King Philip softball team is ready to put the rest of the South sectional on notice.

After stumbling out of the gates with a 4-5 start, the Warriors have won five straight by outscoring opponents 68-3 and looked to be primed for another playoff push after a 13-3 win on the road over Attleboro.

“The thing is, we figured it out about two weeks ago,” said King Philip coach Norm Beauchemin, who in his seventh year at the helm of the Warriors. “As far as the defense, the lineup…we’ve brought some kids up that can help the team. Everybody wants in right now, it’s a commitment.

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“Most of our losses are in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season, over the past five years, we probably only have a handful of losses.”

Recent history certainly supports Beauchemin’s claim. The Warriors won 11 of their final 12 regular season games in 2016 and went on to win the D1 State Title. The following year, KP had nine wins in its final 13 games and just a year ago, the Warriors won 12 of its final 13 games and made it to the sectional semifinals.

So far this year, the Warriors are 5-1 in May and have five games to go.

Maybe the most noticeable difference for KP is its offense. The Warriors have scored in double figures in four of the last five and needed to use a rally in its first meeting with Attleboro to claim a 6-3 victory.

This time around, the Warriors belted out 17 hits, scoring four runs in each the fourth and fifth innings to turn what was a one-run game into a comfortable win.

“King Philip] played well today, they swung the bats, had a good amount of hits, they made the plays in the field, the pitcher was consistent and made us swing the bats,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “And we didn’t do that, especially in that one inning.

“Going down the road, we have a tough schedule, but once the pitching, hitting, and defense comes together, I know we can win some games. Because I know what they are capable of. 

King Philip had an ideal start, tacking on two runs in the top of the first inning. Paige Berdos led off with a single and Meghan Gorman drew a one-out walk. A sac bunt from Liliana Rolfe moved the runners into scoring position and Faith Turinese helped her own cause with a two-run, two-out single to put the visitors ahead.

“It’s all about getting people in the right positions, getting them comfortable in those spots,” Beauchemin said. “And then getting the lineup so we’re getting runs. It doesn’t matter how many hits you get, it matters when you get them”

After walking in her first at-bat, Gorman was quick to put the bat on the ball in her next chance in the third inning. After hitting two hard foul balls, Gorman got a hold of the third pitch she saw and sent it flying over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead through 2.5 innings.

Attleboro answered in the bottom half to make it a one-run game. Meghan Gordon doubled into the right-center gap and McKenzie Bergdoll ripped a two-out home run into center field to make it 3-2 after three innings.

But King Philip didn’t let Attleboro’s momentum last very long, pushing across four in the fourth. Ryann Stagg had a bunt single, Berdos followed with a single (and advanced on the throw) to put runners on second and third.

Raegan Simeone dropped down a squeeze bunt to bring the first run in, Gorman legged out an RBI double, Rolfe plated a run with an infield ground out, and Turinese added another RBI with a two-out single to push the lead to 7-2.

Lora Woyton led off with a single in the bottom half for Attleboro but Turinese (7IP, 7H, 2BB, 3K, 3ER) got a line drive to shortstop and Gorman alertly fired back to fire for a double play.

Abby Carey got things going to KP in the top of the fifth with a single and pinch runner Kara McWhinnie took third on a two-base error when Destiny Goyco put the ball in play. After Stagg walked, McWhinnie sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.

Berdos followed with an RBI single and Simeone dropped in a single to push two more across for an 11-2 advantage.

In the sixth, Goyco doubled, Stagg walked, and Madison Kelley drove in pinch runner Heather Nix. Gorman added a hard hit single up the third base line for an RBI for a 13-2 advantage.

“We’ve got a team where we can create,” Beauchemin said. “Everybody is in right now. If someone hits a home run, they don’t mind bunting next time up if they have to. It’s a very selfless team. 

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Our offense is a lot better, and we’re hitting at the right spots. That’s a nice team [Attleboro]. Our pitching has improved a lot too. Our pitching coming together has helped our offense too because we can relax a little bit.”

Woyton smacked a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Attleboro’s third run.

King Philip softball (9-4 Hockomock, 9-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts Mansfield. The Hornets earned a 10-3 win in the first meeting at the end of April. Attleboro (7-4, 7-6) will look to get back on track on Thursday when it visits Oliver Ames at 3:30.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/08/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Mansfield, 0 @ Attleboro, 2 – FinalAttleboro prevailed on the right side of a pitcher’s dual, earning a 2-0 win in a game that took just 80 minutes to complete. Attleboro senior Eoin Kelleher needed just 72 pitches to toss a complete game, scattering three hits with no walks, striking out one. Mansfield threatened in the second when Sam Nugent (error) and Jake Lund (double) reached to put runners on second and third but Kelleher got an infield ground ball and a fly ball back to himself to escape. Attleboro took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Alvaro Espinal singled and advanced to second on a pickoff attempt. Ryan Morry used a sac bunt to advance the runner and Lorenzo Wilson brought Espinal in with a sacrifice fly. The Bombardiers added a run in the fifth when Camden Fitzpatrick doubled and Tom Callahan had an RBI single to make it 2-0. John Carney was strong on the mound for Mansfield, allowing three hits in six innings, with one walk and one strikeout.

Foxboro, 9 @ Canton, 4 – FinalFoxboro got off to a strong start, scoring seven runners between the first two innings on its way to a win over Canton. The Warriors plated two runs in the first and then added five more in the second to build a 7-0 advantage. Foxboro tacked on two runs in the seventh while Canton scored once in the sixth and three in the seventh. Sophomores Sean Yoest (run) and Tom Marcucella (RBI, run) each had two hits to pace the Foxboro offense while Michael Devlin (run) and Joe Cavaleri (hit) each had two RBI. Canton’s Sawyer Julier-Albert and Nate Quan had two hits each. Yoest earned the win, allowing one run (unearned) on eight hits and two strikeouts in six innings of work.

King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 11 – FinalFranklin had three pitchers combine for a one-hitter scored double-digit runs for the fourth straight game. Liam Dailey allowed one unearned run on one hit and two walks, striking out four in five innings of work. Ben Guzman (two strikeouts) and Will Pacheco (three strikeouts) each pitched an inning in relief. Scott Elliott led the offense with three hits, including a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Alex Haba (two runs, RBI), Jake Macchi (two runs), and Brennan Rivera (run, two RBI) each had two hits for the Panthers.

Sharon, 5 @ Milford, 11 – FinalMilford senior Tyler Almeida drove in four runs and junior Colby Pires was strong on the mound and offensively to help the Scarlet Hawks beat Sharon. Almeida went 3-for-4 with a triple, Matt Shaver added two hits, two RBI, and a run scored, and Pires chipped in with two hits, including a double, and three runs scored. Pires allowed three runs in four innings of work, striking out a pair to earn the win.

Stoughton, 11 @ North Attleboro, 1 – FinalAfter trading runs early on, Stoughton exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning to turn a close game into a blowout. The Black Knights took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Robbie Seaman (3-for-4, two RBI, two runs, stolen base) singled, took second on a passed ball, stole third, and scored on another passed ball. North responded with a run in the bottom of the second. In the fifth. Cian Swierzewski got things going with a leadoff single, Zak Paquette and George Currier drew walks, Seaman had a two-run single, Jacob Kaplan had an RBI single, Paquette added a sac fly, and mixed in with a couple of Rocketeer errors, the Black Knights jumped ahead 9-1. Sophomore James Genest was strong on the mound, needing just 83 pitches to get the win. He allowed one run (unearned) on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.

Taunton, 6 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – FinalTaunton senior Josh Lajoie had one of his best outings of the season, striking out 10 in a complete game effort to help the visiting Tigers take down Oliver Ames. Lajoie scattered five hits and walked two while allowing one run (unearned). Offensively, sophomore Danny MacDougall had three hits and knocked in two runs while Lucas Martins had a pair of hits and one RBI.

Softball
Attleboro, 4 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalAttleboro scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and then stranded a pair of Hornet baserunners in the bottom of the seventh to grab a win on the road. Attleboro took a 2-0 lead in the third but the Hornets knotted the score in the third when Mady Bendanillo smacked a two-run triple to make it 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh, with the Hornets down two, Mary Muldoon launched a one-out homer and the Hornets put two more on base but Attleboro closed out the win. Makenzie Killough went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Bombardiers, Lora Woyton added three hits, including a double, and an RBI, and Brenna Morse hit a triple. Megan Letendre had two hits for Mansfield while Kara Bendanillo and Ella Verheggen each added a hit. Sarah Cahill had eight strikeouts for the Hornets while Emily Gittle (seven strikeouts) pitched a complete game for Attleboro.

Foxboro, 6 @ Canton, 5 – FinalPeyton Feldman (3-for-4) tripled for the second time in the game and aggressively took home when the throw went down to first on a dropped third strike to score the game-winning run. Feldman scored three times for the Warriors, who picked up and important Div. 2 win. Chelsea Gibbons also went 3-for-4 for Foxboro, while Camryn Willis went 2-for-4 and threw a complete game in the victory. Taylor Reynolds went 3-for-4 for the Bulldogs and scored a pair of runs, while Liz Bickett tripled and homered and Steph Trendell tripled and doubled in the loss. Caroline Hughes threw five innings in relief and allowed one run, striking out three. Canton coach Dave Bohane called it a great game between two improved teams.

Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 6 – FinalKing Philip Faith Turinese had a strong performance in the circle, scattering five hits in a complete game shutout. Meghan Gorman had two hits, including a home run, to lead the Warriors’ offense. Liliana Rolfe also had two hits and Abby Carey came through with a key single with the bases loaded. Franklin’s Maddy White went 2-for-3.




Milford, 9 @ Sharon, 11 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameSharon scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, four coming with two outs, and then held off a final inning charge from Milford to secure a season sweep of the Hawks. Sharon sophomore Julia Earley went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI, and played strong defense at short with three putouts and two assists to pace the Eagles, which totaled 11 hits as a team. Savannah Gray (double, RBI, run), Ciara McAuliffe (two RBI, run), and Penny Rabatsky (run) each had two hits for Sharon. Emily Botvin pitched three innings in relief, allowing just one earned run, with four strikeouts to get the win. Milford’s Amanda Wenckus went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBI, Lucy Creedon (three runs) had three hits, including a home run that put Milford up 7-6 in the top of the sixth, and April Swain (run), Carly Ferreira (RBI), and Olivia Morelli (run, double) each had two hits.

North Attleboro, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro belted out five consecutive hits, all with two outs, to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead, and junior pitcher Bella Erti took care of the rest as the Rocketeers swept the season series with the Black Knights. Emily Nardelli, Abby Gallagher (two hits), Ashley Cangiano (2B), Annabelle Hebard (three hits), and Katie Daby had consecutive hits to put the Rocketeers ahead. Erti tossed a one-hitter, limiting the Black Knights to one base runner (error) through six innings before Stoughton sophomore Nicole Baker recorded the team’s first hit. North coach Bill Wallace said Alex Moulson had a strong game in the field.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Taunton, 15 – Final (5 inn.)Taunton senior Alexa White was nearly perfect in four innings of work, striking out nine with just one hit allowed as Taunton completed a season sweep of Oliver Ames. Olyvia Mendonca pitched a scoreless inning in relief with one strikeout. Jaime Brown (two runs, RBI), Alexa White (double, run, three RBI), Hanna Aldrich (triple, three runs, two RBI, two stolen bases) Tayah DaCosta (run), and Ava Venturelli (two runs) each had two hits for Taunton. Kenzie McAloon (double, two RBI), Rylie Murphy (three RBI), and Kelsey White (two RBI) also contributed to the Taunton offense.

Boys Lacrosse
Canton, 10 @ King Philip, 9 – FinalCanton junior Tommy Vaughan scored the game-winning goal with just over five minutes left in the game to help the Bulldogs knock off previously unbeaten King Philip. Vaughan scored his fourth of the game with 5:07 left and the Bulldogs took advantage of a three-minute locked in penalty to possess the ball and kill the final moments of the game. Griffin Roach and David Allen each added two goals while Chris Lavoie and Andrew Canton found the back of the net once each for the Bulldogs. Dylan Coyne had a strong game in net for Canton while Brendan Albert anchored the defense.

Attleboro, 1 @ Foxboro, 17 – FinalFoxboro raced out to a 6-0 lead after a quarter and took an 11-1 advantage in halftime and never looked back to knock off visiting Attleboro. Junior Bobby Yerardi (four goals) and sophomore Charlie Baughan (three goals, one assist) each accounted for four points to pace the Foxboro offense. Junior Aidan Stapleton added two goals and two assists, sophomore Max Biegel had a goal and an assist, and freshman Tom Sharkey and junior Ronnie MacLellan each scored once for the Warriors.

Franklin, 21 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalFranklin built a 13-1 lead by halftime and then pitched a shutout in the second half, rolling to a win over the Hornets. Senior Jacob Alexander continued to dominate at the face-off X, winning 20-of-22 draws to help the Franklin offense control possession. Sophomore Matt Lazzaro scored six goals and had two assists, junior Jake Davis scored five times and added two helpers, senior Nitin Chaudhury had a pair of goals and one assist, and both junior Ben Greco (three assists) and senior Tim Kolb (two assists) scored once. Senior Will Davis made nine saves in net.

Oliver Ames, 15 @ Milford, 4 – FinalOliver Ames picked up a win on the road to punch its ticket for the state tournament, marking the first time in program history that the Tigers have qualified for the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Junior Shane Kilkelly paced the offense with six goals and two assists, sophomore Remi Creighton added a pair of goals and three helpers, senior Colin Bourne scored a hat trick and added an assist, and junior Sam Stevens netted a pair of goals with one helper.

Stoughton @ Sharon, 3:45

Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro, 19 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final

King Philip, 17 @ Canton, 3 – FinalKing Philip exploded for 10 goals in the second half to run away with a win over Canton on the road. Caroline Klim paced the offense with eight points, scoring six goals and adding two assists while Jess Sullivan (assist) and Olivia Tormey each found the back of the net four times for KP. Haley Izydorczak, Julia Marsden, and Mackenzie Mazur each scored once for the Warriors while Caroline Watson made eight saves in the win.

Mansfield, 3 @ Franklin, 16 – FinalFranklin ran away with the game, picking up its seventh straight win with a 16-3 decision over visiting Mansfield. Senior Annie Walsh (four goals, three assists) and junior Erin Walsh (five goals, two assists) led the offense with seven points apiece, while Kelsey MacCallum added a hat trick and assists. Junior Gianna Cameron had a strong game in goal with 11 saves.

Milford, 9 @ Oliver Ames, 10 – Final Milford scored two straight late in the game to get within one but Oliver Ames held on for the win. Senior Emily Haley paced the Hawks offense with five goals while senior Savannah Rosado had a strong game in net. Sophia Bucal added two goals while Alyssa Williamson and Stella Amour each found the back of the net once for Milford.

North Attleboro @ Taunton, 5:15

Boys Tennis
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – FinalMansfield’s Luke Devine filled in at first singles and picked up a win in straight sets to help the Hornets defend home court. Devine won 6-0, 6-1 while Nilay Pangrekar secured a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles for Mansfield. The team of Sam Shirmacher and Yash Sakhalkar picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win at first doubles while Jonah Fine and Ben Newcomb earned a 6-2, 6-2 win at second doubles for the Hornets. Attleboro’s Jared Cooper won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at second singles.

Canton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – FinalCanton freshman Suraj Ramanathan won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles.

Franklin, 3 @ King Philip, 2 – FinalFranklin won two matches in singles action and won one doubles match in a three-set thriller to edge King Philip in a battle of top teams in the Kelley-Rex division. The Panthers, who entered tied with the Warriors in first in the division, got the deciding win from Saket Gandham and Shoumik Sompally, who pulled out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win at second doubles to give Franklin the win. Liam Marr won at 6-3, 6-3 at first singles and Vayshnav Malhotra didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. King Philip sophomore Nick Putney won 6-1, 6-2 at second singles and the team of Jack Cannon and Nate Ihley, both juniors, secured a 6-4, 6-0 win at first doubles.

North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro won a pair of singles matches and both doubles matches, all in straight sets, to earn a 4-1 win over Stoughton. Junior Alex Pfeffer won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles and sophomore Sam Gallagher grabbed a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Vikram Senthilakumaran and Tomas Bentley lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 decision at first doubles while Saketh Uppuluri and Justin Strom dropped a total of two games in a 6-0, 6-2 win at second doubles. Stoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at first singles.

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Taunton, 4 – FinalTaunton earned two wins in both singles and doubles action to knock off visiting Oliver Ames. Brett Beaulieu won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Charlie Fiske picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at second singles, and Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles. Oliver Ames junior Yusaf Hameed earned his fifth straight win with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at third singles.

Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – FinalSharon won all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep on the road. Senior Danujan Thirumavalavan won 6-1, 6-3 at first singles, junior Alberto Olivei earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at second singles, and freshman Max Chen grabbed a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Max Brody and Jake Ross didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles while Sharon’s second doubles team of Deyan Kassev and Mitch Weiss earned a 6-2, 6-1 win.

Girls Tennis
Mansfield, 4 @ Attleboro, 1 – FinalMansfield’s Lizzy Elsner prevailed in a super tiebreaker to win at first singles as the Hornets battled for a 4-1 win over the Bombardiers. Elsner won 6-2, 4-6, 10-2, Aryana Khosravani earned a 6-1, 6-3 win at third singles, Hannah Podolske and Sam Sternburg earned a 6-2, 7-5 win at first doubles, and Lauren Hobaica and Alex Burnham notched a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles. Attleboro’s Brianna Aronne picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles.

Foxboro, 3 @ Canton, 2 – FinalFoxboro’s second doubles team of Maggie McAuliffe and Neha Jammula prevailed with a win in a tight three-set thriller, helping the Warriors edge Canton. McAuliffe and Jammula earned a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win for the Warriors, who also picked up wins from Pam Nelson (6-4, 6-2) at first singles and the team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta (6-1, 6-3) at second singles. Canton’s Natalie Keppler rallied for a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 win at second singles, and Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory at third singles for the Bulldogs.

King Philip, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final

Stoughton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – FinalNorth Attleboro defended home court, winning all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep of the visiting Black Knights. Senior Tara Nair won 6-0, 6-4 at first singles, senior Mae McLaughlin picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and junior Olivia Wills emerged with a 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles. The Rocketeers’ first doubles team of sophomore Haley Strom and junior Sam Martino dropped just two games in a 6-0, 6-2 win while junior Brototi Nandi and sophomore Jayli Carmichael secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Taunton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalTaunton won all three singles matches to secure a tight 3-2 victory over Oliver Ames. Jillian Pagliuca had a strong showing with a 6-0, 6-1 win at first singles, McKenzie Lucie picked up a 6-4, 6-2 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca recorded a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles. Oliver Ames’ Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou earned a 6-4, 6-4 win at first doubles, and the second doubles team of Kate McCormick and Sarah Marley recorded a 6-1, 6-3 win for the host Tigers.

Sharon, 5 @ Milford, 0 – FinalSharon lost a total of two games in singles action and won all five matches on the road at Milford. Nupur Shukla didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles while freshman Valeria Barajas (second singles) and sophomore Charlie Martinez (third singles) each won 6-0, 6-1. The team of senior Sophia Fein and freshman Sasha Fein earned a 6-3, 7-6 win at first doubles while freshman Alice Zaniewski and sophomore Lena Lee won 6-4, 2-6, 10-5 at second doubles.

Total Team Effort Propels Attleboro Over Durfee

Attleboro girls basketball
Junior guard Liv McCall scored a team-high 14 points, one of nine scorers for the Bombardiers, leading Attleboro to a victory over Durfee. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro came into Friday night’s non-league visit of Durfee without two starters and three rotation players, but the Bombardiers didn’t miss a beat. Nine players got on the score sheet, Attleboro’s pressure defense was intense, and the Bombardiers rolled to a 55-34 victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It’s good that the young kids are getting minutes,” said Attleboro coach Marty Crowley. “It will pay dividends. If not now, then somewhere down the line, but it was a great team victory tonight, the kids played together, unselfish, and when we play like that anything is possible.”

Liv McCall led the way for Attleboro with a game-high 14 points and also added five assists. In addition, the Bombardiers got contributions from up and down the bench and got critical minutes from a strong group of underclassmen.

“We try to preach for us to be successful find the open man,” Crowley said of the Attleboro offense. “Durfee is a tough team but tonight we were a step quicker and I thought we moved the ball very, very well.”

Durfee only dressed eight players on Friday and Attleboro took advantage of its shorthanded opponent with an aggressive trapping press. Without top on-the-ball defenders Jordyn Lako and Nyah Thomas, who were both injured, the Bombardiers used this team defense to cause the Hilltoppers problems.

Attleboro jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Abby Struminski, one of four players to finish with six points, buried a three off an offensive rebound and assist by Mackenzie Roberts and freshman Meghan Gordon got an easy bucket off a steal.

After Durfee cut the lead to 12-6, sophomore Gabby Bosh> (five points) banked in a three off a Gordon assist and then Gordon got out on the break for a layup and a 17-6 edge after the opening quarter.

Things got tighter in the second because the Bombardiers went cold from the floor. Freshman Mackenzie Carreiro scored six of her seven points in the quarter and pulled Durfee back as close as four points, but Attleboro regained control with an 11-0 run to close the half.

“For us it’s always about defense and I thought our defense played very well tonight,” Crowley explained. “Our turnovers were limited tonight, we had more pluses than minuses, and our guards did a great job.”

McCall set up sophomore Ryan Johnson (six points) for a fast break basket and then Gordon drained a three to push the lead back to double digits. McCall added a steal and layup and Sonny Stuger managed to get to the basket with a drive from the elbow. The Bombardiers led 32-17 at the break.

Durfee kept fighting in the third, but never got any closer than 16 points. McCall swished a three, freshman Hailey Perry (six points) got a bucket off a McCall assist and sophomore Emma Reilly (six points) scored four points in the third to keep the Hilltoppers at an arms length.

The game was put away with an 11-4 fourth quarter. McCall continued to turn defense into offense with a pair of steals and fast break baskets. Reilly added another two points with an offensive rebound, Johnson knocked down a jumper, and Perry got her second made field goal of the night.

It was the perfect reaction for a team missing several key pieces and a great way to head into the holiday break.

“It’s next man up,” Crowley said. “When people are out, then it’s about the system and the young kids are buying in. It’s exciting.”

Attleboro (2-3) will get six days off for Christmas break before traveling to North Attleboro for the teams’ league matchup.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview
Foxboro sophomore Katelyn Mollica will try to keep the Warriors on top in the Davenport division, as the new Hockomock League girls basketball season gets underway. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 9-13
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.

The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.

Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.

“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”

Canton

2017-2018 Record: 10-11
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round.
Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.

While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.

Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.

“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”

Foxboro

2017-2018 Record: 26-2
2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship.
Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.

Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.

Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.

Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 15-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round.
Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.

Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.

The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.

“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.

O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.

The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.

There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”

Mansfield

2017-2018 Record: 20-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final.
Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.

The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.

Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.

It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”

Milford

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal.
Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.

While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.

The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.

Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”

North Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.

Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.

The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.

“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”

Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 16-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.

Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.

Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.

OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”

Sharon

2017-2018 Record: 2-18
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Sanda Lombardi

It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.

Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.

Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.

“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.

It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.

While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.

“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”

Taunton

2017-2018 Record: 7-15
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.

Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.

Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.

“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”