MANSFIELD, Mass. – It was a game of contrasting emotions for Foxboro (17-2-1). The Warriors went from euphoria, after scoring with 1:17 left in regulation to force overtime, to tears when Sunday night’s Div. 2 South quarterfinal against Cohasset at Mansfield’s Alumni Field ended in a remarkable shootout about an hour later.
Following a 2-2 tie in regulation and through two scoreless periods of 7-on-7 overtime, Cohasset edged out the Warriors 4-3 in a penalty shootout that featured several momentum shifts and several dips into the rule book.
Cohasset’s Jane Hansen, who scored both goals in regulation, missed the opening chance of the shootout when Foxboro goalie Julia Carangelo forced her to make an extra move and the ball hit her foot. Lily Daly, who scored the opening goal of the game and was dealing with a hand injury that she suffered in the first half, scored her penalty to put Foxboro ahead.
That was just the start of a crazy 20 minutes.
On Cohasset’s second shot, Carangelo forced Katherine Cunning wide and her shot smacked off the post, but the official ruled that while diving Carangelo had thrown her stick at the ball. This resulted in a penalty stroke (not a shootout-style attempt), which was dispatched by Emma Stephens. Sophia DiCenso regained the lead by taking contact from Cohasset goalie Caitlin Durkin and still finishing.
The shootout was 3-3 heading to Foxboro’s fourth shooter. Freshman Katherine Collins lost control as she got to Durkin and the goalie was able to clear it and keep the shootout tied heading into the fifth and final shooters. Stephens scored again on her penalty to get the lead.
Jamie Notarangelo was taken out by Durkin during her penalty attempt, which resulted in a penalty stroke opportunity. Foxboro turned to Daly, but her shot hit the inside of the post and stayed out.
“They didn’t give up,” Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri said of her team. “Going into a shootout is tough, it’s tough. I thought Julia did a great job…It’s just a sucky way to lose.”
The drama of this game started long before the shootout. Hansen’s second goal of the game put Cohasset into the lead and sent the Skippers bench into hysterics with 23 minutes left to play. The visitors held onto the lead and gave up very few scoring chances for the Warriors until the final 90 seconds.
Foxboro was up a player and drew a corner. Daly played the ball out top to Michaela Ames, who teed up DiCenso for a rip. The ball skidded into a crowd of players on the edge of the crease and Sophia Lowe redirected it inside the far post for a game-tying goal with just 1:17 on the clock.
“They’re so gritty,” said Bordieri. “They were fighting the entire time. We went into double overtime last time and listen you could see that they were weary but they were coming right back at it. They didn’t give up even one single time.”
In the overtime periods, Foxboro, which had advanced with a double overtime win in the first round, had a number of scoring chances to possibly win the game. Notarangelo tried to get on the end of one but it slid out of play, DiCenso picked out Daly on the break but the shot slid just wide, and then Daly again got open in the middle but Durkin stepped up to make the crucial save.
DiCenso nearly worked an opening in the second overtime, but her cross to Daly, who was wide open at the back post, was cut out by the Cohasset goalie. In the final minute, Meghan Currran was able to find Notarangelo but it was saved and then the Warriors were given a corner. On the set play, Daly sent a shot towards goal that hit a Cohasset player standing on the goal line in the chest.
Foxboro coaches were incensed when it was ruled dangerous play, despite the defender being behind the goalie, which would have meant a last-second penalty stroke.
“We couldn’t get the one touch,” Bordieri said. “We just needed to capitalize on our corners and today we didn’t. We had opportunities, balls going over the end line and opportunities we just didn’t finish and we typically do finish.”
After going to a second overtime before scoring against Falmouth in the opening round, Foxboro took only seven minutes to find the back of the net on Sunday. DiCenso fired in a backhand shot from straightaway that Daly was able to tip past the goalie for the early lead.
The first half was back-and-forth. Cohasset used its speed up top to create chances and both Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen were forced to stop breakaways. Whalen also cleared a shot off the line and Carangelo made two of her five saves. In the 19th minute, Cohasset tied it with a perfect give-and-go between Hansen and Maddie Donovan.
In the second half, Carangelo made a huge stop on a Hansen breakaway to keep the game level, but that only lasted two more minutes. Carangelo made another big diving save but the rebound went straight to Hansen and she made no mistake from close-range.
“They play a different type of field hockey than we do,” said Bordieri, “and I think it took us a little while to adjust to that, but I think towards the latter part of the second half we were able to adjust and move the ball on the outside.”
It was a physical, competitive end to the game and the Warriors battled to the final seconds to force overtime, but unfortunately for the hosts couldn’t capitalize on overtime chances and were forced into the coin flip of a shootout.
Bordieri said, “This team stayed in it, they’re fighters, they’re gritty, and that’s what has gotten us this far this season.”
She added, “This is tough. It’s very, very tough. This team had more in it than quarterfinals, without a doubt, but you win some, you lose some.”
CANTON, Mass. – In a battle between the top two teams in the Davenport division, the visiting Foxboro Warriors landed the first punch, but the Canton field hockey team delivered a counterpunch that led to a key 3-1 Hockomock League victory.
Foxboro scored less than four minutes into the contest, capitalizing on its second straight corner after swarming the Canton defensive zone.
But Canton didn’t sway, scoring three unanswered over the next 25 minutes to take a lead that it never surrendered.
“We were slow in our warmup, the weather was off, we just took a little time today to pull it together,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “I think the goal woke them up a little bit and I think we did a nice job of transitioning from down a goal to taking control of the game.
“I think the games against KP and Walpole helped prepare them for today’s game against Foxboro. Playing good competition, it spreads the field out, and you have to look for those spaces.”
On the second corner, Michaela Ames found Lily Daly. Her shot was deflected, alluding O’Connor and found the stick of Sophia DiCenso. The senior used a strong backhand shot at the near post to put Foxboro up 1-0 with 26:50 to play.
But instead of the Warriors adding onto the lead, Canton took complete control of the play. The Bulldogs earned a pair of corners and a penalty stroke. Although they didn’t cash in on those chances, Maggie Malloy got the hosts on the board at the midway point of the half.
The Bulldogs nearly took the lead a minute later when Maggie Connolly found Malloy in space and she unleashed a hard shot but Foxboro goalie Julia Carangelo came up with a big kick save to keep the score level.
“They came right back at us, I think we took that one goal for granted,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “[Canton] played well, came right back, and placed the ball well. We had, defensively, some pretty big breakdowns positionally. We were leaving gaps and kudos to them, they found them and used them.
“We tried to make some adjustments at halftime, and I thought we started to make them and then we turned right around and started chasing.”
But as the half went on, Canton continued to apply pressure and was able to break through with just under nine minutes to go. Femia played a ball into the area, Malloy redirected it with one touch and Connolly tipped it in from right in front of the goal.
The Bulldogs cashed in one more time before the half was over, scoring with just 57 seconds to go. Again it was a shot from Malloy from inside the circle that was tipped in by Connolly right in front that gave Canton its 3-1 lead.
“Each game she gets better at it,” O’Connor said of Connolly. “She only started playing last year, so she’s pretty new to the sport. Each time, she’s getting better at where she needs to be and watching that ball. It’s starting to pay off for her now where she’s in the right spot at the right time and getting her stick on it.”
Foxboro made some adjustments at the half and applied a lot of pressure but couldn’t cut into the Bulldogs’ lead. Daly had a goal off a corner waived off with 13 minutes to go and just 30 seconds later, O’Connor denied DiCenso on a chance and Rose Malloy came up with a big clear off the line.
Two minutes later, Ames connected with DiCenso on a corner and she moved the ball along to Daly but her pass to the far post was just out of the reach of Molly Murphy.
“We had seven corners [in the second half], we need to execute better there,” Bordieri said. “We had seven opportunities to score just from corners, and we didn’t capitalize. We worked our butts off to get those chances, and we didn’t take advantage of them. Some of them we didn’t even generate a chance. [Canton] beat us to the ball today, they were quicker than us.
Canton nearly added another tally on a counter attack as Malloy chased a ball down in space and found Femia but Carangelo made the stop at the near post.
“We’ve worked on improving our defense on those top players, keeping an eye on them and see how we can eliminate them from the play,” O’Connor said. “And today I think our defense did a good job against their offense. The defense is improving each game, and hopefully, we’ll keep it rolling.”
Foxboro’s final good chance came with just over nine minutes to go when DiCenso ripped a hard low shot through traffic but O’Connor was up to the task with a big lunging kick save.
“You never want a loss, especially in the division,” Bordieri said. “But we’re going to take this, learn from it and get better and hopefully redeem ourselves. Everyone wants to be Hock champs, but you can’t have these losses in the division. We’ll take a look at this game, make changes, and get better.”
Canton field hockey (4-1 Hock, 4-2 overall) will look to make it three straight when it hosts Mansfield on Thursday. Foxboro (5-1, 5-1) will try to bounce back from its first loss when it hosts Attleboro at Mansfield High.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2018 Hockomock League Field Hockey Preview
2017 Record: 5-13-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes
Attleboro is looking to bounce back from a five-win season in 2017 and make a push up the league standings by mixing experienced players with a talented group of underclassmen that could make instant contributions for the Bombardiers.
The midfield will be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with returning starters like senior Kyra Lyons and junior Anna Back. Up front, leading scorer Grace Mayer graduated but senior Alex Compton was second on the team in points and will be counted on to fire in the goals. Attleboro will be hoping for more consistency from the defensive group this season to cut down on the 76 goals it allowed last year and senior goalie Shealyn Harrison will help keep things organized.
Attleboro coach Lindsay Antunes said, “We are looking forward to this season, as we have a lot of strong returning players throughout each line. We are fortunate to be pairing these returners with a very skilled and unsuspecting younger class, who I am certain will be instrumental in making a positive difference on our team.”
2017 Record: 16-4-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Davenport division champion Canton went to overtime against top seed Somerset Berkeley in last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal and was a goal away from setting up an all-Hock final. The Bulldogs bring back a lot of talent from last year’s squad and will be hoping to make a run at back-to-back titles.
Senior forward Maggie Malloy will once again be the focal point up top after leading the Bulldogs with 27 goals and eight assists last fall. Malloy will be joined up top by sophomore Maria Femia. Junior Kaitlyn Goyetch, the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, is back in the midfield and she will get helped out by sophomore Meghan Labelle. Senior Katie Trerice will be the leader of the defense and sophomore Rose Malloy will jump in and contribute as well. Sophomore Riley O’Connor will take over in goal this fall.
Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “We are looking forward to seeing the hard work and effort our players put in this pre-season pay off on the field.”
2017 Record: 15-4-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal.
Coach: Melissa Bordieri
With 14 seniors on the roster this season, Foxboro has set its sights on regaining the Davenport division crown that it lost by just two points to Canton last year. Two years removed from winning the Div. 2 South title, the Warriors seem poised to make another deep tournament run with a team loaded with talent, depth, and experience.
Senior forward Lily Daly, the team’s leading scorer each of the past three seasons, will once again team up with classmate Sophia DiCenso to form one of the league’s most dynamic attacking units. Senior Molly Murphy and junior Jamie Notarangelo will add to an already formidable offense. Senior Meghan Curran will lead the midfield unit along with classmate Carly Stern and the defense will be guided by seniors Caroline McGeary and Kristin Whalen, while senior goalie Julia Carangelo.
After come narrowly short of the league title last season and reaching the sectional semifinal, expectations are typically sky high for one of the league’s perennial powers.
2017 Record: 10-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Michelle Hess
Michelle Hess returns to the Franklin bench this season after eight years away from the program and she inherits a team that has the talent to compete for a league title and expectations of being able to make a deep run in the state tournament as well.
Senior midfielder Cassi Ronan is the primary playmaker for the Panthers and was the team’s leading scorer last fall with 16 goals and eight assists. One of the league’s top players, Ronan will be the primary focus of the opposition, but senior Regan Paterson can take some of that pressure off and will chip in with goals from the forward position. Senior Emily Valentino and junior Maeve Ledwith will provide organization for the defensive unit and senior Christina Luccini will be back in goal to backstop the defense.
“We are looking to improve on last years record and would love to go further in the tournament,” said Hess.
2017 Record: 19-3-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 State Semifinal
Coach: Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald
King Philip had a dominating run through the 2017 season, winning the Kelley-Rex title while losing just two games in the Hock all season, and then claiming the Div. 1 South title for the first time. This year, KP has a new coaching staff, with Kimberly Meehan and Erin MacDonald taking over the reigns, and high expectations with an experienced and talented roster.
The Warriors return six seniors, who will be counted on to keep the team focused in its quest for a second straight title. Alli Meehan will be the primary attacking threat again this season. The Northeastern University-commit scored 40 points last regular season, despite missing a couple of games. Senior Claire Lawlor will be on the left wing to support the attack, and senior Nicole Conner will jump into the attack from her midfield position as well. Three-year starter Dana Truini will run the midfield for the Warriors, providing support on both ends of the field. Defensively, senior Emma Izydorczak, a St. Anselm-commit, will be the leader of the back line to keep things organized. Fellow senior Kate Lindmark will also help out for a defense that last year allowed only 13 goals in 23 games.
Expectations remain high for the program this season and the new coaches “anticipate a very successful season led by their powerful seniors.”
2017 Record: 7-7-5
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhen
Mansfield reached the state tournament again last year and was the only team in the league to beat Kelley-Rex champion King Philip (twice, in fact), but the Hornets have their sights set on returning to the top of the league standings as they did in 2014 and 2015. With a balanced roster that has depth all over the field, the Hornets have a chance to unseat KP in the division.
The Hornets have 10 seniors and experience all over the field. The forward line will include seniors Lauren Clang, Tori Farrington, Alicia Hottleman, Brooke Downy and Hayleigh Crawford. The midfield unit will be led by seniors Maggie Danehy and Kelly Doherty, who showed her versatility last season in several positions. Senior goalie Kayla Hunter is also back to help keep the defense solid. Newcomers like sophomore forward Abby Varricchione and sophomore midfielder Stori Rounds will jump in and contribute as well.
“We have some speed, some strong and some finesse,” said Mansfield coach Theresa Nyhen. “Mansfield field hockey is a team of heart and hustle. As a team, we still have lots of work to do but are looking forward to the fun competition in the Hockomock League.”
2017 Record: 3-15-0
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Katie Blackburn
New head coach Katie Blackburn will try to improve on Milford’s three wins from last season with a group that has a lot of experience, especially on the back line, and speedy forward line that will try to fire in the goals.
The defense is filled with upperclassmen with seniors Eliza Valente and Emily Haley anchoring the back line along with junior Paige Reisman. Juniors Bella Gonzalez and Kathryn Swineford will be key players in the midfield and sophomore Madison Carneiro is a player to watch in the Milford front line, which Blackburn said would include a number of players that have a variety of skill sets.
Blackburn added, “Each player is unique and it has been exciting to see them all learning how to play together. We have a lot of speed as well as ball handling skills that will help us move the ball up the field and into the attacking circle.”
2017 Record: 9-7-4
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Karen Folan
North Attleboro got back into the state tournament last fall, only to run into perennial power Walpole in the second round, and the Rocketeers have a deep roster to make another run this year and potentially challenge Canton and Foxboro at the top of the Davenport. The new turf at Beaupre Field should also help North utilize the team’s speed.
The Rocketeers have a ton of experience coming back this season, including seniors Abby Calistra, Julia Feid, Shaylee Maxcy, and Lizzie Frost, who will form a solid defensive corps in front of junior goalie Emma Strachan, who head coach Karen Folan said has improved her quickness in the off-season. Speedy midfielders Michelle Pothier and fellow junior Lindsay Robinson will join senior Jess Strachan, while senior Tara Nair and junior Faith Graveline will be up top.
Folan said, “We are looking forward to another year in the competitive Hockomock League. Our offense will start with our defense this season. We hope to use our cohesive ball movement to transition the ball quickly up the field and into the offensive circle to generate lots of shots on net.”
2017 Record: 9-7-3
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round.
Coach: Sharon Lawrence
Oliver Ames is coming off a strong regular season performance, tying for third place in the Kelley-Rex division with 18 points, but they had to go on the road to Taunton in the playoffs and lost an overtime heartbreaker. First-year coach Sharon Lawrence takes over this season and has a roster with 11 juniors and seniors to try and make another run at a postseason bid.
Senior Meghan Rockey is one of the players that the Tigers will turn to this year and she will try to control the middle of the field. Fellow senior Kayla Lozzi can step in at forward or midfield and scored 10 points (four goals and six assists) for OA last season, while senior Samantha Clapp adds a defensive presence whether in midfield or defense. Lawrence is also excited for the contributions from the younger players, including sophomore forward Hannah Stryke, who is the Tigers top returning scorer with seven goals and four assists as a freshman.
“As a first-year coach, my focus has been on learning and assessing our talent and athleticism to position our players as a team for optimal success,” Lawrence said. “We have returning starters as well as new young talent on both offense and defense, and look to be competitive this season.”
2017 Record: 0-18-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ashley Courville
First-year head coach Ashley Courville is looking to build the program from the ground up, and she is counting on a large roster and a core of returning players to get Sharon moving in the right direction this season. With only one sophomore on the roster, experience shouldn’t be an issue for the Eagles as they turn things around.
The defense will be led seniors Varsha Poreddy and Rebecca Clayman. Junior Blaize Hanna will also be part of that group this fall. The midfield has seniors Georgia Cheney and Lauren Yaffe to help out in the attack and also chip in on the defensive side of things. Sophomore Lauren Prenaveau is another player to watch in the Eagles midfield. Up top, senior forward Elizabeth Romantz will be counted on to add to Sharon’s goal tally.
Courville said, “We have a large team this year with a handful of returning players giving the team consistency and determination. Our defense has added strength and depth, while our offense has added speed.”
2017 Record: 7-12-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton graduated 13 players from last year’s team and then lost leading scorer Julia Russell to a knee injury, but there is hope for the Black Knights to make a run at a state tournament spot as the inexperienced players gain valuable minutes at the varsity level.
Defense will be a strength for Stoughton this fall, with returning seniors Katie Widrow and Jeanna Girolamo adding stability and keeping things organized at the back. Sophomore Kayla Lobby will start in goal for the Black Knights. In the midfield, senior Jordan Lyons is a strong two-way player and she will be looking to get the ball forward to the sticks of seniors Allie Howe and Alanna McCormick, who will both be trying to make up for the production that was expected from Russell.
Stoughton coach Dan Mark is hopeful that his team can meet its potential. He said, “We will be inexperienced in many areas, but do have several players who played regularly last year.”
2017 Record: 11-8-1
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Liz Hathaway
Taunton had one of its best seasons in program history last year, winning 11 games and advancing in the playoffs for the first time by beating Oliver Ames in an overtime thriller. The Tigers will look to build on that success and compete with the top teams in the ultra-competitive Kelley-Rex division.
The Taunton midfield will be a strength this season, as it is filled with experienced players. Seniors Jillian Pagliuca, Lauren Torres, and Mabel Smith are all capable of making plays on both ends of the field and all read the game well to keep the Tigers moving in the right direction. Senior forward Ciera Bartel will be joined up front by last year’s playoff hero Alana Tavares. The sophomore forward scored the game-winner against OA and has the speed to cause defense lots of problems. The Tigers defense will be led by junior Kathryn Robinson and sophomore Jocelyn Pagliuca and if anyone gets through then senior goalie Emma Sheehan will be there to stop them.
Taunton coach Liz Hathaway said, “This team has come together and have a great on field bond that allows them to successfully execute plays and breakaways.”
The tie clinches the Bulldogs at least a share in the Davenport division title – the program’s first Hock title since 2013 – and a chance to win it outright with a win or tie against Stoughton night on Wednesday.
“We talked about the opportunity [to clinch] and to just play their game and to not overthink things,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “Thanks to HockomockSports, the girls are all well aware where they stand. We tried not to make it too much of a focus. But in the second half, it was a little more about the urgency.”
“It was important to not get too crazy if we let up a goal. Sometimes mentally it can be tough to come back in the big games.”
Although Foxboro is mathematically still alive for a share of the title, the Warriors would need to beat North Attleboro and a win from the Black Knights over Canton. If the Warriors had picked up a win over visiting Canton on Monday, the two teams would be tied for first heading into the final game.
“It kind of feels like a loss because they played so well and gave so much effort that you want the win,” said Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri. “But we’re putting ourselves in a good position to compete in the tournament, which is always next level hockey.
“I’m really psyched with how we played in the second half, you want to be a second half team. But I’m really pleased with how we played today and how we look going into the tournament.”
Despite being of the two top scoring squads in the Hockomock League, the two teams showed off why they are two of the stingiest in terms of goals against in the first half.
Foxboro had the lone shot on net in the opening five minutes but Riley Brown turned away Sophia DiCenso’s bid. Just minutes later, Foxboro got the ball behind the Canton defense but Brown came charging out and kicked it clear.
Canton had the lone two corners of the first half. The first, with just over 13 minutes left in the opening stanza, was denied when Foxboro’s defense was quick to get out and clear it out.
The second came with just over a minute to play, but once again Foxboro’s players were quick off the line and thwarted any chance before Canton could get a shot off.
“We worked on our defense,” Bordieri said. “We knew they were fast, we knew they were very skilled so we were prepared in how to play them. I thought the defense came up huge for us today.”
After a pedestrian first half, the second half started with a flurry of chances. Foxboro had three straight corner chances in the opening minutes.
The first two chances each resulted in a shot, but neither found the back of the cage. But on the third attempt, the ball popped out of a scrum in front. Junior Carly Stern placed a shot on net and just beat the diving effort of Brown to give Foxboro a 1-0 lead.
“I think we just needed to settle,” Bordieri said of the strong start to the second half. “I think we knew what we wanted to do, and knew what we could do, we just needed to settle and really start playing our game. We were kind of rushing it, and I thought we played with more poise in the second half.”
Foxboro’s defense limited the visiting Bulldogs to just one corner in the second half, and one shot on goal, but Canton made the most of its chance.
While in the attacking end, Foxboro was whistled for a foot infraction. Canton sophomore Kaitlyn Goyetch quickly took the restart, sending the ball into the circle where senior Andrea McNeil got a perfect touch, tipping it past the outstretched effort of Foxboro’s Kelli McCarthy.
“I think the girls were thinking about the Davenport (title) in the first half and sometimes that stresses you out,” O’Connor said. “But we just told them to stay composed and play their game. And they were able to pull it back together.
“It was perfect timing, it came when we needed it. Nice hit, nice tip, nice position by everyone.”
Foxboro’s best chance to regain the lead came with just over 13 minutes to play. Off of Lily Daly’s corner, Jackie Brion stopped the pass and Catherine Luciano unleashed a shot. DiCenso got a tip in traffic but the ball bounced off the post and stayed out.
The Warriors had seven corners in the second half alone, but Canton’s defense did well to prevent any other goals.
“I thought our defense is an outstanding job against them, especially with their goal scorers like Lily [Daly],” O’Connor said. “I thought they did a very good job of limiting her opportunities in the circle.”
Canton field hockey (13-3-1 overall, 12-2-1 Hockomock) can clinch the Davenport title outright with either a win or tie against Stoughton on Wednesday at 6:30. Foxboro (12-3-1, 11-3-1) concludes its league schedule by hosting North Attleboro on Wednesday.
CANTON, Mass. – After a stretch of 12 Hockomock League titles in 14 seasons, Canton has gone three seasons since its last Davenport crown. The Bulldogs took a step towards reclaiming their spot atop the division standings on Wednesday night at World War II Veterans Memorial Field thanks to strong goaltending and a freshman stepping up in a big moment.
In a back-and-forth game with defending league and Div. 2 South champ Foxboro, the Bulldogs finally got on the board with 12 minutes left to tie the score. Four minutes later, Meghan LaBelle popped up at the back post, followed up a sliding save by Warriors goalie Kelli McCarthy (six saves), to scramble home the game-winner.
With the 2-1 victory, Canton moves one game ahead of Foxboro in the loss column and four points ahead of the Warriors in the Davenport. The two teams will meet again in the penultimate game of the season.
Canton coach Chrissy O’Connor said, “In a game like that, when you have a goal that maybe shouldn’t have gone in, I think the mental toughness to bring them back to get over that goal and move on from there and play your game. That was the best game I’ve seen them play, definitely.”
The teams battled through a first half that saw very few scoring opportunities. Foxboro dominated the opening 15 minutes, but the Bulldogs came back and took control in the second part of the first half. It was while the hosts were on the front foot that Foxboro struck.
Lily Daly collected the ball on the left edge of the circle, spun to her forehand, and fired a low shot through traffic that snuck inside the far corner. The Bulldogs were spurred into action by going behind and senior forward Andrea McNeil had two chances to equalize before halftime only to be denied by McCarthy, the reigning league MVP.
“They kind of changed things up and came at us,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “They took away our left side, which was working so well for us and I think one of our mistakes was trying to force it down the left side instead of making that transition and going right.”
While the first half saw almost no scoring chances for either team, the second half was filled with shots on goal and both goalies were kept busy.
Maggie Malloy had the first chance for the Bulldogs but her backhanded shot went just wide. Foxboro came right back with an intricate corner from Daly to Jackie Brion to Catherine Luciano back to Brion, but the shot went inches wide of the corner past the dive of Canton goalie Riley Brown (nine saves).
Daly had a chance for a second but Brown kicked aside her redirect and then blocked the rebound effort by Molly Murphy. Malloy created a chance with a long run to the end line and tried to cut it back for Emily Campbell, but the ball skidded through the crease and out the other side untouched.
The Bulldogs had a great move denied by the official’s whistle midway through the second half. Campbell flicked a pass to Katie Trerice, who fired a pass into the middle to McNeil and the ball ended up in the back of the net, but was waived off.
Foxboro had the next opportunity, looking to put the game away with 15 minutes remaining. Brown was forced to deny Sophia DiCenso, Murphy, and Luciano in quick succession to keep Canton in it. The Bulldogs nearly capitalized right away but McCarthy slid across goal to block a chance for Molly Cummings.
Less than a minute later, with 12:40 on the clock, Canton tied the game. McNeil was on hand at the back post to finish off an inch-perfect cross.
“It’s always a tough battle; it’s always evenly matched,” O’Connor said. ‘So, to get them to see that we can score, then it’s lets go get them again.”
When asked about the impact of her goalie on the team’s mentality, O’Connor replied, “Just to know that we can push more into offense because we trust our goalie back there is a game-changer. It makes all the difference to have someone back there who you can trust to make those initial saves.”
Four minutes after tying the game, Canton went in front for the first time. Again, it was a ball played in from the right side, this time off the pads of McCarthy and all the way to the back post where LaBelle was in perfect position to tap it home.
“It’s so frustrating,” admitted Bordieri. “It was so back-and-forth and I felt like we did a lot of great things and to be so evenly matched and they capitalized on two mistakes we made.”
The game was hardly over. Foxboro had one more chance to try and steal a point with two minutes to play. Again the Warriors showed off a well-planned corner to work a chance for DiCenso, but the junior’s shot was sent narrowly wide of the post with Brown stranded.
“I think the second [goal] was harder to regroup [from],” Bordieri said. “A couple of players were gassed…but I think we did a good job of it. We almost scored on that [corner]. If she had gotten that on net, Riley was so far to the left then it was a tie game.”
At the final whistle, the Canton players charged onto the field to celebrate, knowing that this was an important game against a title rival. “I think seeing that they can take it to the next level with a team that is so successful and has some strong returning players and such a strong goalie,” O’Connor said about the impact of this victory.
“We’ll see how that pushes them for the rest of the season that they see that they can beat these strong teams.”
Last fall, for the first time since 2012, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) field hockey team reached the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) championship game. The third-seeded Engineers lost 1-0 to rival and top seed Babson, which proceeded to make a run all the way to the final four of the NCAA Div. III tournament before falling to eventual champion Messiah College (Pa.).
While it was a great accomplishment to reach the conference final, MIT was left wondering just how far it could have gone had it come out on top in that game. Former Foxboro standout Katie Notarangelo, a senior captain in the MIT midfield, admitted in a phone conversation the day before a rematch with Babson that last year’s finish has given the Engineers additional motivation to start the season.
“We were happy to get to the championship game,” Notarangelo said. “Just think of what we could have done if we had won and I think this season it’s quite possible we’re on that level.”
She added, “If anything, we’ve gotten better for this season and it will be interesting to see how far we go and what teams we can hold strong against this year.”
Notarangelo, a former Hockomock League all-star for the Warriors, is one of the reasons that MIT comes into this season with so much confidence. The senior is a two-time first team All-NEWMAC performer and last year jumped from the second team to first team All-New England by helping the Engineers boast the second best defense in the league.
This year, she has also added the title of captain and is one of the leaders on the field, along with her best friend Emily Penn, who was named an All-American as a junior.
“It’s a little more than last year, being a captain,” said Notarangelo, “but generally everyone on the team steps up. Everyone is someone that you can look to on the field for extra guidance, extra support, and knowledge of the game.”
It has been an impressive run for a player who had not played field hockey competitively before arriving at Foxboro High and who spent four years playing on the grass at Payson Field (Sam Berns Community Field was not installed until her senior season of lacrosse).
“That’s where I got all of the background I have on the game, all of my game experiences, my first game sense, and really Bodie [Foxboro head coach Melissa Bordieri] was really great at drilling in the intensity and general game sense into all of us,” Notarangelo explained. “I think I took that and built off it a lot once I got here.”
Naturally, there were a lot of differences between the high school and collegiate games, not least of all playing on turf all the time. “On the Payson Field grass, you just swing and hit,” Notarangelo said. “Here, on turf, the ball moves a lot faster and you’re really able to showcase your player-to-player passing skills and your one-on-one moves.”
She also had to work on the mental aspects of the game, gaining a better understanding of the flow of the collegiate game and she credits the upperclassmen and coaching staff for improving her stick skills and decision-making.
Now she is passing that same advice to the talented crop of underclassmen that MIT has brought in, so that those freshmen can contribute to the Engineers’ goal of getting back to the conference final and avenging last year’s loss.
“I think our whole senior class is full of really respectful leaders,” Notarangelo said, “and I think we all do a great job of keeping everyone on the same page and moving towards the same goal of winning that conference championship.”
In addition to field hockey, Notarangelo also plays lacrosse at MIT. Juggling two sports is not easy at any school, but has an added element of difficulty when you are a chemical engineering major at one of the toughest schools in the country. Despite the challenges, Notarangelo is glad that she took on the responsibility of playing both sports.
“It’s definitely demanding,” she said. “At MIT you have a lot of problem sets, a lot of work other than just your classes, so the time meld is tough to get to but it really offers that outlet to get away from all of the work that you have on your plate every single day.”
Notarangelo added, “I wouldn’t have the great friendships that I have today without both my sports and then there is also the leadership and teamwork skills that you develop being on such a goal-oriented team.”
The day after the interview, MIT got its rematch with Babson (featuring senior Jackie Merrigan of Canton), but unfortunately for the Engineers the result was the same, as the Beavers came away with a 2-0 victory. Four days later, MIT pulled out a 1-0 victory against Tufts, a Div. III finalist last year and the fifth-ranked team in the country, to improve to 6-1 on the season.
After narrowly missing out on a spot in the NCAA tournament last fall, the Engineers have their sights set on getting there this season, whether through winning the NEWMAC title or as an at-large.
When asked about what it would mean to reach the tournament this year, Notarangelo said, “That would be just so great. That’s been one of our main goals for the past four years and to achieve that senior year would just make the whole four years really special.”
She added, “I think we’re looking great and when you’re winning it’s more fun, so it should be a great season.”
Foxboro, Mass. – After struggling to get going on offense in the season opener against King Philip, defending Davenport division and Div. 2 South champion Foxboro clicked into gear and found its scoring touch against Franklin on Monday evening at Sam Berns Community Field.
“It’s a great win,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “We needed that after our showing against KP. Honestly, it was back-and-forth in the middle of the field, which makes for a really exciting game, but I’m really happy with how they played.”
She added, “We came out on fire, which was key. Everyone worked as a team. The way we placed the ball, we were looking for give-and-go opportunities, we were looking for combinations where the other day we weren’t.”
The game started evenly with both teams racing through the midfield and trading attacks, although there were few clear chances in the opening 20 minutes. Annie Walsh had a one-timer hit the outside of the goal and then a minute later Julia Carangelo had a shot from distance kicked aside by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini.
In the 20th minute, Foxboro found a breakthrough with a quick break. DiCenso sent a pass in front and Daly slipped the ball past a few Franklin defenders and just past the line to make it 1-0.
Just a minute later, the Warriors doubled the lead. Daly created the opportunity with a run down the left wing and she hustled to keep the ball in play before cutting it back to Catherine Luciano. The senior crossed the ball into the middle for DiCenso, who finished with a first-time shot on the turn.
“Scoring totally gives a team confidence and I felt like once you play with confidence then you do more things,” said Bordieri. “There were so many things they started to do well once we played with confidence.”
Walsh had the first chance for Franklin in the second half but her shot was kicked aside by Foxboro goalie Kelli McCarthy, last year’s league MVP, which was only one of two shots on goal by the Panthers. Four minutes later and Foxboro added a third.
This time it was a run down the right wing that opened up the Franklin defense, which was missing senior center back Kate Morse to an injury. Junior Molly Murphy, who last week verbally committed to play lacrosse at Davidson, found space on the right to center to DiCenso. The ball bounced in the crease and Daly popped up at the back post to knock it home for her second of the day.
“They’re fast, they’re experienced, and they can finish,” said Franklin coach Lisa Cropper about the Foxboro attack. “I thought we played fairly well for most of the game, held our own other than in our defensive circle. We made three mistakes and they capitalized on all three.”
With seven minutes to go, Franklin got on the board. Walsh again beat her defender to open space and was able to pull the pass back to Cassi Ronan. The junior midfielder then flicked a pass into the middle and freshman Victoria Quinn batted the shot into the back of the net for her second goal of the season.
Cropper said, “Cassi had a lot of pressure on her because we didn’t have Kate behind her. Regan [Paterson] stepped in and did a decent job at center back, so we were a little undermanned but held our own.”
It was the rare chance that Franklin was able to create against the Foxboro defense, thanks in large part to the play of senior midfielder Jackie Brion, who seemed to be in the way of every Panthers attack.
“As a center-mid, she controls a lot of the play,” said Bordieri of Brion. “Defensively, she breaks up anything in the midfield, making it really hard for teams to crossover. She was awesome today; really, really strong.”
Despite the final result, Cropper was pleased with the effort and believed that her team put in a good performance. She said, “I told the kids that you learn from your mistakes and hopefully we can learn from this and build on it.”
Cropper joked, “To play these guys this early, we knew it was going to be tough. We had them this way last year, then they went on to win the sectional title. So, we’ll just do it our way this time.”
Bordieri is hopeful that this will spark the offense and get the Warriors on track for the season. She explained, “Our offense has totally stepped up. I think they’re all really starting to gel. It’s really starting to come together.”
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2017 Hockomock Field Hockey Preview
2016 Record: 4-13-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Lindsay Antunes
After registering just four wins a season ago, Big Blue is hoping for a big bounce back year in 2017. The toughest task will be finding replacements for the large amount of seniors that have graduated over the past two seasons. A big reason for hope to get back towards state tournament competition is four-year varsity player Grace Mayer. Mayer has been one of the top players in the Hock over the past couple of the seasons and led the Bombardiers with six goals and three assists for nine points. She will be joined on the forward line by junior Alexis Compton and junior transfer Takara Keele. Head coach Lindsay Antunes said her midfield has been strengthened “immensely” by sophomore Anna Beck, who was pulled up mid-season last year.
“There is an immense amount of unity on this team, and an outpouring of teamwork,” Antunes said. “Under the leadership of our current captains, many girls have assumed these roles [left by graduation] and are taking over the field. Some girls have been forced to transition into roles that are similar to ones they played in in the past, but not quite exact.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Chrissy O’Connor
Canton is returning a strong core of players from a 13-win team a year ago and will be in the hunt for the Davenport title. Key returning players include senior forward Andrea McNeil and junior forward Maggie Malloy, who will be back to pace the Bulldogs’ offense, as well as senior midfielders Emily Campbell and Maggie Wade. With experience back in the mid, the Bulldogs expect to have a strong passing game and strong ball control. Senior Riley Brown will step in as the starting goalie and freshman Maria Femia could make an impact as a rookie.
“Coming into our second season we look to strengthen our passing game and game sense,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We look forward to another competitive season in the Hockomock League!”
2016 Record: 19-3-1 (Davenport Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D2 State Semifinal
Coach: Melissa Bordieri
Coming off its best season in program history, Foxboro is now focused on 2017 and trying to write its owm chapter in the history books. While the Warriors graduated over a half a dozen seniors, they return last year’s Hockomock League MVP in goalie Kelli McCarthy as well as 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Lily Daly. With experience on both ends of the field, Foxboro is set up nicely for 2017. Daly has led the Warriors in scoring in each of the past two seasons.
The middle of the field will look most familiar from last season with seniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano, and juniors Meghan Curran and Sophia DiCenso all returning after playing valuable minutes last season. The biggest challenge for the Warriors could be replacing starting defenders Kelly Fisher and Angela VandenBoom, who both graduated.
2016 Record: 12-4-4 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Lisa Cropper
The defending Kelley-Rex division champions are in a good spot with so many returning players from last year’s squad. Leading the way is HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Annie Walsh, who led the Hockomock League with 25 points a season ago. Cassi Ronan (16 points) and Erin Walsh (10 points) are also back as Franklin returns its top three scorers. Another positive is that Franklin has some experience back on the defensive end as well. Kate Morse is back to anchor the unit after an impressive junior season and will be joined by Meri Gendreau and Emily Valentino in front of goalie Christina Luccini. Head coach Lisa Cropper expects senior Maddie Hinckley and freshman Victoria Quinn to also play big roles for the Panthers.
“Our biggest asset this season is depth,” Cropper said. “We are hoping to wear down our opponents and utilize our speed late in games.”
2016 Record: 14-3-4
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Liz Hathaway
After coming just a point shy of splitting the league title with Franklin a season ago, King Philip returns a strong core that will look to make another push for the Kelley-Rex crown. One big reason that the Warriors will be in the mix is because senior goalie Abby Campbell is back in the cage this season. And in front of Campbell, KP returns senior Christina Hathaway – two big reasons why the Warriors allowed only 13 goals all season in 2016. The offense will look very familiar with senior Liz Furfari (13 points) and junior Alli Meehan (25 points) back in the fold. Juniors Kate Lindmark and Caroline Klim will help bolster the defense while Nicole Connor and Dana Truini will be important players in the midfield.
“We have speed and can create a quick transition game with our passing game and formation,” said KP head coach Liz Hathaway. “We also have a couple of big hitters which should help us generate getting the ball inside the offensive 25 and to execute on corners.”
2016 Record: 13-5-2
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Theresa Nyhan
Mansfield is relying on seven returning seniors and a mix of young players as they look to get back to the state tournament yet again this season. The Hornets have senior leadership all over the field, which will be important in a very deep and talented league. Up top, Mansfield had Heather D’Amdra and Kristina O’Connell, while seniors Emily Ierardo and Ann Maher will lead the way from the midfield. On the defensive end, seniors Nicole Berluti, Julia Burhman and Brittany Lam will anchor the back line.
“As a unit we are looking to move the ball at pace,” said Mansfield head coach Theresa Nyhan. “We have speed at all levels and look to transition quickly.”
2016 Record: 3-15-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kim Danish
Although the Hawks graduated 11 seniors from last year’s squad, they return some key pieces that head coach Kim Danish is hoping will help Milford take a step forward. The Hawks will lean on tri-captains Shannon Cormier (the team’s leading scorer last season), Danielle Fokas (who will start on the wing) and Emily Condon (a returning member of the Hawks’ defense) to pave the way this season. Kate Wimette, Colby Bowers and Megan Larouco will see time in the midfield while Julie Rabinowitz would see time all over the field, depending on need. Milford is looking to rely on speed on offense to try and get the offense going.
“We have a strong mix of seven returning seniors who are fantastic leaders and a great core group from last year’s JV team who will step up and make an immediate impact on the field,” Danish said. “Overall, the motivation and work ethic among this group has been top notch! We are looking forward to a great season.”
2016 Record: 6-8-4
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Karen Folan
After missing out on the state tournament in back-to-back years, Big Red field hockey is hoping to make a run at the Davenport crown and get back to the MIAA playoffs. One tough task will be replacing 14 seniors, including all-league goalie Liz Morehouse, all-star Mary Kummer and all-league honorable mention Teresa Bagarella. But head coach Karen Folan is confident she has the pieces to compete in a deep Hockomock League this year. Senior captains Emilie Pothier, Olivia Gedgaudus and Camille Pizarro return to make up the majority of the midfield. Senior Katherine Munley is also back on the wing, giving Big Red some speed on the outside. Sophomore Emma Strachan takes over in net this season, with Folan describing her as “quick and aggressive.”
“The returning members of the varsity team have shown they are ready to fill in any gaps our line up may have after graduating 14 seniors,” Folan said. “And our new team members are eager to step onto the varsity playing field.”
2016 Record: 11-6-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames will be relying on a mix of experience and youth as they try to stay competitive in a deep Kelley-Rex division. It starts with senior captain Sarah Stevens in the midfield, who will be the “quarterback” of the midfield according to head coach Abby Tepper. Senior Cristina Boudreau and junior Kayla Lozzi will bolster that midfield while senior Liz Nuss will provide speed to the attacking group. OA’s defense will be anchored by senior captain Sarah Tetrault while senior Caitlin Grant will be the starting goalie. Freshman Brynna Courneen has impressed defensively early on.
“This year our offense will be quick and have speed,” Tepper said. “We have some young players filling the wing spots and we are working on being hungry inside the circle. We want to be a scrappy team and get the ball in the bucket no matter what it takes. Our defense does a solid job recovering for one another in the circle and stepping to ball without hesitation. As a team we want to build a positive culture and work hard day in and day out.”
2016 Record: 1-17-0
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrea Vandette
Now in her third year at the helm of the Sharon Eagles, head coach Andrea Vandette is confident that her squad is ready to take the next step and find some more success. The Eagles are led by three captains: Elyse Korn, Abbi Solomon and Grace Leavitt. Leavitt started to come on strong at the end of the year last season and will be the anchor for the Eagles’ defensive unit this season. Senior Lindsay Moses will be be in the cage and has a good amount of varsity experience under her belt. In the midfield, Leora Leavitt will be in the center of the field and one of the Eagles’ most reliable players. Vandette is also expecting juniors Veronica Wallace and Stephanie Edwards to continue their growth after picking up the sport a season ago.
“My main goal for the girls this season is to compete,” Vendette said. “Being that this is my third year with the program, I believe they know my expectations and the seniors have a good understanding of how to move the ball on the field and how to be successful. We certainly have enough talent to put a few more wins on the board this season!”
2016 Record: 8-9-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Dan Mark
Despite graduating a handful of talented players, including 2015 Hockomock League MVP Angela Connolly, Stoughton head coach Dan Mark is bringing back several key players for the 2017 version of the Black Knights. The Black Knights’ offense will look the most similar to last season’s team that qualified for the state tournament. Julia Russell, Kamryn Oliveira and Jackie Evangelista are returning forwards who played regularly last year. Lisa Ramanauskas is a returning midfielder, and Haley Bushlow is back to anchor the back line. Gianna Barbosa will be the starting goalie again this season.
“We have several returning players who played many minutes last year and are expected to step in as starters this year,” Mark said.
2016 Record: 2-15-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Elizabeth Hathaway
With a strong core of experienced players back, and a couple of young talents looking to make an impression, the Tigers are hoping to improve on last year’s season. Senior Kya Enos has been a steady presence for the Tigers for the past four seasons and will be relied upon to lead the attack long with senior Liana Duarte. Juniors Jillian Pagliuca and Lauren Torres will be tasked with controlling the midfield along with freshman Alana Tavares. Sophomore Kathryn Robinson will be a key piece of Taunton’s defensive unit this season
“Our strength will be the ability of the forwards and mids to move the ball up the field,” said Taunton head coach Liz Hathaway. “Speed is also a factor that will help our offensive attacks.”
Players to Watch
Players are listed alphabetically
Abby Campbell, King Philip – Campbell has been one of the top goalies in the league for the past two seasons and helped KP come within a point of sharing the league title with Franklin last season and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. She had 11 shutouts in 2016 and saved 130-of-143 shots that she faced, finishing with a goals against average of 0.619.
Emily Campbell, Canton – Campbell was a versatile weapon for the Bulldogs, helping out both in midfield and defense to help Canton win 13 games and achieve a plus-40 goal differential for the season. With Campbell playing a critical role, Canton allowed only 14 goals on the year, which was second best in the league. She also chipped in with three goals and seven assists.
Lily Daly, Foxboro – Daly has been the leading scorer for the Warriors in each of her two varsity seasons, helping Foxboro win its first league title in 11 years and its first ever Div. 2 South title. Daly is a force near the net and was chosen as the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year after scoring 16 goals and recording 11 assists.
Emily Ierardo, Mansfield – Ierardo emerged last season as one of the top offensive weapons for the Hornets, helping Mansfield make another run at the league title and reach the second round of the state tournament. She played five different positions in the forward and midfield areas and she scored nine goals and recorded six assists last fall.
Maggie Malloy, Canton – Malloy made quite the impact in her first season playing field hockey. She jumped onto the Canton varsity squad early in the season and finished as the league’s top goal scorer with 16 tallies for the year. She was a big reason for Canton’s improvement offensively and this year, with a season of experience, Malloy could have even bigger numbers.
Kelli McCarthy, Foxboro – Voted Hockomock MVP by the league’s coaches, McCarthy was the backstop for a Warriors defense that was one of the best in the league and helped Foxboro claim a Davenport division title and its first ever Div. 2 South title. She finished with 115 saves on the season and recorded 15 shutouts in 23 games, allowing only 13 goals total.
Alli Meehan, King Philip – Meehan was integral to KP making a run at the league title last season, holding a lead into the final week of the regular season, and reaching the Div. 1 South semifinal. Meehan scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists to tie for the league-high in points. She also assisted on the goal that forced overtime against Somerset-Berkeley in a state tournament win.
Cassi Ronan, Franklin – Ronan was a versatile cog in Franklin’s league championship season in 2016, playing both midfield and forward for the Panthers. She finished with 10 goals and seven assists, while being named to the HockomockSports.com First Team, but also did a lot of the defensive work that didn’t show up in the box score.
Sarah Stevens, Oliver Ames – Stevens had a strong season for Oliver Ames in 2016 and the senior will be counted on to create scoring opportunities for the Tigers again this fall. She scored six goals and recorded nine assists for OA last season, helping the Tigers get to 11 wins on the season, beat Durfee in the first round of the playoffs, and push perennial power Walpole to overtime.
Annie Walsh, Franklin – Walsh is the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year (she was also Player of the Year in girls’ lacrosse) after leading the Panthers to a Kelley-Rex division title. A year after being named Underclassman of the Year, Walsh took her game to another level with 14 goals and 11 assists for a league-high 25 points.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Defense has been the strength for Foxboro all season long (with only 11 goals allowed in the first 21 games), helping the Warriors win the Davenport division title and then reach the program’s first sectional final on Saturday afternoon at Taunton’s Tiger Aleixo Stadium.
In the Div. 2 South final, the defense stood tall again, led by seniors Kelly Fisher and Angela Vandenboom, limiting Falmouth to only one corner and one shot over 60 minutes. Thanks to the defensive effort in front of her, junior goalie Kelli McCarthy was not forced to make a single save, as Foxboro pulled out a 2-0 victory to win the program’s first ever Div. 2 South championship.
“We stepped up defensively big time,” said Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri. “We made adjustments based on the aerials, but we’ve seen aerials all season. Defense has been our strength and it’s kept us in a lot of games.”
While Falmouth did not get a shot on target, the Clippers did have possession in the attacking zone for stretches of the game. The Warriors stayed compact around the circle and kept everything to the outside. In addition to the defenders, Foxboro midfielders Meghan Curran, Catherine Luciano, Jaclyn Brion, and Allison Curran were always on hand to close down potential scoring chances.
“They had a lot of opportunities,” Bordieri said. “No. 7 [Ericka Meissner] is really fast, so we knew if they were to get inside the 25 they would be dangerous. We knew that to close them down in the middle and keep them to the outside would be huge.”
Foxboro was also dangerous in the attack in the first half, creating a number of chances, including four corners.
The first opportunity came in the sixth minute when Sophia DiCenso had two shots a few yards from goal but the first was cleared by Falmouth goalie Molly Duff-Still and the second bounced off the foot of Lily Daly at the back post. It started from a quick transition, Meredith Cronin hitting Emma Daly with an outlet pass to spring the attack.
A few minutes later, another quick break had Foxboro racing forward with Meghan Curran hitting Daly on the run but her shot was kicked off the line by Duff-Still before it could trickle across.
The opening goal felt imminent and in the 16th minute the Warriors made the breakthrough. Fisher’s shot off a corner was blocked but the ball caromed right back to her stick. She sent in a second shot that was settled by DiCenso right in front of goal. The sophomore turned and slid the ball past the goalie for a 1-0 lead.
Falmouth had yet to give up a goal in the playoffs, so Bordieri knew that the first score on Saturday could be decisive. She said, “We had to put a ball in the net as fast as we could. From everything I heard, they’ve scored in the first five minutes of a lot of their games so we knew that was going to be a huge opportunity for us.”
Cronin admitted that there were a few nerves for Foxboro players at the start of the game but that the opening goal calmed everyone down. She said, “It was very good. We knew we had to come out fast.”
In the 25th minute, Foxboro had a chance to double the lead. Caroline Wheatley started the break with a pass to Luciano, who fed the ball to Jenna Stamatov and on to Lily Daly one-on-one with the goalie, but Duff-Still came up with her fourth save of the first half.
With just under two minutes left in the half, Foxboro did get a second. Again it came off a corner and a hit by Fisher from the edge of the circle. Wheatley was stationed in front and cleverly lifted the ball up over the pads of the goalie for a 2-0 advantage that felt like game over to many, but not to Bordieri.
“I want to call it an insurance goal but not in the playoffs,” she said. “I know that Falmouth can score and they’ve got fast forward who have good sticks. I wasn’t super comfortable with two goals until maybe five minutes left.”
In the second half, Foxboro went into a defensive shell, keeping Falmouth to the edges of the attacking zone and it led to very few scoring opportunities for either team. The lone clear chance fell to Daly just four minutes after the break when she tipped a Cronin shot at close range but Falmouth’s Chloe Crago was able to get across and clear it off the line.
With five minutes remaining, Falmouth finally got a decent look at goal, but the shot went off the side of the net. The final minutes ticked off the clock and the Warriors stormed onto the field to celebrate their first title.
“Good, really good,” said Cronin about the feeling at the final whistle. When asked if it felt like the culmination of all the work the team has put in this year, she added, “Kind of, but we’re not done yet. We need to keep pushing through.”
Bordieri is in her 15th year in charge of the program and was clearly savoring the moment of winning a trophy.
“Fifteen years…it’s been a long time coming,” she said. “We’ve come close to doing great things for a long time, so to have this is just an amazing feeling.
“It’s such a team thing for us. This whole season has been ‘All In’ and we really mean it. It’s been everybody on the team who’s had a role, played it well and gotten us here.”
Foxboro (19-2-1) will advance to the Div. 2 state semifinal on Tuesday at Reading High and will face undefeated North champion Watertown, which is riding a national record win streak of 182 games over the past eight seasons.