TAUNTON, Mass. – One of the biggest challenges that all teams have faced so far this Spring has simply been getting outside and playing on an actual softball field.
Taunton entered Friday’s showdown with top-ranked Milford with two games under its belt. Meanwhile, this was the Hawks first game of the season.
That experience paid off the Tigers, overcoming a one-run deficit with four unanswered runs between the fifth and sixth innings to beat the Scarlet Hawks, 4-1.
“I’m proud of my team,” said Taunton head coach Dave Lewry. “We’ve got a lot of new starters this year and they haven’t played in any pressure games yet, and this was the first one. They didn’t get down on themselves [after Milford scored], we hadn’t done anything for the first four innings but they stayed focused and started coming through. We played a very solid game against a real good team.”
The Scarlet Hawks were the home team despite playing at Jack Tripp Field on the campus of Taunton High School. After senior Ali Atherton retired the side in order in the top half of the first, Milford’s offense looked like it was going to get off to a big start in its first at-bats of the season.
“I don’t want MacKenzie’s been a surprise, we knew about her from previous seasons but so far, she’s hitting the ball well,” Lewry said. “We were hoping should get make a step up for us this year and so far she’s exceeded my expectations with the way she’s hitting the ball. She’s absolutely crushing it.”
A passed ball pushed both runners up a base and on the next pitch, Rebekah Lajoie hit a fly ball to right field. White came in to score on the sac fly and Van Zandt moved to third, but the throw to home to try and get white got past the catcher and out of play, allowing Van Zandt to come home to give Taunton a 2-1 lead.
Fisher capitalized on the momentum, retiring the Hawks in order in the bottom of the fifth.
“That’s a pretty typical Courtney game,” Lewry said. “She’s not going to ‘wow’ you with a lot of strikeouts but she just keeps throwing that drop, and the changeup and hitting her corners. She gets the job done, I thought she threw an excellent game today.”
Taunton’s bats continued to produce in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Jaime Brown, in her third year starting at third for the Tigers, roped a 0-1 pitch into left field. Brown originally stopped at third as the ball sat at the base of the fence, causing the umps to halt play. But after a quick check, the ball was deemed to have cleared the fence, giving Brown her first ever home run – at any level of softball.
Liana Duarte followed with a four pitch walk and two batters later, Handrahan doubled in the run to give Taunton a 4-1 lead.
Fisher retired the order in both the sixth and seventh to finish the game. Eighth grader Hannah Aldrich made an impressive back handed play at short to get the first out in the sixth.
“I was pretty impressed with our defense, I thought we played great,” Lewry said. “Our eighth grader there at shortstop [Hannah Aldrich] played like a seasoned pro. She made that backhand play in the hole in the sixth inning to get that first out, that was a huge play. I’m pleased with the way the kids are playing at this point.”
For Milford, expectations are still high for a club with plenty of experience. The fact is, the Hawks still have an entire season to go.
“First game, tough opponent, tough place to play, they’re a great team that’s well coached,” said head coach Steve DiVitto. “It was a battle of the pitchers early on. Atherton and Fisher were spectacular early. We were able to go up on that home run and it almost seemed to wake them up a little bit. We had some opportunities early in the game, especially in the first inning. As the year goes on you hope you’re going to capitalize on those. But its the first game, you’re not going to win anything game one, you’re not going to lose anything game one.
“You learn from your mistakes and hopefully if we see them down the road, we’ll be better off. We just hope to get better every game. When we get back to practice on Sunday, we want to be better than we were today. And then we’ll get ready to go for Stoughton in the Davenport opener on Monday.”
Taunton softball (3-0, 3-0) will travel to Mansfield on Monday to open up its Kelley-Rex schedule while Milford (0-1, 0-1) will host Stoughton in both teams’ Davenport opener.
2016 Record: 2-18 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Mark Homer
Attleboro struggled through a difficult 2016, the first season under new head coach Mark Homer, winning only two games while giving up a league high 177 runs and scoring a league-low 46. Heading into this spring, the Bombardiers will be counting on a group of young players to try and turn things around and it seems to be working so far, as Attleboro has played two games and already matched last year’s win total.
One of the true bright spots from last season was freshman pitcher MacKenzie Bergdoll, who showed flashes of the potential to be an ace for Attleboro, and this season she will be counted on to keep the Bombardiers in games and to provide big hits from the three-spot. Julia Woyton will be behind the plate this year while senior Ilea Caverley and junior Casey Whelan (outfield) and Jordyn Lako (second base) are the few returning players on the roster.
The Bombardiers are going to turn to youth this spring with freshman MacKenzie Killough taking over at shortstop. Freshmen twins Emma and Jenna Gittle will add depth to the Attleboro pitching staff and classmate Ashley Macia will take over in centerfield. Homer also said that there were underclassmen who would provide speed off the bench.
“The expectations are to play hard, be committed and get excited with every game and practice that they take part in,” said Homer. “With the added depth in each position this year, the girls hope to gain advantages from the previous year and reach their set goals for the season.”
2016 Record: 3-17 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Jennifer Robillard
Former King Philip and Sacred Heart University shortstop Jennifer Robillard takes over the Canton program this spring with the hope of bringing some of the success that she enjoyed playing for two state champions and a Division I college to the Bulldogs, who are coming off a three-win season.
The Bulldogs will be looking to their experienced players to help turn things around in 2017, including seniors Molly Loughran, Taylor Carrington, and Julia Ezepik and junior Hannah Jerrier, who are all captains this spring. Jerrier and Ezepik will start the season injured, but Robillard is hoping that other players can step up until they return. Canton will have depth in the circle, as both junior Caitlyn Cahill and freshman Caroline Hughes will see action at pitcher.
Lillian Carrington and Samantha Keefe are two other players that will be counted on to contribute and both provided home runs in a loss to Mansfield in the second game of the season. Robillard is excited about the opportunity to get back into the Hockomock League and she sees a team that “wants to learn.”
“This team has a lot of potential. If we can tap into this potential, I truly believe that we are going to take teams by surprise,” Robillard said. “I am here to share my passion for and knowledge of the game I love with these girls. It is important to me that these girls learn how to be strong, independent and respectful young women.”
2016 Record: 9-13 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Mark Maguire
In 2016, Foxboro finished 6-10 in the Hockomock League but got its chance to play in the postseason and took advantage with a preliminary round win over Westwood and a near-upset of Abington in a nine-inning classic. The Warriors will hope to build on that experience this spring with a number of key players returning.
League all-star Hannah Davis is back behind the plate for the Warriors and will be one of the top hitters in the Hockomock. Davis will likely be in the three-spot in the lineup and right behind her will be senior Kelly Fisher, who head coach Mark Maguire called one of the best first basemen in the league. Kelly McCarthy will try to set the table for the power hitters in the lead-off spot.
Sophomore pitcher Emma Rohan is back in the circle and Maguire expects that she will compete every game and build on her rookie campaign. Behind Rohan, Cam Willis will moved from second base to short and Chelsea Gibbons will provide good ‘D’ and a solid bat at third. Lefty Lexi Buckner could grab the second base spot and senior Jamie Gorham could provide an unexpected boost as a first-year player in the outfield. Mandy Ryan and Kayla Wheatley are two of the players coming up from JV that Maguire is hoping will step in to provide depth.
“They’re all working hard and they’re ready to build together as a team,” said Maguire. “The expectations are really to compete every game.”
2016 Record: 12-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Kate Fallon
Once the rains go away for a few days, Franklin will be able to open its new field and make official its move back to the high school after a couple seasons playing at Dean College. The Panthers are excited about the new facility and about the team’s potential for success this spring with seven returning starters from last year.
Leading the way is third baseman, and four-year starter, Olivia DiGiacomo, who has been a mainstay at the hot corner and provides leadership for the infield. To her left is shortstop Alyssa DaSilva, a three-year starter with two years of experience at short. Sophomore Allie Shea is back at first base and senior Clara DeCarvalho is back behind the plate and poised for a “breakout season,” according to head coach Kate Fallon. The outfield is also filled with veterans, including seniors Rachel Cousineau in left and Olivia Haba in center.
The seventh starter is senior Alex Niss, who started as a pinch hitter last season before taking over the DP role and turning into one of the top power hitters in the Hockomock League. The Panthers should be solid defensively and at the plate and Fallon is hoping that sophomore pitchers Jackie Cherry (who carried a shutout into the seventh in the season opening loss to North Attleboro) and Emily Valentino can make an instant impact in the circle.
“Win 11 games and make the tournament again,” said Fallon when asked about the expectations for the team this season. “I expect the seniors to provide leadership and be role models for the underclassmen. It’s always a dogfight in this league…but I think we are a good team.”
2016 Record: 24-4 2016 Finish: Won Div. 1 State Championship Coach: Norm Beauchemin
King Philip comes into 2017 on the back of its third state title in the past six years and, while expectations remain high for one of the region’s top programs, there are key pieces from last year’s team that need to be replaced in order for the Warriors to get back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and in the state.
The biggest absence this season is, of course, pitcher Kali Magane, who is now in the circle for Boston University and who was dominant during KP’s playoff run a year ago. Senior Jenn Hutnyan will step in to be the team’s starting pitcher after several starts and relief appearances in the past two seasons. Hutnyan will also be an important bat in the lineup. Junior Brie Lacy will be back behind the plate to help Hutnyan and head coach Norm Beauchemin noted that junior Jessica Bonner will be a solid defensive third baseman.
KP rarely rebuilds and almost always reloads for another title push. This year should be no different with a lineup that features several familiar names from last season’s title run, including sophomore Meghan Gorman and juniors Brooke Taute, Elise Pereira, and Hailey McCasland. Each of those players had important roles last season and will be ready to step up for the Warriors this spring as KP tries to regain the league title after Taunton ended its nine year run in 2016.
“Though it’s hard to replace last year’s seniors,” said Beauchemin, “we have a solid core of returning players ready to represent King Philip and its proud softball legacy.”
2016 Record: 13-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Lori Letendre
Mansfield is coming off a 13-win season that included a tournament win against Notre Dame Academy, but after four years of being able to count on Maddie Letendre in the circle the Hornets will be handing the ball over to a new pitcher this spring, although as it turns out only the first name will be changing.
Megan Letendre, who played shortstop as a freshman, will take over in the circle for the Hornets and her development as the No. 1 pitcher will go a long way to determining if Mansfield can repeat last year’s success. Pitcher is not the only position that needs to be replaces, as the Hornets will have a new catcher and three new infielders. Still, with nine returning players, there is plenty of experience on the roster.
Kara Bendanillo will move from third base to second, according to head coach Lori Letendre, and Megan Letendre will sometimes see time at second when not pitching. Liz Mackin will take over at first base, while Marissa Staffier and Amanda Giambanco will take the corner outfield positions. Mady Bendanillo will be back in center after an impressive first season for the Hornets.
“This is one of the hardest working teams I have had at Mansfield and they have been putting in a lot of effort to get ready for the season,” said Coach Letendre.
2016 Record: 17-5 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Steve DiVitto
Milford has been the class of the Davenport division for the past four seasons and the Hawks come into 2017 with the expectations of being heavy favorites for another league title, but, with three seniors and nine juniors on the roster and eight starters returning, head coach Steve DiVitto is hopeful that the talent will translate to a deep run in the state tournament.
The Hawks are one of the few contenders to return not just one but two starting pitchers from last season. Senior Ali Atherton is back to be the primary option in the circle and the Southern New Hampshire-commit has been dominant at times in her career. If Atherton gets into trouble or needs a rest, junior Kelley Reichert has demonstrated that she is more than just a fill-in but can also shut down opponents. They will be pitching to sophomore Emily Hartman, who will step into the starting lineup this season.
There are very few question marks in this year’s lineup with junior Emily Piergustavo moving from second to short to replace Jill Powers, which is Piergustavo’s natural position and one she has played several times in the past year. Junior Jess Tomaso is back at first base and in the heart of the lineup where she will be joined by senior outfielder Maggie Farrell and senior third baseman Kaitlyn DeCapua. Junior Kate Irwin will try to be the table-setter at the top of the order and juniors Maddy Bonvino (second base) and Shannon Cormier (outfield) will also be contributors.
“This has been a focused and driven group ever since the end of last season,” said DiVitto. “They have worked hard in the off-season and that was very apparent in the early stages of the season. We are excited to compete in the best league in the state, which will hopefully prepare us for a long run into June.”
2016 Record: 11-10 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro returned to the postseason in 2016 and for the Rocketeers to get back to the tournament this spring it will be the younger players that will lead the way. Head coach Bill Wallace knows that his team will be “green” (with only four seniors on the roster), but he is excited about North’s athleticism and versatility.
Pitching may be North’s biggest strength this season with five players in the rotation, led by freshman Bella Erti, who won her first career start, and last year’s starter Amelia Murphy. Juniors Olivia DesRoches, Jaclyn Buckley and Abby Warren could also step into the circle to help out. Senior Sam Courtemanche will be behind the plate to help the pitchers.
Senior Liz Morehouse returns at first base and Andrea Miceli will be at second. Meghan Barlow moves in from the outfield to take over at short (and provided the walk-off hit in North’s season opening win), while Murphy will see time at third when she’s not pitching. Olivia Capobianco will play center with Katherine Munley and Kristina Murphy in left and right with freshmen Ashley Cangiano and Abby Gallagher getting playing time.
“With only four seniors on the roster, I am hoping the learning curve will be brief!” said Wallace. “This may be the year we see a lot of pinch hitting and pinch running! For a young team, they are very focused between the lines!”
Oliver Ames finished in second in the league in 2016 and qualified for the postseason, but that will be an even tougher task now that the Tigers have made the move to the Kelley-Rex division. Even with facing the likes of defending state champion King Philip twice this spring, head coach Lindsey Allison is optimistic that the 10 returning players have the experience to get back into the playoffs.
Senior Victoria Ziner will be the spark on offense for the Tigers this season, but OA also has a number of juniors that Allison said can “do some damage at the plate.” Among those players is Caroline Mahoney, whose bat “is still as dangerous as ever,” according to Allison. Freshman Katie Abreu will be a newcomer to watch for the Tigers as her versatility will make her a valuable member of the lineup.
The Tigers will bring back sophomore Kayla Georgeu in the circle and will be hoping that she continues to develop and keep OA competitive against the league’s top teams. Junior Alexis Campbell will be a second pitcher and also help out at second base.
“We have a solid 10 players returning from last year’s roster,” said Allison, “and we are looking to fill holes behind the plate, in the outfield and at first base this year. Definitely hoping to use some of the speed we have on our team to our advantage this year.”
2016 Record: 4-16 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Deb Parker
Sharon is coming off a four-win season in 2016 but head coach Deb Parker believes that the Eagles have the potential to be a contender in the Davenport division this spring as long as the players continue to develop over the course of the season.
Although the Eagles are a relatively young team, Parker is counting on senior captains Clara Cook and Sam Marglous to provide the leadership needed to keep the team on the right track. Cook will be back in the circle for Sharon, while Marglous will be back behind the plate. Parker said, “Both have been solid contributors for their entire high school careers.”
Sophomore centerfielder Rebecca Clayman and shortstop Ally Small, who Parker referred to as “standouts,” will be the anchors of the defense. Freshman Shoshanna Lowe will step in to play third base and should have a positive impact in the lineup as well.
“I believe we have the right combination of experience, talent and drive to be a contender in the Hock,” said Parker. “This is a team that works hard every day to be better than they were the day before. They have great chemistry and our captains have done an excellent job leading them into the season.”
2016 Record: 10-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Tim Norton
The Black Knights made a return to the state tournament in head coach Tim Norton’s first season in charge, and nearly pulled out a win against Braintree, and Stoughton will be counting on last year’s freshmen to continue developing and keep the program heading in the right direction.
One of the sophomores that the team will be leaning on is third baseman Jordan Lyons, who brings a strong bat to the hot corner and her leadership skills had her named a captain for this spring. Brianna Ferrandiz will take over behind the plate for Sam Tullis and Karly Estremera will move into the infield and continue to be the table-setter as the leadoff hitter.
Norton is excited to have depth in the circle with Shannon Flaherty and Gina Carafa both capable of racking up innings and “setting great examples on and off the field.” Stoughton will also have depth in the outfield with first-year starters Krista Michienzi, Val Whalen and Alessandra Loffredo.
“We were extremely fortunate in Stoughton last year to have such a strong freshman class with great senior leadership,” Norton explained. “This year that sophomore class is going to have to come into their own. While this team is young they got a taste of the post season last year and are hungry for more.”
2016 Record: 22-2 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Dave Lewry
Last season, Taunton won its first outright league title, ending King Philip’s nine-year reign atop the Hockomock. It was a fitting coda to the impressive careers of Taunton’s senior class, but this spring the Tigers will now have to move forward with six new faces in the starting lineup, including at pitcher and the middle infield positions. Taunton typically reloads quickly and head coach Dave Lewry believes this year’s team has a plenty of potential.
Senior Courtney Fisher will step into the circle hoping to make a seamless transition from 2016 Player of the Year Aimee Kistner. Fisher tossed three shutout innings and had three hits in the season opener and got several opportunities to pitch in the past two seasons. She will be pitching to junior captain Kya Enos, who is making the move back to catcher after two seasons in the outfield. Other starters coming back include first baseman Katie VanZandt, junior outfielder Liana Duarte, and sophomore Jaime Brown, who is in her third year at third base.
The Tigers have always found young players who can step right in an make an impact at the varsity level and this year could be a breakout season for eighth grader Hannah Aldrich, who will take over from Jordan Wade at short. Sophomore Alexa White looks ready to step in at second, while senior Rebekah Lajoie and junior Hailey Medeiros are in line to start in the corner outfield places. Taunton could also get contributions at pitcher from eighth grader Kelsey White and freshman Jaylin Couto.
“While we lost six starters from last season, I am excited about the potential of this year’s team,” said Lewry. “I expect there will be some growing pains with six new starters in the lineup, but with some seasoned veterans and good young talent we are optimistic that we’ll be competitive this season.”
2016 Record: 6-12 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Patton
Attleboro is still a relatively young program but has taken strides to be competitive with the rest of the teams in the Hockomock and first-year head coach Kevin Patton is hopeful that the large number of players at tryouts is a sign that the Bombardiers are heading in the right direction.
One of the reasons for Attleboro’s confidence coming into the spring is the experienced players that will take the field, including senior Mish Logie, who is a four-year varsity midfielder. Joining Logie as a captain for this year’s team is goalie Hadley Porreca, who is in her second year in net.
In addition. juniors Emily Patton and Ali Wall return in attack, while classmates Kim White and Graycen Cassidy will keep things tight on the defensive side of the ball. Midfield depth will be provided by sophomores Kyra Lyons and Alex Compton, who are both coming off strong rookie seasons on varsity. Freshman Sydney DiLiddo will also have the chance to step in and contribute in midfield this season and junior Ashlyn Salisbury and sophomore Shea Harrison will see time on defense.
“We had our largest player turnout in the program’s history,” said Patton, “and we have girls that want to work hard and succeed. With only two seniors on this year’s team, I will be looking to certain underclassmen to take on added leadership roles. This will help us not only this year but going forward.”
2016 Record: 8-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Christine O’Connor
Canton won five of its final seven games last season to get back to .500 and qualify for the state tournament and the Bulldogs will be hoping to carry that momentum over to this spring with a roster that features nine seniors and eight juniors.
Some of the key returning players for Canton this season include senior attacker Mary Kent, senior defender Tessa Cudmore, and senior goalie Kathryn Doody, who form a solid spine for the Bulldogs to build on. Caroline Hagan, Rebecca Eckler, and Maria Mackie are among the other seniors that will be contributing for Canton.
One of the younger players to watch is sophomore attacker Leah McClellan, who is one of several players that helped the girls’ hockey team reach the state title game at the TD Garden. Another sophomore, Maggie Malloy, has already had strong seasons for the field hockey and ice hockey teams and will provide depth this spring.
“We look to gain strength as the season progresses,” said O’Connor. “We will look to the seniors for leadership and intensity in order to be competitive.”
Foxboro won its fifth straight Davenport division title last spring and returned to the Div. 2 South semifinal for the second straight season and expectations will be even higher this season for head coach Brittany Sherry, as the Warriors return 15 players to try and make it six league titles in a row.
Among the many experienced players coming back is an exciting core of sophomores that have made instant impacts, including the reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Sophia DiCenso, who scored 65 goals and had 31 assists last year. Joining DiCenso up front will be classmates Caroline McGeary and Meghan Curran and juniors Jackie Brion and Catherine Luciano.
Defensively, senior Hallie Canfield will be back to anchor things and provide leadership. Junior Christina Rogers and sophomores Jenna Stamatov and Molly Murphy will also be back to limit opposing offenses. Freshman Sara Addeche will take over in goal and is another in a line of talented underclassmen that Sherry is excited to see develop over the course of the season.
“Our goals stay about the same every year, most importantly getting another round further!” Sherry said. “The last two years our season has ended in the semi finals but I’m hoping with the scheduling and tourney experience last year we will have the edge we need to get to the finals.”
2016 Record: 19-5 2016 Finish: Reached the Div. 1 State Semifinal Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino
Another spring and another league title for Franklin, which completed another perfect season in the Hockomock and then carried that success into the playoffs to win a second Div. 1 East title with a dramatic, one-goal victory over Acton-Boxboro. Even though they only return five players, the Panthers enter the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and with sights set on challenging for a state title.
There is experience coming back for the Panthers with seniors Grace McDermott and Dana Lewandowski coming back to control things on the defensive end, while former Underclassman of the Year Kendall Reardon and fellow senior Caroline Lounsbury will provide leadership in the attack.
Franklin always seems to have players ready to step in and, despite there being a youth movement on the varsity team, the Panthers have already started 2-0 with wins against Needham and Lincoln-Sudbury. Sophomore midfielder Annie Walsh and her freshman sister Erin have both gotten off to strong starts with sophomore Halle Atkinson helping out with a hat trick in the win over L-S as well.
“I am very excited for the 2017 season!” said Igoe Guarino. “Our freshmen and sophomores bring a lot of energy and competitiveness to practice and games, while our juniors and seniors bring the discipline and experience. The two combined could bring us very far again this year!”
King Philip surprised some last spring when the Warriors went on the road to beat Westford Academy in the first round of the Div. 1 East tournament and that experience could pay dividends as KP returns a number of key players with the intent making a run at earning a first league title since 2012.
Senior Angela Vellante is back and head coach Julie Boudreau called her the “quarterback” for the attacking unit. Vellante will be looking to feed junior Katie Crowther, who was the team’s and the league’s leading scorer as a sophomore with 111 points. Senior Meghan Wagner was a starter as a freshman and scored in every game but missed the last two years with an injury and is now back to make an impact on offense.
KP can also count on a strong sophomore class led by a core of midfielders: Caroline Klim, Alli Meehan, Victoria and Olivia Tormey, and Dana Truini. Also back is sophomore goalie Caroline Watson behind a defense of juniors Molly Mullins, Christina Hathaway and Izzy Agricola. Also making a return is assistant coach Mary Pasquantonio, Boudreau’s sister, who brings experience as a former KP player and will help the current crop of Warriors on draw controls.
“We have a deep bench with many sophomores and will be looking to run lines and sub regularly to keep everyone fresh,” said Boudreau. “Our theme for the season is ‘grit=hard work + passion’.”
Mansfield won its opening two games of the 2016 season, but the Hornets struggled during a difficult middle part of the spring and missed out on the state tournament. The Hornets showed flashes of potential during the year, including a close loss to perennial tournament team Hingham, and hopes are high that they can get back into the postseason this year.
Expectations are boosted by the return of a strong core of experience players. Senior Maire Foley will be a focal point of the Hornets attack this year, while classmate Maggie Dunn and junior Ann Maher will return in the midfield. Senior Jen McCabe will provide leadership in defense and sophomore Kaity Garvin will build off her rookie season in attack.
Among the new faces this spring are sophomore midfielders Maggie Danehy, who had a solid winter with the girls’ basketball team, and Lauren Whitman
“Our team really has been working together as a unit day one,” said head coach Alexis Kobey. “They came into the season ready to go and work on what they needed to work on to get better, from draw controls, ball movement, attack/defense they have been showing up everyday. They also really love playing with each other, working with each other, making each other better.”
2016 Record: 3-15 2016 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Tim Dowd
It has been a tough run for Milford since moving to the Hockomock League, but the Hawks bring back an experienced roster for first-year head coach Tim Dowd and he is hopeful that the program will continue to improve over the course of the season.
Dowd’s excitement for the new season is in part built on the leadership of his senior class, including captains Taylor Dube, Jill Burley, and Jordyn Lombardo, who Dowd said would all have “incredible seasons.” He praised all three for their competitive spirits and for pushing their teammates to improve.
Another senior, Brainna Croteau, will be in charge of the defensive unit and Dowd is counting on the development of a talented group of sophomores and juniors. Milford also has two freshmen, Hannah Bangert and Anne Flanagan, who will be on the varsity roster this season and who Dowd thinks will make an impact.
“I think one of our strengths is going to be teamwork and work ethic,” said Dowd. “We want to be a team that goes the extra mile for each other and constantly works to win battles on the field. We’re going to try to outwork other teams. We’re going to try to focus on the little things to hopefully make big improvements.”
2016 Record: 13-7 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 2 East Quarterfinal Coach: Mike Vitelli
Under first-year head coach Mike Vitelli (who had previously led King Philip to a Hockomock League title and a South final), North Attleboro made a jump into second place in the Kelley-Rex division and won 13 games, while reaching the playoffs for the first time. After a loss to eventual state champ Walpole, Vitelli has built up North’s schedule with perennial powers Notre Dame Academy, Natick, and Walpole to get the Rocketeers prepared for a tournament run.
North will clearly miss last year’s Player of the Year Hana Caster (who is now at UMass Lowell), the Rocketeers return a number of important players, including six of the team’s seven defenders. Seniors Samantha Taggart, Emily Schromm, Emma Cromidas, and Alaina Mello will provide an experienced defensive unit in front of junior goalie Kayla Moulin, who Vitelli believes will have a great season.
Up front, North will turn to junior Kenzie Rosenberg and senior Erin Holley, who had breakout seasons for the Rocketeers in 2016. Chloe Olsen, Julia Dakin, and Julia Tolfa will also be counted on to provide offense for North Attleboro, while Camille Pizzaro and freshman Katie Lindstrom will be newcomers to watch this spring.
“I really like the depth of our bench as well,” said Vitelli. “Lots of hybrid players who can play in many roles…Biggest question I’ve gotten this offseason has been ‘how can you replace Hana Caster?’ My response is we can’t. But that being said, I don’t think any player is replaceable…It just becomes an opportunity for other players to step in and make their mark.”
2016 Record: 8-11 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Abby Tepper
Oliver Ames reached the postseason last year by finishing second in the Davenport division and will look to build on that in 2017 in the Tigers first season in the Kelley-Rex and first season under new head coach Abby Tepper, who is only one year removed from the end of a very successful college playing career at Salve Regina and a solid first season as coach of the OA field hockey program this fall.
Tepper inherits a roster with several key returning players that provide a foundation for the Tigers, who won the opening two games of the spring. Junior captain Sofia Masciarelli will be the main attacking cog for OA this season with senior Katie Davenport back in the heart of the defense and junior goalie Ari Waldorf will be back between the pipes.
Also back for OA and expected to make a step up into the starting lineup are senior captain Kendall Clifford in the midfield, junior Chloe Kilkelly in the attack, and sophomore midfielder Olivia Piazza.
“The girls have been working hard each day at practice to prepare for the tough schedule they will face,” said Tepper. They continually improve their skills and lacrosse IQ each day. I have been impressed with how the girls have pushed one another to get better and have committed themselves to the program.”
2016 Record: 10-9 2016 Finish: Reached Div. 1 East First Round Coach: Colleen Carchedi
In her second season in charge, Sharon head coach Colleen Carchedi (née Manning) led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance. On their home grass, the Eagles put in a great performance to battle perennial playoff competitor Bishop Feehan and the experience has generated a lot of excitement in the program as the new season begins.
Sharon has five key players returning from last season, including leading scorer Alex Rabb and twin sister Sam, who is one of the team’s top defensive players. Senior Anna Crosby will be the motor in the midfield and junior midfielder Sabrina Robbins has verbally committed to the University of Colorado. Carchedi said of Robbins, “She is someone who always gets the job done and deserves more credit than she gets. She is reliable and hard working, never afraid to take a risk.”
Sophomore Emma Eberhardt is another player coming back that Carchedi believes will be able to take on a much larger role this spring. Eberhardt will add size in the midfield and, particularly, on draw controls. Carchedi said, “She is an all around stud athlete and is for sure a player to watch.” Sophomore Rose Wald is a newcomer that takes over in goal.
“I know we are going to be a really well balanced team,” Carchedi added, noting that the Eagles had six different goal scorers in the season opener against Milford. “I am so excited for the season and ready to hit the ground running after a big game against my old high school, KP.”
With a win against Norton on Monday, Taunton avenged a pair of losses to the Lancers from 2016 and is halfway to last year’s win total. The Tigers are still a young program at the varsity level and, as such, head coach Kerry Northup knows there will be a learning curve against Hockomock opponents, but she is also excited about the team’s potential.
The Tigers will turn to seniors Delaney Powell, Annie Tate, and Abbey Kingman to provide consistent offense this spring and all three had big games in the opener against Norton, combining for 12 of the team’s 17 goals. Powell led the way with six goals in the win and junior Lorna Li had 12 saves in another strong performance for the Tigers’ “confident” goalie.
Taunton also has plenty of youth that will be gaining valuable experience this spring, including three sophomores, a pair of freshmen, and three eighth graders. One of the eighth graders, Alana Tavares, made the most of her varsity debut on Monday, potting five goals against Norton and will be one of the newcomers to watch in the Hock this season.
“We have a solid group of girls this season,” said Northup. “Our strength players have a nice balance throughout the field from offense, mid, to defense. We are not a powerhouse team, but a team with passion, drive, and grit. These girls play to the end and don’t give up until that last whistle sounds.”
MARLBORO, Mass. – The venue was different, the opponent was different, but the situation was all too familiar for Milford.
For the second straight year, the ninth seeded Scarlet Hawks found themselves on the road in a hostile environment in the First Round of the D2 Central Sectional and once again, down double digits.
That’s where the similarities end.
Last year’s second half comeback came up short in the final minutes but the 2017 Scarlet Hawks, with a bit more experience under their belts, erased a 12-point fourth quarter deficit and walked out of Marlboro High with a 78-73 win over the Panthers in overtime.
“I think what really helped us tonight was last year,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “I have a handful of guys who played on the road at Holliston in the same 8-seed, 9-seed matchup. We were down nine at halftime and we came back to take the lead but lost late. It was familiar tonight, playing from behind but tonight we were able to figure it out.
“The kids believed. It says it right there on our shorts, ‘believe.’ They believed, they never thought we were out of it. Even in the first quarter, we were playing from the whole time but they never stopped believing, especially in the tournament.”
The Scarlet Hawks made their move when they forced 6’8″ Marlboro star Chris Doherty to the bench with four fouls three minutes into the quarter. Junior Kayden Kelley (18 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists) converted a three point play on Doherty’s fourth foul, cutting the deficit to 61-53.
“[Kelley] got dunked on a couple times, you can talk about that if you want but he never stopped playing, he never stopped competing,” Seaver said. “He scored some of the biggest baskets in this game. Just wow, it takes a lot of resiliency to do that and that’s the definition of him.”
With Doherty on the bench, Milford put together a 7-2 run over a two minute span. Kelley hit two free throws, Shane Cosquete hit a floater and Anthony Arcudi (25 points) drained a three from the corner to cut the deficit to three, 63-60, with 2:53 to play.
“I knew how good [Doherty] was coming in, but we knew he got frustrated easily,” Kelley said. “We just kept going at him, once he got four fouls I knew it was my time to takeover.”
Cosquete (13 points) another free throw, Alex Macek came away with a steal on the defensive end, and Zack Tamagni (16 points four assists) converted a three point play with just under two minutes to play to put Milford up 64-63.
Marlboro’s Owen Cappadona (24 points) drained a three in response to put the hosts back up but Tamagni took a defensive rebound the length of the coast and laid it in to tie the game, 66-66, with 48.3 seconds to play.
Milford got a stop on Marlboro’s next possession, but turned the ball over with 2.2 seconds left before getting a shot up. Marlboro had its last second shot from beyond half court hit the front iron to send the game to overtime.
Doherty (17 points, 16 rebounds) started the overtime period and gave Marlboro a brief lead, 68-67 on free throw but Kelley responded with a shot over Doherty to put Milford up 68-67.
The Hawks got a stop on the defensive end and Kelley hauled in the rebound. Doherty went for the steal but instead was whistled for his fifth foul with 3:05 to play.
That gave Milford some momentum with Kelley hitting one free throw and then Cosquete driving to the basket to take a 71-67 lead. The Scarlet Hawks allowed Marlboro to get back into the game, turning to ball over on consecutive possessions leading to four points for the Panthers.
But with Doherty on the bench, the Hawks continued to attack the basket with Kelley taking a feed from Macek to a bucket with just over a minute to play. Marlboro missed a three and Milford went right back to the paint, with Kelley converted a fade away off a pass from Tamagni – who saved the ball from going out of bounds.
“When [Doherty’s] in the game, he’s huge, it’s tough to get anything inside, that’s why he’s one of the best big men in the state,” Seaver said. “When he fouled out, we started getting Kayden some touches. In overtime he hit two big baskets to kind of ice the game, that’s why you stick with it. Doherty is fantastic, he has a bright basketball future ahead of him. But props to Kayden, he dug in the whole way, all 36 minutes.”
Marlboro cut the deficit to two, and then forced a turnover but their go-ahead three attempt rimmed out with 10 seconds to go. Arcudi hit two free throws to ice the game.
“Unreal, absolutely unreal,” Arcudi said. “[Milford’s] first tournament win since 2013. We knew Chris Doherty had four fouls so we wanted to attack the hoop and get to him. Once he got five, we knew we could get to the basket. It’s all about not being complacent, battling through adversity and getting to the hoop, drawing fouls and getting to the line.”
Milford was forced to get the majority of its offense from outside the three point line early on in the game. The Hawks went 5/7 from three point range in the opening quarter but Marlboro shot 56% from the field, hitting 10 field goals for a 23-17 lead after one.
Milford only hit three more three pointers the rest of the game.
“It’s a credit to Marlboro,” Seaver said. “They probably saw us sometime down the stretch when we were hot from the outside. So credit to them to game plan and take the three away from them. We didn’t hit a ton of threes tonight but we found ways to win and balance is going to help us get through.”
Marlboro led by as much as 13 in the second quarter but Milford battled back with Kelley connecting on a put back at the buzzer to keep the deficit in single digits – 37-29 – going into halftime.
The Scarlet Hawks continued to claw back in the third quarter, getting within five points at the midway point when Tamagni sliced through the defense for a circus layup. But Doherty used a nice spin move in the post for a dunk that sparked a 9-0 run that put the Panthers up 14 with under two minutes to play in the third.
“We had nothing to lose, all the pressure was on them,” Arcudi said. “They went to the state final two years ago, district finals last year. We didn’t have anything to lose so pressure was on them.”
Milford boys basketball (11-10) advances to the D2 Central Quarterfinal to take on top-seeded Nashoba (17-3). Of Nashoba’s three losses, two were against Marlboro. The Hawks will travel to Nashoba on Thursday at 7:30.
Six girls’ basketball teams will begin their quests for a state championship when the state tournament begins this week. League champions Mansfield (Div. 1 South) and Foxboro (Div. 2 South) both earned the top seed in their respective brackets, but neither will have an easy road with league rivals like Attleboro, Oliver Ames, and North Attleboro posing major threats to bringing home a trophy. Milford will also represent the league as the lone Hock team in Div. 2 Central.
As usual, Div. 1 South is a loaded bracket with some of the top programs in the state, including defending state champion Bishop Feehan and perennial powers Braintree and Newton North. Mansfield (18-2) earned the top seed in a coin flip with the Shamrocks, who beat the Hornets in an exclusion game during the regular season. More important than the seed, Mansfield will now avoid the Shamrocks, the Wamps, and the Tigers until the South final.
Led by senior guard Jen Peel and junior center Meg Hill, the Hornets like to slow the pace down and focus on strong defense, which held teams to a league-best 38.0 points per game. Mansfield is young this season, but deep and versatile and head coach Mike Redding’s squad should match up well against the teams on its side of the bracket, including potential semifinal opponents Wellesley or Marshfield (which Mansfield beat 52-47 in December).
In order for the Hornets to get to the semifinals, they may have to go through Kelley-Rex rival Attleboro (15-7), which claimed the No. 8 seed and will host Brockton (Attleboro beat the Boxers 63-55 in December). The Bombardiers have scuffled down the stretch, losing seven of its final 14 games of the regular season, but closed it out by putting 94 points up on Durfee in the season finale.
With seniors Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan, Attleboro has a potent inside-out combo and has been one of the top offensive teams in the league this year, averaging a league-best 61.4 points per game. The issue for the Bombardiers will be trying to slow down Jen Peel and Mansfield in the quarterfinal, if they can get past a dangerous Brockton team in Tuesday’s playoff opener. Attleboro struggled in two losses to Mansfield in the regular season, but will be hoping third time is the charm to set up a potential rematch with Wellesley, which knocked the Bombardiers out of last year’s tournament.
Foxboro (18-2) has been on fire to close out the season, winning 12 in a row entering the playoffs, including a 20-point win over North Attleboro to claim the league title and an impressive overtime win over Lincoln-Sudbury in the end-of-season tournament. The Warriors will be led by league MVP Ashley Sampson, who scored 31 in that win over L-S and nailed a three-pointer that forced OT, but a strong supporting cast includes Lily Sykes and Grace Tamulionis. The scary part is that all three are juniors and will be back next winter as well.
The Warriors will not have an easy path in Div. 2 South, which is another loaded bracket, and will have to face one of the two finalists from 2016, either Hingham or Oliver Ames, in the quarterfinal and could potentially face the Rocketeers for a third time in the semifinal. Westwood, Nauset, and Falmouth, which knocked Foxboro out of the tournament last year, could wait in the sectional final.
Oliver Ames (13-7), the defending Div. 2 South champ, has had an up and down first season in the Kelley-Rex but managed to claim second in the division and is a sleeper to retain its South title. The Tigers will have a very difficult road to try and repeat with a trip to last year’s South finalist Hingham waiting in the first round and a potential meeting with Foxboro looming in the quarterfinal (the Warriors won the league meeting between the teams 51-35).
Kayla Raymond will be the focus of all of OA’s opponents, but trying to slow down the junior forward is easier said than done. If the Tigers can get support for Raymond from senior Niyera Mitchell and find consistent outside shooting, then OA will be a tough matchup. Losing sophomore guard Sadie Homer during the season and senior Francesca Calabraro prior to it has made things tougher but no one will take head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook’s team lightly.
North Attleboro (16-6) is another sleeper in Div. 2 South. Last year, the Rocketeers were knocked out in the first round by OA on a last second Raymond basket and could have made a similar run to the Tigers if they had made it through. This year, North comes in with six losses, but only one to a team in Div. 2 and that was the league final against Foxboro. Despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern to injury, North earned an impressive come from behind win against Attleboro in the final week and has the potential to make a deep run this year.
The Rocketeers are loaded with experienced seniors, including forward Caroline Collard and guards Samantha Taggart and Emily Schromm, who have shown the ability to win close games against good teams this season. North beat Foxboro in the first meeting, beat Oliver Ames by one, and has also beaten potential tourney opponents Hingham and Westwood this year. North faces Madison Park to start and likely will face Duxbury in the quarterfinal to try and get a rubber match with Foxboro in the semifinal.
Milford (10-10) qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2012 and has shown immense progress in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season in charge. But, the Hawks have also struggled down the stretch, albeit against a tough stretch of league opponents including North Attleboro and Foxboro twice, OA, and Attleboro. The Hawks will be in Div. 2 Central and will likely face Marlboro in the playoff opener, which is a team similar to the Hawks that shoots a lot of threes and does not have a true post presence.
The Hawks will be counting on a big game from junior guard Kate Irwin, who has been among the league’s top scorers this season, but Milford has a lot of versatile players that can cause teams problems on the perimeter and in the paint, including senior Nicole Dahlgren. If the Hawks do get through the first round, then they will travel to No. 3 seed Groton-Dunstable and could face a couple of Eastern Mass. transplants in Hopkinton and Medfield.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. — It’s been quite a 10-day stretch for North Attleboro, qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2011 last week and winning their first Hockomock championship since 2001 on Friday night.
But the Rocketeers had no problem getting motivated for Sunday night’s contest with the visiting Milford Scarlet Hawks.
All they had to do was look back three weeks when the Hawks went coast-to-coast to beat the Rocketeers on a buzzer beater at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Or two seasons ago, when a pair of free throws with no time left turned a one-point advantage into a one-point loss.
In fact, North Attleboro’s senior class was winless against the Hawks heading into the final Hockomock League game of the season.
Hosting Milford for the first time in four years, the Rocketeers closed out the fourth quarter in true championship fashion, outscoring the Scarlet Hawks 20-1 over the final six minutes of play to turn a close game into a 66-45 win.
“We just clinched playoffs, we just won the league championship but we didn’t need any extra motivation for this one,” said North Attleboro senior Thomas Reynolds, who was on the court for both of Milford’s last second wins. “You just have to look back at the last couple of years. Losing on the free throw, losing at the Dunk twice, we had never beat them. It was definitely nice to come in here to get the last league win.”
“It’s a satisfying win for the kids, especially for the seniors,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins, who also picked up his first win over Milford. “For the past four years, Milford has been our boogeyman, we just couldn’t beat them. Hopefully this is just one in a string of games that we’re in here that could potentially get us a home game in the playoffs.
North Attleboro’s strategy to feed big man Jonny Friberg paid off in two ways – the 6’6 senior poured in a career-high 28 points while hauling in 11 rebounds and the pounding inside resulted in some fouls for the Hawks.
Milford was whistled for eight fouls in the third quarter — four of them on Hawks leading rebounder Kayden Kelley (five points, six rebounds).
The Rocketeers started their big run taking advantage of Kelley’s absence with Chad Peterson (eight points, six rebounds, five assists) finishing a put back, Reynolds (nine points, two rebounds) hitting a free throw and then Peterson draining a three off of an offensive rebound.
Brent Doherty (14 points, four rebounds, four assists) found Friberg in the post for two to extend North Attleboro’s lead to 55-44 with four minutes to play. After a pair of stops from the Rocketeers’ defense, Reynolds drained a three off a pass from Peterson to make it 57-44 with 2:31 to play.
“It’s just about confidence,” Reynolds said about being able to close out games better. “We’ve figured out how to win games, close out games. We’re all confident in each other, it doesn’t matter who takes the big shot. We all just want to make sure we get a great shot over a good shot.”
Doherty added a layup and Reynolds added two more free throws to push the run to 15-0 over a five minute span. It marked the second straight game that North Attleboro kept its opponent for five minutes in the final quarter.
Milford shot 0/6 and had five turnovers in the stretch.
“When guys are thinking about defense first and you play good defense, you don’t have to think too much about the offense,” Mulkerrins said. “You look at that 20-1 run down the stretch and a lot of people look at the 20 but I look at the one. If you want to beat teams like Milford and Foxboro, the one is much more important to us.”
North Attleboro had a near flawless start to the game, finding Friberg early and often. The senior scored 11 of the team’s first 14 points while Doherty added five and Peterson had a trifecta. North shot 8/11 from the field while forcing four turnovers.
But Milford responded with an even better second quarter to take the lead into halftime. After North scored the opening bucket of the quarter, the Hawks went on a wild 18-0 run to seize a five point advantage. Zack Tamagni (14 points, four assists) bookended the run with a pair of layups while both Nate Davila (nine points) and Shane Cosquete (nine points, five rebounds) hit a pair of three pointers in the stretch.
The Rocketeers closed the deficit some in the final two minutes of the half, with Doherty finding space for a layup and Friberg grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring right before the buzzer. Milford led 28-25 at half.
Big Red carried that momentum into the third quarter and used a 12-0 run to take the lead back. Reynolds started the run with a three, Friberg added two free throws and a bucket in the paint and Doherty hit a three and converted a put back in the stretch.
“We knew it’d be a game of runs,” Mulkerrins said. “We knew they’d punch back. I thought Milford did an excellent job in the second quarter of executing their game plan and moving the ball and getting the pace that works for them. I was proud of how we finished the second quarter and then we started the second half on a much better run. I’m real proud of the guys for counter punching.”
North Attleboro finished with 19 assists on 23 made field goals and won the rebounding battle 30-27.
“This group has really bought into the concept of team over individual,” Mulkerrins said. “We’re always striving to get a great shot instead of a good shot. To their credit, they continued to share the ball and gave up individual opportunities for the greater good of the team.”
“This has been surreal,” Reynolds said.”To go 0-20 my freshman year and see how far we’ve progressed, it’s just an unreal feeling. I couldn’t be prouder to be teammates with these guys.”
North Attleboro boys basketball (13-7 overall, 10-6 Hockomock) is back in action on Monday when they travel to take on rival Attleboro in a non-league contest at 6:00. Milford (9-10, 7-9) is also back in action on Monday when it hosts Medway. The Scarlet Hawks need a win to get into the state tournament.
MILFORD, Mass. – The King Philip boys swimming team had to share the dual meet title with Franklin and Taunton.
The Warriors weren’t going to share the Hockomock League Championship title with anyone.
For the second straight year, King Philip took home first place at the league meet held at Milford High School, pulling away from Canton, Milford, Franklin and Taunton down the stretch. The Warriors had a total of 279 points.
“It was an exciting meet to come into,” said first-year KP head coach Jack Pettine. “We were looking to do the best we could today. Throughout the season we had a lot of great competition to prepare us for today.”
King Philip won the first event of the day (200 medley relay) and it turned out to be the only first place finish the Warriors. In the final 10 events, the Warriors relied on their depth with a swimming finishing in fourth or better in eight of them. The only two events KP didn’t have a placement in the top six were the 100 yard free and the 200 free relay.
“We had some really strong showings from guys all throughout the team,” Pettine said. “After our guys who came in first, the guys who came in second, those little points really add up at the end to get us in first place.”
The team of sophomore Colby Vieira, senior Jack Poppenberger, senior Andy Sprague and sophomore Tyler Stringfellow got the Warriors off to a strong start, clocking in at 1:46.96 to win the 200 medley relay, edging Franklin, Milford and Franklin by a second or less.
That foursome went on to pace King Philip the rest of the way.
Vieira took fourth in the 200 IM (2:07.78) and third in the 100 backstroke (57.74), Poppenberger took third in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.04) and was apart of the 200 free relay that placed seventh, Sprague had a pair of third place finishes, first in the 50 free (23.35) and then in the 100 fly (55.12) and Stringfellow took second in both the 200 free (1:50.30) and 500 free (4:53.69).
Sprague, Vieira and Stringfellow, along with Dean Whyte, took second in the 400 free relay (3:28.06) to finish the meet.
KP also got strong performances from freshman John Dionis (eighth in the 200 free), Dean Whyte (eighth in 200 IM and fifth in the 100 backstroke) and Tate Duffy (fourth in 500 free and eighth in 100 breaststroke). All three were also apart of the 200 free relay that took seventh.
“Dean Whyte came in with some really good placing, Andy Sprague and John Dionis picked up some big points, Kyle Loud helped out too,” Pettine said. “Pretty much everyone on the team, top to bottom, came through in the clutch and that was exciting. It was all-team effort which is great.
“And I could not have done this season without my assistant coach Danielle Hopkins. She kept me going through it all. She worked great with the kids, she was one of our biggest strengths all season long.”
Fresh off a Davenport division dual meet title, Canton carried its momentum in to grab second place with 256 points.
The Bulldogs followed the lead of senior Sebastian Melendez (four time winner) and capitalized on strong showings in the freestyle events to get second place.
Melendez took first in both the 200 free (1:45.54) and the 500 free (4:46.23) – touching the wall at least five seconds ahead of second place in both events. Melendez also anchored the 400 free relay to a thrilling comeback in the final event of the meet and was also apart of the 200 free relay that took first.
Melendez was joined by seniors Owen Guerini and Sean Mitchell as well as freshman Adrian Bankowski in both relay wins.
“Those were big points there are the end, that really elevated us at the end,” said Canton coach Cheryl Cavanaugh. “Our relays were awesome. All of the kids had personal bests, some of the kids were even knocking as much as five and six seconds off of their time. It was an incredible day for us.
“All of the kids in the middle really improved today and knocked a lot of time off.”
Guerini, Mitchell and Bankowski made their mark throughout the meet as well. Mitchell picked up points with a second place in the 50 free (22.99) and touched in fourth in the 100 breaststroke, Guerini was fifth in the 50 free (23.39) and finished sixth overall in the 100 free and Bankowski, in his first league championship meet, was seventh overall in the 50 free (23.88) and came in sixth in the 500 free (5:32.55)
Diego Ferstler also record points for the Bulldogs, placing ninth in the 50 free, 11th in the 100 free and taking 10th in the 200 medley relay along with Chris Milne, Matthew Gilmore and Justin Diep. Mile also took 11th in the 100 breaststroke and Gilmore and Deep took sixth and 12th, respectively, in the 100 fly.
“We were right in the thick of things for a while and we were shocked to be in first at times and be with the big schools,” Cavanaugh said. “We came in just looking for personal bests and trying to get as many medals as we could. It was great for the kids to hear we were in contention for first place.”
Milford rounded out the top three, finishing with 251 points. Senior Nick Antonellis followed up an impressive performance at last year’s meet with another strong showing on Friday night.
“We were right in the thick of it the entire day,” said Milford head coach Dave Chaplin. “I’ve got to give total credit to our staff, they really prepared the kids for a great performance today. I don’t think we had a kid dive in the pool and not swim their best. Every sectional and state qualifying time we were looking to accomplish, we did that in spades. Just a fantastic effort, it was a great performance.”
Antonellis claimed first place in both the 200 IM (1:59.15) and the 100 fly (53.96) and helped two relay teams to top five finishes.
Antonellis teamed with Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson and Marcello Panno to clock in at 1:47.65 in the 200 medley relay – good enough for third place. That same foursome teamed together for the 400 free relay and finished in 3:35.26, taking fourth place.
Watson surged to a first place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
Panno also placed in the 50 free (sixth, 23.65) and the 100 free (fifth, 52.71). Scarlet Hawk freshman Gillieson Hobert took seven in the 100 backstroke (1:04.77) and 11th in the 50 free (25.25) and teamed with Pacella, Michael Khoury and Gianni Panno for a fourth place finish in the 200 free relay.
Franklin senior Connor Bourgeois won the 50 free (22.51), Oliver Ames sophomore Kyle Gray touched first in a very close 100 free race, coming in at 51.20 – 0.02 seconds ahead of Sharon’s Jason Hertz. North Attleboro’s Nick Haddad claimed first in the 100 backstroke (55.09).
King Philip’s Cara Angelo and Oliver Ames’ Cam Bourne won the diving championships at the beginning of the meet.
1. King Philip – 279
2. Canton – 256
3. Milford – 251
4. Franklin – 249.50
5. Taunton – 238
6. Oliver Ames – 210.50
7. Attleboro – 149
8. Mansfield – 138
9. North Attleboro – 133
10. Sharon – 129
11. Foxboro – 31
12. Stoughton (one swimmer) – 4
200 Yard Medley Relay
1. King Philip (Colby Vieira, Jack Poppenberger, Andy Sprague, Tyler Stringfellow) – 1:46.96
2. Franklin (Jack Cashin, Roy Wang, Sumit Choudhury, Connor Bourgeois) – 1:47.41
3. Milford (Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson, Nick Antonellis, Marcello Panno) – 1:47.65
4. Taunton (Navid Darius, Matthew Heather, Caelan Schrama, Noah Moniz) – 1:47.98
5. Attleboro (Colton Parkinson, Camren Fuller, Casey Cross, Connor Dunn) – 1:50.56
6. Mansfield (Zachary Costello, Jared Gabrilowtiz, Sebastian Gwynne, Matthew Weiner) – 1:54.34
200 Yard Free
1. Sebastian Melendez, Canton – 1:45.54
2. Tyler Stringfellow, King Philip – 1:50.30
3. Andrew Abramson, Oliver Ames – 1:56.01
4. Sumit Choudhury, Franklin – 2:02.94
5. Matthew Heather, Taunton – 2:03.00
6. Gianni Panno, Milford – 2:05.40
200 Yard IM
1. Nick Antonellis, Milford – 1:59.15
2. Nick Haddad, North Attleboro – 2:04.76
3. Colton Parkinson, Attleboro – 2:04.28
4. Colby Vieira, King Philip – 2:07.78
5. Noah Moniz, Taunton – 2:07.83
6. Roy Wang, Franklin – 2:10.41
50 Yard Free
1. Connor Bourgeois, Franklin – 22.51
2. Sean Mitchell, Canton – 22.99
3. Andy Sprague, King Philip – 23.35
4. Jason Hertz, Sharon – 23.37
5. Owen Guerini, Canton – 23.39
6. Marcello Panno, Milford – 23.65
100 Yard Butterfly
1. Nick Antonellis, Milford – 53.96
2. Sebastian Gwynne, Mansfield – 54.99
3. Andy Sprague, King Philip – 55.12
4. Kyle Gray, Oliver Ames – 55.17
5. Sumit Choudhury, Franklin – 59.84
6. Matthew Gilmore, Canton – 1:00.65
100 Yard Free
1. Kyle Gray, Oliver Ames – 51.20
2. Jason Hertz, Sharon – 51.22
3. Connor Bourgeois, Franklin – 51.30
4. Caelan Schrama, Taunton – 51.65
5. Marcello Panno, Milford – 52.17
6. Owen Guerini, Canton – 53.08
500 Yard Free
1. Sebastian Melendez, Canton – 4:46.23
2. Tyler Stringfellow, King Philip – 4:53.69
3. Colton Parkinson, Attleboro – 4:54.04
4. Tate Duffy, King Philip – 5:07.26
5. Andrew Abramson, Oliver Ames – 5:07.35
6. Nicholas Lombardo, Oliver Ames – 5:14.78
200 Yard Free Relay
1. Canton (Owen Guerini, Sean Mitchell, Adrian Bankowski, Sebastian Melendez) – 1:31.65
2. Franklin (Jack Cashin, Roy Wang, Sumit Choudhury, Connor Bourgeois) – 1:35.85
3. Sharon (Alexander Lurie, Kevin Yang, Dennis Chau, Jason Hertz) – 1:38.51
4. Milford (Daniel Pacella, Michael Khoury, Gianni Panno, Gillieson Hobert) – 1:39.57
5. Oliver Ames (Anthony Carraggi, Nicholas Lombardo, Alex Buche, Kyle Gray) – 1:40.41
6. North Attleboro (Lucas Haddad, Camrin Young, Brian Hines, Nick Haddad) – 1:42.15
100 Yard Backstroke
1. Nick Haddad, North Attleboro – 55.05
2. Noah Moniz, Taunton – 57.10
3. Colby Vieira, King Philip – 57.74
4. Nicholas Lombardo, Oliver Ames – 1:00.84
5. Dean Whyte, King Philip – 1:02.22
6. Navid Darius, Taunton – 1:04.31
100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Chris Watson, Milford – 1:06.35
2. Roy Wang, Franklin – 1:06.80
3. Jack Poppenberger, King Philip – 1:07.04
4. Sean Mitchell, Canton – 1:07.30
5. Jack Cashin, Franklin – 1:07.89
6. Lucas Haddad, North Attleboro – 1:08.27
400 Yard Free Relay
1. Canton (Owen Guerini, Sean Mitchell, Adrian Bankowski, Sebastian Melendez) – 2:36.31
2. King Philip (Andy Sprague, Dean Whyte, Colby Vieira, Tyler Stringfellow) – 3:28.06
3. Taunton (Noah Moniz, Matthew Heather, Johnathan Rego, Caelan Schrama) – 3:31.89
4. Milford (Marcello Panno, Daniel Pacella, Chris Watson, Nick Antonellis) – 3:35.26
5. Oliver Ames (Nicholas Lombardo, Alex Buche, Andrew Abramson, Kyle Gray) – 3:35.39
6. Attleboro (Connor Dunn, Casey Cross, Camren Fuller, Colton Parkinson) – 3:44.91