Franklin senior Jacob Alexander hasn’t led the league in any offensive category before but he might be the most dominant player returning this season. Alexander has been the best faceoff man (83.6% career win percentage) in the Hockomock League over the past three years, and was one of the best in the entire state last year. His ability to give Franklin extra possessions gives the Panthers an incredible advantage. If they have the lead, they can quickly add onto it. If they are trailing, its likely Alexander can get them the ball right back and start a comeback. Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen Alexander really expand his game and get more involved with the offense beyond just the faceoff, scoring five goals and adding 15 assists last year. He was named first-team All American in 2018.
North Attleboro junior Andy DeMattio made a huge splash last season, emerging as one of the most dangerous attackmen in the Hockomock League. He paced a potent Rocketeers offense with 52 goals and 22 assists, a team-high 74 points. He was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year and to the HockomockSports.com Second Team for his strong sophomore year. With North’s point-leader Tommy Lindstrom graduated, DeMattio is going to likely be the focal point of North’s offense. The junior has the ability to move the ball and find teammates in good positions but he also has the size, speed, and strength to go at defenses one-on-one. Expect DeMattio to have another successful season this year.
King Philip senior Colin DeVellis has tormented defenses for the past two seasons and will be looking to cap his Warrior career off in style. Although not the biggest player on the field, DeVellis is one of the quickest players and finds ways to get past defenses and is very strong finishing in close. Last year, he scored 45 goals in the regular season, tied for fourth most in the Hockomock League and added 28 assists, ranking fourth in the league with 73 points. Whether he has the ball or no, DeVellis can be a nightmare for opposing defenses trying to keep track of him. His pace allows him to get open and he is certainly one of the best finishers in the league.
Oliver Ames had its best season in program history in 2018, going 14-7 and reaching the D2 South Sectional Semifinals. One of the reasons for that was the strong play of then-sophomore Shane Kilkelly. The Tigers had a lot of weapons, including the program’s all-time leading scorer Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher, both of whom graduated. Kilkelly stepped in to give OA a three-headed monster on the offensive end and now will be relied upon as one of the go-to options for the Tigers. One of the junior’s strongest attributes is his distribution. Not only did he have 25 goals last year, he had a team-high 33 assists, which ranked fourth in the Hock and most among returning players. In fact, Kilkelly is just one of three returners with over 25 assists last year. Kilkelly is also a strong two-way player and a main component of the Tigers’ transition game.
The Hockomock League has been loaded with some top goalies over the last couple of seasons. North Attleboro’s Dan MacDonald won the league MVP in 2017 and Foxboro’s Jake Addeche earned the honors last season. Attleboro’s Trevor Koppy has certainly earned his way into that conversation with his play over the past couple of seasons. Now a senior, Koppy could be in line for his best season yet. His goals against average can be a bit deceiving but his save percentage (64.1%) was right up there with the league’s best. He also boasted a league-high 309 saves last year, helping the Bombardiers stay in games at times. He does a nice job reading the play and has quick reactions. He has a tremendous clear that can help the Bombardiers turn defense into offense.
There aren’t too many players in the league this year that are as experienced as Franklin senior Patrick Morrison. Morrison, who is committed to play lacrosse at Boston University, has been a big part of the Panthers’ lineup since he was a freshman. Now a senior, this season could be Morrison’s best. His size (6’3) gives him an advantage on opposing attackmen, and over the past couple of seasons, his speed and strength have both increased allowing him to be a lockdown defenseman. He has no problem playing physical but his ability to read and anticipate plays along with strong stick work often results in cause turnovers. He will certainly be a key part of the Panthers turning defense into offense.
Canton has a good amount of pieces back from the team that reached the D2 South Sectional Semifinals last season, including one of their leading scorers in Griffin Roach. Roach scored a team-high 28 goals last season, had 13 assists, and finished with 41 points in the regular season, which was second most on the Bulldogs. Roach is a confident player that has no problem taking the big shot when needed. If the Bulldogs are in a close game or a situation where they need a big goal, Roach is the type of player you want with the ball on his stick. He has great speed and is very strong in possession. He will be one of the toughest one-on-one covers in the league this year because of his ability to find just enough space to finish. And as we’ve seen over the past two years, his ability to score has improved each season.
Mansfield made it to the D1 South tournament last season but suffered an early exit. The Hornets are aiming to return to the playoffs again this year and one big piece will be senior midfielder Aidan Sacco. Sacco does it all for Mansfield, playing a big part in the defense while also being a catalyst on offense. He’s a very confident player that will likely be a key piece in transition the Hornets from defense to offense. He has a lot of lacrosse experience and is one of the smartest players in the league. The Hornets are going to rely on his decision making and ability to find open teammates throughout the 2019 season.
Foxboro has been one of the best defensive teams over the past couple of seasons and one constant in that unit is senior Pat Stapleton. A key player on the Warriors since his freshman year, Stapleton will be the anchor of the defensive unit this year. He is committed to play at Connecticut College and will be looking to lead the Warriors to a deep run in the state tournament this year. The combination of size and speed makes him one of the top defenseman in the league. Stapleton always seems to be in the right position when Foxboro needs a big stop. Not only is he a top player, he is one of the best leaders in the league. Foxboro should have one of the top defensive groups with Stapleton leading the way.
The Davenport division has run through Foxboro in two of the past three seasons, and senior Brendan Tully will be looking to make it two straight and three of the last four. Tully has had a lot of success in his career at Foxboro but his best might be saved for his last year. Warriors head coach Matt Noone described Tully as the best player on the Warriors as well as the hardest worker, which isn’t always the case. Committed to Providence College, Tully is a blue collar type player that works hard from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Not only is he an important part of the Warriors’ defense, he is a tremendous offensive player. He scored 44 goals last year and added 20 assists. His lacrosse IQ is off the charts.
FRANKLIN, Mass. It’s tough to rank players in terms of importance on the field, but there is certainly no doubting the value in Franklin junior face off specialist Jacob Alexander.
Alexander’s second half dominance at the face off X translated into a big half for the fourth-seeded Panthers, resulting in a 13-7 win #13 Mansfield.
The two Kelley-Rex division rivals were knotted 4-4 at halftime but Franklin dominated time of possession and scoring chances thanks in part to Alexander’s continued success at the ‘X.’ Those possessions and chances resulted in an 8-0 run over the third and fourth quarters.
“It all starts with Jacob, he’s such a key component to our success,” said Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi. “What can you say? He’s winning 86% of his face offs, he’s such a tough draw for any team. He’s so talented, and for a kid his size, he’s got good wheels, he can really play. He’s got great ground ball skills, great dodge skills…he could be an effective first line middie really.”
Mansfield had a strong start, racing out to a 3-1 lead after a quarter of play. But Franklin scored back-to-back goals within a minute span to tie the game. Franklin took its first lead at 4-3 but Mansfield tied it shortly before half.
“We were right in it but Alexander in the face off X, getting them all of those possessions really hurt,” said Mansfield head coach Tim Frias. “[Freshman] Nico [Holmes] is holding his own and he’s done really well but Alexander is a seasoned vet and it shows. I think in that third quarter we had two offensive possessions compared to the first half where it was a lot more back and forth. Franklin did a great job of possessing and making the most of their opportunities.”
Mansfield’s Danny DiGirolamo opened the scoring three minutes into the game and the Hornets nearly doubled it two minutes later but Franklin goalie Connor O’Rourke (12 saves) made a terrific one-on-one save. That save turned into transition for Franklin and senior Eric Civetti buried his shot on the other end to tie it.
The Hornets didn’t flinch though and capitalized on a transition chance of their own when senior Hunter Ferreira came racing down and buried a shot despite being double teamed. Mansfield survived a man-up opportunity from Franklin and drew a penalty in the process.
During the man-up chance, Ferreira went behind the net and then connected on a pass to Brad Grant right in front, who put the Hornets up 3-1 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
Franklin freshman Matt Lazzaro got things going for the Panthers in the second quarter, charging in from a tight angle before bouncing out in front and ripping a shot in. Lazzaro drew a penalty in the process and the Panthers cashed in less than a minute later when Civetti came from behind the net and found just enough space to sneak a shot in to tie the game.
The Panthers capitalized on the momentum and took the lead just over a minute later. Civetti backed his way down and found the slightest of angles to slip his shot inside the post for a 4-3 lead. Mansfield tied the game with three minutes left in the half when Ferreira found Connor Quirk right in front for the tying tally.
Not only did Alexander change the game with his face off wins in the second half, he set the tone early with a goal less than a minute into the second half.
After winning the opening face off, Mansfield nearly forced a turnover but Alexander scooped up the loose ball. He was able to spin between two defenders and fired a bound shot in to put Franklin up 5-4 just 18 seconds into the third quarter.
Mansfield almost had the tying goal in transition but O’Rourke came up with another one-on-one save to preserve the lead. From there, it was all Franklin.
“Connor really came up big for us a couple of times in big moments,” Verrochi said. “If [Mansfield] gets those goals where he came up with brilliant saves, it’s a different game. He made a huge save when it was 3-1 too and if it gets to 4-1, you never know.”
Just 30 seconds after O’Rourke’s save, Franklin cashed in when Chase Tanner ripped a hard shot that bounced just before the goal line and in. Out of a timeout, junior Patrick Morrison found a cutting Ben Greco in front for a 7-4 lead.
With just 12 seconds left in the third, Civetti again worked his way from behind the net in front and found the top corner with his shot for an 8-4 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“I think the offense settled down,” Verrochi said of the second half. “Everything was a little tight in the first half. Once they settled down and looked for good possessions, things started to go our way. We stopped throwing the ball away which we did a couple of times which is uncharacteristic. But it’s a playoff game, emotions are high, but we settled down in the second half. The long possessions helped us and defensively we extended them a bit.”
Alexander continued to win at the X and Franklin’s offense continued to manufacture goals. Lazzaro converted on a breakaway after the Panthers forced turnover near midfield. Mansfield goalie Jack Munroe (13 saves) made a nice stop on a shot but Jonathan O’Glishen cleaned up the rebound for a 10-4 lead.
Sophomore Owen Palmieri made it 11-4 with a goal midway through the quarter and Civetti netted his fifth just a minute later for a 12-4 lead, capping the Panthers’ 8-0 run that started in the third quarter.
Mansfield’s Michael Reed snapped the scoreless drought with a nice individual effort with 4:23 to go. It marked the Hornets’ first goal since the 3:15 mark of the second quarter.
“We felt like we needed to extend on them so we did and I think it kind of took them out of the comfort zone that they were in during the first half,” Verrochi said. “We started to cause some turnovers and did better on the ground balls. We got some nice breaks and some nice finishes from Eric and Matty Lazzaro.”
Tanner answered for Franklin on a nice feed from Kyle McEniry to cap Franklin’s scoring. Joe Cox and DiGirolamo scored in the final two minutes for the Hornets.
Franklin boys lacrosse (16-3) advances to the D1 South quarterfinal round to take on #5 Xaverian (15-4), who beat Marshfield 11-4 in the first round. The game is scheduled for Saturday but a time has yet to be determined. Mansfield finishes the season at 9-9.
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 6 – Final – Mansfield got off to a strong start with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, extended the lead with three runs in the fifth inning and tacked on one more in the sixth in a win over Attleboro. Tyler Dalton went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to lead the Hornets’ offense while Cullin Anastasia was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Kevin Dow struck out nine in five innings of work, allowing four hits and just two walks with no runs against to earn the win. Alvaro Espinel was 1-for-3 with an RBI while Matt Callahan (hit) scored Attleboro’s run.
Stoughton, 6 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Stoughton plated four runs with two outs in the top of the third to build a lead it never let go of. Robbie Seaman had a two-run single and Evan Gibb (2-for-4) followed with a two-run double for the Black Knights. George Currier went 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Ruben Gonzalez had another strong day, getting the win on the mound (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits, 5 K) and went 3-for-3 with a walk.
Canton, 1 @ Milford, 11 – Final – Milford senior Aidan Wilde had three hits, the second one being the 100th of his career, to lead the Hawks to a big win over Canton. Wilde notched the milestone in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single into left field. Sophomore Luke Rosa earned his first career win, striking out three with just one run allowed in five innings of work.
Franklin, 3 @ Taunton, 6 – Final – Taunton took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on five hits but Franklin tied the game with three runs off two hits in the top of the fifth. The Tigers responded right away with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Medeiros got it done at the plate and on the mound for the Tigers. Offensively, he had two hits and an RBI. And on the mound, he earned the win, allowing just three hits while striking out 10 in a complete game effort. Jacob Crawford added two hits and two runs and Griffin Tomaszycki had a hit, two RBI, and a run scored for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 5 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames and King Philip each scored two runs in the first inning but the Tigers were able to beat the Warriors the rest of the way. OA tacked on two more runs in the top of the third, KP cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the third, but the Tigers added the insurance run in the sixth inning. Michael Friel (hit) reached bases three times, stole two bases, scored a run, had an RBI, and played outstanding defense at second base to pace OA to the win. Matt Muir (RBI, double) and Jack Erlich (run) each had two hits for the Tigers. OA’s Tom Parker earned the win with six innings of relief work, not allowing an earned run.
Sharon, 2 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final – North Attleboro junior Ryan Warren roped a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open a tie game and help the Rocketeers beat upset-minded Sharon. Zach DeMattio got things started with a walk, and pinch runner Billy Drummond took second on a sac bunt from Jeff Gale (2-for-2, two runs). After Cohen reached on a drop third strike, Drummond advanced to third, and Cohen stole second. That’s when Warren delivered. Sharon held a 2-0 lead after an inning but North tied things in the third on DeMattio’s two-out, two-run single. Peter Cohen pitched 5.1 innings of relief to earn the way for the Rocketeers.
Mansfield, 3 @ Attleboro, 15 – Final (6 inn.) – Attleboro exploded for 20 hits on the day, getting the game started on the right foot with seven runs in the first inning. Each Bombardier in the lineup had at least one hit led by MacKenzie Killough, who went 3-for-5 with two home runs. Freshman catcher Lora Woyton added a three-run home run, freshman Autumn O’Connell had three hits, Ashley Macia (two doubles) went 3-for-3 and Jordyn Lako was 4-for-5 for the Bombardiers. Jenna Gittle struck out five in six innings of work for Attleboro.
Canton, 1 @ Milford, 13 – Final (6 inn.) – Milford senior Kelley Reichert struck out 10 in a six-inning performance and Emily Piergustavo (3-for-4, four RBI) and Emily Hartman each belted a two-run home run as the Hawks won big at home. Kate Irwin (two runs), Jess Tomaso (double, two RBI), Antonia Bonina (two runs, RBI), and Maddy Bonvino (double, RBI) each had two hits on the day for Milford.
Stoughton, 3 @ Foxboro, 10 – Final – Foxboro avenged a loss from earlier in the season to the Black Knights with a big win on its home field on Wednesday afternoon. Lexi Buckner went 3-for-4, including two doubles and a home run, and finished with six RBI to pace Foxboro’s offense. Morgan Sylvestre went 3-for-4, Kelli McCarthy added two hits and two RBI, and Hannah Davis knocked a run in Emma Rohan scattered five hits, walked one and struck out seven for Foxboro.
Taunton, 6 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – Taunton pushed across three runs in the first inning, added another in the second, and put the game out of reach with a pair in the fourth inning on the road at Franklin. Tigers freshman Kelsey White won her fourth game of the season, allowing just one run on seven hits with eight strikeouts (and no walks). Offensively, Alexa White and Liana Duarte (RBI) each had two hits while Jaime Brown (RBI) reached four times with three walks and a triple. Kya Enos, Hanna Aldrich, and McKenzie McAloon each knocked in a run for the Tigers. Franklin scored in the sixth inning when Ally Shea doubled and courtesy runner Molly Collins came around to score on a single from Tara Hartnett. Emily Valentino struck out four while Gabby Colace played a great game defensively for FHS.
King Philip, 13 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – King Philip scored eight runs in the top of the third to create separation against the Tigers and never looked back. Destiny Goyco, Lilliana Rolfe, and Faith Turinese each collected three hits for the Warriors while Nicole Carter and Meghan Gorman each pitched in with two apiece. Turinese earned the win, allowing one run in seven innings of work. For OA, Katie Mills was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Mills was knocked in by Katie Abreu (2-for-3); Sarah Tetrault and Lexie Campbell also each had a hit for the Tigers.
North Attleboro, 14 @ Sharon, 2 – Final (5 Inn.) – Olivia DesRoches pitched five innings and struck out four to pick up the win for the Rocketeers. Abby Gallagher had four hits and drove in a pair of runs for the North offense, which also got two hits apiece from Olivia Capobianco, Bella Erti (including a two-run homer), and Andrea Miceli. Stephanie Inglese hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Emily Pastore made a “highlight-reel grab” for North in the win.
Attleboro, 2 @ Milford, 8 – Final – Milford scored four goals in each the second and third quarters, taking a shutout into the final frame against visiting Attleboro. Freshman Evan Hazard turned aside 15 shots while Andrew Gallagher and Ryan Hazard each scored three goals apiece for the Hawks.
Canton, 7 @ King Philip, 8 – Final (OT) – Canton junior Mike Shaw scored in the final minute of the game to tie it and send it to overtime but the Warriors prevailed with the win. KP was able to hold off Canton’s extra-man opportunity to begin the overtime period before netting the winner. Canton sophomore Jack Connolly played great in goal with 12 saves while Dan Cohen (two goals) was one of six Bulldogs to score.
Foxboro, 7 @ Mansfield, 10 – Final
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Franklin, 17 – Final – Senior Johnny O’Glishen scored a pair of goals and added an assist to help the Panthers pick up a big win on Senior Night. Sophomore Ben Greco added a pair of goals, while sophomore Luc Sweeney and junior Patrick Morrison each had one goal and one assist each. Eric LeBlanc scored three goals for Oliver Ames.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Sharon, 7 – Final – Sharon limited North Attleboro to just one goal in the first half, building a 4-1 advantage that it never let go of. The Rocketeers got within two late in the fourth quarter but the Eagles secured the win with a seventh goal with three minutes to go. A big reason for Sharon’s big defensive game was goalie Jonathan Greenberg, who turned away 18 shots in the in. Offensively, Chase Waxman had three goals for the Eagles, Kadin Nestler added two, and Spencer Hall and Dan Lilienfield each scored once. Senior Brett Litner collected four assists for the Eagles.
Stoughton, 7 @ Taunton, 5 – Final
Milford, 6 @ Attleboro, 12 – Final – Kyra Lyons paced the Bombardiers with seven goals and Kim White scored her first varsity goal in the win. Attleboro also got goals from Hannah Aspinwall, Emily Patton, Sydney DiLiddo, and Rylee Fontes. Head coach Kevin Patton called it a “total team effort.”
King Philip, 16 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Seven different players scored goals for the Warriors in another big league win. Olivia Tormey and Caroline Klim each scored four goals for KP and Dana Truini scored twice and assisted on three other goals. Alli Meehan, Lauren Anderson, and Emma Izydorczak each scored once in the win, while Caroline Watson made eight saves in the KP goal. Leah McClellan and Maggie Connolly each scored twice for the Bulldogs and Kaitlyn Goyetch scored once. Connolly also had an assist. Vicki Revanche made 13 saves in the loss.
Mansfield, 5 @ Foxboro, 20 – Final
Franklin, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Franklin senior Nicole Houlihan and freshman Elizabeth Wilson each accounted for four points apiece as the Panthers rolled to a win on the road. Houlihan had two goals and two assists, Wilson finished with one goal and three assists, and sophomore Erin Walsh chipped in with three goals and three assists. FHS coach Kristin Igoe-Guarino said Annie Walsh and Hailey Toolin both played well in the midfield for the Panthers. Chloe Kilkelly scored twice for Oliver Ames while Olivia Piazza recorded three assists.
Sharon, 9 @ North Attleboro, 8 – Final – Maeve Barbera scored the game-winning goal, her second of the afternoon, for Sharon with 15 seconds left in the game to split the season series against North. Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain called this a “huge win” for the Eagles and said that the game was “very close and competitive the whole time.” She added that the Eagles defense created turnovers in big moments and that the transition was “really great.” Sabrina Robbins scored three goals and Emma Eberhardt had four goals and an assist. Jenna Goldstein had an assist and Rose Wald made five saves in the win. Mackenzie Rosenberg scored six goals in defeat for the Rocketeers.
Mansfield, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Mansfield went on . the road and picked up a sweep over Attleboro, winning all five matches in straight sets. Luke Nickerson didn’t lose a game at first singles, Luke Devine won 6-3, 6-1 at second singles, and Peter Lally emerged with a 6-3, 7-5 decision at third singles. The team of Sam Cavicchi and Nilay Pangrekar won 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles, and Sam Schirmacher and Sam Donellan won by the same score at second doubles for the Hornets.
Milford, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton picked up a pair of wins in singles and two more victories in doubles to beat visiting Milford. Dillon Anderson won 7-6, 6-0 at second singles and freshman Minh Duong took a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles for the Bulldogs. The team of Charlie Malloy and Aidas Jakubenas won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles and Justin Luk and Ethan Nguyen prevailed 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles for Canton. Milford’s BrenO’Shaughnessyessy rallied from a one-set deficit to win 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Stoughton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Stoughton freshman Waseem Sablon picked up a win in straight sets at first singles but the Black Knights fell on the road to the Warriors. Sablon won his match 6-3, 6-1.
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Franklin took a pair of wins from singles play and swept doubles in straight sets to get a win on the road at Taunton. Freshman Liam Marr won 6-0, 6-2 at second singles and senior Tyler DiPalma prevailed 7-5, 6-2 at third singles. The team of Tony Calderone and Derek Wu won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles while Saketh Saripalli and Shournik Sompally lost just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles for the Panthers.
King Philip, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – King Philip’s Max Goreham and Riley Outlaw recorded their first career wins, taking a 6-0, 6-4 victory at second doubles in the Warriors sweep of OA. Jake Mager and Zak Ryan added a 6-2, 6-0 win at first doubles, Nick Putney (first singles) and Jack Cannon (second singles) didn’t lose a game, and Nick Ihley won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles for KP.
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – The Hornets swept doubles play and picked up two more wins in singles action, winning all four matches in straight sets against the visiting Bombardiers. Senior Sarah Doyle won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles and junior Elizabeth Elsner notched a 6-2, 6-2 win at second singles for the Hornets. The team of Tessa Garufi and Hannah Podolske won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles while Samantha Sternburg and Aryana Khosravani won 6-1, 6-4 at second doubles for Mansfield. Attleboro’s Anna Nelson won 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.
Canton, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Canton freshman Natalie Keppler emerged with a third set breaker to get the win, helping the Bulldogs finish off the sweep on the road. Keppler won 6-4, 2-6, 10-6 to get the win, classmate Rachel Kupferman won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles, and Sarah Hernandez won 6-1, 6-0 at third singles for Canton. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Caitlin Matthews earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at first doubles while Anjali Mandal and Jamie Cree teamed up to win 6-2, 6-3 at second doubles for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Foxboro’s three singles players combined to drop just three games total in a clean sweep over Stoughton. Sophia Prinos didn’t drop a game at first singles, Pamela Nelson won 6-0, 6-2 at second singles, and Kayla Prag earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. Julia Muise and Sarah Prag paired together for a 6-2, 6-4 victory at first doubles while Olivia Dantona and Kendall Milender dropped just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – Taunton won all five of its matches in straights, going on the road to get a sweep at Franklin. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, Vanessa Rosa took a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca earned a 6-1, 6-2 decision at third singles. McKenzie Lucie and Samantha Martin notched a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles while Amanda Pugh and Brianna Fevrier teamed together for a 6-2, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – After dropping a first set tiebreak, Oliver Ames’ second doubles team of Olivia Groebe and Rachel Stryke rallied to win two straight sets and clinch the winning point for the Tigers. Groebe and Stryke won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 while OA’s first doubles team of Kristin Bloumbas and Emily Yu also recorded a comeback win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Sophomore Maura Kiernan also won in three set for OA, taking a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 decision at third singles. KP’s Erin Regnier won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles and Meghan Sepich prevailed 6-3, 6-0 at second singles.
Sharon, 5 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Sharon won all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep of North Attleboro on the road. Nupur Shukla won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, Lulu Yuan earned a 6-0, 6-3 decision at second singles, and EmilyWen prevailed 6-3, 6-1 at third singles. The team of Katie Merport and Sachi Bhasin notched a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles while Rithika Neti and Sophia Fein continued their strong season with a 6-3, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Although it had been a running clock throughout the fourth quarter, there was still just enough time for a little history. In the final minute of a game that had long been decided, Franklin raced the ball up the right wing and immediately looked to find senior attacker Eric Civetti. He got it outside the crease on the left side and drove to the cage.
This wasn’t about the Panthers trying to run up the score, but to give the program’s all-time leading scorer the opportunity to set another record with his ninth goal of the game. Twice, Civetti had tied the record with eight in a game, but now he stands alone.
Even more important for Franklin was that the nine goals were part of a dominating 22-8 victory on Sunday afternoon against Longmeadow, one of the top-ranked teams in the state. This was the third time this week that the Panthers had scored 20-plus goals in a game. The first two were against a pair of the state’s newest programs (Taunton and Stoughton) and on Sunday it came against one of the state’s best.
“I was so afraid of this because of those two games and I’m just amazed,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “I’m blown away by the fact that we beat them the way we did. All the stars were aligned. It was just an incredible win. The kids played their butts off.”
The spotlight was rightfully on Civetti after the game. He scored four times in the opening quarter, as the Panthers jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and had seven goals by halftime, including his by now trademark around-the-defender’s-shoulder, no-look shot while backed up on the edge of the crease. He scored again to start the second half and then finished the game with one last goal in the closing seconds for the record.
“I didn’t think we were really going to get much of a chance at the end of the game,” Civetti said of the ninth goal, “but I’ve got great teammates and they always give me great opportunities to score.”
He added, “We were prepared. We knew we had to come out fast and that’s exactly what we did. The beginning of the year, we had a few problems on offense we had to work out. I think today was one of those games where we really built our confidence. We made sure we knew we can play with teams like this.”
Verrochi said of Civetti, “He can create his own offense. He’s been able to do it for four years now. He’s just an outstanding player and to do it against them was huge because defensively I thought they were very good, he just had a great game. He gets up for big games like this.”
It had been a difficult start to the season for the Panthers outside of league play. While Franklin is on the brink of another Kelley-Rex division title, the Panthers had struggled offensively against non-league opponents like BC High and Walpole and were in need of a marquee win on their resume.
Junior goalie Connor O’Rourke said, “We schedule a tough out of league schedule and we look to get better off those games. We saw they were No. 6 in the state and we just had a lot of motivation to get up there after we dropped in the rankings a few weeks ago. We’re really excited.”
While the offense will get the plaudits, the Franklin defense also stood tall against the powerful Longmeadow attack, Jack McGrath was tenacious with his close marking and O’Rourke made 14 saves, consistently coming up with big stops to stem the Lancers’ momentum and with accurate outlet passes that got the Panthers going in transition.
“He was solid,” said Verocchi of O’Rourke. “He always is. He deserves some All-American recognition.”
Civetti opened the scoring five minutes into the game and, following one of O’Rourke’s big saves, he then made a perfect pass from behind the cage to set up Zach Alexander in front. Chase Tanner rifled in Franklin’s third and Civetti spun a defender into the ground before finishing in close.
The Panthers were rolling and turned a big stick check from Trevor Raffin into a transition opportunity. LSM Patrick Morrison and Jake Davis played a give-and-go that left Morrison open for the fifth goal. Freshman Matt Lazzaro got his first with a rip to the corner, Civetti cleaned up the rebound of a Tanner shot, and then Civetti was given all day to wind up and fire.
Longmeadow scored at the buzzer to close out the first quarter but it was already 8-1.
“I think this was our best game offensively,” said Civetti. “We finally got clicking. It’s nice because you don’t have to rely on one-on-one. Whether it’s middie or attack, we’re all clicking.”
Jacob Alexander had controlled the face-off ‘X’ against one of the state’s premier face-off guys, but the Lancers started to win a few in the second quarter and started to cut into the lead. Civetti made it 9-1 but the visitors scored back-to-back goals before Tanner went low angle with a shot from distance through a crowd of legs. Civetti would score twice more before the half but the Lancers scored three and it was 12-6 at the break.
The thought of a comeback was ended in the first three minutes of the third quarter. O’Rourke intercepted a long pass and quickly started Franklin’s break with Davis feeding Civetti for his seventh of the afternoon. Nitin Chaudhury scored with a bouncing shot after racing straight down the middle of the field and 17 seconds later Jacob Alexander finished off a quick break from Sean Lazzaro’s pass.
After a pair of huge saves from O’Rourke while Longmeadow was man-up, Chaudhury set up Will Harvey for a goal and a 16-7 lead. Civetti again played provider on the next goal, picking out a cutting Matt Lazarro, who took the pass on the run and in one motion went behind his back to the top corner.
Davis tacked on two more, including a missile to the top corner at the buzzer and Franklin went into the final quarter with a 19-7 lead. Kyle McEniry (from Chaudhury) and another rocket from Davis (three goals and four assists) pushed the Panthers’ lead to as many as 14 (21-7).
“We put a few new things in and geez it worked to perfection,” said Verrochi. “In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have expected to beat Longmeadow the way we did. To have running time in the fourth quarter against Longmeadow, I don’t think that’s ever happened.”
Franklin (11-2, 9-0) will get back into league play on Wednesday night against Oliver Ames and can clinch at least a share of a sixth straight Kelley-Rex division title.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Koppy
After coming up just one game shy of the postseason, Attleboro is aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in program history in 2018.
The Bombardiers doubled their victory total from 2016 to 2017, going from four to eight in the win column. Attleboro returns 11 players from last year’s squad and has a total of 12 seniors on the team. Now in its fourth year, interest in the program is growing rapidly with 17 combined freshmen on either varsity or the JV roster.
There will be a lot of experience on the defensive end for Big Blue. Junior captain Trevor Koppy is back for his third year as the Bombardiers’ starting goalie. He turned away 306 shots last year with a 64% save percentage. In front of Koppy, senior captain Dan Perry is back to anchor the defensive unit which features all seniors.
“Dan is a physical defender that has excellent field awareness and leads by example,” said AHS head coach Kevin Koppy. “He’s constantly hustling and fighting hard for loose balls.”
Perry is joined by classmates Jim Nordberg and Chris Reynolds on close defense while Matt Potter will man LSM and Matt Jiminez brins an extra long pole presence to the defensive unit. Another returner is senior Kyle Henry, resuming his role as the team’s primary faceoff man. Henry had a successful 2017 season in that role and Big Blue will rely on him to spark the offense once again.
Seniors Jimmy Burke and Aidan McKenna, junior Cam Littig, and sophomore Thomas Shipman return to the midfield for Attleboro. Big Blue will have some new faces on the attack with seniors TJ Infante, Shane Joubert, and Aidan Downey leading the way. Freshman Mike Strachan and Matt Perry will also be involved in Attleboro’s attack.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Bendell
The Bulldogs found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the end of last season: on the outside looking in for the postseason.
Canton is looking to get back into the postseason this year after coming up just one game shy of qualifying. The Bulldogs won three straight to give themselves a chance but fell just short on the road against Abington in the final game of the season.
Using that as motivation, look for the Bulldogs to be right back in the mix this season. Leading the way will be senior captains Kevin Albert, Charlie O’Connor, and Griffin Roach. All three patrolled the midfield last season but could see time in other spots depending on how the lineup comes together.
O’Connor will step in to handle faceoffs but could miss some time early along with defensemen Brian Ghostlaw and Brendan Albert. Until Canton gets back to 100%, it will rely on senior Gabe Galeotos, junior George Kent, and sophomores Nick Mackay and Jace Emma to provide protection in front of sophomore goalie Jack Connolly. Connolly had a superb freshman season in the cage for the Bulldogs and will try to build upon that his season.
Junior Mike Shaw is back for his third year on attack for Canton, providing experience and leadership up front. Juniors Matt Martin and Dan Cohen, along with sophomores Chris Lavoie and David Allen will also figure into the Bulldogs’ offense this season.”
“We have a great group of kids this year with a nice blend of experienced players and new faces,” said CHS head coach Bill Bendell.
2017 Record: 11-9 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East First Round Coach: Matt Noone
It’s safe to say Foxboro head coach Matt Noone is optimistic about the 2018 season.
The Warriors graduated just three players total and return their starting goalie, the entire defensive unit, and top three scorers from a season ago. Foxboro’s record was a bit deceiving based on how much talent they had, with five one-goal losses and two two-goal losses. The Warriors were dropped in the opening game of the playoffs by just one goal after holding a multi-goal lead in the second half.
With so much of the line up back, Noone is hoping to turn those close losses into wins.
“We’re going to be a better team than we were last year,” Noone said. “We have to play within our system, and do the simple things…if we do that, we will be very good and very tough to beat. If they don’t, we’ll be losing those one-goal games again.”
It all starts with defense in Foxboro with Jake Addeche returning in the cage for his third season. Addeche (185 saves) is one of the best goalies in the region and will have a very experienced defense in front of him. Senior Pat Kaveny and junior Pat Stapleton will anchor the defense, both with equipped with plenty of skill and experience, while sophomores Ronnie MacLellan and Matt Lathrop each already have a year of varsity experience under their belts.
Junior Brendan Tully (24 goals, 15 assists) will pace the Warriors in the midfield (“His lacrosse IQ is off the charts,” Noone notes). Tully can help transition Foxboro from defense to offense, and his ability to keep possession helps the Warriors control the tempo. Tully is complemented in the middle by seniors Louis Blake and Mike Collins while both Shayne Kerrigan and Bobby Yerardi will be in the mix as well.
Offensively, the Warriors look to be well-balanced with Louis Piccolo (25 goals, 13 assists) back this year along with senior Mike Moses (18 goals, 20 assists), junior Pete Conley (15 goals, 23 assists) and senior Andrew Whalen.
2017 Record: 16-5 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lou Verrochi
Expectations are high for the 2018 season based on the talent the Franklin Panthers boast this year.
“We return a very good team,” said FHS head coach Lou Verrochi. “We have a very good and deep bench too, we’re looking forward to the season.”
The long list of returning talent starts with All-American and 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti. Civetti (Rutgers commit) has been tormenting opposing defenses since his freshman year. He scored 70 goals and notched 24 assists as a sophomore, and then netted 79 goals and 21 assists last year, totaling 194 points between the two years. The Panthers will also boast senior Zach Alexander and freshman Matt Lazzaro on attack.
The midfield will be loaded with two talented lines available. Captains Kyle McEniry (10 goals, 21 assists) and Chase Tanner (29 goals, 10 assists) will be joined by the speedy Nitin Chaudhury (24 goals, 10 assists) on the Panthers first unit while Jake Davis, Johnny O’Glishen, and Owen Palmieri give Verrochi an incredibly talented second unit.
As if the midfield wasn’t loaded enough, the Panthers have 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jacob Alexander back to dominate the faceoff X. Alexander, who is committed to play at Bryant University, has dominated at the X for the past two years and really gives the Panthers an advantage in terms of getting possession. “He’s arguably the best FOGO in Mass,” Verrochi noted.
The defense will be anchored by junior Patrick Morrison (Rutgers commit) along with Trevor Raffin, Jack McGrath and Spencer Briggs. Sean Lazzaro will be our top LSM while the Panthers have plenty of talent as SSDM with Will Harvey, Ben Kolb, and Aaron Mollo in the mix. Backstopping the team in goal will be Colorado commit and captain Connor O’Rourke (169 saves, 64% save percentage).
2017 Record: 13-9 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals Coach: Hal Bean
The Warriors will be looking to replicate the success they had in the 2016 season again this year.
After finishing 9-2 in league play (second in the Kelley-Rex), the Warriors had an impressive postseason run, competing with top-seeded and eventual sectional champ BC High in the D1 South Quarterfinals.
A big reason why KP has had a lot of experience over the past four years is goalie Paul Macrina. Macrina is now manning the cage at Drexel University, so there are big shoes to fill in the cage this season for KP.
King Philip also has to find replacements for the production lost by LSM Zach D’Amico, attack Tim Watson (56 goals, 28 points – second in the Hockomock League), and defenseman Connor Khung – the first two selected to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team and Khung apart of the Second Team.
All is not lost though as the Warriors have junior Colin DeVellis back to spearhead the attack. DeVellis was fourth overall in the Hockomock League in points last season, scoring 22 goals and notching 36 assists (58 points). Another key piece will be senior Nate Minkwitz, who can make an impact on both ends of the field. Minkwitz had 13 goals and five assists last season and will aim to improve on that. Expect LSM Wesley Bishop and midfielder Aidan Bender to factor in this season as well.
2017 Record: 12-7 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield returns a good amount of talent from last year’s playoff squad so the Hornets will certainly be looking to book a return trip as well as compete for a Kelley-Rex title.
The Hornets return one of the most dangerous attackmen in the area in senior Hunter Ferreira. Ferreira’s combination of size, speed, and strength – as well as finishing ability – make him a must-watch for opposing defenses. Most will dedicate two defensemen his way but Ferreira still finished fifth in the league in points with 34 goals and 19 assists. Ferreira will be joined by returners Aidan Sacco and Mike Reed, giving the Hornets an experienced three-headed monster on offense.
The midfield is also loaded with experience behind returning starters Joe Cox (19 goals, 14 assists) and Danny DeGirolamo (17 goals, 15 assists). Cox, who was named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team, muscles his way through opponents, while DeGirolamo can use his speed to cause problems. Haig Megerdichian, Brett Kessler, Connor Quirk, and Brad Grant will all see time in the midfield as well.
Tommy Donnelly will anchor the defensive unit but the Hornets will have some new faces in back. Dan Plugis and Chris Copponi will both see a lot of minutes for the Hornets in front of goalie Jack Munroe, who stepped in last season and impressed in the cage.
“Our strength this year will be at the midfield with lots of legs,” said MHS head coach Tim Frias. “We should be good in transition as well.”
2017 Record: 4-13 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jacob Scordato
Milford hasn’t had a ton of success overall since it joined the Hockomock League, but new head coach Jacob Scordato is hoping to change that going forward.
Scordato takes over a team that had just four wins a year ago and is the third coach in the past three years for the program.
“Our players are focused on making our program a successful one,” Scordato said. “Boys lacrosse in the Hockomock is known for being a tough league, and Milford lacrosse is going to be making a lot of noise from here on out.”
Although the Hawks don’t have an incredibly deep roster, the optimism stems from the experience returning on offense. UMass Boston commit and senior captain Andrew Gallagher (16 goals, 7 assists) will be a key weapon up front along with junior captains Ryan Hazard (41 goals, 10 assists) and Josh Ligor.
Scordato also expects junior newcomer Brendan White, who has had successful football and basketball seasons so far this school year, to make a big impact on offense for Milford. Defensively, Milford will rely on senior captain and midfielder Chase Blanchette.
2017 Record: 16-3 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro graduated a lot of talent from last year’s squad, so it’s no surprise head coach Kevin Young believes this season will be a big challenge for his young squad.
Although he expects it to be a challenge, the Rocketeers have built a strong program and will likely be in the mix for the division title with Foxboro. Big Red will be anchored by defenseman and captain Tom Lockavitch (Roger Williams commit) and senior LSM Max Fontes. Both Lockavitch and Fontes had tremendous junior seasons and were both honored by HockomockSports.com (first and second teams, respectively). Sophomores Brett Labonte and Will Yeomans will round out a strong defensive unit.
One of the biggest tasks will be filling the void left in goal with Hock MVP and long-time starter Dan MacDonald now graduated. The Rocketeers have three goalies in the mix with Young noting all are working hard to claim the starting spot. Junior Jack Puccio and sophomores Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany will all be in the mix.
Captain Tommy Lindstrom (Springfield commit) will pace the offense with the help of sophomores Jack Connolly and Andy DeMattio. Faceoff specialist Jason McNeany (Cocker College commit) is also back and will be a key piece of the offense. Nick Ward, Damien Curtis, and Dan Conroy should carry the transition in the midfield with help from Ryan Rajotte and Matt McSweeney.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames nearly made it two straight years in the postseason but came up just one game shy of qualifying in 2017. So the goal is simple for the Tigers in 2018: get back to the tournament.
The Tigers return their top six scorers from last season, and now with a year more experience under their belts, should be ready to take on some of the top defenses in the league.
Assistant coach Ben Devlin takes over the reigns of the program, and the familiarity should help make for a smooth transition. Senior captains Eric LeBlanc (30 goals, 13 assists) and Owen Gallagher will spearhead the attack while senior captain Jack Lang will make an impact on both ends of the field while also handling faceoff duties. Junior Colin Bourne and sophomores Sam Stevens and Shane Kilkelly give the Tigers varsity experience in the midfield. Sophomore Frankie Ireland and freshman Remi Creighton will also figure into the mix on offense.
Devlin will have holes to fill on the defensive end but its excited about the skill that the Tigers have. Shane Murphy, Cullen Gallagher, and Matt Saba will be relied upon to carry the defensive unit while Rory Madden will handle LSM duties after missing last season. Nick Gillis will take over for Sean Cosgrove in net after impressing at the JV level.
“We are a couple years into rebuilding this program, which is difficult while playing in such a tough conference against some of the best players and coaches in the state,” Devlin said. “We’re young and inexperienced, but talented on defense. All I can ask is for my kids to play to their capabilities. If we do that I think we can win enough games this season to reach our goal.”
2017 Record: 7-11 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Shocket
New head coach Jon Shocket is excited and optimistic that the 2018 season will be a successful one on the lacrosse field for the Sharon Eagles.
Shocket believes the Eagles have the lacrosse IQ and skill to get back to the postseason after missing out on qualification by two wins. A big reason for the optimism is the senior class.
“I have a really good senior group,” Shocket said. “If everyone buys into the system and trusts the process, this should be a fun season. This year, we have to make better decisions and move the ball around. It’s about working as a team instead of as individuals.”
The Eagles have experience at all positions on the field, starting with returning goalie Johnny Greenberg. Greenberg enters his third year as the starting goalie and will have good size in front of him. Both Sam Spencer and Coleman Loftus stand at 6’2 and look to be key pieces in the Eagles’ defensive unit.
In the midfield, Jimmy Fitzhenry, Chase Waxman, and Spencer Hall give the Eagles a well-balanced and experienced group. The three provide a combination of speed, strength, and skill that will help Sharon transition from defense to offense. Junior Matt Callan will handle faceoff duties while freshman LSM Tyler Freidman will be in the mix as well.
Senior Brett Litner brings a strong shot to the offense and will be tough to stop on the inside. Classmate Kadin Nestler gives the Eagles speed on the outside and makes the move from midfield to attack this year. Freshman Drew Litner rounds out the Eagles’ attacking unit.
2017 Record: 4-12 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Pat Healey
After winning four games in its inaugural season at the varsity level, Stoughton boys lacrosse is hoping to continue heading in the right direction this spring.
The Knights picked up wins over Milford twice, Taunton, and Norton and will look to be in competition with those squads again this year. Leading the blue collar group will be captains Justin Ly, Sean Doherty, and Danny Nakhili. Ly is a three-sport athlete that is willing to do the dirty work, Nakhili provides a lot of leadership in the midfield and uses his speed to give the offense a boost, and Doherty will handle the faceoff duties and provide an offensive punch.
Twins Nate and Alex Wilson bring skill to the long poles, Marty Barrett and Josh Cohen will be key pieces on defense, and Charlie Morgan, Luke Bainton, and Mike Tracey will all be in the mix offensively.
“I’m hoping for more wins,” said SHS head coach Pat Healey said in an interview with Stoughton Media Access. “Last year we got four under our belt which is great for a first-year program. We brought up a lot of freshmen this year from the youth program. But baby steps, this is a tough league so we’ll do as best as we can.
Now in its third year as a varsity program, Taunton is aiming to progress day by day to continue to build the program.
The Tigers went without a win last season but bring seven starters back with another year of success on their belts. Junior goalie Ryan Williams returns in cage to give the Tigers a familiar face on the defensive end. Williams has been manning the cage for Taunton since the team moved to a varsity schedule.
In front of Williams will be junior Justin Demoga, a captain, that handles close defense. Head coach Brendan Chambers noted Demoga is great with positioning, takes a great approach, and is willing to learn and improve every day. Chambers noted Demoga will be tasked with menacing opponents’ best attack throughout the season.
In the midfield, junior captain Dylan Nichols provides leadership and experience for the Tigers. Nichols has the speed to make an impact on both ends of the field and Chambers is hoping for some offensive production out of the junior. Nichols will be joined by senior Chris Kanabayashi who will contribute to the offense with his hard shot.
Junior Noah Kuczewski is making the jump from JV to varsity and will be one of the Tigers’ main pieces on attack. Chambers is also relying on junior captain Joel Delgado, who put a lot of time in during the offseason to improve, to be an important part of the offense.
“Our goal this year is to continue to build on what we did last year,” Chambers said. “We want to increase our lacrosse IQ and try to be more competitive in all our games. Ideally, we’ll win a couple games and get better every day.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Panthers recently clinched another outright Kelley-Rex division title, Franklin’s third straight outright league title and fifth in a row overall, but there was still a feeling that the team needed a marquee win to add confidence ahead of the state tournament.
On Saturday afternoon at Pisini Field, Franklin was determined to make a statement about its potential for another tournament run against Newton North. Behind six goals from junior attacker Eric Civetti, eight saves by junior Connor O’Rourke, and a strong performance at the face-off ‘X’ by sophomore Jacob Alexander, the Panthers jumped all over the Tigers and earned a 9-6 win.
“It was a good team we played and our kids responded real well,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “That’s a good quality team and a good, quality win for us.”
Despite being the focal point of the Newton North defense, Civetti showed the range of his skills, scoring from long range and using his strength around the crease. The Rutgers University-commit scored three goals in the opening quarter and left Tigers coaches scrambling for a solution.
Verrochi said, “Civetti’s a stud. He’s just a goal scoring machine. He’s so hard to control. He’s just so talented, he’s got strong hands, and he’s very difficult to strip of the ball. He definitely deserves All-American this year.”
The Panthers stormed out of the gates to take a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Alexander won the opening face-off and the Panthers held the ball for two minutes before Packie Watson fed Civetti for a close range score.
The Tigers struggled to get any possession in the first and Franklin nearly doubled its lead when Nitin Chaudhury smacked the crossbar with a shot on the run. A minute later, Civetti muscled his marker to score on the edge of the crease.
With 2:22 left in the first, Civetti got his hat trick with a move from behind the cage. He pump faked a pass out in front that forced both Newton North defenders to take a step back and Civetti took advantage of the space to step in and finish with a backhand shot under the bar.
Verrochi was pleased with the great start that his team made. He said, “They were really excited to play this game today and part of the thought process was, from Packie Watson, ‘we haven’t beaten a real good team in a long time boys; we’re going to make sure this is a good game.’ They were very dedicated and very purposeful in what they did out here today.”
The Tigers got one before the end of the quarter (a highlight reel quality, behind-the-back shot by Bryce Adam) and then cut the lead to one early in the second. Civetti responded for Franklin. After smashing a shot off the bar that looked like it may have crossed the line, he collected a loose ball and went with a low angle shot into the corner.
Newton North had an opportunity to make it a very different game with eight minutes left in the half when it had a two-man advantage for 30 seconds, but O’Rourke denied the Tigers a crucial goal. O’Rourke made three saves during the man-down situation and Watson made the visitors pay when he scored in transition to turn a potential 4-3 game into a 5-2 lead.
“I can’t say enough about him,” said Verrochi about O’Rourke. “He’s our MVP. He plays lights out in big games and we’re very fortunate that he switched from attack to goalie. That was a huge transition for him and he’s been outstanding.”
That proved to be the turning point, as Franklin took control and put the Tigers on their heels. Sam Arsenault picked out Chaudhury on the edge of the crease to make it 6-2 and finish off a great move by the Panthers that saw everyone in attack touch the ball.
Civetti got his hands free and time for a rip into the top corner for a man-up goal early in the third and Arsenault added a goal off an assist by Kyle McEniry for a six-goal lead. The Tigers scored right before the end of the third, but Civetti restored the lead early in the fourth when he finished a transition sparked by a long run from sophomore pole Patrick Morrison.
The Tigers tried to make it close at the end, scoring the final three goals of the game to get back within three with 1:24 remaining. It was hard to get a run going though because Alexander continued to win every face-off for the Panthers. He won 17-of-20 for the game, including all five in the fourth quarter to help slow down the Tigers momentum.
“I think he’s the best in the state,” said Verrochi of Alexander, “even better than the [Lincoln-Sudbury] kid. I think he’s dominated every player he’s gone against this year and that’s huge. You’re almost guaranteed a possession every time there’s a face-off.”
Franklin (16-3) will finish off the regular season with Div. 3 power Dover-Sherborn on Wednesday and is expecting to be one of the top three or four seeds in the upcoming state tournament.
2016 Record: 4-13 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Koppy
Now in its fourth year at the varsity level, Attleboro boys lacrosse is looking to take the next step in the 2017 season. First year head coach Kevin Koppy made it clear what the goal is for Big Blue: the postseason.
Koppy has plenty of experience at the youth level so he’s very familiar with a lot of the players on the team.
“With the experience and leadership of this team, I fully expect us to make the playoffs this year which would be a first for this relatively young program,” Koppy said. “If the kids work hard and play as a team we have enough talent to make this happen.”
Offensively, seniors Seth Lombardy and Zach Viau, along with junior Alex Banner, will see a lot of time. They’ll be bolstered by the midfield help of seniors Andrew Milliken, Sam Carrado and Jay Mota and sophomore Zach Thomas in the midfield. Juniors Kyle Henry and Aidan McKenna will man the face off X while Jim Nordberg and Chris Reynolds will be long stick midfielders.
Defensively, four year starter and captain Tyler Koppy will anchor the backline alongside juniors Dan Perry and Matt Potter. Sophomore Trevor Koppy returns as the starting goalie again this season.
2016 Record: 11-8 2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals Coach: Bill Bendell
The Bulldogs will rely on its athleticism, and be bolstered by depth this season, having more players in the program this season than in the last couple of years.
Canton looks to have one of its most athletic squads from top-to-bottom in recent years and will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport title after winning it twice in the past four seasons.
Offensively, the Bulldogs lost one of the top scorers in the league and in program history in Ben O’Neill, but the good news is that four of the team’s six top point producers from a year ago are back: Ryan Lodge, Joe Mulkay, Dan Dillon and Mike Shaw, all of which reached double figures in points.
Michael Pigeon has been one of the top LSMs in the league the last two years and will be a key piece for Canton defensively this season. Canton will rely on experience to fill the positions around him. The starting goalie spot is up for grabs between Dylan Cunningham, CJ Martin and Jack Connolly.
“The Davenport division is wide open again this year so we know every game is going to matter…we can’t wait to get going,” said head coach Bill Bendell.
The Davenport division looks like it will be wide open this year, but Foxboro could have a slight advantage because of the experience they return this season.
On offense, junior Andrew Whalen is a three year starter and junior Louis Piccolo led the team in scoring a team ago. Junior Mike Moses and sophomore Pete Conley will also factor into the attack or could see time in the midfield. Seniors Trey Guerini and Colin Spinney not only bring a wealth of experience to the midfield, but they have a lot of talent. Sophomore Brendan Tully will relocate to the midfield this season while junior Sam Blake, Lou Blake and Mike Collins will all factor in the midfield as well.
Defensively, it all starts with goalie Jake Addeche, one of the top netminders in the league and the area. Pat Kaveny is a two year starter, as is senior Padraig Farmer and will provide plenty of experience to the back line. Sophomore Pat Stapleton and freshman Ronnie MacLellan will also factor in defensively for the Warriors.
The Panthers are going to be young compared to past years, and compared to other teams in the league, but what they lack in age, they more than make up in skill.
There aren’t much better in the offensive end than junior Eric Civetti, and he’s only been in the league for two years. Already committed to Rutgers, Civetti will be one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. Senior captain Sam Arsenault will also be a top option in the offensive end while midfielders Packie Watson, a senior and Nitin Chaudhury, a sophomore, will also be viable options.
Defensively, the Panthers have a second Rutgers commit in sophomore Patrick Morrison. Senior Wyatt Arsenault will give the backline some experience while senior Jack Platner will be the team’s LSM. Junior Connor O’Rourke is back in the cage after a breakout sophomore year.
“We are young as compared to past years, but I feel we’ll be very competitive,” said head coach Lou Verrochi. “We’re very fortunate to have a strong youth program and many boys playing club lacrosse which provides us with talented players every year.”
The Warriors had another strong season in 2016 and will be looking to do the same in 2017.
King Philip was strong in league play, posting a 7-3 record and will try to carry that success over to its non league schedule, which include games against Bishop Feehan, Newton North, Hopkinton, Westwood and more.
Paul Macrina has been one of the top goalies in the league over the past couple of seasons and is now ready for his senior year.
Replacing leading scorer Sam Agricola will certainly be a tough test, as well as replacing the production of Harry Fallon. But Tim Watson (27 goals, 21 assists) brings a lot of experience back to the offensive end for the Warriors.
2016 Record: 15-4 2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Coming off one of the program’s best seasons in recent history, the Hornets will be looking to replicate that success in 2017.
The challenge will be replacing some of the top talent that graduated, including midfielders Billy Grant and Connor Finerty, and defenseman Josh Schafer.
The good news is that the Hornets return two of the top talents in the league with Sean Powers back in goal and Hunter Ferreira back patrolling the midfield. Joe Cox and Danny DeGirolamo will flank Ferreira in the midfield with Aidan Sacco, Brett Kessler and Brad Grant factoring in as well.
Offensively, seniors Cullen Murphy, Sam O’Connell and Jon Reed will be one of the most experienced units in the league. On defense, Grant Milas, Mike Zampine, Josh London and Tommy Donnelly will hold court in front of Powers.
“We are going to go out there this season and try to improve on the aspects we were weak on last season and just try to compete in every contest,” said head coach Tim Frias.
The Hawks are hoping for a turnaround season after going without a win a season ago. First year head coach Doug Gallant has taken over at the helm and is looking to make Milford a participant in the Davenport race.
The heart of the lineup could be in the midfield, with junior Andrew Gallagher bringing experience to the table and sophomores Ryan Hazard and Josh Ligor, as well as freshman Dan Farrell, providing the Hawks with skill and speed.
In the attacking end, Gallant will look to senior Alex Wood and sophomore Ryan Pearl, both with varsity experience, to pace the offense. LSM Nick Lurie and defenseman Harrison Bliss will be key pieces on defense in front of goalie Drew Mirisola.
“We have a great group of kids who are very eager to be successful,” said Gallant. “The reception from the players has been outstanding and they have bought in to my system.”
2016 Record: 8-10 2016 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Young
After just missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro returns a lot of key pieces and will not only make a push for the playoffs, but should be in the mix for the Davenport crown.
The entire attacking corps is back this season Zach McGowan, Owen Costello and Colin Young all back again this season. Tim Lindstrom, who missed last season with an injury, will also be a key piece offensively for the Rocketeers.
Jack Dakin, the team’s leading scorer a season ago, will be a team leader from his midfield position while Nick Ward, Hunter Sarro, Nick Moore and Jason McNeany will all get minutes in the midfield as well. Poles David James, Zach Doucette and Tom Lockovitch, along with LSM Max Fontes, bring a combination of speed and size for the Rocketeers.
Dan McDonald is back for another year in goal and will be like a coach on the field for North Attleboro.
“He’s very solid in net and a great team leader,” head coach Kevin Young said of MacDonald. “Dan is that rare player that is like having a coach on the field. I think Dan is as good a goalie as you’ll see playing anywhere in Massachusetts this year.”
2016 Record: 10-10 2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals Coach: Chris Digiacomo
The Tigers not only made the playoffs a season ago, but won their first ever postseason game as a program. Oliver Ames will face new challenges this season with the switch to the Kelley-Rex division.
While the Tigers face the task of going head to head with some of the top teams in the league, Oliver Ames will rely on team chemistry to try and get back to the postseason.
Offensively, juniors Owen Gallagher and Eric LeBlanc are back as two of the team’s top point producers. They’ll be helped by midfielders Liam Brown, a senior captain, and Jack Lang, a junior. Defensively, senior captain Phil Saba and senior Max Howe are two experienced players that will man the space in front of senior goalie Sean Cosgrove.
“The boys have worked very hard, and bought into our program,” said head coach Chris Digiacomo. “We play in an extremely tough league, but the boys are excited to get started.”
2016 Record: 9-10 2016 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East First Round Coach: Peter DeSisto
Sharon just made it into the postseason a year ago, punching its ticket on the last game of the season with a win over North Attleboro.
This season, the Eagles are expecting to qualify for the state tournament again because of the experience they have returning for the 2017 season.
Josh Rotman, who registered 35 goals a season ago, is one of the top midfielders in the league and will be relied upon to lead the Eagles this season. Spencer Hall and Chase Waxman are also back and should make an impact on both ends of the field. Jack Lesser has the ability to get forward and play as an attack or can drop into a midfield role.
“We have a lot of guys with experience at this level returning, so we have set our expectations high,” said head coach Pete DeSisto.
2016 Record: N/A 2016 Finish: N/A Coach: Pat Healey
The Black Knights are the new kids on the block, entering their first year at the varsity level after playing at the JV level the last couple of seasons.
Combining the JV experience and a budding youth program, Stoughton won’t be starting from scratch. However, the Black Knights are ready for what could be a roller coaster ride of a season.
Leading the way for the Black Knights are captains Dave Cellucci, Ryan Pierri, Harry Leal and Matt St. Clair. Leal will anchor the team from the cage, Pierre is the leader of the team’s poles and Cellucci and St. Clair are standout members of the Black Knights’ midfield.
“The team knows we’re going to be getting our share of bumps and bruises,” said head coach Pat Healey. “And winning here in the Hock is no easy chore. But it wouldn’t be much of a challenge if it was easy.
After getting its feet wet last season, Taunton is looking to improve now in its second year at the varsity level.
Sophomore goalie Ryan Williams was a bright spot for the Tigers a season ago and now, with a year under his belt, will an important part of the Tigers’ defense this season. Senior captain Mason Baacke and sophomore LSM Dylan Nichols will be key pieces in front of Williams.
Offensively, Shawn Campbell will try to ignite Taunton from the face off X while senior captain Andrew Wellington, who had a solid season a year ago, will be a vital piece in the midfield for first year head coach Brendan Chambers.
Franklin, 11 vs. Falmouth, 6 – Final – Franklin coach Lou Verrochi said junior Eric Civetti was unstoppable and sophomore Jacob Alexander dominated in the face off X to pace the Panthers past a senior-laden Falmouth side. Civetti scored five goals and had two assists while Alexander won nearly 80% of the draws. Junior Connor O’Rourke made 10 saves in goal and Verrochi said Wyatt Arsenault, Patrick Morrison and Spencer Briggs played very well defensively. Verrochi added LSM Jack Platner, short stick defensive midfielder Will Harvey and Aaron Mallo all played well. Chase Tanner scored twice and added an assist, Sam Arsenault had a goal and an assist, Packie Watson notched two heklpers and Kyle McEniry, Nitin Chaudury and freshman Jake Davis each scored once.
Franklin, 12 vs. Needham, 7 – Final – Franklin led by just a goal (6-5) at halftime but had a very strong second half to open the season with a win over the Rockets. Freshman Erin Walsh impressed in her debut, netting a team-high four goals to pace the Panthers. Classmate Gianna Cameron also had a solid debut in goal, registering 10 saves in net. Halle Atkinson added three goals and Kendall Reardon notched two goals and an assist. Head coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said senior Grace McDermott played well defensively with five caused turnovers.
Taunton, 4 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 1 – Final – The Tigers opened the 2017 campaign with a victory over rival Coyle, taking wins at first and second singles and both doubles. Sophomore Brett Beaulieu won 7-6, 6-2 at first singles and junior Mike Briggs took a 7-6, 6-0 decision at second singles. The team of sophomores Charlie Fisk and Dylan Kullas won 6-4, 6-0 at first doubles and sophomore Trevor Hart and junior Kyle Dennehy teamed up for a 6-4, 6-3 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 5 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – Final – The Tigers started the season with a clean sweep of rival Coyle at home on Thursday afternoon. Olivia Sweeney (first singles) and Jordan Pagliuca (second singles) both won 6-0, 6-0, while Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles. The teams of Emily Moor and Caroline Hebert (first doubles) and Jordan Martin and Vanessa Rosa (second doubles) each won 6-1, 6-0.
Milford, 3 @ Medfield, 1 – Final
Taunton, 3 vs. Braintree, 0 – Final – Taunton picked up the sweep (25-22, 25-19, 25-21) over the Wamps to begin the season. Junior Lance Law paced the offense with nine kills, four aces and two blocks while adding 11 digs. Nate Grant finished with 20 assists and three kills and Lens Esquil had six kills, an ace and a block for the Tigers.