By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
2021 Hockomock Volleyball Players to Watch
Lilly Boedeker, Senior – Attleboro
Attleboro is looking to turn things around this season and push for a postseason spot (and they are off to a good start with wins in their first two matches). One of the keys to establishing a strong team is good leadership and good defense, and senior captain Lilly Boedeker provides both for the Bombardiers and second-year head coach Mary Katherine Runey. Boedeker had a strong Fall 2 season just a couple of months ago and is back as the anchor of the back line for the Bombardiers as the team’s libero. She is like a vacuum on serve receives (197 last season) and does a nice job with her position and reactions for her passing (123 digs). Attleboro has a strong mix of talent this season with an experienced group of upperclassmen, sophomore setter Natalie Brojek back in the fold, and freshman Ana Leonardo making a good impression early. If Attleboro makes a big run this season, it’s going to all start with Boedeker’s defense.
Mikayla Cleary, Senior – Taunton
Taunton has battled through some years and inexperience and tough injuries over the past couple of seasons but the Tigers have a good group that’s looking to turn their fortunes around. The most experienced player on the team is senior Mikayla Cleary and she will be a force at the net for head coach Toby Chaperon. She played in 63 sets (second-most on the team) as a sophomore and was third on the team with 63 kills, and just a couple of months ago during the Fall 2 season, she played every game for Taunton and led the Tigers in both kills (49) and attempts. Taunton has developed some options around her in junior Haley Krockta and senior Angie Lynch so the offense should be a pretty solid balance but look for Cleary to be one of the main pieces to the puzzle for the Tigers this year.
Sarah Brogioli, Senior – Milford
The Hawk had an up-and-down Fall 2 season but were relatively young with just four seniors on the team and a handful of players getting their first real taste of the varsity game. That experience will come in handy this year as Milford looks to make some noise in the always difficult, always competitive Kelley-Rex division. One player that has plenty of experience is senior Sarah Brogioli, now in her third year playing at the varsity level. She will be one of the go-to reliable options at the net for Milford, having taken a lot of swings at outside hitter over the past two years. She goes all the way through the rotation and seems to always be making a play for Milford. She has a lot of power to her swing but she also can rotate to the back row and give the Hawks consistency defensively. Emily Croteau took over as setter last season as a sophomore and now has a season under her belt for experience, which also means she has chemistry with one of the top hitters in the league in Brogioli.
Sydney Gallery, Senior – Canton
Canton has won 13 league titles in the last 14 seasons and for the Bulldogs to maintain that dominance this fall it is going to lean heavily on its small group of returning players. Gallery is one of those. The senior middle hitter is known more for her exploits on the basketball court, but last season she showed a lot of growth and increased confidence as a hitter and a blocker. Gallery has improved every season and saw her playing time increase as a result. She was able to come off the bench last year and provide a spark with her defense and with the few swings that she had. This year, Gallery should see a lot more opportunities to get into the attack and could be a featured weapon for Canton’s offense. Her athleticism and strength will give the Bulldogs balance to the offense and someone to give opposing hitters something to think about before they swing. This could be a transitional year for Canton, but Gallery and her fellow returning players will be focused on continuing the legacy of winning that Canton has enjoyed for more than a decade.
Ahunna James, Junior – King Philip
Then next in a line of talented hitters at King Philip, James was the rare sophomore who stepped into the starting lineup and made an instant impact. This could be the true breakout season for a hitter that, while helping KP reach the Hock Cup final, showed flashes of being able to dominate a match. Strong and athletic, James can overpower a defense, even if players are in the right positions, but she also has the vision to pick the right angles and the volleyball IQ to use the block for points. She plays with the confidence of someone who has far more than one year of significant varsity experience. For the past few seasons, KP has been oriented to using the middle because that’s where its strength lie, but now James has moved the attack back out wide. She is also a strong defensive player and god at the service line, making her a six-rotation player. The Warriors are looking for a three-peat of Kelley-Rex titles and James is the type of player that can propel a team past the challenging pack.
Julia Kelly, Senior – Mansfield
It is a huge advantage for a team’s top player to be able to stay on the court through all six rotations. Kelly is that type of player for the Hornets. The senior outside hitter has a strong all-around game, not only dominating at the net but also dropping into the back row to come up with crucial digs, making the right passes to set up teammates, and creating points from the service line. Kelly has been a three-year starter for the Hornets and her versatility has been a big feature of her game. She is capable of turning a point on its head with a big swing or coming up with a defensive play to keep a point alive. Kelly is also a leader on the floor, which is helpful for a team that is on its third coach in the past three seasons. Mansfield is looking to take a leap this year and challenge defending champs Franklin and King Philip and Kelly is the type of player that could lift the Hornets to that level and keep them in the running for an elusive title.
Taylor Lacerda, Sophomore – Franklin
Even though they had to wait an extra six months to get last year’s campaign going, Franklin had a season to remember by winning a share of the Kelley-Rex division and then winning the Hock Cup against King Philip, the team they split the division title with. The Panthers had one of the best all-around players in senior Ally Bonnet-Eymard but one of the reasons that Franklin was so good last year was because they had a lot of viable options around her so defenses struggled to key in on one player. It’s not often a freshman steps into the lineup and makes such a big impact right away, especially offensively as an outside hitter, but that’s exactly what Taylor Lacerda did. She played in all spots on the floor and was among Franklin’s statistical leaders in almost every category. She was second on the team with 74 kills, which was among the league leaders, as well as one of the top servers (24 aces) and defensive players (53 digs). The Panthers also graduated Emma Chase, who was third on the team in kills, so there will be more swings to had this year and Lacerda will be one of the top options.
Cailyn Mackintosh, Senior – Franklin
Mackintosh has been one of the best setters in the league for the past two seasons and the fulcrum on which Franklin’s potent attack balances. Her accurate passing and her ability to spot the opening in a defense have put the Panthers’ hitters into strong positions and put her at or near the top of the league’s assist charts for two years running. Mackintosh is tall and long, which enables her to also look for her own swings when the timing is right. She is a threat from the service line and a more than capable defender on the back row. Mackintosh helped the Panthers win back-to-back league titles and last year’s Hock Cup and her vocal leadership will be important for the newer players on this year’s roster. Having a setter like Mackintosh opens up the entire court because any hitter is a threat and Franklin is counting on that balanced offense to make another title challenge this fall.
Mallorie Meyer, Junior – Foxboro
There are a lot of new faces on the roster for Foxboro this season with only five players back from the Fall 2 season a couple of months ago. That means the Warriors will be leaning heavily on the players that do have experience while the rest of the squad gets up to speed of the varsity game. One of the players that did play last season and is back is junior Malorie Meyer, who got gained some valuable experience during her playing time as a sophomore. Foxboro graduated its top five hitters in terms of kills so there is a big void for someone to fill at the net and Meyer will be one of those options for third-year head coach Victoria Santana. Meyer has a strong all-around game and will likely go through the entire rotation for the Warriors. She had 20 kills last year to go along with 13 digs, 11 blocks, and eight aces. Having a player that can make an impact both at the net, at the service line, and in the back row will be a big boost for the young Warriors.
Hadley Rhodes, Senior – Oliver Ames
Oliver Ames was coming off its best season in program history going into the 2020 season and they did a nice job to carry some momentum to an eight-win campaign, even if they had to wait an extra six months to get it going. With a solid core of players back in the fold this fall, look for the Tigers to be one of the top challengers for the Davenport division title. Since head coach Chelsea Cunningham took over, Oliver Ames has been a team that only gets better and better as the season goes on. This year, she has come cornerstone pieces to work with and she integrates new faces into the lineup. One of those key pieces is senior setter Hadley Rhodes, who took over as the starting setter last season. She’s played with the varsity team since her sophomore year so she knows the speed of the varsity game. She is a good decision-maker (257 assists) and doesn’t make many errors (just 22 in over 800 attempts of handling the ball). She can also get up and swing if the passing doesn’t go perfectly, giving the Tigers a nice option on the right side when she’s in the front row.