Addi Brace Lifts Stingy Franklin Over Bombardiers

Franklin girls soccer
Franklin senior Sabrina Addi (4) helped the Panthers earn an 11th clean sheet in the last 12 games and also scored twice on free kicks. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – Attleboro (7-9-2) arrived at Pisini Stadium on Monday night needing a win in its season finale to clinch a postseason berth for the first time under head coach Steve Santos and first time since the Bombardiers joined the Hockomock League. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were facing a team that has made its mark this season by frustrating opposing attacks.

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Franklin locked down defensively once again, recording its 11th shutout in its last 12 games (only league champion King Philip has managed to score against the Panthers in the last five weeks) and dashing Attleboro’s playoff hopes with a 2-0 victory.

The Panthers have allowed only eight goals all season, which is second best in the league, but six of those goals came in the opening five games. A lineup change, moving senior Anna Balkus to left back from her attacking midfield role, solidified that side of the field and allowed classmate Sabrina Addi to dominate in the middle. Freshman Norah Anderson and senior Sam Powderly have grown into their center and right back roles.

“We moved her to the back and she just took over and that allowed Sabrina not to have everything on her shoulders,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen. “Being able to move Anna around and now put Sammy on the side where she feels more comfortable, on the right side because she’s right-footed, makes things a little easier. And Norah has come a long way, for a freshman she’s played very well.”

Addi did more than just limit the Bombardiers to shots from distance, she also showed off her own long-range prowess. She found the back of the net twice on free kicks from 30-plus yards, supplying the Panthers with all the scoring they would need for the night.

“She’s been doing it all season,” Geysen said of Addi’s ability on set pieces. He added, “We don’t score a lot of goals (28 in 17 games) and that’s one of the problems we have, so if we don’t play good defense then we’re in trouble.”

It was a frustrating night for Attleboro coach Steve Santos, who watched the Bombardiers claw their way into contention with a hard-fought win against North Attleboro on Sunday afternoon in the annual Blue-Red Cup match. A day later and a little banged up, especially after junior forward Isabella Salviati was forced to the bench with a rib injury, the Bombardiers couldn’t find a way past the Franklin back line.

“We played yesterday in the rain,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “Everyone was coming in here a little ragged and that’s not the way you want to go into a playoff game. We battled hard. I’m proud of the team, they don’t quit. They give us everything they got left in the tank.”

Neither team was able to create many clear-cut chances through the first half. Sydney St. Marie had the first good look for the Panthers when she was played into the right channel, but Emily Antonik was able to put pressure on her and make it a comfortable save for Ashley Macia.

Five minutes later, Eleanor Graber had Attleboro’s first shot on target, but it was from a long way out and was an easy stop for Breanna Atwood (four saves).

Franklin nearly grabbed the lead midway through the half when Carly Alston’s corner was met by Erin Quaile, but the junior midfielder’s header smack the bar and stayed out. Macia was able to scramble and cover the rebound.

Attleboro had a couple of chances late in the half, but both were shots from well outside the area. Jessica Gatesstepped past a couple of Franklin defenders to open up space, but her shot was held by Atwood. A minute later, Briley Harnois got shooting space from 20 yards and sent a shot narrowly wide of the post.

“Their defense is so stingy, so difficult,” said Santos. “No. 4 (Addi) is a rock back there. She’s hard to get through. She’s strong on the ball, she goes into tackles strong. They didn’t give us much. We knew it was going to be a close one, we knew it was going to be a battle, and we were hoping that we’d get the bounce we needed.”

The hosts came storming out of the break determined to grab the lead and not allow the Bombardiers to get the advantage that they were desperately seeking. Quaile played in Alston between the center backs but she shot early and hit it straight at the keeper. Chloe Barca whipped in a cross from the right a few minutes later that St. Marie hit first-time but again Macia was in the right position to hold on.

“Those two kids up front,” Geysen said of Harnois and Salviati, “if you make a mistake they can hurt you and that’s what I told the girls at halftime. I said that they need to stop dropping, one of you take the person who’s there and the other will be the second defender. You can’t keep dropping and giving them more space.”

Ten minutes after the break, Addi broke the deadlock with an unstoppable rocket from nearly 40 yards out. Her shot smacked the underside of the bar on its way through. Fourteen minutes after that and from the other side of the field, she went for goal from more than 30 yards and was able to slip it just past the outstretched arms of the keeper to make it 2-0.

That goal put Attleboro in the unenviable position of having to score three goals in just 16 minutes against a team that had allowed only two goals in a month and hadn’t allowed three goals in a game once this season.

The best chance for the Bombardiers came nine minutes from full time when Harnois curled a ball into the box from the near midfield. The clearance was indecisive and fell to the feet of Emily Dunlea, who drew a save out of Atwood.

Santos explained, “Today was our tournament test. It’s tough. We wanted more for this team and we’ll always look back at a couple of those games that we wish we had back, but to be playing and fighting at this time of the year, we’re playing great soccer.”

Franklin (12-4-1) will find out its tournament opponent when the draw comes out on Friday.

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Snead Returns With Hat Trick to Lift KP Past Attleboro

Avery Snead
KP senior Avery Snead returned from a week off due to injury and scored a six-minute hat trick in the second half to power the Warriors to a win. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip has been without senior forward Avery Snead for the past week, as she recovered from an ankle injury. The Warriors welcomed the two-time league MVP back into the lineup against Attleboro on Tuesday evening at Macktaz Field and the Providence College-commit showed how important she can be over an impressive six-minute stretch of the second half.

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Snead scored three goals in quick succession, starting just seconds after the break, to turn a one-goal game into a comfortable 4-0 victory for the hosts, who remain unbeaten on the season.

“When we broke for halftime, I said let’s do a quick strike here, break their spirits, but I didn’t expect three in six minutes,” joked KP coach Gary Pichel. “That was a glorious comeback for [Avery]. It’s a major relief to have her back and healthy again. It’s always nice when you have one of the top players in the league, if not Massachusetts, back in your lineup.”

Inside the first minute of the second half, Snead showed quick feet to slip past the center of the Attleboro defense and she breezed down the middle of the box and coolly slipped a shot inside the post to make it 2-0. Three minutes later, Snead took advantage of a ball from Jenny Montville that bounced past the Attleboro back line for another easy finish.

In the 46th minute, Snead rose highest to get on the end of a pinpoint Makayla Griffin free kick and flicked it past the onrushing keeper for her third of the night and the team’s fourth.

“They’re just two great players and you can only try so much to keep them off the board,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos of Snead and fellow forward Chloe Layne. She had a nice first game back. She was excited. I think after she got one, she got the taste back.”

The first half was dominated by the home team. KP controlled possession and create a host of scoring chances, only to have Attleboro keeper Ashley Macia come through with 11 of her 14 saves before the break.

“It’s the dynamic duo is what it is and they’re back together again this year and it’s been pretty nice,” said Pichel about pairing Snead and Layne up top again. “It puts the other teams back on their heels a little bit.”

Snead and Layne wasted no time in combining for a chance, as Layne, the league’s leading scorer this season, created space on her right foot and forced a diving save after only five minutes. Two minutes later, Layne was set up by Ally Stanton but her left-footed drive was tapped up onto the bar.

KP found its breakthrough in the 12th minute on a set piece. Griffin delivered a perfect free kick from near midfield that landed on the head of Layne, who flicked it past Macia.

A minute later, Griffin picked out Stanton, whose header was saved. Stanton had another good chance in the 22nd minute after Layne drew a crowd and opened shooting space on the edge of the 18 only to have Macia made another strong stop.

“We came in a little bit hesitant,” Santos admitted. “The first 10 minutes after they scored that goal, we settled in a little and created some opportunities but we needed that final ball. We worked the ball out wide and tried to do this switch, but it was a low roller that they took and counterattacked.”

The chances kept coming for the Warriors. Snead opened space for Stanton, but she wasn’t able to make clean contact and the shot was gathered by Macia and then Kiera Lindmark gave Ava Tormey a chance on goal but again the shot was saved.

When asked if he was worried about having only a one-goal cushion heading into the break, Pichel responded, “I wasn’t that nervous because I knew that we carried play pretty well in that first half and it was just a matter of time before we did something here…I just didn’t realize it would be that quick.”

Attleboro struggled to create clearcut chances. After intercepting a throw-in, Gabrielle Lauzier sent an angled cross into the box that was just out of the reach of Ashley Dame and was collected by KP keeper Taylor Butler, who had otherwise been a bystander for most of the half. Attleboro forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois were largely quiet, forced to drop deep to get onto the ball.

“Their tempo is fast, their decision-making is fast and they’re hungry for the ball and all you can try to do is pack it back and hope the game plan works,” Santos said about defending KP. “I think we came in a little intimidated but it was a good test for us. I told them, if we qualify for tournament this is what you have to be ready for.”

After Snead turned the game on its head in the opening six minutes of the second half, the game settled into mostly a midfield battle with few chances on either side.

Layne played Montville in behind the Attleboro defense in the 55th minute but the shot was saved and Jillian Anderson combined with Makenzie Shandley but Attleboro back-up keeper Alexis Campbell was there to make the stop. Meghan Panzer had a half-volley effort that went close for the best chance for the Bombardiers after the break.

King Philip (8-0, 6-0) will look to continue its unbeaten start at Stoughton on Friday, while Attleboro (3-3-1, 2-3-1) will have a tough trip to face Davenport division-leading Foxboro.

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Girls Soccer: 2019 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2019 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
Last fall, Mansfield won the league title for a third straight season but the rest of the loaded Kelley-Rex division will be aiming to take down the Hornets this year. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 6-11-1
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Steve Santos
The Bombardiers have made great improvements over the last couple of seasons, jumping from eight goals scored as a team to 26 and then 24 in 2017 and 2018, and now head coach Steve Santos is looking for Attleboro to take the next step and make its first state tournament appearance since joining the Hockomock League. With an experienced corps and several talented newcomers, Santos hopes this will be the year to get a taste of the postseason.

The attack has been led by junior forward Isabella Salviati, who had half of the team’s goals last year and assisted on seven other goals. The forward play flows through her, but the Bombardiers will be hoping to get more contributions from junior Briley Harnois, who had a breakout sophomore campaign, and from midfielder Jessica Gates, who has the vision to find the key pass that will spring one of the forwards. Also helping out through midfield and into the attack with be seniors Ashley Dame and Julia Reyes.

There is also experience in the heart of the Attleboro defense with senior Sophia Salviati paired with classmate Emily Antonik. Junior Vanessa Laguerre makes the move up from JV this season and will be slotted into the back line as well. Goalie has been a position of strength for the Bombardiers for several seasons but this year it is in flux as senior Ashley Macia is slated to be the starter, but she is also capable in defense and saw a lot of time as an outfield player last year. Freshman Alexis Campbell could eventually step in between the posts. Junior Riley Sullivan could contribute right away and is capable of playing multiple positions and sophomore Emily Khang adds another player with ball skills.

“We have a lot of returning players,” said Santos, “and I think we have more depth so we won’t have to rely on the starters for as many minutes. We have a lot of players who can contribute and fill in the pieces. The key this season will be being consistent for 80 minutes and keeping our pace for the whole game.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 10-3-5
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tom Geysen
Franklin lost only three games all of last season and had one of the league’s best defensive records, allowing only 10 goals in 18 games. That solidity in the defensive third will be hard to replicate, as the Panthers graduated three of last year’s back four, but there is also hope that the promising young attackers can take some of the pressure off by improving on the team’s 40 goals scored, which was seventh best in the Hock.

Senior Sabrina Addi is the lone returning defender for the Panthers, but she will get help from senior goalie Breanna Atwood to try and organize an inexperienced defense. Freshman Norah Anderson will jump into the center of the defense and looks ready for the physical challenge of Hock play. Senior Sam Powderly will drop back from midfield to help out as well.

Once the Panthers get the ball back, there are plenty of familiar faces to try and get goals. Senior Anna Balkus can play a number of different positions, including in the heart of midfield, the wing, or in the attack. Sophomore Stella Regan is coming off a breakout rookie season and adds even more pace to the center of the pitch, while senior Carly Alston is a solid performer on both sides of the ball. In the attack, juniors Erin Quaile and Sydney St. Marie are looking to make the leap to add more consistent scoring.

“I know the kids with experience won’t back down,” said Franklin coach Tom Geysen, “but I need to see how the younger kids will react to this level. I need to see if they can physically cope with playing where I need them to play.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 12-5-2
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Gary Pichel
When you bring back players the caliber of seniors Avery Snead and Chloe Layne, the expectations will be very high for the upcoming season. King Philip enters 2019 as the favorite to bring home a league title but also with the goal of matching the run that the Warriors made in 2017, when they won the South title in double overtime and reached the state semifinal.

Layne, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, and Snead, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year and two-time league MVP, have been among the league’s leading scorers each of the last three years and will make one more run at a league title. They are joined up top by senior Ally Stanton. The trio was one of the league’s most dynamic attacking groups, combining for 50 goals and 33 assists last season

Senior Jenna Hitchen and juniors Emma Glaser and Jenny Montville will also contribute to pushing the Warriors forward, while freshman Ella Pisani is a newcomer to watch in the attack. A lot of attention will (rightfully) be paid to KP’s attack, but its defense is also experienced. Seniors Makayla Griffin and Olivia Berry and junior Paige Varvarigos return to the back line with a combined eight years on varsity. Junior Taryn Greenberg and freshman Grace Lawler will also contribute in defense in front of junior goalie Taylor Butler.

“I am very excited about the prospects for our team this year,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “That being said, we will remain laser-focused on not overlooking any team that we play. We will not look ahead but instead, will prepare for each team we have on our schedule with great intensity, one game at a time.




Mansfield

2018 Record: 15-3-4
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Kevin Smith
The Hornets have had an unprecedented level of success over the past three seasons, winning three straight Kelley-Rex division titles, and reaching last year’s Div. 1 South semifinal, but Mansfield enters the fall with an almost entirely new roster and having only one player on the team with more than one year of varsity experience.

Senior Erin Dooling is by far the most experienced player on the roster, but defender Maria Sevastos and midfielder Katie Miller both saw a lot of playing time as freshmen and impressed during their rookie campaigns. Senior midfielder Kerrin Sears and senior defender Megan Krone join Dooling as captains this season and will both need to provide leadership for a team with four freshmen on the roster.

Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said, “We are young and learning each day with an entire new starting lineup, four freshmen on the roster and 18 of 24 players new to the team. Erin is the lone player with more than one year of varsity experience while Maria and Katie earned a lot of minutes last year. All three will be leaned on to share their experience with the team.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 11-5-3
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Britt Sellmayer
Oliver Ames continues to turn out competitive teams ready to challenge the best teams in the league and put themselves in the state tournament picture. This fall will be no different, as the Tigers have six returning starters and 14 players who saw varsity action last year. While there is still a relative lack of experience, the Tigers remain a team with high expectations.

Defense has also been a strength of the program and this year is no different with seniors Olivia Carroll, Abigail Hodges, and Leah Johnson providing a strong backbone for the team and will be a unit that is hard to break down. Junior goalie Emma O’Donnell is dealing with a preseason injury, so sophomore Emily Meyers will get the start for the season opener. Seniors Erin Holmberg and Abby Evin will lead the forward line, but there were strong rookie seasons from Camryn O’Connor and Allison Evin that give confidence for additional help in the final third.

“For OA to return to the tournament we will need some of our less experienced players to step up,” said Oliver Ames coach Britt Sellmayer.

Taunton

2018 Record: 3-16
2018 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Joe Rocha
Former Taunton boys soccer coach Joe Rocha takes over the girls program this fall and will continue a rebuilding effort to try and get the Tigers off the foot of the division standings, which is a difficult task in the loaded Kelley-Rex division. Rocha knows it will be a process with a relatively young roster and is looking for improvements over the course of the season.

Senior Grace Pimenta will be back in goal for the Tigers this season, after missing part of last year with an injury. Pimenta will add leadership to the defensive unit that features senior Emma Silvia and sophomore Isabella Anslow in the middle. Keeping things solid in the center will be the key and Taunton will hope that the forwards can stay active and put pressure on the opposing defenses. Seniors Paige Tolan, Allison Calderon, and Kerla Sylvestre, and juniors Emily O’Gara and Morgan Zakrewski will be counted on to step up and improve Taunton’s goal-scoring numbers (after scoring 16 goals as a team last season).

“We are a very young team and will have some growing pains,” Rocha said. “As a first-year coach, my players are learning a new system and once we all get on the same page, I feel that our play will improve.”

Second Half Goal Earns Bombardiers a Point at North

Attleboro girls soccer
Julia Reyes (20) tries to beat North defender Morgan Silver during the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Beaupre Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It may have only been the second week of the season and both teams had yet to even play a handful of games this fall, but the intensity of the play on the pitch Wednesday night was reminiscent of a playoff game or at least when these teams meet with the Blue-Red Cup on the line.

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It was tight, it was physical, and in the end it was tied. Briley Harnois scored with 15 minutes left in the game to cancel out Kayla Pasquel’s first half strike and earn Attleboro a point in a 1-1 draw with North Attleboro on the Beaupre Field turf.

“We’ve been a slow starting team and I challenged them today to really start right off the opening whistle,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “They worked hard. We knew it was going to be a physical game. They have a lot of speed up top and on the wings and we knew we had to slow them down.”

The Rocketeers created enough chances over the course of the game that on another day, with more composed finishing, they could have pulled out the victory. But, for all the chances created by the hosts, the two goalies finished with the same amount of saves because North struggled to put the ball on frame.

North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace said, “We had some chances. A lot of shots we were leaning back on and they were going high, but this is a completely different team than last year and these kids are working real hard. It’s been a crazy preseason, crazy start to the season, and we’re starting to find ourselves.”

Ashlyn Gaulin was the primary focus of the Attleboro defense, with several players taking turns to man-mark the senior forward (who has accounted for six points in a game twice already this season), but she was still able to work scoring opportunities.

Just seven minutes in, Gaulin’s nifty footwork opened up the Attleboro defense but her shot from the right side of the box was right at Bombardiers goalie Tayla Drape. Seven minutes later, Gaulin flicked a pass through the defense to Pasquel, who then gave it right back but the shot went over the bar.

North found its breakthrough in the 23rd minute. Again it was Gaulin who opened up the Attleboro back line, showing off her skill to get space on the left side and then deftly chipping a cross to the back post. Pasquel beat her defender to the ball and bundled it over the line for a 1-0 advantage.

While Attleboro was not getting as many shots on goal, the Bombardiers were giving North’s defense something to worry about on the break with the speed of Harnois and fellow sophomore Isabella Salviati keeping the Rocketeers on their toes. Senior defenders Sam Hawkins and Bishop Feehan transfer Olivia Bishop both had to cut out chances.

After Julia Reyes had a shot from the right wing that went into the side netting, Attleboro got its first shot on target in the 35th minute. A Harnois free kick from 25 yards was saved under the bar by a leaping Emma Noreck.

Just a minute later, Emma Gaulin sent in an angled free kick from nearly midfield that found the head of Haley Ferrin, but the header was right at Drape. North had one more chance before halftime, as Emma Gaulin played the ball through to Lydia Santos, who picked out Ashlyn Gaulin, who then fed Pasquel, but again the final shot was too high and off target.

The Rocketeers continued to get shots off early in the second half. Pasquel teed up Alex Moulson racing in from the left side but she could not keep the shot down under pressure from Ashley Lauzier and Gaulin and Pasquel combined again for a chance only to have the shot smack off the football goalposts.

“I rotated a few defenders on Ashlyn to keep her man-marked,” Santos explained, “and in the second half we had to push a few more up and create more chances, put pressure on their backs. They had some chances early that I’m sure they wish they had back.”

As long as the game stayed 1-0, Attleboro felt like it had a shot. In the 55th minute, Jessica Gates got free on the right and her cross went all the way across the box to Reyes, who had her shot blocked. The rebound bounced to Salviati but again the shot found the leg of a North defender. Three minutes later, Gates had a long free kick that Noreck was able to catch.

In the 65th minute, the Bombardiers found an equalizer. Salviati ran onto a bouncing ball down the right side and played a clever, one-touch pass in behind the North defense that Harnois was able to run onto. With Noreck racing off her line to cut down the angle, Harnois made no mistake with a rasping finish into the far corner.

“It was a good finish,” Santos said. “I thought she had one more chance when she came down here and she just mis-struck it. When you show up at North Attleboro, you know it’s going to be a battle.”

After the goal, Attleboro had momentum and nearly took the lead but Reyes’ cross was just in front of Salviati on the edge of the six-yard-box. North had one last chance in the final six minutes, but Gaulin saw her line drive free kick held by Drape.

“We’re beginning to be a little more offensive,” said Santos. “We have some girls who are feisty and they’re willing to be scrappy. The girls are starting to believe in themselves and that’s what you need to compete in the Hock.”

Wallace added, “This was a good motivational game for them because the intensity was there. We hadn’t faced this kind of intensity yet this year. At this point in the season, we’ll take the point and move on, but hopefully we’ll finish those chances.”

Attleboro (1-2-1) will try to build on the draw when it hosts defending league champ King Philip on Monday. North Attleboro (2-0-2), which moved into a one-point lead in the Davenport, will host Taunton on Saturday morning.

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Girls Soccer: 2018 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2018 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
King Philip and Mansfield shared the league title last season and look like being favorites to make another run at the crown this fall. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 4-13-1
2017 Finish: Missed Playoffs.
Coach: Steve Santos

Attleboro improved last season, scoring 18 goals and showing signs of an improved passing game, which head coach Steve Santos has been trying to build over the past few years. An exciting group of younger players added speed to the Bombardiers and the team’s increased depth allowed them to be competitive against even the league’s best teams.

That group has continued to develop and sophomore forwards Isabella Salviati and Briley Harnois will be counted on to provide a consistent threat to the opposition defense. The midfield should be a strength for the Bombardiers this season with a group of versatile players that will set the foundation for the Attleboro passing game. Senior Sam Fasoldt will be joined by juniors Julia Reyes and Ashley Dame, who returns after missing 2017 with a knee injury, and sophomore Jessica Gates. Junior Sophia Salviati will help out in midfield and defense, where Attleboro returns just one starter from last year. Seniors Felicia Laguerre and Ashley Lauzier will be at the heart of the defense in front of goalies Taylor Drake (senior) or Ashley Macia (junior).

“The team looks good and is playing some good passing soccer,” said Santos about the Bombardiers in the preseason. “As a team, our speed is where we need it to be to keep teams on their heels and not let them dictate play.”

Franklin

2017 Record: 10-8-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Tom Geysen

Franklin battled injuries throughout the 2017 season and those injuries tested the Panthers depth, but heading into a new season head coach Tom Geysen is confident that this year’s squad can withstand the rigors of Hockomock play. The Panthers will be tested early, with King Philip, Mansfield, and Canton in the opening four games.

Versatility will be a key for the Panthers this season with players capable of slotting into different positions. One of those players is junior Anna Balkus, who can play up top or drop back into the midfield depending on the formation. Sophomore Sydney St. Marie will also play up top and Geysen said that she has shown real progress from last year. Junior Carly Alston will be in the heart of the midfield, while senior Halle Atkinson will give Franklin an outlet on one wing and sophomore Erin Qualie, fresh off an impressive rookie campaign, will be on the other. Defensively, Franklin will count on third-year center back Grace Gallo, fellow senior Maddie Stewart, and junior Sabrina Addi, who moved from the midfield to defense last fall. Athletic junior Breanna Atwood will jump into goal and continue Franklin’s run of strong goalkeepers.

“We have a good nucleus of kids coming back and kids moving around to new positions,” said Geysen. “There are a lot of freshmen with potential to develop into strong players. Everyone had a good attitude and has been working hard.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 20-2-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 state semifinal.
Coach: Gary Pichel

King Philip put together a dominant season in 2017, winning a league title for the first time since 2002 and then winning the Div. 1 South title as well. The Warriors scored 18 more goals than any other team in the Hockomock last year and also allowed fewer goals than all but two teams. With a loaded roster back this fall, KP has its sights set on even more in 2018.

Expectations are sky high for the Warriors this season because of the return of junior forwards Chloe Layne and Avery Snead, the reigning league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year. Layne and Snead were the top two scorers in the Hock last season and they continue to develop and improve. KP wasn’t a two-player team and they will also count on senior Abby Baker in the midfield along with wingers Makayla Griffin and Ally Stanton to provide outlets when defenses crowd the forwards and close down the middle of the park. Junior Olivia Berry will be in the heart of the defense and look to provide the leadership and physical play of graduated defender Emma Corcoran. Junior Faye Veilleux also stepped in at the end of last season and showed her growth as a defensive presence in midfield.

KP coach Gary Pichel said, “The team’s strength’s lie in the ability of our offense to create a great deal of scoring opportunities. There is a relentless desire to push hard up top and keep it there through pressure on ball at all times. We are fortunate to have players that have the ability to do so on a consistent basis.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 13-2-2
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Kevin Smith

While King Philip earned a lot of attention for their run to the state semifinal, Mansfield was equally as strong in the league last year. The Hornets matched the Warriors step for step and earned a share of their second straight Kelley-Rex division title. With a number of players back again this year, Mansfield looks ready to battle for a three-peat and make a deep tournament run.

The Hornets feature 13 seniors on this year’s roster, so experience won’t be an issue. Melissa Reef and Bryn Anderson headline the midfield group, with Reef providing cover for the back line and Anderson acting as the fulcrum that gets the offense in motion. The defense will be spearheaded by Emily Vigeant, who has been on the top defenders in the league for the past couple of seasons. She is joined by versatile and physical defenders like Mikaela Maughn, Kerina Geminiani, and Erin Daniel. Goalkeeper Lauren Whitman will be back between the sticks this season.

There will be plenty of depth in the Mansfield attack this fall with Stephanie Kemp, Sydney Mulkern, Amanda Mangano, Cassidy McMahon, and freshman Maria Sevastos all expected to contribute. “We will be hoping to spread out the offense amongst multiple attackers,” said Mansfield coach Kevin Smith.

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 11-8-0
2017 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round.
Coach: Britt Sellmayer

Oliver Ames had a number of new faces last year, but the Tigers were still able to earn a postseason appearance and were the only team in the league to beat King Philip during the regular season. With another year of experience, OA should be ready for another postseason run.

Defense should be a strength for the Tigers this season with plenty of varsity experience on the back line, including seniors Gabriele McLaughlin, Maeve Hogan, and Brianna Gibson. The defensive unit will help sophomores Emma O’Donnell and Emily Meyers get comfortable in goal, as they try to replace EMass all-star Regan Benton. Junior Abby Hodges will be a key component in the OA midfield this season. Junior Erin Holmberg and senior Maggie Ault will be up front for the Tigers, who will hope to improve on the 31 goals they scored last year.

OA coach Britt Sellmayer said, “We have a good mix of experienced players and younger players that have potential to develop into a good team. The key will be replacing one of the best keepers in EMass in Regan Benton. We are counting on the seniors in the back line staying healthy and providing leadership.”

Taunton

2017 Record: 5-13-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs.
Coach: Edith Dixon

It has been a few seasons since Taunton made history with a trip to the postseason and a road playoff win at Wellesley, but the program is continuing to build and head coach Edith Dixon expects the Tigers to be an “interesting” team in 2018 with a mix of youth and experience.

Taunton will clearly miss leading scorer Sam Tichelaar and defensive stalwart Kayla Felix, who both graduated after last season, but there is a lot of talent for the Tigers to build around. Grace Pimenta will be back between the pipes and her aggressiveness off her line will help the Taunton defense. Maggie Sullivan will be counted on to be the field general in midfield and Dixon praised her “never-ending motor.” Up front, speed will be a strength for the Tigers, who are hoping to use it to create numerous chances in transition and being aggressive attacking the opposition goal.

Dixon said, “ The best part about this team is their amazing attitude as a group. Everyone has bought into the team concepts and wants to contribute everything they have towards the team goals. This is the first season I’ve had at Taunton where there are no superstars, just 11 players all working together with great synergy.”

Second Half Adjustments Spark Bombardiers’ Comeback

Attleboro girls soccer
Attleboro’s Abigail Guardado and Stoughton’s Sarah Widrow battle for possession in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Attleboro used a slight adjustment in its formation and renewed energy in the second half to earn a 2-1 comeback win on the road at Stoughton.

The Knights came out with high energy, which resulted in a majority of the possession and play in their attacking third. It also resulted in a lead for Stoughton just over the midway point.

But Attleboro head coach Steve Santos tinkered with his five-member midfield at the break, pushing certain pieces forward to close down the space Stoughton was working with.

That change, along with a renewed energy and a pair of fortunate bounces helped the Bombardiers earn two points.

“Stoughton played really well in the first half, they wanted it and they came out with a lot more energy than we did,” Santos said. “They got the reward for working hard and we kind of put our heads down. We had a talk at half and the energy came in the second half, we had a little bit more intensity. The girls just worked for it, and we got the bounce in the end.

“We’re working on our confidence and being in situations we’re not used to being in. We got the bounce today and we’ll move forward and try to build on it tomorrow.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro had a pair of chances inside the first 20 minutes of the game, with senior Alison Wall tracking down a through ball and firing a shot from atop the area, but Stoughton keeper Emma Harrington was there for the save.

Just five minutes later, sophomore Sophia Salviatiplayed a through ball for freshman Briley Harnois, but her bid at the far post just slid wide.

Stoughton continued its pressure and began to register chances. Junior Elizabeth Kashian put the first shot on frame with a low big from the top of the area, but Attleboro keeper Madison Brown scooped up the shot.

But two minutes later, the Black Knights were able to break through. Mackenzie Manning delivered a cross that was flicked on by Sarah Widrow behind the defense. Stoughton sophomore Chinazo Odunza raced in and was able to slide her shot in to make it 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Stoughton had a chance to add to its lead in the 37th minute when a corner kick dropped just a yard off the goal line, but a scrum ensued and Attleboro was able to clear it. Harrington took away a chance from Attleboro’s Isabella Salviati on the other end by charging off the line.

“We had five midfielders but I felt like they were dropping too deep, giving Stoughton some space and they were using it to get forward,” Santos said. “I had them move up and take away that space and that helped us in the second half.”

The shift paid dividends right away as the Bombardiers put the pressure on early on in the second half. After a ball was cleared, Attleboro put a long ball back into the box that accidentally hit a Stoughton’s players raised hand, giving the Bombardiers a penalty kick.

Harnois stepped up and placed her shot into the bottom left corner to bring the Bombardiers level.

“In the first game against Canton, she had a couple of opportunities to put the ball away and she missed a couple that I’m sure she wished she had back,” Santos said. “But she showed it today, she has a promising future. She works hard and she knows how to be in the right spot to get things done.”

Attleboro kept the pressure up throughout the second half. Julia Hayes had a shot from distance turned away by Harrington off a bounce. Five minutes later, Morgan LaPlume played a perfect ball through Stoughton’s back line for Ashley Lauzier, but Harrington came charging off her line and made a great sliding save.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Shortly after Harrington came out for the sliding save, the Knights went on the counter attack. A touch from Manning put her in along with Odunze, but Attleboro defender Jordyn Foote thwarted the attack.

In the final minutes, the Bombardiers got their reward for continual pressure. Harnois whipped in a cross in the 78th minute that took a deflection off a Stoughton defender and found the back of the net to make it 2-1.

“It was a well-fought game,” said Stoughton head coach Tara Daniels. “We just had two unlucky things happen in the second half and it cost us the game. The girls played tough, they played hard. I think this year is going to be a turning point for us looking at the two first results.”

Attleboro girls soccer (1-1 Hockomock, 1-1 overall) returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Sharon. Stoughton (0-2, 0-2) travels to Mansfield on the same day to take on the Hornets.

Girls Soccer: 2017 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2017 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
Mansfield and Oliver Ames shared the Kelley-Rex division title last season and both expect to be in the mix again this fall. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 2-15-1
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Steve Santos

Goal scoring has been the biggest issue for the Bombardiers in the past few seasons, including a league-low eight in 2016, but head coach Steve Santos is confident that this year’s squad has the speed and experience to take advantage of counter attacks and he expects Attleboro to create a lot more scoring chances this fall.

While goal scoring is a focus of the preseason work, it is at the back that Attleboro boasts the most experience with the entire back line returning. Senior Jordyn Forte is the leader at the back, using her “good soccer IQ,” according to Santos, to keep things calm and making the right plays. She is joined in the defense by fellow seniors Morgan Laplume and Graycen Cassidy. In goal, Madison Brown returns to give Attleboro a solid presence to control the penalty box.

Turning that defense into attack will be the responsibility of senior midfielder Julia Hayes, who will be a key player in the center of the pitch. Junior Ashley Lauzier and senior Kara Thornton will be hoping to take advantage of the opportunities that are created. Santos is also excited about the youth coming into the program with three freshman on the varsity roster to start, including Riley Harnois, who will help out in the attack.

“We have a little more speed this year,” said Santos, “and we’ve been generating a little more in the transition. This year I can rest [the starters], bring people off the bench and the pace doesn’t drop off. They’re great kids, they work hard, and they fight for the team every day.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 10-3-5
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tom Geysen

After six straight league titles, Franklin had an atypical season in 2016. The Panthers only lost three times all season, but drew five times, struggling to find consistent goal scoring that would turn a tie into a win. Franklin only allowed nine goals, but only scored 36, which was 20 goals fewer than league champ Mansfield. This year, head coach Tom Geysen is working on a new formation to get the best out of his attacking options with the goal of returning to the top of the league standings.

The Panthers return leading scorer Miranda Smith and the senior takes advantage of her size to create scoring opportunities in the box. Junior Halle Atkinson is back for her third year on the varsity and gives Franklin speed on the wings and is an accurate crosser of the ball to give Smith plenty of chances. Molly Duncan and Ellie Teixeira are also back and will give the Panthers a consistent presence in the center of midfield, while Emily Mastaj is another option on the wing.

The key to Franklin’s defense this season will be senior goalie Cat Robbins. Stepping in between the posts last year, Robbins turned in an impressive year and quickly became one of the top goalies in the league. This year, there will be several new faces and younger players that will be counted on to step up on the defensive side of the ball, including senior Molly O’Reilly and juniors Grace Gallo and Madison Stewart.

Geysen noted that there are several underclassmen that could step in during the season to add to the Panthers’ depth. He added, “We need to find the right mix. If we can patch things together and they can gain experience over the course of the season I’m confident that we will get better.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 12-8-2
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Gary Pichel

It was a great turnaround for King Philip from 2015 to 2016. The Warriors were snakebitten by injuries the year before, losing almost an entire starting 11 many of them to long-term injuries, but last year a large and talented freshman class stepped in to supplement the players who were back healthy helping the program jump from just two wins to 12 last fall.

Expectations are even higher for the Warriors this year, as that freshman group gained a year of experience playing in the Hock. The sophomores are led by Avery Snead, last year’s Underclassman of the Year, who excelled up front or in the midfield and sealed the team’s playoff victory over Mansfield with an overtime headed winner. Chloe Layne showed off silky skills and finishing ability in the box and Olivia Berry stepped right into the heart of the defense and showed that she belonged.

It is not all about the underclassmen. Senior Emma Corcoran is back for another year at the heart of the defense and as the primary dead ball specialist, being named an Eastern Mass. All-Star in 2016. Senior Emma Durant has grown into the role of starting keeper and was a solid and steady presence between the posts last season. Senior Julian Massarone is a three-year varsity player and will be one of the primary playmakers in the center of the pitch.

“Overall, we made great strides in improving our game last year,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “We want to continue to become more advanced in all three phases of our game. Last year, we turned a corner. This year, we want to move full speed ahead and compete hard against all of our opponents in the Hock!”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 14-1-4 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Kevin Smith

Mansfield is coming off the program’s best ever season. The Hornets set records for wins, points, goals scored and claimed their first ever league title, finishing the regular season unbeaten. An overtime loss in the first round of the playoffs to league rival KP was a tough finish to 2016 and trying to replace the production of HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Hannah Reiter will be a challenge, but the Hornets return a ton of talent to make a run at another title.

Juniors Melissa Reef (an Eastern Mass. All-Star last season) and Bryn Anderson will be back in the midfield this fall, breaking up opponents’ attacks and pushing Mansfield into the attack. Their ability to cover a lot of ground in the center of the pitch and pick out the right pass to start the transition will be key. Classmate Stephanie Kemp will be back at the top of the attack, after scoring nine goals as a sophomore. Junior Emily Vigeant will lead an experienced defensive unit and also gives the Hornets a dangerous weapon from set pieces.

Mansfield coach Kevin Smith likes has a lot of players that he can call on this season. In the attack, Kemp will be joined by Sydney Mulkern, Allee Bezeau, Amanda Mangano, Cassidy MacMahon, and Emma Oldow. Defensively, the Hornets will turn to Mikaela Maughn, Kerina Geminiani, Erin Daniel and goalkeeper Lauren Whitman.

Smith said, “We will be hoping to spread out the offense amongst multiple attackers and relying on the experience of 13 juniors and three seniors who were on varsity last year to fill the roles of the five starters who graduated.”

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 14-3-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Britt Sellmayer

Last fall, Oliver Ames made the switch from the Davenport to the Kelley-Rex division, but it had little effect on the success of the program. The Tigers shared the league title with Mansfield, the fourth title in a row for OA and seventh since 2007. That run of success may be tough to keep going this year, as the Tigers graduated 10 seniors and are battling injuries to start 2017.

Losing players like Francesca Calabraro (who was injured midway through last season) and Kiana Lozzi is tough enough, but the Tigers lost almost an entire starting 11. To make matters worse, the strong central defensive pairing of Emily Freeman (knee) and Zoe Chazan (academy) are both missing to start the season. Senior goalie Regan Benton is back and will give the Tigers one of the best goalies in the league and in Eastern Mass. to backstop the rebuilt defense.

Offensively, the Tigers have been known for pace and strength, particularly on set pieces, and this year will count on three senior to try and provide consistent scoring opportunities. The pacy group of Abby Reardon, Jackie Mills, Annabella Walsh will be the primary focus of the attack. There will be a lot of new faces on the pitch this season, trying to keep the legacy of OA success going for another fall.

“We have quite a few players who had limited minutes last year,” said OA coach Britt Sellmayer, “but they practiced against some good players every day. If we can stay healthy I feel confident.”

Taunton

2015 Record: 3-14-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Edith Dixon

It has been a roller coaster ride for the Tigers over the past few seasons under head coach Edith Dixon. In 2015, Taunton reached the postseason for the first time in program history and made it count by beating Wellesley on the road in the opening round and gave top seed Bishop Feehan a tough game in the second round. But, after losing a number of players to graduation, Taunton won only three games last season and are looking to bounce back behind a young roster in 2017.

The key for the Tigers is senior Samantha Tichelaar, who is coming off a league all-star and HockomockSports.com Best XI season, and gives Taunton speed, control, and leadership either as a forward or dropping deep into the midfield. Her versatility opens opportunities for her teammates. Classmate Kayla Felix will be the leader at the back for the Tigers, adding aggressiveness to the defense from her sweeper position.

Numbers are good for the program overall and Dixon expects that the younger players, including a strong crop of freshman and even eighth graders could make an impact on the varsity as the season goes along. She said that many of the younger players are “ahead of their age performance-wise.”

Dixon added, “Some of our younger players are going to step up and change how we play, but our upperclassman and seniors will remain the core of our team. I believe that their leadership and team-first mentality will push us to do well this year and set the program up for long-term success as the underclassmen mature.”

North Shuts Out Attleboro and Wins the Blue-Red Cup

North Attleboro girls soccer
North Attleboro celebrates the opening goal by Emily Schromm in the annual Blue-Red Cup game with Attleboro at Kelly Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Last year, Attleboro was able to hold off the Rocketeers with a strong defensive performance and claimed the annual Blue-Red Cup by a single goal. On Saturday afternoon at William T. Kelly Field, North Attleboro came out strong right from the opening kick-off intent on reclaiming the trophy and avoiding the upset.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Emily Schromm scored early in the first half to break the deadlock, Haley Guertin had a pair of assists and sisters Ashlyn and Emma Gaulin each had goals, as North rolled to a 4-0 victory to close out the regular season.

“We took care of business,” said North coach Bill Wallace, who took over the team when Glenn Pasquel resigned midway through the season. “I told the kids before we played Foxboro that these games count just as much as the first game of the year, as league title games. It’s as important to get as many points as we can and we’ll worry about everyone else later.”

In both last year’s cup game and the first meeting between these two teams two weeks ago, Attleboro stymied the Rocketeers early, but the Bombardiers could not manage that this time around.

Guertin, a University of Rhode Island-commit, flipped a ball over the top of the Attleboro defense towards Schromm, who was making a run from midfield. Attleboro keeper Madison Brown hesitated, struggling to read the ball off the uneven Kelly Field pitch, and that slight delay allowed Schromm the time to run onto it and line up a shot through the five-hole to make it 1-0.

“Last time we played them, their goalie stood on her head and we didn’t score until about 20 minutes left,” said Wallace. “As the game goes on and you start to feel the pressure, the net gets smaller and smaller. So, it was important [to score early].”

North was relentless in the midfield with Britta Anderson, Grace McGoldrick, and Juliana Direnzo taking turns to control the middle of the pitch, as Wallace subbed regularly and at times sent in 10 players at a time.

Schromm had a second chance saved by Brown at the near post later in the first half and Guertin had a try from the edge of the box but it was easy for the keeper. The lone Attleboro chance was a long shot from Hannah Meier that Emma Noreck caught after a bounce.

There was nothing easy about the second goal however. Guertin, under pressure from Attleboro defender Jordyn Forte, rolled the ball out to the right for Emma Gaulin to run onto and the sophomore rocketed a shot into the top corner to double the North lead.

“The first half we were our own worst enemy,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “My goalie hesitated on the first one and the second one the halfback didn’t follow her mark in and she finished it nicely and made us pay for it.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With the confidence of a two-goal cushion, North started the second half brightly. Guertin had an early chance that went just wide of the far post and just out of the reach of Gaulin sliding in at the far post.

The best chance for Attleboro came shortly after when Kara Thornton turned on the edge of the North box and had a shot but it was straight at the keeper. Aine Mendonca nearly curled in a free kick for North’s third but moments later the Rocketeers added another and put the game away.

The chance came from the wings with Felicity Monfils making the run from outside to in behind the left back and she got to a through ball Haley Ferrin and just managed to get a toe on it before Brown could smother it. The ball rolled to Ashlyn Gaulin and she tapped it into the empty net.

Wallace said, “We tried to use the width today. Some stuff we saw on film was that we had more success going wide and crossing through. Part of that is you get away from [Forte] in the middle.”

Santos was urging his team to push forward more at halftime, but the Bombardiers struggled to get into the attack. He explained, “We haven’t had a good offensive year and sometimes when a team scores early, 2-0 at halftime is like being down 4-0. They don’t want to make a mistake and give up that third goal and we get trapped back here and teams come at us even more.”

North wrapped up the scoring in the closing minutes when Leah Jette capped a solid all-around game by getting free for a breakaway and cooly finishing past Brown.

While North celebrated with the Blue-Red Cup and gets ready for the state tournament pairings this week, Santos reflected on the season gone by for the Bombardiers (2-15-1).

He said, “My captains (Rebekah Entwistle and Chloe Vieira) are the heart and soul of this team. They’ve never quit and they’ve played through some injuries and adversity and my whole team fed off of them and their no-quit attitude.”

North Attleboro(13-3-2), which won the program’s first ever league title in its first season in the Davenport division, will await the pairings for the Div. 1 South tournament.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Girls Soccer: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview
Reigning league MVP Francesca Calabraro (left) and OA will look to challenge Franklin’s Kelley-Rex supremacy this year. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Girls Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 6-12-0
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Steve Santos

The Bombardiers won six games last year, including an upset of rival North Attleboro in the annual Blue-Red Game near the end of the season. Head coach Steve Santos is hoping that the momentum will carry over for his relatively inexperienced group this fall. The Bombardiers return 10 players from last year’s roster but not all were regular contributors. “They need to play simple and play quick,” said Santos, who mentioned that the program is developing with three freshmen seeing time in scrimmages.

The loss of Paige Medeiros to graduation leaves a big hole to be filled, especially with her set piece prowess, but Attleboro will turn to senior attacking midfielders Rebekah Entwhistle and Chloe Vieira to produce the killer pass and set up scoring opportunities. Up front, Hannah Meier will be counted on to finish those chances and give Attleboro the scoring punch it needs.

Defensively, Attleboro can count on junior goalie Maddie Brown, who is coming off a stellar sophomore season, and the center back pairing of Jordyn Forte and Morgan Laplume, who Santos said had a “high soccer IQ”. It is a junior-heavy roster, but one still in need of seasoning. Santos explained, “They’re great kids and hard workers. They just need some experience under their belts.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 17-1-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Tom Geysen

The Class of 2016 won a state title, two Div. 1 South titles, went to three straight South finals, and won the Kelley-Rex division four times. That is quite a legacy for the program and, while he has a number of new faces to try and incorporate into the lineup, head coach Tom Geysen is confident that this year’s Panthers will be team to contend with by the end of the season.

One reason for optimism is the combination of sophomore Halle Atkinson and junior Jess Krouschl up front (once Kroushl comes back from a niggling injury). Both players saw time in the attack last season and showed the potential to be a strong pairing with one as the forward or playing as the wings. The forwards will be helped by energetic midfielders Molly Duncan and Ellie Teixeira, two more players who saw plenty of playing time down the stretch in 2015.

Defensively, Franklin returns one half of its back four. Nadia Havens will continue as an outside back, while Abby Gibson, who stepped in to have a strong season on the outside last fall, will move in as one of the centerbacks. Junior Kat Robbins will take over from Dani Lonati between the pipes.

Geysen said, “We’re thin and we’re green…It’s a work in progress. But, by the end of the season I think we’ll give people a test.”

King Philip

2015 Record: 2-16-0
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Gary Pichel

The Warriors did not just have an injury or two to deal with in 2015, but almost entire starting 11 ended up with injuries that left King Philip head coach Gary Pichel scrambling to fill roster spots with players from the JV and freshman teams. As 2016 begins, many of the key players are back and healthy and the Warriors are hoping to spring a surprise on the Kelley-Rex.

Junior defender Emma Corcoran (“the heart and soul” of the defense, according to Pichel) has been a rock in the middle of the back line and will have a lot more help with seniors Sarah Fleck (ACL) and Katherine Turner (ankle) back after missing all but one game last year. Corinne Palumbo and Julia Massarone will also chip in from the midfield and will be counted on turning defense into attack quickly.

Up front, Rachel Hogan returns after leading KP in scoring for the past several seasons and she will be joined by fellow senior Maddie Smith, who is back from a quad injury. The seniors will be paired with talented freshman Chloe Layne, who is already drawing rave reviews. Pichel said, “We had a very tough season last year but will look to rebound with a new look and a new strategy to improve our chances in a very competitive Hockomock League.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 12-6-2
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Kevin Smith

The Hornets are only bringing back three players who started regularly last season and that includes two goalkeepers. Senior Emily Gaumond started the season in net but missed the final month with a concussion, which meant that then freshman Lauren Whitman had to step in between the pipes. The only returning outfield player is senior Hannah Reiter. The Quinnipiac University-commit, who comes into the season as a contender for Player of the Year, was a standout in central defense, midfield, and up front last year.

While Mansfield does not return a lot of starters, there is plenty of experience on the roster. Head coach Kevin Smith utilizes a large roster and makes sure that a majority of the players get time on the field. Senior forward Emma Goulet and senior defender Emily Sullivan will be the captains and each has multiple seasons on varsity. Sophomore Stephanie Kemp and junior Allee Bezeau will be counted on to provide scoring punch and sophomore Melissa Reef will be taking a bigger role in the midfield this year.

With five freshmen and three sophomores playing “significant” minutes last year, Smith is confident that Mansfield will be able to challenge for the Kelley-Rex title. He said, “So even though we are very young we do have some players with some experience under their belts.”

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 14-3-2 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Britt Sellmayer

The Tigers have won the Davenport division each of the past three years and will now set their sights on claiming the Kelley-Rex title at the first opportunity. Head coach Britt Sellmayer has a squad capable of claiming the crown and with the potential to make a deep tournament run as well. With seven returning starters, including four league all-stars, and 10 seniors, the Tigers have the most experienced roster in the Kelley-Rex and arguably the deepest.

It starts with reigning Hockomock MVP Francesca Calabraro. The senior scored 24 goals last season and has been talked about as a potential All-American in the preseason. With Calabraro moving between a midfield and a forward role, it opens up space on the wings for the speedy Jackie Mills, who chipped in with nine goals last year and could be ready for a breakout junior season. Seniors Dana Lowney and Jess Robarge will also provide midfield support for the Tigers.

Defensively, OA has a strong core of returning players. Sophomore Zoe Chazan stepped in as a rookie and turned into one of the league’s top central defenders and her partnership with junior Emily Freeman will be a tough one for teams to break down. Behind the back line, OA has three solid goaltenders led by junior Regan Benton. Sellmayer said, “[We’re] looking forward to the challenge of playing in the large Hock.”

Taunton

2015 Record: 9-9-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Edith Dixon

The Tigers made history last season, becoming the first team in the program’s history to win a playoff game, knocking off Wellesley on the road. That Taunton team was filled with upperclassmen but head coach Edith Dixon wants the program to keep moving forward and believes that there are players ready to step up and take over.

One of the players leading the way for Taunton is senior captain Emily O’Brien, who Dixon credits with setting the tone at practice. The Tiger will turn to junior Sam Tichelaar for offensive production as the three-year starter is healthy after an injury-plagued sophomore campaign and is ready to be the “driving force” in the Taunton midfield. Senior Livi Sweeney will be the forward for Tichelaar to connect with up top.

Defensively, the Tigers will miss goalie Kayla Wentworth, who is now playing at Iona, but junior Kayla Felix will lead the defensive corps and help make Taunton tough to beat. Dixon said, “Last season was a great step forward for the program, but we’re not satisfied with making the tournament just once. Our upperclassmen want to get back there again and they’re being pushed every day in practice by some very talented eighth and ninth graders.”

Bombardiers Score Big Upset Over Rival Rocketeers

DSC_0773
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – In their final game of the season, and for many of their seniors the final of their soccer career, the Attleboro High School Lady Bombardiers relied heavily on the defensive back line and sophomore goalkeeper Madison Brown to contain rival North Attleboro, a team which had beat them 5-1 earlier in the season.
Thanks to a goal from junior forward Rebekah Entwistle, Attleboro topped North 1-0 to take the Blue and Red Cup Thursday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field.
“An emotional, hard-fought win,” said Attleboro coach Steve Santos. “I’m just so excited that the girls pulled it off. They worked really hard [and] we came in with a game plan, we made sure we had to shut down the people we needed to, and we packed it in on our defense and it worked out.”
Brown made 13 saves, including some very serious chances by the Rocketeer forwards, to help her team to victory and earn the Outstanding Player honors for her side. Senior forward Hana Caster took the honors for North Attleboro, having been key in some of Big Red’s biggest offensive threats.
“[It was] unbelievable, probably one of my best games ever,” said Brown. “I’m really pleased with myself and the rest girls also. North is a good team.”
The Rocketeers came out of the gates the stronger team, dominating possession and keeping play in the Bombardier defensive end, putting up a few chances within the first few minutes. They’d be given a free kick in the eighth minute.
The resulting kick, though in a dangerous area, would fizzle after not long after hitting the wall and the game would remain scoreless, and North Attleboro would continue to be the stronger side, nearly scoring in the 17th minute after Caster’s cross found sophomore forward Haley Guertin, who sent a hard shot right into the arms of Brown.
The Attleboro offense would soon begin to wake up and attempt to make some chances of their own, as Entwistle was stopped by North goalkeeper Kiersten Bixby in the 23rd minute. She’d get close again with Hannah Meier almost getting on a chance at an open net before Bixby fell on and covered the ball.
But after several chances, Entwistle would finally put one past the keeper in the 40th minute. Senior midfielder Kayla Merritt played a pass upfield to Entwistle, and despite being denied by Bixby on the first attempt, tucked the rebound into the net to give the Bombardiers the 1-0 lead shortly before the first half came to a close.
“[Entwistle’s] just one of those people that once she gets going, she gets the momentum behind her, [and] just a hard worker who fights for her goals,” said Santos of the junior.
As the second half opened, it was clear the tides had turned as Attleboro took control, though North Attleboro certainly showed no signs of giving up anytime soon. After a Bombardier chance early on, chaos erupted in front of their goal in the 53rd minute as a free kick sent in front of the net resulted in several close calls for an equalizer and forced two Brown saves before finally bouncing off the crossbar and out of danger.
Only five minutes later, Felicity Monfils’ shot would go off Brown’s hands and off the crossbar and out and off the football goal post above it.
Attleboro would switch to a more defensive-oriented plan for containing their rivals in the second half rather than trying to add to their totals. In their final game as Lady Bombardiers, the seniors certainly played strong roles in keeping North Attleboro at bay. Paige Medeiros and Hayley Cassidy both proved strong on the back line, as well as Madison Turner, and in midfield, Merritt, Breanna Eddy, and Cassandra Vivar did their best to disrupt their rival’s ability to create chances. Eddy nearly had an offensive chance of her own in the 64th minute before the ball was scooped away to safety by Bixby.
The rest of the game seemed to keep everyone on edge, as both sides looked to get their way but with Attleboro prevailing in the end. North Attleboro may have equalized in the 65th minute as Caster appeared to be on a breakaway but would called a very narrow offsides to end that opportunity. After making a few stops near the end, Brown would hold onto the ball on her last opportunity until the referee blew the final whistle to seal a Big Blue victory.
Following the end of the hard-fought match, the trophy was presented to the winners, who now tied the Blue and Red Cup series at two games a piece. For the seniors, who spent much time with the trophy taking picture after picture, it was bittersweet.
“It was a good way to go out,” said Merritt, who along with Medeiros and Vivar captained Attleboro this season. “Though we didn’t have the best record this season, this trophy was really an accumulation of all our hard work.”
Looking forward to the future, however, Santos seemed optimistic in his team and their chances to come.
“We’ve got a good core of sophomores and a couple of key juniors coming back next year,” said Santos. “The girls have learned a lot this year. Our record wasn’t exactly what we wanted but we had a lot of learning and we’ll be better prepared for next year.”
North Attleboro still has one game remaining in their regular season before they head into the tournament, as they’ll play hosts to Durfee Saturday for some non-league Halloween action.