Strong First Half Propels Mansfield to Win at KP

Mansfield girls basketball
Senior guard Sydney Mulkern had another strong performance for Mansfield, with a game-high 20 points, including four three-pointers, and helped the Hornets hold off KP on the road. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip came into Friday’s game on a high after scoring 73 points and winning by 42 on Tuesday, but the shots that all seemed to go in against Stoughton mostly stayed out against Mansfield. The Hornets, on the other hand, were on fire. They knocked down six three-pointers through three quarters and built their lead to as many as 21 at one point in the third.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield rode that quick start to a 53-44 victory that keeps the Hornets two games back of league-leading Franklin and alone in second place in the Kelley-Rex division.

“We didn’t think we could play zone the whole night but they never forced us out of it,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Foul trouble impacted them a little and we kind of played our regular rotation and took advantage of that. Both teams have a lot of great athletes and both of us need to work to score points but we did a good job making open shots when we got them.”

Sydney Mulkern was the spark for the Hornets on Friday, scoring a game-high 20 points, including 14 in the first half. She got off to a quick start, knocking down a three and driving to the basket for a quick 5-0 lead. Mulkern scored on the break, following a pinpoint pass by Becca Hottleman, and added a layup in traffic off an inbounds pass by Kara Bendanillo (four assists).

KP’s offense struggled to get into any rhythm and wasn’t helped by first quarter foul trouble for top scorers Faye Veilleux and Shannon O’Connor.

“That really affects us because they’re both leaders, they allow us to have a flow to the game, they keep us calm, and when they’re together it’s really something special,” said KP coach Amy Siggens about the early foul trouble. “They’ve been getting used to that the last couple of games (following O’Connor’s return from injury) and in a tough game like this they needed to lean on each other.”

O’Connor scored four points in the first and assisted on an Emma Glaser basket that cut the Mansfield lead to two, but the Hornets got four quick points to lead by six after one.

Mulkern kept the hot shooting started with a three in the second and then Emily Vigeant added a pair of threes before halftime as well. In between, Maggie Danehy got started on the offensive end by crashing the boards and getting five points in the quarter. KP tried to hang around by getting a spark off its bench, with sophomores Caroline Aaron (eight points) and Glaser contributing.

Mansfield led by 15 points at the break and looked to put the game away in the third. Danehy hit a couple of jumpers and Mady Bendanillo scored on a put-back. Mulkern added two more threes and the Hornets pulled away to take a 44-23 lead.

“They’re the fastest team we’ve seen so far,” Siggens said, “and I think we’re shell-shocked a little first half and I think we adjusted second half. It just wasn’t falling for us the way it was the other night. Sometimes it’s that and you just have to pick it up in other places.”

KP tried to climb back into the game and make things interesting down the stretch. The Warriors went on an 8-0 run to close out the third with O’Connor hitting a pull-up jumper, Aaron getting to the basket, and Veilleux finally able to get some touches around the basket.

The momentum the Warriors gained during that stretch couldn’t carry over to the fourth because they just couldn’t find the range from the outside. Veilleux hit a jumper off a Faith Roy assist and O’Connor hit a mid-range shot on an inbounds pass from Kendall Mason, but KP wasn’t able to significantly cut into the Mansfield lead.

“We played really well on offense in the first half and the start of the third we were great but then we kind of went dead and the defensive intensity for them picked up,” Redding explained. “I liked the way we played, they battled back and we had to fight our way through the fourth quarter with all the pressure.”

Danehy tried to keep the Warriors at bay when she created three chances on one possession before scoring on an offensive rebound for the third time in the game. “Maggie is just so active on the boards,” Redding said. “Meg [Hill] dominated the boards for us but Maggie does it in a very different way with athleticism and great instincts and gets us those extra points.”

After knocking down six three-pointers on Tuesday night, Julia Leroux made KP’s first three of the night with the game’s final shot and got the Warriors as close as they had been since the second quarter.

“This is the first time we’ve seen it,” Siggens said about Mansfield’s ability to stop KP from getting out on the break. “I think we outscored them in the second half and that’s good, but I attribute a lot of the first half to that shock of how tough they are, how fast they are.”

The Hornets continue to hang around in the league title race, trailing Franklin by two games with one head-to-head meeting left on the schedule.

“This was a huge road win,” Redding remarked. “Every game is like an elimination game. You can’t have a hiccup or you’re done, so this is a big one for us.”

Mansfield (7-3, 6-2) will stay on the road on Tuesday night with a trip to Stoughton, while King Philip (6-3, 5-3) will head to North Attleboro to face the streaking Rocketeers.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mulkern Shoots Hornets Past OA in Defensive Struggle

Mansfield girls basketball
Mansfield senior Sydney Mulkern came off the bench and lifted the Hornets with a game-high 17 points, including 13 in the second half, to hold off Oliver Ames. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Coming into Friday night’s game against Oliver Ames in the Albertini Gym, Mansfield coach Mike Redding wasn’t sure what he would be able to get from senior guard Sydney Mulkern, who had been sick at practice the day before.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

As it turns out, the Hornets got plenty from Mulkern. She came off the bench and scored a game-high 17 points, including 13 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter, to provide the offensive punch in an otherwise defensive struggle with the Tigers, helping the Hornets pull out a 41-32 win.

“Syd was sick all week but she gave us some minutes and just made some big shots,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding said. “We really didn’t think she was going to play tonight. Yesterday she really looked awful and said she’d be able to help a little off the bench and she was probably the difference tonight.”

Neither team was really able to find a rhythm on the offensive side of the court.

The game was tied at 2-2 five minutes into the opening quarter. Maggie Danehy (13 rebounds) scored her only bucket on an offensive rebound to put the Hornets in front, but freshman Caroline Peper (nine points) answered with a three. Ashley Santos scored back-to-back baskets, but Ally Scolnick knocked down a three to tie it 8-8. Caroline Flynn also grabbed 10 rebounds in the first alone and finished with 20 boards for the Tigers.

Mulkern’s first points gave Mansfield a 10-8 lead after one, a lead that it would never relinquish.

The second quarter was even more difficult for both offenses. Mady Bendanillo (eight points and seven rebounds) scored to make it 12-8 but neither team would score again until there was 2:10 left in the quarter when freshman Hailey Bourne got her lone basket of the night for OA. Mulkern hit a layup and Megan MacVicar scored off a Bendanillo assist to make it 18-12 at the break.

“It was 18-12 at the half, come on girls can we score some points?” OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook was left asking at halftime. “We scored 57 against Foxboro and we only managed 12 in a half tonight. I’d be so happy with 41 as a points against game, but, I don’t know, offensively we just weren’t present.”

Mansfield came out in the second half and started to pull away, leading by as many as 12 points at one point. Mulkern started the third with a deep three off a pass from Kara Bendanillo (six steals and three assists). Peper cut the lead to 23-16, but Mady Bendanillo hit a huge three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer to put the Hornets up double digits and her sister followed with a layup in transition for a 28-16 lead.

“There were a lot of good athletes defending and the refs let us play us a little bit and it was just tough to get a good look,” Redding said. “Both teams are pretty well-coached on what the other team wants to do and we had some kids step up.”

OA continued to find points tough to come by, but the Tigers made a little run to cut the Hornets lead to just five. Sadie Homer got a steal and transition layup and twice Meg Holleran was able to find Scolnick (team-high 13 points) on consecutive backdoor cuts.

“We got into no rhythm but I think it was self-inflicted,” said Clement-Holbrook. “Not to discredit Mansfield’s defense because they always play good defense, but we were so out of sync. We had shot but we just didn’t finish them. We are much more capable of presenting ourselves in a better way but we just didn’t play up to our capabilities.”

Kara Bendanillo got out in transition to close the third with a layup and give the Hornets a seven-point edge heading to the fourth. Scolnick opened the fourth with a jumper to keep it close but then Mulkern broke the game wide open.

She sandwiched a Becca Hottleman steal and layup with a pair of threes (one after Kara Bendanillo kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound) to extend the lead back to 11.

OA kept the game on edge to the final whistle by causing havoc with a press, raising the energy of the team but not getting the Tigers any closer than eight points.

“We’d rather win ugly than lose. Defensively we played well but on offense we were just out of sorts,” Redding said. “We made enough shots but we never got into any rhythm and fortunately they didn’t either.”

Redding admitted that this was an important win for the Hornets, despite it still being early in the season. The Hornets, who are seeking a program-record fourth straight league title, trail division-leading Franklin by two games and are now tied with the Tigers for second in the Kelley-Rex.

“This was almost like an elimination game for us,” he said. “Now were still two back and Franklin still has OA twice, they have Foxboro, and we have Franklin at home. There’s a long way to go but you feel like we’re in it and now we need to go on a little run in January to be there in February and have a shot at a [title].”

Mansfield (5-3, 4-2) will face a tough test on Tuesday night with the visit of Canton, which has won five games in a row, while Oliver Ames (5-3, 4-2) will try to get back on track at home against Sharon before facing Franklin for the first time.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/29/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Franklin, 55 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 47 – FinalFranklin started and finished strong in the championship game of the Larry Fisher Holiday Tournament to beat the hosts. Franklin junior Steve Karayan connected on six three-pointers, including two in the first and two in the fourth quarters, for a career-high 18 points. The Panthers led 36-34 heading into the final quarter but outscored the Trojans 19-13 in the frame to pull away with the win. Senior Jalen Samuels added 14 points and was named tournament MVP while senior Jake Macchi added a career-high 12 points.

Oliver Ames, 51 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 45 – FinalOliver Ames limited the Cardinals to four points in the second quarter to build a 25-14 advantage at the break, and took a 40-26 lead into the final frame but had to hold off a furious charge from Spellman to earn the win. Spellman cut the lead to 48-45 with 31 seconds to go but OA secured the win in the championship game of the Muscato Holiday Tournament. Senior Ethan Eckstrom scored 13 points and was named tournament MVP while junior Jay Spillane also scored 13 points for the Tigers.

Sharon, 61 vs. Walpole, 58 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Girls Basketball
Foxboro, 63 @ Hopkinton, 23 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Lizzy Davis led the Warriors with 16 points, while Katelyn Mollica had 15 and Yara Fawaz added 10. Shakirah Ketant came off the bench to add seven points, nine rebounds, and four blocks for Foxboro, which didn’t allow a made field goal during the second and third quarters.

Mansfield, 40 vs. Ridgefield (Conn.), 32 – FinalMansfield led by just two points entering the fourth, but pulled away by holding Ridgefield to only five points in the final quarter. Defense was the key for the Hornets, who led 20-10 at halftime despite shooting 0-for-16 from the field in the second. Sydney Mulkern had 14 points and Maggie Danehy recorded a second double-double in as many days with 10 points and 14 boards.

North Attleboro, 49 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 55 – FinalAmanda Kaiser led the Rocketeers with 22 points in the consolation game of their holiday tournament.

Attleboro, 26 vs. Norwood, 39 – FinalThe Bombardiers played even with unbeaten Norwood in the second half but couldn’t overcome a tough start on the offensive end after falling behind 21-8 at halftime. Liv McCall scored a team-high seven points and was named to the all-tournament team. Nyah Thomas added six points for Attleboro.

Boys Hockey
Attleboro, 2 vs. Dartmouth, 2 – FinalAttleboro rallied for a pair of third period goals to earn a tie with Dartmouth. Cam Littig scored twice in the final period to bring the Bombardiers level, with Ryan Morry assisting on both goals. Sam Larkin and Aidan Diggin also had an assist for Attleboro.

Canton, 4 vs. Westwood, 0 – FinalCanton’s Ryan Nolte and Johnny Hagan scored in the second period and Timmy Kelleher and Chris Lavoie tacked on goals in the third period as the Bulldogs claimed the Joe Donnelly Cup with a win over Westwood.

Foxboro, 8 vs. St. John Paul II/Sacred Heart, 2 – FinalKirk Leach picked up five points and Ronnie MacLellan registered four points as the Warriors skated to a win in the championship game of the JP2 Hockey Classic. Leach scored twice and picked up three assists while MacLellan was responsible for one goal and three helpers.

Franklin, 2 vs. La Salle College High, 5 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game.

King Philip 7, vs. Brockton, 4 – FinalKing Philip scored four goals in the second period, turning a deficit into a lead, and tacked on two more in the final period to get the win over the Boxers. Senior Luke D’Amico put the Warriors on the board in the first but KP trailed 2-1 after one. Goals from Brendan Shandley, Rocco Bianculli, Aiden Boulger, and Garrett Maxwell helped the Warriors take a 5-4 lead into the final period. Jack Coulter and D’Amico scored insurance goals in the third period while James Lewis finished with 14 saves in net.

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Moses Brown (R.I.), 3 – Final

Girls Hockey
Canton, 1 vs. Westwood, 5 – FinalLauren Fitzpatrick scored Canton’s only goal.

Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip scored early in the third period to go up 3-1 but Mansfield/Oliver Ames rallied for three straight goals, including the game-winner with just over a minute left to pick up a win over the Warriors. Sydney O’Shea and Morgan Cunningham scored first period goals to put KP up 2-0. Izzy Shanteler got MOA on the board in the second but Meghan Gorman made it 3-1 with an early third period goal. But Emma Pereira scored with 10:47 left, Shanteler got her second with 5:10 to go, and Pereira tallied her second with 1:04 to play for the game-winner. Skyler Sharfman had two assists for MOA while Jess Widdop made 18 saves in goal.

Stoughton, 2 @ St. Joseph Prep/Mt. Alvernia, 8 – Final

Wrestling
Agawam Tournament Franklin had eight wrestlers finish fifth or better and took fourth overall as a team with 145 points. Drew DiFilippo was the 106 champion, winning 13-8 in the finals over Moses Oquendo of Holyoke. Alex Facassa (126) and Liam Cogavin (182) each took second, Matt Leofanti (220) earned a third place finish, Luke Cashin (152), Nolan Sheridan (195), and Quinn Fila-Montgomery (113) each placed fourth, and Michael Hasenfus (132) took fifth overall.

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview
Foxboro sophomore Katelyn Mollica will try to keep the Warriors on top in the Davenport division, as the new Hockomock League girls basketball season gets underway. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017-2018 Hockomock Girls Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 9-13
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Martin Crowley
The Bombardiers were just two wins shy of a playoff spot last season under new head coach Marty Crowley and Attleboro brings back three starters and has added several new faces to the roster to try and make a postseason push this winter.

The graduation of leading scorer Sam Pierce (16 points per game) means that a number of players are going to need to step in and make up for production on offense and on the glass. Senior point guard Jordyn Lako will be back to run the Bombardiers offense and provide three-point shooting, while junior Nyah Thomas is a versatile weapon on the offensive side of the ball. Both are also aggressive defenders, who set the tone on that end of the floor. Senior forward Mackenzie Roberts can score in the post or from beyond the arc and junior Liv McCall is a dynamic guard who is capable of big scoring nights.

Defense has always been the focus of teams that Crowley coaches and the Bombardiers will be no different. To keep up that defensive intensity, the Bombardiers have added depth to the rotation. Seniors Abby Struminski and Dom Garnes (who was out last season with an injury) provide leadership, while sophomores Gabby Bosh and Sonny Stuger and freshmen Meghan Gordon and Lillian Froio are newcomers to keep an eye on.

“Hopefully we can generate scoring opportunities off our defense and use our athleticism to create baskets,” said Crowley. “We have a great mix of experience and youth. We are excited about what lies ahead. Practices have been spirited and the kids have been working hard.”

Canton

2017-2018 Record: 10-11
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South first round.
Coach: Jim Choquette
Last winter, Canton got a taste of the postseason for the first time in seven seasons and now the program will try to build on that momentum while finding a way to replace the scoring and rebounding of Hannah Jerrier, who averaged a double-double for the Bulldogs last winter. An exciting crop of underclassmen has been added to the roster and now Canton will try to build experience with a schedule that puts them on the road for the majority of the first half of the year.

While Jerrier will obviously be missed, the Bulldogs bring back the other four starters and other players with plenty of experience to try and make it a much shorter wait to get back into the playoffs. Senior point guard Julia Hamilton is back to run the offense, senior Erin Devine gives Canton control on the glass and a rim protector on defense, senior Molly Ludwig gives balance to the offense, and senior Maggie Connolly is one of the league’s top defensive players on the perimeter. Senior Nicole Galvin will add depth to the backcourt.

Junior Lilah Milton came on strong at the tail of end of last season, including a huge game in the playoff-clinching win over Weymouth, and could take up some of Jerrier’s scoring from the power forward position. Sophomore Kayla Albert gained valuable experience last season as a freshman and current rookies Sydney and Fay Gallery, and Kiara Cerruti have the potential to step right into the rotation and contribute.

“Details are everything to us,” said Canton coach Jim Choquette. “If our group of young talent and veteran leadership/experience can continue to stay focused on the details during the good times and tough times of a season then we should continue to improve and have a very excited and successful season.”

Foxboro

2017-2018 Record: 26-2
2017-2018 Finish: Won Div. 2 state championship.
Coach: Lisa Downs
Last season was one to remember for the Warriors, who rolled through the regular season in dominating fashion and lived up to the team’s immense potential by bringing home the Div. 2 state title. With the graduation of a very strong senior class, the expectations are much lower for the Warriors this season but there are several returning players and new faces that have Foxboro coach Lisa Downs confident that the program can continue its recent run of success in the Davenport division.

Losing players like Ashley Sampson, Lily Sykes, Grace Tamulionis, and Shannon Smally is a challenge for any team, but the Warriors will bring back a pair of starters from the playoff run in sophomore Katelyn Mollica and junior Abby Hassman. Mollica is the team’s top returning scorer and will be one of the top point guards in the Hock with her ability to shoot and score off the dribble. Hassman gives Foxboro a strong presence on the glass and showed increased confidence in her offensive game at the end of last season. Senior Chelsea Gibbons and junior Lizzy Davis should see increased minutes and bigger roles in the offense this year.

Juniors Shakirah Ketant and Yara Fawaz should give Foxboro more depth in the post and contribute on the glass and both saw limited minutes in the playoffs last winter. Sophomores Adrienne Dunn and Jordyn Collins will be newcomers to the backcourt and have impressed during the preseason, while junior forward Anita Busznyak is expected to see a lot more time this year and could be a player to watch.

Downs is hoping this year’s team will learn from the graduating class. She said, “The time they spent practicing with and playing against these girls has really paid off – they know what is expected of them on the court and what is required to be a winning team. We have established a winning culture at Foxboro and the players know that I expect nothing more than what they should expect from themselves.”

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 15-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 Central first round.
Coach: John Leighton
The Panthers bring back 10 players from last year’s roster, which reached the state tournament but lost in the opening round to Natick, and there are high expectations on Oak St. as the new season gets underway. Franklin enters the season as the favorite in the Kelley-Rex division and its balanced lineup has the potential to make a run in the state tournament as well.

Much of the enthusiasm for Franklin’s chances this winter come from 6-foot-3 center Ali Brigham. The junior recently committed to George Washington (where her father once played) and is the lone returning player from last season HockomockSports.com First Team. While she (deservedly) garners much of the attention, the Panthers have a number of other weapons to give the opposition headaches. Senior guard Bea Bondhus, who committed to Springfield College, is one of the top three-point shooters in the Hock and sophomore guard Elizabeth Wilson is back from an injury that cut short the promising start to her varsity career.

The Panthers will also bring back versatile junior forwards Megan O’Connell and Breanna Atwood, who add size in the paint but can also take defenders off the dribble or knock down outside shots. Seniors Hailey Sanders and Calen Frongillo add depth to the frontcourt, while senior Shannon Gray and juniors Kelsey MacCallum and Sydney Garilli are capable of stepping in at either guard position.

“It is our goal to compete each night and to improve from last year,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “With 10 returning players, we feel our experience will help us to better prepare for the season and compete against the best in our league.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Amy Siggens
King Philip had to battle injuries throughout head coach Amy Siggens’ first year in charge, including a late season injury to leading scorer Shannon O’Connor, but the Warriors are healthy coming into this season and with a year to get use to a new system, confidence is high that KP can make a push up the standings and fight for a postseason berth this winter.

O’Connor is the key piece returning for the Warriors. A four-year varsity player who has been recruited by Div. I college programs, O’Connor gives KP a consistent scorer and someone who will draw opposing defenses. Senior Julia Leroux will be back at the point and running the KP offense, while junior Faith Roy is the team’s best outside threat and has developed as a ball-handler who can score in a variety of ways. Sophomore Emma Glaser, who battled injuries throughout her freshman season, will add versatility to the lineup and can play multiple positions and her classmate Courtney Keswick is a newcomer to watch in the backcourt.

The Warriors will also have strength in the post with senior Catherine Cummings providing a solid presence on the glass and junior Faye Veilleux giving KP length and athleticism at the forward position. Newcomers like junior Taylor Butler and returning senior Kendall Mason will give added depth and strong play on the defensive end of the floor.

There is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding our team this year with our sights on continued growth and improvement upon our overall record from a year ago,” Siggens said. “Our practices have been very competitive and I’m encouraged by our team’s attitude and overall interest in getting better. I like this team a lot and I look forward to the challenge of helping each girl reach her maximum potential.”

Mansfield

2017-2018 Record: 20-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final.
Coach: Mike Redding
After three straight league titles and four trips to the Div. 1 South semifinal in the past four seasons (including back-to-back finals), Mansfield has been one of the most consistent teams in the Hockomock League, but the Hornets enter this season trying to replace Meg Hill, who scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more than 1,000 points in her stellar career. With 10 seniors and loads of athleticism, this might be a very different looking Mansfield attack, but one that has the potential to keep the Hornets right back on top in the Kelley-Rex division and capable of making another deep tournament run.

The Hornets have been known for slowing the ball down and running intricate sets, but this team is suited for getting up and down the court as quickly as possible, highlighted by senior guard Mady Bendanillo, one of the quickest players in the Hock. Senior forward Maggie Danehy has emerged as a strong interior scorer and someone who can control the glass, but she is also someone who can run like a guard and get out on the break for easy baskets. Seniors Sydney Mulkern and Erin Daniel add wing scoring and are both solid shooters who can spread the floor and open lanes to the basket.

Athletic senior forwards Emily Vigeant and Steph Kemp can outrun many of the guards in the league and senior point guard Kara Bendanillo is another speedster who can push the ball off makes or misses. Sophomore Ashley Santos saw time last year as a rookie and adds to the frontcourt depth and versatility, while junior Becca Hottleman will be back to give Mansfield another option at guard.

It is a different feel to the lineup but one that Mansfield coach Mike Redding feels can be effective. He said, “We need to rebound as a team and must change our style to up-tempo with defensive pressure/fast breaks and play to our strengths (athleticism and depth).”

Milford

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 Central quarterfinal.
Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Milford coach T.J. Dolliver brings back six players from the team that not only reached the state tournament last season but also went on the road and beat Burncoat handily, the program’s first playoff win since 2001. The problem for the Hawks is that almost the entire rotation from last year’s team has graduated, including 1,000-point scorer Kate Irwin.

While this may be a rebuilding year for the Hawks, Dolliver sees it as an opportunity for players to step into new roles and establish themselves as starters and as regular contributors. The lone senior back from last year is forward Grace Risio, who Dolliver said made a difference when she was given the opportunity last year, and sophomore guard Jillian Michelson saw some time in the backcourt as a rookie.

The Hawks will have eight sophomores on the roster this season, so it is clear that Milford is going to try and build with youth, similar to several teams from last year. Among the players from last year’s roster, forwards Katie Maietta, guard Emma Lawrence, and forward Carly Ferreira all got time as freshmen and could see those minutes increase significantly this winter.

Dolliver said, “With our entire rotation graduating last year, there are a lot of opportunities waiting for everyone in the program. It will be exciting to watch who emerges within the group and elevates their game to compete at the varsity level.”

North Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Derek Herber
Last year was a tough transition season for the Rocketeers, as North Attleboro moved on from a number of players who were starters for several years and incorporated a number of new, young faces into the lineup. North had a better second half to the season and will try to build on that this winter with a more experienced group of players.

Senior Julia Feid is back on the wing and is North’s top returning scorer, coming off a season in which she averaged more than nine points per game. Fellow seniors Liz Smahi and Emma Noreck will add leadership in the backcourt and try to set the direction for the team this year. Junior point guard Olivia Forbes, who was on the HockomockSports.com All-Underclassman Team last season, will be back to get the offense going and provide strong defense on the perimeter. Junior Eliza Dion also returns to add rebounding and interior scoring for a team that can’t count on a lot of height in the paint.

The North offense improved over the course of last season with the addition of sophomore Amanda Kaiser (8.6 points per game) and junior Julia Kleczkowski (40 percent from three-point range), who can both fill it up from the outside and who are both willing to take any shot that presents itself. Several newcomers will fill out the roster with the potential of adding important minutes over the course of the season, including sophomore Lydia Santos and Siobhan Weir.

“We will rely on Julia Feid to be our first option on offense and the sooner we can develop a consistent second option will be a factor in the early part of the season,” said North Attleboro coach Derek Herber. “The inside scoring option will hopefully be Eliza Dion, while both Amanda Kaiser and Julia Kleczkowski showed an ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting in limited time last year.”

Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 16-6
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames will be making a transition this year following the graduation of Kayla Raymond, who was a two-time HockomockSports.com First Team performer and last year’s league MVP (and is already a three-time Rookie of the Week at Stonehill College), but the Tigers have a number of returning players to try and make up for Raymond’s production on both ends of the floor and make another run at a league title.

Senior Alex Sheldon grew in confidence over the course of last season and became a double-double machine by the end of the year, dominating on the glass and improving her finishing around the rim. Junior Erin Holberg emerged last year as a strong scorer on the perimeter with her touch from the outside and ability to take defenders off the dribble. Junior Meg Holleran is in her third season on varsity and is a tough, physical defender who can knock down shots from the outside.

Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a strong freshman season, playing several positions (from point guard to small forward), crashing the boards, and showing off decent range. The return of senior Sadie Homer will add energy on both ends of the floor and give the Tigers another strong outside shooter to stretch the floor, while senior Ally Scolnick came off the bench last season to add another shooter to the OA offense.

OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook said of the experienced returning players, “They will lead the youngest team OA has put on the court in quite a long time. We are looking towards gaining valuable game experience and coming into to our own as the season progresses.”

Sharon

2017-2018 Record: 2-18
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Sanda Lombardi

It was a tough winter for new Sharon coach Sandra Lombardi, as the Eagles struggled to a two-win season, but five of their losses were by 10 points or fewer and they return all but one player from last season’s team. With a year to get acclimated to Lombardi’s system, an experienced roster of returning players, and several newcomers, Sharon has its sights set on getting into the postseason for the first time since its run to the Div. 2 South final in 2013.

Sharon returns its leading scorer and playmaker in senior Emma Eberhardt, who was on the HockomockSports.com Third Team last season, and she will once again be the focal point of the offense, as well as one of the team’s leading defenders. Eberhardt’s versatility as a wing player should open things up for junior guards Kaitlyn Wallace and Ally Brown, who will both fill in as ball-handlers after the graduation of Miranda Cheung. Wallace will extend defenses with her shooting from the outside and Brown adds energy to the backcourt defense.

Senior guard Bridget McManus will add depth and junior forward Telishya Herbert provides a strong presence in the paint. Junior Olivia Langol-Leonard added frontcourt depth and was active on the glass in her time on the court, while senior forward Evanjuline Elisma can score in transition and adds another solid wing defender.

“We only lost one player due to graduation,” said Lombardi. “We have the entire team back and we added some height. I’m excited to see what the season brings. The girls are working hard and our goal is to qualify for the postseason.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 13-9
2017-2018 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
Stoughton started last season with five straight defeats and only one win in the opening eight games, but the Black Knights turned things around with a vengeance, winning 11 of its final 12 games of the regular season and winning its opening game of the state tournament. Stoughton’s only two losses in its final 14 games of the season were to state champion Foxboro. That is a lot of momentum for the Black Knights to carry into this year.

It may be a little different look for Stoughton this winter after the graduation of Val Whalen and Jordan Motley. Instead of being a team that dominates the paint, there will be a host of guards and wing players who can still battle on the glass, but will bring energy and tenacity on the perimeter on both ends of the court. Junior Aliyah Wright is back as the team’s point guard and her length makes her a factor guarding multiple positions. Senior Lindsay McDonald adds versatility as a combo guard and sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe is a dynamic guard and stretches defenses with her ability to shoot from the outside.

While there are a lot of familiar faces returning for the Black Knights, there are several players who will have more responsibility this year and the potential to make big contributions. Junior Lexi Baptista defends well at the forward position and gives a different look on the post, while seniors Hailey Egan and Heather Maddalena will add extra toughness to the backcourt. Junior Shyanne Trinh is still battling an injury at the beginning of the season, but she will give Stoughton a big scoring boost when she returns.

“This season will be all about our effort, energy and enthusiasm on defense,” said Stoughton coach Charmaine Steele Jordan. “The Black Knights will be most successful when we put in work on the defensive end and finish each play with a Black Knights rebound.”

Taunton

2017-2018 Record: 7-15
2017-2018 Finish: Missed postseason.
Coach: Walter Harrigan
Taunton started last winter well and had the potential for making a return to the state tournament, but injuries slowed things down for the Tigers and they missed out on the postseason. While the year didn’t end the way they would have hoped, a number of younger players were given valuable varsity experience and there are a number of returning players ready to make an impact.

Senior Lily Patneaude will be the player to watch for the Tigers, as the team’s leading scorer from last year. After battling an injury down the stretch, her return gives Taunton a consistent primary offensive weapon and takes some of the scoring pressure off her teammates. Senior point guard Alexa White is also back to provide leadership, energy, and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor. Sophomore Kelsey White showed flashes as a rookie of being the secondary scorer that Taunton needs, with her ability to knock down shots from the outside and take defenders off the dribble.

Even with a year of experience, Taunton is still a relatively young team. Sophomores Jaelyn and Sonya Fernandez will provide athleticism from the forward positions and give Taunton effort in the paint, while sophomore Tori DaRose, and freshmen Abby Souza (who saw brief minutes as an eighth-grader last season) and Braeley MacDonald give the Tigers depth off the bench.

“We have great group of enthusiast student athletes consisting of senior leadership, youth, athleticism, and talent,” said Taunton coach Walter Harrigan. “This team is looking forward to a fun and exciting season.”

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/07/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 77 vs. Bishop Feehan, 71 – Final Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Bryant Ciccio scored 10 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Attleboro to a come from behind win over its crosstown rival. Qualeem Charles added 15 points for the Bombardiers, while Mason Houle scored 13 and Tim Callahan chipped in with 11. Attleboro led 37-33 at the half, but the Shamrocks dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Bombardiers 22-15, to grab a lead heading to the fourth. The Bombardiers battled back and tied the game at 65-65; Charles then scored six of the game’s next eight points to give Attleboro the lead for good. Ciccio shot 8-of-10 at the line and Houle had a huge three in the final quarter as well.

Stoughton, 66 vs. Archbishop Williams, 62 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Girls Basketball
Mansfield, 40 vs. East Bridgewater, 31 – FinalMansfield held a six-point lead at half, and again after three quarters before pulling away in the final minutes to secure the win in an MIAA Endowment game. Maggie Danehy led the Hornets with 16 points and nine rebounds, Sydney Mulkern added 11 points, and Mady Bendanillo chipped in with five points, six assists, and four steals.

Boys Indoor Track
Attleboro, 58 vs. Taunton, 42 – FinalAttleboro senior David Cataloni won two events (55M hurdles – 8.53 & long lump – 18-06.00) while sophomore Nathan Seybert took first in the 1 Mile (4:49.33) and grabbed second in the 2 Mile (10:45.46) to help Attleboro earn a win over the Tigers. Henry Boateng (55M dash – 6.92), Colin Levis (300M – 39.61), and Andrew Fasoldt (2 Mile – 10:44:48) each won once for Attleboro. Taunton sophomore Steven Westgate won the 600M (1:33.58) and the high jump (5-10.00) for the Tigers.

Canton, 40 vs. Foxboro, 60 – FinalFoxboro senior Daniel Lowey and junior Ryan Proulx each won a pair of events to help the Warriors open the season with a win over Canton. Lowey placed first in the 300M (39.29) and the 600M (1:35.65) while Proulx led Foxboro in a pair of long distance races, winning the 1 Mile (4:53.45) and the 2 Mile (10:45.86). Canton sophomore Cam Sanchez won the 55M dash (6.96) and took second in the 300M (39.72) while Lucca Terenzio was first in the 55M hurdles (9.57) and third in the shot put (31′ 5.25″).

Franklin, 38.5 vs. Mansfield, 61.5 – FinalMansfield seniors Colbey Eason (Shot Put – 51’1″), Jason Windvogel (1000M – 2:42.10), Patrick Heavey (2 Mile – 10:06.14), and Mike Hargadon (600M – 1:28.55) all had standout performances as the Hornets beat out Franklin. Mansfield’s 4×200 relay (Aidan Sacco, Greg Waters, Raffi Marzella, Chris Verros; 1:37.15) and 4×400 (Tyler King, Danny Knights, Hargadon, Windvogel; 3:35.24) each had the top times among all Hock teams. Junior Andrew Wiliams led the Hornets with wins in the high jump (5’8″), long jump (19’1″), and a second place finish in the 55M hurdles (9.46)

Oliver Ames, 71 vs. King Philip 29 – FinalOliver Ames senior Aaron MacDoanld set a new school record for the indoor long jump with a leap of 21′ 3″ while also taking first in 300M (38.24) to help the Tigers start the season with a win. Sean Flaherty also had a pair of wins for Oliver Ames, taking first in both the 55M hurdles (9.15) and 600M (1:30.00). Junior Luke Keene (55M dash – 7.10) and senior Terrell Jacobs-Baston (shot put – 46-07.50) each had a win for KP.

North Attleboro, 50 vs. Milford, 50 – FinalMilford senior Hugo Lopes earned a pair of wins on the track while North Attleboro’s Owen Nassaney took first place in two jumping events and the Hawks and Rocketeers finished level. Lopes took first in the 55M dash (6.91) and the 300M (38.61) and Max Manor took second in both the 1 Mile (5:00.44) and the 2 Mile (11:02.42) to help the Hawks. Nassaney won the high jump (league-best 6-06.00) and the long jump (20-11.75) and took second in the 55M hurdles (9.70).

Sharon, 67 vs. Stoughton, 33 – FinalChris Gong won a pair of events and four other Eagles earned first place finishes as Sharon rolled to a win over Stoughton. Gong was first in the 55M dash (league-best 6.76) and the long jump (20-10.50) while Mason Benton (600M – 1:29.6), Alex Starovoytov (1000M – 2:46.51), James Kong (1 Mile – 4:58.57), and Tim Liu (2 Mile – 11:08.54) all finished first. Clayton Rahaman (300M – 38.99), David Peters (55M hurdles – league-best 8.04), Malachi Green (shot put – 37-06.25), and Jaden Falaise (high jump – 6-02.00) all took first for Stoughton.

Girls Indoor Track
Attleboro, 28 vs. Taunton, 72 – FinalTaunton had six different athletes earn a first place finish on its way to a season-opening win over Attleboro. Kerla Sylvestre (45.07), Olivia Dias (600M – league-best 1:45.89), Maggie Sullivan (100M – 3:24.14), Kailey Melito-Santos (1 Mile – 5:45.59), Olivia Weber (2 Mile – 13:26.33), and Amanda Labrecque (55M hurdles – 9.79) each had an individual win for the Tigers. Attleboro senior Abisola Olaogun won both the 55M dash (7.87) and the long jump (14-06.50) for the Bombardiers.

Canton, 28 vs. Foxboro, 71 – FinalFoxboro senior Lexi Quinn won both the 1 Mile (6:09.28) and the 2 Mile (league-best 12:09.17) to help the Warriors open the season with a victory. Junior Caroline Cass won the 600M (1:53.43), sophomore Emma Dahl took first in the 1000M (3:32.53), junior Amy Traianou won the 55M hurdles (10.24), junior Amelia Stowell was the top finish in the high jump (4-08.00), and junior Amanda Walden won the long jump (14-00.50). Canton’s Nicole Brown won the 55M dash and qualified for states (7.62) and also won the 300M (45.24) for the Bulldogs. Bronwyn Mahoney won the shot put (30′ 4.25″) while Chloe Pennacchio was second in both the 1 Mile (6:15.57) and the 2 Mile (13:51.55).

Franklin, 36.5 vs. Mansfield, 63.5 – FinalMansfield senior Amanda Mangano took first in three events while sophomore Tessa Lancaster won both the 1 Mile (league-best 5:35.67) and 2 Mile (12:15.65) to pace the Hornets to a win. Mangano won the 55m dash (7.69), high jump (5-02.00), and the long jump (league-best 16-06.00) while senior Mikaela Maughn (300M – 46.00), senior Bryn Anderson (1000M – 3:18.23) and senior Kerina Geminiani (shot put – 28-00.50) each had first place finishes. Franklin junior Samantha Powderly won the 600M (1:47.35) and senior Daniella Pierre was first in the 55M hurdles (9.38).

Oliver Ames, 37 vs. King Philip 63 – FinalKing Philip swept the the 1 Mile race and took both first and second in the 300M and 2 Mile to earn a win over Oliver Ames. Junior Makayla Griffin won the 1 Mile race (5:52.56) while sophomore Isabelle Crocker (6:02.82) and Lilia Angelone (6:29.60) were second and third, respectively, to complete the sweep. Sophomore Grace Crocker won the 300M (49.71) while junior Hailee Longmoore (49.86) taking second, and Ryenn Hart (12:50.87) won the 2 Mile with junior Abigail Simmons taking second (13:25.19). OA’s Gabrielle McLaughlin won both the high jump (5-00.00) and the long jump (14-09.25).

North Attleboro, 53 vs. Milford, 47 – FinalThe Rocketeers had five individual winners and swept the 55M hurdles to edge Milford in the first meet of the season. Lily Wetherbee (55M dash – 7.47), Catherine Hanewich (1000M – 3:19.69), Stephanie Hawkins (1 Mile – 5:57.41), Ari Preacher (55M hurdles – 9.15), and Julia Mechlinski (shot put – league-best 34-05.00) all had first place finishes for Big Red. Senior Sabrina Hauer (9.50) and Cassidy Becker (9.68) took second and third, respectively, in the 55M hurdles. Milford’s Kerry O’Connor (300M – league-best 42.83 and long jump – 16-09.25), Bella Gonzalez (600M – 1:49.79), Sara Comisky (2 Mile – 13:11.00), and Sarah Brogioli (high jump – 4-08.00) all won their respective events.

Sharon, 73 vs. Stoughton, 27 – FinalSharon took first place in nine of the 10 individual events and swept two events (2 Mile and long jump) to earn a win over Stoughton. Jada Johnson won two events (high jump – league-best 5-04.00 and 55M hurdles – 8.77) while Veronica Wallace (55M dash – 7.60), Avonia Herbert (300M – 44.24), Eliana Boxerman (1000M – 3:33.12), Daphne Theiler (1 Mile – 5:48.15) Elliana Hersman (2 Mile – 13:54.84), Claudia Sevi (shot put – 27-04.74), and Molly McAlevey (long jump – 17-01.00) each won once. Stoughton’s Rebecca Lally won the 600M (1:53.31).

Boys Swimming
Canton, 78 @ Milford, 92 – Final

Girls Swimming
Canton, 94 @ Milford, 76 – Final

Hornets Drop Heartbreaker In Double Overtime

Mansfield girls soccer
Mansfield’s Sydney Mulkern fights for a loose ball against Newton South in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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PLYMOUTH, Mass. – Time after time, the Mansfield defense thwarted long throws and corners kicks from top-seeded Newton South.

In the first overtime period alone, the Hornets fended off five long throws from the Lions’ throw-in specialist Larissa Williams.

While the Hornets limited Newton South’s restarts in the offensive third in the second overtime, the Lions finally got a throw-in in the final minute and cashed in. Williams’ long throw-in was cleared back to her on the sideline, and she delivered a service into the area that Audrey Lavey headed into the net, giving Newton South a 3-2 win over Mansfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We kept bending, bending, never breaking but the last one they finally find the free header,” said Mansfield head coach Kevin Smith. “Hats off to [Newton South], they are a fantastic team. The corners, the long throws….they were very dangerous and put us under pressure. We just couldn’t find that release pass. We had opportunities, we had a couple open nets we just couldn’t put it away.”

Mansfield had a pair of leads in the game, but the Lions had an answer each time, the second strike coming just seconds after the Hornets had regained the lead.

In the first overtime, the Lions applied the majority of the pressure with five long throw-ins, but the back line of Emily Vigeant, Mikaela Maughn, Erin Daniel, and Kerina Geminiani did an admirable job of handling it in front of keeper Caty DeMassi.

Newton South also had a pair of corner kicks in the first 10-minute span of golden goal, which is how the Lions tied the game in the second half, but Mansfield’s defense did its job.

While playing compact in the back, Mansfield’s best chances came on the counter attack. In the 86th minute, Sydney Mulkern nearly played Steph Kemp in behind but a nice play by the Newton South keeper cleared it away.

In the second overtime, Kemp made a nice run to the outside, got a touch around her defender and delivered a tempting ball into the area but there weren’t any Hornets in the vicinity.

“That’s the only thing you can do,” Smith said of the counter attack. “We couldn’t find a way to release the pressure in the midfield. When we got the ball up front, we were trying to make the pass too quickly and we weren’t there because it’s a 60 yard run with tired legs.”

The Lions nearly had the game-winner in the 94th minute when Cassie Lee snuck in behind the defense but DeMassi was quick off her line to thwart the opportunity.

Mansfield had a bright start to the match, having the majority of possession and keeping the ball in its attacking half. In the 12th minute, Daniel nearly opened the scoring with a well-taken one-timer from 30 yards out but the ball smacked off the cross bar, and Katie Garvin’s header on the rebound was saved.

The pressure paid off in the 28th minute as the Hornets Tok the lead. Cassidy McMahon delivered a corner kick to the far post and Melissa Reef rose up and headed the ball back across the goal inside the post for a 1-0 lead.

But the lead only lasted four minutes, as the Lions took advantage of a Mansfield miscue. In the defensive third, a miscommunication allowed Lee to get in between the defender and the keeper, blocking the clearance. The loose ball popped back to Lee’s foot and she buried her chance, sending the teams into half tied 1-1.

Mansfield regained the lead just over 10 minutes into the second half. Bryn Anderson settled a throw from Geminiani and gained just enough space to launch a high cross to the far post. McMahon skied into air and headed the service under the bar and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.

Similar to the first lead, it didn’t last long. Newton South quickly marched up field and earned a corner kick, and Lucy Jenks nodded in a cross from Maia Madison to make it 2-2 in the 52nd minute.

In the 67th minute, DeMassi made a terrific play off her line to deny the Lions of a partial breakaway.

In the 70th minute, Mansfield nearly went ahead again. Kemp played McMahon wide, and she centered her pass but Anderson couldn’t get her foot on the cross in front and Mulkern saw her chance for over the bar at the far post.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

And in the 75th minute, the Hornets had a free kick from straight away from 20 yards out but couldn’t get the shot on frame.

“After their first goal, you could tell we were deflated and they had some momentum going for them,” Smith said. “We just couldn’t find our energy. We got it back at halftime and scored the goal to go up. I didn’t think we dropped after their second goal, I thought we still had opportunities, we just couldn’t find it. Their keeper made some nice plays, their defense was smothering. Our defense played great too. But they found that last one.”

Mansfield girls soccer (15-3-4) graduates 19 seniors from this year’s team, a group that made its mark on the program. The Hornets won three straight Kelley-Rex division titles, the first three in program history. In their four years, the varsity team went 54-12-12.

“It’s a special group, I’ve known most since they were 5 or 6 years old, since they were little kids,” Smith said. “They are like my daughters.”

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 11/05/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Girls Soccer
D1 South

#5 Mansfield, 5 @ #4 Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – FinalMansfield got goals from five different players to win on the road and reach the sectional semifinal. Katie Garvin, Bryn Anderson, Sydney Mulkern, Cassidy McMahon, and Sarah Sacco each tallied goals for the Hornets. Steph Kemp had a pair of assists, while Emily Viegant, Cathryn Cooney, and Anderson each had one assist. Vigeant and her center back partner Mikaela Maughn led the way for the Mansfield defense, which held onto a clean sheet.

Field Hockey
D1 South

#3 King Philip, 4 vs. #11 Barnstable, 0 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

#7 Canton, 1 @ #2 Somerset-Berkley, 3 – Final

#13 Franklin, 3 @ #5 Plymouth North, 2 – Final Franklin scored the first three goals of the game and then held off a comeback attempt from Plymouth North to earn the win on the road. The Panthers seized the lead at the 10th minute when Regan Paterson scored off an assist from Amanda Lewandowski. Sara Carney made it 2-0 just over a minute before halftime with Cassi Ronan and Paterson earning assists. Franklin added to its lead 10 minutes into the second half when Carney set up Lewandowski to make it 3-0. Plymouth North got on the board just two minutes later, and made it a one-goal game with 10 minutes to play but Christina Luccini didn’t allow the hosts to tie the game. Franklin advances to the semifinal to face top seed Walpole on Thursday at Taunton High.

Volleyball
D1 South

#8 Oliver Ames, 0 @ #1 Barnstable, 3 – Final

D1 Central East
#9 King Philip, 0 @ #1 Newton North, 3 – FinalKing Philip saw its 2018 campaign come to a close at the hands of top-seeded Newton North, falling 3-0 (10-25, 9-25, 19-25). Catherine Waldeck and Nicole Coughlan (two blocks) each recorded four kills while Shayla Weitzman and Lily Carlow (ace) each recorded six digs.

D2 South
#2 Stoughton, 3 vs. #10 Middleboro, 0 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this match.

D2 Central
#1 Canton, 3 vs. #8 Holliston, 0 – FinalCanton shined defensively and got contributions from a handful of players at the net to open the state tournament in style with a 3-0 win (25-9, 25-11, 25-16). “We played a strong match from start to finish,” said Canton head coach Pat Cawley. The offense was spread around to all the hitters with Taylor Harris leading the way with 10 kills. Erin Devine, Liz Bickett, Theresa O’Brien and Rose Hazam all played well. The strong defensive play was anchored by Megan McDonough, Julia Minichiello and Olivia Chinsen. Nicole Brown ran the offense with precision, with 24 assists, 10 digs, four kills, and two aces. Top-seeded Canton advances to the D2 Central Semifinal to play #5 Medway.

Hornets Finish Off KP to Advance Past First Round

Mansfield girls soccer
Mansfield senior Bryn Anderson (5) drives forward with KP junior Faye Veilleux (21) in close pursuit during Saturday’s D1 South first round matchup. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield won its third straight league title this fall, and its first outright championship in program history, so the Hornets are no stranger to regular season success. But, in the state tournament, Mansfield has been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

This group of seniors (of which there are 19 on this year’s roster) had not seen the second round since they were freshman year and they were hungry to add a playoff run to their league accomplishments. That hunger was intensified by Saturday evening’s opponent in the Div. 1 South opener at Alumni Field, as King Philip upset the Hornets in overtime two seasons ago.

The Hornets scored twice against the wind in the first half (and arguably against the run of play) and held on with a typically stout defensive performance to shutout the Warriors 2-0 and advance to the South quarterfinal.

“We definitely wanted to win,” said Mansfield senior Steph Kemp. “We weren’t willing to leave this field without a win. All of us seniors, the whole team, everyone worked together. We didn’t want this to be our last game and it showed.”

King Philip (12-5-2) opened the game with the wind at its back and the Warriors used it to put the hosts on their heels early on.

Inside the opening 10 minutes, Abby Baker had the first chance of the game for KP. A throw in from the left side went off the shoulder of Mansfield defender Mikaela Maughn and Baker forced keeper Lauren Whitman into the first of her six saves. Just two minutes later, Avery Snead threaded a pass to Ally Stanton, who laid it into the path of Chloe Layne but the shot lacked power and Whitman saved.

“We had some great chances, but didn’t finish,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “That’s the tale of this game. I thought we dominated in the first half and didn’t get anything from it and they had two shots and put them in. That’s the difference in the game.”

Despite the pressure from the Warriors over the opening half hour, it was Mansfield that got the game’s first goal with its first shot on target. Kemp battled KP defender Olivia Berry on the right side of the box and managed to squeeze it loose into the middle where Cassidy McMahon ran onto it and was able to side-foot it past keeper Taylor Butler.

The Warriors came right back with a series of chances. Snead rose highest to head a long free kick from Makayla Griffin but Whitman was there for the save, then right back Lauren Anderson fired a long pass up top to Layne, who flicked it into the path of Jenna Hitchen on the left side but again it was saved. In the 37th minute, KP’s forwards combined again – Stanton to Snead to Layne, but the junior’s finish was just wide.

Two minutes later and the lead was doubled. A throw in from the left side was flicked by Sydney Mulkern to Melissa Reef at the corner of the box. The senior midfielder spun past her marker and onto her right foot before curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner for a 2-0 advantage.

“That’s a goal that she’s been staying after practice for a whole week just to work on,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith explained. “She says that she gets so many of them and to see her hard work pay off is really cool.”

Mansfield got the wind in the second half and it almost paid immediate dividends when Bryn Anderson got to the end line and cut it back for Kemp, who blazed over the bar.

Even into the wind, the Warriors looked dangerous in attack. Baker touched one on to Layne, who fired over and then she had a second chance with a half-volley from a Faye Veilleux throw in but couldn’t get enough power on it to beat Mansfield’s second half keeper, Caty DeMassi. Hitchen set up Snead in the middle but she also sent her shot over the bar.

In the 62nd minute, Anderson drove forward from midfield but her shot from the edge of the box was inches over the crossbar.

In the final 20 minutes, Mansfield locked down on the defensive side. Maughn and fellow center back Emily Vigeant were keeping a constant eye on Snead in the middle of the field, while freshman Katie Miller was tasked with following Layne as closely as possible. Reef added to the defensive shape from midfield and outside backs Mulkern and Kerina Geminiani were always on the cover.

“Wow,” Smith said about the complete defensive performance of his team. “We had to be very organized.” Pichel added, “The wind was against us [in the second half] and they did a great job defending. It was a hard hole to climb out of.”

Both coaches raved about the play of their opponents and both admitted that Saturday did not feel like a first round game. “Two giants went at it and one is left standing,” said Pichel. Smith said, “It felt like a sectional final.”

The Hornets allowed a league-low eight goals this season and that defensive strength was evident as they closed out the game and protected a two-goal cushion. At the final whistle, the whole team raced to the far end of the field to celebrate the win.

“It’s definitely relieving and it’s exciting,” Kemp said. “We haven’t been in this position since freshman year and even then not a lot of girls were on the field, so it’s our first time being through this all 19 of us senior together. We’re excited to just go on and see what it feels like to be in the rest of the tournament.”

She added, “I was tired from coming off the field but I managed to make that sprint all the way to Cat.”

Mansfield (14-2-4) will travel to face No. 4 seed Bridgewater-Raynham on Monday in the sectional quarterfinal.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/25/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalFranklin scored a goal in each half to pick up a win over visiting Attleboro. Tim Duval scored an unassisted tally in the first half as the Panthers took a 1-0 advantage into the break. Junior Sam Stowell converted a penalty kick in the second half for the Panthers.

Canton, 2 @ Milford, 3 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery from this game.

North Attleboro, 0 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final

Oliver Ames, 2 @ King Philip, 1 – FinalOliver Ames scored two goals in the second half to earn two points on the road in a comeback win. King Philip’s John Cullen gave the hosts the lead at the midway point of the first half, an advantage that the Warriors took into halftime. But OA found the back of the net twice in the second half to take the points. Kevin Louhis scored the tying goal in the 53rd minute and Jimmy Keane netted the game winner with under five minutes to go.

Taunton, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – FinalMansfield senior Luke Devine scored the game-winning goal and assisted on an insurance strike as the Hornets blanked Taunton. Devine opened the scoring in the 25th minute, converting a pass from Tommy Lanzillo to make it 1-0. Devine then took his turn as the facilitator, linking up with Luke Savoie in the 36th minute to a 2-0 advantage. Tony Salisbury and Cam Bovey combined for the shutout in net.

Sharon, 2 @ Stoughton, 2 – FinalStoughton twice erased one-goal deficits to earn a draw against Sharon. After the Eagles took an early lead, Mason Eschleman took a feed from Fabi Ponce de Leon and found the back of the net to tie the game. Sharon once again took the lead, scoring early in the second half but the Knights battled back again. Ikenna Dike’s throw-in was flicked on by Ted Lucas to John Neves, and he scored his third goal of the year to make it 2-2. Stoughton senior captain Carter Gerome (17 saves) made a crucial save in the final moments to preserve the draw.

Girls Soccer
Franklin, 2 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Erin Quaile opened the scoring just before halftime, tapping in the rebound from Sabrina Addi’s free kick that came back off the bar. Calen Frongillo added the second from the penalty spot in the second half.

Canton, 3 @ Milford, 0 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this game. – Canton clinched a spot in the postseason with the road win.

Foxboro, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – FinalKayla Pasquel had a goal and two assists and Ashlyn Gaulin had one of each to lift the Rocketeers to a win against the Davenport division champs. Gaulin opened the scoring in the first half and then Pasquel doubled the lead 15 minutes after the break. Haley Ferrin headed in a Pasquel corner to seal the two points with 10 minutes left. Emma Noreck earned the clean sheet in goal for the Rocketeers.

Mansfield, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalSteph Kemp had two goals to lead the way for the Hornets, as Mansfield clinched its third straight league title and its first outright championship. Sydney Mulkern, Katie Miller, and Kerina Geminiani also scored for Mansfield, while Cassidy McMahon, Erin Daniel, Katy Garvin, Melissa Reef and Emily Vigeant had assists.

King Philip, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – FinalFaye Veilleux and Avery Snead each scored a goal and recorded an assist for the Warriors, as they closed out league play with a win. Snead opened the scoring in the first half off a Veilleux assist and the lead was doubled before the break when Ally Stanton scored on a Chloe Layne assist. Veilleux added the third from a Snead pass to seal the victory. Taylor Butler made five saves and Makayla Griffin, Lauren Anderson, Olivia Berry and Paige Varvarigos all played well on defense to preserve the clean sheet. Leah Johnson, Brianna Gibson and Emma O’Donnell played well for OA.

Field Hockey
Canton, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final

Warriors Regain Confidence With Win at Mansfield

King Philip girls soccer
King Philip junior Avery Snead (9) scored a pair of goals on Monday night to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win at Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


MANSFIELD, Mass. – Last season, King Philip and Mansfield shared the Kelley-Rex division trophy. Earlier this year it looked like both teams were in line to repeat before the two teams met for the first time. The Hornets won that game 4-1 and are now on the verge of a third straight title, while KP went into a tailspin, losing four straight.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

On Monday night at Alumni Field, the two teams met again. Behind a pair of goals from Avery Snead, the Warriors beat Mansfield 2-1 to force the Hornets to wait a few days before clinching the title and to regain some of their confidence with the state tournament looming.

“It’s nice to be back on track again,” admitted King Philip coach Gary Pichel. “We lost our way for four games, had some bad luck, but you’ve got to keep marching forward to get ready for the playoffs. Our record isn’t stellar but we may surprise a couple people along the way.”

KP has been trying out a number of different lineups and formations in the last couple of weeks to try and find a set up that would work best. On Monday, Pichel pushed Snead up top as the lone forward and moved Chloe Layne into a central midfield role to give her more touches and allow her to create.

“The four games we lost, I was experimenting where is Chloe best served and she showed it against Taunton in the center spot,” Pichel explained. “She just became old Chloe again. Now she’s back and thank God. When you separate them like that then it creates chances for Chloe coming from [midfield] and Avery if she gets chances then she’ll make the most of it.”

The formation shift nearly worked right from the opening whistle, as Layne squeezed between a couple of Mansfield defenders and created space on the left side of the box. Her cross flashed across the goal and was knocked out. On the ensuing corner, Faye Veilleux’s header from a few yards out went narrowly wide.

While it was a good start for the Warriors, Mansfield started to bypass the middle of the field and use its speed on the wings. The Hornets hit long diagonal passes in behind the KP fullbacks and were able to create a number of chances.

Katie Garvin slid a pass through to Sydney Mulkern down the right channel in the eighth minute and the winger was able to pick out Steph Kemp alone in front. KP goalie Taylor Butler (six saves) needed to be out quickly to smother the shot. It was a sign of things to come in the first half.

A cross from the right side by Erin Daniel found Melissa Reef in space on the far side of the box, but she was unable to keep her header down. In the 21st minute, Kemp dropped in to pick up the ball and she slipped Cassidy McMahon in behind the defense only for the junior winger’s shot to come back off the far post.

McMahon was causing havoc on the right side. She cut back onto her left foot and forced a diving save from Butler and she also set up freshman Katie Miller for a chance from 20 yards that went over.

“We had lots of opportunities,” Mansfield coach Kevin Smith said. “Their game plan was great, to condense the space in the middle, so we had to do that. We couldn’t play through the middle. We found space on the outside, but we couldn’t find that final pass, that final score.”

The Hornets profligacy in front of goal, gave KP the chance to grab the lead against the run of play. A long ball forward bounced around and Abby Baker was able to head the ball between a pair of Hornets defenders. Snead chased after it and was able to use her long reach to just get a touch on the ball in front of Kerina Geminiani and with Mansfield goalie Lauren Whitman stranded.

The lead was very short-lived. Only a minute later and the Hornets were right back in it. Again it was McMahon that created the chance, cutting in from the right. She picked out Kemp in the middle, a good turn to free her right foot and the senior found an angle to slide her shot past Butler to make it 1-1.

“Just under a minute,” Smith said of the quick turnaround by his team. “Always keep it in mind that we can score when we’re down. And we had opportunities in the second half too.”

In the second half, the Warriors were more cognizant of the diagonal pass attacking the fullbacks to try and slow down the Hornets attack. Mansfield still had chances to take the lead, including a cross from McMahon on the left that nearly got to Mulkern on the back post if not for an intervention by Paige Varvarigos.

A throw-in from Daniel then found Kemp in space and she hit a low cross to McMahon, who had made a long run unmarked down the left, but her shot went over the bar.

KP started to come into the game after that chance and create scoring opportunities of its own. Snead picked the right pass to find Ally Stanton in space, but her shot was saved by Mansfield keeper Caty DeMassi.

In the 63rd minute, the Warriors were back out in front. Layne got free on the left side of the box, in a rare foray forward, and she hit a cross/shot that went through the six-yard-box and nearly snuck inside the far post. The ball caromed off the post and straight to the foot of Snead, who made no mistake with the empty net.

“You cross your fingers and hold your breath trying to beat Mansfield because it’s hard and we were just hoping that Avery could tuck a couple in and she did,” Pichel said. “Avery came through.”

McMahon had another chance racing in at the far post, but her shot went over the bar, and Emily Vigeant’s corner with three minutes to play found the head of Reef but Butler was able to save comfortably.

Smith said, “We got the pressure on them, we had corner kicks, we had shots, but we just couldn’t find that last little touch.”

With Snead moved back to the center of defense alongside Makayla Griffin and Olivia Berry, the Warriors packed it in and largely held Mansfield at bay for the closing stretch of the game. KP nearly put the game away on the break when Jaida Caruso freed Jenna Hitchen for a run at goal, but the shot went over.

It was the big win that KP had been waiting for and Pichel thinks it can be the result that will propel the defending Div. 1 South champs on another tournament run. “Huge amount of confidence, believe me,” he said. “This is just the medicine that the doctor ordered for us. It really is.”

King Philip (10-4-2, 10-4-1) will try to keep the momentum going on Thursday at Oliver Ames. Mansfield (11-2-3, 10-2-2) can move closer to clinching the league title when it visits Stoughton on Wednesday.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.