ATTLEBORO, Mass. – All season long, King Philip (12-9) has been a team of runs, turning one basket into two or three or four, grabbing momentum, and being able to turn a deficit into a lead in the blink of an eye. On Wednesday night in the opening round of the Div. 1 playoffs, Bishop Feehan never blinked.
Feehan demonstrated its familiarity with the Warriors press, took advantage of a tough shooting night, and made sure that KP never went on one of its runs, pulling out a 58-46 victory that gave the Shamrocks a place in the sectional quarterfinal and a win in the season series.
“Our biggest thing tonight was that even when we could get a make, we could never string two together or get a stop and then another basket,” said KP coach Dan Nagle. “We could never gain ground. We’d get it to nine and then we’d give up a layup or we’d miss a layup and instead of cutting it to seven they hit a three on the other end.
“The ability to string things together and connect the dots a little bit was missing tonight. “
It felt like the Warriors were running uphill right from the opening tip. Two weeks ago, when the teams last met, KP made 11 threes as a team. On Wednesday, KP made 11 shots total.
Faye Veilleux (game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds) scored four points in the first, but all at the line. Emma Glaser (five points) drilled a three for KP’s first made basket of the night and cut the Feehan lead down to 9-7. After the Shamrocks scored four straight, Faith Roy (10 points) got the basket for two but an Amanda Folan three made it 16-9 after one.
Things didn’t get any better offensively for KP in the second. Roy drove and set up Taylor Butler for a layup that cut the lead to 18-11 and then Roy got a bucket of her own off a nice pass from Brianna James.
Feehan responded with a 7-1 run to extend the lead out to double digits. KP managed to cut the lead down to eight after free throws from James and Veilleux. It was 25-17 at the break and it was hard not to feel that KP was fortunate to be still in the game and that the Warriors would have to improve in the second half.
Roy drilled a three from the corner that made it 27-21 and got the KP bench and fan section fired up and James followed a Feehan basket by grabbing an offensive rebound and turning it into two at the line. It was only a six-point game and it felt like maybe the Warriors were poised to click into gear.
Lydia Moradarski (16 points) had other ideas. She got a steal and layup and then buried a big three that pushed the hosts back in front by 12. Veilleux knocked down a pull-up jumper (her first made field goal in the game) but Feehan was able to beat the press and get a layup for Kyla Cunningham at the buzzer and went into the fourth quarter ahead 39-26.
“They’ve got good, young guards and they handled the pressure well,” Nagle explained. “They were ready. I mean, this is the third time they’ve seen us. They knew what was coming. We don’t really sneak up on anyone with what we do.”
With its high-octane style of play, even a 13-point deficit is not insurmountable for KP and the Warriors had opportunities in the final eight minutes to make it a much closer game, but still the shots just wouldn’t fall.
The Warriors scored 20 points in the fourth, but allowed Feehan to score 19 and never got closer than nine.
“I thought our kids played really hard,” said Nagle, “it just wasn’t our night shooting the ball. It was tough sledding.”
Roy again started the quarter with a big three that gave the Warriors a lift, but the Shamrocks always seemed to have an answer. Veilleux drove and made a tough layup and, after Feehan scored on the other end, freshman Claire Keswick hit a corner three to cut the lead down to 47-38 with 4:21 to go.
The teams were trading points. Veilleux, who scored 10 in the fourth quarter, got a put-back for two but Feehan got two at the line and went on a 9-3 run that essentially killed off the game. Veilleux added a long three in the closing seconds to win the quarter for KP and make the final deficit 12 points.
Nagle said, “We were just kind of waiting for the run to happen because that’s who we’ve been all year but tonight it just didn’t happen. It doesn’t take away what we’ve been able to accomplish this year. I’m really proud of everyone on the team and I’m really looking forward to this team’s future.”
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Even on nights when the shots aren’t falling, playing with the type of frenetic style that King Philip imposed on Friday night’s game at North Attleboro’s Pickering Gym means that even with a low shooting percentage teams can put up plenty of points.
KP put that theory into practice on Friday, pulling out a 65-56 non-league victory against North despite both teams struggling to hold onto the ball or knock down shots from the floor or from the line (combined 30-of-59 on free throws).
“I thought we missed a lot of shots that we usually make but to still score 65 and get up and down like we did is a testament to our pace,” KP coach Dan Nagle explained. “I thought we just played hard and battled through some adversity.”
Both teams like to run, but this was not just about getting out in transition. KP pressured, trapped, and harassed the Rocketeers the length of the court, taking advantage of its depth to maintain the pace throughout the 32 minutes.
While it was a game played to KP’s strengths, North hung around, falling behind by as many as 16 points in the third quarter but then getting as close as seven in the fourth.
“They’re fast and under control,” said North coach Nikki Correia. “We’re fast and a little out of control right now. I kept having to remind them we’re in this game guys, settle down. Too much hanging our heads. I’m trying to get them used to the running so they can play through it.”
The hosts jumped out to an early 6-0 lead by breaking the KP press. Olivia Forbes (six points and five assists) set up Regan Fein for a jumper, Amanda Kaiser hit a pull-up jumper in transition and Eliza Dion got an easy basket on the break.
North couldn’t sustain the momentum and the Warriors started to turn the screw defensively, finishing the first on a 12-1 run. Seven different players scored in the first. Freshman Claire Keswick put KP in front for good with an offensive rebound that made it 9-7. Another putback, this time by Emma Glaser (nine points and six boards) closed out the quarter.
KP continued to build the lead in the second. Brianna James (team-high 15 points) hit a pair of threes and Faye Veilleux (seven points and eight rebounds) got a layup on the break to put the Warriors up 22-9 and seemingly on the brink of breaking the game wide open.
The Rocketeers battled back, cutting the lead to as few as six. Kaiser (16 points and seven rebounds) got a pair of baskets in transition, first on a Dion assist and then one off a steal. Dion added six of her game-high 19 points in the quarter, including four points at the line.
James closed the half with a swooping layup that made it 31-21 at the break. The teams had combined for 24 fouls in the first half alone and went a combined 14-for-32 at the charity stripe. If either team could’ve made their foul shots, then the game may have turned out differently.
“At half we were down 10 and we had missed 10 free throws,” Correia said. “That’s the difference right there. A lot of them were short because their legs were shot.”
The second half had a similar pattern, as KP extended its lead to as many as 16 points on two occasions. Kaiser buried a pair of threes in the third to make it 40-30, but then KP answered back with threes from Courtney Keswick and Elizabeth Molla to push the lead out.
“I’ve asked her to play their best offensive girl, so on offense she’s tired,” Correia said of Kaiser. “She’s running and she’s working, so we have to try and figure out ways to take some of that off her on the defensive end so we can get her going on the offensive end.”
North made another run to close the gap before the end of the quarter. Dion continued to be a force in the paint for the hosts, scoring nine points in the third. Correia said, “Very proud of Eliza, how hard she fought inside and the finishing, which is what we need. The little things I’m starting to see like that is what we need going forward.”
After a pair of offensive rebounds by Fein kept a possession alive for the Rocketeers, Forbes nailed a three that made it just 49-41. Keswick was there to answer back with another three of her own to make it an 11-point game heading to the fourth.
A pair of free throws by Fein and a putback by Kaiser had North within seven early in the fourth, but Glaser got free in the corner on a Veilleux kick out to make the lead double digits and Liv Lafond added three more with an offensive rebound and the foul. Rebounding was a big edge for the Warriors, with Taylor Butler and Emily Sawyer each grabbing 11 on the night.
“We pride ourselves of getting after it on the offensive glass and I thought we did a great job 1-14 of getting to the glass,” said Nagle, who referenced the team’s poor shooting night when he added, “You’ve got to go rebound it if you miss it.”
Freshman Ava McKeon went behind her back to slice through the KP press for a layup. Fein knocked down a jumper on an inbound play, and Summer Doherty got free for a layup, as North was proving hard to put away. But time ran out on the comeback attempt, as Faith Roy’s (seven points) late drive to the rim sealed the win for the Warriors.
“Her kids never quit and they kept coming back,” Nagle said. “Every time I thought we were going to put them away, I’d look up and it’s an eight-point game again. It was punch, counterpunch.”
King Philip (3-1) will travel to Bishop Feehan for another non-league game on Monday, while North Attleboro (1-3) is off until after the New Year when it travels to division rival Sharon.
2018-2019 Record: 8-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Martin Crowley
Attleboro was three wins shy of reaching the postseason last year, despite a roster filled with inexperienced players, and the Bombardiers demonstrated the potential in the squad by upsetting Franklin late in the season and handing the Panthers their only league loss. This winter, the Bombardiers will be looking to turn potential into reality and make a jump into the playoff picture.
Six players are returning from last year, including seniors Nyah Thomas and Liv McCall, who give Attleboro a talented backcourt on both ends of the court. Thomas adds length and slashing ability, while McCall is a sharpshooter who will be the team’s primary ball-handler. Sophomore Meg Gordon has taken a big leap from last year and head coach Marty Crowley thinks that she is ready for a breakout season on the wing.
Juniors Gabby Bosh and Emma Reilly will both be back to add some nous to the lineup, while sophomores Hailey and Lindsey Perry add grit and toughness. Junior Ryan Johnson will add size to the frontcourt, while sophomore Lillian Froio and juniors Jackie MacDonald and Laura McVeigh add depth and physicality. Overall, it is a much deeper, more experienced group for Crowley to build lineups with this season.
“For us to be successful we must be able to play defense consistently and rebound,” Crowley said. “Nyah and Liv I am sure are going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so we must make sure that we are smart offensively and get touches for everyone, however, we feel as if we have the players in place who will contribute offensively.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-7 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Jim Choquette
Youth was served for the Bulldogs last season, as a talented trio of freshmen jumped into the starting lineup and helped Canton have one of its most successful seasons in program history, with 14 wins and a return to the state tournament. There were still some learning curves to overcome, but now a more experienced group is play with speed and get out on the break as often as possible to give Foxboro a challenge in the Davenport title race and bring home a postseason win.
Although Canton is still a relatively young team, the talent on the roster is undeniable. Sophomores Kiara Cerruti and Sydney and Fay Gallery all had impressive rookie campaigns, showing off their skills on the wing, from three-point range, and in the paint. They will face even more pressure this season, as teams know what they like to do and will be even more determined to take them out of their games.
Sophomore Carly Fitzgerald will be one of the players stepping into the point guard role vacated by the graduation of Julia Hamilton and will be the facilitator getting Canton into its offense. In the paint, Canton has size and athleticism in senior Lilah Milton and junior Kayla Albert, who are both active rebounders and finishers at the rim and both have shown the ability to knock down the occasional jumper as well. Juniors Angie Elias and Sam Lamarr and sophomore Annie Hoban all have experience from last year to add to Canton’s depth.
Canton coach Jim Choquette said, “Each day we will try to improve as a coaching staff and a program. By the end of the season, our hopes are to be playing at our best.”
2017-2018 Record: 20-3 2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal. Coach: Lisa Downs
The two-time defending Davenport division champions return all but one player from last year’s roster, so Foxboro remains the team to beat for the league title and expectations are very high heading into a new season. After a trip to the Div. 2 South semifinals last season, the Warriors will be aiming for even more this winter, trying to regain the top spot not just in the Hock but also in the South sectional.
Junior Katelyn Mollica was the team’s leading scorer last year and is already closing in on 1,000 points for her career. The team’s primary ball-handler and one of the best shooters in the league, Mollica will be one of the top offensive threats in the league. She will have plenty of help. Senior guard Lizzy Davis and senior forwards Yara Fawaz and Abby Hassman will also return to the starting lineup this season and add athleticism, speed, and tenacity on both ends of the floor, taking some pressure off Mollica with their ability to score in the open court.
Senior Shakirah Ketant came on strong at the end of last season and gives Foxboro a different, more physical look in the paint. Junior Jordyn Collins is a tough on-the-ball defender and has speed to burn. Seniors Jamie DeVellis and Julia Kelley both saw time on the floor last year and will add to Foxboro’s depth. Sophomore center Hannah Blake is a new face that could provide more strength in the post.
“The Hockomock League continues to produce teams, which make every night a tough one – there are really no teams that you can take lightly,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs. “The preparation required to compete in this league really benefits teams that get to the postseason.”
2018-2019 Record: 21-4 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 State Semifinal. Coach: John Leighton
Franklin is coming off its best season in program history and the Panthers have the talent returning to potentially surpass that success this winter. After winning the program’s first sectional title and coming within minutes of reaching the state title game, Franklin returns three of its starters and a host of bench players ready to step into bigger roles this year.
The key to it all is senior Ali Brigham. The George Washington-commit controlled the paint on both ends of the floor last season and remains the league’s most dominant star, as she continues to expand her game to make it even more difficult for the opposition. Teams can’t focus only on Brigham, as senior forward Meghan O’Connell showed in the playoffs the problems she can present with her ability to score and rebound and sophomore Olivia Quinn is another forward with size that teams will struggle to match up with.
Junior point guard Erin Quaile is a tenacious defender and a solid ball-handler, who is developing her outside shot. Senior Sydney Garilli and juniors Elizabeth Wilson, Teagan Collins, and Carissa Alers all saw time last season and will be in the backcourt rotation. Franklin will also add several newcomers, who could step right in and contribute, including juniors Katelynn Taylor and Kaleigh Houlihan and sophomores Emma Sousa and Stefany Padula. On balance, the Panthers look likely to be the team to beat again in the Kelley-Rex.
“I am excited by what I have seen to date,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “They are a very motivated group who have bought into their team motto ‘We Over Me.’ They are good teammates who seek team success over individual glory.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-8 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Dan Nagle
King Philip had a breakout season in 2018-19, winning 13 games and reaching the Div. 1 South quarterfinal. Returning seven players from last year’s roster, new head coach Dan Nagle takes over a program in solid shape and is looking to build on last season’s success and try to challenge Franklin at the top of the league standings this winter.
Senior Faye Veilleux spearheaded KP’s breakout season when she emerged as one of the top post scorers in the league. Her versatility and her ability to get out in transition will be crucial to Nagle’s fastbreaking style. Senior Faith Roy will give the Warriors a clutch outside shooter and classmate Taylor Butler adds physicality to the guard or forward position.
Junior Emma Glaser will be expected to take on a bigger role after a strong sophomore season on the wing and junior point guard Brianna James demonstrated the ability to get into the lane at will and finish even against taller opponents. Juniors Caroline Aaron and Courtney Keswick are also back from last year to provide depth on the wings and 6-foot-3 freshman Emily Sawyer will give KP much-needed size in the post, as they try to combat Franklin’s Ali Brigham. The Warriors are going to try and break teams down with aggressive defending and their speed in transition.
Nagle said, “It has been a great start to the year with this group of kids. From top to bottom our roster is full of girls who love the game of basketball and are enjoying the process of improving day to day here in the early going. I think we will be a fun team to watch this season, and I look forward to the challenge of having our kids compete night in and night out in an excellent league like the Hockomock.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Mike Redding
Mansfield has consistently been one of the top programs in the Kelley-Rex division but even the best programs are going to need time to overcome the graduation of 10 seniors. The Hornets will lack experience, but head coach Mike Redding will be looking for improvement over the course of the season and will be hoping to have the team playing its best basketball as the tournament rolls around.
Senior Becca Hottleman was recently cleared after knee surgery and will be back at the point for the Hornets. Hottleman is one of only two players that got starts last year. Junior forward Ashley Santos is the other and she will be one of the players expected to see her numbers take a jump, as she should expect to get a few more looks on the offensive end. Senior Kelly Doherty and junior Kayla Vine will jump into starting roles on the wings, while junior Sara Dooling will be a starter at forward.
While there is a lack of varsity playing time on the roster, there are plenty of upperclassmen that will be expected to contribute. Junior Sarah Sacco will back-up Hottleman at the point, while junior Ally Prentis and senior Grace Benton will add depth at the wing. Senior Grace Maher and juniors Brooke Berube and Kacey Veiking will see time in the frontcourt and freshman wing Abby Wager should get opportunities to build experience this season.
“This group has very limited varsity basketball experience overall because we had that large and talented group of 10 seniors last year, but we’re not young and will rely on senior leadership and a deep junior class and all have varsity experience in other sports,” said Redding. “We have good size and depth in the post and all of them can shoot, handle the ball, and play like guards, which should cause some problems for the defense. It will be a work in progress and we’ll have to battle for wins in a very good league but this will be a good basketball team by February when the tourney rolls around.”
2018-2019 Record: 1-19 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: T.J. Dolliver
Last year was a tough one for Milford. After graduating the bulk of the roster, an inexperienced group struggled through the season, but never lost the work rate and closed out the winter with its first win. The Hawks are still relatively young, but head coach TJ Dolliver is approaching the new year with optimism because of his team’s continued growth.
Four juniors are entering their third varsity seasons and the Hawks will be counting on them to provide necessary leadership on and off the court. Emma Lawrence, Jillian Michelson, Carly Fereira, and Katie Maietta have all gotten plenty of playing time last year and the hope is that experience will serve them well this winter.
This will be a guard-heavy lineup, especially with no player over 5-foot-8. Junior Elise Fauerbach will add some physical play to the frontcourt and sophomore forward Jill Araujo is a newcomer that can add some depth in the paint.
“There is a lot to pay attention to but what I care about the most is how we do this together,” said Dolliver. “I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff and I believe this season will be very rewarding.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-14 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Nikki Correia
It has been a tough run over the last few seasons for North Attleboro, which won seven games and missed the playoffs for the third straight year, but there are still positives to take away as former assistant Nikki Correia takes over for her first year in charge. North has several experienced players returning to try and push Big Red back up the standings.
The backcourt should be a plus for North with senior point guard Olivia Forbes back to run the show and keep the Rocketeers getting into the transition game that Correia prefers. She will be joined at the guard position by junior Amanda Kaiser, who emerged as not only a threat from deep but also as a tough defender who gets her hands into the passing lane. Juniors Siobhan Weir and Lydia Santos will add to the depth at guard to help with the full-court pressure that North will turn to this year.
North hasn’t had much height in the past few seasons, but there are several forwards who can compete on the glass. Senior forward Eliza Dion is an aggressive defender and can take her defender off the dribble. Senior Regan Fein will add extra depth in the paint. Freshman guard Ava McKeown and sophomore guard Summer Doherty are two newcomers that could make an instant impact.
“I am looking forward to being apart of watching this team and this program grow this year,” Correia said. “There are six returning seniors, so that veteran play will be very helpful, as well as returning a great shooter and adding an athletic sophomore and freshman to the mix.”
2018-2019 Record: 13-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal. Coach: Laney Clement-Holbrook
Oliver Ames had a lot of new faces last year, but the success was very familiar. The Tigers finished with 13 wins and reached the Div. 1 South quarterfinal, giving Wellesley all it could handle on the road. A year of experience and the return of a strong core of players means expectations are even higher for OA this winter.
Sophomore Caroline Peper will be the player that is going to draw the most attention at the start of the new season. As a freshman, Peper was one of the league’s top scorers and its top shooters. Junior Caroline Flynn was also an all-star last year. She runs the point, is one of the top passers on the team, and also one of its top rebounders. Her overall game helps the Tigers control games. Also in the backcourt will be seniors Meg Holleran and Erin Holmberg, who is coming back after surgery cost her almost all of last season.
Senior Tate Hadges will be on the front line, giving OA another strong defender and rebounder. Sophomore Hailey Bourne, while undersized, gives the Tigers a lot of effort in the post even when matched up against some of the best frontcourt players in the league. Junior Jess Erlich and Tori Harney and sophomore Anna Murphy will add to the team’s depth on the wing.
“As always, the Hock will present with a very high level of competition,” said OA coach Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We are looking forward to being capable of putting together a variety of strong personnel combinations which will provide us with depth as we face those challenges.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Sandra Lombardi
Sharon narrowly missed out on its first playoff appearance under head coach Sandy Lombardi, finishing just one win away from a tournament berth. With three returning starters and several younger players who got significant playing time last year, the Eagles will be eyeing that elusive postseason berth.
Three seniors will be counted on to lead the team at both ends of the floor. Point guard Ally Brown will be expected to get the Eagles into their offensive sets and is a strong defender on the other end, keeping pressure on the perimeter. Shooting guard Kaitlyn Wallace is the team’s top outside threat, stretching the defense with her range and also being a strong passer off the dribble. Forward Telishya Herbert led the team in scoring last year and is a matchup nightmare in the paint with her aggressive play going to the basket.
The starting lineup will be rounded out by junior Leah Fandel and sophomore Trinity Payne, two athletic forwards that will give Sharon decent size on the front line. Senior Nicole Teven, juniors Julia Early and Gaby Cabral and freshman Tess Letendre will all see plenty of playing time this season and will look to contribute to the team’s success.
“Ally, Kaitlyn, and Telishya have the most varsity experience and I expect great things from them this year,” Lombardi said. “We have a young team and I am hoping some of the younger players are able to step up this year as well.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Charmaine Steele Jordan
A new era will begin this winter, as Stoughton moves into its brand new gym with a lot of new faces on the roster, hoping to get the Black Knights back into the playoff race this season after missing out on the tournament last year.
The key for the Black Knights will be its senior leadership. Although Sydnee Hyacinthe has moved on to Milton Academy, they still return a strong core led by senior Aliyah Wright. The point guard can be a dominant presence on both ends of the floor, sparking Stoughton on defense and breaking down the opposition off the dribble. Senior Shyanne Trinh is healthy to start the season and will be the team’s top outside threat, with the ability to knock down shots off the dribble. Senior forward Lexi Baptista is an athletic post threat who can also step back and knock down the mid-range jumper.
Senior Hannah Pagano and juniors Brooke Bulger, Mackenzie Manning, and Catherine Downey will add to the team’s depth, especially in the backcourt. Sophomore Makaiyah Singleton Rivera and freshman Kyla Sheedy-Goff will be two of the newcomers to the roster that could make a name for themselves this season.
“Despite being somewhat young this season this group of ladies worked really hard in the off-season,” said Stoughton coach Charmain Steele Jordan. “The sky is the limit this season and our Black Knights are going compete hard until the final whistle blows.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-15 2018-2019 Finish: Missed postseason. Coach: Amy Siggens
After a number of seasons under coach Walter Harrigan, Taunton has turned to former King Philip coach Amy Siggens this year and she has brought plenty of energy into her first preseason with the Tigers, trying to push the program back into the playoff hunt.
As Siggens and the players become more comfortable with each other, the Tigers will count on their returning starters to get things off to a good start. Juniors Sonya and Jaelyn Fernandez and Kelsey White will be the players to watch this season after strong sophomore campaigns. All three have good size, with both Sonya and Jaelyn providing strong presences on the boards and out on the break and White causing match-up issues on the perimeter. All three will need to step up on the defensive end and keep the Tigers running.
Taunton also has depth, although it will be relatively inexperienced. Seniors Liz Crisman and Jaylah Chaves and junior Tori DaRosa will add more depth in the backcourt. Sophomores Braeley McDonald and Abby Souza (who has helped out on varsity since she was an eighth-grader) and freshman Kameron St. Pierre will also chip in this season.
“Any coaching change brings lots of challenges and, this season, we will be faced with our share,” said Siggens. “I am very encouraged from what I’ve seen thus far. Our bench is young and talented but how quickly a good group of less experienced players develop, will determine the degree of our progress and we are off to a good start.”
Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Girls Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Chloe Layne, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Briley Harnois, Attleboro
Jessica Gates, Attleboro
Elisa Diletizia, Canton
Olivia Rodman, Canton
Jordyn Collins, Foxboro
Kailee McCabe, Foxboro
Yara Fawaz, Foxboro
Elizabeth Davis, Foxboro
Breanna Atwood, Franklin
Sabrina Addi, Franklin
Anna Balkus, Franklin
Chloe Layne, King Philip
Avery Snead, King Philip
Makayla Griffin, King Philip
Ally Stanton, King Philip
Taylor Butler, King Philip
Maria Sevastos, Mansfield
Katie Miller, Mansfield
Ashleigh Starks, Milford
Maddie Boyle, Milford
Lydia Hershey, North Attleboro
Erin Holmberg, Oliver Ames
Abby Hodges, Oliver Ames
Leah Johnson, Oliver Ames
Bella Berger, Sharon
Mackenzie Manning, Stoughton
HINGHAM, Mass. – The game seemed to be going the same way as most of the 21 that preceded it. King Philip was hoarding the ball, putting consistent pressure on the opposing defense, creating scoring chances, and looking comfortable at the back after a switch to a 4-5-1 formation at halftime.
Suddenly, with little warning, everything changed in Saturday’s Div. 1 South final at Hingham High. A penalty given, a tying goal scored, and all the momentum (as well as the wind) suddenly at Bishop Feehan’s back.
In a battle of unbeaten top seeds, Feehan rallied with two second half goals in the span of four minutes to secure a contentious 2-1 victory and claim its first sectional title. The Warriors (21-1) lost for the first time this season and fell just short of a second South title in three seasons.
KP coach Gary Pichel was left fuming and frustrated at the final whistle, believing calls that went against his team in the second half, particularly the penalty, changed a game that his team was otherwise controlling.
“We were in control,” he said, “except for the momentum-breaking calls out on the field that sent the ball the other way. We completely owned the field. The effort was there, the motivation was there.”
Frustration aside, he also praised Feehan for its fight back in the second half. “They worked just as hard as we did and the breaks went their way, so they’re the champs. I give all the credit to them for hanging in there and working as hard as they did.”
The Warriors came out with the wind at their backs in search of an opening goal. Chloe Layne, the league MVP who was recently selected as an All-American, had the first chance on a short goal kick. She got onto her left foot and sent a cross into the middle, but Ashley Kelly just got across to clear.
Feehan’s best chances in the opening half all came off set pieces. An Annie Pearl free kick was headed at the back post but Olivia Berry blocked it on the line and cleared for KP. In the 25th minute a free kick from Hailey Goodman was redirected on target but comfortably saved by KP keeper Taylor Butler.
KP dominated the majority of the half, taking advantage of the wind. Avery Snead cut across the edge of the box and sent in a left-footed shot that had to be saved at full stretch by Madison Breckner. Makayla Griffin sent Snead into space a few minutes later but her shot on the run was saved by the keeper.
In the 35th minute, the pressure finally paid off. Griffin whipped in a corner from the far sideline and Snead was there to nod it home from just a few yards out, putting KP deservedly ahead 1-0.
Jenny Montville had a chance to double the lead just before the break, but her shot from 20 yards sailed over the bar.
At the start of the second half, KP had several chances to add to its lead. Snead fed Layne, who in turn played Montville into the right channel but her chip over the onrushing keeper went just past the bar. In the 53rd minute, Snead slipped Kiera Lindmark down the left side and she hit a perfect cross into Layne unmarked in the center, but her volley was too high.
“I thought that was going in for sure,” said Pichel. “That was a perfect ball and [Chloe’s] usually adept at volleying it into the net. If that went in, then it would have been lights out I think.”
Despite the misses, KP looked largely untroubled. The defense, which had allowed only three goals during the regular season was keeping Feehan at arm’s length. Butler had to make a save at the near post when Goodman cut in on her left, but the combination of Griffin, Berry, Paige Varvarigos, and freshman Grace Lawler limited Feehan’s chances.
Lawler in particular stood out because she was matched up against Feehan junior striker Francesca Yanchuk, who has already amassed more than 100 goals in her career. Lawler met the physical battle and gave Yanchuk no good looks at goal for 60-plus minutes.
In the 63rd minute, a penalty was given when a Feehan player went down in the box. The KP defense and bench argued that there was no contact from the defender, who was shepherding the attacker away from goal. The official pointed to the spot and Yanchuk put enough power to give Butler no chance.
After tying the game, Feehan took control of the match and went in search of a winner. Moments after a collision between Yanchuk and Butler forced the trainer to take a look at the KP keeper, Sydney Kofton lofted a pass behind the KP defense for Yanchuk to chase and the forward beat Butler to the spot before deftly slipping the ball past the keeper and inside the post.
KP would create a couple of chances to equalize in the closing minutes. Jenna Hitchen set up Montville for a shot that was saved and then Layne hit a shot off the bounce with two minutes to play, but her shot went straight at the keeper.
It was not the ending that this KP senior class was looking for after a record-setting career. Layne and Snead both broke the existing program scoring record, with Layne finishing as the new top scorer. The Warriors won a pair of Kelley-Rex division championships and went to two South finals, winning the title in 2017. The 21 wins that the Warriors amassed this season was a program best.
“Im very proud of the kids. I’m super proud of them,” Pichel said. “They’re champs in my eyes, in the eyes of their fans, and their families and friends. I’m going to be sad to see these kids go. Had them for four years, the senior class is like, the best I ever had. You hate to see them go.”
“There’s been a ton of accomplishments. Final touches were going to be to win this and give it a great shot at states, but …”
HANSON, Mass. – In the playoff opener against Hingham, King Philip took time to get going and watched as the Harborwomen put them under pressure from the opening whistle. It was a learning experience for the Warriors that they need to be ready to go from kick-off and take control of matches.
It was a lesson that the Warriors put into practice on Wednesday afternoon at Whitman-Hanson’s O’Neil Field against No. 12 seed Needham. KP scored three times in the opening half hour and rolled to a 4-1 win that books its place in the Div. 1 South final for the second time in the last three seasons.
“We talked about it just before we came out that we really wanted to press them hard and put them back on their heels and make them think about defense more than their offense,” said KP coach Gary Pichel.
KP has had a target on its back essentially from the start of preseason practice, as the Warriors came in as one of the favorites in D1, and the players have managed to keep rising to the challenge.
“It has been tough to play with that target on our back,” said KP senior Makayla Griffin, “but we just take it one game at a time and focus on the game that’s coming up rather than looking in the long run.”
While KP would have the bulk of the early possession, Needham had the game’s first good look in the third minute when Samantha Scully teed up Madeline Ledbury for a shot from the edge of the box, but it sailed over the bar.
In the 13th minute, the Warriors started to convert their pressure into scoring chances. Jenna Hitchen slipped a pass into Chloe Layne, who then set up Avery Snead for a shot from 25 yards that forced a save. A minute later, Snead settled a throw-in from Paige Varvarigos, stepped inside her marker onto her right foot, and fired a shot that needed to be tipped over.
The opening goal nearly happed in the 19th minute when Snead headed down a Griffin corner and then knocked the rebound through the box, but Needham defender Maylin Carr cleared off the line just in front of Hitchen.
A minute later, it was 1-0. A ball out of defense from Varvarigos found the feet of Snead, who deftly flicked it into the path of Layne behind the Needham defense. The Rockets nearly got back into position but could only get a piece of the shot that slipped inside the post.
Once in front, the Warriors stepped on the gas with a pair of goals only a minute apart. Layne played provider for the first, finding a way through a double team to get off a cross from the left that found Snead for unmarked flicked header in the six-yard-box. The second came off a Griffin corner, as Snead met it at the back post with an unstoppable header that made it 3-0.
“We just came in on fire,” Snead explained. “Getting the early goals just allows everyone to relax because everyone is so stressed out in the beginning. Getting the early goals just calms us.”
She added, “[Chloe and I] just found a lot of space in the middle and we just kept trying to check to the ball and play through balls to each other. Once we got the first one, then we just got on a roll.”
Needham didn’t go quietly. In the 32nd minute, Ledbury had a free kick from 30 yards come back off the bar and it was Scully who reacted first to force the rebound over the line. That spurred the underdogs into their best spell of the match, closing the half as the team on the front foot.
“I told them that we weren’t making many changes, I just wanted the pressure to remain the same,” Pichel said about his halftime message. “High pressure, quick on the ball, force them to make mistakes, and then capitalize on those mistakes, and you pretty much saw that. They were all over them.”
The Warriors set out in the second half to grab the momentum back. Makenzie Shandley played Layne down the left channel, but her chip over the onrushing keeper was tipped wide of the post. Six minutes later, Snead was able to slip in Shandley but pressure from the Needham defender forced the shot wide.
KP kept piling up the chances to extend the lead. Olivia Berry stepped forward from defense and delivered a pass out to the left to Hitchen, who then crossed into the middle for Layne but the last defender was able to clear. Another Griffin set piece almost picked out Snead only for the keeper to come out, challenge, and knock it away.
The defensive unit for KP, which included Griffin and Berry in the middle, Varvarigos on the left, and freshman Grace Lawler starting on the right but man-marking Needham’s Caroline Hood, stood out again. Griffin explained, “I think we’re really good at communication and knowing where everyone is going to be at all times and just talking to each other.”
In the 59th minute, Layne had a shot on the turn that had the keeper stranded but slid over the bar. Just a minute later, Needham had its best chance of the half when Ledbury got on the end of a looped cross but her shot off the bounce went wide, with KP goalie Taylor Butler scrambling across the net.
The game stayed 3-1 until the closing seconds. Under pressure, the Needham keeper spilled a cross from the left and Kiera Lindmark was able to push the rebound across the line on the third try.
Pichel said, “That’s been our trademark all season is that hustle and the hard work they put into it. Having the skill level that they have and the hard work ethic that they have is a great combo.”
King Philip (21-0) will try to secure its second South title in three years when it takes on No. 2 seed Bishop Feehan on Saturday at noon at Hingham High.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip knew heading into Monday’s Div. 1 South opener against Hingham that it was not going to be an easy night. The Harborwomen were not a typical No. 16 seed and would pose a stiff challenge in the first round. Luckily for the Warriors, they have Chloe Layne.
The University of Hartford-commit and recently named Hockomock League MVP put on a show with her control and vision, scoring three goals and assisting on two others, as KP scored four unanswered in the second half to pull out a 6-2 victory.
“Chloe was playing out of her mind out there,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “She was getting doubled, tripled, pulled, yanked, kicked, so I think it’s only fair that she ended up scoring a hat trick.”
Hingham came into the game fired up and got off to a strong start, pressing the Warriors and playing quick balls into the channels for the forwards to chase. Alexa Varholak had an early chance down the left but sent her shot just wide of the far post. In the 11th minute, Olivia Sharkansky found space on the right side and sent a shot just over the bar.
In the 13th minute, Hingham found a breakthrough. Kate Dalimonte lined up a free kick from just inside the attacking half and she belted a shot that dipped just under the crossbar and out of the reach of KP goalie Taylor Butler. The strike had Hingham coach Ryan Puntiri dancing up the sideline in celebration, but the momentum from the goal was short-lived.
Within a minute, KP had answered. A quick transition got Layne in space running at the Hingham back line and she laid a pass into the path of Jenny Montville, who took a touch and then hit an unstoppable shot into the far corner to make it 1-1.
Montville came off the bench and gave the Warriors a spark down the right wing. She combined with Avery Snead to have a shot from the edge of the box to force a diving save from Hingham keeper Kathryn Wilson.
The Warriors grabbed the lead in the 22nd minute. Layne leapt to head a bouncing ball in the box. The header came back off the bar, but she was the first to react to the rebound and side-footed a shot past the keeper.
That goal seemed to spark the Harborwomen back into life and the visitors dominated the final portion of the first half, looking more like a perennial power than a team that finished the regular season with a .500 record. Ava Maguire sliced a shot from 20 yards wide of the post, Sharkansky forced Butler to palm away a shot at the near post, and Butler had to be off her line quickly to block a chance for Taylor Aymar.
“This is how she’s played all season long,” Pichel said about Butler. “She learned her lesson from that first goal they got on the direct kick where she was out too far. She makes the right choice almost every time to come out and take the play away. She has so much confidence in herself.”
Hingham tied the game with three minutes left in the half. A corner was played to the back post, where it was knocked back into the middle of the box. The ball bounced around until it fell to a wide open Aymar, who tapped it in.
Butler was called into action just two minutes after the break, sliding out to block another chance for Aymar in the left channel and keep the score level.
“At halftime we talked about, is this the way we want to end our season?” Pichel explained. “It most certainly was not. They came in with a lot more energy in that first half than we did. We can’t just sit there and say, hey we’re going to ride this thing out and we’re going to end up winning because that’s now how it works.”
KP started to wear Hingham down and gained control of the midfield. Stanton drove forward out of midfield and forced a save out of Wilson, who held onto it at the second attempt. In the 58th minute, a corner was cleared out to Stanton, who had a shot from 20 yards. The ball bounced away from the keeper and Hitchen was quickest to the loose ball and flicked it past the goalie for a 3-2 lead.
With Hingham pushing forward for an equalizer, KP struck for three goals in the final six minutes. Layne got it started when she was able to toe poke the ball beyond the last defender and then picked the bottom corner on the break.
Three minutes later, Layne looped a pass over the Hingham back line to Snead, who was able to stretch out a leg and knock the ball past the onrushing keeper. Layne then completed her hat trick and added gloss to the final score when she cut in from the right side and sent a left-footed shot inside the far post.
Pichel noted, “This has got to be the toughest 16 seed we could ever have to play and sure enough it turned out that way and the score was not indicative of how well Hingham played. They played us as tough as anyone has this year.”
King Philip (19-0) will host division rival Oliver Ames on Thursday afternoon. The Warriors won both regular season meetings by a combined eight goals.
Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 6 – Final – Milford built a 3-0 lead with a strong first half but had to survive a wild second half to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Junior Lucas Da Silva scored the first two goals of the game with Pedro Araujo and Jordan Borges earning assists. Borges then set up Araujo to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at the break. Sharon’s Brian Higgins scored from Bryce Nathan to begin the second half, Nathan grabbed a goal of his own to make it 3-2. Araujo (from Leo Coelho) restored Milford’s two-goal lead only for Higgins to bring the Eagles back within one on James Zhang’s second assist. Coelho set up Da Silva for his hat trick and Araujo completed his hat trick on a pass from Joao Pedro Da Silva to make it 6-3. Nathan bagged his second of the game to get Sharon within two.
Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Taunton keeper Nolan Melo made save after save to keep the visiting Tigers in the game but Oliver Ames was able to solve him once, and that was enough for two points. “Their keeper was ridiculous, he was great,” said OA head coach John Barata. OA junior Matthew Nikiciuk scored in the 60th minute on a shot from outside of the area to put the hosts ahead. OA’s defense of Harry Ahearn, Matthew Nosalek, Jon Freeman, and Brady deVos played well in front of keeper Drew Nickla (sixth shutout).
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – Franklin keeper Breanna Atwood was terrific in net for the Panthers but King Philip scored a pair of first half goals to earn the win. Chloe Layne finished off a corner from Makayla Griffin in the 22nd minute to give the hosts the lead, and Avery Snead doubled the advantage four minutes later, heading in another corner from Griffin. Atwood made eight great saves to keep Franklin in the game. King Philip’s defense of Grace Lawler, Paige Varvarigos, and Griffin along with keeper Taylor Butler earned their 12th shutout of the season.
Boys Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 35 – Final
Girls Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 30 – Final
North Attleboro, 165 @ Canton, 149 – Final – Canton earned a win over North Attleboro to finish unbeaten in division action this season, going 10-0, and improving to 13-0 overall this season. The Bulldogs had a trio of golfers share match medalist honors with Chris Lavoie, Conor Hunter, and James O’Keeffe all finishing with a 37. Will Gefteas and Mike Leonetti each shot 38 in the win. North Attleboro’s Jake Gaskin had a team-low round of 38, Jillian Barend and Jared Bankert each shot 42, and Aidan Weir chipped in with a 43 for the Rocketeers.
Oliver Ames, 160 @ Mansfield, 149 – Final – Mansfield picked up some momentum heading into the league championship meet, earning a win over Oliver Ames at home. Brian See fired an impressive three-under par round of 33 to earn match medalist honors. Ryan Dow added a 35, Jason See shot a 40, and Cian Goulet finished with a 41 for Mansfield.
Milford, 179 vs. Nipmuc, 188 – Final
Foxboro, 156 @ Milford, 179 – Final – Foxboro earned a win on the road to close out its division schedule, finishing 8-2. Noah Hicks led the way for the Warriors, firing a round of 37 to earn match medalist honors. Matt Lathrop added a 39 for Foxboro while Jack Rounds and Dylan Quinn each shot 40. Tyler Wetherbee and Wes Murdock each carded a 42 for the Hawks.
Taunton, 174 @ Stoughton, 181 – Final – Taunton earned a win on the road at Easton Country Club over host Stoughton. Kyle Robinson and Dillion Schofield led the way for the Tigers, each shooting 42 in the win. Stoughton’s Max Huminik was the match medalist with a 39.
FOXBORO, Mass. – To run through a perfect season, especially against the level of competition in the Hockomock League, sometimes you have to be lucky as well as good. King Philip rode its luck on Friday afternoon at Sam Berns Community Field to upend fellow division leader Foxboro.
Senior Makenzie Shandley scored the game’s only goal with 20 minutes remaining in the second half to lift KP to a 1-0 victory, but the perfect start to the season owed a lot to the crossbar, which Foxboro struck twice in the final three minutes, and to the play of keeper Taylor Butler, who made several important interventions when Foxboro got behind the defense.
“Holy smokes, that was insane,” said KP coach Gary Pichel. “We knew it was going to be one of these games and it was. This was back and forth all game long. I’m pretty happy with the kids for hanging in there.”
The game’s only goal came with the visitors kicking into a stiff wind. Jenna Hitchen played the ball into the left channel for Chloe Layne to run onto. The senior forward was able to keep the ball in play but seemed to be bottled up on the end line. That was until she pulled off a spin move past her marker, opening space for a cross. Shandley beat her marker to it and then showed a deft touch to redirect it into the net.
“Who would’ve figured?” Pichel replied when asked about it being Shandley that came through with the only goal rather than some of the league’s top offensive threats. “Kenzie is a hard-working kid though and to have that kind of touch in tight like that, where she just kind of redirected it.”
KP had plenty of work left to do to preserve the one-goal advantage for 20 minutes. With 10 minutes left, Jordyn Collins had her progress halted 25 yards from goal but was able to lay the ball off to Kailee McCabe. The sophomore midfielder was clean through on goal, but Butler was out quick and appeared to make a huge save, although it was ruled a goal kick not a corner.
The hosts upped the pressure over the final few minutes of the game, putting the KP defense on its heels. As the clock wound down under three minutes left to play, Lizzy Davis got room to fire a shot from just outside the box that looped over Butler but came back off the bar. Just a minute later, from almost the exact same spot, McCabe was first to a loose ball and had a go but again the bar came to KP’s rescue.
“I just came over here and told them from what I saw, we were the better team,” said Foxboro coach Katie Stalcup. “I might be a little biased but that’s what I saw out there.”
She added, “We had through balls, we had great crosses, I feel like we had so many chances, it was just they finished and we didn’t. That’s kind of been our problem all season in tough games.”
Foxboro was looking to its speed in transition to break down a KP defense that had only allowed two goals all season and had recorded 10 shutouts in 12 games entering Friday. Collins only needed five minutes to show how dangerous she was on the break, holding off Olivia Berry and forcing Butler to come out and block the shot.
“She is quicker in person that she was on film,” Pichel said of Collins. “The film doesn’t do her justice. Jordyn just goes from touchline to touchline all game and then she settles in the middle and that’s the cue for their midfielders to send it through the middle to her.”
Midfielder Ally Stanton was out injured for the visitors and that forced Pichel to alter his lineup, moving forward Avery Snead back into the center of the pitch, which kept the Providence College commit from having much impact in the final third. Caroline Cass, Emma Dahl, and Yara Fawaz mostly were able to keep Layne, the league’s leading scorer, from having much impact as well.
“My defense was amazing today,” said Stalcup. “I feel like we shut Chloe down pretty well. She did get that cross off but we didn’t let her get any shots off from close in, from inside the 18. I’m really proud of my defense.”
KP’s best chance of the first half was created by Jenny Montville, who broke free into the center of the Foxboro defense, creating space for Ava Tormey on the right side of the box, but her effort was held by Foxboro keeper Morgan Sylvestre.
Collins created several chances on the other end. She was tightly marked by freshman Grace Lawler all day but with 10 minutes left in the first half Collins had the strength to hold her marker at bay and force Butler into a save. Two minutes later, Collins sent the ball forward to Davis, who won a challenge with a KP defender on the edge of the area but dragged a shot wide.
Montville and Snead forced Sylvestre into saves early in the second half, while Collins tried to beat Butler at the near post from a tight angle. In the 59th minute, Layne finally was able to find enough room in the penalty area to fashion a chance and Shandley finished it.
Layne had a goal wiped away for a very tight offside call that could have put the game away, but with only a one-goal lead against a potent attack, KP needed to hang on down the stretch. Between the defense, with senior Makayla Griffin and Berry joined by Snead for the final minutes, and the woodwork, KP did just that and maintained its perfect record.
King Philip (13-0, 11-0) will try to keep its perfect start to the season alive against Franklin on Wednesday. Foxboro (8-2-2, 8-2-1) will host division rival Canton on Tuesday.