FRANKLIN, Mass. – There weren’t any late dramatics this time out for the King Philip boys soccer team.
Instead, the fireworks came early.
After leaving it late in their win over Mansfield to finish last week, the Warriors came out firing in their first matchup with Franklin. KP scored twice in the opening quarter and once each in the second and third quarters to earn a 4-1 decision on the road over the Panthers.
“It’s a credit to how creative our midfield has been and how hard our wings are working,” said second-year King Philip head coach Mike O’Neill. “They’re all working really hard. This team is very unselfish. We had assists from an outside back, we had assists from wings, assists from midfielders so I’m just really pleased with how they are sharing the ball.”
Senior Evan McEvoy bagged a brace in the win, finding the back of the net just before halftime and shortly after the second half began. Ajae Olsen opened the scoring less than five minutes into the contest and Cole Breen doubled the visitors’ advantage before 15 minutes had expired.
The Warriors went without a goal in 80 minutes in their season opener against Mansfield last week, and then finally broke through in the 77th minute in the second meeting. This time out, King Philip wasted little time finding the back of the net.
Franklin opened the game with the early pressure as junior Terry O’Neill tested KP keeper Aidan Lindmark with a left-footed go from just outside the box in the first minute. But the Panthers didn’t sustain the pressure and the Warriors took advantage of failed clearance.
Outside back Anthony Zappala was rewarded for his venture into the attacking third, combining with senior Alex Leon to gain possession on the left side after Franklin was unable to play out of the back. Zappala split a pair of defenders with a service to the far post and Olsen found himself all alone in behind and finished off a bouncing cross for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
King Philip did sustain their offensive pressure and nearly had a second just three minutes later. Leon played McEvoy on a short indirect kick on the left side, and McEvoy used a nice fake to earn some space before rifling a curling shot on frame that forced Franklin keeper Luc Boudreau to make an acrobatic one-handed save over the bar.
Franklin forayed back into the attacking third but King Philip took possession back and broke out on the counter. Leon used his speed to carry out of the back before sliding a low through ball in behind the defense. Junior Sean McCarthy timed his run perfectly, latching onto the pass entering the area. McCarthy alertly centered the ball to find senior Cole Breen for a one-touch finish from six yards out to make it 2-0 in the 12th minute.
“I think one thing that really worked for us that doesn’t get enough credit is how hard the front three and the midfielders work to make those runs,” O’Neill said. “A lot of the time they go unrewarded but you have to make them anyway and trust your teammates to find you. And we were able to find them on a couple of goals.”
The Panthers’ best chance of the opening quarter came in the 15th minute when junior Aidan Griffith played senior Ben Moccia into space in the area but his tight-angle bid at the near post was just wide.
After a spirited pep talk from head coach Fran Bositis, who is in his 50th consecutive year at the helm of the program, the Panthers came out with a little more pep in their step to start the second quarter. And that resulted in quick success.
Junior Nelson Martinez took a touch into space before unleashing a low shot from outside the area. Moccia made a run across the box and redirected the low shot leaving no chance for Lindmark, cutting the deficit to 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
Shortly before the halftime break, King Philip answered back to restore its two-goal advantage. Junior Stephen Griffin played a diagonal ball near the penalty spot and McEvoy buried his bid for a 3-1 lead in the 35th minute.
“I think that was the turning point in the game,” O’Neill said. “You know there’s the old joke about a two-goal lead being the worst lead in soccer but when you get a second two-goal lead, it makes that mountain a lot harder to climb for the other team. And we talked at halftime, it was really important to keep playing the way we were playing and to stay organized. Coach Fran’s team is always going to come out and play hard and give a tremendous effort, they have some excellent players over there so we had to keep organized.”
King Philip tacked on another insurance goal late in the third quarter. Tadhg Keller linked up with Olsen, who connected with McEvoy in the area to extend the advantage to 4-1 in the 55th minute.
Franklin pushed late but couldn’t breakthrough. Martinez found Charlie Amante in some space but the senior didn’t get a clean shot off and Lindmark covered. Minutes later, Lindmark was quick off his line to deny Amante a chance at a shot and on the next play. Keller came up with a big challenge to prevent another bid on goal.
“It’s a great comfort for a coach to have a goalie like Aidan Lindmark back there,” O’Neill said. “Not only is he a terrifically polished shot-stopper but tactically he’s very, very aware and his judgment is terrific. In a year like this now where you can’t head the ball, your goalie better be the boss of the box and he was tonight.”
King Philip boys soccer (2-1) will host Franklin (0-3) in a rematch on Friday.
2019 Record: 6-9-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
One more goal scored or one goal less allowed could have changed the entire outcome of the 2019 season for the Bombardiers, who suffered six one-goal losses and three draws. Now with more varsity experience under their belts, Attleboro is aiming to surprise some teams in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season.
Longtime head coach Peter Pereira is counting on that experience to translate into leadership on and off the field. Senior goalie Zackary Brown is back in net for the Bombardiers and is showing more confidence inside the area. Senior Joey Soucy is making the transition to defense and will play alongside classmates Jayden Lockhart and Andrew Fasoldt. Junior Cashel Stuger is also back in the mix defensively while seniors Henry Marini and Alejandro Jimenez could factor into the defensive unit as well.
Jackson Singer emerged as a strong option in the midfield in his first season with the Bombardiers and should be a big piece again this year. Singer will pair up with Hugo Henriquez to give Attleboro an experienced duo in the heart of the pitch. Seniors Ben Fasoldt, Emilio Amaya, and Tyler Sar will all be apart of the midfield while juniors Tom Russo and Emilio Ticas should see valuable minutes for the Bombardiers. Freshman Alex Vecchioli has shown a lot of versatility so far and could play in a variety of roles.
Up front, Attleboro will be relying on a combination of speed, tough, and work effort as they challenge opposing defenses. Depending on the pairing, Attleboro will be able to attack in a variety of ways. Seniors Justin Lurssen and Connor Paquin as well as juniors Liam Bischoff and Yianni Skordas will all see time in the attack. Sophomore Esvin Morales emerged as one of the top attacking threats a year ago and will be among the top finishers in the league.
“We have a good group of seniors and hope that this experience will pay off,” Pereira said. “We believe we will have a more competitive, more mature, and more balanced team.”
2019 Record: 4-12-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Danny Erickson
The Bulldogs were very young during the 2019 season with just a half dozen seniors on the squad, but that meant plenty of young players were able to gain valuable on-field experience at the varsity level. Now the Bulldogs will be looking to contend in a very competitive Davenport division in the shortened 2020 season.
The defense will be the backbone of the team this season as the Bulldogs have a lot of experience at the centerback position. Senior captain Matt Giglio is back for his third year with the squad after being a key piece in each of the previous two years. He will be joined in the middle of the defense by Will Keefe, who anchored the Dogs’ backline last year and earned All-Hockomock honors.
Junior Dylan Baird had a breakout sophomore season and will be one of the main pieces in the midfield. After a down season for Canton on the offensive end as a whole last year, Baird’s presence in the midfield will help create opportunities going forward. Up front, the Bulldogs are counting on senior Colton Marliani to be a go-to scoring threat.
Canton already suffered a big blow as senior captain TJ McCabe, who has been with the squad since he was a freshman, will miss the season due to injury. On the flip side, the Bulldogs are getting a boost with the addition of Abdul Barrie. Barrie played in the youth leagues in Canton but will make his CHS debut this fall and could make a big impact for the Dogs.
“I think the rule modifications will challenge us all equally,” said longtime Canton head coach Danny Erickson. “But after a week or so of training, to me, it’s still soccer.”
2019 Record: 7-8-3 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dan Ambrosio
The Warriors had a sour taste in their mouth at the end of last season, losing the last game of the year to miss out on the playoffs. While Foxboro won’t have the chance to get back to the postseason this year, the Davenport division title is certainly in reach.
Foxboro graduated a couple of stalwarts (Joe Cusack, Dylan Barreira, Will Morrison) that were important pieces of the squad in each of the last couple of seasons, but there are plenty of experienced players back from last year’s seven-win squad plus a handful of new faces anxious to make their mark. Seniors Max Beigel and PJ Frost will give the Warriors plenty of leadership and experience, especially in the midfield and attacking third. Foxboro will look to play quick, using the counterattack to hit on the break.
After giving up nearly two goals a game a season ago, the Warriors are aiming to tighten up the back as they navigate through a very competitive Davenport division. First-year head coach Dan Ambrosio is also counting on new players like John Hollis and Ryan Flaherty to make an impact during the shortened season.
“We are a tight-knit group who like to have fun playing the game and look forward to representing our school and town,” Ambrosio said.
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Fran Bositis
With returning players in most areas of the pitch and a trio of top midfielders in the Hockomock League, the Panthers should be in the mix for the Kelley-Rex title, although it could be one of the most competitive seasons since the league split into two.
With just 10 games and all six teams in the Kelley-Rex possible contenders, there is little margin for error. The Panthers will be put to the test right away as they take on Milford, who won the Davenport two years in a row and went to the D2 State Final last season, in the opening week. But longtime head coach Fran Bositis has plenty of talent on his roster to try and make a push for the division title. It all starts in the midfield with a trio of returning starters in Ethan Cain, Tyler Powderly, and last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year Terry O’Neill.
All three bring something different to the table which will make Franklin’s midfield among the most dynamic in the league. Powderly’s speed on the wings will give defenses fits while Cain will bring plenty of creativity as the Panthers push forward. O’Neill won’t be able to dominate in the air like he did a season ago thanks to the new modifications that ban headers, but the junior is also such a calming presence with the ball at his feet and will help Franklin keep possession. Ben Moccia, who started in the midfield a season ago, is moving up top to the number 9 spot, while Charlie Amante, Ryan Witt, Jack Moran, and Kevin Proenca will also see time in the attack.
The Panthers have some new faces in the defensive unit. Will Fox is the lone returning starter and has impressed in the early stages of the season. Sam George, Robbin Tappin, and Karl Gruseck will all factor into the Panthers’ defense while Aidan Griffith, Nelson Martinez, and Connor Scagliarini will be options for Bositis to play either defense or in the midfield. Newcomers Trey Lovell and Rex Cinelli could see valuable minutes right away. Former Panther standout goalie Freddie Backmann, who is without a season at Regis College, is mentoring Luc Boudreau, this year’s starting keeper for Franklin.
“I think that we have a very good group of athletes (soccer players) who have worked real hard in preparation for this season,” Bositis said. “I know that they are all excited to be playing and that they are looking forward to competing against the other Kelley-Rex teams and putting themselves in a position to challenge for a league championship.”
2019 Record: 8-5-6 2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip was the surprise team of the 2019 season, overcoming a large amount of inexperience to take third in the Kelley-Rex and qualify for the state tournament. While the Warriors won’t sneak up on anyone this season, the skill and experience they return should put them in the mix for the division title.
Second-year head coach Mike O’Neill has strong players in all areas of the pitch, starting with senior captain Evan McEvoy. A four-year player with the program, McEvoy is coming off a breakout season in 2019 and will be among the top midfielders in the league. He will control the pace for the Warriors from the center of the pitch, working with fellow captain Alex Leon, who will use his speed to patrol the wings and get in behind the defense. Both Caleb Waxman and Stephen Griffin made an impact last season and should see expanded roles in the shortened 2020 season. Sophomore Matt Crago is a new face that could make a splash in his first year.
The Warriors should have one of the top defenses in the league again this season. Senior captain Aidan Lindmark is back in goal and his distribution skills will factor in heavily to how KP plays out of the back. Jeremy White had a strong 2019 season at center back and will bolster the Warriors’ backline when he returns from injury. In the meantime, four-year player Ajae Olsen, who is normally patrolling the wing or up top, will have his versatility on display as he slides into the centerback spot.
“Our players and coaches are thankful that we are at the point where we can have a season,” O’Neill said. “So much work and sacrifice have gone into getting the Hockomock League schools to this moment. I’m looking forward to some excellent and competitive soccer. I expect every game to be extremely competitive – there are no easy games in the Hock. Five wins may win the division.”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Sheridan
With just 10 games scheduled for the season, every game – from the first to the last – is going to be important. No one understands that more than the 2020 Hornets, who came up just short of the state tournament last year. After a slow start, Mansfield became one of the toughest teams to beat down the stretch, finishing on an eight-game unbeaten streak that featured an upset of division champion Oliver Ames but came just one point shy of postseason play.
With the postseason not in the picture for this year, the focus shifts on the division title. The Hornets are hoping to carry the momentum from the end of last season into this year. Mansfield will have a mix of veterans and inexperience in its defensive unit. Senior captain Evan Eames will be the centerpiece of the group alongside classmate Michael Jeans, who missed all of last season due to injury. Sophomores Grady Sullivan and Nate Kablik round out the Hornets’ back four while senior captain Eric Sullivan will take over starting in goal.
Senior captain Tommy Lanzillo will run the show from the center of the pitch, helping the Hornets transition from defense to offense. Lanzillo is strong with the ball at his feet and will help distribute as the Hornets hit on the counter. Senior Colin True and juniors Matt Hyland and Dan Rowe will join Lanzillo in the Hornets’ midfield. Junior Dylan Buchanan is back for his third year with the squad and will play up top alongside Aiden Steele.
2019 Record: 18-1-2 2019 Finish: D2 State Finalists Coach: Antonio Pinta
Milford arrives in the Kelley-Rex division with a huge target on its back. Coming off back-to-back Davenport division titles and a trip to the D2 State Final a season ago, the Hawks enter their new division as the favorite. But game in and game out, Milford can expect to get everyone’s best.
First-year head coach Antonio Pinto might be new to the varsity position but has been with the program during this successful run as an assistant and JV coach. It will all start with the reigning HockomockSports Player of the Year and Hockomock League MVP Leo Coelho, who can play just about any position on the pitch at a high level. If there is a need to shut down a high-powered offense, you might see Coelho playing defense. Or if the Hawks need a boost offensively, he can just as easily move up front and provide creativity in the final third.
The Hawks are far from a one-trick pony with both Lucas Da Silva (eight goals, seven assists) and Joao Pedro Da Silva (six goals, three assists) back in the mix this season. Replacing the Hockomock’s leading scorer in Pedro Araujo (25 goals, 11 assists) will be tough but we saw the Hawks do just that when Araujo took over for former HockomockSports Player of the Year Wallison de Oliveira.
Defensively, the Hawks will be strong up the middle. Junior Kevin Gomes returns to start in goal for the Hawks after getting valuable experience there during last year’s season and deep playoff run. And junior Chris Tocci is back in the heart of the defense at centerback after a breakout sophomore campaign. While the new regulations will certainly challenge the Hawks defensively with heading and slide tackling banned, Milford should have a big advantage offensively because of their strong possession skills.
“I’m very excited to be out there with the guys this season,” Pinto said. “We are ready to play no matter what the rules and conditions are! We’re ecstatic to have a season.”
2019 Record: 9-7-4 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Geoff Burgess
The Rocketeers and head coach Geoff Burgess have found a recipe for success over the past couple of seasons and will be looking to replicate that again this year. Defense always comes first for the Rocketeers, who allowed just 0.68 goals per game last year. While every team is being forced to make changes because of the new modifications due to COVID-19, the Rocketeers might be affected more than most with heading, slide tackles, and shoulder-to-shoulder challenges banned.
But the Rocketeers have adjusted during the preseason and will be relying on defense and goalkeeping once again this season. Replacing two-time HockomockSports Best XI selection Kyle Briere in net won’t be easy but the North Attleboro is turning to junior David Floyd, who is one of the most athletic players on the team this season according to Burgess. The Rocketeers also boast one of the best centerback combinations in the league with seniors Justin Silva and Donovan Carter back in the fold this year. With a season of experience playing together, it will be tough for teams to find ways to get by the defense anchored by that duo.
While defense remains a top priority for the Big Red, that doesn’t mean North isn’t a dangerous team in the attacking third. As they’ve shown over the past two seasons, speed can kill. Relying on the counterattack and set pieces for the majority of their offensive chances, North brings back senior forward Matt Conley (one goal, five assists) to try and beat defenses with his speed and skill. Junior Connor Ward will have a lot to say about the pace the Rocketeers play at as he orchestrates the team from the center of the pitch.
“With an abbreviated season and a large senior class, we hope to challenge OA for the league title,” Burgess said. “This will obviously be a huge challenge but our defense will be tough to breakdown and you can’t lose if the other team does not score.”
2019 Record: 15-4-0 2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal Coach: John Barata
Oliver Ames has reached the D2 State Final three times since 2014 and with a large group of experienced and skilled players back from last year’s team that went 15-4, another trip to the finals might have been in the cards for 2020. But with postseason canceled due to COVID-19, the Tigers are looking to make as big of an impact as they can.
After a four-year stint in the Kelley-Rex, one that included a pair of division titles (2017 and 2019), the Tigers are back in the Davenport division where they won five titles in the first six years after the Hockomock split. OA brings back nine players that either started or saw a good amount of minutes on the pitch last year, highlighted by HockomockSports Best XI selections Colin Milliken, Brady deVos, and Kevin Louhis. Milliken will help the Tigers transition from defense to offense from his center mid spot, Louhis will be a go-to option on the offensive end, and deVos is back to anchor the defense for the second straight season.
The Tigers will have plenty of options to go along with Milliken (10 goals, 14 assists) and Louhis (4 goals, 9 assists) in the attacking third. Jimmy Keane (six goals, one assist) bolsters the midfield while Anthony DaCosta (six goals, one assist) has improved each of the past two seasons and will be a handful for opposing defenses. Senior Matthew Nikiciuk really emerged as a force in the middle of the pitch last season and will be a big part of the offense, especially through set pieces. Both Mathias Taylor and Dillon Cupples burst onto the scene a year ago and will be in the mix as the Tigers push forward.
Senior goalie Drew Nickla returns in net after a strong year in 2019. The Tigers graduated the most from the defensive unit so the early challenge will be developing chemistry quickly in the backline. Head coach John Barata is also looking for Ben Cohen, Michael Haikal, and Hector Bucio as viable options for the Tigers while sophomore Jake Williams and freshmen Ryan Linhares, Joey Carney, and Diego Rivera are new faces to keep an eye out for.
“We are looking forward to competing this fall and enjoying the opportunity to grow as people and players,” Barata said. “This is a unique situation for a very unique group of players and we are going to make the best of it and play the best soccer we can. These young men are fantastic and we are going to have a great time this season regardless of the on field results…but we hope to have a few of those too!”
2019 Record: 6-7-5 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Scott Nathan
The Eagles enter the 2020 campaign with a chip on their shoulder, coming up just one point shy of the state tournament a year ago. While Sharon can’t make up for that with a tournament appearance this year with the playoffs canceled due to COVID-19, the Eagles can certainly make some noise while challenging for the Davenport division title.
Sharon said goodbye to a handful of experienced veterans including Michael Baur, Brian Higgins, and Isaiah Stessman, but first-year head coach Scott Nathan has a group of proven players plus a bunch of news faces eager to make their mark. Senior captain Bryce Nathan and junior captain James Zhang will lead the way both on and off the pitch this year as the Eagles compete for the Davenport crown.
Bryce Nathan is one of the most versatile players in the league, playing anywhere from defense to striker during his tenure with the Eagles. Zhang, fresh off an impressive sophomore campaign, is very confident with the ball at his feet and does a nice job distributing from the center of the pitch. Sophomore Matthew Baur is back in goal after getting a varsity season under his belt. Rhys Davis and Brandon Mauricio highlight a list of returners defensively while Coby Jacobson, Samid Khandaker, Adam Landstein, Aaron Livshin, and Daniel Zagoren are all back with varsity experience as well.
The Eagles will focus on a sound defense first before transitioning into offense. Patience will be key this year as Sharon looks to make the most of each opportunity as they push forward. Brady Daylor, Malachi Diaz, Adam Eastman, Daniel Fishman, Amjad Kordab, Jack Landstein, Rohan Prakash, Elliot Pototsky Nicholas Rincon, Aaron Tamkin, Jeffrey Xiang, and Tony Yang are new to the varsity level and will be looking to make an impact on the pitch for the Eagles in 2020.
“The game will be different…for players, coaches, referees, and fans,” Scott Nathan said. “I am just happy for the boys that they have the opportunity to play the game they love!”
2019 Record: 3-13-2 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Grant
With a year of experience under coach Jon Grant, the Black Knights are aiming to have a bounce back year and compete with the top teams in the Davenport division.
There were plenty of bumps in the road during the 2019 season but Stoughton certainly showed some bright spots, including wins over Mansfield and Canton. Now the Black Knights will try to compete in each game and string some results together. Captain Nolan Gerome returns in goal for Stoughton and is among the best keepers in the league. Opposing head coaches have raved about saves Gerome has made over the past couple of seasons and he will be the anchor of the Black Knights’ defensive unit.
Playing in front of Gerome will be senior captain Ryan Sears and junior Owen Roddy, who both played valuable minutes last year. With a good amount of experience and skill in the back, Stoughton is hoping defense will be a cornerstone for the 2020 season. Grant is looking for Rhuan Carvalho to be a top playmaker for the Black Knights, distributing from the center of the pitch to create some offensive chances.
“Our goal for this year to improve on last season,” Grant said. “This year the players came in to the short season fairly well conditioned and with a great attitude. All the players are so grateful to have this opportunity to be back out on the field. This will definitely help us in this short season.”
2019 Record: 2-9-7 2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
It’s easy to look at Taunton’s record from a season ago and make assumptions, but upon further review, the Tigers were in just about every game they played. Five of the nine losses were decided by just one goal and the Tigers had a league-high seven draws; one goal either way and the Tigers were that close to a spot in the tournament. It goes to show how competitive the league was and how important each goal is.
With a strong nucleus of players back from last year’s squad, the playoffs wouldn’t have been such a far reach for Taunton this season. But with the postseason not in play, the Tigers will shift focus on being a darkhorse in the Kelley-Rex division title hunt. The new modifications will make it tough for all teams when it comes to defending, but it will also benefit something that Taunton has plenty of: speed. The Tigers plan on utilizing their pace on both ends of the pitch, getting behind the defense on one end while using their speed defensively to fend off opposing offenses.
Taunton will be strong up the middle with senior Travis Nunes back in the heart of the pitch and sophomore Riley Rebello back to anchor the defense. Senior Hunter Cabral will give the Tigers flexibility by playing in both the midfield and up front. Head coach Taylor Whitters is looking for sophomores Joseph Renquinha Jr., Aidden Fitting, Quincy Jones-Sylvia, Jonathan Trinh, and Nathan Keenan to all be in the mix this season.
“Despite everything that has occurred in recent months, we have one of the most versatile and technically sound teams that Taunton High School Boys Soccer has seen in a long time,” Whitters said. “This group of young men have the number one factor in the success of any team: chemistry. They have the willingness to play for the team, not for themselves. I feel with their talents, abilities, and desire to work together as a unit, we will be a team to watch in our division this season.”
Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Attleboro scored three first half goals, adding a fourth in the final 15 minutes that proved to be the game-winner. The Bombardiers opened the scoring just minutes in when junior Jackson Singer found space inside the 18-yard box for a one-timer. Taunton answered 10 minutes later as junior Hunter Cabral finished one a breakaway to bring the score level. Attleboro jumped back in front in the 16th minute when Liam Bischoff was fouled inside the area and senior Josh Smith calmly buried a penalty kick. Just before the break, Attleboro scored on a free kick. With the Tigers setting up their wall, Hugo Henriquez deposited his free kick into the open far post to make it 3-1. The Tigers, which played the entire second half down a man, got within one with a great combination goal. Kevin Monteiro won a challenge, Cabral played Alec Nunes wide, and Nunes delivered a hard, low cross to Travis Nunes, who made a strong run to the near post for a one-timer. Freshman Esvin Morales delivered what would be the game-winner in the 66th minute, firing a rocket from distance that snuck under the bar and in for a 4-2 lead. Travis Nunes grabbed his second of the game in the 72nd minute with a strong individual effort inside the area.
North Attleboro, 3 @ Canton, 1 – Final
Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final
Franklin, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Franklin scored once in each half, including a late insurance goal, to pick up an impressive win on the road at Oliver Ames. “It was a very good game for us, we finally played for the full 80 minutes,” said Franklin head coach Fran Bositis. Sophomore Terry O’Neill finished off a free kick from Sam Stowell to put the visitors up in the 11th minute. Ben Moccia sealed the win with a goal in the 74th minute, assisted by Donny Tappin.
King Philip, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Mansfield scored inside the first 10 minutes of each half to earn its third straight win, keeping its postseason hopes alive. Freshman Aiden Steele put the Hornets ahead, finishing off a pass from Tony Salisbury after a throw from Cam Eddy. Salisbury, the Hornets’ starting keeper, got the nod up top alongside fellow keeper Sean Moody. Eddy’s throw led to the Hornets’ second goal, this time with Colin Caridi finishing off the throw in the 48th minute. Cam Bovey shined in net with the shutout while Sam Clayman had a stellar game at center back. “All of the seniors played awesome tonight,” said Mansfield goal Steve Sheridan.
Milford, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – After a scoreless first half, Milford found the back of the net three times to secure two points on the road. Dan Santos netted his fifth goal of the season, finishing a corner kick from Pedro Araujo to open the scoring. Araujo doubled the lead off a terrific set up from Jordan Borges. Leo Coelho made it 3-0 by scoring on a penalty kick, drawn by Gabe Alvarenga. Carlos Terrinha had a strong game in the midfield for the Hawks while Chris Tocci played well defensively.
Taunton, 0 @ Attleboro, 4 – Final – Attleboro scored three times in the second half to win on senior night and keep its playoff hopes alive. Ashley Macia stopped a breakaway early in the game to keep it scoreless and it took 34 minutes before Attleboro was able to make a breakthrough. Jessica Gates opened the scoring on an assist from Emily Khang. Six minutes after the break, Briley Harnois made it 2-0 and then Isabella Salviati (from Ashley Dame) got the third. Jolie Casali finished the scoring on an assist by Emily Dunlea. Attleboro coach Steve Santos said, “Proud of the effort from all of our seniors!”
Canton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Elisa Diletizia scored twice (her fourth and fifth goals in the last two games) and Olivia Rodman added one for the Bulldogs, who clinched a spot in the tournament with the win. The game was tied 1-1 at halftime before the Bulldogs scored twice in the second half to get the victory. Steph McKenna had the North goal, assisted by Ari Rice. Kyla Rodrigues, Lily Adams, and Siobahn Weir all played well as North chased the game in the second half and Melissa McDermott and Alex Moulson had late chances go just wide for the Rocketeers.
Foxboro, 5 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Foxboro scored a pair of early second half goals and went on to finish with four goals after halftime to pick up two points on the road. Katelyn Mollica (assist), Kendra Wentling (assist), Grace Ferguson, Lizzy Davis (assist), and Caroline Rongione each scored for the Warriors in the win.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Sydney St. Marie broke a scoreless deadlock seven minutes into the second half and the goal held up as the game-winner for the Panthers. Carly Alston assisted on the opening goal and then sealed the game with a goal of her own 10 minutes later, assisted by Chloe Barca. Breanna Atwood made seven saves to earn the clean sheet, while OA goalie Emma O’Donnell made eight saves in the loss. Leah Johnson and Emma Pereira and Olivia Carroll had strong games for OA.
Mansfield, 0 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip found the back of the net three times in the second half to pull away from the visiting Hornets. Avery Snead scored 10 minutes into the game on an assist from Chloe Layne but that would be the only goal of the first half as the Warriors took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Snead grabbed her second of the game in the 45th minute, taking a ball over the top from Grace Lawler before blasting a shot into the top corner. Chloe Layne (from Lawler) made it 3-0 with a goal in the 63rd minute, and Makenzie Shandley added another six minutes later, finishing off a pass from Paulina Baczkowski.
Stoughton, 1 @ Milford, 7 – Final – Milford’s Ashleigh Starks exploded for four goals to lead the Scarlet Hawks to a win, the hosts qualifying for the state tournament with the two points. Juliana France, Brianna Guerreiro, and Brianna Franzini each scored once in the win while Maddie Boyle had four assists.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final
Game of the Week – Football
Mansfield, 15 @ King Philip, 13 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 33-yard pass to Danny Rapoza, Michael DeBolt XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Crawford Cantave 1-yard rush, XP blocked.
4th Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 20-yard rush, Nick Marciano 2pt rush; (KP) Robert Jarest 16-yard pass to Alex Behling, Dylan Conti XP good.
Attleboro, 21 @ Taunton, 3 – Final
Foxboro, 20 @ Canton, 26 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 33-yard pass to Gersom Rivera, Owen Lehane XP good; (F) Shayne Kerrigan 46-yard pass to Ryan Hughes, Tyler James XP good; (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) O. Lehane 24-yard field goal; (F) S. Kerrigan 11-yard rush, T. James XP good; (C) O. Lehane 32-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, 2-point conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (F) S. Kerrigan 6-yard rush, XP blocked.
Attleboro, 1 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Attleboro and Sharon traded first half goals, splitting the two points in a draw on Friday night. Attleboro freshman Esvin Morales put the visitors ahead off an assist from Joey Soucy, putting the Bombardiers ahead in the 7th minute. But four minutes later, Sharon senior Brian Higgins brought the hosts level on an assist from James Zhang.
Franklin, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin netted a pair of first half goals, added an insurance strike in the second, and posted a shutout on the road at Foxboro. Junior Ethan Cain opened the scoring on an assist from senior Sam Stowell while sophomore Terry O’Neill put the Panthers up 2-0, converting a feed from senior Donny Tappin. Senior Jacob Cummings made it 3-0 with Cain grabbing the assist.
King Philip, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Senior Owen Teixeira scored the lone goal of the game with just over three minutes left to help KP grab two points on the road. Teixeira took a pass from junior Anthony Zappala and rifled a shot from 25 yards out to put the Warriors ahead.
Foxboro, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – The Panthers hit on a counterattack nine minutes into the game, Sydney St. Marie heading in a cross by Chloe Barca, to hand Foxboro its first defeat of the season. The Warriors pressured throughout the game, but the Panthers defense was excellent, according to head coach Tom Geysen, to keep Foxboro off the board. Anna Balkus had the job of marking Foxboro forward Jordyn Collins and she was helped in the first half by freshman Norah Anderson, who got across on the cover to clear away a chance with a sliding tackle. Breanna Atwood made 12 saves in goal to earn the clean sheet.
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip got off to a strong start, netting four first half goals to earn a win at home over North Attleboro. Ally Stanton scored in the 4th minute off a feed from Makayla Griffin, and again in the 15th minute, converting a cross from Ava Tormey. Avery Snead (22nd minute) and Chloe Layne (26th minute) set one another up for goals. Snead added a strike in the second half in the 46th minute with Stanton getting the assist.
Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Maria Sevastos and Abby Jean scored for the Hornets, while goalies Olivia Salisbury and Kelsey Hubler combined for three saves and the shutout. Stoughton goalie Brianna Buckley had a strong game in goal for the Black Knights.
Milford, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – After trading first half goals, Oliver Ames found the game-winner in the second half to earn two points against the Hawks at home. Senior Abby Hodges put the Tigers up in the first half while sophomore Camryn O’Connor scored the game-winner, finishing off a corner from senior Erin Holmberg.
Stoughton, 2 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final – Haley Nelson and Morgan Lessa each scored to lead the Black Knights to a win at home over visiting Brockton.
Canton, 3 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 0 – Final – Canton earned a regular season sweep of NDA, winning 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 27-25) at home. Taylor Harris had a standout performance, hitting 0.487 while putting down 22 kills along with 11 digs. Claire Quinn added eight kills and 13 digs while Jackie Morrissey dished out 27 assists while recording three kills and nine digs for the Bulldogs.
Mansfield, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames avenged its season-opening loss to the Boxers with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) sweep at home. Sarah Morley had a strong game with 10 digs and five aces, Allie Kemp added 25 assists, and Alison Barth added 27 digs. Caroline Flynn and Jordan Bosse paced the offense with 10 kills apiece.
Mansfield, 152 @ Attleboro, 169 – Final – Mansfield picked up a win over Attleboro at Stone-E-Lea, clinching the Kelley-Rex division title outright. Ryan Dow was the match medalist with a low round of 35 while Ava Haggis, Brian See, and Joseph Gormley each shot 39 in the win.
Franklin, 170 @ Foxboro, 173 – Final – Franklin’s Jack Paterson was the match medalist, shooting a team-low round of 40 to pace the Panthers to a close win over Foxboro. Pat Dolan added a 41, Brian Sandham shot a 43, and Jake Blaney chipped in with a 46. Foxboro’s Matt Fossella (three pars) sank a birdie, finishing with a 41. Dylan Quinn (five pars) added a 43, Noah Hicks shot 44, and Jack Rounds finished with a 45 for the Warriors.
Franklin, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Senior Donny Tappin, junior Charlie Amante, and junior Sam George all had multiple points as Franklin earned a big win on the road at Stoughton. Tappin and Amante each scored once and had an assist while George registered two helpers in the win. Ben Moccia, Terry O’Neill, Jeff Yelle, Trevor O’Neill and Tyler Powderly also scored for the Panthers while Ethan Cain had an assist in the win.
Attleboro, 3 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Attleboro senior Anna Beck completed her second half hat trick by scoring the go-ahead goal with five minutes left to complete the Bombardiers’ comeback. North Attleboro led 2-0 at halftime but Beck scored three straight goals to give the visitors a win.
King Philip, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. – Canton freshman Ellie Bohane scored a pair of second half goals to lead the Bulldogs to a win over visiting King Philip. Meg Aldrich also had a second half tally for the Bulldogs. KP goalie Makenzie Manning made 12 saves while Molly Piller had a strong showing defensively for the Warriors.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final
Franklin, 9 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Franklin’s Amanda Lewandowski scored four first half goals to pace the Panthers to a big win on the road. Lewandowski scored in the 6th minute (from Kate O’Rourke), the 16th minute (from Olivia Rondeau), the 25th minute (unassisted) and in the 28th minute (from Rondeau) to give the Panthers a 4-1 lead at the break. Hanna Richardson added two second half goals for the Panthers. Haley Nelson scored an unassisted goal in the first half for Stoughton.
Taunton, 5 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Alana Tavares scored a pair of goals to lead the Tigers to a win on the road at Sharon. Kennedy Thielker, Braeley MacDonald, and Kylie Thorpe also scored in the win for Taunton while Kat Robinson and Ashley Amaro also played well in the win.
Mansfield @ Milford, 3:45
Attleboro, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro defended home court with a clean 3-0 (25-15, 25-10, 26-24) sweep of their rivals of Attleboro High. Haley Gaskin dished out 20 assists in the win with Kylie Melanson (nine kills) and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu (eight kills) paced the offense. Lauren Antonetti shined on the service line with six aces to clinch the second set.
King Philip, 3 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this match. – King Philip rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the final two sets, earning a 3-2 (25-21, 16-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-12) win over Canton. Catherine Waldeck (12 kills, five blocks), Nicole Coughlan (eight kills, two blocks) and Paige Kannally (six blocks) had strong games at the net for the Warriors while Emma Brooks added six aces, three kills, and 13 digs and Kylie Sullivan had five aces and a pair of kills in the win. Taylor Harris paced the Bulldogs with 19 kills, 12 digs, and a pair of aces, and Jackie Morrissey dished out 15 assists and had five aces. Canton coach Pat Cawley said sophomore Taylor Reynolds (12 assists, ace) did a great job filling in for an injury.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames went on the road and picked up a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-13) win over Foxboro. Senior Jordyn Vella had five kills and three blocks in a strong outing for the Tigers while Jordan Bosse added nine kills and six aces. Senior Allie Kemp dished out 23 assists and classmate Alison Barth notched 21 digs. For Foxboro, Grace Boudreau had 10 kills and 10 digs while Kelsey Treweek added 11 digs.
Canton, 165 @ Foxboro, 180 – Final – Canton’s Chris Lavoie fired a match medalist round of 39 to lead the Bulldogs to a key division win on the road. Conor Hunter added a 40 while Will Gefteas, Mike Leonetti, and Nate MacDonald all shot a 43 in the win. Foxboro’s Noah Hicks had a team-low round of 43 while Matt Lathrop added a 45.
King Philip, 166 @ Franklin, 152 – Final – Franklin’s Pat Dolan shot an even par round of 35 to help the Panthers secure a key win over division rival King Philip. Jack Paterson shot a 38, Jake Blaney added a 39, and Quinten Faro carded a round of 40 for Franklin. King Philip’s Jack Hastry led the Warriors with a 40 while Kayla Schuberth and Nate Ihley each finished with a 42.
Milford, 174 @ Attleboro, 159 – Final
Oliver Ames, 158 @ North Attleboro, 160 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Tate Hadges birded on the third and fifth holes to help the Tigers grab a two-stroke win over the Rocketeers. Hadges finished with a 37 on the day. North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend shared medalist honors, also shooting a 37.
Taunton, 193 @ Mansfield, 154 – Final – Mansfield juniors Nate Morreale and Brian See shared medalist honors, each shooting a 38, to pace the Hornets past visiting Taunton. Ava Haggis and Ryan Dow also played well, finishing at 39.
Canton, 0 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Stoughton grabbed its first league win of the season with a 3-0 decision over visiting Canton. Ryan Reis had a goal and an assist for Stoughton while Mateo Eschleman and Ted Lucas each scored once. Nolan Gerome made six saves to earn the shutout in goal.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Milford’s Joao Pedro Da Silva scored in the final seconds of the game to help the Hawks earn a tie against visiting Foxboro. The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the first half when Dylan Barreira headed in a corner kick from Will Morrison. Leo Coelho knotted the score with an early goal in the second half but Joey Cusack finished off a quick give-and-go with Barreira to put the visitors back ahead. Da Silva headed in a corner kick in the final seconds to make it 2-2.
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – It was a tale of two halves between the visiting Hornets and hosts Panthers on Monday evening. Franklin controlled the first half and scored the lone goal of the game as sophomore Terry O’Neill finished off a corner from senior Donny Tappin in the 10th minute. The Hornets had a strong second half but couldn’t find the back of the net.
King Philip, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton took the lead in the first half but King Philip found the equalizer in the second half as the teams split the points. Alec Nunes put the hosts on the board in the 21st minute but King Philip’s Evan McEvoy (assisted by Tadhg Keller on a corner kick) scored in the 60th minute to bring the Warriors level. Taunton goalie Nolan Melo had a strong game in net for the Tigers.
Stoughton, 2 @ Canton, 7 – Final – Eliza Diletizia and Mia Gilmore each scored twice, as the Bulldogs’ offense exploded for a big division win. Gabby Herivaux, Jenna Parrella, and Lauren McCabe also scored for Canton. Stoughton freshman Shayla Ford scored twice with Samantha Tran and Mackenzie Manning recording assists.
Milford, 2 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Sara Sacco scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half. Katie Miller got the assist for the Hornets and Olivia Salisbury made five saves to record the shutout. Maria Sevastos, Erin Dooling, Anna Darlington, and Abby Oppenheim all played well in the Mansfield back line, as Franklin continued to pressure throughout the second half.
Taunton, 0 @ King Philip, 7 – Final – King Philip’s Makayla Griffin factored into three first half goals while the Warriors tacked on four more in the second half to beat visiting Taunton. Griffin assisted on goals from Chloe Layne (18′) and then Kiera Lindmark (28′) before scoring on a free kick from 25 yards out in the 34th minute. Layne (from Ally Stanton in the 56th minute), Stanton (from Lindmark in the 58th minute), Paulina Baczkowski (from Ella Pisani in the 70th minute), and Molly MacDonald (from Pisani in the 75th mintue) all had second half goals for KP.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Haley Gilman scored a pair of goals and Cassie Gennis added one goal and one assist, while goalie Kara Ostrander had to make a series of saves to give the Tigers a narrow win. Georgia Costello and Hannah Stryke also recorded assists, as OA jumped out to a 3-0 lead with lethal transitions. Attleboro had a lot of the pressure in the attacking half of the field and finally made the breakthrough with 14 minutes to play. Anna Beck smacked a shot through traffic and then a minute later her goal-bound shot was tapped in by Emelia Westwater to set up a frantic final 10 minutes.
Canton, 8 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Meg Aldrich scored a pair of goals in the win for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 6 @ Milford, 0 – Final
Mansfield, 2 @ Franklin, 7 – Final – Franklin raced out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and added four more in the second half to knock off visiting Mansfield. Hanna Richardson scored twice in the opening half and added one more in the second half to finish with a hat trick. Olivia Rondeau scored twice and had two assists for the Panthers, who scored twice in a two-minute span in the second half after the Hornets’ Gabby Devlin cut the deficit to 3-1 less than a minute into the second half. Freshman Kaitlyn Carney had three assists for Franklin, Neilee Hess made three saves in net, and Kendall Jones came up with two big defensive saves for the Panthers.
King Philip, 0 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – King Philip peppered the Tigers’ net with 19 shots but Taunton goalie Emily Gannon stood tall to earn a shutout and a point. Senior Sammy Robison, sophomore Christina Gifun, and sophomore Haley Izydorczak all had strong outings for the visiting Warriors. “She played amazing,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway on Gannon’s performance.
Sharon, 0 @ North Attleboro, 7 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this match. – Oliver Ames earned a 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-17) win on the road over Attleboro behind a strong defensive performance from junior Allie Zwerle, who had eight serve receptions and seven digs. Allie Kemp dished out 28 assists, Alison Barth notched 19 digs, and senior Ryley McNeeley added six kills and three aces.
Canton, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – The Bulldogs earned a win on the road in their first trip to the new Stoughton High School, with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-21) decision. Taylor Harris led Canton with 17 kills, five digs and two aces, Shannon Malloy had a good day in the middle with seven kills while Liz Bickett was strong at the net with three blocks, five kills, and great defense. Taylor Reynolds did well in her first start of the year, putting up 17 assists while Jackie Morrissey added 11 assists, four digs and two aces.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Foxboro rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set but Milford earned a win in the final game for a 3-2 win (25-17, 25-15, 20-25, 23-25, 15-6). Sara Addeche, Pam Nelson (four kills), and Kelsey Treweek each had 11 digs for Foxboro, Grace Fortune added 10 digs and two aces, Maddie O’Brien dished out 17 assists, Shannon McDonald registered five blocks, and Grace Boudreau paced the offense with 13 kills and two aces.
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin emerged with wins in tight first and third sets to pick up a 3-0 (23-25, 13-25, 23-25) win over the Hornets. For Mansfield, Julia Kelly had six kills and seven service points, Alina Nowakowski added five kills, and Olivia McGrath and Emily Dardinski each chipped in with four kills.
King Philip, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – King Philip went on the road and picked a 3-0 win (25-8, 25-13, 25-6) over the Tigers. Catherine Waldeck (11 kills) and Nicole Coughlan (nine kills, two aces) continued to pace the Warriors’ offense while Ali McNamara had a strong game with six kills for KP.
Sharon, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro defended home court with a clean sweep, taking a 3-0 (25-11, 25-3, 26-24) decision over the visiting Eagles. Brooke Street (six digs) had a 16-point service run in the second game that helped the Rocketeers earn a convincing win in the second set. Middle Eliza Dion had seven kills, outside hitter Kylie Melanson added five kills, and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu had a great defensive performance for North Attleboro.
Milford, 220 @ Stoughton, 228 – Final (5 cards) – The match was tied at 175 through four cards but the Hawks prevailed on the fifth card to split the season series with the Black Knights. Tyler Wetherbee and Wes Murdock each shot 43 to pace the Scarlet Hawks. Stoughton senior Max Huminik earned match medalist honors with a low-round of 41 while Jake Curtis (42) and Anthony Hearn (43) also scored for the Black Knights.
2018 Record: 5-10-3 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
The Bombardiers have put last year’s season in the rearview mirror and are aiming to get back to the state tournament in 2019.
Attleboro will rely on its eight returners from last year’s squad plus a good amount of new faces to try and make a push for the playoffs. Senior captains Mike Russo, Nathan LaPlume, and Josh Smith will provide leadership both on and off of the field for the Bombardiers. All three have a good amount of varsity experience with LaPlume and Smith tasked with anchoring the Bombardiers’ defensive unit. Both started a season ago so the defense should be a strength to start the season. Russo started in the midfield a year ago and will be in charge of leading that unit. Attleboro will have to fill the shoes left by leading scorer Will Halben (seven goals, five assists) but there is a strong group of forwards that includes Joey Soucy, Justin Lurssen, and Hugo Henriquez — all of whom have varsity experience — that is ready to pace the offense. Patrick Raczkowski and Kevin Raczkowski should give Attleboro help defensively, junior Jackson Singer bolted academy and should give the Bombardiers a boost in the midfield while junior Zackary Brown takes over in goal.
“I am looking to get some leadership and good play from my tri-captains and I’m hoping for a better season [than last year],” said longtime head coach Peter Pereira. “The team’s attitude has been great and we are working hard.”
2018 Record: 10-7-2 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Fran Bositis
Franklin was one of the hottest teams in the league over the second half of the season last year and the Panthers are hoping to carry that momentum into 2019.
When the calendar turned to October, the Panthers finished the regular season 7-1-1. Longtime head coach Fran Bositis has the pieces to continue that success to begin this year and contend for a league title. A strong suit for the 2019 squad will be the defensive unit, featuring returning keeper Jack Rudolph and center backs Sam Stowell and Jacob Cummings. Anytime a team returns two center backs and its keeper, especially a unit that allowed just three goals in its final nine regular seasons, it’s a big positive. Matt Szczepanowski and Trevor O’Neill, both seniors, will factor in defensively as well. Sophomore Terry O’Neill anchors the midfield from the center of the pitch after a successful freshman campaign while the addition of junior Ethan Cain should give Franklin one of the top midfielder duos, and sophomore Tyler Powderly will likely play in a variety of roles. The challenge for Franklin this season will be finding a consistent offense but there is experience up top with Donny Tappin and Lucas Moura back.
“I think we have the potential to be pretty good, but it all comes one game at a time,” Bositis said. “I think if we can score some goals consistently, we can be pretty dangerous this year.”
2018 Record: 4-12-2 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip begins a new chapter in program history as Mike O’Neill takes over after Nick Gale stepped down following a successful stint with the Warriors.
O’Neill will be looking to help the Warriors bounce back from a four-win season, the first time the squad missed the state tournament in over a decade. King Philip graduated nearly a dozen seniors from last year’s squad but have some key players back in key positions. Senior captain Brian McCarthy has a lot of varsity experience and O’Neill will lean on him to organize the midfield. Senior captains Wes Orzell and Matt Clarke anchor the back line and will be tasked with helping the Warriors keep possession by playing out of the back. Behind the defense, senior Grant Orzell and junior Aidan Lindmark are both strong options in goal. Juniors Evan McEvoy and Camron Lawrence both begin their third season on varsity and are poised to have big years at midfield.
“The team is eager to get started, the seniors want to make their mark after a tough season last year, and the juniors and sophomores are hungry to prove themselves,” O’Neill said. “We will need to stay organized and committed to team defending if we are going to be able to compete in the difficult Hockomock League.”
2018 Record: 13-3-5 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Steve Sheridan
The Hornets have won two division titles in the past four years and took second place in the other two seasons, so it’s safe to assume Mansfield will be in the mix once again this year.
In that span of success, Mansfield has been one of the best defensive teams year in and year out, average under a goal against in each of those seasons, including just 0.67 goals against in 2018. The big challenge this season will be replicating that stingy defense because the Hornets graduated their entire back four. The good news is that Mansfield has Anthony Salisbury back in net after he set the program record for shutouts while Cam Bovey serves as the backup keeper, though he is pushing for minutes this season. The strength of the 2019 squad will be in the midfield where senior captains Peter Oldow and Colin Caridi will be. Both have a good amount of varsity experience and will be joined by fellow returners Robbie Healey, Raffi Marzella, Tommy Lanzillo, Colin True, and Evan Eames. Sophomore Dylan Buchanan made a strong impression during his freshman season and will be joined up front by senior Owen Mullahy, who also picked up some valuable minutes a year ago.
“Our biggest question will be, ‘Who’s going to take over our defense that graduated?”, said head coach Steve Sheridan. “That is what I’m trying to figure out and hopefully it will iron itself out during the preseason.”
2018 Record: 8-4-5 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: John Barata
A lot of people learned last year what we already knew: Under head coach John Barata, Oliver Ames doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. The Tigers had to replace their entire starting lineup last season but still had a shot at the division title heading into the final week.
Oliver Ames has a healthy amount of returning players that either started or saw valuable minutes at the varsity level last year starting with seniors Jon Freeman and Matthew Nosalek, who will be key pieces along the back line for the Tigers. Senior Harry Ahearn is another experienced player that will factor in defensively, senior Josh LaBrosse could see time in the midfield or defense, and seniors Nick Farley and Andrew Hanna could get minutes up top. OA has a strong junior class that learned a lot during last season. Colin Milliken, last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year, will organize the Tigers from the midfield while Anthony DaCosta, Kevin Louhis, and Jimmy Keane are all strong attacking options. Drew Nickla will take over as the starting keeper this year.
“It is too early to tell what we will look like but I’m looking forward to a great season with the boys,” Barata said. “We are excited for the opportunity to compete this season in the Hock. There are lots of talented teams coming back, from the defending champions to the schools with new coaches ready to make a mark. It’s going to be one of the toughest seasons in my tenure and we hope to be competitive.”
2018 Record: 3-12-4 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
While the record might not reflect it, it felt like Taunton took a step in the right direction last year, and the Tigers are expecting to take another one this season.
One area of improvement that head coach Taylor Whitters is excited about is the defensive group. The Tigers had the most goals allowed in the Kelley-Rex division but have a reinforced back line ready to fend off the top offenses the Hockomock League has to offer. Senior Colton Medeiros, who had a terrific freshman year before missing time to academy and injury, will anchor the defense in the middle alongside freshman Riley Rebelo. Khalil Ba, a transfer in from Tolman, gives Taunton an outside back that can join in on the attack, while Nolan Melo returns as the starting keeper. Alec Nunes and Colby Fernandes are two dynamic, experienced players that can play both in the midfield or up front. Junior Travis Nunes returns from injury and classmate Hunter Cabral is a versatile player that will play in various roles.
“We have a lot of versatility this year, we’re going to be able to move guys around based on each game,” Whitters said. “No one is locked into a position, we’re going to take it game by game this season.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – In a game that featured hectic action in the midfield and few chances from open play, Franklin got a huge double save and a pair of goals from set pieces to beat King Philip 2-0 in the mist on Wednesday night at Pisini Field, earning the Panthers their first two points in the league this season.
“It was a good win,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis. “I have a tremendous respect for (KP coach) Nick Gale. I think his teams are always well-coached, they play hard, play good soccer, and it’s been a while since we beat KP (since Oct. 2015), so it was a really good win for us.”
Not surprisingly, the game started with the ball largely confined to the midfield area. It took nearly 15 minutes before either team would fashion a shot on goal and it was the Warriors who had the first good chance.
Senior Anthony Bozza dropped deep into the space in front of the Franklin back line and played an inch-perfect through ball to John Cullen. Franklin goalie Jack Rudolph was quick off his line to cut down the angle and was able to block Cullen’s first chipped shot and then also get a hand to keep out the rebound.
“Tony brought it from a wide area in and John made a nice backside run and we got him in,” said Gale. “Everybody says that the first goal probably changes the game, so John maybe could’ve changed the game if he had scored that.”
A minute later, KP had another go from the edge of the area with a low drive by junior Matthew Clarke, but Rudolph was able to get behind it and make the save.
Franklin took its time getting into the game but soon was closing down all over the pitch, compressing the space and not giving KP much time on the ball, particularly outside backs Kevin Flynn and Matt Szczepanowski. The pressure eventually paid dividends when the Panthers earned a corner with a half hour gone in the match.
Junior Donny Tappin played a cross into the center of the box and freshman defender Terry O’Neill nodded the ball down into the turf and over sprawling KP keeper Nick Beltramini. It was O’Neill’s second goal in as many games and he has already shown his worth on the defensive side too, forming a solid partnership with junior Sam Stowell.
“He definitely doesn’t play like a freshman,” said Bositis of O’Neill, who also scored Franklin’s goal in the loss to Milford last time out. “He’s just very steady.”
The Panthers added a second goal 12 minutes into the second half. A free kick from just inside the KP half by Stowell angled towards the edge of the box. Beltramini came a long way to get the ball, but senior Nick Barry rose highest and was able to get his head to the pass just before the keeper was able to punch. The brave flicked header doubled the Franklin lead, but Barry took a blow from the keeper in the process and was unable to return to the game.
“We’re going to have to be more disciplined giving up throws or set pieces deep in our own end,” Gale said about the defending on set pieces. “We’re going to have to do a better job recognizing where we are on the field and giving up fouls deeper in their end, not ours.”
Beltramini kept the Warriors in the game down the stretch as Lucas Moura tested him with a one-timer following a turnover and another free kick was headed down by Jacob Cummings into the path of Sam Molloy, who forced a diving save from the KP keeper.
The Warriors were struggling to create scoring opportunities for most of the second half. While the ball flowed through midfield, particularly through the feet of Zac White, the ball did not get to the forwards very often.
“I ask my guys to be courageous in trying to play our style and really dissect defensive structures,” Gale explained. “I really want them to see the game in a different way, but at the same time we find that we’re over-patient. Then you’re not really creating any chemistry up top, whether playing the ball in behind or into the strikers, so we struggled doing that for most of the game.”
KP did create a couple of chances late in the game to try and cut into the deficit. Sophomore Evan McEvoy fired a shot from long distance that drew a save from Rudoplph and then had another go from outside the box with two minutes to play, but it was also saved.
While content with the win, Bositis admitted that there is still a lot for the Panthers to work on. He said, “We’re still very much a work in progress, but I feel like everyone in the league feels the same way. We’ve missed a lot of practice time or its been cut short…because of the weather. We had a good game tonight.”
Franklin (2-1-0, 1-1-0) will travel to Canton on Friday night, while King Philip (1-2-0, 1-1-0) will be on the road to face Milford.