Quick Start Decisive for Mansfield at North

Mansfield boys lacrosse
Billy Grant (11) scored a hat trick for Mansfield in an 8-5 win against North Attleboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Hornets got off to a great start against Kelley-Rex rival North Attleboro in a non-league meeting on Friday afternoon. Behind two of Bill Grant’s three goals, Mansfield took a 4-0 lead in the first half and that turned out to be the difference.

The Rocketeers closed the gap with a fourth quarter rally but in the end the early deficit proved to be too much and Mansfield held on for an 8-5 victory.

“That was the really difference that our guys popped out to,” said Mansfield coach Tim Frias, “and, you know, North is a great team, they’re well-coached and you see them work hard after every ball, so nothing’s safe.”

North Attleboro coach Kevin Young, whose young team only has three seniors in the starting lineup, admitted that the lack of intensity at the start hurt on Friday.

He said, “That class last year was nice and strong, carried the load, so these guys have to step up and learn and they are. The second half was good…made a push at the end.

“We just have to get confident, start working together, and not make JV kid mistakes.”

Grant opened the scoring inside the opening minute off a feed from Connor Finerty. The score would stay the same for nearly seven minutes before Grant won a ground ball and then fed it to Ryan Smith, who had his first shot saved by Danny MacDonald but batted in the rebound.

Sam O’Connell made it 3-0 for the Hornets before the end of the first quarter off a great pass from Jon Reed from the ‘X.’ The Mansfield passing moved the North defense around and got MacDonald to chase out of his crease for a second to allow space in front for O’Connell.

“That’s the philosophy we’re working on on offense,” said Frias. “The faster you move the ball, the more opportunities you’ll get, especially with a lot of guys that can shoot. Move it around and you’ll get open and they’re getting it.”

North had a few chances in the first quarter. Sean Powers made three of his seven saves in the half and the Rocketeers hit the post twice, including a chance for Zack McGowan that smacked off the bar from close range. One shot by Owen Costello slipped past Powers but the muddy field held the ball just short of the line and the goalie was able to cover in time to prevent the goal.

Grant tacked on his second goal of the game on a man-up three minutes into the second quarter, but North was finally able to get on the board on its own EMO when freshman Nick Ward fired a shot inside the post.

In the second half, Finerty restored the four-goal lead on an assist by Hunter Ferreira, as the senior cut through the middle of the North defense. On a turnover, Ferreira got his first to make it 6-1 and it looked like Mansfield could run away with the game.

But, North had an answer. Costello beat his man to the middle and despite heavy contact was able to get a shot away and beat Powers. Shortly after, Colin Young beat the Mansfield defense in transition after a strong clear and made it 6-3.

Frias laughed when asked if the muddy field affected his team, which is used to playing on turf. He said, “It slows you down and they take advantage of it on some of their clears. It was brilliant how they had great clears and we almost lost it based off of that and make it into a race.”

The North defense started to clamp down after the break and limited the chances for the Hornets and was aided by MacDonald, who made five of his nine saves in the second half.

“We have Danny in net this year, last year he was on attack,” explained Young. “That’s his position and I expect him to go far. He’s kind of a young kid too but he stepped up and made some huge saves. He’s been outstanding for us.”

The defense could only hold out so long, as Grant beat his close defender with a head fake to the back of the cage and then a spin move into the middle before depositing his shot to MacDonald’s left to complete his hat trick.

“That always helps,” said Frias of getting a hat trick from Grant. “Between him, Hunter, and Connor you figure we’re going to get one out of one of those guys.”

Smith fed Reed for his second goal of the game to make it 8-3, but North did not give up and managed to cut into the lead with a pair of quick transitions in the final minute.

McGowan beat his defender and then finished just under the bar and then Collin Young tacked on his second on a man-up in the final 30 seconds to cut the lead to three.

“That sense of urgency has to come all game,” said Young, “it can’t come just because we need a goal with a minute left. I think they’ll mature. The kids I have now will grow into people as strong as the teams we graduated.”

Frias admitted he was starting “down the path” to being nervous as North scored two quick goals, but he was proud of his team’s strong start to the season.

“That’s a credit to these seniors,” he said. “They’ve played on some very good teams, we’ve just had a hard time grinding it out. They’ve lived it so now they’re grinding it and they’re coming together.”

Mansfield (4-1) will face Hanover on Tuesday, while North Attleboro (2-2) will travel to Taunton.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/15/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Attleboro, 0 @ Taunton, 1 – Final (8 inn.)

Foxboro, 7 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Aaron Wentling picked up the win on the mound for the Warriors with four innings of work and Darren Kelly got the save in relief. Wentling and AJ Cavossa each added a pair of hits and two RBI at the plate while sophomore Chad Bearce had a two-out two-RBI hit for the Warriors.

Franklin, 6 @ Mansfield, 14 – Final – Sophomore Tyler Dalton struck out five in five innings of work to earn his first career win. Mansfield’s offense exploded with Kevin Dow and Mike Arnold each going 3-4 with three runs scored, Jake Tryder going 2-3 with two RBI and Tyrone Pascual went 2-3 with an RBI for the Hornets.

King Philip, 6 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – King Philip took a 3-0 lead in the top half of the first inning but had to battle back after the Rocketeers combined for five runs in the first and second innings. Will Weir had a three run home run that scored Stephan MacMeans (single) and Ben Furfari (walk). The Warriors then tied the game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Weir reached after being hit by a pitch and advanced on a single from Jon Rolfe. Both runners advanced on a double steal and Jack DiCenso followed it up with a two-run hit. Ryan Coulter scored the go-ahead run in the sixth after doubling, moving to second on a Ryan Guenette single and coming home on a wild pitch. DiCenso got the win for KP, coming on in relief and tossing 5.2 shutout innings while striking out seven. North Attleboro’s Brian Kleczkowski was 2-4 with an RBI.

Stoughton, 9 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Jack Connelly went 2-4 with a run scored and two RBI and Doug Seaman was 2-4 with two runs and an RBI and to lead the Black Knights’ offense. Justin Hutchinson got the win on the mound for Stoughton, going five innings allowing just one earned run on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Barry Cooke pitched two no-hit innings in relief.

Softball
Taunton, 13 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Courtney Fisher didn’t allow a run in six innings of work, walking just a pair and allowing two hits while striking out seven to get the win. Jordan Wade went 3-4 with a double and three RBI to lead the Tigers’ offense. Liana Duarte went 3-4 with an RBI and a stolen base, Meghan Navarro was 2-3 with a double and an RBI and Jaime Brown was 2-4 with a double and a triple and a run batted in.

Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 14 – Final – Emily Piergustavo and Jess Tomaso each drove in three runs to pace the Scarlet Hawks’ offense. Piergustavo went 3-3 with a double and three runs scored while Tomaso was 3-4 with a home run, a pair of doubles and two runs scored. Maggie Farrell added two hits, including a triple, two RBI and two runs scored while Shannon Cormier had a double and a run scored. Ali Atherton struck out nine in six innings of work, allowing three hits and a pair of runs to get the win.

Franklin, 2 @ Mansfield, 7 – Final – Freshman Mady Bendanillo had a career day, connecting on a pair of home runs to lead the Hornets. Bendanillo hit a solo home run in the first inning and then connected for her first career grand slam in the second inning. The tandem of pitcher Maddie Letendre and catcher Bri Homer limited the Panthers at the plate. Letendre struck out six in a complete game while Homer played great behind the plate according to head coach Lori Letendre. Maddie Letendre helped her cause at the plate, going 2-3, while Megan Letendre, Kara Bendanillo, Rachel Carafa, Homer and Liz Mackin all had hits. For Franklin, Ally Shea went 2-4 with a run scored, Clara DeCarvalho was 2-4 and Alyssa Dasilva had a pair of RBIs in the top of the seventh.

North Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 11 – Final – Kali Magane went the distance for the Warriors, allowing only three hits and one earned run while striking out 13 and walking none for the win. Offensively, KP had 12 hits with Christa Wagner and Haley McCasland paving the way. Wagner scored three runs while McCasland knocked in three runs. For North Attleboro, Mycala Moody had a double and scored two runs while Liz Morehouse added a single and an RBI.

Sharon, 0 @ Stoughton, 4 – Final – Shannon Flaherty struck out 11 in a complete game shutout, allowing just four hits and issuing just two walks to get the win. Karly Estremera had three singles and scored a run for the Black Knights while Brianna Ferrandiz knocked in a pair of runs for Stoughton.

Boys Lacrosse
Foxboro, 9 vs. Barnstable, 5 – Final

Franklin, 7 @ Cohasset, 8 – Final – Senior Austin Kent and sophomore Eric Civetti both scored a hat trick and registered an assist for the Panthers. Head coach Lou Verrochi said Sophomore Connor O’Rourke was superb in goal with nine saves.

King Philip, 6 vs. Bishop Feehan, 8 – Final – Sam Agricola scored five goals for the Warriors and assisted on the sixth but King Philip couldn’t overcome Feehan. Freshman Colin DeVellis scored his first career goal for King Philip.

Mansfield, 8 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – Billy Grant scored a hat trick to lead the Hornets, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first half. Jon Reed added a pair of goals and Ryan Smith and Hunter Ferreira each had one. North was led by Colin Young and Zack McGowan each with two goals, while Nick Ward added one.

Oliver Ames, 10 @ Milford, 4 – Final – Senior Matt Gilson notched a hat trick in the game, putting him at 104 career points.

Sharon, 7 @ Norwell, 15 – Final

Taunton, 4 @ New Bedford, 5 – Final – Freshman Griffin Speicher led Taunton with a pair of goals while Andrew Wellington and Josh Grasso each scored once. Josh Grasso, Nick Croft, Mike Perrotta and Cam Welby each recorded assists. Ryan Williams made seven saves in net for the Tigers.

Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro, 14 vs. Hingham, 7 – Final

North Attleboro, 20 @ Mansfield, 7 – Final – Hana Caster was the top scorer for the Rocketeers with seven goals.

Milford, 8 @ Oliver Ames, 22 – Final – Erin Fitzgerald found the back of the net four times, adding a pair of assists to lead OA. Sam Lang scored four goals and also added an assist in the win. Ariana Waldorf made 17 saves and head coach Craig Gardner said Waldorf was “stellar” in net. Kendall Clifford (three goals, three assists), Sofia Masciarelli (three goals, one assist) and Abby Duvall (three goals) helped contribute to Milford’s offense.

Taunton, 5 vs. New Bedford, 8 – Final

Boys Tennis
Attleboro, 2 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Wins at first and third singles as well as first doubles led the Tigers to a win. Freshman Brett Beaulieu won 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 at first singles and Mike Briggs won 6-2, 6-2 at second singles. The team of Connor Briggs and Charlie Fiske won 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles to secure the win. Attleboro’s Tyler Letendre won 7-6, 6-4 at second singles and Khaled Hantash and Ahijah Joseph won 6-2, 6-3 at second doubles.

Foxboro, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final

Mansfield, 1 @ Franklin, 4 – Final – Franklin won at second and third singles as well as first and second doubles to get the win. Junior Eli Brooks won 6-0, 6-3 at second singles and Tom Mancini won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles. James Johnston and Cam Piana won 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles and the team of Jeremy Gran and Dan Barrow won 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles.

King Philip, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – FinalMitchell Dyer battled through a second set loss to pick up a 6-3, 5-7, 16-14 win in a super tiebreaker for the Rocketeers at first singles. Junior Jake Webster won 6-2, 6-3 at third singles while seniors Jeff Yao and Nick Lockavitch won 7-5, 6-1 at first doubles and Jake Fontes and Daniel Zhang won 6-2, 6-2 at second doubles.

Stoughton, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final

Girls Tennis
Taunton @ Attleboro, 3:45
Milford, 0 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final
North Attleboro @ King Philip, 3:30
Sharon, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Oliver Ames vs. Randolph, 4:00

Boys Volleyball
Milford, 0 vs. Framingham, 3 – Final
Taunton, 0 @ Durfee, 3 – Final

Boys Outdoor Track
Attleboro @ Franklin 3:45

Girls Outdoor Track
Attleboro @ Franklin 3:45