Player of the Year - Marta Verspille, Franklin
Franklin junior midfielder Marta Vesprille has been named the inaugural 2013 HockomockSports.com Girls’ Lacrosse Player of the Year. Vesprille helped lead the Panthers to another Kelley-Rex division title and to the Division 1 South sectional semifinal.
Vesprille was solid in all aspects of the midfield role from defensive duties to creating goal scoring opportunities. She scored 37 goals and notched nine assists, but also contributed 54 draw controls, 22 ground balls, and forced 24 turnovers for the league champs.
First-year Franklin head coach Krisitin Igoe remarked, “Marta did everything for us and she truly embodies what it means to be a midfielder. She won draws, ground balls, marked up on the toughest attackers when playing defense and was one of our top scorers.
Igoe added, “She is a very hard-working player and will do anything for her team.”
Vesprille was also named a Hockomock League All-Star by the coaches, one of five Franklin players chosen.
Honorable Mentions: Kristi Kirshe, Franklin – Katie Notarengelo, Foxboro – Meg Lennon, Canton
Hock 5 First Team
Kristi Krishe, Defense, Franklin
Meg Lennon, Attack, Canton
Katie Notarengelo, Attack, Foxboro
Marybeth Sweeney, Attack, Foxboro
Marta Verspille, Midfield, Franklin
Hock 5 Second Team
Alicia Cuoco, Attack, King Philip
Steph Pisani, Midfield, Franklin
Maria Platsidakis, Goalie, Mansfield
Emma Noel, Attack, Sharon
Meagan Schumauder, Attack, Franklin
Underclassman of the Year - Marybeth Sweeney, Foxboro
Sophomore Marybeth Sweeney has been named the 2013 HockomockSports.com Girls Lacrosse Underclassman of the Year. The goal-scorer burst onto the scene this year as the Warriors jumped out to 9-0 start.
The sophomore finished with a league-high 75 points, notching 51 goals and recording 24 assists.
Sweeney was voted as a Hockomock League All Stars by the coaches in the league, one of three Warriors to be selected.
Honorable Mention: Megan Bosse, Oliver Ames - Olivia Overdahl, Milford
Coach of the Year - Kristin Igoe, Franklin
Franklin head coach Kristin Igoe has been named the inaugural 2013 Girls’ Lacrosse Coach of the Year. The first-year coach led the Panthers to another Hockomock League title as Franklin dominated the Kelley-Rex division and went unbeaten (11-0) in the league and finished 18-3 overall.
In addition to helping continue Franklin’s control of the Hockomock, Igoe imparted her experience as a former Framingham High and Boston College, and current U.S. National Team, midfielder to raise the team’s profile around the state. The Panthers became a threat to some of the best teams in the area, highlighted by a 5-3 upset of powerhouse Needham.
Igoe will be heading with Team USA to Canada this summer to compete in the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.
Honorable Mention: Brittany Sherry, Foxboro - Chris Murtagh, Canton
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
ALLSTON, Mass. – Foxboro High junior Luc Valenza was named a second team All-American by the Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Coaches Association. The defender, who is already verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts, was also honored with an invitation to the inaugural BostonLax.net All-American Game on Monday night at Harvard Stadium.
The event featured most of the All-Americans from across the state, including players from state champions Xaverian, Longmeadow, and Dover-Sherborn. Valenza, a member of the Davenport division runners-up was the lone Hockomock League player to be chosen for the prestigious event.
“It means a lot, coming out here and playing with all these guys knowing that I’m representing the Hock and everything that they’re about, especially Foxboro,” said Valenza at the conclusion of the game.
He added, “It’s just a blast being out here representing my town.”
In addition to highlighting talented lacrosse players from across the state, the event was also a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project and the One Fund Boston. Valenza’s Wounded Warrior team was victorious 13-12 over the Boston Strong team.
Valenza, who did not play in the first quarter but was on the field at the end of the game, nearly scored a goal only to be denied by Reading’s Matt Comerford. The Foxboro star drew positive reviews after the game and was thrilled to be on the field with and considered among the best players in Massachusetts.
He remarked, “It was just a blast playing in this high-level game and running up and down the field with these guys.”
The players drew inspiration from a representative of the Wounded Warrior Project who spoke with the players in the locker room prior to the game, which was delayed for more than an hour by lightning in the area. The project assists servicemen and women that were severely injured in the line of duty.
“What we heard from the Wounded Warrior, the man that went through it all, that was real inspirational to us. And especially the One Fund Boston, that was huge knowing that it happened in our own city and just giving back to the community fells great,” said Valenza.
With Canton taking the league title and inflicting the Warriors first loss in the series since 2007, Valenza is excited to get back on the field and reclaim the league title that Foxboro has perennially been favorites for. The Warriors battled adversity all season (the team was forced to forfeit three wins after fielding an ineligible player) and he credited the team’s spirit for staying focused.
“You know, we fought through it,” said Valenza. “Forfeiting those games…that did hurt us, but we bounced back like we always do and we fought in the playoffs.”
The All-American Game started, like most all-star games do, with both teams tentative and trying to feel out how hard they should be playing. By the fourth quarter, the sticks were being swung noticeably harder and the ground ball battles were much fiercer as the competitive juices kicked in and the teams wanted to win.
The Wounded Warriors took the bragging rights but not before Boston Strong hit the post one more time in the final minute. Duxbury junior goalie Nick Marrocco was given the MVP award. But truly, the winners were the fans that showed up to cheer on the players and to support the worthy causes.
Monday night was also a showcase for one of the Hockomock League’s top lacrosse talents and Luc Valenza proved that he belongs on the same field with the best players in the state.
2013 Division I MIAA Softball Champions (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
WORCESTER, Mass. – There aren’t many high school athletes who can say they had a perfect ending to their career.
But Shannon Smith – the state’s all time leading strikeout leader – finished her illustrious high school journey by striking out the side in the top of the seventh to win the Division I State Championship for the second straight year, this time a 1-0 decision over Agawam.
“Winning one is great, and winning two is better,” said Smith. “But finishing my high school career with a state championship win that’s probably the best possible situation you could have.”
The Scarlet Hawks tacked on the games’ lone run in the bottom of the sixth with a little bit of déjà vu from last year. Freshman Jill Powers ripped a double into left center field that scored sophomore Allie Piergustavo from first. In last year’s final, it was then-freshman Taylor LeBrun that provided the walk off hit.
“Freshman magic again,” said Milford head coach Brain Macchi.
Powers was previously 0-2 in the game with a line out to right and a fly out to the shortstop. But in the sixth inning, it was an adjustment that made all the difference, something that impressed Smith.
“She made an adjustment in that at-bat,” Smith said. “She was way ahead every bat before that and that at-bat she stayed back. It was amazing that she was able to adjust midgame and that fact that she’s a freshman is even better.”
Piergustavo walked with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and on the first pitch Powers saw, she sent it into left center field.
“I wasn’t thinking about what point in the game,” said Powers. “I was just thinking about getting the job done and that’s what happened.”
Smith finished with 13 strikeouts in the game and an all-time best 1,216 career strikeouts. She allowed just three runs this season and only one of them earned.
“It’s been an outstanding career,” said Macchi. “To watch her work day in and day out for these four years. She wanted to cap it off with a win today. It just cements her legacy in Milford High athletics and in the game of softball in this state. She’s been an outstanding student-athlete to coach and it’s been an absolute honor to watch her play.”
Alongside Smith, Milford graduates four other seniors – Caroline Fairbanks, Lauren Hanna, Rachel Levine, and Lizzie Stallone – all members of the starting line up and all players who made three state finals appearances and two state championship wins.
“It’s a very special class,” said Macchi. “You have five seniors that have contributed in some way, shape, or form since their freshman year. You don’t see that too often when a program has five seniors that have been apart of it for four years and have really been apart of it for four years. I told them they had a chance to leave a lasting impression and they did that today. They had a mission at the beginning of the season and mission accomplished today.”
Here is today's Hockomock playoff game, the last of the 2012-2013 season.
Follow @Josh_Perry10, @R_Lanigan, and @HockomockSports on Twitter for updates.
Softball - Division I State Final
#1 Milford, 1 vs. #4 Agawam, 0 - Final - Milford repeats as state champions.
Canton senior attack Pat Ward was selected the Hockomock League's MVP. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Milford softball and volleyball are the only two Hockomock teams left. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
Here are today's Hockomock playoff games.
Softball - Division 1 State Semifinals
#2 Milford, 3 vs. #4 Central Catholic, 0 - Final - Shannon Smith tossed a complete game two-hitter, striking out 17. Rachel Levine was 2-3 with a double and an RBI and Caroline Fairbanks added an RBI single.
Volleyball - State Finals
#1 Milford, 1 vs. #1 Agawam, 3 - Final - Milford finishes second in the state finals.
2013 D1 South champions. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
Here are today's Hockomock playoff games.
Baseball - D2 South Sectional Final - Campanelli Stadium
#6 Stoughton, 4 vs. #4 Hingham, 7 - Final - Stoughton is eliminated from the playoffs.
Softball - D1 South Sectional Final - Jack Tripp Field (Taunton)
#2 Milford, 7 vs. #1 Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 - Final - Milford wins the Division 1 South Sectional Championship.
Milford's Shannon Smith - who broke the state strikeout record this season - was named Hockomock League MVP. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Shannon Smith struck out 11 batters on Thursday night. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – Senior Shannon Smith took care of business in both halves of the first inning and her teammates chipped in at the plate in the third and fourth innings as Milford rolled to a 6-0 win over Franklin in the D1 South Sectional Semifinals.
Smith struck out the side in the top half of the first on just 12 pitches and with two-outs in the bottom half of the first, Smith lined a home run over the left field fence for the first run of the game.
After scoring a lone run in their nine-inning nail biter with King Philip, a hot start was key.
“We talked about wanting to win that first inning just to really set the tone for the game,” said Milford head coach Brian Macchi. “Just to get it in the first inning – albeit a homerun – it makes it that much more dramatic.”
The Scarlet Hawks tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the third after Smith singled in first baseman Sam Bonvino from second. In the next at-bat, third baseman Caroline Fairbanks doubled in courtesy runner Sarah Jaques from first. Fairbanks scored on the next at-at from a double from Rachel Levine – about 30 minutes after Fairbanks swing due to an issue with the rubber in the pitcher’s circle.
The offense was a welcome sight for Milford as the previous meeting between the two teams was a one-run game with the only tally coming on a passed ball.
“I think at that point of the season we were in a little bit of a lull, struggling a little bit at the plate as a team,” said Macchi of the first meeting. “The practice we had yesterday we really focused on staying aggressive, having good at-bats, realizing they’re going to make outs and you just got to bounce back and be ready next time.”
Milford picked up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, as freshman shortstop – who walked – and Lizzie Stallone – who reached on an error – came around to score.
Smith picked up the win, tossing a complete game with 11 strikeouts and gave up just two infield singles. She was 2-3 at the plate with a homerun, two RBIs and a run scored.
“Shannon was the story on the mound and the story at the plate getting it done for us,” said Macchi. “She’s a huge piece to our success and once again came up big for us.”
After making the switch from the Central, the Scarlet Hawks have knocked off two Hockomock foes, and Milford will now play either top-seeded Bridgewater-Raynham or fourth-seeded Silver Lake in the D1 South Sectional Finals.
“I told the girls all season long it was going to be a one tough challenge coming into this South bracket,” said Macchi. “We feel fortunate to be where we are and it’s been hard-earned we’re looking to a big challenge on Sunday.”
Here are today's Hockomock playoff games.
#2 Milford, 6 vs. #11 Franklin, 0 - Final - Franklin is eliminated from the playoffs.
#4 Canton, 8 @ #1 Cohasset, 14 - Final - Canton is eliminated from the playoffs.
#2 Sharon, 1 vs. #3 Duxbury, 4 - Final - Sharon is eliminated from the playoffs.
#1 North Attleboro, 2 vs. #4 Wellesley, 3 - Final - North Attleboro is eliminated from the playoffs
#1 Foxboro, 2 vs. #4 Hingham, 3 - Final - Foxboro is eliminated from the playoffs.