ATTLEBORO — Bishop Feehan High girls’ soccer coach Phil Silva expects nothing less than a championship season from the Shamrocks.
After all, Bishop Feehan is the defending Catholic Central League champion — in its second year as a member of the conference no less — having beaten Bishop Fenwick on penalty kicks in last season's title bout. That is, the defending 2019 MIAA Division 1 state champion as well.
“We have the potential to be a very good team, but the difference is that we have to have balanced scoring,” Silva said.
The Shamrocks are without all-time leading scorer Francesca Yanchuk, who graduated, but can boast of a pair of high-octane attackers in senior Kaitryn Franchino and sophomore midfielder Kileigh Gorman.
The Shamrocks also have a very good set of midfielders in senior captain Grace Robison, juniors Sydney Kofton and Bri Marrero, along with impressive freshman Brooke Kennedy.
Feehan added Seekonk High’s best player from last season, sophomore forward Madison Eddy, while returning versatile and dependable seniors Ava Detorie and Liz McCormick up top.
The Shamrocks have a very special and dependable defender in senior captain Annie Pearl.
Senior Amelia Hohos returns in goal with the Norko sisters, lacrosse stars Betsy and Kristy, ready for duty. Similarly set is the defense with junior holding midfielder Gabriella Gjoni, seniors Grace Burke and Gabby Ricci.
“This is a very well-rounded team,” Silva said of having many moving piece to attack and defend. “We have some talented players up front. There’s a lot to like, but we still have to play hard for 80 minutes. A lot of our opponents will be giving us their best shot.”
The main question for the Bombardiers is, where will the scoring come from? The Bombardiers graduated a class of four-year varsity players and attackers and now need senior Emily Khang, junior midfielder Emily Dunlea and sophomore Beth Alves to provide the transition and offensive spark.
“There’s talent and skill out there for sure,” Attleboro coach Steve Santos said. “We have to be able to play to our strengths and not have too many breakdowns. If we do, we could be a good team.”
Junior Alexis Campbell returns in goal from the club that posted a 5-5-5 fall record. The Bombardiers had a small margin for success with 16 goals scored and 15 goals allowed.
Senior Olivia Calderone and junior Ella Stromfors head the returning defensive cast. Seniors Allison Rebelo, Zoe Kiff-Johnson and Angel Duran lend good midfield depth.
Alves can be employed in various midfield and attacking roles. Up top, junior Kacey Parker and sophomore Jamie Davies have demonstrated solid skill sets.
First and foremost, the Warriors will be a Davenport Division championship contender if only due to the presence of senior striker and reigning Hockomock League MVP Kailee McCabe. Aggressive, forceful in the midfield and attacking zone, McCabe scored a Hockomock-leading 11 goals during the abbreviated 7-2-2- fall season.
Coach Katie Stalcup graduated some 10 seniors, “but I like where we’re at, we’re playing well as a team,” she said. “We still have a long way to go to be where we want to be.”
Staclup has high expectations for a number of players who will influence the season, versatile senior Jordan Carman, who can play every position on the field, senior Brooke Barreira, junior Lauren Miley and multi-talented, three-sport sophomore Erin Foley.
At the moment, senior Maddie Maher and sophomore Alexis Sougaris are sharing the goaltending duties. The Warrior back line is being re-built, though Stalcup has a pair of cornerstones in seniors Kylie O'Keefe and Meghan Burke, sophomore Lindsey Resnick and Sophia Auclair
Coach Kevin Smith was impressed that a largely inexperienced band of Hornets were still able to win six matches and tie three during the fall season. Now, those nine starters, including four seniors, have their focus on winning the Kelley-Rex Division title.
“But we’re still young too, we have six sophomores and three freshmen,” Smith said of developing depth and building chemistry.
Mansfield boasts one of the best playmakers and scorers in the Hockomock League in senior midfielder and four-year starter Katie Miller.
“We’ve done a good job of both moving the ball and controlling the ball,” Smith said, always putting a premium on ball possession.
The Hornets allowed just nine goals in 13 outings last season and the core of that defense returns with junior Olivia Salisbury in goal. Seniors Taylor Doherty and Anna Darlington are paired on the back line with two impressive young sophomores, Bridget Hanley and Kara Santos.
Junior Bridget Hanley at midfield along with senior Tarynn Smith and sophomore Carly Devine have demonstrated a flair to attack.
Without question, the Warriors boast one of the most dynamic and lethal attackers in the Hockomock League In junior Ella Pisani. She is comfortable on the attack, in transition and challenging for possession of the ball at midfield.
“I like the way that we’re taking shape,” coach Gary Pichel said.
The Warriors are coming off of a 7-5-2 fall campaign. Reducing the number of goals allowed (16 in 14 matches last season) will be imperative.
KP has a formidable, energetic and athletic back line in freshmen Addisyn Lamothe-Vaughn and Mikayla Thompson with athletic junior Grace Lawler and senior Brooke Mullins.
The Warriors have a terrific senior midfielder in senior Paulina Baczkowski paired with senior Morgan Norman, sophomore Alyssa Legre and freshman Dani Lamuscio. Junior Lauren Casper gets the nod in goal.
“This is a really hard-working group,” Pichel emphasized. “We like to be a team that is hard to play against, so we have to do our due diligence on defense and hope we can score enough goals.”
The Rocketeers are hanging their hats on a reliable and stable defense, such that the Big Red averaged less than a goal allowed per match during a 5-5-3 abbreviated fall season.
“We’re solid on the back line,” North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace said of junior Maddie Ferrin on the goal line with seniors Charlotte Moynihan, Meaghan Dowd and Summer Doherty on the defensive back wall with junior Haley Sinacola.
Wallace has a certifiable playmaker in senior midfielder Stephanie McKenna, the catalyst for the offense and junior midfielder Emma Pratt, each of whom delivered five goals.
“That’s always been our calling card, making it hard for opponents to move the ball and score,” Wallace said. “We graduated a lot (15 seniors), but we have 11 veterans out there.”
North is looking for its midfield to maintain ball possession and create more scoring chances, that cast consisting of juniors Lily Adams, Caroline Ferrin, Brooke Sullivan along with seniors Brayden Rice and Autumn Hewitt.
Lancers coach Meaghan Elliott believes that her club is in the upper echelon of the Tri-Valley League.
“We’re really solid in a lot of positions and we have experience,” Elliott said
Back is sophomore goalie Kaylin Hebert while at the other end, juniors Lily Newll, Cam Doyle and freshman Anna Hickey have teamed well to provide scoring punch.
Norton has a veteran cast of backs in seniors Caroline Turcotte, Abby Robichaud and Makenzie Dennett along with junior Erin Lennon and sophomore Jordan Raneri.
“It’s a very competitive league, so we’re going to have to score some goals,” Elliott said. “I’m expecting good things.”
Falcons' coach Trish Madsen can put one of the most staunch defense and dangerous offense in the South Coast Conference on the field.
The Falcons boast of the best goalkeeper in the SCC in senior three-sport star Eliana Raposo, who pitched D-R to the MIAA Division 2 Softball Tournament title game.
The back line returns en masse with Madsen sure to get all-star performances out of senior Caroline Reed and junior Ella Damon. Senior Taylor Jones and junior Sarah Ranley have both experience and talent.
D-R boasts one of the best strikers in the SCC in Carleigh Hall and one of the best midfielders in Caitlin Morgado. With them in the attacking half of the field will be Julia Tavares, Lexi Menezes and Lily Nees.
“We’re a bit low in numbers, so we have to be concerned about our depth and injuries,” Madsen said. “But the back line is strong and we have a lot of very good athletes.”
New head coach Joe Dutra has not been surprised with the competitive spirit of the Warriors, the level of talent and the expectations that the team has for itself.
Junior Lauren Calabro returns in goal and in front of her will be senior defenders Ava Gardner and Jazlyn Monteiro.
The Warriors’ point of attack will be senior striker Lauren Couitt, while junior midfielder Morgan Silvestre has an unmistakable field presence. Senior Emily Chen has a nose for the ball on the front line.
“We have to figure out the best positions for each of the girls and the best combinations of players to have on the field,” Dutra said. “I think we’re going to be very competitive.”
Cougars' coach Mark Chauvin was more than happy with the nearly three dozen candidates for the team, even more impressed with the returning talent -- a junior goalkeeper in Isabella Gulley and junior striker Nicole Kennedy who are strong at the back and front ends.
Seniors Sarah Backas, Isabella Rivera and Isabella Rivera are paired with junior Brenna Kelly on the defensive back line in front of Gulley. Senior Kim Escobar and junior Hannah Clarke are key transitional players in the midfield with Gabby Degham and Alexis Hubert.