Every year, sports teams must face a familiar problem: how to replace the valuable seniors lost to graduation. For the Old Rochester Regional soccer teams, the problem is bigger than ever this season.
The girls’ team, led by Coach Jeff Lombard, won the SCC championship title last year but lost nine seniors to graduation, including All-Eastern Mass players Mollie Beaulieu and Gabby Kondracki, along with Goalie Casey Magee. They boys’ team, led by Coach John Sullivan, lost a whopping 13 seniors, including Midfielders Nate Houston and Matt Teefy and key defenders Marc Gammell and Noah Filloramo.
They boys’ team will need to work hard to defend their second place finish in the SCC league from last year. Leading the efforts will be senior Forwards Teddy Costa and Max Houck. Junior Mikey Pruchnik will take over as Goalie, and juniors Robby Magee and Alden Truesdale should also help the Bulldogs to win games this fall.
The girls’ team, although weakened substantially by graduation, brings back key players in senior captains Hannah Walsh, Alison Francis, Hannah Bouvette, and Katelyn Cummings. Coach Lombard states that the probable opening day lineup for the Lady Bulldogs will include 5 sophomores and 1 freshman. Lombard also says that the team has a lot of potential, skill and speed, but that with a tough opening schedule, early success will be a key for the remaining part of the season.
The younger players will add to the team, but Lombard says that they also contribute to the team’s greatest obstacle: communication.
“So far, communication has been a challenge that has been put to the girls, and may be our biggest obstacle. With such a young group, many have been reluctant to take charge and be vocal,” said Lombard.
“Both teams are excited for the season,” said Athletic Director Bill Tilden. “They [the coaches] will be watching the younger players to see how they do on a varsity level.”
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams begin their SCC seasons on Wednesday, September 5 against Apponequet. The boys are away, while the girls will play at ORR. Both games begin at 3:30 pm.
By Michael Kassabian