Fall II in Full Swing

            Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical football was the first high school team in the Tri-Town area to begin its Fall II slate of games, falling 30-16 in the Cougar Cup to Tri-County at New Bedford High School. The Cougars will next visit Bristol-Plymouth with kickoff set at noon on Saturday at Taunton High School.

            Old Rochester Regional football will also begin its season on Saturday at 4:00 pm hosting Dighton-Rehoboth at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech.

            Here’s a look at what’s going on with the other fall sports:

Old Rochester Regional Boys Soccer

            Like most other programs, ORR boys soccer is just happy being back on the field. However, that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs won’t compete like they typically do.

            “The second you get out there, everybody is playing to win,” ORR boys soccer coach Mike Devoll said. “We’re grateful to be out there, but I’ve got 23 competitors. They have not flipped the switch off to say, ‘Oh, I’m just happy to be here.’”

            Seniors George Barry, Charlie Hartley-Matteson, Evan O’Brien-Nichols, and Jayce Kouta are the Bulldogs’ captains this year. Fellow seniors Prosser Friedman and Elliot Gurney, as well as juniors Desi Finnotte, Brett Smith, and Carson Spencer, and sophomores Ryan Blanchette and Matt Carvalho are returning from last year’s team.

            The Bulldogs get started against Seekonk on Thursday, March 25, at 3:45 pm at home.

Old Rochester Regional Girls Soccer

            While other sports programs were off in the fall, ORR girls soccer players took part in the fall season of Mariner Youth Soccer in preparation for the MIAA’s Fall II season. The Bulldogs competed against other South Coast Conference schools, giving them a chance to assess their position in the conference.

            “The fall Mariner program was such a great asset to these girls,” ORR girls soccer coach Jeff Lombard said. “It allowed them to still compete in a season when the conference had decided against it for the fall.… It was so critical in beginning to lay the foundation for the team.”

            Senior captains Rachael Fantoni and Kennedy Serpa, senior classmates Novalye Arruda, Brianna Machado, Rachel Zutaut, Skylar Cardwell, Bess Wiggin, Raegan Rapoza, and juniors Maddie Wright and Mack Wilson are the names to look out for this season.

            The Bulldogs first visit Seekonk on Thursday at 5:30 pm.

Old Colony Boys Soccer

            The abbreviated preseason has impacted Old Colony as much as anyone as players look to get ready for their condensed campaign.

            “We typically have a number of weeks where we can prepare for the season, and this year we’ve had two weeks,” Old Colony boys soccer coach Sergio Pedroso said. “Even then, there’s a lot of barriers in place. In terms of running around with a mask, [it] complicates conditioning and [we are] having to factor in a lot more breaks. It’s been challenging, but we’re trying to make the best of it.”

            Junior Jaryd Dosanjos and sophomores Christian Johnson and Ryan Scott will play big roles for the Cougars again this season.

            After a Tuesday trip to Upper Cape to open the season, Old Colony kicks off its home slate of games with another meeting with the Rams on Thursday at 3:30 pm.

Old Colony Girls Soccer

            Like the boys team, Old Colony girls soccer has seen a dip in numbers this season. However, that has not affected the tone of practice in the early going. “Our seniors, especially, are through the roof that they get to have their last season,” Old Colony coach Tom Lee Martins said.

            Senior Briana Robillard is in her third year as captain and will share duties with fellow seniors Kaitlyn Pimental and Dani-Mae Sullivan. Junior Melanie Weed, sophomores Averie Oliveira, Brooke Jason, and freshman Breanna Arruda will also play core roles.

            Following their trip to Upper Cape on Tuesday, the Cougars will host the Rams on Thursday at 3:30 pm.

Old Colony volleyball

            The one new varsity coach in the Tri-Town area this season is Alyssa Watling, who got the job shortly after being one half of the first coed team to win the 2020 Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race. Watling makes the move from junior varsity head coach after seven years, handing those responsibilities off to Cheyenne Martinez (née Howard), who was a member of the 2009 New Bedford state champion volleyball team.

            “I’ve grown with these girls,” Watling said. “But to actually see them on the varsity court, it’s more competitive and less instructional. It gets real exciting.”

            Seniors Savanna Halle and Isabelle Darce are the Cougars’ co-captains this season. Fellow seniors Caidyn Thatcher, Nina Castillo, and Lauren Eldridge will play important roles, along with sophomore Samantha Tavares and freshman McKenna Benoit.

Old Rochester Regional Volleyball

            Some fall teams are set to play fewer than 10 games in the Fall II, but not ORR volleyball. In fact, they’ll face a pair of Division I programs.

            “We’re playing 13 games because we’re playing Durfee and Brockton; their conference already played, so they didn’t have anyone,” ORR coach Jimmy Oliveira said. “We’ve played Durfee maybe once in a jamboree a few years ago…. I played for New Bedford, so I think it’s pretty cool to play against them.”

            Seven of the Bulldogs’ eight starters are returners: seniors Kailee Rodrigues, Lexi vander Pol, Meg Horan, and Meaghan Dufresne, and juniors Mickenna Soucy, Sally Butler, and Maggie Brogioli.

            ORR volleyball opened the season on Tuesday against Somerset Berkley. After a Wednesday meeting with Durfee, the Bulldogs visit Seekonk on Friday.

Old Rochester Regional Field Hockey

            The biggest change for any fall high school sport this year has been field hockey, dropping from 11 players on the field for each team to seven on seven. The format is not entirely foreign to players, since indoor field hockey is played at 7v7, only that game is played on a much smaller field.

            “This is definitely a pivotal time for the girls, and they’re very resilient,” ORR coach Lauren O’Brien said. “They have a lot to overcome, on top of wearing the goggles, mouthguard, and masks. It’s a completely different game that they’re not necessarily accustomed to. We’re really re-teaching the game. Visually, spatially, endurance wise, it’s a completely different game, so we’ve been really working on making the ball do the work — sending the ball into space, lead passes, and really capitalizing on corners.”

            ORR’s senior captains this season are Paige Sommers, Carly Drew, and Maeve Geraghty. Senior Abbie Forcier and juniors Maggie Nailor and Emily Wheeler are expected to make significant contributions.

            The Bulldogs open by hosting Westport on Friday, March 26, at 3:30 pm.

Old Rochester Regional Golf

            Perhaps more so than any other program in the Tri-Town area, ORR golf is losing out on a 2021 without an MIAA tournament. “My team that I have right now is probably the strongest team that I would have ever had,” coach Chris Cabe said.

            Christian Noble Shriver, Andrew Coucci, and Davis Fox are ORR’s senior captains, and they’ll be working alongside junior Riley Farrell and a trio of sophomores, Markus Pierre, Philip le Gassick, and Alex Mardsen.

            The Bulldogs will visit Seekonk on Thursday, April 8, to open the season.

ORR Boys and Girls Track and Field

            Fall is normally cross-country season, and that was a Fall II option for schools, but so was indoor track. The Bulldogs opted for the latter. Though the meets will be held outdoors, event distances will remain the same as indoor track.

            Junior Jen Williams and seniors Emma Carroll, Jill Lang, and Teagan Shea will lead the girls team, while seniors David Reynolds, Curtis Briggi, Anthony Steele, Cole Denison, and juniors Leo Shiappa and Colby Gross will lead the boys.

Sports Roundup

By Nick Friar

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