Old Rochester Regional High School could have very easily decided against offering sports this winter after postponing fall sports to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s designated Fall II season set to begin in early March. But the Bulldogs found a way as a community to come together and give the seniors one last campaign that saw the girls basketball team go undefeated through the regular season, taking their impressive run all the way to a 41-35 victory in Tuesday night’s South Coast Conference tournament final against Dighton-Rehoboth.
Despite that success, the winter season was not without its challenges. Like the girls team, boys basketball had to quarantine for a period of time. ORR girls ice hockey also faced adversity after finding out they had faced a team with a player who then tested positive for COVID-19. But each ORR program worked its way through it all.
“My girls were safe, they did what they were supposed to,” ORR girls hockey head coach Ted Drew said. “They seemed to have a lot of fun, even though we didn’t win a game. We had to battle back for a couple of those ties and stuff. They worked hard all the time. I think they were just glad to be out and be able to play a sport finally.”
Among those just happy to be on the ice for the 0-3-4 Bulldogs was senior all-purpose captain Carly Drew, who led ORR in scoring with four goals and three assists in a condensed campaign that set the next stage for her career next winter at Anna Maria College.
“Carly handled everything well as a leader,” Ted Drew, Carly’s coach and uncle, said. “I think that helped out, too, that she was going to continue playing at Anna Maria College.”
While the constant concern over the virus was also an issue, there was also the matter of the truncated schedule. Coach Drew felt his defensively sound team was ready to turn a corner and post some wins, but what in other years would have been the midway point of the season turned out to be the end.
Steve Carvalho felt Old Rochester boys basketball (3-7) ran into a similar issue.
“The kids rolled with the punches,” ORR boys basketball’s head coach said. “I felt we were going to be a team in progress all year and developing. Part of the conversation we had at the beginning was, sometimes you develop midseason. This year, midseason was the end of the season. At the end of the day, there were some good experiences out there, and I think the kids handled it well.”
Boys ice hockey had a little more luck, finishing 3-3-1 on the year without facing any exposure to the virus that would lead to a team-wide quarantine. As the team took the opportunity to grow for next season and enjoy this season for what it was, goalie Thomas Galavotti emerged as a difference-maker — and someone the Bulldogs will lean on next year.
“He took huge strides in his development,” ORR head coach Zach Ledogar said. “He was the backbone of the team and took a good step forward as a leader. He totally transformed his game after [graduating] one of the best goaltenders in the state (Jake DeMoranville) last year.”
Hopefully, by next winter season, Galavotti and all other ORR winter athletes will have a much better chance to showcase their abilities.
Fall II sports: Football practice at ORR starts on March 3, and all other sports begin practice on March 8.
By Nick Friar