After a year of so much frustration and letdown, the Old Rochester Regional High School athletic community bore witness to a season unlike any other for one senior student-athlete.
Meghan Horan’s final year with the Bulldogs began in the winter, with ORR opting for the Fall II season that the MIAA offered schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though there wasn’t a state tournament to compete this past winter season, Horan and the rest of ORR’s girls basketball team made the best of their situation. Even with a pause in the action due to quarantining, the Bulldogs won every regular-season game and the South Coast Conference tournament.
“She’s a leader, but she doesn’t have to yell. She’s very positive about things,” ORR girls basketball coach Rick Regan said about Horan. “Her teammates follow her and know that she has their best interests (at heart), and they’re willing to work hard for her, as well. It helps to have good talent around you, but it also helps if you can have the person that can lead that talent in the right direction. I think that’s one of Meg’s greatest characteristics – she’s a natural leader due to her work ethic and positivity.
“I think what was great about Meg was I was a new coach coming in for her – she had Coach (Bob) Hohne for three years in a row so she knew what to expect – she didn’t know what to expect from me. She took the initiative and sent an email to me just after I was appointed to let me know who she was and what she learned from the older girls and how she wanted to take that knowledge and help out the younger girls to be a good influence on them.”
When the Fall II season rolled around, Horan and her ORR volleyball teammates managed to replicate what girls basketball had done. They also went unbeaten in the regular season and won the SCC tournament.
“I think her accomplishments speak to who she is as a person, not only as a good student-athlete. We chose her as a captain for a reason,” ORR volleyball coach Jimmy Oliveira said of Horan. “She’s a true competitor. She’s a true leader. I think one of the biggest things is that she’s never selfish, and she always puts the team first. She sets the tone for the team and leads by example.
“Her graduating and moving onto college is definitely going to be felt on the team and a hard role to fill.”
Then came the spring, which reintroduced MIAA State Tournament play. Although the top-ranked ORR girls lacrosse team fell short in the Division 1 South Sectional tournament, losing 18-15 to No. 9 Scituate in the quarterfinals, ORR earned the No. 1 seed by going 10-0 in the regular season. That mark gave Horan a perfect record in regular season play for all sports in her senior year.
“Mike Devoll, the school principal, let me know she hadn’t lost a game all year. I think we were playing our last league game when he said, ‘Don’t ruin it – Horan hasn’t lost a conference game all year,’” ORR girl lacrosse coach Scott Tavares recalled. “She just leads by example is the best way I can put it. Obviously, she’s one of our better players, everybody knows that. But it’s her ability to lead that I think girls really gravitate to. She never takes a play off in practice. You know that every single day you’re going to get 100 percent effort from Meg. She doesn’t really have that many off days. She’s always on top of her game.
“I think a perfect example was we tried to practice early in the afternoon after school, and I could say, ‘Hey Meg, I’m going to be 10 minutes late to practice. Can you make sure the girls are going?’ I’m coming out to practice 10 minutes late and I see Meg leading a stretch. She keeps everyone accountable. As a coach, she’s like an extension of myself. And the girls in the program, when Meghan says to do something, it’s almost like an automatic.”
What does Horan make of the unfathomable accomplishment?
“This year is definitely one to remember,” she said. “With how it started, it was just a very weird year. One of the biggest things I’ll remember is how, through every season, we got through (the adversity) and were able to complete the season.”
But of course, Horan also thought of all the teammates she played alongside this year when reflecting on her accomplishment.
“Every team I played on, everyone put in 100-percent effort,” she said. “My teammates are what kept the record and kept us playing great. I wouldn’t have done it without them.”
Now Horan moves onto UMass Amherst where she will either try to walk onto the basketball or lacrosse team. If not, she will continue her athletic career at the club level while studying marketing at the university’s Isenberg School of Management.
“I think Meg is going to have a very bright future,” Oliveira said. “It’s definitely in her hands to do what she wants to do. She has all the qualities, she’s a great person. She demonstrated great maturity at the high school age already. I think she’s going to keep competing, keep leading – just in different ways.”
Old Rochester Boys Lacrosse
The third-seeded Bulldogs saw their 2021 run come to an end in the Division 2 South Sectional semifinals, losing 13-4 to No. 7 Scituate. Brendan McIntire, Ben Austin, Tyler Cardinal, and Brady Lee were the goal scorers in the loss. ORR finished the season 12-2 after going 2-1 in state tournament play.