With Old Rochester coming off an extremely successful season that saw their overall athletics win-loss record place in the top 10 in all of Eastern Massachusetts, it’d be easy to expect a bit of a slide back to the norm.
With the fall sports year just past the halfway point, the Bulldogs are on pace to qualify for the postseason with every single one of its nine teams — golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, football, field hockey, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ cross country.
“I think we’re off to an even better start than last year,” Old Rochester Athletic Director Bill Tilden said. “I don’t track it specifically, but you usually have a feel that all of your programs are in the mix, and I think all of our teams are looking for the postseason.”
ORR had the best aggregate record of the 37 schools in The Boston Globe’s Ames Division 4 last year, and is ahead of last year’s fall pace of 55-44-11.
The girls’ volleyball and girls’ soccer teams have already qualified for the postseason, volleyball getting in on the strength of a 3-2 win over Apponequet. The 10-2-1 squad is led by Libby Mitchell, one of the best setters in the conference, along with outside hitters Natalia Wierzeicki and Ella Vercellone.
As for the soccer team, they won their last three games in dominant fashion, outscoring Diman, Seekonk, and Wareham by a combined score of 22-1.
A look at what’s happening at Old Rochester, Old Colony and Tabor:
Lights! Camera! Homecoming!
It’s Homecoming Week for Old Colony, and thanks to a donation of lights from a local company, there will be a rare sight — night games on campus. The girls’ soccer team played Tuesday night, the boys’ soccer team followed on Wednesday, and the football team plays Upper Cape Friday night at 7:00 pm under the portable lights in Rochester.
“It’s going to be a great week. We’re trying to blow it up a bit, really open the doors and let people see what Old Colony is all about,” Superintendent Aaron Polansky said.
“For us, playing under the lights at home, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said football coach Brandon Mendez.
The football team has been ruining home games for its opponents of late — of the Cougars’ four straight wins, three have come on the road.
The latest win came Friday night at Bristol-Plymouth, a thriller that the Cougars won in overtime, 22-14. The hero was Jarred Gagne, who scored the touchdown in OT to put them ahead then ended B-P’s hopes with an interception to seal the win.
It was a great weekend in Marion, as the school inducted a second class into its Athletic Hall of Fame and had the campus buzzing with lots of action.
Honored with induction into the Hall were: Chester Hill (Class of 1937), Edward Kakas II (1960), Conrad Deneault (1964), Jennifer Sherbrooke Palmer, Alison Brewer (1996), James Gowing, the 1971 hockey team and the 2004 girls soccer team.
The biggest highlight might have been from the legs of junior Aly Hussein, one of New England’s best scholastic runners; he broke his own course record with a 16:04 time for Tabor.
Riley Suh scored the only goal of the game in a girls’ soccer win, while Bill Zhang scored both goals in a boys’ soccer win. Annie Berry scored twice in a 2-1 field hockey win. The volleyball team also took home a nice win in five games over Thayer Academy.
Several Tabor alums are playing at top collegiate programs, but no one is on a better squad than Molly Bent (class of 2016), who is a sophomore playing for the UConn women’s basketball team. The team is already scrimmaging in advance of the November 1 season opener.
The season is only five games old, but the ORR football team has now been involved in two of the most entertaining games in recent memory.
In front of a full house Friday night, the Bulldogs lost a 36-33 thriller to visiting Somerset-Berkley, their first loss of the season. Combined with their season-opening win over Wareham, it’s added some drama to a year otherwise marked by blowouts.
Despite the loss, ORR will almost certainly be in the playoffs if it can beat Fairhaven this Friday night on the road.
“We shouldn’t have a problem getting in, I think we have a good shot,” Tilden said, noting that the loss to Somerset was a good test of the team’s resolve. “I think we’re a better team for it, gets us ready for competition — that was the first team I think matched up with us well depthwise, and it was very intense. I think both teams were running out of gas in the end.”
Somerset Berkley is in its first year in the South Coast Conference and has some strong programs — none moreso than the field hockey team, which regularly wins games by double digits and has some very strong girls AND boys playing (a quirk of the state’s rules).
In fact, when ORR lost to Somerset-Berkley 3-0, it was quite the moral victory for the 6-2-2 Bulldogs.
“We were the only team that tied them last year (0-0), and 3-0 was a good score for this year,” ORR coach Polly Lawrence said. “I have a very hard-working team, the kids are still sort of trying to get used to each other, they’re doing well.”
Lawrence spotlighted the play of Kaitlyn Kelly, Ali Hulsabosch, and leading scorer Arissa Francis, and was pleased with the efforts of sophomore starters Cece Prefontaine, Kate Marsden, and Lila Gendreau.
Both crosscountry teams were perfect heading into Tuesday’s tri-meet vs. Dighton-Rehoboth and Seekonk, led by Maddie Martin and Sam Ball on the girls’ side, Adam Sylvia and Evan Tilley for the boys’.
By Jonathan Comey