After an impressive 19-4-3 campaign in the 2016-2017 season, Tabor Academy girls’ hockey was faced with a change – moving into the Independent Schools League after going without a league affiliation for years.
Bringing new teams on the schedule might create a few problems for most teams, but not the Seawolves who are 7-1 heading into the New Year. Their only loss came at the hands of the Kent School in the second round of the Taft Tournament.
Even though Tabor coach Eric Long graduated off some significant players last year, Long still had quite a few players hanging around, including eight who are committed to Division I programs of which three – senior forward Olivia Finocchario, senior defense Jillian Fey and senior forward Kelly Browne – are committed to Boston College.
Browne really stands out, having earned a spot on the U18 USA woman’s national team. In fact, Browne is one of three Massachusetts natives on the U18 USA team.
“She’s a great kid, she works really hard and special that way,” Long said.
Having Browne and seven other players committed to top hockey programs makes life a bit easier for Long. He doesn’t have to play the job of motivator everyday. He just has to make sure his players always have the right plan of attack.
“The kids I have are so committed to it, and they work so hard to get to this point,” he said. “These kids I have in this program are so committed to fitness and so committed to hockey. They play other sports, they’re serious students, serious kids, they’re mature. I mean, they’re a dream to coach.”
Truth be told, Tabor needs to have a litany of top-notch players like that in order to compete.
Last season, their 19-4-3 record earned them the six-seed in last year’s Division 1 playoffs. A few more wins or a few more losses could have moved the Seawolves up three seeds or out of the playoffs completely, with the top 10 teams being fairly similar in talent, but only eight being able to earn a spot in the postseason. So when those teams meet during the regular season, neither Tabor nor the opposition can afford to give an inch.
“Those are games where I’m sending my eight Division 1 kids against someone else’s ten Division 1 kids,” Long said. “And then my last seven kids that are playing are all going to play Division 3 hockey and their last six kids are going to play Division 3 hockey. It’s like college hockey players against hockey players, and it’s really good.”
Tabor has several big games following the New Year, including the Williston Northampton School, Northampton Academy, Phillips Andover Academy (who Tabor beat in overtime at the Taft Tournament), and ISL conference opponent, the Nobles and Greenough School.
The Bulldogs girls’ basketball squad had a big win heading into the holiday break, winning 54-39 against Durfee – the only team to beat Old Rochester this year.
Freshman Cassidy Yeomans had a big night, draining six three-pointers, accounting for 18 of her 26 points in the win. She was the only Bulldog to finish in double figures in the point column, with Meg Horan coming close with eight points.
Old Rochester has won all four of its games since losing the season opener to Durfee, helping coach Bob Hohne inch even closer to his 600th win, now only three games away.
Old Rochester boys’ hockey won the first game of the Christmas Tournament held at Hetland in New Bedford, 5-2 over Taunton, but fell short against Bishop Stang in the Championship game, finishing on the wrong end of that 5-2 final.
Before the break, Old Colony boys’ basketball had a tough challenge outside the conference, taking on the Case Cardinals. The Cardinals would win the matchup 60-47 in what started out as a tight contest, but got away from Old Colony in the second half.
Jake Jason and Zach Soucy continue to be the team’s leading scorers this season, dropping 18 and 13 points respectively in the loss.
Hunter Soares had himself an impressive night scoring 11, creating his own offense thanks to his improved ball handling.
The Cougars are 1-2 this season – not quite off to the start they expected coming into the New Year.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar