‘Feels like a family reunion’: Old Rochester hosts ninth alumni soccer game
MATTAPOISETT — For nine years Old Rochester Regional High School has hosted an alumni versus student soccer game the day after Thanksgiving — and the alumni have won every single time.
But on Friday, Nov. 24 it was a very close game. The teams were tied 2-2 after four 15-minute quarters. The Old Rochester Regional High School varsity soccer team carried a two-point lead for most of the game before the alumni tied things up in the final quarter.
When the timer ticked down to zero the teams went into a 10-minute “golden goal” period where the first team to score would win. Neither team gave up any ground. The score remained 2-2.
Then it was best-of-five penalty kicks. Still nothing. Both teams were evenly matched. Finally, the teams alternated making penalty kicks and Old Rochester soccer alumni Brett Walker made a goal.
“That [win] was by the skin of our teeth. We should have had it a lot smoother,” said Walker, who was an Old Rochester soccer captain along with fellow alum Hunter Parker in 2016.
According to Walker, he and Parker send out texts to “rally some of the troops” every year for the alumni game.
The prize was bragging rights and a wooden turkey. But according to Old Rochester Regional High School principal and varsity soccer coach Mike Devoll, this annual tradition is about more than winning.
“It feels like a family reunion each year,” said Devoll. “You get to see [former players] on the other side of things. I think they appreciate coming back and being here and we appreciate hearing what they’re doing [and] how successful they are.”
Matt Modracek, who graduated from Old Rochester in 2022 and is studying biochemistry at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, said that coming back “is really nice” because he gets “to see all the guys I played with [during] my years here.”
And it was one big reunion.
“You can see them all slapping fives and hugging each other,” said Old Rochester Regional High School Assistant Soccer Coach Mike Paolella.
“It’s good to see all of them,” said Devoll. “We love them.”