Kickin’ it with Old Rochester Regional soccer teams
Spirits are high within the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Old Rochester Regional High School despite the two teams being on different footing.
Two of the ORR boys’ soccer team’s most recent matches have been high-scoring affairs.
The Bulldogs won 7-0 against Apponequet Regional High School and 8-2 over Cardinal Spellman High School.
With four senior captains—nine seniors total—leading the way, the Bulldogs improved since their season-opening 2-1 loss to Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. The team has not lost since, with two wins and two ties.
School Principal Michael Devoll coaches the team, which he has led for 14 seasons. He said the team’s experience means the players know what is expected of them, and it helped turn the momentum around after the loss.
“After 14 years, you don’t really remember the wins and losses,” Devoll said. “It’s more about being a member of a team and competing together.”
Devoll said the program’s two goals every season are to qualify for the state tournament and to have one of the best records in the South Coast Conference. ORR qualified for last year’s tournament as the seventh seed, beat Sandwich High School 2-0 in the round of 32, and lost to Medway High School in the round of 16.
Will Correia, Matt Carvalho, Liam Geraghty, and Ryan Blanchette are the Bulldogs’ captains. The team is still fine-tuning its strategies, according to Carvalho.
The boys’ soccer team tries to use its collective work ethic and athleticism to disrupt opponents. That strategy showed in the Bulldogs’ game against Cardinal Spellman in which Carvalho scored two goals early to kickstart the 10-goal match.
“We definitely have a group of guys that get along,” Geraghty said. “In school, we’re always hanging out with each other. We have team dinners, we’re always giving each other rides. The chemistry is definitely there, it’s just about putting it together and bringing it out on the field.”
ORR Girls Soccer Head Coach Jeff Lombard has coached the team for 23 years and teaches 8th-grade math at Freetown Lakeville Middle School.
Lombard said he has been “spoiled” with previous groups of student-athletes he has coached at ORR, and this team continues that trend because of how hard they work even when results do not go their way.
“We try to let them know that they’re role models in the school as much as on the fields,” Lombard said. “We want them to play the right way out here, take care of their schoolwork, and look out for the rest of their classmates.”
While some teams prioritize defending, the ORR girls’ team likes to pass the ball until the players find an opening. In practice, the team runs drills to improve passing, moving without the ball, team defending, scoring, and controlling the ball under pressure.
“We really work hard at trying to play like a team,” Lombard said. “Whatever happens, whether it was good or bad, is old news and we try to move on to the next thing.”
Nine seniors graduated last season, so the team is rebuilding and new faces are building chemistry with each other.
“It’s been a different start because we lost a lot of people,” said Emma Welter, senior captain, central defender and four-year varsity player. “I think our team is getting there.”
Lombard said the team’s freshmen and sophomores have taken on bigger roles than in years past.
The girls’ team has not won any of their six games, but there is a lot of soccer to be played with 14 matches left through the end of October. With a strong sophomore class that forms the team’s core and brings the players together, this team has a bright future.
“I enjoy coming out here every day after school and just playing with the girls,” Welter said.