ORR sports teams prepare for fall season
As the fall sports season begins, Sippican Week had an opportunity to catch up with some of the Old Rochester Regional High School coaches to talk about their athletes, their teams and their expectations for the season. Here’s what we heard.
Coach Lauren O’Brien said the team is welcoming back eight seniors, but notes that the loss of the of starting goalkeeper to graduation leaves some “big shoes to fill.”
Lilah Gendreau will serve as the team’s captain, while Carly Drew and Molly Finnegan also got mentions as key players.
The team had a 10-4-3 record last year. This year, O’Brien said, “I do have high expectations of the girls. It should be a smooth transition, and we shouldn’t have many problems getting started.”
The coach added that she wanted to work on the junior varsity and freshman teams.
“I want to focus on our younger half of the program because that’s going to be our future,” she said, noting the need to “continue to work to blend all three teams.”
Field hockey’s first game will be Sept. 4 at Seekonk.
“We will know a lot more [what the season will look like] next week,” said Coach Bill Tilden as practices began. “We graduated a lot of kids and have a lot of kids coming in.”
Tilden said there is a lot of parity in the league right now, but that Old Rochester might be the dark horse because of all the new athletes.
“It’s pretty cool. We haven’t been in that position in a while,” he said.
Both boys and girls cross country teams will have their first meet Sept. 17.
Bryce Guilbeault held his first practice as head coach on Friday, Aug. 16. Guilbeault, previously an assistant coach for three years, said his first impression of this year’s team is that the players are hard workers who are willing to communicate and ask questions.
He said one of the team’s key strengths is the players’ experience, with about 15 seniors returning, and many of the players having participated in the local Pop Warner program when younger.
Guilbeault said that he would like to see improvements in ball security and getting more takeaways on defense.
“In high school football, you might only get about 10 possessions on offense in the game, so if you can protect the football, and take the football away on defense, you're giving yourself a great opportunity to have success,” he said.
Last year the ORR team made it to the Division 6 Super Bowl, ultimately losing to Stoneham High School. Guilbeault said that it’s great to look back on previous success, but that “last year does nothing for this season,” and that the team will have a fresh start in 2019.
Coach Chris Cabe said the key to success for his golf team is to have depth in its lineup. In high school golf, teams of eight players compete, with the top six scores counted toward the team’s final score. Cabe said that most teams have three to four top players, so if he can have five to six players who consistently perform well, his team would have an edge over the competition.
This year’s team is still relatively young with three captains graduating last year and five freshmen joining the team. The team is coed, but Cabe said just one girl tried out for the team this year
Cabe said the goal for the season is “getting the kids out there and continue gaining experience, and improving their game to build on the success the team has had in the past.”
Cabe has taken the ORR team to the state qualifying tournament 14 of his 15 years as coach. To do so, the team has to win at least half of their matches for the season.
When it comes to skills, Cabe places an emphasis on putting, and mid-distance shots to get close to the hole, especially on the “fast greens” of the team’s home course at the Bay Club.
Coach James Oliveira will lead a young team on the court this season with three freshmen, six sophomores, four juniors, and three seniors.
Last year the team graduated eight seniors and finished with a winning record of 14-8, losing in the second round of playoffs to nearby Apponequet.
“Other teams would say this is a rebuilding year for us, but our expectations are as high as last year, if not higher,” Oliveira said after seeing his athletes in their first few practice sessions.
He said that the team is a close-knit group, with some of the players playing other sports together. That closeness and ability to work as a team should prove to be a key strength this season, he said.
The volleyball team’s first match will be at home against Sturgis West Charter School on Sept. 3.