Best Sports Moments of 2010
From tourney berths to championships—and how about those Pop Warner Patriots and AAU baseball stars?
Hello sports fans! Get out the hot chocolate and ear muffs as we kick off the winter season and say so long to fall with a salute to some of the best moments in Brookline sports during the first semester.
'So much relief' for boys soccer
First, let's set the scene in boys soccer, where No. 13 Brookline delivered the knock-out punch on No. 5 host Lincoln-Sudbury with a thrilling 1-0 win on penalty kicks in the Division 1 North quarterfinals on Nov. 10.
"So much relief," Brookline goalie Matt Hillman said after he outlasted L-S keeper Eric Steinbrook, 2-1, in the penalty kick round. "The past two years we've lost in this round. Just a relief."
After 40 minutes of regulation and two exhausting overtime frames, it was obvious both Warrior squads had given everything they had. Neither team had allowed the other a goal.
"It was a defensive battle mostly," Brookline head coach Jeff Katz said. "We are a much more tackle-oriented team, and they are tough as nails."
"It's probably the most entertaining high school game I've been involved with," L-S head coach David Hosford said. "Teams giving it their all. Kids cramping up all over the place. This was their third game in four days and our second game in three days with double overtime. Both groups just fought as hard as they could."
Brookline went on to defeat Somerville, before falling to Newton North in the Division 1 North final.
Girls Volleyball Players Take Matches to the Max
We go to girls volleyball, and they say the most difficult thing in sports is to get that last win to clinch a playoff spot or win a championship.
In that light, the Brookline High girls volleyball team's grueling 3-2 win (23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-13) over visiting Weymouth on Oct. 25 will be one to savor for a long, long time.
The Warriors rallied from a 2-0 deficit in games to steal the Bay State Conference match, and in so doing, qualified for the state tourney.
Every game except one went the maximum number of points scored by both teams without going over the regulation limit. And the one that didn't missed by just a point—that's how close it was.
"Every time there's a fifth game, it's not a matter of who wants it, because both teams always want it. It's about mental toughness," Brookline head coach Mike Frank said. "And every time you win a [match] like this, it proves you're tough enough to do it."
From Bats to Irons
Now we go to the links, and up until last summer the only swinging that James Wronoski did was with a baseball bat on the diamond playing the game that he loved. At the suggestion of a few friends he decided to pick up a set of irons and learn the game of golf.
The choice was a wise one.
Wronoski claimed the Div. 1 state individual championship at Longmeadow Country Club with an even-par 70, his first tournament victory of his short career. Just recently, Wronoski was named to the Boston Globe All-Scholastic team.
The Brookline High sophomore offers a casual explanation for his decision to play golf.
"The first time I actually played I just kind of said that everyone at one point in his or her life plays a round of golf," he said. "I kind of wanted to see what it was all about."
Runners Take Championship Title
In boys cross country, the Warriors won the Division 1 All-State championship, continuing their tradition of being a strong presence in the MIAA. Junior standout Chernet Sisay led the Warriors to the victory, and was just recently named to the Boston Globe All-Scholastic team.
Scott's Long Run Gives Football Its Only Win
To the gridiron we go, and freshman Nick Scott ran for 228 yards in Brookline's only varsity football win of the campaign, a 33-16 victory over Dedham.
Prior to Bay State Conference tilt, the Warriors had yet to put a complete game together, but had shown both improvement and potential at various points during their 0-7 start. Good to see the efforts of the young Warriors finally rewarded.
Pint-sized footballers take home four perfect seasons
Meanwhile, in youth sports, folks, how about our rags-to-riches Pop Warner Patriots? The Brookline-Jamaica Plain teams seem to be following in the footsteps of the real Patriots, who were once at the bottom of the NFL heap before rising to the top. Both "franchises" are now thriving.
The youth Patriots completed their march to an unprecedented program-wide undefeated regular season. That's four teams who did not lose a game.
Tom who? (Just kidding).
But, seriously, just five years ago the kid Patriots were routinely routed by opponents at all levels and struggled to win two games. Under the guidance of League President Dr. Darel Moss and Director of Football Ian Cotterel, the Pop Warner Pats have turned the program around.
"The program is successful because kids want to play for us," Cotterel said. "The coaches are fair, the environment is safe, and the atmosphere is positive for kids to learn the game. Even our instructional levels (D Silver and E) were awesome, and that is because we have great people involved top to bottom."
The Patriots sent a team at every level to the the Eastern Mass. playoffs to contend for a chance to play in Disney World for a national championship. A couple of those squads advanced to the higher rounds, before bowing out.
Strong Finish For Young Ball Players
Finally, the surging Brookline Amateur Athletic Union baseball program wrapped up the fall season in a nine-inning battle with Nacional Baseball of Jamaica Plain/Roslindale at Amory Field. The Knights led, 2-0, after one inning, and held on for a 3-3 tie.
Brookline got terrific pitching from Gharett Broderick, Jonas Webler and Jack Levine, and sparkling defense from Jesse Huggins, Marcus Ross, Patrick Webler, Alex Robbles and Andres Hoffman.
The Brookline program featured players from grades 6, 7, and 8, as the Knights battled with teams from Canton, Lowell, Lawrence and Boston.
The Knights will now focus on indoor winter training and conditioning. Brookline will field three teams next spring—one each for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Anyone interested in trying out or looking for more info should visit www.brooklineaau.com or send an email to email@example.com.
So there you have, some of the best moments in Brookline sports so far in 2010-11.
Tom Layman, Pat Ouellette, Robert Fucci, David Dionisio, John Keklak, and Stewart Silvestri contributed to this report.