The Sports Buzz for Nov. 8 - 11
The Fastest Three Minutes in Brookline Sports.
Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. It's time for the Sports Buzz, the fastest three minutes in Brookline sports, coming your way right now:
And this week, we start with something extra special. 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, some time ago, were at the bottom of the NFL heap, before rising to the top. Both "franchises" are now thriving.
The youth Patriots recently completed their march to an unprecedented program-wide undefeated regular season. That's four teams who have not lost 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 have a team in the Eastern Mass. playoffs at every level. Each team will play in a single elimination tournament, vying for the coveted invitation to play in Disney World for a national championship.
Now, let's switch gears to the still-in-business Brookline High boys soccer team, and what a run it's been. The No. 13 Warriors (13-2-6) will play No. 17. Somerville (12-5-4) today in the Division 1 North seminfinals in Arlington.
Brookline delivered the knock-out punch on No. 5 host Lincoln-Sudbury (14-3-1) with a thrilling 1-0 win on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
"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."
Playing into the penalty kick round hasn't always been kind to either team.
Last year, L-S was stung by Lexington in the Division 1 North final, while Brookline fell to Framingham in PKs in the quarterfinals.
"It's our second year in a row going down on PKs," Hosford said. "It's easy to say it's the perfect way to end the game when you lose, but it's a tough pill to swallow."
L-S star senior Cole DeNormandie added, "They had two humungous kids in the back and they ran a five-man midfield, so I pretty much ended up being on top going four on one. It was kind of hard getting everyone else involved. It was tough getting it going offensively."
The Warriors knew they needed to contain DeNormandie.
"We always had a guy on him," Katz said.
Brookline's Eric Buck and Jacob Rosenkalt converted on Brookline's first two boots in the penalty kick round. And Hillman staved off enough L-S chances to secure the win. Hillman made eight stops on the night, while Steinbrook had 10.
"I thought that game could have gone on forever until they all dropped from exhaustion," Katz said "They were exhausted, we were exhausted."
DeNormandie summed up, "We had the experience. We had done it before. We had done it [in this round] last season. I just think that Brookline was a great team. They played well today. Hats off to them."
To girls volleyball we go, where No. 13 Brookline gave top-ranked Quincy a little scare in the Division 1 Central/East quarterfinals, but the Warriors (13-9) couldn't keep up the pace in the eventual 3-1 loss to the host Presidents (20-2).
Brookline rallied from a 19-11 deficit to steal the second game, 27-25, and tie the match at one game apiece. The win came after Quincy took the opening tilt and played evenly until the Presidents made a late surge for the victory. After the Warriors made their push to win the second game, Quincy took control the rest of the way, knocking Brookline out of the tourney.
Leading up to that game, the Warriors had made a collective smash hit in a 3-0 win over host Charlestown in the first round of postseason play.
"We had some trouble executing in game one, but after that we really began to put pressure on them," Brookline head coach Mike Frank said. "By the third game, we were playing up at the right level and were able to get a good first playoff win."
Junior Katie Shreffler shined in her first game back from injury with 16 aces and 10 assists. Fellow junior standout Maya Midzik had a team-leading 10 kills, while adding eight assists and two blocks.
Midzik, junior Marie Fleming, and senior Janet Ruan were all recently named to the 2010 Bay State Conference girls volleyball All-Star team. Midzik and Fleming garnered first team honors, while Ruan made honorable mention.
Finally, tomorrow the football Warriors (1-8) will visit BSC powerhouse Weymouth. And the boys and girls cross country teams will compete at the Eastern Mass. Division 1 meet at Franklin Park.
Check out the Brookline Patch Events Calendar for a look at games coming up this weekend. Rob Fucci and David Dionisio contributed to this report.