The Sports Buzz for Sept. 19 - 23

The fastest three minutes in Brookline sports.

It's Monday, 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:

Well, for the Brookline High field hockey team, it doesn't get much better than this. Sure, the Warriors would have liked to have more than two shots on goal, and sure they would have liked to have held Newton North to fewer than 16. But, during last week's furious Bay State Conference battle, it didn't matter. Senior goalie and captain Meghan Zak stopped all 16 shots she faced, and visiting Brookline stunned Newton North, 1-0, on Amy Martin's strike with 12:35 left in the second half. Martin, a senior midfielder and first-year transfer student, made a beautiful rush down the left side, before she lifted a just as gorgeous shot into the bottom far corner of the goal.

"Absolutely fantastic," Brookline first-year coach Brittany Steven's said of Martin's game-winning tally, after the Warriors improved to 2-3. "We have been working on trying to create space on the sideline, and it was a coming together of many beautiful things."

The goal came after Newton North (3-3) made one of its many unrelenting surges into the Warrior zone, bombarding Zak with shots from head to toe. Not one got by.  

"Meghan is a fantastic goalie, she's had double digit saves in all of our games." Stevens said. "She's the anchor both in attitude and leadership and performance."

Zak was voted the unanimous difference by both coaches.

"We couldn't ask for more, but [Zak] just had a really good game," Newton North veteran head coach Celeste Myers said. "We couldn't have asked for more opportunities."

Brookline senior standout defender Sophie Moss helped Zak with a big defensive save late in the game to help secure the shutout.

The Warriors also got strong efforts from junior sweeper Kira Gabridge and senior captain Erin Bridge.

"Kira has been such a standout on defense, [and] Erin played both sides of the ball well," Stevens said.

The Tigers, meanwhile, countered with solid play from junior forward Bridget Gillis and senior co-captain Alison Berkowitz. Myers praised Gillis for her "beautiful cross shots," and Berkowitz for her "good stick work," adding she's "consistent and dependable."

Myers summed up, "We kept firing but just couldn't get a goal. That how games are won and lost."

Meanwhile, the host Brookline girls volleyball team improved to 5-0 with a 3-0 win over Braintree. Head coach Mike Frank likes the way his squad is playing, but remains cautiously optimistic. 

“We got talent,” Frank said. “I mean, a lot of people have talent. You have to do something with it. If we stay focused, if we get better... I mean, we’re at point A. We want to be at the end of the year point B.”

The Warriors, who won by scores of 25-12, 25-18, and 25-21, got strong efforts from senior setter Jamie Francona (28 assists) and senior outside hitter Maya Midzik (19 kills). Their stats did not go unnoticed by Wamps head coach Kristen Orzechowski.

“I knew going in that Maya and Jamie are just amazing players,” Orzechowski said. “And it was a matter of beating the rest of the Brookline team. We know Maya is going to get 20 kills. We know Jamie is going to get her 30 assists. But it’s a matter of beating the rest of the team and we didn’t do that today.”

The Warriors put the Wamps (2-3) behind the eight ball quickly as they cruised to a game one victory. But Braintree managed to bolt to a 6-4 lead in the second set, before Brookline went on a  a 9-1 run that included back-to-back kills by Midzik. 

From there, Brookline continued to roll, and closed out the set on a Midzik kill followed by Braintree hitting the ball out of bounds.

The third game proved to be the most competitive with a number of lead changes, before another Midzik kill push the Warriors to a 21-20 advantage.

“Every time you need a side-up, that’s where you go,” Frank said of Midzik. “That’s says a lot. The other team has to respect that, but at the same time, the other girls open her up, which leads to pretty convincing kills.”

Midzik finished the match with a service ace as Brookline won, 25-21.

To boys soccer we go, and the offense may have sputtered a bit for the Warriors in its 1-1 tie with Walpole at Skyline Park, but the same can’t be said for the goaltending, which was outstanding courtesy of Miles Rubin, who earned the starting job this fall.

Rubin made two highlight reel saves in the first half, allowing the Warriors (3-1-1) to walk away with a tie against a formidable Bay State Conference opponent.

The first save came on a free kick from the top of the box early in the first half. Walpole's Tim Sullivan ripped a shot off the free kick, and it was deflected towards the net. Rubin stretched out for the ball and just got enough of his hand on it to direct it off the post, before the Warriors were able to clear it away.

The second stop would have made any hockey goalie proud. The Rebels  rifled a shot through traffic and Rubin came out of nowhere to make a split save and direct the ball out of the zone with his leg.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Warriors head coach Jeff Katz said. “He’s a great goalkeeper.”

Katz knew that the talent was there for his new goalie when he saw flashes of brilliance during the practice sessions in last season’s postseason run, and Rubin's offseason work has clearly made him ready to help guide the Warriors this season.

“Once he got the confidence of knowing he was the starting goalkeeper he did some good things,” Katz said. “That’s all he needed.”

Rubin’s efforts in net helped allow the Warriors to grab a 1-0 lead late in the first half, when Eric Buck sprung the speedy Travis James on a through ball and James beat the Walpole goalie far side and off the post for the opening tally.

The Rebels responded with a goal off a free kick from the top of the box on the left-hand side. John Lochead sent a strike over the Brookline defense inside the box and found the back of the net to tie the game. 

Brookline had more scoring opportunities, but its best chance came on a corner from the right side, when Buck sent a cross pass to a breaking Arjun Mahadevan, but Mahadevan's attempt hit off a Walpole defender and off the post, before being cleared away. 

 Peter Shanley and Tom Layman contributed to this report.


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