By Micah Hauben, NHS Director of Athletics
Needham High School girls lacrosse still has only lost one game on the season, to Cold Spring Harbor out of New York, and the girls came up with one of the biggest wins in recent program history on Thursday, May 10, as they defeated perennial state power Westwood 12-10.
The win was the first over Westwood in 10 years and helped the Rockets jump four spots to the top of the Boston Globe's EMASS rankings. Following the No. 1 ranking of the NHS boys volleyball team this spring, the girls become only the second program in recent years to be move into the top spot.
At 15-1, the team is also poised to earn a high seed in the upcoming state tournament. This week, the Rockets will take on Milton, Norwood and Framingham before finishing up the regular season next Monday, May 21 at Newton North.
Although the Needham boys volleyball team is no longer ranked at the top of the Boston Globe poll (they now stand at No. 6), they are still in the mix for a high seed in the state tournament and are making waves against some of the area's best.
On Thursday, May 10, for the second time this season, the Rockets took down second-ranked Xaverian, this time on the road. Below is a write-up of the match from head coach David Powell:
On Thursday, the boys volleyball team extended their winning streak to six with an exciting and emotional 3-1 win over Xaverian. Coming off wins over Brookline and Weymouth earlier in the week, Needham entered the Xaverian game with a record of 13 wins and 2 losses. Xaverian held the same exact record, with one of their previous losses coming to Needham earlier in the season.
Behind a hostile and rowdy home fan base, the Hawks jumped out to a 12-7 lead in set one with several ferocious kills by returning Boston Globe All Scholastic selection L.J. Pinella. However, behind several service aces by seniors James Phalen and Nico Nastri, Needham was able to claw their way back into the set and take the lead at 21-19, eventually winning 25-21.
In set 2, Xaverian again jumped out to an early lead, this time going up 8-0. While Needham tried to claw their way back once again, they could not recover from the early deficit, losing 25-13. Behind resilient back-row play from junior Ethan Leibowitz and senior Brendan Conway and solid net play by junior Andrew Evans and sophomore Tommy Kelley, Needham was able to regain the momentum, winning set three 25-20.
Set four saw the same exact outcome unfold, as the Hawks continued to have no answer for senior outside hitter captain Kevin Farley and junior outside hitter Sam Tillotson, as the two combined for 16 kills in that set which the Rockets again won 25-20. Farley ended with a match high 24 kills, while Tillotson notched 18 of his own. Sophomore Trevor Dow added 6 kills in the effort, while Nico Nastri again was the maestro of the powerful Rocket offense, distributing 39 assists. Captain Jake Sheetz, who recently returned to the lineup from an injury, also had 4 kills and provided strong net play.
Boys lacrosse continued their winning streak, beating Walpole and Weymouth, and will play Milton and Norwood this week before hosting Xaverian on Saturday, May 19. The team will finish up the regular season at home on Monday, May 21, against Newton North.
At 10-4, the Rockets are ranked in the top 10, and when the power seeds come out for the state tournament, the team has a good chance of earning a high seed.
Softball played their first night game of the season under the lights at on Monday, and came away with a thrilling, 2-1 win, using a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh (final) inning to earn the win.
The girls struggled a bit later in the week but will look to bounce back against Norwood on Monday, May 14 and at home versus Weymouth Wednesday night, May 16 at Claxton Field at 6:30 p.m.
Boys tennis stands at 7-0 this season and the team has won their last 29 matches in a row going back to last year's undefeated state championship season.
Due to rain-outs, the boys will have four matches this week, culminating in the highly anticipated rematch with St. John's Prep on the road on Thursday, May 17.
This past weekend was the beginning of the state individual tournament, which saw Needham players earn the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the singles draw and the No. 1 seed in the doubles draw. All of the Rockets played extremely well, and four advanced on in their respective tournaments and will play next weekend.
Below is tournament information from head coach Drew Lawrence:
Aaron Revzin (No. 1 seed), Aaron Segel (No. 2 seed), and the doubles team of Ben Okonow and Mitchell Silverman (No. 1 seed), all advanced to the semifinals of the South Sectional individual tennis championship. This advances them to the South Sectional quarter-final to be held at Cape Cod Academy next weekend. All the above players won convincingly, in straight set victories.
Matt Bejian and freshman Sam Cohen (No. 6 seed) lost in the quarter-final to the fourth-seeded and No. 1 doubles team from Sharon High School. It was a tough 3 set loss—4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5 in the tiebreaker). Jonah Simon (unseeded) won a first round match over the No. 1 player from Cohasset, then fell to a seeded player from Sharon High School.
Girls tennis has also put a nice streak together, having won seven in row, including a defeat of Brookline on Friday, May 11, the only team to have beaten the 11-1 Rockets this season.
Needham will play three matches at home this week, hosting Weymouth and Milton in league play before taking on Wellesley in non-league action on Friday, May 18.
Below is information about the state individual tournament from head coach Diane Fidurko:
Sophomore Kelly Sullivan lost in the round of 16 at the individuals to Erica Nannery, the fifth seed, 6-0, 7-6. Sullivan played an excellent second set but came up just short. Senior Ali Sullivan lost in the quarter-final round of the tournament to Emma Davis. Although Davis is the third seed, she may be playing well enough to win the overall singles title.
Rebecca Resnic and Lauren Yerardi lost in the second round of the doubles tournament to a strong Hingham team. The girls won their first round match against the first doubles team from Framingham. Jodi Grosberg and Jodi Katz advanced to the South Sectional quarter-finals next weekend at Old Rochester High School by defeating teams from Foxborough, Brookline and Scituate.
Baseball ended their losing streak by defeating South Boston on Friday night, May 11, under the lights at . The team will play four games in the next six days, capping off the week in Cooperstown, NY, playing their annual BSC league game at the Baseball Hall-of-Fame against Brookline on Saturday, May 19.
Rockets Honored as Scholar Athletes
NHS Seniors Mark Riley and Dan Pierce as secondary school scholar-athletes by the Jack Grinold EMASS Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall-of-Fame. These standout Needham student-athletes will be honored at the 37th annual banquet for the award on Monday night, May 14 at 7 p.m. in Randolph.
According to the Jack Grinold EMASS Chapter: "Those selected come from over 200 parochial, private and public schools in the area. Your football coach recommended you for consideration and you were selected by a committee made up of college admissions directors, secondary school principals, athletic directors, coaches and members of the media."
Check http://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/athletics for complete team schedules.
Rockets Review is a weekly update distributed by email by Needham High School Director of Athletics Micah Hauben and published with permission on Needham Patch. Additional athletics information can be found on the NHS Athletic Department Web site.