Rockets Review: Nov. 7-13

Football team is one win away from the postseason, boys soccer goes out in style and Duffy named IAFO Coach of the Year.

By Micah Hauben, NHS Director of Athletics

Although the Rockets boys soccer season at the hands of the No. 1 seed Greater New Bedford in the south section semifinals, the boys were as good as any other team in the area and showed it in the tournament.

After at home in the first round 4-1, Needham then needed overtime to beat a very good Silver Lake team two days later, before once again going into overtime against Greater New Bedford—this time falling 3-2. Mac Steeves put the Rockets up 1-0 in the first half before the top seed scored one minute later to tie up the game. Steeves assisted on the next goal, a Nolan Brady score, before a penalty kick early in the second half allowed Greater New Bedford to tie the game at 2-2. Although both teams had chances throughout the rest of the half, no one found the back of the net until close to the end of the first overtime.

The boys end the season as Bay State Conference Carey Division Champions, with two players named All-Conference—junior (BSC Carey MVP) and sophomore Harry Swartz—and they finish with a record of 16-3-3.

Girls Soccer

Although making a great tourney run, upsetting No. 13 Hingham and No. 4 Brockton, the season for the girls on Wednesday night at No. 5 Oliver Ames High School (who has won two more games and advanced on to the state semifinals.)

Girls Swimming and Diving

After taking home their third straight BSC Carey Division Title, the team traveled to Harvard on Sunday, Nov. 13 to take part in the MIAA South Sectionals. The Rockets had a strong meet and finished fourth overall for the second year in a row.

Here is a meet recap from head coach Paul Hession:

The Rockets swimming and diving team was looking to improve upon last year's fourth place finish at the South Sectional Championship meet at Harvard University. 

The meet started with an opportunity to honor this year's senior class participating in the meet.  recognized senior Yanni Chen and senior captains Sarah Hooper, Tori McCormick, Jessica Murphy and Caroline Tegeler. 

  • The Rockets got off to a strong start with a sixth place finish in the 200 medley relay with the team of Sarah DiNatale, Julia Nascimben, McCormick and Emilie Despres.
  • The 200 individual medley had both Katie Santaniello and DiNatale finish in the top 16 to score points for the Rockets. 
  • The 50 freestyle was led by senior Hooper, who swam a personal best time to finish fifth, with Sydney Dixon also placing. 
  • In the diving event, Sally Doherty and Maria Smirnov both dove well with Smirnov finishing in 12th place.
  • The 100 butterfly was led by  Murphy with a second place finish and Santaniello finishing a strong seventh. 
  • Hooper and Dixon placed in the 100 freestyle with freshman Despres just out of the top 16 with a great swim. 
  • The 500 freestyle saw McCormick swim a personal best time to place. 
  • The 200 freestyle relay team of Santaniello, Dixon, Hooper and Murphy swam a great race finishing second to a meet record-setting relay. 
  • The 100 backstroke produced two Rockets’ best times—one for Chen and the other for DiNatale—finishing in 10th place. 
  • Murphy again had a great swim for a second place finish in the 100 Breaststroke followed by freshman Julia Nascimben finishing 14th. 
  • The Rockets’ final relay had another great swim in the 400 freestyle relay with Santaniello, Dixon, Hooper and Murphy finishing an exciting finale with a third place finish with a season best relay time. 

The Rockets were able to match last year’s performance with an amazing meet and a fourth place finish.

Qualifying athletes will travel to MIT this weekend to take place in the State Championships.

Cross Country

On Saturday, Nov. 12, the boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Franklin Park in Boston to compete in the MIAA Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 Championships. The girls finished sixth in team scoring, while the boys were 10th in the 27-team division.

The girls were led by junior Caroline Turner and senior Olivia Nolan, who finished in 11th and 25th place respectively to qualify individually for the All-State Championships.  On the boys’ side, sophomore Tommy Kelley finished 15th, good enough to book a trip to All-States as well. 

The three Rocket athletes will return to Franklin Park on Saturday, Nov. 19 for their opportunity to compete in the All-States Championships. Full results can be found online at coolrunning.com.


After dropping a heartbreaker on Nov. 4 at Framingham, 22-21, the still depleted young Rockets over Newton North on Senior Night on Friday, Nov. 11.

With the win, the Rockets move to 7-3 overall and 7-2 in the BSC. Tied with Weymouth in the league at 7-2, Needham has the tie-breaker as they defeated the Wildcats head-to-head, and is now back in control of their own destiny. If NHS is able to beat Wellesley in the 124th installment of the Thanksgiving Day football rivalry on Nov. 24 in Wellesley (10:00 a.m.), then the Rockets will return to the postseason for the second time in three years to take on the winner of the Big Three Conference.

Look for announcements later this week about pre-sale tickets for the Thanksgiving Day game. Pre-sale tickets will be $8, while tickets at the gate will be $10.

In recognition of head coach Dave Duffy's commitment to the Needham program and the positive and competitive culture he strives to build within the program every year, along with the on-field success of the team, the ability to overcome adversity and the type of role models and leaders Duffy and his staff are to the team's student-athletes, the Independent Association of Football Officials (IAFO) has named Duffy as their Coach of the Year.

Over the past three years, in addition to the IAFO award, Duffy has also been awarded as the twice by the New England Patriots, and was named the 2010 Coach of the Year by the Nobscot Valley Officials Association. Since 2009, his teams are 23-10 (7-5, 9-2, 7-3) with one trip to postseason.

Please also join the Bay State Conference, Needham High School and Wellesley High School at halftime of the Thanksgiving Day game, as graduates Will Stenberg (NHS) and Blake Dietrick (WHS) will be honored as the male and female winners of the Class of 2011 Doug Flutie Award. The Flutie Award is the top honor presented by the BSC each year for one male and one female graduate, and recognizes athletes who possess the qualities exemplified by Doug Flutie: performance in school; dedication; leadership; sportsmanship; and character.

In his time at NHS, Stenberg captained both the football and lacrosse teams, earning all-star status multiple times and winning the BSC MVP in lacrosse. In lacrosse, he was a two-time Globe and Herald All-Scholastic and a two-time All-American. He also finished as the career leader in school history in points and assists, and his 434 total points are good for fifth all-time in state history and 10th all-time nationally.


After a strong performance in the BSC Championships, the girls headed down to Dartmouth High School on Sunday, Nov. 13 to compete in the regional tournament, where they finished eighth overall, ending their competition schedule for the fall.

Girls Lacrosse

Senior captain Tory Waldstein has been named the No. 4 defensive mid-fielder by ESPNHS.com. This recognition comes after a tremendous junior year for Waldstein that saw her tally 46 assists and 35 goals and earn First-Team All-American status. She is also the captain of the girls soccer and basketball teams. For complete information about Waldstein, visit espn.go.com.

Back in October, teammate and lacrosse co-captain Shelby Aubin was also recognized by ESPNHS.com, as the No. 3 girls high school lacrosse defender in the country. More information about Aubin can be found at espn.go.com.

Check http://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/athletics for Rocket Athletic news, updates, forms, links and complete team schedules.

Rockets Review is a weekly update distributed by e-mail by Needham High School Director of Athletics Micah Hauben and republished with permission on Needham Patch. Additional athletics information can be found on the NHS Athletic Department Web site.


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