Nashoba in the Playoffs

The girls field hockey team after their 4-3 OT first round win.
Courtesy Carol Ann Gjeltema

By Ellen Oliver

Congratulations to all the fall Nashoba teams for making the post-season, especially the volleyball team, who earned their first ever berth in the playoffs. Here’s a look at how all the Nashoba teams fared in their quests for greater Central MA glory.

Field Hockey
The Nashoba field hockey team got things started for the Chieftains on last Wednesday. Drawing the #6 seed, Nashoba didn’t earn a first round bye, but was awarded home field turf over #11 seed Westborough. On Wednesday night, the post-season Rangers proved a tougher opponent than in the regular season where Nashoba defeated them twice.

The Chieftains thought they shut the door on Westborough with less than seven minutes to go when captain Sammy Gjeltema scored an unassisted goal to bring the score up 3-2, Nashoba. The Rangers counted with another goal to tie up the score once again and the teams headed to overtime.

In the golden goal overtime, the Chieftains prevailed 4-3 on a shot by Tess Anderson, who had also netted the first goal for Nashoba.

Next up for the Chieftains was a quarterfinal match with #3 Shrewsbury. When these two teams met way back in early September in the regular season, Shrewsbury prevailed 2-1. The Colonials had home turf and took advantage by blanking Nashoba 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals. The field hockey team ends the season with a 12-6-2 record.

Soccer – Boys
The #11 seed boys’ soccer team drew #6 Hudson, meeting on Saturday night under the lights on Manning Field. Although Hudson was the higher seed, the Chieftains had their eye on an upset, fueled by their 1-0 victory over the Hawks in regular competition.

After a scoreless first half, Hudson snuck a low ball at the far post past a diving keeper Beau Brassard to find side netting. With 18 minutes remaining, Nashoba tied the game on a Shea Cruickshank penalty kick. Nashoba tallied another goal in the remaining minute, only to have it nullified by the MIAA referee for an offside call. Two 10 minute overtimes saw a few opportunities, but neither team was able to capitalize.

In the penalty kick (PK) round, Hudson missed their first effort and finished their final four kicks. Nashoba countered with shooters Ross Cressman, Andrew Parrow, Colin Willoughby, Cruikshank and Dan Romhanyi. Nashoba finished their first four shots, but was thwarted by a save on their fifth kick. Nashoba’s final shooters were Michael Kelberman and David Gauld, however, Nashoba’s final effort sailed over the bar giving Hudson the 2-1 victory.

Nashoba has suffered PK losses in three out of their last four appearances in District play. The Nashoba boy’s soccer team was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for Midland A league for 2013 and Coach McKinley Midland A Coach of the Year 2013. The team finished their season 8-9-2.

Soccer – Girls
After earning a first round bye, #2 seed Nashoba faced #7  Shrewsbury at home on Monday night. Despite the chilly weather, Nashoba was on fire, with Kelly Poole scoring twice in the first 25 minutes (once with an assist from Kylie Lance). Then the two senior captains combined for an assist from Cori Gillen headed in by Emily Kuefler, followed by an Amber Gustafson goal less than two minutes later, bringing the score to Nashoba 4, Shrewsbury 0 at the half.

Nashoba kicked off the half with a Sarah Clopeck goal, assisted by Jillian Winer to make the score 5-0 Nashoba. At the end of the game, Nashoba earned the 5-0 victory. The Chieftains will meet Algonquin in the semi-finals on Wednesday in Bolton.

In their first ever playoff appearance, the Nashoba volleyball team earned a long bus ride. On November 2, the Chieftains (#13 seed) travelled an hour to play #4 Westwood in the first round of the Central Division 2 volleyball playoffs.

Although the Wolverines took all three sets, the Chieftains did not make it easy for them (25-20; 25-21, 29-27).  In the third set, the lead changed hands nine different times and both teams had game point situations three times before the Wolverines were able to finally put away the set and game 29-27.

Captains and league all-stars Victoria Wang and Rita Peirce led their team with five kills apiece, with Peirce also contributing four blocks and three aces.  Wang, who plays defense as well as offense, had one ace and 10 serve receptions.

Senior Libero and league all-star Sam O’Connor had a nearly flawless game in the back row on 21 serve receives with only one error and went to the floor for four volley saving digs. Emma Duggan had six set assists, two aces and three of her own floor diving digs.
According to Coach Johnna Doyle, “The Nashoba Regional girls’ volleyball team showed they’ve come along way in the last three years and deserved their playoff berth.”  The team ends the season 10-9.

The golf team capped a fabulous season by sending golfers to the Central Mass Division 1 tournament on October 22, where Nashoba senior Jared Richard finished second with a score of even-par 71 and earned a place in the state championship. Alec Dempsey  notched a 74, Tye Barlow (81), Tom Casey (87), Joey Tavis (93) and Matt Benschneider (94).

Nashoba was fourth in the team bracket with a score of 313.

On October 28, Richard shot an 85 in the Division 2 State tournament competing against some of the best high school golfers in the state.

The six seniors who helped Nashoba volleyball reach their first playoff appearance: Gina DiMasi, Sarah Curran, Sam O’Connor, Rita Peirce, Emma Duggan and Vicky Wang.
Courtesy Ann Duggan


Nashoba running back and Stow senior Matt Sabourin finds some room to run in Friday’s first-round playoff game against Shrewsbury. The Chieftains lost to the Colonials 28-7.
Courtesy Eric Bachtell