Norwood’s First TVL Season

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Norwood’s first Tri-Valley League Championship
Issue Date: 
December, 2018
Article Body: 

Not long ago, Norwood Athletic Director (AD) Jon Longley brought forth a suggestion of moving the Mustangs from the Bay State Conference to the Tri-Valley League (TVL). The AD thought it was a good idea as the rest of the BSC was continuously growing and Norwood stayed just about even in terms of student population. Moving to the TVL would give the Mustangs the opportunity to compete in a league with schools their own size.
This past fall, Norwood said goodbye to the bigger Bay State Conference schools and ventured into the Tri-Valley League. In its inaugural season, three teams were successful right off the bat leaving the Norwood AD believe the school committee made the right decision.
“It’s been a great transition and a lot of teams have improved in the league standings,” Longley said. “We’re off to a good start in our first season in the TVL; I’m anticipating continue success and improvement throughout the next two seasons as well.”
With the fall season all but finished, Norwood had three teams (golf, cheer and field hockey) advancing into their respective divisional tournaments.
Under second year coach Chuck Allen, the golf team went 9-7 and finished third in the TVL and moved onto their second straight Division 2 South SS tournament.
“There is no difference playing in different leagues – a golf course is a golf course,” Allen said. “It doesn’t really matter; you still have to go out and play. The only difference between the leagues is that in the Bay State we played match point, while here in the Tri Valley its stroke play. It’s all in your mindset. Here (the TVL), you just have to go out and play smarter stroke wise.”
The Mustangs finished 11th, 20 points behind Oliver Ames, which captured the championship. Matt Hennessey was Norwood’s top scorer with an 81, 5 strokes behind Canton’s Chris Lavoie. Following Hennessey was Charlie Hanoian, with an 84, Jared Shea and Michael Curley both shot 87’s; Chris Martin at 92, and Erin Sullivan rounded out the team with a 100. Hanoian and Hennessey were also named to their first Tri Valley League All Star Team. Hennessey also just missed out on moving on to play in the individual tournament by one stroke.
Cheer Coach Jill Buckman echoed the Norwood golf coaches sentiment regarding leagues as they went out and captured their first ever TVL Championship.
“The competition is the same as the Bay State Conference only different teams,” Buckman said. “We just went out and performed our routine to the best of our ability. Winning the league was very exciting. I don’t know what the girls said to one another prior to the championship, but they just put it all together; flyers hit when they needed to hit and that seemed to pump up the rest of the team.”
With nine teams taking part in the Tri Valley League Championship Meet, Norwood was able to put together a solid 93.9 score edging out Medway, who posted a final tally of 93.2.
“Prior to us arriving in the TVL, I believe that Medway had won the championship the past few years,” Buckman said. “Coming in, I knew that if the girls did their routine the way that they were capable of I had a feeling we’d be placing near the top. It was a great feeling to upend Medway.”
(At press time, the team was scheduled to head to the Regionals to be held at Franklin High School. If they succeed, on to States!)
Although the Cheer team captured a TVL Title, they were not the first Norwood squad to do so. The field hockey team went 10-5-3 overall with a 10-3-1 league record, allowing them to be the first Norwood team to win the Tri-Valley League Large Division. And like the other two tournament coaches, Alison Doliner had the same response to the new league.
“There is no big difference in the leagues, they are both very competitive,” the field hockey coach said. “The only difference was that we had never really seen a lot of these teams until the first time that we played them. We went into those games blind, but it was a learning experience for us.
Being the first Norwood team to capture a TVL Championship was a great experience for the field hockey team, especially since the squad hadn’t won a league title since 2002. Not only was it a 16-year wait between titles, it was also Doliners’s freshman year at Norwood.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to come full circle from winning it as a player during my first year in high school to now as a coach, “Doliner said. “Our focus was to take it one game at a time, so not to put any pressure on the team.”
It took the Mustangs basically the entire regular season to earn that title, but they held their own destiny in their hands when they went into their final match against Medfield. Under Doliner, the Mustangs had made the tournament every single season, but unfortunately every year it was one and done. This year, the Mustangs captured their first win since 2014. As the 14 seed in the Division 1 South Tournament, Norwood defeated Hingham 3-1 at home behind Allie McDonough’s hat-trick before falling to powerhouse King Philip, who was still playing at the time of this writing.
In addition to grabbing their first tournament win in some four years, Norwood had numerous players selected to the TVL All Star team. Captains Rose Campbell and Brin Garczynski, McDonough and Noel Connelly were all named to the All Star team while Maggie Curran was an honorable mention. McDonough was also named the TVL’s Most Valuable Player.