Schlierf Selected As New Sharon Athletic Director

Nick Schlierf
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – New Sharon athletic director Dr. Nicholas Schlierf is bringing a bevy of experience from New York to the campus of Sharon High School, officially starting later this month.

He takes over for Bill Martin, who stepped down after taking the same job at Andover High School.

Schlierf, who was announced as the new Eagles’ AD earlier this week in a release from principal Jose Libano, has held numerous athletic positions as well as administrative roles over the past 20 years. Most recently, Schlierf has served as athletic director and assistant principal for nearly a decade at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, New York.

Mercy High School has roughly 700 students while Sharon has just over 1,000 students.

“Nick did a really nice job answering the questions we peppered him with, his references were impeccable, and I’m certain that he’ll be an excellent fit for Sharon and the Hockomock League,” Libano told HockomockSports.com.

Schlierf has family ties to Massachusetts and came across the vacant Sharon job while looking to move to the area. Schlierf was one of three finalists selected from nearly 50 applicants. Twelve candidates were brought in for interviews by a 15-member screening committee comprised of student-athletes, parents, coaches and staff. The three finalists visited Sharon earlier this month for a public interview.

“The whole town, it reminds me a lot of where I grew up (Williamsville, New York),” Schlierf said. “Everyone is so friendly, they are willing to take their shirt off their back for you, people are going out of their way to make me feel at home.”

Prior to his stint at Mercy High School, Schlierf was a varsity soccer coach, assistant principal and then principal at Northstar Christian Academy. He has three kids and was heavily involved in youth sports and travel soccer.

“Sharon is an ideal fit for me,” Schlierf said, noting that Mercy and Sharon have almost all of the same sports, including sailing. “Walking into the school feels like home already. Between my admin background and my love for sports, it’s important to know its not always about the wins and losses. It’s about focusing on the positive experiences, and the role of coaches in that experience.

“I found my niche being an athletic director. It’s been like a breath of fresh air to feel so welcome. I met some of the staff already, and they have been so friendly. I’m looking forward to getting started on what will be a tremendous experience and homecoming for my family.”

Schlierf will complete his move to the area in the near future and will begin full time July 20th.

Sharon Sweeps Scituate To Advance To D2 State Final

Sharon boys tennis
Sharon’s Alex Romantz prepares to return a shot at the net in first doubles play. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
ROCKLAND, Mass. – Although it was just one game a season, the Sharon boys tennis team has developed somewhat of a rivalry with Duxbury.

The teams met in the D2 South Semifinal in 2013, and in the D2 South Final each of the last three years.

And with Sharon situated as the top seed and Duxbury seeded second, it looks like the two were on a collision course for another showdown.

But shortly after the Eagles booked their ticket to their fourth straight final, Duxbury was stunned by third-seeded Scituate in the semifinal, erasing any chance for Sharon to exact revenge for a year ago.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The change of opponent, however, didn’t change the goal: the Eagles were determined to get back to the state final.

“It’s a different look than what we were used to,” said Sharon head coach Joan Cutter. “We beat Duxbury (2015) and they’ve beat us a couple of times so I think we were ready to play them again. It gave us sort of a different attitude coming in.”

With a 5-0 sweep – winning four matches in straight sets — Sharon is headed back to the D2 State/EMass Final. The Eagles will take on Wayland, the North champions, in a rematch from 2015.

“I think we had a good shot of beating [Duxbury] this season, our match ups looked good against them,” admitted Sharon senior and first singles player Griffin Fein. “We knew me and Fred [Bondar] would have tough matches but after that, I have a lot of confidence in the rest of the team how they are playing right now so we felt good no matter who we played. I’m happy how things went today and we’re happy to be going back to the finals.”

“I was definitely looking forward to playing Duxbury again, we were a little surprised when we saw the result,” said Sharon senior and first doubles player Alex Romantz. “We had talked a lot through the year about getting ready for Duxbury for a rematch from last year.

“We kind of had a chip on our shoulder from last year so we really made it a goal to get back here and make it to the state final. Even though it wasn’t Duxbury, we’re definitely happy to be back in the state championship.”

While it wasn’t Duxbury, the Eagles were certainly prepared for Scituate, who proved they belong by eliminating the Dragons in the tournament despite losing in the regular season.

The Eagles were on point from the get-go. Fein won the first five games of the first set at first singles, Fred Bondar took four wins in the first five games in the first set at second singles and Andre Olivei jumped out to a 4-1 lead as well.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Once we saw it wasn’t them, we just had to treat it like a regular match, and just go out there and play our best,” Fein said. “Whether it was Duxbury or not, our goal was to make it to the state finals and that’s what we were able to do.”

Both doubles teams had success early on as well. Romantz continued his stellar season with freshman Alberto Olivei, quickly posting a 6-2 win in the first set before most other matches were halfway through the same set.

And in second doubles play, Danujan Thirumavalavan and Max Brody went up 2-1 and kept that lead. The Eagles’ sophomore pairing went up 3-2, then 4-3 before finishing off the first set 6-3.

Romantz and Olivei, who are unbeaten as a team so far in match play this season, kept up their quick pace and registered the match’s first point with a 6-2, 6-1 win.

Romantz played second doubles during his sophomore year with Han Cui, and then moved up to first doubles last year with senior Adam Dobbins. Now, the senior is with his third partner in as many years – and this time around, a freshman.

“Alberto’s been a great partner,” Romantz said, “We definitely have some rock solid chemistry now, we’ve been hitting the ball well all season long. We had some bumps here and there but no losses yet. We’re a good pair together, our games compliment each other really well. With my serve and his net game, it works well for us.”

“He’s got that lefty serve that is so hard, and it’s so hard to return,” Cutter said of Romantz. “He’s just got a vicious put away shot. He serves and then either he or his partner finishes well. He’s very aggressive and he’s kind of got a fearless attitude.”

Bondar put Sharon up 2-0 in the match, cruising through the second set to record a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles.

Just over 10 minutes later, the Eagles clinched the match when Fein completed a 6-1, 6-2 win at first singles.

“My serve was pretty solid today, my backhand wasn’t as solid as usual though,” Fein said. “My forehand has been a lot cleaner the last couple of weeks so that was helping so I was able to control a lot of points that way.”

Thirumavalavan and Brody pulled out a close second set to earn a 6-3, 7-5 win at second doubles to make it 4-0.

Andre Olivei won the first set (6-2) but trailed throughout the second set, eventually dropping it (4-6). In a 10-point tiebreaker, Olivei completed the sweep for Sharon, finishing with a 6-2, 4-6 (10-6) win.

Sharon boys tennis (23-0) will take on Wayland (16-2) on Tuesday in the D2 State Final at 4:00 at Saint John’s of Shrewsbury.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Eagles Earn D1 South Title Behind Singles Sweep

Sharon girls tennis
Sharon’s Lulu Yuan returns a serve in third singles against Wellesley. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSpors.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
HINGHAM, Mass. – Shortly after last year’s D1 South Sectional Final, Sharon girls tennis coach Diane Micheroni made it clear that the plan was for Eagles to be back in the same spot again.

Not only did they make the return trip, this time around they walked away with the win and the D1 South title.

After falling to Wellesley in the South final a year ago, top-seeded Sharon exacted some revenge this time around, sweeping singles play for a 3-2 win over the previously unbeaten and second-seeded Raiders.

Click here for a photo gallery from this match.

While most programs make it a goal to get this far, Micheroni had the confidence to pencil it in that the Eagles would be back.

“They never give up,” Micheroni said of her now 23-0 Eagles. “They just work real hard, every practice, every match. They were just waiting for this day and they really came through, I’m really proud of them.”

Part of the reason for the confidence was that Sharon brought its two top singles players back from last year’s squad, plus a handful of experienced doubles players.

And on top of that, the Eagles got a huge boost with the addition of freshman Emily Zhang, who has started at second singles all season.

With Zhang in the fold, junior Lulu Yuan – the 2015 Hockomock League MVP – made the switch from first singles to third singles, and sophomore Nupur Shukla moved up from second to third singles.

“It was crazy, it was so emotional,” Yuan said of the win. “We’ve been waiting for this moment. I knew that this year, with this team, we would win.”

Yuan put the Eagles on the board first in the match, quickly jumping out to a 4-1 lead before winning the first set 6-1. The second set didn’t take much time as Yuan finished off her opponent in similar fashion, walking away with a straight set 6-1, 6-1 win.

Yuan, who was named team MVP, has taken the move from first to third singles in stride.

“I think it was really beneficial for the entire team,” Yuan said. “I know that getting a win at third singles get help the team win the match. Having players like Nupur and Emily that I can depend on, it’s really helpful. I love my position.”

Yuan is unbeaten on the year, and has only lost a total of four games – two of which came against the Raiders.

“She’s just phenomenal,” Micheroni said of Yuan. “It says so much about her because her primary interest is the team. She’s the heart of the team, she leads them. She went out there this season and set a goal to not drop a game all season. She really gave herself something to aspire to and to make her game better. So many other people would have done the opposite in her situation. She really played with class all season.”

The Raiders evened the match at one game apiece with a win at second doubles. Sharon’s Rithica Neti and Sophia Fein had tied the match early in the second set, but eventually fell 2-6, 3-6.

Click here for a photo gallery from this match.

Sharon moved back into the driver’s seat as Zhang came away with an impressive win at second singles. Zhang jumped out to a 2-1 lead over Wellesley’s Caitlin Avery, one of the top singles players in the area, and won the first set 6-3.

Zhang didn’t slow down at all, going ahead 3-0 in the second set and eventually scoring a 6-2 win at the second set to put the Eagles up 2-1.

“I thought I was able play pretty consistent and place the ball well and make her move,” Zhang said. “Moving her around caused some mistakes for her.”

“Enormous addition to the team – she’s such an integral part of our team,” Micheroni said of Zhang. “She goes in there and she does her job. She’s very precise, she’s very consistent – she does just her job.”

That put all the eyes on first singles. With first doubles split one set apiece, the teams took a timeout as first singles finished.

Shukla built a 3-0 lead in the first set only for Wellesley freshman sensation Alex Coleman to win three of the next four, cutting the lead to one. Shukla came through, taking the first set 6-3.

At the time of the break, Coleman held a 4-3 lead in the second set. The two split the next two sets, giving Coleman a 5-4 edge and just four points away from forcing a third set.

Instead, Shukla – who was down 0-15 and 30-40 and just one point away from a third set – rallied, tied it at 40-all, won the advantage point and won the next point to tie it at 5-5.

Coleman, who was serving, raced out to a 40-0 lead, again just one point away from winning the next point. But Shukla had other plans, rattling off five straight points to take a 6-5 lead in the set.

“I was just trying to get my serves in, I wasn’t going hard with them because I noticed she liked that pace,” Shukla said. “And then I wanted to keep it on her forehand because she kept ripping her backhand shots down the line.”

It was time for Coleman to rally, overcoming a 0-30 hole and winning the point to make it 6-6, sending the second set into a tiebreaker.

“I couldn’t see myself playing a third set,” Shukla said. “I had my teammates and the crowd cheering so me and I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could pull through, which I’m glad I did.”

With the momentum of her side, Coleman jumped out to 3-0 lead, the last point coming a spectacular shot down the line. But once again, with her back against the wall, Shukla rallied with four straight points to go up 4-3.

After Coleman tied the game, two straight points from Shukla made it 6-4. Coleman cut it to one again but Shukla finished the tiebreaker off with a great shot that forced an error, giving her a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win and the Eagles the clinching point for the sectional title.

“I always say Nupur is the rock of our team,” Micheroni said. “She never falters, she has sheer determination out there and she’s never going to back down from an opponent. And you saw it today, that’s how she plays.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this match.

“I know that she has a lot of fight in her, we knew she’d be able to come back,” Zhang said of Shukla’s clinching point. “Even if she’s a couple games down, she’s not out of it, she can come back.”

“She’s an amazing player and a great teammate,” Yuan said of Shukla. “I never doubted that should we be able to pull it out and win.”

Sharon’s second doubles resumed play before Shukla’s win in a tiebreaker, so the match went to a third set instead of a 10-point tiebreaker. Katie Merport and Emily Wen, who won the first set 6-4 but lost the second set 3-6, fell behind 1-4 in the third set.

But even with the title clinched, the Eagles’ duo didn’t give up and battled all the way back to tie the match 5-5. With very little light left to work with – the match now over three hours long – it was agreed to send the match into a tiebreaker. Wellesley won the tiebreaker, 7-0.

Sharon girls tennis moves on to the D1 State Semifinals on Monday, June 12th. The Eagles will play the North champs, Westford Academy (13-5) at Newton North High School at 3:30.

Eagles Earn First Playoff Win Against Newton South

Sharon girls lacrosse
Sharon’s Anna Crosby attacks the net against Newton South in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
SHARON, Mass. – Colleen Carchedi is used to winning games in the postseason, but when she became the Sharon head coach three years ago, the postseason wasn’t something the Eagles were familiar with at all.

Not anymore.

Carchedi, a former standout player at King Philip and former assistant coach at Foxboro, and her sixth-seeded Eagles recorded the program’s first ever playoff win, holding off #11 Newton South for an 13-12 win.

Sharon built a big lead by halftime, taking a 9-3 advantage into the break, but had to hold off a furious rally from the Lions, including a late 8-meter attempt.

“We’re a more talented team than last year, we grow every year as a team now,” Carchedi said. “We have players that play throughout the year instead of just during the high school season. I think making the playoffs last year helped. I

“I think the kids are mentally stronger more than anything. They believe in each other, which wasn’t always the case in the past here.”

The Eagles qualified for the state tournament for the first time a year ago, but bowed in the first round after a competitive game with Bishop Feehan.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

This time around, that experience paid off. Sharon scored four of the first five goals of the game, rattled off a 5-0 run to create separation in the first half, and came up with a timely goal and timely stop in the final three minutes.

Sharon opened the scoring with a pair of nearly identical goals less than a minute apart. Senior Anna Crosby found classmate Alex Rabb cutting right in front and she quickly put the Eagles up 2-0.

After Newton South cut the lead in half, Crosby grabbed her third point of the game. She took possession and rounded the net, taking an angle and firing. Shot in the back of the net. Minutes later, Crosby had the ball knocked out in a sea of defenders but quickly scooped the ground ball and fired from in close to make it 4-1.

The Lions netted back to-back goals to cut the deficit to a single goal once again, but that’s when Sharon had its most impressive run of the game.

Sophomore Emma Eberhardt dodged one defender and bounced her shot in to make it 5-3. Eberthardt grabbed her second shortly after, faking a spin move then faking a shot up high before going low to make it 6-3.

Rabb netted her third goal of the game, weaving through three defenders from behind the goal and tucking one it to make it 7-3. The Eagles tallied twice more in the final two minutes with Eberhardt and Rabb each scoring once more to take a 9-3 lead into the break.

As well as Sharon finished the first half, Newton South seized the momentum in the second half. The Lions and Eagles traded goals early on, but a 3-0 run from the visitors quickly closed the gap to 10-7.

As Newton South looked for a fourth straight goal, the Lions had their offensive possession come to an end due to a great defensive play from Lydia Chase gave Sharon the ball back.

The Eagles took advantage of that and snapped the run when Sabrina Robbins grabbed a ground off a save and found the back of the net to make it 11-7.

The teams once again traded goals with Eberhardt giving Sharon a 12-8 advantage with 8:22 to play.

But once again, Newton South had another offensive run. The Lions netted three straight goals over a two minute span, closing the gap to just one, 12-11, with just over four minutes to play.

“It was a good sign that we didn’t give up the lead,” Carchedi said. “We have a couple of stall plays that gave us some time. But when we needed some goals, I told them no more calling plays, just play your game cause they all know what to do.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Sharon came away with a big draw win and took off over a minute of game time with its next offensive possession. Rabb buried her fifth of the game with three minutes to play to restore the Eagles’ two-goal lead.

“She’s the type of player that comes through when you need her,” Carchedi said of Rabb. “She had to switch up her shot some today because the Newton South goalie was pretty good. But she’s capable of doing that mid-game and came through.”

Newton South closed the gap to one again with 1:42 to play but couldn’t beat Sharon goalie Rose Wald (eight saves) the rest of the way. The Eagles’ defense came up with a big turnover and on Newton South’s final offensive possession, the Lions had an 8-meter attempt with 11 seconds to play but a false start gave Sharon the ball back.

“Rose had an awesome game but she was a huge difference maker in the first half especially,” Carchedi said of Wald, who made five big saves in the first half. “She really stood out and played great in the first half which helped us get the lead.”

Sharon girls lacrosse (15-4) advances to the D1 East quarterfinals to take on #3 Westford Academy. The game is set for Thursday, June 1st at 6:30.

Cook Fires First No-Hitter In Sharon’s Shutout Win

Sharon softball
Sharon’s Clara Cook delivers a pitch in the third inning against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor

CANTON, Mass. — The ball rolled slowly back to Clara Cook. The senior pitcher carefully scooped the grounder and lobbed it to first base for the game’s final out of a 3-0 victory for Sharon over Davenport rival Canton.

There was no wild celebration, but Cook smiled wide as she removed her protective face mask while walking towards home plate.

Cook had just thrown her first career no-hitter.

Sharon entered the game following a loss to Milford a day prior, in a game that saw Cook get hit with three line balls.

While the bruise from the incident remained, no such signs were shown on the field. The right hander struck out four batters while walking just two in a complete game effort. Canton earned just four baserunners as batters reached first on two errors to compliment the walks.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I think she did everything well,” Sharon head coach Deb Parker said. “To even have her come back and be able to throw today…this kid has thrown with a leg brace on, her wrist wrapped, a giant bruise on her shin. To come back and have a no-hitter is what she’s about.”

Cook stifled the Canton offense with specific pitch placement, picking corners on the first at bat of the game and earned the looking strikeout on just three pitches. Two groundouts to second base rounded out the three-up, three-down inning.

And the sequence looked strikingly similar throughout the next six innings. Canton batters had trouble latching onto Cook’s pitches.

A hard hit ball nearly put the no-hitter in question in the seventh inning but it was ruled an infield error. A mishap at first base in which the exchange from second and third floated high provided Canton one of its baserunners.

“The last time we played them they hit the ball really well.” Parker said, reflecting on her team’s 9-4 victory against Canton on April 20th. “So, I was a little surprised to no-hit them.”

Sharon’s three runs all involved freshman Shoshana Lowe. She cranked the game’s first hit deep to right center field and reached third standing after some ball bobbling in the Canton outfield. Jenika Patel knocked in Lowe three batters later as she ripped a line drive just over a reach Canton defender’s glove and down the third base line.

Lowe hit a similar ball an inning later, which despite being caught, scored Jamie Kessler on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Allison Small scored on Lowe’s final hit of the day which didn’t travel as far as her first two. But the blooper landed in the gap between shortstop and right field giving Small all the time she needed.

“I think [Clara] moved the ball well,” Parker said. “Sammy [Marglous], our catcher, calls a great game. Going into the game we don’t really know what we are going to see and Sammy does a good job with that.”

Sharon improves to 6-13 (4-12 Hockomock) and will close out the season on Thursday against Milton. Canton finishes the season 1-19 but the future looks bright with a strong core returning for first-year head coach Jen Robillard.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.