November is here, and several Needham High School teams are preparing to compete in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.
After drawing a bye in the preliminary round, Courtney Chaloff’s girls varsity volleyball team begins play in the Division 1 Round of 32 Thursday afternoon, Nov. 2 at home against Central Catholic. The Rockets are the No. 5 seed after going 14-3 and finishing atop the Bay State Conference Herget Division. Central Catholic (7-13) is the No. 28 seed.
Needham brings valuable experience to the tournament, after winning state championships in 2019 and 2021. Senior co-captains Samantha Tam and Izzy Streeter were sophomores on the 2021 team. “They’re definitely eager to get back (to the top),” Chaloff said. “They know what it takes to get there.”
Today’s game time is 5:30 p.m. If Needham wins, it will host the winner of today’s Chelmsford at Brookline game in the next round.
Tomorrow night, Needham (7-1) takes on Westford Academy (5-3) in the first round of the MIAA football playoffs at Memorial Field.
Coach Doug Kopcso’s Rockets are the No. 3 seed in Division 1. They’re on a three-game winning streak after losing 10-9 at Milton on Oct. 6. The Rockets feature a stout defense and strong running game featuring senior fullback Tate Hoffmeister.
The winner of tomorrow night’s game will move on to face the winner of tomorrow night’s Natick at Methuen game.
Needham’s field hockey team (13-5-0) is seeded No. 12 in Division 1 and will host No. 21 seed Newton North (12-5-3) tomorrow afternoon in the first round of the state tournament. Game time is 5 p.m. The winner will face the winner of tomorrow afternoon’s Essex North Shore at Acton-Boxboro game. Stephanie Magni’s Rockets were a Bay State Conference-best 11-2 in league play.
Division 1 tournament brackets for both boys and girls soccer were announced Wednesday afternoon. The boys’ team was seeded No. 2 in Division 1 (behind Concord-Carlisle) and drew a preliminary-round bye. On Sunday at 3 p.m. it will host the winner of tomorrow’s Plymouth North at Lexington game.
The Rockets, coached by James Odierna, went 14-2-2 during the regular season, topping the Bay State Conference with a 13-1 record in league play.
Coach Kayla Steeves’ girls’ soccer team (8-5-5 and 5-4-4 in Bay State conference play) is the No. 12 seed and drew a bye on the preliminary round. On Sunday at 5 p.m it will play No. 21 Woburn (9-5-5) in the Round of 32at Memorial Field.
Tournament brackets for unified basketball are still to be announced. The final home game for Needham’s coed unified basketball team is scheduled Thursday afternoon vs. Walpole.
Here’s a look at how Needham High’s varsity teams are doing in other fall competition:
Kate Curtin’s swim & dive team last weekend won the Bay State Conference Meet for the first time since 2003 after going 9-1 during the regular season. The team’s recent victory over Wellesley snapped that team’s 76-meet win streak. The South sectionals are coming up Saturday at Boston University.
After finishing the regular season 10-3-1, the boys golf team, coached by Adam Cole, finished tied for 11th in Tuesday’s state Division 1 finals in Hampden.
The Needham girls cross country team, coached by Sue McNatt, finished second by a tie-breaker in last weekend’s Bay State Conference Championship meet in Wrentham. Coach Chris Van Cott’s boys finished 6th. The state tournament is scheduled Nov. 11.
The coed Sailing Team, coached by Jamie McClellan, was on the Charles for a Halloween practice race with Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Boston Latin.
The cheer team, led by Rhiannon Heckman, was participating in Wednesday’s Bay State Event after finishing second in the Game Day and Division I category at the recent Natick Invitational.
Coach Jessica Arruda’s dance team will be at Endicott College this weekend for the season’s first event.