Fall teams finish the season strong

Alex Lautin and Nia Huff

After a year-long hiatus from playing against other schools, the school’s fall varsity teams have completed a full season of triumphs and losses. Regardless of whether the season started off slow or strong for each team, all ended on a high note. 

The Girls Varsity Volleyball team had a successful season. At first, the Girls Volleyball season suffered two tough losses against Trinity and then to Fieldston, Eva Campbell (11) said. However, these losses encouraged the players to work harder and improve as a team, Campbell said.

Since many of the players on the team had watched the upperclassmen play on the court during their middle school years, the moments on the court were special for all of them, specifically during homecoming when they had the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd of their classmates who cheered them on, Destiney Green (12) said. “I went from watching them on the court to playing with them,” Joann Yu (10) said.

COVID-19 affected the volleyball season drastically since the break limited everyone from practicing together and playing in real game environments. This challenge encouraged the team to work even harder in games and practices, Green said.

Similarly, though the Girls Varsity Tennis team lost some games, by the end of the season everyone was determined to end the season with successes, Chloe Trentalancia (11) said. Originally the team had lost to Riverdale, but then by the end of the season, they beat Riverdale, Diya Chawla (9) said.

Chawla and Emily Grant (10) were notable members of the team this year as they were tough and strong players, Trentalancia said. Additionally, Isabella Colacino (12) and Jade Ciriello (12) were great doubles partners and Sammy Blackman (12) and Rhea Patel (12) were extremely consistent, Trentalancia said.  

The most exciting moment for Chawla was homecoming, she said. The players were able to play on the courts in front of everyone, get ready together and make posters for the seniors, Chawla said. 

The Boys Cross Country team experienced challenges of returning to the season after COVID-19, but by the end of the season everyone was working hard and taking practice seriously, Ethan Waggoner (12) said. Normally, the team has around 30 members, but because of college applications and other commitments, this years’ team was made up of just 13 members, Justin Burrell (12) said.

For Burrell, a highlight of the Boys Cross Country season was the homecoming pep rally. After the pep rally, everyone became more of a team as they started running together and having fun in practices as the pep rally was something fun the team did together, Burrell said. 

“Overall it was a very positive season,” Boys Cross Country Coach Jon Eshoo said. “The guys trained and raced hard. Spencer Kim (10) was our top runner and we’re looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the underclassmen improve next year.” 

The Girls Cross Country team also had a great season, Girls Cross Country coach Meredith Cullen said. “Everybody did really well. We had some new freshmen that really came into their own. We had great seniors. Overall it was a really good season,” Cullen said.

Story Sossen (9) was a standout runner throughout the whole season, Joelle Maddan (12) said. Sossen ran a 23 minute 5k, her personal record (PR), and placed 33rd overall in the NYSAIS meet, Cullen said. 

In addition to Sossen, the whole team improved as each individual on the team hit their PR Sophie Li (10) said. 

However, a challenge for all of the runners was balancing their workload and school work, especially for the senior athletes, Maddan said.

The season for the Girl’s soccer team started and ended strong. The team started off with a big win against Trinity, made it to the first round of the NYSAIS Championship, and placed fourth in the league, Kayla Choi (10) said. The first win was notable for the team as it was the second league game the team has won in three years, Eliza Becker (12) said. 

“We improved a lot as a team, more than any other year I’ve been on the team — and I’ve been on the team for four years,” Becker said.

Unfortunately, the team had a large amount of injuries during the season, from concussions to ankle sprains, which presented some challenges on the field. Yet, despite the challenge of never having a full bench, as the team became more comfortable with one another, they achieved a lot, Hannah Bodner (9) said. 

Co-team captain Eliza Becker (12), goalie for the team, played a substantial role in the success of the team as her communication and strength encouraged her teammates to push through, Bodner said. Choi said the team will miss Becker dearly and it will be hard to replace her. 

“Every player worked hard and showed us how important the team is to them,” Sullivan said. “The attitude of the players who were not on the field, their spirit and enthusiasm was contagious.”

Similarly, the Boys Varsity Soccer season was very competitive, with each game close in score until the end, Coach Gregg Quilty said. “We ended up [having] seven wins, six losses, and three ties.” Thirteen of the team’s sixteen games were separated by a single goal, Quilty said.

The Boys Varsity Soccer team also qualified for the NYSAIS tournament, though they lost in the opening round with 40 seconds left, Quilty said. The team tied for fourth place in the Ivy League, Quilty said. 

One of the team’s best games took place at the school’s Homecoming. The Lions defeated Riverdale three to one, Quilty said. Another one of the team’s highlights was against Poly Prep at Home on Senior Day, in which the Lions won one to zero and avenged an earlier loss against Poly Prep, he said.

Team members’ chemistry improved along with their skills over the course of the season, Lucca Correia (12) said. For example, the members of the team were able to learn what each player’s strengths were and which foot they like to shoot with, Correia said. 

The Girls Varsity Field Hockey team finished the season with three wins and four losses, according to the school’s athletics website. 

This season, the team didn’t have one of their coaches who worked a lot with the goalies, which was a challenge, Maddie Yoon (11) said.

“I think we’re pretty close as a team since everyone has a lot of spirit, and there’s barely any separation between JV and Varsity,” Yoon said. “One of the most exciting moments during the season was when we scored at the last second during a game against Hackley.” 

The Varsity Water Polo team’s season went well this year, Varsity Water Polo Coach Michael Duffy said. “It was great to have everybody back in the water together and competing competitively against other schools,” he said. 

The team won the Ivy League Championship with six wins and zero losses, Duffy said. In addition to the Ivy League schools, the team played schools from three different states: Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, he said. 

“We had a very big win against the Pingry school, which we haven’t beaten in at least a decade and probably only had two or three wins ever against them,” Duffy said.

The team’s final game against Greenwich Country Day School was exciting, Duffy said. “We were down seven to one in that game,” he said. “We changed some tactics and gave a good team effort and we fell short by a goal.” 

During that game, Max Chasin (11) started guarding the opposing teams’ top scorer. The team also stopped counter attacks from happening. “Once HM was able to stop GCDS from scoring, we were able to slowly add on goals,” Duffy said.

The Varsity Football team won their game at Homecoming against Riverdale, whom they had not beaten in six years, Nathan Zelizer (12) said. 

“Our team turned out really well. We were really tough, resilient, and worked really hard in every practice and [in] every game,” Zelizer said. 

The team experienced a loss at Fiedston’s Homecoming as a result of injuries which contributed to the team not playing as well as they could have, Ryan Lax (12) said. “It was a very tough loss because we could have won — it was an easy, winnable game.” 

Nate Wildman (11) played quarterback for the first time this season, Zelizer said. “By the end of the season, Wildman was throwing as though he had been playing quarterback for a few years,” Zelizer said. 

“Julien Harcourt (11) and Adande Nartey (10) also stepped up big on defense. They played 110% every play. Brady Winter (10) and Sam Spector (10) stepped up on offense,” Lax said.

While Choi looks forward to winning a championship next year in Girls Soccer and playing consistently throughout the season, Yu looks forward to forging deeper connections as a team, with both old and new members within the Volleyball team.

“Clearly from the participation this fall season, the enthusiasm and passion for interscholastic athletics is alive and well and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved to provide a safe and meaningful experience,” Director of Athletics, Health & Physical Education Robert Annuziata said.