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Oct. 7, 2010

Fall Sports Update 2010

by Gardi Royce, Page Editor
Varsity Girls' Soccer - Following in the footsteps of previous Blair girls' varsity soccer is never an easy feat, yet following a team that had a combined 26-4 record over a two-year period is almost impossible. But led by veteran seniors Sofia Read and Larisa Antonisse, the Blazers are ready to continue the winning tradition into the 2010 season. After graduating their entire defense and many key players, the Blazers are looking to experienced players to step up and lead the team.
Cherrah Barclay winds up to kick the ball down field. Emma Lansworth
Cherrah Barclay winds up to kick the ball down field.
Anchoring the defense is senior co-captain Sana Barclay and junior goalie Lena Meyerson, pushing Blazers to attack opponents with their relentless defensive schemes. Though the defense has been a highlight so far, the offense has once again proven why it is one of the most potent forces in the county. Led by Read and junior Jamie Kator, the Blazer offense has shown its explosive potential, recently slaughtering rival Northwood 7-0 in a brutal exhibition of superior talent. Following a decent start of 4-1, Read hopes to use the team's talent and commitment and lead them deep into the playoffs. "We've got a lot of confidence, and we're going to be able to harness the dedication and perseverance and make a loud return to the playoffs," she said. With the loss to Bethesda-Chevy Chase still stinging in their memory, the Blazers' will get a chance at redemption, revenging their two losses against the county heavyweight.

Varsity Boys' Soccer - Coming off of a successful season in which the Blazers finished 8-4, the team hopes to build on the potential and experience that many of their players exhibited toward the end of the season. Despite graduating many key seniors last year, the Blazers have a talented team lead by captains junior George DeRossi and senior Kit Durban.
Santiago Orbes maneuvers skillfully during  a game.
Santiago Orbes maneuvers skillfully during a game.
An interesting aspect of the season will be recent Kennedy transfers, Santiago Orbes and Sebastian Soto Daza's ability to transition into a new team. After a tough one-point loss to Northwest, the Blazers rallied the players for the annual slugfest against boulevard rival Northwood. Always an emotional game, this match was especially hyped up, as Northwood had been featured in the Washington Post's teams to beat. However, in the end it wasn't the media favorite Northwood, but the Blazer underdogs who came away with the victory. While this victory was certainly a high point in their season, Durban and the Blazers have their eyes set on a different prize. "We are much more focused on the playoffs this year instead of wasting all our energy on the regular season. While we are still going to fight during the season, we want to be fully prepared and ready for the intensity of the postseason," he said. Durban said the team's new motivation throughout the season as one of the reasons for their success. Frequently overshadowed by Blair's girls' team, the boys' varsity team hopes this year will be the year that they are able to hold their own against the girls.

Cross-Country - Enduring a disappointing season in which the girls' team finished 1-4 and the boys' 0-5, the Blazers hope to forget the previous year and focus on winning their new division.
Lorena Kowalewski
Morgana D’Ottavi maintains her position in front, passing opponent.
Following last year's countywide dual meet, the Blazers were moved down from Division II to Division III, a move that many coaches and runners consider to be beneficial. With many experienced and new runners, the girls' team boasts some of the fastest individuals in the county. With an already talented team, the Blazers got two unexpected gifts when freshmen Morgana D'Ottavi and Callie Henderson joined the team this year. D'Ottavi has already proven herself as the fastest freshman in the county and the sixth fastest girl in the entire state. This type of raw skill from such a young athlete will surely benefit the team. One of the key questions during the season will be whether the switch to Division III will result in the Blazers winning the entire division. "All of our varsity girls are really good and experienced. They put us as a stiff competitor in Division III and they will likely sweep the division," said senior Peter Leonard. With the depth and new blood, the Blazers will likely be a much better team and a much stronger competitor in the 2010 season.

Field Hockey - With the memories of a successful 8-6 record last year, in which the Blazers had moments of brilliance, the team has set its eyes on going deep into the playoffs. After former head coach Brooke Franceschini left, following last years season, new coach Christine Denny will try to use her coaching and experience to push the Blazers to their full potential.
Lyla Shapiro turns the corner as she eludes an opponent. Emma Lansworth
Lyla Shapiro turns the corner as she eludes an opponent.
Denny's ability to take over as coach will be the most important factor in the season, beacase her decision making will dictate whether they are sucessful. Led by senior captains Janet Henkai and Blake Morgan-Gamber, the Blazers hope to overpower opponents with unrelenting offense and stone-cold defense. The Blazers are off to a terrific start, winning their first two games for a solid record of 2-1. A key to the Blazers' success has been the team's ability to come together as one concrete unit. "We definitely work well together and we play off of each other. It's something that comes from trusting each other completely to make the right play," said senior Lyla Shapiro. With this confidence and unity, the Blazers' are poised to have a good season. If the Blazers can continue their smart, confident and energized play, expect to see them making some noise when November rolls around.

Varsity Football - After a lackluster season in which the Blazers ended 3-7, the team was able to salvage a glimmer of hope by winning two straight games to end their season. Coming into the new year, the Blazers hope to build on a successful summer in which they trained for hours in the brutal heat.
Peter Gondor sprints down the field during a late afternoon drill. Emma Lansworth
Peter Gondor sprints down the field during a late afternoon drill.
New defensive coach Adrian Kelly stressed the Blazers' new optimism and their dedication to practice. "They've upped their commitment and are really capitalizing on the potential that they have together as a team," he said. After losing their first two games to Paint Branch and Magruder, the Blazers (1-2) finally found some solace in beating bottom feeder Wheaton, to record their first win of the season. Despite cultivating an improved offense, the Blazers have struggled on defense all year, failing to contain opponents' offensive attacks. A bright spot in the defense has been junior safety Peter Gondor, who has already recorded three interceptions, providing leadership and intensity in an energizing fashion. While the defense has been sluggish throughout the season, the Blazer offense has been one of the most surprising aspects of the new year. Lead by seniors Daniel Umana and Arthur Tsapdong, the Blazer offensive line has shocked everyone in Montgomery County by finally establishing themselves as a legitimate quarterback-protecting unit. The line's ability to create holes in the defense has resulted in seniors Caleb Furlow and Assani Mudimbi having incredible seasons with both runners gaining well over 100 yards in every game. The tandems' nightmare-like speed and ability to embarrass defenses has almost single handedly led the upstart offense into a new era. With a team filled with skillful veterans, the Blazers hope to turn the season around and charge into the playoffs.



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