Silver Chips Online

Fall Sports Preview: 2010

By
September 9, 2010
Field Hockey
by Molly Nicholson

Following an 8-6 record and a coach change, the Lady Blazers are optimistic for another winning season. Coach Christine Denny took over for Brooke Franceschini following the 2009 season, and she is confident in the strong basics that Franceschini left, but admits that it is hard to fill in for someone who is so well liked by the team.

Last year, almost every game the team lost was by only one goal. "We're practicing how to get the ball in the goal," Denny said. The Blazers face a hard division, according to Denny, consisting of Paint Branch, Blake, Springbrook, Sherwood and Magruder. She sees these teams as tough, but not impossible to beat.

Senior Lyla Shapiro makes a clean pass during a drill. Molly Ellison
Senior Lyla Shapiro makes a clean pass during a drill.
This year the team prepared and worked hard during the offseason. The majority of the team spent the summer going to field hockey camps and training together. According to senior co-captain Janet Henkai, the players have been doing lots of running and scrimmaging to find out which players are best at which positions and to connect the offense, midfield and defense together. "There are few weak spots, if any," Denny said.

Henkai and fellow senior co-captain Blake Morgan Gamber make up a strong midfield, along with fellow senior Lyla Shapiro. They are key in the big changes that the team hopes to make this season. Co-captain Miranda Bernard will lead the forwards, and returning goalkeeper Molly Flannagan will be a big part of any win. New starters on the varsity team are sophomores Eloise Goldsmith and Zoe McCarthy. McCarthy is a great addition to the team's offense; she already scored two goals in the first game of the season against Einstein.

Coach Denny is optimistic about the team's prospects this season. "I expect the team to be at least .500," Denny said. "We could be one of the top teams in the division."

Editor's Note: Blake Morgan-Gamber is Features and Sports Editor for Silver Chips Online.

Football
by Eli Schwadron

After a disappointing record of 3-7 in 2009, the varsity football team is looking to bounce back this season and make a run at the playoffs.

Senior Peter Gondor holds the ball close to him as he sprints to get away from defenders during practice.



Emma Lansworth
Senior Peter Gondor holds the ball close to him as he sprints to get away from defenders during practice.
The team has plenty of talent, but needs to communicate and stay disciplined in order to succeed in a tough 4A East division, which includes Sherwood and Springbrook. Senior co-captains Caleb Furlow and Assani Mudimbi are expected to carry much of the load for the Blazers. Junior Peter Gondor will provide speed in the secondary, and senior quarterbacks Elisee Francois and Carlos Flores as well as junior Robert Clingman will rotate snaps.

The Blazers will rely on their speed and athleticism to win games. Mudimbi is an electrifying runner, who uses quick cuts to break down his opponents. Furlow has great hands, and at 6'1", his long strides make it difficult for defenses to keep up. The offensive line, led by seniors Daniel Umana and Arthur Tsapdong, will be another skilled area of the Blazer offense. "Our O-line will be especially good this year," Gondor said.

Although the team is coming off a losing season, head coach Jeffery Seals has confidence in his players. "Nobody gives us a chance," he said. "But I think we'll show people that we're a pretty good team." Gondor also believes the Blazers have a chance at a winning record. "We might do pretty decent against the other teams in our division," he said. "We might win most of our games."

Boys' Soccer
by Melissa Haniff

After a surprisingly successful season last year that ended with a record of 8-4-2, the varsity boys' soccer team is hoping for another great season. However, head coach John Haigh knows that the most crucial part of winning and playing well is making sure everyone stays healthy. Injury prevention is especially important this season, as two injured starters had to sit out of the most recent game, against Northwest. "We need to make sure we get healthy," Haigh said.

Senior Kit Durban kicks the ball to a team mate during practice. Molly Ellison
Senior Kit Durban kicks the ball to a team mate during practice.
Co-captains George De Rossi and Kit Durban are confident in the team's abilities. De Rossi believes that the team's experience playing together will help them on the field. "Our strength as a team this year is that most of us have known and played with each other for a while, so team chemistry is great," he said.

Durban agrees and thinks that the squad is capable of a successful season. "We have some definite talent offensively and defensively along with strong team spirit," he said.

Even though the team lost a few key seniors last year, Durban and De Rossi agree that there are many younger players who might surprise people. "Upcoming players to watch this season are definitely Simon Amato and Stallon Kayaga, who are the sophomores on the team and will take over once we leave," said De Rossi.

Girls' Soccer
by Myla Sapp

After completing a successful 12-2 season last year, the varsity girls' soccer team looks to come back strong and play deep into the postseason. Having lost eight key senior players, the Lady Blazers will take a different approach to game play this season.

Sofia Read attempts a corner kick. Harrison Reed
Sofia Read attempts a corner kick.
As seniors Sofia Read, Sana Barclay and Larisa Antonisse lead the team as co-captains, the Lady Blazers have a bit of rearranging to do in terms of their defensive presence on the field. "We lost our entire starting defense, and now we're working to rebuild it to be as strong as the one before," Read said.

Read has high hopes for the 2010 squad, and looks forward to defeating rival B-CC. "Everyone is excited to play B-CC this year because they kept us from having a perfect season," she said. "We’re definitely hoping to get some revenge!"

Junior goalkeeper Lena Meyerson and junior forward Jamie Kator also look to show leadership on the field as upperclassmen. Kator scored an impressive twelve goals last season, and Meyerson showed great poise while defending pivotal shots on the Blazer goal. They will be key players contributing to Blair's success in the upcoming season.

Despite any challenges that the Lady Blazers may face, Read is confident and optimistic about the team's chance at great victory. "We have a really deep team, and everybody has the potential to make a difference," she said. "We know what our goal is and everybody is willing to work hard to get there."

Editor's Note: Larisa Antonisse is Managing Op/Ed Editor for Silver Chips Print.

Girls' Tennis
by Allie Daitch

After losing six key players, coach David Ngbea is worried about maintaining the team's Division I status. Despite the loss of starters, Ngbea is hopeful for this season. "It is important that they are eager to learn, and they are. I expected the worst, but they are doing much more than I expected of them," he said.

Sophomore Allison Whitney and junior Jane Lee practice for their upcoming season.

Harrison Reed
Sophomore Allison Whitney and junior Jane Lee practice for their upcoming season.
With only 14 players on the team, Ngbea is concerned about going against other Division I teams such as Whitman and Walter Johnson. Senior co-captain Shilpa Kannan is also concerned but believes the team can prevail. "I'm a little nervous about some of our divisional matches. Some teams out there are exceptionally good and are tough to go up against. I am confident in our team, and hopefully we can pull through those matches!" she said.

This year's team has had to adapt to the loss of key singles and doubles position players. Ngbea claims that the girls have been struggling with volleys; however, they're very strong with ground strokes and are ultimately very consistent. He believes that the team will improve with practice.

Despite the team's concerns, they are off to a strong start after defeating Clarksville and Springbrook, both Division II teams, in their first two matches. The girls are preparing to face some Division I teams and will continue to work hard to ensure that Ngbea's goals are met. "I have two goals for this season: I hope that we don't drop in division and I hope that by the end of the season, the girls have a good concept on tennis, because it is a lifetime sport," he said.

Girls' Volleyball
Valerie Hu

Sophomore Jordyn Schroeder leaps high to defend Blair's side of the court. Schroeder's height helps her be a strong defender for Blair. Emma Lansworth
Sophomore Jordyn Schroeder leaps high to defend Blair's side of the court. Schroeder's height helps her be a strong defender for Blair.
After posting a decent 8-6 record last season, the girls' varsity volleyball team is back this fall with plenty of energy, fresh faces and a strong group dynamic.

Despite losing five starting seniors, sophomore captain setter Kathlyn Skolnik is already seeing improvements in the team. "Having five starting seniors graduate is a struggle, but we are developing into something great," she said. "We have a great offense, and our defense is very tenacious."

Junior captain outside hitter Nika Lilley also recognizes the team's struggle, but says the girls work well together. "We're a big family," she said. "There aren't many technical skills right now, but it's getting better."

Coach Christopher Klein believes that the girls' energy, not their experience, will ultimately determine their success. "We're a young team that doesn't have much experience, but these girls' hearts will make up for their youth," Klein said.

Among the new players is senior Anna Ferrario, an exchange student from Italy. Ferrario joined the team after the start of the season, but Lilley is confident that Ferrario's experience and height will make her an asset to the team. "She played four years in Italy, and she's really tall," Lilley said.

After losing to Magruder in the second round of playoffs last year, the Blazers are determined to advance further this season. "We get hesitant when we are down, but we're working on becoming more aggressive in those situations," Skolnik said.

Regardless of experience, Klein has high expectations for the girls and is confident in their teamwork and abilities. "I expect us to go out there and compete, and no one's going to know who wins until it's over," he said.

Although the players are young, the girls' varsity volleyball team promises an exciting season this fall. Their first home game is against Wheaton on Friday, Sept. 10.

Cross Country
by Liv Jacobson

After last year's boys' 0-5 record and girls' 1-4 record, both the boys' and girls' cross country teams are looking forward to great improvements this season. This season shows promise for an experienced team that graduated only two seniors last year and has gained many new, fast freshmen. According to head coach James Demma, many of the new freshman runners performed well at the middle school level.

Sophomore Audrey Fischer runs at the dog park in North Four Corners for a cross country workout. Harrison Reed
Sophomore Audrey Fischer runs at the dog park in North Four Corners for a cross country workout.
Freshman Morgana D'Ottavi will be a strong competitor. As the fastest runner on the girls' varsity squad, she placed eighth overall at the team's most recent invitational meet. Freshman Calley Mayer-Marks is also a fast varsity runner who senior co-captain Jenny Sholar believes will continue to improve over the season.

The team has moved from Division II to Division III, which Sholar believes will be an advantage. "Now that we're in Division III, it will be less competitive," Sholar said. Demma's goals for the season are for the girls to win their division, for the boys to finish second in their division and for two runners from the girls' team to qualify for the state championship.

Demma expressed confidence in this year's boys' varsity pack, with notable members junior co-captain Greg Kehne, senior Jeremy Ardanuy and senior co-captain Gabe Pollak.

Kehne, like Sholar and Demma, is confident about this season. "There are a lot of fast people," he said. Kehne also hopes for more "team cohesiveness" to go along with their improved performances. With the combination of fast runners, positivity and experience, Demma believes that the team will do a "heck of a lot better" this season compared to last.

Editor's note: Jenny Sholar is Managing Features Editor for Silver Chips Print.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10252