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What to watch this coming winter season

Otis Lyons, Sports Editor

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Sports are always a great part of school culture, and many of us love cheering on our various favorite teams. Whether it be encouraging the water polo squad, shouting in the stands during a basketball game, or spurring on the volleyball teams, athletics are a great place to support your school and have a great time.

Most people attend games as a casual fan. However, oftentimes being more informed can lead to a more enjoyable time at sporting events.

As the next season looms, three months of excitement, surprise, and triumph await. If you would like to enter the next campaign with a strong grasp on each team, look no further. Here is what to watch for in the upcoming winter season:

 

BOYS BASKETBALL

Last year: 8-6, 6th in MCAL

Playoffs: MCAL 1st Round, NCS 1st Round

Head Coach: Bret Tovani

 

After an unfortunate early exit in NCS playoffs last year, boys basketball have elected MCAL’s most successful coach, Bret Tovani, to take charge. This season, the team will be led by third year varsity seniors Noah Bice and Danny Roland, as well as seniors Ian Casey and Austin Clack.  

The 16-man team consists only of upperclassmen, so expect an experienced squad lead by an experienced manager, as 2017/18 will be Tovani’s 44th season as head coach, and his 35th as a varsity head coach in MCAL. Tovani will implement his defensive minded policies into the program, giving the squad a realistic look at a league title this year, and a run into March.

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Last year: 8-6, 6th in MCAL

Playoffs: MCAL 1st Round, NCS 1st Round

Head Coach: Jim Purkey

 

Of the 12 girls on last year’s basketball team, only six players will be returning. A repeat of the 2016/17 winning record and postseason run may seem tough without graduated stars such as Laura Kelemen and Katherine Podoll, but the team is hopeful for another year of success.

This year, the team will be led by returning seniors Stella Purkey and Romy Holsher, along with juniors Hailee Eastus, Allie Korst, and Kate Wulff. Junior Alyssa Freed, a second year varsity player, is currently injured, but will give the team an added spark when she returns in January. Sophomore Stephanie Coghlan will look to be an influential piece to the puzzle as well.

The team will hope to only build on last year’s winning squad and to make a run deep into the postseason.

 

GIRLS SOCCER

Last year: 6-5-3, 5th in MCAL

Playoffs: MCAL 1st Round, NCS Quarterfinals

Head Coach: Conrad Gregory

 

After a blistering 3-0 non-league start to the season in which the girl’s soccer team outscored opponents 11-0, the squad nears league play with newfound confidence after a sectional quarterfinal run last year.

The team is led by a strong, experienced back line including senior captains Lily McLean and Zoe Mahaney. Fellow captain Anais Nagle, who will play as defensive midfielder, will be the framework of the team’s success. Nagle just finished a cross country season that saw her run at the state championship meet, so fitness won’t be a problem in the center of the pitch.

In a squad that doesn’t lack talent anywhere in the field, the forward line will be a point of emphasis. Led by Brooke Simon on the front line, the speed of junior Phoebe Blantz, and sophomores Dahlia Siegel and Marina Alicke will be a huge cornerstone for success, along with the wide array of potent goal scorers. Among the attack is junior Sadie Cudd, who is recovering from injury and should be healthy throughout league play.

Not only does this year look promising, but the coming seasons look bright as well. The team welcomes four freshmen, including goalkeeper Talia Herbermann, Josephine Kelly, Emmi Bishop, and Sophia Calegari.

 

BOYS SOCCER

Last year: 10-3-1, 2nd in MCAL

Playoffs: MCAL Semifinals, NCS 1st Round

Head Coach: Rene Ayala

 

Despite losing 10 seniors, including First Team All-League players Ian Sobral, Peter Carroll, and Sasha Tcherepanov, the team embraces the underdog status this time out. Although expectations may not be high throughout the league, the team upset a strong Kennedy side 1-0 on the road to begin the non-league campaign.

The team will rely on a strong defense, goalkeeping pair Bennett Fries and Griffin Finnane, as well as a strong team chemistry built on the philosophies of coach Rene Ayala.

Last year, ‘the Bleachboyz’ were projected to be among the most talented, high profile teams the county had ever seen. After getting national acclaim in the preseason, and losing just once through 15 matches, outscoring opponents 47-16 in that stretch, the wheels came off when it mattered most.  

In the final three MCAL matches, the side lost twice to fall to second in league, before losing two straight postseason matches: a 4-1 defeat to Cinderella champions Tam, and an NCS first round loss at the hands of 14th placed Pinole Valley in overtime. In contrast to the 12-1-2 start, the team finished 1-4, conceding nine goals while only scoring five.

The main personnel loss was in the goal scoring positions, as the team lost forwards such as Sobral, Carroll, Jace Bruner and Max Vibert.

Should the team be successful on the offensive end, this could be the season to bring the pennant back to San Anselmo for the first time since 2011.  

 

WRESTLING

Last year: 8-1, 2nd in MCAL

Playoffs: NCS 1st Round

Head Coach: Johann Gerlach

 

The wrestling team enters the new season on a high, after an impressive campaign last year saw them place second in the league. With all top competitors returning, a new peak is likely for this golden age of wrestling talent.

Senior Kiva Corshen will be the man to watch this year, as he looks to improve on a Second Team All-League appearance last year. Other top performers will include senior Nicole Tolson, and juniors Mathieu Isanove, Sebastian Molineaux, and Sam Knight.

First year junior Benny Dal Porto may be a dark horse in the league as well, after going undefeated in the first tournament of the year.

The wrestling team hopes to be strong and competitive coming into the winter sport season. With the potential to make a far run for the season, the team’s goal is to the capture the first  the first place pennant.

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What to watch this coming winter season