Published Nov. 12, 2021
BY SOPHIA BONE
Sophia Bone is a junior field hockey player in her second year on varsity.
The Carmel football team started off the season with the spirit-filled success of the Shoe Game against long-time rivals Pacific Grove and, even though they had more of a rebuilding year, overcame challenges such as losing two games due to COVID-19 outbreaks on the team.
Since they were not allowed to have full fan capacity last spring, this season was more enjoyable for the team as they were able to have their community cheer them on during Saturday morning home games. Many new players came out, freshmen and seniors alike, who head coach Golden Anderson praises for being able to advance their game.
“The new players have a lot of growth, but they have been able to learn very quickly,” Anderson says. “It’s been fun to see the maturation within those groups.”
Unlike past years, there were many new players in positions with basically a whole new offensive line as well as first-year varsity quarterback Adam Carley. Despite not playing last season, Anderson comments how senior Amir Brown on defense and senior Hayden Quilty on offense became top players throughout the season. In coming years, the coach mentions how sophomores Justin LeMaster and Oscar Weigel along with juniors Brady Kasper and Sawyer Hamilton are players to watch.
The football team had a strong senior game on Oct. 30 against Soledad with a 47-32 win.
Field hockey has had what head coach Cass Hanson calls “a seamless transition” back into their season, despite few players being exposed to the sport before this fall. When the team started in August, only 16 out of 44 players in the program had experience playing in a full game due to COVID-19 disrupting last year.
Before high school, there is no other way for athletes to truly learn field hockey on the Monterey Peninsula, so that first year is crucial for the program. Sophomore Fiona Hirschfield, has really advanced her game despite being part of the freshman class that didn’t get to play a full game last year and has moved up to varsity as a midfielder.
Controlling the center was junior Abby Shipnuck who Coach Cass explains as the “heart of the team.” The team was led by senior captains Lelia Kraut and Ruby Carr and junior captain Emma Heiser, who had an outstanding 80% save rate this year, consistent since she started playing on the varsity team her freshman year. Sophia Bone was the top scorer on the team with nine goals.
With only four seniors on the team this year, they did not fail to deliver with Isabelle Silverie and Ashley Davidson as captains with their classmates. Hanson remarks how she is proud of players to keep showing up for the team, especially the sophomores who had an abbreviated season last year.
The girls’ team had a strong season this year, when they earned second place in league and qualified to play for the CCS championship. Despite a loss to Stevenson, they won all their matches, which Coach Ross Kroeker attributes to the great team chemistry between all the girls despite different grade levels.
Senior Elle Bohlman was a top player this year making first team All-League, meaning she was one of the top six players in the league as a whole. Juniors Sophie Southard and Ellie Rydeheard made the second team All-League. At league championships, Rydeheard shot a 79, completing her goal of breaking 80, while senior Ariana Smith and junior Anna Kroeker also beat their personal bests. Players to watch are freshman Lauren Fitzpatrick and Ava Martin who both played on varsity this year as well.
Coach Kroeker comments on the great team chemistry between the girls this year and how they continued to lift each other up. With five seniors on the team who have played golf all four years, this was a big season. A highlight for him was being able to play all his players in at least three matches, which normally can’t happen due to different strengths on the team.
Boys’ Water Polo
With seven seniors this year, Carmel boys’ water polo had many close, but rewarding games and strong team chemistry. While they didn’t move past the league season, exciting games included a 14-12 win against Salinas High School for their first game and going into triple overtime against Gilroy.
Seniors this year included captains Willem Botha and LJ Parker, along with Ryan Fenwick, Reed Lloyd, Joseph McShane, Holden Schoone and Oliver Whittaker. Parker had played goalie in the past, but transitioned to becoming a strong sharpshooter for the team, while junior Cole Montgomery took place in goal. Junior Ryan Brennen was also a standout player on the offensive side and leading scorer. The team had some tough injuries to overcome this year.
Despite the injuries, all the conditioning this year, including retrieving the “Legacy Log” from Carmel Beach, led to lots of team chemistry and a true brotherhood between the players. Players say how this year they became more sportsmanlike in their playing style and worked on being a “fourth-quarter team.”
First-year head coach Chris Avedissian and first-year assistant coach John Norall mention how in the future they hope the team will keep their momentum and improve for the future seasons. The boys ended their season with a 12-9 win against Monterey on their senior night.
Girls’ Water Polo
Despite a rough start to the season in the Aptos tournament, the girls’ water polo team has gone on to win a majority of their games with an overall 7-4-0 record this season and advanced to CCS.
A highlight of the season was a close win against Salinas High School in the last seven seconds of the game thanks to a goal by senior captain Maddie Fisher. Coach Kevin Buran mentions that the wake-up call of the first tournament allowed the team to find aspects of their game to work on such as their defensive tactics and working as a cohesive unit.
With 26 girls playing this year, that makes this one of the bigger teams Buran has seen come out for the sport in a while. Buran identifies standout players this year being seniors Maddie Fisher, Sydney Hill and Zibby Lindholm. Junior Peyton Kelly also stepped up into her position as goalie this year with 34 saves and has proved herself a hard worker along with juniors Audrey Glaser and Sonja Buran and sophomore Eva Montgomery.
Carmel tied with Gilroy for second place in league. Their senior game took place Oct. 27 against Santa Catalina, which concluded their normal season, but the team qualified for CCS in a winning match against San Benito 13-3 in Hollister on Oct. 29.
They continued to the CCS D II Quarterfinals on Nov. 6 against Saint Ignatius Prep in San Francisco where a devastating loss ended their season.
Coming in third place for their Gabilan division with a record of 8-4, the girls’ team had a strong season this year with the addition of new head coach Leslie Tracy. To qualify for CCS, they defeated the number one Mission Division team Notre Dame on Oct. 26 in Salinas.
On Nov. 8, the team began their first CCS team event and on Nov. 16, seniors Anastasia Zolotova and Kandace Kimes will play in the individual tournament in doubles.
The team this year had many close matches with 4-3 wins, including an exciting game against Salinas where junior Siri Panetta lost the first set, but came back in a tiebreaker to win the second and third sets. Panetta has had a remarkable season and at one point was undefeated for 12 matches.
Doubles team Sofia Posadas and Scarlett McColl were a great duo on the court as well. Players to watch as they go on in their tennis high school careers are freshman Emma Shin, who just picked up a racket this year, and junior Melina Garren.
As a team, Tracy comments on how they have massively improved coming into the net and becoming great retrievers of the ball. Their defense was strong with few errors, but the coach was looking to improve their offensive game.
As the only indoor fall sport, girls’ volleyball has had a different experience than others with rules for fans and mask mandates constantly changing, but has managed to have a great season nevertheless. The team started strong at the Mountain View Los Altos tournament and the Watsonville tournament in the beginning of the season and continued with that momentum to go on to win a majority of their games this season with a record of 9-6 along with earning third in the PCAL Gabilan Division.
The team concluded their season after their first CCS game Nov. 2 against Mercy-Burlingame at home.
“Seeing the fans back in the stands was really cool because that was stuff we took for granted in the past, so it has been so fun to be back in here with everyone,” head coach Izzy Ricardez says.
While they do have a smaller team this year, it consisted of seven seniors who have all put lots of work into the sport throughout their high school careers. Seniors Addie Crabbe, Nina Robertson and Sophia Gibbs led the team as captains, but another standout player this year was junior libero Ashlynn Valdez. The only freshman on the team, Riley Imamura also showed promise.
Ricardez explains that throughout the season, their greatest improvements were an increase in overall hustle and aggression along with more consistent serve and receive passing.
Cross country has had an outstanding season this year with their girls’ and boys’ teams both crushing it at League Championships Oct. 30 and advancing to CCS, which will occur Nov. 14 in Crystal Springs.
Head coach Whit Rambach attributes their success to great team chemistry, explaining the racing groups as great friends.
“In any sport, a contributing factor to performing well is just loving your teammates and enjoying what you are doing,” Rambach says. “When you have that, when we go on runs, everyone is looking out for each other and working extra hard and really just feeding off of that.”
Leading the girls’ team are two pairs of sisters: Christiana and Chiara Kvitek and Sophia and Bella Davi, along with freshman Ava Ghio. The boys’ team was led by juniors Aiden Tarantino, Dylan Craig and Tyler Imamura. The number one runners on both are Christiana Kvitek and Tarantino, respectively.
Throughout the season, the team has kept exponentially improving by nailing down their pacing and ability to adapt to the course with most runners starting to max out on their miles, and the team is gearing up for their upcoming meets by slowing down the intensity and preparing their bodies.
The cross country team has been able to adapt to so many courses because of their varied practices, not just on the track, but also at Hatton Canyon and then on the beach every Friday.