Our fall sports teams put an air of electricity into school everyday because of the success every team was experiencing. Four out of the five sports teams were in position to take home championships for their respective sports, with cross country being the only team who can say they met their goal set at the beginning of the season. Although the other teams experienced losses, their dominance in the regular season has set the tone for the athletic attitude for the rest of the year.
Maybe the most impressive, St. Joe soccer made their way to the top of the MIAA and one of the top teams in the state of Maryland. The boys defeated St. Paul’s 4-1 in their last regular season game to cement a second place seed in the conference and a first round bye in the playoffs. I asked senior captain Joe Clark for his thoughts about his team’s dominant regular season, “We’ve managed to do so well because of our strong defense, letting up the least amount of goals in the MIAA,” he explained. “Another thing we have over other teams is a strong bench. All twenty-five guys on the team contribute to our wins, and we substitute constantly in games. Our team has a lot of heart and great chemistry.” However, after defeating Calvert Hall in close games twice during the regular season, they were on the other side of that scenario when they played the Cardinals for a third time.
Next up is the surprising story of the VolleyGaels. The varsity volleyball team has reversed their fortunes from seasons past, improving their record to 12-4 as opposed to 6-12 from a season ago. The Gaels finished tied for third place in the MIAA and continued to look like a strong contender to compete in the championship. However, the team faced their biggest game since maybe their 2006 championship: a semi-final game against the undefeated Gilman Greyhounds. The Gaels took the first set, but would drop the next three, and witnessed the Greyhounds advance to the championship. Still, the VolleyGaels worked their tails off to finish with their best season since 2006.
The football team also saw a wealth of success this season. Senior quarterback Christian Carter finally gotten his chance to start, and made the most of it. During an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Carter mentioned how the spread offense has impacted the amount of points he and his offense can put on the board. “It’s very fast. That’s why we score so much. We move at a fast pace. Everybody is open. It gets people clicking,” he said to Sun reporter Tony Worgo. Another key story line was the team’s stellar defense throughout the course of the season. The defense limited opposing teams’ offenses to an average of 1 to 2 scores a game. I asked junior Ryan Gorman about how much of a difference the defense has made for the team this year, and he said, “Whenever our offense has been down, our defense has stepped up. But the same goes for the offense. When we’re down, we can count on the offense to step up.” Because of their loss to McDonough, the football team needed to win out against the two teams above them in the rankings in order to win the league. Unfortunately, the Gaels did not prevail, and finished in third place in the MIAA for the season.
Varsity cross country may be one of the least talked about sports in school, but Coach Turner sure knows what he is doing. I checked the MIAA website for the standings and was surprised to see the Gaels sitting atop the conference at 7-0. The team is comprised of seniors Alex Whittaker, Carter Williams, and Garrett Keidel, as well as juniors Hunter Petrik, Andrew Brinker, and sophomore Gabe Antone. Carter had this to say about his team’s under-the-radar season: “We don’t really mind that we’re an unnoticed sport. Our whole team has put in so much work. We’re all silent and hungry. We just go to the course, give it our all, and take care of business, and I think that shows in our record and performances we’ve had so far.” Their approach worked as the XC team won the MIAA championship, and the private school state championship.
I’m excited to report that we can look forward to more sports later this year to being contenders to win it all.
There is not much that needs to be said about basketball, but we can all expect them to finish near the top of the conference. I can honestly say that I believe no other school has more hype surrounding an individual sports team than we do for our basketball team. Look for the hype to increase as 4-star guard Darryl Morsell announced Wednesday afternoon that he has decided to commit to the University of Maryland. We saw the hype surrounding the basketball team increase immediately, as ‘Darryl Morsell’ was trending on twitter not even an hour after committing to the University of Maryland.
— TeamMeloBasketball (@Dwayne_Wise) November 2, 2016
It is my opinion that the indoor track team is very similar in terms of publicity to the cross country team. The indoor track team was the missing link in the clean sweep a year ago between indoor, outdoor, and cross country championships. With cross country already crowned victors, look for indoor to attempt to complete the second leg of the cycle.
The Tier-1 ice hockey team is also said to be contenders for the championship. While talking to senior Jay Davis, he reported, “We are definitely better than last year, and I expect to see us in the championship game.” Looks like we can add hockey onto the list of teams to contend for a title this school year.
Coach Spurrier led his outdoor track team to a 1st place finish in the spring last school year. Obviously the team will look to repeat as champions, with maybe a position to clinch the running sweep (with cross country and indoor track). Outdoor track is yet another team that does not get enough press for their success, but hopefully we can bring to light how successful the team has the potential to be.
Even though my opinions for the baseball team are even more biased than all of the previous paragraphs, I do believe that our baseball team can compete to win the championship in the spring. Comprised of fourteen returning players, most of whom obtained a wealth of experience a year ago,the team will look to win its first championship in thirteen years.
Although my initial prediction was that we’ll see six athletic teams win championships this school year, I still see the potential for a couple more in these next two sports seasons. I am very excited for what this year can bring. The best thing I can say is that we should get out to as many home sporting events as we can and cheer on our classmates during their seasons!