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Denebola » Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Jumpers support themselves http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/jumpers-support-themselves/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/jumpers-support-themselves/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:22:51 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5804 Most successful teams have one thing in common: a strong fanbase. South’s track team, however, finds success on the field without much support from the bleachers.

Junior high jumper Nicole Kestenberg, who ranked third in the State Invitational tournament last season, is not affected by the team’s lack of South student support.

“The Track team is actually really supportive – it’s enough [for me],” Kestenberg said.

She is not disappointed that fans are not showing up, but does think it would be nice if the sport got more publicity. “Some sports, events, and people need more fans and support from students, but I personally don’t feel that [it is] necessary for high jump,” Kestenberg said. “I guess I wish more people knew what [high jumping] was.”

Kestenberg expects the team to do well this season because the team, which was successful last season, graduated two seniors yet still has six returning jumpers.

“A lot has changed since last year for the entire team – we have a new coach so it’s really hard to say [how good we’ll be],” she said. “We do pretty well.”

Experience in high jumping is crucial to a winning team. According to Kestenberg, the high jumpers practice longer than most of the Track and Field events, and they spend most of the time bonding and perfecting their technique.

One of the encouraging aspects of the team is the support the jumpers give to each other. “During indoor, all the girls of every team were really supportive to one another. We’d all clap after individual jumps even if they missed,” Kestenberg said. This support has helped the team prosper even though it does not have a lot of fans from the student body.

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Volleyball smashes expectations, sets school records http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/volleyball-smashes-expectations-sets-school-records/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/volleyball-smashes-expectations-sets-school-records/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 07:05:44 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4996 After having one of its best seasons last year, the Girls’ Volleyball team earned both the best record (14-5) and the best tournament seed (fourth) in the history of the program.
In addition to setting school records, the team was ranked among the top 20 teams in the state for the entire season, despite the fact that it was undergoing a rebuilding year. The team’s slogan, “some wish for it, we work for it, explains this success.
The Lions closed out their regular season with a 3-2 win against Waltham High School. Having already clinched a spot in the playoffs, Head Coach Todd Elwell decided to use the game as a final chance to give bench players some playing time and to iron out the final kinks.
The team expected to be challenged by the other teams’ game plans and strategies in the tournament, so it benefited from Waltham’s unusual style of play.
“They were very unorthodox in that they would send the ball over in one or two touches. Your typical volleyball [game consists of] three touches on each side: pass, set, spike, Elwell said.
In the first round of South’s quest for a title, the Lions faced Chelsea High School, the second best team in its league, with an overall record under .500.
Knowing that Chelsea comes from a reportedly easier league than South’s, the Dual County League (DCL), Elwell used this game to keep the team prepared for the second round.
“It was nice playing on that Friday night, because it gave us a chance to play before some bigger games. Sometimes you get a bye and you don’t play for a week. You’ve been playing two or three games a week all season long and suddenly you take a week off and play your most important game of the tournament. That backfires on some teams, Elwell said.
At the end, it was clear that South overwhelmed Chelsea, winning in only three sets 25-3, 25-5, and 25-15.
Senior and Captain Isabelle Young had a great game, hitting eight of her 15 serves for aces and leading the team in kills. Junior Ariel Kaluzhny also served well, recording eight aces on the night.
South won its second round game against King Philip Regional High School, defeating King Philip 25-9, 25-21, and 25-22. Young once again led the team in aces (six) and was tied for the team lead in kills (six) with co-captain and senior Emily Shames.
“We were definitely ready for a harder match than we had played against Chelsea, Kaluzhny said. “I think we were all expecting [King Philip] to be really good, and we forced ourselves to play at our highest level; we really upheld that mentality through the whole game.
Elwell was confident coming into the Sectional semi-final game against Quincy High School, the same school that barely defeated South in last year’s Sectional finals.
“The word on the street was they’re good, but they’re not as good as last year’s team, so I knew we were in a good place statistically [and with our game plan], Elwell said. “I felt that as long as we play our game, we’ll be ok.
The Lions, however, had to face the challenge of playing their first away playoff game of the season.
The first two games were close until the end, but the Lions pulled away with victories of 25-20 and 25-22. However, after going up two games to none, the team changed its mentality and began losing points.
“The problem for us [was that] we were playing not scared, but tentative. We’re now saying as long as we don’t beat ourselves we should win, Elwell said. “We stopped putting the ball away with kills and we stopped serving aggressively.
Unfortunately for South, Quincy began playing better and better, increasing its efficiency with each game. South, however, could not recover from its altered mentality.
“After the first two sets, Isabelle Young said basically what she usually said after two sets, and that is, ‘ËœGirls, this is our game; we are doing so well and we just need to finish it off. We usually lose the third set because we have the first two already and we can’t do that now. This should be our best set of them all and we need to finish them off,’ junior Chloe Jackson-Unger said. “In all honesty I believed that we were going to go out strong and take it home, but the other team came out stronger and hungrier.
The Lions ended up dropping the last three sets with scores of 25-16, 25-21, and 15-9, ending championship hopes, despite winning eight postseason games of the 11 they played.
Although last year’s group of seniors was more experienced than this year’s contingent, many players have stepped up and have played as if they were seasoned veterans. Three juniors, Isabelle Groper, Ariel Kaluzhny, and Siobhan O’Flaherty, stood out as the ones who have gained the most experience.
“Those three kids, if you looked at them at week one you say ‘Ëœwell, whatever,’ and you looked at them the week before the State tournament you’re like ‘Ëœare those the same kids?’ Elwell said.
The team also benefited from the motivated mentality during practices, which has translated into success during games.
“Some of these girls, if you saw them in the hallway, you wouldn’t know they’re competitive because they are kind of quiet and shy and reserved, but when you get them out there and you start keeping score during a drill, they turn into animals, Elwell said. “We’re far more competitive in practice now than we ever were before. If you’re competitive in practice, and you go to a game, you know you’re going to be able to compete.
One important factor in a volleyball team’s success is having club players. Playing club volleyball keeps the players playing for a large part of the year, resulting in more consistent and higher-level play.
One club, Beantown Volleyball, is hosted in the South Fieldhouse, but has been only open to boys in the past. However, the club is now opening for girls, prompting 20 players to sign up in preparation for next season. Elwell believes going from zero to 20 club players will make a very large difference in the success of the team.
“We’re going to be in a whole different era, if that’s possible, for Newton South Volleyball, where kids come in with consistent attack efficiency or consistent serve efficiency, Elwell said. “Now we’ll finally be on an even playing field with [the teams with club volleyball players]. We’re the best non-club team in the state, no doubt about it.
Next year, juniors Tori Bryan, Jackson-Unger, and Michaela O’Flaherty will try to lead the team deep into the postseason, quenching their desires for a trophy.

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Volleyball serves up its best record http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/volleyball-serves-up-its-best-record/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/volleyball-serves-up-its-best-record/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 07:05:25 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4752 After only having one returning starter from last year’s team, many expected the South Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team to have a rebuilding year; however, the girls have proved the nonbelievers wrong and currently have the best record through the first 15 games in Head Coach Todd Elwell’s six-year tenure.
Last year, the South Girls’ Volleyball team went into the Sectional tournament knowing that it had a chance to capture a trophy. The sixth seeded team made it all the way to the finals only to suffer a last minute heartbreaking defeat to Quincy High School.
The team, holding a record of 12-4 and a clinched playoff berth, has surrendered Vanessa Gailius, a Dual County League All-Star for two years, to Division-I Loyola University and last year’s Denebola Athlete of the Year, Ally Leipzig, the leader in blocks for the past two years, to the University of Redlands. “You can’t replace Vanessa Gailius, who started [and] played club volleyball three years as a setter. That kid was invited to go to nationals on a club team, Elwell said.
However, the team has been able to overcome these impediments and currently has a better record than last year’s team at this point. As of October 24, the Girls’ team is ranked eighth in the state, while Elwell believes last year’s team would have been ranked 14 or 15.
“Each year just to strive to get better is all you can do, and it’s nice that we’re doing pretty well, senior and captain Emily Shames said.
The team also displayed its power in what Elwell considers its best game of the season against Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (A-B) on October 6. After winning the first set 25-20, South proceeded to lose the second set 18-25. South lost its composure in the third set, losing 12-25. Then, the Lions bounced back and won a close 26-24 fourth set. In the shortened last set, South won 19-17.
According to Elwell, South has not won a single game against A-B in at least his six years as coach. “Especially after Monday’s loss to Westford, that was a big win to beat A-B, Elwell said. This win proved this year’s South team has the desire and talent to win the Sectional finals even though it was expected to be a rebuilding season.
One of the reasons for the Volleyball team’s seemingly never-ending success is its mindset. “It’s probably been a signature of ours. We don’t get on the emotional rollercoaster. We don’t get really really happy and excited when we’re winning, and we don’t get really really down or upset when we’re losing. It allows us to play a little more even game, Elwell said. “This team believes in itself, therefore it is successful. There is a lot of power in positive thinking.
Even though it is important for the players on the court to keep their emotions under control, the bench has displayed incredible support of the team and is always audible during a match.
The team has lost many of its starters from last season. Six of the seniors on last year’s team were on Varsity for three years, resulting in last year’s team having a plethora of experience as opposed to this year’s team, which has only seven players with at least one year of previous experience.
Elwell is doing his best to erase the possibility of this repeating. “This year there are 17 or 18 kids involved with Varsity, which is more than I’ve ever had before. My hope is that the kids will become more competitive as they go from sophomores to juniors or juniors to seniors, Elwell said.
Several players have stepped up to push the team forward. According to Elwell, seniors Molly Silverman and Phoebe Huth have both been “on fire lately. “These kids didn’t play a lot last year on Varsity, but you wouldn’t know that this was their first time starting Varsity, Elwell said.
Junior Ariel Kaluzhny has also made an impact on the team. The Boston Globe named the libero one of the Girls’ Volleyball Players of the Week on October 11 for her performance against Medford when the team clinched a playoff berth. Kaluzhny had seven service aces and 15 digs in the victory. “[She has been] very important. It all starts with that first pass and to have an awesome libero is crucial to the team, Shames said.
There are some key differences between the 2009 team and the new 2010 squad. Elwell and the captains have pinpointed the mental aspect of the game and teamwork as being the main differences. “I think we are a different team than last year’s team. We are different people; we have different strengths and weaknesses. We have

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Football team attempts to tackle inexperience http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/football-team-attempts-to-tackle-inexperience/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/football-team-attempts-to-tackle-inexperience/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 07:05:53 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4612 With only five starters returning from last year’s squad, the Varsity Football team is trying grow and develop on the fly during the 2010 campaign.
“The team we have is a really young team, senior and captain Jeffery Alkins said. “Plenty of the kids have never played Varsity Football or a certain position before.
“I do believe all the kids are handling the new requirements and responsibilities asked of them well. I think everyone is doing their best for the advancement of the team, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
So far this season, the team’s youth and inexperience has become its biggest flaw. Offensive turnovers, in particular, have been a caveat, providing South’s opponent with confidence, momentum, and the possession of the ball.
In an effort to remedy and work through this problem, Head Coach Ted Dalicandro said that practice is focused on “sudden-change situations and ball handling.
The offensive line, with only one returning player from last year’s squad, is another element of the Football team that is continuing to develop. Senior Brandon Caldwell anchors and mentors those battling on the offensive side of the trenches, helping his fellow linemen transition to the fast pace of the Varsity game.
“[Caldwell] has done a great job of helping kids learn their roles and perfect their technique, Alkins said. “He’s an asset to the team and the line. I think the other kids feel really comfortable asking him questions and he has the experience and knowledge to answer them correctly.
Furthermore, some players have had to transition to completely new positions in on account of the team’s youth. Junior Reed May, for example, has made the unconventional switch from quarterback to cornerback. Senior and captain Jerrett Atkinson has been playing safety as opposed to his usual post at outside linebacker, and senior Grant Henderson has moved in from cornerback to linebacker. Sophomore Dan Flemming has started seeing some time on the offensive line, in addition to his usual work on the defensive line.
Another factor to consider in regards to the Football team’s drive for success is the health of Klumpp’s throwing shoulder. Klumpp broke his collarbone while playing lacrosse in the spring, and had the pin removed from his shoulder just weeks prior to opening day.
Klumpp is believed to be at full strength by his coach and fellow players, despite the short recovery time. Klumpp endured several hard hits during the opening game against Arlington on September 11 without leaving the game due to injury to that shoulder, cementing his end to the recovery.
“I’m not sure if [Klumpp] is fully recovered, Alkins said about his quarterback. “I do know regardless of how his body may feel, he will always go out there and give his all.
Despite the injury, Klumpp has been able to develop enough timing and chemistry with his receivers to perform effectively, according to Caldwell and classmate and captain Ty McGarry.
“I think [Klumpp is] an amazing quarterback. I’m not sure how much time he has had to develop chemistry with his receivers, Alkins said, “But part of being a good [quaterback] is knowing your receivers, how fast they run, what kind of passes they usually catch or catch well, and I think  he just does a great job of doing that, placing the ball in the perfect spot frequently.
There are some bright spots for the Lions, as the program contains raw talent ready to be cultivated. Junior Mike Forman recorded South’s lone score, a 40-yard touchdown run, in a game on September 16. Forman is putting up impressive numbers with 125 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards in the first two games.
Sophomore Dan Flemming is also having a good year for the Lions. In his second year of Varsity football, Flemming is drawing praise from his coach, who called him “one of the best lineman in the league [who is] difficult to block and has to be double-teamed.
Many of the players of the team believe that chemistry is the team’s biggest strength. Last season, most people predicted a very good season for the Lions, but due to a lack of chemistry, the team ended up with a record of 3-8. “In the past years we’ve been on a team, but we weren’t exactly one team, Alkins said of the program’s past.
In addition to the team chemistry, Alkins sees more of the team’s strengths. “Well firstly I think the one thing we have going for us is our speed. We have linemen who are faster than some of the backs in the [Dual County League], he said.  “Plus our backs are a great combination of power and speed, forming a dynamic threat.
“Yes, players are going to be tired; yes, some players haven’t had to play Varsity Football before, but I see it as a time to rebuild.
The senior and captain sees the 2010 season as a chance to take the inexperienced team to a new, extremely competitive level.
“We now have the opportunity to mold the [South] Football team into the team every young football team dreams of being on, he said. “Not necessarily the team that wins every game, but rather the team that is going to play hard all game, every game and remain a team regardless of the score at the end of the day. None of the problems we have now are too big to be fixed, which is a comforting feeling.

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Ageless Athletes: Joseph Scozzaro http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/ageless-athletes-joseph-scozzaro/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/ageless-athletes-joseph-scozzaro/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 07:02:00 +0000 Ray Flint http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4623 Joseph “Scozzy Scozzaro has been teaching English at Newton South for eight years. He is known around school for his sarcastic sense of humor and for taking months to grade even the shortest assignments, but Scozzy is more than an English teacher.
Scozzaro began coaching at South in 2004, first for the Boys’ Baseball team at the freshmen level, and now currently for the Girls’ Freshman Basketball team. While many students are aware that Scozzaro is an avid sports fan, his personal accomplishments as a high school athlete have gone surprisingly unnoticed.
Scozzaro was born in Wilmington, Massachusetts, but he moved to Miramar, Florida at the age of 10. Scozzaro played baseball and soccer for Miramar High School in Florida.
Scozzaro started off his high school sports career on the Boys’ Soccer team, on which he played during his freshman and sophomore years. However, Scozzaro stopped playing soccer and picked up baseball later in his sophomore year, playing until the end of his high school career.
“I remember soccer [having] a lot of guys, and not everybody played and started, and I definitely didn’t play and start, so that’s probably why I quit. I did play and start in baseball so I stuck with that, Scozzaro said.
During his three-year Varsity career, Scozzaro had a batting average of over .300 during one season, a very difficult accomplishment.
Despite his impressive batting average, Scozzaro found himself playing on the Junior Varsity team after a controversial demotion from the Varsity squad one month into his sophomore season.
“After hitting a triple, Scozzaro said of the incident that led to his demotion, “I thought the coach gave the squeeze play sign, so I stole home. The batter didn’t show bunt and I was tagged out. The coach went ballistic and screamed at me for like 20 minutes in the dugout. It was pretty humiliating.
The coach was fired after the school year, and according to Scozzaro, “It all worked out in the end.
Scozzaro’s athletic career did not end high school, however. He played intramural flag football in college. However, after graduating from college, Scozzaro made another switch in his athletic career.
“I started basketball. I played when I was really little, but then I really got into it again when I was working in New York City and I coached, he said. “I was assistant coach for a Varsity team, and that’s when I started playing a lot. We had maybe 11 guys on the team and so to make the numbers even I often played in practice, and so that’s when I realized that it’s a great game.
He has continued to fuel his love for basketball for the past seven years by playing on the faculty team every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the morning at South.
However, playing only three days a week is not enough for the incredibly athletic English teacher. Scozzaro is currently training for the half-marathon, which he has run for the past two years. He runs several miles three times a week to work his way up to the 13.1-mile race.
“I was very proud to finish the half-marathon the first two times, because I thought I was going to die, Scozzaro said with his typical hint of sarcasm.
Scozzaro has shared his love for athletics with his family, and specifically his two kids. “They go running with me, they really like to go on the jogs, he said. “The only thing I don’t like is that they make it really hard because they’re heavy and I have to push them up hill, but they like going on runs.
Earlier in his life, Scozzaro had worked as a counselor for a camp in Switzerland. It is at this camp where one of Scozzaro’s proudest athletic moments occurred.
“We had a men’s league soccer team, and we were pretty good, and I was the keeper [or goalie], and I made a bunch of really good saves and that was kind of cool, he said.
Scozzaro’s passion for sports is never-ending; he is constantly looking for new sports to try and to pick back up.
“I would like to join a baseball team, but it’s hard to find adult baseball teams, Scozzaro said. “There is [a softball team] in my town, but I think I would like to play baseball again, not softball.

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Denebola Athlete of the Year: Ally Leipzig http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/denebola-athlete-of-the-year-ally-leipzig/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/denebola-athlete-of-the-year-ally-leipzig/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 06:08:20 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4585 Few people can successfully play three high school Varsity sports while having a positive effect on all of them. During her Newton South career, Ally Leipzig made a name for herself on the Varsity Girls’ Volleyball, Girls’ Basketball, and Girls’ Lacrosse teams.

Even though she started playing volleyball as a sophomore, Leipzig was called up to the Varsity team during her first season. She had an immediate impact and never turned back.

In her three years on the team, she recorded 136 kills, 72 block stops, and 131 block assists. In her junior and senior years, Leipzig led the team in blocking, a demonstration of her value to the team.

Even though Leipzig is not an overwhelmingly tall athlete, she compensates with her mind. Her volleyball “IQ is one of the factors that make her an exceptionally good athlete.

“She will beat you with her brilliance. She’s not some sort of volleyball specimen physically, she is a good volleyball player, but she is great because of what she does with her skills, Elwell said. “Her mind is the most powerful thing she has. Her brain makes her extremely valuable, no matter how short, or tall, or quick, or fast.

During a match against the cross-town rival Newton North Tigers, Leipzig had possibly her best performance on the volleyball court.

Although she had numerous friends on the opposing team, she did not fold under the pressure. According to Elwell, Leipzig remained composed in tense situations throughout her career.

Part of her mental strength was her analysis of the ball in play. Leipzig showed exceptional mental power when analyzing the ball’s motion and velocity. “She has really good timing. In volleyball, you have to look for the kids with great timing, Elwell said.

Leipzig was also a leader, even though she was not a volleyball captain. “Ally never needed a title, she was who she was, and she was going to lead by example, Elwell said.

Leipzig’s personality matches her game mentality, as she is very helpful and easy to work with, making her a favorite among teammates.

“Ally is very reliable. She adapts really well to every situation and she is so easy to work with. She knows the game and she is so willing to share her knowledge with her peers, senior Vanessa Gailius said.

Leipzig was a productive volleyball player because of her mentality, which Elwell described as “intense and “relentlessly positive.

Leipzig maintained the same focus and dedication in the winter and spring that she had in the fall each year. In lacrosse, for example, her coaches and teammates considered her a tremendous competitor.

“She doesn’t let the score affect her play. Even if we are down by a significant number of goals, and there was no chance for a comeback, she would still be giving it her all. She is a grounded young woman, Girls’ Lacrosse Coach Katie Neal said. “Her ability to maintain composure despite pressure, physical exhaustion, weather conditions, or the score [were her most valuable assets].

Leipzig also showed great versatility throughout her lacrosse career. “She was able to play any position on the field, so I moved her around often depending on where we needed help, Neal said. This advantage helped South in tough situations when certain player-on-player matchups weren’t working out for the team.

Her mentality and versatility resulted in her getting the 110 Percent Award and the team Most Valuable Player award, in addition to being named a Dual County League All-Star each season this year.

In basketball, Leipzig also displayed her versatility. “She could stop any player: a point guard, a center. She was just one of those players, one of those special, unique players, Coach Sam Doner said.

Leipzig consistently displayed commitment to the basketball court and to the team. “[Commitment] is a stat that nobody ever puts on paper, which is a shame. She’s a true team player, the ultimate player, Doner said. “Everyone always talks about how many points you have or how many rebounds or steals, but they don’t understand that the game is not about the points or rebounds or steals. The game is about everything else and [she does] everything else.

According to Doner, Leipzig’s best game was the first playoff game of her junior year, in which she single-handedly stopped the Needham Rockets’ Christine Ganser, who is slated to attend Holy Cross next year. For all of her efforts, Leipzig received the Girl’s Basketball 110 Percent Award during her senior year.

Leipzig was recently recognized by the school as well. At the Senior Awards ceremony, Leipzig was awarded the Betty Sabetti award. This annual award commemorates the second best female athlete in the entire senior class.

Leipzig will continue her legacy at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, a NCAA Division-III school, where she will play either basketball or lacrosse.

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Baseball ends five year drought, aims for home field advantage http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/baseball-ends-five-year-drought-aims-for-home-field-advantage/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/baseball-ends-five-year-drought-aims-for-home-field-advantage/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 06:02:39 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4322 After opening the season with five straight wins, including a walk-off victory against cross-town rival Newton North Tigers, the Varsity Baseball team has earned a spot in the state tournament and is vying for home field advantage.

The Lions clinched a tournament berth with a win over Tyngsboro High School on May 10, marking the first time that Newton South has earned a tournament spot since the 2005 season.

“I feel great because we haven’t been able to make states the past couple years, senior Tevin Osbourne said. “We have a lot of confidence, heart, fate, and determination.

In addition to securing a spot in the playoffs, the Lions recently won the Strike-Out Colon Cancer Tournament, which took place over Mother’s Day weekend.

In order to achieve this feat, the team defeated both Revere High School and Malden High School, despite unseasonably cold weather and high winds.

The Lions have participated in their fair share of close games, especially against the top teams in the league.
“We have had a pattern so far this season: the first game we blew out a team, then we came from behind [to win], then [we] won a close one, senior Sam Hyun said. “That pattern has continued so far through the entire season.

So far this season, South came up short against Lincoln-Sudbury in its first meeting, and was blown out by Acton-Boxborough.

Even though the Lions have a winning percentage over .500, the team is still upset about its losses.

“In our first loss against [Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School (L-S)] we had a few mental lapses in the field, and didn’t have a good offensive approach against one of the best pitchers in the state, Hyun said. “The other day against Arlington it was the same story but we couldn’t capitalize when we had numerous chances offensively.

This year’s Lions have the advantage of fielding experienced players who have made their presence known among the best in the state.

The speed and power offensively, combined with range and a strong arm, makes senior Willie Allen an invaluable asset in the middle of the order and in center field.

Despite being in his first year in the Baseball program, senior Taylor Briner has been the catalyst on offense, reaching base safely consistently throughout the season.

There have been times, however, when the offense has resorted to impatient hitting at the plate, a tendency that has hurt the team in the win column.

“The team has sometimes gotten away from our team philosophy of making the [opposing] pitcher work, Head Coach Ron Jordan said. “In the last few games we have started to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, and we are working to fix that in practice.

When push comes to shove, however, the Baseball team has proven it can grind out a victory. Its resiliency has led to three victories on the last at-bat of the game. This, and clutch pitching and defense, have been the difference-makers this season.

Even though offense has been mainly responsible for coming from behind and winning several games, Jordan agrees with the principle, “defense is the best offense.

“Defense and pitching will win you more games than anything else, so we spend the majority of practice time working on this part of our game, he said.

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Boys’ Tennis looks to smash competition http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/boys-tennis-looks-to-smash-competition/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/boys-tennis-looks-to-smash-competition/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:35:36 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4240 The Boys’ Tennis team is focusing on maintaining team chemistry and developing its talent after a first-round loss in the postseason last year. The Lions will rely on a younger crop of athletes in order to continue the Tennis program’s winning ways.

According to Head Coach Patrick McFarland, losing in the opening round of the tournament cannot be the only consideration when evaluating the success of a team with a 12-4 record a year ago.

“You gauge your success by comparing what you do and what you are capable of, McFarland said. “You can win and fail, and you can lose and be a success. South hopes the latter proves true for this year’s squad, after a bitter and abrupt ending to the 2009 campaign.

With a heartbreaking score of 3-2, St. John’s Preparatory School ended South’s season in the final set of the last match last May.

Losses by South’s top doubles team and second best singles player served as critical victories for the Eagles of St. John’s Prep.

During the final match of 2009, the Tennis team received major contributions from the doubles tandem of graduates Jon Ostrowsky and Nate Simon. The absence of the two players’ clutch performances and experience opens up new voids for the Tennis squad.

All three captains for the 2010 season possess playoff experience. In fact, senior Mark Garrity ousted St. John’s Prep’s third best singles player during the match. Junior Tyler Epstein was narrowly defeated by Prep’s top singles player, splitting the first two sets, and then losing the final by a score of 7-6.

Aside from the unfortunate exit from the tournament, the Tennis team can say that some of its players gained invaluable experience.
“[Tournament experience] can teach the other players how to better face [difficult] situations, and it has boosted our confidence for the future, senior Alan Shkolnikov said.

While the loss resonates within the minds of returning players, McFarland has wiped the slate clean in preparation for this year.
“We miss [last year's seniors], but we’re starting over; it’s a brand new season, McFarland said. “Every year is a new thing.

The Concord-Carlisle (C-C) Patriots, the most formidable opponent in on the Tennis team’s schedule, cannot say the same.

The Patriots are looking to for a third consecutive championship, having won back-to-back Division-I State titles in 2008 and 2009. During the run, C-C has a combined record of 36-0.

The Lions struggled against C-C last season, losing both times the schools met, with scores of 5-0 and 4-1.

According to McFarland, however, C-C will be more vulnerable this year than in recent seasons.

The South Tennis team’s dual-threat of both depth and talent lead Garrity to believe that the Lions are capable of snapping the Patriots’ undefeated streak.

“I think we can beat anyone in our league, he said.

“We have a very deep team with loads of ability and enthusiasm.

Atop the depth charts sit the team’s three captains, who hope to benefit from last season’s experiences.

Epstein now ranks among the top 15 players in the state, and with another year under his belt, Garrity looks to improve a 12-2 record last season.

Junior Aaron Belowich leads South’s top doubles tandem this year, and should be a threat to opponents throughout the season.

The younger, less experienced players will not only benefit from the tangible success of their captains, but will also profit from being subject to model, high-level tennis players.

“The captains are role models and leaders for the younger players, and they bring energy and commitment, both on and off the court, Shkolnikov said. “[Younger players] can learn a lot by watching the older guys in match play and in practices, and can take a lot out of this experience.

The captains are very much aware of their impact on their teammates, and aim to convey the reasons for their continuing success.
“[Garrity, Belowich, and I] are trying our best to be leaders on and off the court for the team this year, Epstein said.

To account for the departed players from last year’s Boys’ Tennis team, many players have been promoted from the Junior Varsity level, with sophomore Jonah Schwartz as the frontrunner of his class.

In addition to Schwartz, Shkolnikov, and junior Curtis Robbins will be relied upon to fill the voids of the graduates.

South will benefit greatly from the contributions of Adam Kalowski, who is returning from an injury that sidelined him after just a couple matches, but is expected to be a threat to opposing teams.

The Boys’ Tennis team has entered into the season expecting to serve up a good fight, and has worked throughout the offseason to improve.
“We feel that our hard work in the preseason is going to make a difference in the matches, Epstein said.

South swept a preseason match against Newton North, and hopes that the winning ways become a year-long trend.

The Boys’ Tennis team will face Wayland High School today in its first regular season match of the 2010 campaign.

Only time will reveal, however, whether this year’s Tennis squad has the talent and skill to beat the likes of C-C.

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Slew of seniors strive for tournament berth http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/slew-of-seniors-strive-for-tournament-berth/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/slew-of-seniors-strive-for-tournament-berth/#comments Thu, 25 Mar 2010 00:53:47 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3877 With the bitter ending of last season still raw in the minds of eight of this year’s nine starters, the 2010 Varsity Baseball team expects that its experience will help extend its season deep into the postseason.

With just six outs left from qualifying for last year’s state tournament, the team blew a four-run lead. “The entire program and I were very disappointed, Baseball coach Ronald Jordan said.

The team is poised to make a serious fight for the state championship. With five pitchers on the staff having varsity experience, and a lineup almost completely composed of returning players, the 2010 squad is the most talented in recent years. According to Jordan, the depth positions his team as the strongest he has coached in his tenure. “This team will have fierce competition for playing time up and down the lineup, he said.

The team’s experience offers more benefits than just talent. “I think that playing with a number of returning players is a huge advantage for our team, senior Sam Forman said. “Instead of taking the first few weeks to familiarize ourselves with each other, we can start improving right away from where we were last year.

Senior Scott Lueders and junior Alex Foner want to emphasize that it takes a belief in their coach, as well as talent, to win.

“If kids aren’t following [coach Ron Jordan's methods], I’ll say something to them and make sure that they buy into it, because that’s the only way we can be successful, Foner said. “There’s no other way to make the tournament or win games.

Mental preparation, focus, and toughness have been a major problem in the past, but the veterans on the team know that these impediments will not lead to success.

“We just sort of complained but this year we’re leaving that all in the past and we’re going to go out there and do our thing, control what we can control, and work hard, Lueders said. “Now we’re ready to actually do something.

The Lions don’t have very many problems besides the mental aspect of the game. Depth in the lineup, with sluggers Forman, Lueders, and senior Tevin Osbourne, coupled with a pitching staff headed by senior Sam Hyun’s strong arm, are the foundation of the Baseball team’s success.

“We’re getting a great top of the lineup with Tevin Osbourne back this year, which is huge because he can hit and run with the best of them, Lueders said. “We had a few players do well, like Willie Allen at the plate, Sam Forman pitching, and Alex Foner stepping up at second base, but we need the other six starters to put it together this year.

Allen, Forman, and Lueders were all Dual County League (DCL) All-Stars last season and should provide a boost to the team.

According to Jordan, Allen was ranked among the top hitters in the DCL and Lueders was considered one of the top defensive catchers a year ago.

The coaching staff has not settled for just raw talent, and hopes to perfect its team’s skills. Additions to daily practice regimens will keep South’s players in good physical condition.

The coaches are focused on improving throughout the season so that the team can play its best baseball going into the playoffs. The staff divided the season into quarters, and at the end of each division, the team will use a newly developed grading system to evaluate its progress.

During Jordan’s three-year tenure as head coach, the Baseball program’s pitchers have struggled with accuracy. The amount of walks that the team has surrendered has decreased each season. Last year, the team allowed 92 walks, roughly 40-percent of which came from graduated players.

“I do expect the number [of walks] to drop sharply, Jordan said. Hyun has a history for surrendering walks, but has worked hard over the offseason to refine his mechanics.

According to both Jordan and Forman, the team’s defense has been consistently good and should not be a problem.

However, there are some new players that may affect the flow of the defense. The departure of two starting outfielders leaves a void that two players inexperienced at the position must fill. To ease the transition, Jordan selected athletic players to switch their positions.

The high-powered South offense will be complimented by speed on the basepaths. Senior Chris Lewis and classmate Willie Allen are two of the most skilled baserunners. Last season, the Baseball team procured a staggering 40 steals in 45 attempts.

In 2009, injuries and other issues sidelined key players, which played as a significant detriment to the team. The Lions have learned through experience that they will be faced with adversity, and will need to overcome it in order to reach their ultimate goal.

“We need to be able to overcome anything thrown our way, Lueders said.

The consensus around South is that the Varsity Baseball team will advance to the playoffs. The question that remains is whether the squad has what it takes to hoist a State Championship banner onto the Field House wall.

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Turetsky to rank with greats http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/turetsky-to-rank-with-greats/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/turetsky-to-rank-with-greats/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:58:08 +0000 Daniel Kats http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3884 There may be two singlets in the Field House lobby by this time next year. Junior Gabe Turetsky is on pace to break the school Wrestling team’s career wins record.

At the moment, the record stands at 129 wins. Turetsky currently has 94, just 35 shy of tying the record. This deficit may seem like a large gap, but Turutsky garnered 36 wins this winter.

“[Breaking the record] can be easily done, Turetsky said.

Turetsky experienced some problems during All-States, where he won one match and lost two. “I had one of those unlucky days, he said.

Despite his falter at All- States, he still qualified for Nationals, which took place on Tuesday in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Turetsky, a first time participant at All-States, worked hard to improve from his freshman season two years ago.

Regardless of his near perfect results, he is still trying to improve.

“He walked up to me last week and said he’s already started training for next year, Wrestling Coach Alan Rotatori said. “He’s not just wrestling, he’s applying cardio training, flexibility, and stuff like that [to his training regimen].

Turetsky ranked among the top wrestlers on the team in wins in 2010.

He and junior Albert Chang held the team-high 16 wins during the regular season. Turetsky, however, suffered only one loss, compared to Chang’s two.

Including tournaments, Turetsky finished at 36-9, and was one of two wrestlers to break 25 wins, with the other being Chang. Turetsky also led the team in first takedowns (31), tournament wins (12), and State Tournament wins (4).

In tournaments, Turetsky has placed first once, second twice, third once, and fourth once. During the season, he was named “Outstanding Wrestler of three meets.

Due to his stellar performance, Turetsky received recognition from the league and was named a Second Team Dual County League All-Star.

He was also named team MVP for the second year in a row, and a captain for the upcoming 2011 season. According to Rotatori, there has never been a three-peat in his 21 years during his tenure as South’s coach.

Rotatori believes that Turetsky will be able to surmount the record during his senior season.

Turetsky has many strengths that have led to his strong performances. “He works out every morning before school, and then again sometime after school. He also goes to two wrestling clubs, varsity captain and senior Tamir Zinger said.

Along with being in top physical condition, he also has a great mental outlook on his performance.

“His main strength is his work ethic; he is the hardest working kid we’ve had on the team, Rotatori said.

“[He is] almost always a guaranteed win. We can always count on him, Zinger said. “[He has] crazy Russian throws that are very high risk but if done well, are match-winning moves.

Regardless of whether Turetsky breaks the record, he will be regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the school’s history.

“I would never replace [the current singlet], Rotatori said. “If we feel that he wants to retire his singlet, then we will do it the same way, and maybe have it up right next to the other one.

“[In all of] the years that I’ve been coaching, 21 years, I’ve had one kid break 100, that’s the singlet up there. He’s definitely [one of] the top 15 best wrestlers the program has seen, he said.

Turetsky plans on continuing his wrestling career in college. According to Rotatori, he has a lot of potential and has a very bright future in wrestling.

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