Grizzlies having some NCS success

by John Sexton, sports editor

With no time left on the clock in the first half of the NCS women’s lacrosse semifinals, Carondelet attacker Cali Castagnola scored to cap a 5-0 Cougar run.

The goal sealed the victory for the Cougars, as Cal couldn’t win enough draws after goals to keep up in the second half. Top-seeded Carondelet won the semifinal matchup 13-6 on May 23 against the No. 4 Grizzlies at Diablo Vista Middle School.

Coach Scott Corso implemented a game plan that ran plays Carondelet hadn’t seen before.  It worked early on when Cal opened a 3-0 lead before the Cougars’ run.

After the game, Corso was proud of his team. He said the game plan was “executed to the T.”

“We did it for the first eight minutes, but couldn’t do it for the rest of the game,” said Corso, who  coached his final game for Cal. “I’m proud of this season, our team, and our program.”

The Grizzlies defeated Acalanes 16-12 in the quarterfinals on May 18.

Scoring had not been a problem for ladies this season. Their 326 goals was second only to Carondelet’s 398, yet no one player on the team held a scoring record.

Track and Field

For the first time in four years, the ladies didn’t win the EBAL championship.

After going undefeated in league tri-meets during this impressive four-year stretch, the ladies unfortunately did not claim another title when they lost to San Ramon Valley at the EBAL championships.

Cal’s ladies came in third this season, but this doesn’t take away from their amazing run. Almost four straight years of nothing but wins is incredible.

“We worked really hard this year,” said senior Molly Walker, who runs the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. “Hopefully we will have enought momentum to carry us through NCS.”

Cal had six individuals and a relay team qualify for NCS by placing in the top seven at the Tri-Valley Regionals on May 19 at Granada High.

Senior Tori Edwards won the 300 hurdles and sophomore Madison Ricks took first in the 800 meters.

Senior Noel Frazier, who has been one of the bright spots for the boys’ team all season, won the high jump and remains among the nation’s best.

Junior Kat Hupke qualified in three events: 4th in 200, 6th in100; and 5th in 400 relay with juniors Marisa Rodrigues, Amanda Alfaro and Courtney Glickman.

Rodrigues also placed 7th in the 100.  Other NCS qualifiers included senior Grant Kinee, 7th in 300 hurdles; senior Makenzie Stang, 7th in pole vault; and freshman Lillianna Hebert, 6th in high jump.

          – Luke Finkel

Baseball

The Grizzlies avenged last season’s disappointing first round playoff loss to Bishop O’Dowd by beating the Dragons 8-4 on Thursday in the opening round of NCS.

Cal (13-12) advanced to the quarterfinals on Saturday at No.2 Deer Valley.  Results were not available before The Californian went to press.

The No. 10 seeded Grizzlies upset No. 7 Bishop O’Dowd behind the bat of junior Daniel DeFazio, who had three hits and two RBI.  Junior Nathan D’Emilio also pitched four strong innings, allowing only one earned run while striking out five batters.

The playoff win helped Cal reverse its fortunes from the end of the season in which the team lost four of their last five games.  Cal finished the regular season 8-6 in league after a 5-2 loss to De La Salle in the season finale.

“Pitching is our key to success,” said junior Sean Jenkins. “We just want to keep playing the game we’ve played all season.”

The Grizzlies boast one of the league’s best pitchers in D’Emilio. His 1.47 ERA and four wins are among the best in the league. Senior Thomas Peter holds a league-best .492 batting average.

But the team remains more focused on the big picture.

“We want to achieve our season-long goal of winning the NCS,” said DeFazio.

– Eric Yee

Softball

The Grizzlies achieved their goal of heading back to the playoffs after finishing with an 8-6 EBAL record, 15-9 overall.

The team placed third in league and claimed the sixth seed heading into the NCS, where the ladies faced No. 3 Heritage last Friday. Results were not available when The Californian went to press.

The ladies ended the regular season on a five-game losing streak, capped by a 2-0 loss to rival Carondelet.

– Eric Yee

Men’s Tennis

The men’s tennis team had a good season in spite of their lack of success in NCS.

The team didn’t have a player qualify to compete in the NCS Singles Championships, but seniors Adhitya Mohan and Jonathan Stewart played as a doubles team in the NCS Doubles Championships.  They won their first two rounds, but ultimately fell short and lost in the semifinals.

In the NCS Team Championships, Cal entered as the sixth seed in the tournament.  In their first round match Cal dominated Northgate 6-1, but the Grizzlies struggled in its second round match to Campolindo, losing 5-2.

In spite of not making a deeper NCS run, the team had a nice season, placing second in EBAL and finishing with an overall record of 16-5.

“We had a really good season,” said junior Kyle O’Rourke.  “We played well as a team.”
– Alec Bandler

Men’s Volleyball

The men’s volleyball team had a tough end of the season.

Prior to their end of the season slide, Cal defeated Granada in three sets on April 26 and topped a tough Amador Valley team on May 1.  The team also earned another key victory over Foothill on May 3.

But the team ended the season on a poor note, losing games to Monte Vista on May 8 and first place De La Salle on May 10.

Cal finished third in EBAL at 9-5 in league, 19-11 overall.

In spite of the losses, the team felt like they could do damage in NCS despite being the sixth seed. The team dominated Berkeley in the first round 3-0 on May 16, but lost to Mission San Jose in the second round.

“We really wanted to play Mission San Jose because we lost to them last year,” said senior Chace Walsten.

The game was close, but unfortunately the team lost in four games on May 18.

“Volleyball is a game of inches, and we came up on the losing side against Mission San Jose,” said coach Joel Davidson.

        – Alec Bandler

Men’s Golf

Junior Michael Kelly, and sophomores Ian Rodgers and Reid Souza represented Cal at the NCS Qualifier at Monarch Bay in San Leandro on May  7, but none advanced to the championships.

Kelly led the charge for the Grizzlies by shooting 79,  which was four strokes better than Rodgers and Souza’s 83s.

“We were a lot better than last year,” said Kelly. “We stayed very competitive.”

          – Luke Finkel

        Swim & Dive

Eleven swimmers and two divers represented Cal at NCS on May 17.

Freshman Aileen Lee had the best finish, placing fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke. Her time of 1:03.28 qualified for an All-American time.

Junior Kali Conlon won the 50 freestyle in the EBAL championships and advanced to NCS.  Junior Rolland Lee also performed well in the 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, and as part of the 200 free relay.

Sophomores Ashton DeLano and Jake Jernigan finished 23rd and 26th, respectively, for the dive team.

– John Sexton

Men’s Lacrosse

A .500 record was good enough for the team this season, but not good enough for NCS.

After early successes in non-league games, the team faltered in league play.

The team finished the season on a three-game losing streak, falling to Foothill , Monte Vista and to De La Salle.

– John Sexton