Softball eager to return to NCS

Softball+eager+to+return+to+NCS

Arman Tafazzoli, Andrew Evans, Eric Yee, Alec Bandler, and Sam Canter

Baseball

Head Coach: Chad Ross

2011-12 record: 15-3; second in NCS

Key Newcomers: Austin Chauvin, Sam Cabral

Key Returners: Nate D’Emilio, Adam Kimmel, Daniel DeFazio, Nick Allman

Key Losses: Thomas Peter, Kevin Farley

Many of the strong core players that brought the team tantalizingly close to beating De La Salle for the NCS championship last season, as well as a very talented set of new players and a new coach, should make this another good year for Cal.

Ross, who replaced Dan Ward, is very optimistic for this season, and thinks this team has a shot at the championship.

“[This] should be a solid team, with good pitching and defense,” said Ross.

Everyone seems hopeful about this team’s chances, but the Grizzlies do have big shoes to fill after suffering a heartbreaking loss to De La Salle in the finals.

But the team is showing promising signs early on by winning their first two games of the season, including a 7-1 victory over  Encinal on March 5.  Cal opens league play against  San Ramon Valley on March 20.

– Sam Canter

Track and Field

Head Coach: Mark Karbo

2011-2012 record: Girls 7-0, Boys 1-6

Key Returners: Madison Ricks, Kat Hupke, Brandy Bondoc Karris Johnson, Ian Anderson, Ben Lillig.

Key Newcomers: None

Key losses: Tori Edwards, Makenzie Stang, Caitlin Weber, David Pray, Grant Kinnee, Noel Frazier.

This year’s track and field teams are going to face some tough challenges, but they are confidant that they will succeed. Junior captain and high jumper Tyler Jachowski is confidant of that.

“There are a lot of new people,” said Jachowski, “This team has a lot of potential.”

Junior captain, sprinter, and pole vaulter Brandy Bondoc agreed.

“Both the boys and girls teams will challenge for the league championship this year,” said Karbo.

Despite the optimism, it is clear both the boys and girls teams have their work cut out for them. The boys have the challenge of recovering from last year’s less-than-stellar season, while the girls have to try to live up to the legacy of a perfect last season.

– Sam Canter

Swim and Dive

Head Coach: Danny Weber

Key Returners: Kali Conlon, Rolland Lee

Key Newcomers: Henry Sun, Isaac Breinyn

Key Losses: Toby Wong, Meghan van Raalte

After placing 14th in last year’s NCS championships, the swim team is determined to make an epic comeback.

Unfortunately, this will have to wait, as Cal’s first meet was a loss to Monte Vista.

“My goal for this year is to improve on last year and to start bringing Cal High toward the top of the league (EBAL and NCS),” said Weber, the team’s first-year coach.

Weber wants to start first by making sure Cal was ahead of the Pleasanton and Livermore schools (Amador Valley, Foothill, Livermore, Granada), and then have the team work its way up to beating the Danville and Concord schools (San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, De La Salle).

“Our new coach seems really determined in being here for the long haul, so he has been really pushing us,” said junior Gabe Costa.

Many returners have high hopes for this season.

“I believe we can be even stronger than before,” said Conlon, a senior. “I think that with the right mind set and dedication our team can take off and score more points than ever.

“I hope this year we can really take our knowledge and motivation for the sport to get us on a whole new level of success and get one step closer to the top,” she continued.

The team has good leadership from both the coaches and students. Elected team captains include senior Danielle Gerlach, Ellen Perfect, and Alyssa Motekaitis for the girls.  The boys captains are seniors Brett Melloch, Aditya Jalihal, Rolland Lee, and junior Drew Downs.

“A lot of our seniors and juniors have been very vocal about what we want,” Costa said.  “We are all sick and tired of losing to the same schools over and over again.

“Our hope is to build a stronger team and win EBAL,” he continued.  “We also want to set up a good foundation for all the future swimmers that will be competing for Cal.”

– Arman Tafazzoli

Men’s Golf 

Head Coach: Mike Pottinger

2012 Record: 4-12

Key Newcomers: None

Key Returners: Reid Souza, Michael Kelly

Key Losses: None

The men’s golf team is looking to improve after a disappointing 2012.  The team only won two matches in EBAL last year and wasn’t competitive in enough matches.

But the team has a lot to be hopeful for this season.  The majority of the team’s core players are back this year and their experience will pay dividends for the team this year.   Senior captains Reid Souza and Michael Kelly are the team’s leaders and top players.

“Our goals are to try to double our league wins from last year and go to the NCS qualifier as a team,” said Pottinger.

The Grizzlies opened the season by beating College Park and losing to Campolindo and Dublin in nonleague matches.  The team also finished 14th out of 22 schools at the Gambetta Invitational on March 4.

Cal (1-6, 0-4 EBAL) kicked off league play the next day by losing to Livermore, 205-213, at Wente Golf Course.  The Grizzlies also dropped a close one in its home opener, 227-229, on March 7.

– Alec Bandler

Men’s Volleyball

Head Coach: Courtney Whitaker

2012 Record: 21-14

Key Newcomers: The entire team

Key Returners: Ryan Jensen, Brandon Kurtz

Key Losses:  Chace Walsten, Craig Horlbeck

The men’s volleyball team is eager to improve after a very successful 2012 season. The team did very well last year, but ultimately lost to Mission San Jose in NCS.

The team opened up the season by splitting nonleague games against College Park and James Logan, which topped Cal in the third set.

The Grizzlies are 0-2 in EBAL after losing to Monte Vista on March 12 and to San Ramon Valley on March 14.

After losing numerous instrumental players to graduation, Cal will need to find success from various newcomers who make up the bulk of the team.

“Our goal is to win NCS and finish in the top three in the season,” said  Doug Xiques, a junior.

Xiques and senior Ryan Jensen are the team captains.

This year’s team is really young and they will endure growing pains, but as the season progresses, the team should improve and will hopefully make a push for NCS.

– Alec Bandler

Men’s Tennis 

Head Coach: Manny Vasquez

2012 Record: 15-4

Key Newcomer: Austin Fan

Key Returners: Ashwin Kumar, Mitchell Lum, Matt Soerhman

Key Losses: Aditya Mohan, Jonathan Stewart

After a rough start to the season, the tennis team has realed off four straight wins.

Currently at 5-3 overall, the tennis team has vastly improved in the past few weeks after a dismal 1-3 start.

A major 9-0 beating of Granada on March 12 proved the Grizllies are for real. The team followed up with a 6-3 win over Amador Valley two days later., where single match wins by junior Mitchell Lum and freshman Austin Fan helped the team win.

The Grizzlies lost 6-3 in a close match against San Ramon Valley on March 6. The highlight of the match was when senior doubles partners Ashwin Kumar and Varan Battu won their match.

“Our goal is to beat Monte Vista and work better as a team,” says junior Sai Alam. “We are working hard at each practice to win NCS.”

The team remains focussed on staying on track after a tough start.

– Eric Yee

Softball

Head Coach: Joe Callaway

2012 record: 16-10

Key Newcomers: Rachel Marchuck

Key Returners: Joelle Williams, Kwyn Cooper, Jessica Catson.

Key Losses: Taylor Duffy, Rebecca Jensen, Molly Martin

The softball team is going into the season with high hopes and the goal of reaching the NCS championships after falling a game short last season.

Cal lost to James Logan, 3-1, in the seminfals.

“One important game the team always looks forward to is against Amador Valley High School,” Callaway said of one of Cal’s big league rivals.

League play hasn’t started yet, but Cal did win its first scrimmage against Deer Valley with the help of senior Jessica Catson’s home run.

The first game was on March 14  in the Queen of the Mountain tournament, which the Grizzlies won.

The team expects to be red hot with help from leading pitcher  Lindsay Harris. The team goal is to make it back NCS and hopefully win it all.

“We don’t want to jump to conclusions on the season just yet,” said Callaway.

But the Grizzlies are still expecting great things from their team.

– Andrew Evans

Women’s Lacrosse

Head Coach: Rachael Martinez

Last year’s record: 14-8

Key Newcomers: Jordan Pandolfo, Morgan Taylor

Key Losses: Jen Price

Key Returners: Tori McHugh, Ari Barry, Amanda Emery, Rachel Lyall

After being beaten by Carondelet in NCS semifinals last year, the women’s lacrosse team is ready to return with a fiery vengeance.

Last year’s strong offensive team, led by the likes of Jen Price, scored 326 goals under coach Scott Corso, who has since retired.

This year, Cal could see much of the same, even with the recent coaching change.  Martinez was actually one of Corso’s players and helped lead Cal to an undefeated NCS championship season in 2007.  She also was the team’s first Division I player, attending UC Davis.

Martinez, and strong on-field leadership have this team out to a great 3-1 start. The only loss came to Amador Valley, in a game in which the Grizzlies seemed off from the start.

Despite that loss, the Grizzlies still have very high hopes for the season and a strategy to help them succeed.

“We move the ball quickly, and work hard,” said sophomore Haley Segelke.

Added junior co-captain Shannon Gray, “Of course we want to win NCS, and we plan to do that by just improving every single day in practice.”

– Arman Tafazzoli

Men’s Lacrosse

Head Coach: Mike Cincotta

Last year’s record: 10-10

Key Newcomers: Austin Anaya, Greg Light, Noah Bergman

Key Losses: Nick Proscia, Joe Abejian, Ryan Yamamoto

Cal is off to a blazing 4-1 start so far this season, putting the team on pace to really improve upon last year’s 10-10 record.

One of the biggest reasons the Grizzlies have performed so well this season is their defense. Only once this year have the Grizzlies given up more than five points to an opposing team. The only time was in their loss to Menlo-Atherton on Feb. 19. This was their first game.

“We want to win every game,” said head coach Mike Cincotta. “ We concentrate on one game at a time.”

After the Menlo game, Cal has done nothing but win. They have rattled off victories over Bella Vista, Justin-Siena, Clayton Valley, and Bishop O’Dowd.

Cal has outscored their opponents in that four game stretch a combined 47-17, a whopping 30 point differential. It’s safe to say that they are dominating opponents.

“I think this is the best potential the lacrosse team has had, ever, in Cal High history,” said sophomore Anthony Epshteyn.

Epshteyn could be right, because men’s lacrosse has never won an EBAL championship and this could be the year.

– Arman Tafazzoli