By Chloe Lau and Sage Christensen
Caption: The Boys Varsity Soccer captains, Etka Ayhan ‘22 and Geroge Gan ‘22 (middle two), give a pep talk to the team before the match.
Under the afternoon sun last Wednesday, the hard work of our Blair athletes for the past few weeks paid off: cheers filled the air as all three teams declared victory.
At the tennis courts, Blair’s Varsity Girls’ Tennis Team finished with an excellent 4-1 score against Kinnelon. Heading back to school five days early for preseason, they have been tirelessly preparing for the upcoming matches. “We started [Pre-Season] with practices every day, as well as overall fitness training,” said Kaitlyn Zachareas ‘23, a member of Varsity Girls Tennis. “Another fun part was our sleepover where we all bonded more as a team.” When asked what she thinks played a key part in their win, Rosy Sun ‘23, who played in the second doubles, emphasized the strong team spirit. “Last year, we didn’t need morale as much [as there was no official season due to Covid-19], but this year it is so much more important,” Rosy said.
The team’s synergy was clear to any spectators whether they were on or off the courts. The girls tennis captain, Katie Schultz ‘22, believed the care between teammates was well reflected in the match, “The proudest moment was watching the girls support each other during our first match.” She said: “Our goals for the season are to work hard, focus on playing our hardest, and team support!”
Caption: The Girls Varsity Tennis team cheers before the game.
Meanwhile, on the turf, the Girls Varsity Field Hockey quickly gained a huge lead over Sparta, ultimately scoring a whopping 8-0. “This year, I think we’re all hungry for a winning season,” said Ella Gaitan ‘24, who has been playing field hockey competitively for five years. “Being with the team has become the best part of my day because of how close we’ve gotten. We always have each other’s backs and have so much fun on the field,” Ella mentioned.
One of the girls’ field hockey captains, Aitalia Sharpe ‘22, felt positive about the team’s achievements so far. “A good amount of the team were new students, many having not played on varsity before…Considering we’ve only been playing for the past week, winning this first match is one of the best moments of the team.” Another player in the game, Bella Conway ‘23, also expressed her gratification afterward. “I feel that our team gave it our all,” she said.
Caption: Ella Gaitain ‘24 (middle) dribbles the ball around the other team during the field hockey match.
At the end of the day, the Varsity Boys Soccer team secured the third victory on the Blair field with a nail-biting score of 3-2, scoring the winning goal in the last fifteen minutes. The captains, Etka Ayhan ‘22 and George Gan ‘22, agreed that it was a close game but felt resolute in their team’s ability and chemistry, crediting their preseason practices. “The team bonded really well during preseason, so we came out of it with pretty high spirits,” George said. “It was a huge reason why we were able to play so well today.” Looking ahead to future matches, Etka added, “This season was more fitness and soccer-technicality based. Considering this was our first game, I’m extremely excited for what has to come.”
Besides returners, new soccer players treasure the close relationships within the group as well. “Although I’ve just been here for two weeks practicing, I think they are great people,” said Marc Riera ‘22, who joined the team this year. “Blair is more of a brotherhood than other high school teams in general,” said Evan Chomow ‘24, the new goalkeeper. “There’s definitely a positive vibe on the team, especially on the field. Once we get more into the season, we’re gonna be very good, especially when we get to know each other so well.” (Side note: The soccer team also wishes Amos Debah ‘23 a speedy recovery from his concussion during the game.)
Caption: Etka Ayhan ‘23 scored two out of the three goals for the Blair soccer team.
Congratulations to all athletes for a magnificent start of the season, and looking forward with high hopes to more future triumphs!!
(Copyright 2021, Chloe Lau, Sage Christensen)