The Zebras are Back: Winter Season Previews

Varsity Boys 1-Jessica Saunders

Popp passes the pack. (J. Saunders)

Boys’ varsity hockey came into the season with a strong core of players; captains Joe Gentile’14 and Andrew Popp’14, as well as seniors PJ Johnson’14 and Matt Pompa’14, lead a seasoned team into their new season. Although many of last year’s seniors will be sorely missed, the team’s strong group of returning players, in addition to some new faces who have already made contributions, are set for a strong campaign. Coach Riley says that the team has more depth than last year, and has a few good lines that will contribute and compete with anyone. Additionally, the core group of returning players is also older and more experienced. Many of the guys last year who made big contributions were in lower forms, such as Matt Winter’16, but now they are bigger and stronger. This year’s seniors are stepping up to the challenge, and this season promises to be a great one. “The future looks bright. We have great leadership and what seems like a commitment from all the guys to put the team first. Time will tell how the season goes,” says Mr. Riley.

Girls Hockey

After a season of expected and unexpected challenges, the girls’ hockey squad finished with a rather disappointing (6-16-1) record. The lower schoolers who were pushed to play significant roles on last year’s team are now more experienced, and though the team will certainly miss the three departing seniors from last year’s squad, the team is much stronger heading into this season. Led by captains Melissa Cusanello’14 and Dorrie Varley-Barrett’15 this year, the team tied their first game against Berwick Academy by a score of 0-0. Though the Zebras started out slow, they quickly adjusted and held Berwick to no goals. With more improvement and adjustments as the season continues, the girls’ hockey squad is working hard to start putting some wins up after their hard-fought first game.

Boys Basketball

After a challenging 2012-2013 season, boys’ basketball is ready to log more games under the win column. The team possesses a solid height advantage over most teams in the ISL with captain Hugh Cecil ’15 (6’9″) and freshman John Cecil ’17 (6’11″). With many younger members playing basketball this season, there might be some ups and downs as the season progresses. However, led  by a new head coach, Mr. Francis, and Mr. Dixon, the team is adopting a more focused and competitive attitude for the upcoming games. As Mr. Francis says, “Other teams may be more talented, but there will not be a team that outworks us.” This should prove to be an exciting transition year for the program under the leadership of the new coach.

Girls Basketball

The girls’ basketball season is already off to a dramatic start after a nail-biting one-point win over Beaver Country Day School. The game was decided on a clutch shot by guard Marie Wesson’15 with a little under nine seconds remaining.  With BCDS being the class C champions last year and coming into this game with a twenty-five game winning streak, the Groton girls fought all game until Marie’s heroics put Groton on top. This upset win could propel Groton forward to much more success this season. Though they’re a young team, girls’ basketball is committed to improvement on the fundamentals. Captain Rachel Reed ’14 is optimistic about the group she sees on the floor: “[The team is] one that works very well together, and we feel that the closeness of the team will be to our advantage this season.” If the season continues like the first game, there is no telling where this Groton team could go.

Boys Squash

The 2013-1014 boys’ squash season will be full of challenges. The team lost four important seniors from the lineup last year, and Coach Dave Prockop thinks that the team will have much rebuilding to do. The bright side is that the team is very young, with five Fourth Formers and a Third Former. Captain Ryan Voon ’16 is very optimistic and thinks that the team will do well this season. “Even though we lost a bunch of players, the team should be almost identical to last year, because last year we lost key players due to injury. We also have some very good JV players coming up so we should be around the same.” In addition to a young lineup, the team’s biggest strength lies in depth. After number one seed Anthony Chu ’15, almost everyone could play anywhere on the team ladder. The group has a lot of players that are playing at a similar level. With such a young and deep team, the future is bright for boys’ squash. “With Anthony Chu leading the way at number one and an eager, hard-working group supplying depth behind him, we hope to compete well even at the high level of play that fills the ISL these days,” says Mr. Prockop.

Girls Squash

The girls’ squash team will look to write a new chapter after losing valuable seniors from last year. Captain Manjari Ganti’14 looks forward to taking up the challenge and is anticipating much success this season. “The team dynamic looks great. During preseason, I saw a lot of new faces and old faces of the girls who were on JV last year. I look forward to getting to know them as the season progresses.” Despite losing a few key seniors, the team is returning a solid group of core players, including Molly Prockop’15. The team will have some tough matches in the next two weeks, including the perennially strong teams of Exeter and Deerfield, and these matchups will show where they stand as a team right now. Manjari is confident that this squad will prove to be a force to be reckoned with and will only get stronger as the season progresses.

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