Unfortunately, the team is without last year’s leading scorer, Eli O’Hearn, out for the season with a knee injury, and need to depend on strong teamwork and a tight defense when the goal scoring gets a bit slim. With the talented freshman, Theo Baron, demonstrating his potential as goalkeeper, senior captain, Ethan Berman, has moved up to striker, joined by another freshman, Anton Cruz. Other young talent includes freshmen Yavuz Nugay and Leo Dottori, as well as sophomore Kaleb Fiore. The defense is anchored by senior captains Eric He and Julien Gangloff, plus junior Niko Millhouse. And though they have taken a few on the chin, the defense has never given up and continues to provide positive leadership for the rest of the squad.
Coach Moore remarked, “As a team, everyone gets along very well and they make me laugh a lot. We need to improve on our one on one defense and not getting down when we go down a few goals. I am proud that we never give up no matter what. I would also like to send a special thanks to our awesome parents who help provide meals after our games.”
The Field Hockey program is also under new leadership, with Coach Kaeley DeNegre taking charge, while Lauren Griffin will remain as an assistant. DeNegre was a star at North Branford HS and at Western CT University, and served as an assistant coach at Conn College and St. Joseph’s before arriving in Hamden.
And like Boys Soccer, the team is working on generating more attack, while developing their defensive skills. The biggest scoring threats have been senior captain Annabel Beatty and 8th grade standout Chloe Zebrowski, who unfortunately just suffered a season ending injury. So the Hornets will look to Chloe Kissane, Anni Chen, Sammy Blackwood, Andrea Lim, and co-captains Sophie Gangloff and Ella Bessoni to add to the attacking line. At the other end, captain Bella Aldo, Lily Maher and Bryann O'Tinger have been defensive powerhouses, while freshman netminder, Jaycey Ressler, has already earned over 100 saves in the cage. Another freshman, Charlotte Label, has been a key switch player, tirelessly playing in both attack and defense.
“What I love most about this team,” says Coach DeNegre, “is everyone's ability to work hard and adjust on different playing surfaces, different teammates in different positions, and learning new skills. A huge shoutout to Lauren Griffin; she's really been amazing with helping me transition in as a first year head coach. We do have a team mission statement - "We are a group of hardworking and strong young women who want to develop skills in all positions and continue to grow the field hockey program at Hamden Hall. The team does a great job bonding and we continue to make positive strides."
Cross Country hosts the annual CISAC run on Friday. Coach Aidan Clark-Long related, “We have the biggest team in the past ten years, with 33 total runners. As a result, we have been competitive at every meet. A true highlight was finishing second for the girls at the O'Connell Invitational at Cheshire Academy. We have a lot of first-year runners, which is terrific, while the team has some terrific experience in Mason Rickey, Levi Johnson, Joy Zhuo, along with our fastest runner, senior Charles Botsman. Levi and Mason are quiet leaders who provide the team with a terrific example of hard work, organization, communication, and commitment.” Other key returning runners include JR Wallis, Andrew Yang, and Joshua Zeccua Herrera.
The 9th grade is loaded with potential, starting with “freshman rockstar” Lily Evans, who had been outstanding on the middle school team. Coach commented, “As our second-fastest girl on the team, Lily’s commitment has been phenomenal, and her growth as a runner is quite commendable.” Cooper Zebrowski’s unrelenting hard work has enabled him to develop into a quality runner who consistently places top 5 for the team. Daniel Park has grown tremendously throughout the season as has Becky Liu, who should be a competitor at New Englands. Penelope Dwyer has placed top 3 for the girls at every race.
Coach Clark-Long and the team are extremely excited with the addition of Mr. Evan Bieder as assistant coach this fall. With years of running in high school and college, Coach Bieder provides expertise, patience, and support that few could offer, and together with Coach Clark-Long, their passion pushes the team to the next level with every stride.Volleyball:
“Chemistry and trust,” asserts Volleyball head coach, Gary Aurora, when identifying what makes this team successful. “We have played in 10 close matches this year and won 9 of them because of strong team chemistry and the trust players have in one another.” Despite having no seniors on the team, Coach Aurora certainly trusts in his co-captains, juniors Tami Afolalu and Summer Krajcir, to provide outstanding leadership.
Additional guidance is provided by a trio of assistants: Coach Mollor the varsity assistant an expert at diagnosing areas in need of improvement, Coach Montone, who coaches the JV's and gets the girls to fall in love with volleyball, and volunteer Coach Aileen Sokol, who brings her vast experience as a former division one college standout and as a former club coach.
The team will need to dig deep to weather the St. Luke’s Storm from New Canaan. “The goal is simple,” says Aurora. “Whether we're winning by a lot or losing by a lot, we're always trying to get better.”
And of course, no Homecoming is complete without a football game, and this year’s varsity squad has already been quite impressive as they prepare to square off against perennial Evergreen League rival Pingree School of Andover, Mass. The team has jumped out to a 5-1 overall record,and tied with Pingree for first place with a 4-0 league record, so this should be a classic.
The team is full of talent and experience, with 10 seniors led by Tyler Gibson and Michi Holley. Gibson, who has committed to playing football at Cornell, is described by Head Coach Joe Linta as “a Swiss Army Knife” - in handling so many jobs including wide receiver, safety, long snapper on punts, and is the holder on extra points. Holley is a 2 way starter at guard and defensive end. Quayvier Johnson, who has multiple Division 1 offers, has been a stalwart on defense as a linebacker. Mark Schoonmaker, younger brother of alum Luke now playing with the Dallas Cowboys, also has multiple Division 1 offers, and has had an outstanding year as a tight end and defensive end. Ryan Skoronski and Alex Prezioso have also been true standouts, with Skoronski leading the team with 5 touchdown catches from his wide receiver position. Chenna Onwausoanya and Sam Streater, also known for their basketball prowess, have been invaluable to the team this fall. Joe Sansone has been a rock on the defensive line, while Nick Tuccinardi has been a pleasant surprise at running back, averaging over 5 yards per carry.
Junior QB, Charly Gulbin (16 TD passes against only 1 interception), linebacker Ash Wasserman, wide receiver, Qeanu Johnson, and offensive linemen, Vlad Acosta, Tyler Sullivan, and Grayson Nichol have not only helped the Hornets win this season, but ensure a bright future for the Hornet program. “The team is a very close knit bunch of 26 kids; the youngest players feel completely at home with the oldest players”, commented Linta.
Coach Linta is now in his 12th year at the helm, and continues to provide one of the best high school football experiences in the state. But he is quick to share the credit with his staff that actually includes four former Hornets. “Melvin Wells '17, Kyle Williams '16, Steve Reynolds '15, and TJ Linta, '14 have all been to Bowl games and part of championships during their times at Hamden Hall, and I love how they are bringing that experience to the table in mentoring these young Hornets.”
Pardon the pun, but there is no Trick to these teams' success stories. It is a Treat to see dedicated coaches and staffs step up and provide outstanding guidance; a Treat that the students, including many underclassmen, respond to the challenge to be the best they can. And it is a Treat for the HH community to watch and cheer them on. So Happy Hamden Hall-o-ween Homecoming!