By Greibin Agramonte, Associate
This fall season was one of transition for D-E Middle School athletics, which continues to evolve in a positive direction with our School culture. We had 110 student participants who improved their fundamental skills on the fields, courts, and courses. Middle School Principal Kathy Christoph joined an opportunity to participate in each MS team’s practices to get a full experience of their training. We can both personally attest that our students’ energy and focus is palpable in each of our athletic programs!
Girls tennis began the season with three lopsided losses to top teams. Coaches Akula and Waltman knew the girls had gained valuable match experience, but the team was not happy with the result, so they worked harder in practice, working on serves, groundstrokes, and volleying and developing consistency, ball placement, footwork, and playing practice points. This work paid off: the team ended the season with a 3-3-1 record. The highlight was a 3-2 win over MKA’s “B” team. Our #1 doubles team of Ariana Lee ’21 and Jackie Cohen ’21, our #3 team of Briana Sorkin ’22 and Alexa Tiflinsky ’21, and our #4 team of Aryana Ramos-Vazquez ’22 and Francesca “Franki” Gallo ’22 were all down in the match. However, the girls never gave up, supported each other, and clawed their way back to win each of those matches. Overall, we had a great season, and we will be sad to see eighth graders Ariana Lee ’21, Anna Hwang ’21, Ellie Chung ’21, Alexa Tiflinsky ’21, Elizabeth Her ’21, and Jackie Cohen ’21 move on to the Upper School. Their leadership helped the team come together and make our season a success!
Coed cross-country had a group of truly committed runners this season. In addition to leading our team in the boys’ races, Darren Skolnik ’21 regularly corralled the younger athletes during practices to run fifth, sixth, and seventh hills, and to do second, third, and fourth loops of campus. An ethos of pushing yourself to become the best you can be started to pervade the team, such that our final race of the season resulted in almost universal PR’s for the runners. Equally instrumental to our leadership were Brielle Bronstein ’21, who led our girls in every race, and Adia Guthrie ’21, who led our team on and off the field with supporting teammates, stretching, recording times, and carrying ice chests and water barrels. Kudos also to HyunWoo “Ryan” Ro ’21 for his steady performance and impressive improvement from last year.
Despite many tough battles, the boys soccer White Team managed to compile a record of 8-2-1. The Bulldogs capped a terrific season with perhaps their most impressive performance to date against a strong St. Bernard’s squad. After a close first half, with D-E slotting only one goal to take a 1-0 lead, the floodgates opened in the second half. Gavin Malhame ’21 ended an impressive MS soccer career with a hat trick. Goals were also added by Ethen Obergfoll ’21 and Peter Tcheleshev ’21. The team celebrated the win and season by dumping their water cooler on Coach Aitken. An excellent end to an excellent season!
Girls field hockey was very excited to be the first team to use Leggett Field as their home turf, literally and figuratively! Practicing and playing in the center of campus was great. Although five of the 10 players had no prior field hockey experience, each player greatly improved her stick work, and the team progressively developed into a cohesive unit. One highlight was the Ho-Ho-Kus game, when the girls passed extremely well in a beautiful display of teamwork and skill. Another highlight was at MKA. D-E was leading 2-1 with two and a half minutes left. Although MKA scored to tie the game, the girls had some excellent passing combinations, including one that resulted in a goal. Emma Lagana ’22 scored two goals, and Leah Baker ’22 and Daisy Gallagher ’21 each scored a goal. Lilah Gmyrek ’21 had another spectacular season in goal. With an 0-6-1 season record, we have high hopes for the team looking ahead!
The boys soccer Blue Team showed tremendous progress throughout the season, both in skill level and decision-making. Stringing together good, clean passes and playing as a team was a big focus for us. Drew Alfano ’22 was our leading scorer with five goals; Ryan Lee ’22 had two goals; and Michael Minkin ’23, Brandon Elbilia ’23, Javier Ibarguen ’23, and Ben Tausner ’22 each had one goal apiece. Assists were collected by eight different players, showing that each goal of the season was truly a team effort. Goalkeepers Armaan Pamani ’22 and Arav Tank ’23 both made many incredible saves, and our defense was led by George Perez ’22 at sweeper. Ending with a 2-7-0 record, the team massively improved over season and had a lot of fun.
Girls soccer had just 13 members but nevertheless played a very nice brand of soccer, finishing the season with a 5-2-0 record. The team practiced and played in very unselfish ways. Their camaraderie was matched only by their determination to improve their skills, understand the game, and encourage one another. Their concept of teamwork was demonstrated by the fact that eight separate girls scored goals, while the rest of the team registered at least one assist—meaning every player either scored a goal or had an assist by the season’s end, a truly remarkable feat!
Our volleyball team finished with a 6-6-0 record—a terrific accomplishment for such an inexperienced team. Isabella Brown ’21 and Chloe Peebles ’21 were excellent team captains. The eighth graders were wonderful and patient mentors to the new team members. The team’s ability to serve the ball over the net and in play has been a key component to our victories. Newcomers Anya Ganeshan ’23 and Karina Pink ’23 took to the game immediately. Halfway through the season, setter Chloe Peebles had sit out several games with an injury, but Olivia Vega ’21 stepped in as the substitute setter for the rest of the season and did a fantastic job on such short notice.