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Braves in Action

Braves Report: October 11, 2019

VVAL seasons heating up as playoffs near
Girls Tennis on record streak
Last year, the Girls' Varsity Tennis Team earned an invitation to the NCS post-season tournament. They received a #15 seed (out of 16 seeds) and opened against the #2 seed, Lick Wilmerding and beat them 4-3. Next, they faced the #5 seed and were well ahead of them when smoke from the Paradise fires drifted down to Alameda. All of the Justin-Siena singles players were ahead and one was finished when the match was suspended without resolution. So, the girls finished last year undefeated, 13-0, but with some unfinished business.
 
This year the girls opened the current season with a pair of wins in the preseason and continued the undefeated run through the VVAL and are currently standing at 24 consecutive wins. The girls are working hard to earn another invitation to NCS, a better seed, and a chance to win the NCS. There are only two seniors in the starting line up, so next year appears to be bright. 
 
Sophomore Priyanka Shanker, playing at first singles, has not lost a set during the two year run, neither has Sophomore Bella Rampa, last year playing fourth singles and this year at second singles. Captains Presley Schultz, Ashlyn Mills, Roses Newell and Lucia Lanzafame all are starters that have contributed to the winning streak.

Varsity Football continues strong play with Homecoming win over Sonoma!
Last season, the Braves Football team had a string of heartbreaking losses to start their VVAL season, losing to Sonoma, Petaluma, and Casa Grande by a combined 10 points. This year, after a close loss to Casa Grande, the Braves got back to their winning ways and defeated both Petaluma (33-10) and Sonoma (41-0) in convincing fashion to not only avenge last season’s losses, but also put themselves in the top half of the VVAL with a 2-1 record. The Braves will now head down the street to Memorial Stadium tomorrow night for a big matchup with Napa High, who is 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the VVAL. The Braves were able to defeat the Grizzlies, 39-36 last year on a punt block and return for a touchdown with under 3 minutes to go.

The strength of the Braves has been their ability to create big plays on offense, and a hard-hitting defense that has caused problems for almost every offense they have faced. Many 
players on the team have stepped up and had big contributions to the team, including but not limited to QB Hudson Beers, WR/DE Miles Williams, WR/LB Solomone Anitoni, OL/LB Nolan Dunkle, RB/LB Noah Young, OL/DL Grant Koehler, DL Christian Kappler, WR/DB Blake Hoban, and that’s just to name a few! 

Girls Water Polo- alone in 1st and getting better!
Girls water polo is taking care of business this season. So far the Braves are 8-0 and in first place in the VVAL.  Returning starters include Senior Meghan Hansen, Juniors Lina Phinney and Lexi Hollister, Sophomores Sarah Reynolds, Maddie Vanoni and Twyla Borck, and joining the starting lineup have been freshmen Elle Baskerville and Taylor Blakely.  Rounding out the Braves are Junior Jaxon Levy, Sophomore Cassie Richardson and Freshman Carlie Fiorito.
Many of the players have had club experience and are good swimmers. 
Coach Jane Hansen had this to say about the players,”It is so helpful to go into a season with seasoned players.  They all "get it”. Our practices can function at a higher level with the wealth of experience among the players.” 
The Braves have had some challenges this season at tournaments against some tough teams and in league against Napa and Vintage. 
“We have to play them one more time each, which will be tough, but we are hoping to come out on top again. The girls are really coming together as a team and I am so proud of the way they are playing as a unit this season.  There is no selfish play. They make the right move for the team to score. Our goalie, Twyla Borck, has been awesome this season. She has been attending goalie clinics and is improving dramatically.” - Coach Hansen
The team has some impressive stats so far this season, as you can see below.
 
Sarah Reynolds 53 goals, 6 assists and 14 steals
Meghan Hansen 37 goals, 14 assists and 29 steals
Lina Phinney 32 goals, 16 assists and 18 steals
Maddie Vanoni 29 goals, 16 assists and 22 steals
Elle Baskerville 28 goals, 10 assists and 9 steals
Taylor Blakely 15 goals, 6 assists and 10 steals
Lexi Hollister 9 goals, 8 assists and 14 steals
Carlie Fiorito 4 goals, 3 assists and 3 steals
Cassie Richardson 2 goals, 1 assist.
Jaxon Levy 1 goal, 1 assist and 3 steals
 
Cross Country- the Sport for everyone!
We wanted to share a story about new student Kate Bishop, a Junior, who recently joined our team and completed her first Cross Country event. Running was a sport that Kate had never tried before she came to Justin Siena but she decided to give it a go. Last month Kate participated in the Eye Opener Invitational in Petaluma.  Even though Kate placed at the very back of the pack that day in the event, by finishing the race she helped her girls senior team place 2nd overall! That’s the beauty of having numbers on a team in cross country. Kate was 
thrilled and the team was overjoyed. It was a great team effort. Well done Kate you are awesome and we are so proud of you and how you continue to keep trying hard.
 
You see, you don’t have to be the fastest runner to help your team do well in Cross Country. You just have to try your best for your team and finish. Cross Country running really is a sport for everyone! 
 
Consider taking part in Cross Country next season. Summer Conditioning starts in July. Contact Coach Halloran for more information. 
 
Girls Golf- Peaking at the right time
The Girls Golf team has enjoyed a strong 2019 campaign, finishing 9-3 overall and in the VVAL. That finish put the Braves in a tie for 2nd place in the league. The even better development has been from the players over the season, as they have continued to get better and better! The proof of this comes in their last match, a win over Petaluma. The Braves shot their lowest score of the season, with contributions from a lot of the team members in their 249 – 302 victory at Rooster Run on Tuesday.  Justin was led by seniors Abbie Bain, who shot a 46 and Samantha Tuite’s 47. Charlotte Hilger posted a 49 with Alex Mazzucco carding a 53. Ashley Experanza shot 54 and Emma Tada finished with a 63. It was also the lowest recorded score by any team this season in the VVAL. 

About the team, Coach Ray Graziani had this to say, “This was a great team score, actually the best in our league this year.” We are working hard to get a bid to the North Coast Div II Championship and this score will go a long way in helping us get there. We now have the league tournament Monday at Oakmont on the Easy Course. If we have another good showing I think the team will be traveling on the 20th  for NCS to play in Arcata at Beau Pre Golf Club.”

Volleyball- Playing well and serving their community
The Volleyball team has had a strong season so far in defense of their league title from a season ago. Big wins this season have come against first place Vintage, Napa and Sonoma, as well as a recent 3 set win at Casa Grande. The girls have also participated in some tournaments, including the “Serve it Up Classic” in San Francisco at Sacred Heart Cathedral High School. For this tournament, the girls show up on Friday morning and serve in the community with other schools for the entirety of the day, spend the night Friday night, and then play on Saturday. 

Coach Chelsea Reilley, in her 3rd year as Head Coach, had this to say about the team, “Junior outside hitter Megan Hanson has been dominant offensively, and we're seeing some great play from middle blockers Gabi Richarson and Eleanor Meyers. We're continuing to push to get better every day, so we can go on a run in the postseason. With a tough regular season schedule, we should fare well against other D4 teams.”


Boys Water Polo- Improving every day
The Justin-Siena Boys Water Polo team is 22 players strong this year, which makes the 2019 team the biggest ever at our school.  With two seniors, two juniors, 13 sophomores and 5 freshmen, our Varsity Water Polo team is playing at a competitive level with the much larger schools in our league.  Captain Andrew Baskerville, class of 2020, explains that the water polo team is a mix of experienced players who have competed in the Junior Olympics and players who played their first "game" of water polo at their first practice this summer.  "This year has been so fun," he says. "I've enjoyed watching all of the new players learn and grow in their skills."
 
Why did the water polo team experience such a rise in membership?  The All Heart mentality definitely plays a role. Because the water polo team works hard and practices are rigorous, the boys have bonded like brothers. The team welcomed its new members as well as the new coach, Jordan Williams.  But the bonding does not end there. The sophomore boys from water polo made a deal with their lacrosse friends--that they would play lacrosse if the lacrosse players joined the water polo team. So in the spirit of trying something new, both teams benefit!  "Water polo is an equal mix of hard work and fun," said sophomore Gino Bartalotti. "We are all looking forward to seeing what we can do in the years to come. We're a new team, but we work really well together."
 
Water polo finishes out its season with games against Napa, Vintage, American Canyon, and Ukiah.
 
 
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