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Fall Sports Wrap

Fall Braves well represented in VVAL, NCS playoffs, and postseason awards.

When it was all said and done here is how our teams finished in postseason play:

Girls Tennis-VVAL team, singles and doubles champion; NCS singles champion.
Girls Water Polo-VVAL co-champion, NCS semifinalist
Football-NCS Semifinalist
Volleyball-NCS Quarterfinalist
Girls Golf-NCS 4th place finish
Cross Country-4 runners advanced to the NCS Meet 

Individual team recaps are below.

Football- The Braves started the season in strong fashion, racing out to a 4-0 record that included a big home win over Archbishop Riordan from San Francisco. During league play, the Braves defeated Sonoma and Petaluma and lost tough battles to Casa Grande, Napa, and Vintage, which set up their final regular season home game against American Canyon, owners of an 8-1 record coming into the game. Using strong defense and some big plays early, the Braves pulled off a big win over the Wolves to finish the season 7-3 and as the #4 seed in the NCS Division 6 playoffs. After a week off due to the effects of the Kincade Fire, the Braves played their first home playoff game in 4 years, defeating Lower Lake handily to advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs at #1 seed Kennedy Richmond. After a strong first half had the Braves up 15-7, Kennedy stormed back and ended up pulling away, ending the Braves season at 8-4. 
Earning VVAL honors this year were first team selections Miles Williams (TE/OLB), Solomone Anitoni (WR/DB), Grant Koehler (OL/DL), and Hudson Beers (QB). Earning second team honors were Marcus Nunes (OL/LB), Blake Hoban (WR/DB), Christian Kappler (OL/DL), and Noah Young (RB/LB). 

Girls Water Polo- Following up a good season is never easy, however these Braves not only followed up a strong season with another one, but surpassed the previous season! This year’s team, led by Coach Jane Hansen was 18-8 overall, 11-1 in the VVAL, co-champions of the VVAL, and advanced to the semifinals of NCS playoffs before losing to eventual D3 Norcal Champion, Tamalpais. The best news, this team had only one senior, so they are poised for more success in the years to come! 
Speaking of that senior, Meghan Hansen was named the team MVP at the postseason banquet as well as receiving first team All-VVAL honors. Meghan will also be attending San Diego State University next year to play Water Polo!
Other award winners for the Braves included first team All-VVAL players Sarah Reynolds, Twyla Borck, and Maddie Vanoni. Garnering 2nd team All-VVAL honors were Lina Phinney and Elle Baskerville. In terms of team awards, Sarah Reynolds was the team’s Offensive MVP, Twyla Borck the Defensive MVP, and Elle Baskerville the Braveheart Award winner.
Coach Hansen added this about the past season, “This was a very young team who played beyond their years. They have a very bright future ahead of them. We had a great season, with big wins against rivals Napa and Vintage. We also played very well in tournaments this year, winning a couple of big games against Buchanan and Sanger and coming close against Clovis East and Carondelet.”

Girls Tennis- The Girls Tennis team the season with a loss, as most teams do unfortunately. However, this was the only loss of the entire season for the Braves! And what is more impressive is that it marked the first loss in 28 matches for the Braves, ending their 27 match winning streak. Overall the team finished 15-1 and 12-0 in the VVAL, defending last year’s VVAL Championship with another one this year. On top of winning the VVAL Championship, the girls also won the individual championships in the VVAL, with Megha Jackson and Bella Rampa taking the Doubles Championship, and #1 player Priyanka Shanker winning the VVAL singles title! That was just the start for Shanker, as she then went on to win the NCS Singles Championship. All 3 of the individual championship winners were also named All-VVAL.
In terms of team awards, the Braves’ MVP was Priyanka Shanker, with Ashlyn Mills and Megha Jackson winning the Coaches Awards, Libby Birkbeck winning the Most Inspirational, and Presley Schultz winning Player of the Year. 
While one streak is over, the Braves still have won 24 straight VVAL matches and will look to continue that success next season with a strong core of returning players.

Cross Country- This past season, under the direction of first year coach, Belinda Halloran, both the Girls and Boys Cross Country teams saw great improvement throughout the season. The girls were led by Olivia Janerico, Audrey Halloran, Lauren Aubert, and Sophia Smith while the boys were led by Jacob Guiducci, Casey Potrebic, Paul Giusto, Vishnu Vijayakumar, and Evan Smith. With a strong number of runners and a great training program, we look forward to continued success from this program going forward.

Volleyball- Coming off their VVAL Championship from the previous year, the Braves had a high bar coming into the season. While their league finish was not where they wanted it to be, this team continued their great tradition with a lot of big wins over tough opponents. Neither league champion Sonoma or Vintage could beat the Braves in Clark Gym, and playing a tough schedule set them up well for some postseason success. Even more important, after being given the 14th seed in the NCS Playoffs, the Braves travelled to Kelseyville and beat the #3 seeded Knights in straight sets to advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs. 
While their season would end in the 2nd round, the Braves strong core of younger players will continue building for the future, while the seniors who led the team have left a lasting impression and blueprint to follow for future success. Earning VVAL honors were Eva Cleary and Megan Hanson on the first team and Marianne Fernandez and Mea Todd on the second team.  

Girls Golf- Justin-Siena Girls Golf continued their tradition of excellence, placing 3rd overall in the VVAL with a strong 9-3 record. The team then qualified for the NCS team championship match, and placed 4th overall. During the season, the Braves posted the lowest score of any VVAL team when they played at Petaluma towards the end of the season. Leading the Braves this year were Samantha Tuite, Abbie Bain, and Abbey Mercer. 

Boys Water Polo-The Boys may not have had the in-pool success in terms of wins and losses, but this team worked incredibly hard this season and got better as the season went along. Also, many of the players on the team were new to Water Polo, and tried it out on the urging of their peers. We are incredibly proud of the Boys for branching outside their comfort zone, and with the team being made up of mostly underclassmen, look forward to a strong team next year. The team was 22 players strong this year, which makes the 2019 team the biggest ever at our school.  With 2 seniors, 2 juniors, 13 sophomores and 5 freshman, our Varsity Water Polo team played at a competitive level with the much larger schools in our league. Captain Andrew Baskerville, class of 2020, explains that the water polo team was 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," says sophomore Gino Bartalotti. "We are all looking forward to seeing what we can do in the years to come.”
 
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