(written for Somerville Patch)
Final notes and quotes from the less-covered Somerville Highlander teams.
Final record: 1-9 overall; 1-7 in Greater Boston League
Despite just one win this season – one more than last year – golf coach Jay Hart said he got a better-than-expected performance from a “fairly inexperienced team.”
“We really only had a couple of kids returning from last year,” Hart said. “Some of the young kids stepped up.”
One such younger player was freshman Justin Carey, who led the Highlanders with five individual victories.
“He’s a great little player,” Hart said. “See, his dad plays, so there’s the difference.”
Another player whose skill Hart credited in part to parental encouragement was junior Kyle Higgins, who shot a school-record 35 – one under par – against Everett on October 20 at home-course Indian Ridge in Andover. That match was also the Highlanders’ lone victory this season.
The Highlanders’ late-season trips to Stoneham Oaks Golf Course may also have played a part in that victory. Hart said that with access to an actual golf course on which to practice, his team improved and could continue to improve for next season.
“It all depends on if the kids play during the summer,” Hart said. “My kids generally don’t play, that’s the reason. Once they start trying out and playing for me, they play almost every day.”
Final record: 2-14-1 overall; 2-5-1 in Greater Boston League
After graduating so many seniors last year, girls’ soccer coach Jason Lenicheck said his team’s poor win-loss record was not surprising. But developmentally, Lenicheck said he was happiest with how his team’s intensity and competitive fire grew across the season.
“Some of the players I thought developed some really good skills that they didn’t have at the beginning of the season,” Lenicheck said.
The team will try to turn those developmental skills into wins next season. Lenicheck said one focus would be finding more scorers to compliment team leader and two-time GBL All-Star Natalie Henrique.
“We can’t continue being a one-player team,” Lenicheck said. He added that one player who might become another offensive weapon is junior Rachael Berry.
“Another example of someone who developed a ton over the course of the year,” Lenicheck said. “I knew that she was skillful, I knew that she was very, very good at being able to play the ball comfortably with either foot. … But what I really didn’t expect was her being just so damn strong on the ball.”
One player Lenicheck will say good-bye to is senior Jesselyn Vasquez, an energetic defender that rarely let up, even during blowout losses.
“This is her first year as a varsity player, and over the course of the year you could see just night and day, massive improvements, both mentally and physically,” Lenicheck said.
Boys’ record: 1-3, all in GBL; third place in GBL Championship
Girls’ record: 2-2, all in GBL; third place in GBL Championship
The 2011 cross-country season might have been a small step back from a program that went a combined 8-1 last season. The boys’ team, however, will get back top runner Brian Martinez, a junior who hadn’t run cross-country before this season.
Two of the other top-five Highlanders – junior Ngawang Tsering and sophomore Kevin Ma – will also return, but once again the team may have to rely on new players to provide depth to an undermanned squad.
The girls are losing senior top-runner Pristine Mei, who placed sixth overall at the GBL meet.
Four of the girls’ top five runners this season were seniors, with only junior Melina Garro expected to return. The girls’ squad runs far deeper in experience, however, with multiple underclassmen running varsity races this season. Included on that list: junior Emily Mei and sophomore Cindy Mei.
With coach Charlie Tesch’s prowess, this season will likely prove to be just a bump on the road back to victory.