Viking athletes conclude successful fall season

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Graphic illustration by Tanika Anbu

The fall sports — boys and girls water polo, field hockey, girls volleyball, girls and boys golf, football, cross country and girls tennis — concluded their seasons with annual Senior Nights, with many teams advancing to CCS.

Lina Mezerreg and Tanika Anbuchelvan

Following months of postponed athletics, many teams started conditioning over the summer, and the fall sports season officially commenced in August 2021. Through hassles of mask mandates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations, teams faced new challenges while fostering close relationships with fellow athletes. As the season comes to an end, eligible sports teams are working in preparation for the Central Coast Section competitions and holding team events to commemorate graduating seniors.

 

Girls golf

The girls golf team boasted strong performances throughout their season, finishing with a winning record and only two losses against Palo Alto, which qualified them for CCS. From conditioning to practices to even the way games were held, the season brought many changes to the team. However, the team saw a full roster, and many members were excited to rejoin or participate in team activities for the first time. Its senior game was on Oct. 14 against Los Gatos. Despite some last- minute preparations, all members were happy with the outcome and fondly shared memories of the event.

“I want to thank all of our seniors,” sophomore Anne Xu said. “But I’m also really grateful to all the members who helped pitch in to make senior night a really memorable experience that brought us all together.”

 

Girls water polo

The girls water polo team was undefeated at the beginning of their season, recording wins against several teams such as Monta Vista and Milpitas. Despite a few injuries, the team recovered and emerged victorious in most of their games. The boys varsity team remains ranked first with only one loss. At their combined senior night against Monta Vista, the girls and boys both won by scores of 8-4 and 15-11, respectively, which brought them to their league finals. At the championship game, the boys won 8-7, advancing to CCS, while the girls lost 9-6. In addition to these memorable games, they built on their existing skills through challenging different high schools at their two-day Watsonville tournament from Sept. 17 to 18.

“It was a really interesting experience because we’ve never travelled, so it was our first traveling tournament,” said junior and girls water polo captain Dasha Kiryashova. “Having outside teams come in was really eye-opening.”

 

Girls volleyball

Girls volleyball experienced a successful season, ending with only two losses to Fremont and Cupertino. They qualified for CCS, securing their first round win against Pioneer and making the quarterfinals, in which they lost to Aragon. With nine sophomores on the varsity roster, the program hosted a younger team than usual, but their new perspectives and energy was welcome on the team.

“Despite the uncertainty that this year started out with, I’m proud of how far the team has come, and I’m excited to see what they accomplish in the future,” said senior and varsity volleyball captain Jasmine Hou.

Senior night took place on Oct. 26 as a home game against Santa Clara, which concluded a 3-1 win among an outpouring of support from friends and family.

 

Field hockey

With wins from JV and varsity athletes against schools such as Fremont, Los Altos and Valley Christian, Lynbrook field hockey worked hard for their many accomplishments. Despite wins against several high schools like Santa Clara and Wilcox, they did not qualify for CCS due to goal count requirements, ending the season second in their league. From mask requirements to summer practices accompanied by the merciless heat, the team faced a variety of challenges that only strengthened them, leading to their numerous victories.

“I’m amazed at how far we’ve come because in freshman year, we were one of the lower-ranked varsity teams,” said senior and varsity field hockey player Divya Singh. “I’m glad to see how much we improved this season because this is the closest we’ve been to CCS in a very long time.”

To conclude their season, the team celebrated at their annual senior night on Oct. 15. They honored their seniors with decorations and gifts and played the final home game of their season — an 8-0 victory over Wilcox.

 

Football

Starting the season strong with a 62-7 win against James Lick, the football team went on to challenge Cupertino, Fremont and several other high schools in the region. Their efforts culminated in a victory at the Homecoming game against Monta Vista, which snapped the eight-year Homecoming drought. Winning 40-13, the crowd cheered as the football team scored touchdowns and made field goals.

“It just felt more dynamic this year. We got more people out on the field and were able to accomplish way more things,” said junior and varsity football player Tristan Dowdell.

Attendance for football games increased markedly this year, and the team celebrated their senior night on Oct. 22. Recognizing their 16 senior players, they played against Saratoga, winning their last home game by a score of 47-21.

 

Cross-country

Following last year’s short season and an underwhelming preseason, cross-country started off the regular season strong and eventually qualified for CCS. Lockdown presented several obstacles to the team, causing not only limited attendance to races but also a lack of motivation for members to practice.

“The team dynamic is a huge part of what makes cross-country, cross-country,” said senior and varsity cross country runner Diana Kohr. “It’s really hard to feel like going out to run when you’re working out by yourself at home, but being back with the team, and running and bonding together, helps push us all to improve.”

The team has made significant improvements in their overall speed and decreased their collective spread, a method of scoring teams at meets in which judges add up the times of the five fastest runners. The team has worked together well this year, even coming in within one minute of each other’s times at one meet.

 

Girls tennis

With wins against schools such as Wilcox, Santa Clara, Fremont and Milpitas, girls tennis inched closer to their qualification to CCS. In their pre-season conditioning, the athletes attended practices lasting hours long, effectively preparing them for the upcoming season. As the season geared up, they bonded with teammates between water breaks and post-game time.

“Tennis is a really individual sport, so being on a high school team is a really cool experience because you’re playing on a team rather than just individually,” said junior and varsity tennis player Jamie Tan.

The team consistently won games, ending with only a few losses in their season. With a winning record of 11-2, the team perfected their skills and qualified for CCS. In the last game of their season, the players celebrated their time together at their annual senior night and banquet. The team gave their usual senior gifts — a cut-up tennis ball with inspiring and hopeful messages stuffed inside — to graduating players.