Across all fall sports, teams find success

Sophomore+Chloe+Hurst+sets+the+ball+in+a+game+against+The+British+School+on+Sept.+28.+

Matt Petres

Sophomore Chloe Hurst sets the ball in a game against The British School on Sept. 28.

Amy Ren and Joaquin Figueroa

Records updated as of Oct. 5.

Despite inconsistent seasons last year and larger teams this year, U-High’s fall sports have competed successfully and created strong team bonds.

 

Boys soccer

Record: 6-4-2 

Despite winning only one of their nine games in the shortened spring 2021 season, the boys soccer players have worked hard to bounce back. 

The team practiced throughout the summer, and captain Philip Kellermeier, a senior, says the extra training has already helped them build from last season. He credits coaches Josh Potter and David Vadeboncoeur with their improvement.

I would say we’re more of a team than last season. We all share stories with each other. We just got to know each other way more than last year.”

 “The coaches helped the team practice a lot,” Philip said. “They helped us come in before practice or times that we didn’t have practice over the summer. They, like, came to school to open the gym for us, practiced with us on the field.”

The summer practices have helped the team off the field, too.

“It’s helped us a lot for team bonding,” Philip said. “I would say we’re more of a team than last season. We all share stories with each other. We just got to know each other way more than last year.”

 

Cross country 

Senior Amanda O’Donnell, captain of the girls team, said the season has been going well.

“We’ve gotten into some big meets, which has been great because we didn’t really get that last year,” Amanda said. “Also everyone’s been able to run together. Last year, it was kind of split up, so only one or two runners from the team would run at one time, but now everyone’s together.”

Senior Zachary Gin, boys team captain, also said the more relaxed coronavirus restrictions benefitted the team.

“Now we can go inside the actual gym building, to stretch inside and to use the actual weight room,” Zachary said. “[Last year] we weren’t allowed to go inside at all, so we had to do everything outside.”

The team has also gained many younger runners, which has made Amanda confident for future seasons.

“I’ve definitely seen, like, a number of sophomores that were not on the team last year that joined this year, and also a lot of freshmen. Our team is really bottom heavy,” Amanda said. “This is really great because that means, you know, we’ll have a strong team in the future.”

Team records were unavailable at press time.

 

Girls tennis

Record: 9 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie

The team has developed a close team relationship and found success this season, even with a larger team.

Senior Emilee Pak, one of the team’s captains, feels the team is very strong this season.

“The season is going pretty well, not only results-wise but I feel like the relationships within the team are pretty strong,” she said. “The bonds between us all are pretty strong.”

The season is going pretty well, not only results-wise but I feel like the relationships within the team are pretty strong.”

— Emilee Pak

This year the team has 37 players, compared to 28 last year and 32 in 2019.

Emilee feels that the increase in players this season has created some struggles for the team.

“Because there are so many people on the team, the practices are sometimes quite hectic, but we have been able to figure out ways to make it more manageable,” Emilee said.

She says communication has been able to help make this season run more smoothly.

“I feel like there is a lot more communication this year between the team and coaches, and within the coaches and captains,” she said.

 

Girls swimming and diving

Record: 3-1

The team has been able to build team spirit and find success during this season, despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus.

Due to the restrictions imposed by IHSA for the coronavirus pandemic, the team had no fall 2020 season. According to Zoe Morton, a senior, this has created a struggle for some team members.

“A lot of people haven’t swam over the pandemic, so they haven’t swam in a year, a year and a half, so the coaches have been really working to get us back in shape,” Zoe said.

Not having a season last year also means that the team is bringing in both ninth and tenth grade students into high school sports for the first time. Despite this, Zoe thinks they have been doing well.

“They’ve been really open to everything and had a lot of spirit,” she said.

 

Golf 

The golf teams are larger this season than ever, with 19 boys and 8 girls. For the boys team especially, there was an influx of younger students.

Captain Aaron Kim, a senior, says this change will have both short- and long-term consequences.

“The freshmen and sophomores are actually probably the strongest classes we’ve had ever, so I think we’ll probably do a little bit better than we did the previous year,” Aaron said. “But I think in a year or two, we should be competitive with most people, both at the regional and state level, and then also within our league.”

After placing third at IHSA Regionals on Sept. 30, the boys team advanced to sectionals Oct. 4. This is only the fifth time in 20 years that the boys team competed at sectionals as a whole team.

The girls team competed at IHSA Regionals on Oct. 1, where Amelia Tan placed second and Maxine Hurst placed fourth. The two ninth graders competed at sectionals on Oct. 4 where Amelia placed eighth and Maxine placed ninth, advancing to state, which will be Oct. 8-9.

 

Sailing

The team is feeling strong this season, with members looking to compete and prepare the younger teammates.

Last season the team placed first in the state, and this season they’re looking to continue competing at that high level, says Eli Erling, one of the team’s captains.

“We’re feeling pretty strong, and generally we have a good depth in the team,” he said.

The team has faced some struggles, one of them being that they have had to fund themselves during fall season because the school only sponsors the team in the spring season.

The team is also working on clearly establishing the job of each captain.

“I think we’re still trying to work out, at least captain-wise, the responsibilities that we have and working with that, as well as making sure we could be more communicative,” Eli said.

Despite these struggles, Eli feels confident that the team will get through the challenges they face.

“I think for the most part we’re doing pretty good with managing what comes up,” he said.

 

Volleyball

Record: 11-0

The varsity volleyball team anticipates a successful season.

We got a lot of new sophomores and freshmen who have been playing club for a while, so it’s really helped strengthen our team.”

— Charlotte Henderson

According to captain Charlotte Henderson, a junior, it has been over 15 years since U-High won an ISL conference. The team was undefeated as of Oct. 4, but played Woodlands Academy on Oct. 5. Results were unavailable as of press time. Latin and Woodlands are the team’s immediate competitors, but this season the team beat Latin for the first time in a decade.

“We have a really good chance in the running,” Charlotte said. “We got a lot of new sophomores and freshmen who have been playing club for a while, so it’s really helped strengthen our team.”

Although the volleyball team had its 2020 season pushed back to spring 2021 and shortened due to the pandemic, Charlotte views this as an advantage.

“​​We had a shorter time between our seasons,” she said, “so it was kind of like a temporary break, but now we’re all back, so it was easier to get into the flow and really connect with the team.”

The boys soccer team won one out of nine of their games during the 2021 spring season, not one out of four as had been originally reported. This correction was made Oct. 17 at 6:30 pm.