(June 12, 2014) – As the Heritage High School Pride spring sports season comes to an end, I’d like to take a look at the way each sport ended their 2014 season.
Pride boys soccer team finished with a loss in the Conference 21 quarterfinal to Loudoun County (2-1). The Pride girls soccer team lost a weather shortened game to Jefferson Forest in the 4A Region Semifinal (2-1). The Pride baseball team lost a heartbreaking game (4-3) to Sherando in the Conference 21 semifinal. The Pride softball team lost to Woodgrove (12-3) in the Conference 21 semifinal. The Pride boys lacrosse team finished with a 14-6 loss to Woodgrove in Conference 21 quarterfinal. The girls lacrosse team finished off its rebuilding season with a 24-4 loss to Loudoun County in the Conference 21 quarterfinal. The boys tennis team completed its season with a 9-0 loss to Loudoun County in the Conference 21 semifinals. The girls tennis team complete its season with a 5-1 loss to Sherando in the Conference 21 quarterfinal. The track team finished with events competing at the 4A Region meet at Liberty as well as some competing in the state meet in Harrisonburg.
Pride boys soccer finished the regular season with a record of 7-8-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the Dulles District. They lost a really good game to Loudoun County in the Conference 21 quarterfinals. Stephen Hrebenach was named First Team All-Conference 21 Defender; Ryan Pyszka, Andres Villalon, and Giovanni Vasquez were all named to the Second Team All-Conference 21.
“I’m very grateful for it because I was voted among a lot of highly skilled defenders and I think it’s an honor to be selected,” said Hrebenach.
“I was very proud of Stephen Hrebenach making First Team and for Andres, Gio and Ryan making Second Team,” Coach Munson said. “Stephen was our speaking captain and did a wonderful job all season. He worked well with me and all of the players looked up to him. He was truly a mentor to all of our young players. Joey Temme, our Senior Goalkeeper and Captain also did a fantastic job for us this year and had four shutouts. We also are losing forwards Franklin Cortez and Rubin Owusu.”
“This season, was filled with adversity. For at least four of our games, we were missing five players due to injuries, and for most of the season, we were missing three or four players with some serious injuries. We had some devastating injuries this season. For some games we were down to one or two subs, but what I liked most about this team was that they always believed in each other, believed they could win and fought hard. The night we beat Park View 1-0, we had two subs and one was injured and out of the game before halftime. Yet we kept fighting and got the winning goal with about seven minutes left. When we played County in the Conference 21 Tournament, we probably played our best game of the year and lost a close one 2-1 to the Regional Champions. This was the youngest team I’ve ever coached and possibly the most talented younger players I’ve had. We have a lot of talent coming back. Jonathan Martinez and Tyler Frank were also captains this year and I look forward to having them back next year, along with Celeste Nzeza, Kosta Nika, Sean Shu, Will Giessler, Remi Bernard, TJ Sample, Nick Scola, Zach Nylund. We should have a lot of experience and chemistry from our returning players.”
Pride girls soccer finished the regular season with a record of 11-9-1 overall and 8-3-1 in the Dulles District. They failed to take the Conference 21 title at Dominion, losing 6-0, but moved on to the 4A Region tournament. There they went on to beat Courtland 2-1 in overtime in the Region 4A quarterfinals with both Pride’s goals scored by junior Christina Carlston, who recently verbally committed to play at D3 Mary Washington in 2016. In the Region 4A semi-final in Forest, Va., against Jefferson Forest, the Pride played without their team captain and another starter due to illness.
The Pride had three players selected to the All-Conference 21 First Team, defender Mackenzie Kick and forwards Amanda Philip and Natalie Perussault. They also had three players selected to the Second Team, freshman Cori Carlston and juniors Christina Carlston and Taylor Zelman.
Kick on her selection said, “I’m really happy about it because it is a good way to end my four years of high school soccer. It also shows that my hard work paid off. I’m also really proud of everyone else that made First Team and Second Team from our team. It means people are noticing out efforts.”
“I was very surprised to have been selected and I was proud of my self for making it so far,” said Phillip on her selection. “Coming back from a knee injury, you sit there wondering if you’ll come back just as good as before. It was a mental battle to be honest, but I was set to come back and work my butt off. I love playing high school soccer I get really into it, I’m very competitive and love to win. Seeing that my coach selected me, I was honored and proud to have shown enough effort and drive to get noticed. When sconce told me I made I honestly couldn’t stop smiling. All that hard work paid off!”
Perussault on her selection said,”There’s a lot of talented players in our conference so I was definitely excited to get first team and without a doubt honored.”
“With regards to this season, I thought it flew by extremely fast,” said Ascunce. “With all the rain we all received this spring, we were forced to practice more indoors than outdoors. In addition we played more away games than home games at sites which had turf fields so that we could play all of our games. The first half of the season was spent trying to determine our formation and combinations of players but once we found the right fit, we were able to come together as a team and have a good run leading up to the end of the season. We finished with an 11-9-1 record. The final outcome of our season however, was a series of quite unfortunate events. Entering the regional semi-final game at Jefferson Forest High School, two of our starters were out. In fact, our team kept fighting until we were stopped short with approximately 16 minutes left of the game due to Mother Nature. Her thunder storms and rain did not want to quit, and neither did we. We were not ready to quit. However, the game was cut short. We will forever wonder how the game could have ended. It was a very tough way to end the season, especially for our five seniors to end their high school season the way it did. I started with those seniors four years ago and I will miss them greatly. On another note, I would like to see two VHSL rule changes regarding all sports. I would like to see VHSL hire out of region referees to officiate regional games. Furthermore, I would like to see changes in how a team can make an appeal with regards to a player’s ejection. Currently, a team must have clear video footage which is very hard to obtain from a regular video camera. I think if VSHL were to speak with both coaches, officials, Athletic Directors and possibly all players involved, an impartial resolution can be concluded.”
“Although I am losing five great players, as my seniors graduate, I am looking forward to what next year has to bring,” said the Pride coach. “The underclassman are excited and optimistic to fill in the shoes of our departing seniors. In reference to your question about my favorite moment of the season, I would have to say that it is a combination of different moments. This season had many life lessons learned, of which the girls and I will take with us for the rest of our lives.”
The Pride baseball team finished 12-7 overall and 9-3 in the Dulles District, which was good for second behind Loudoun Valley. At the end of the Dominion game, senior Nick Fuhrmann hurt his shoulder leaping into home plate to try to score the tying run in the bottom of the 7th. Fuhrmann ended up being on the shelf for the remainder of their season. Also, sophomore catcher Chad Koehler, who was having a great season, got hurt off the field prior to the Conference 21 semi-final game. That left the Pride without two key players in the semi-finals. They played pretty well against reigning AA State Champs, Sherando, losing 4-3. The team had three players selected to the All-Conference 21 team. Senior Zack Hopeck was named First Team Pitcher and Utility Player, and was awarded Conference 21 Player of the Year. Senior Nick Fuhrmann was named First Team Shortstop, junior Jack Howard was named Second Team Third Base and junior Ben Taylor was named Second Team Outfield.
“It’s truly been been an honor,” Hopeck said on his selections and being named Conference 21 Player of the Year. “There is so much talent in this conference. I was surprised to hear that I was name player of the year. I was extremely surprised that I was named to first team utility because I was focused more on my pitching. ”
“I’m grateful to be selected to the All-Conference 21 Team and appreciate the nomination with all the great talent in this conference,” said Fuhrmann on his selection.
Coach Price added, “Zack has been deserving of First Team recognition since he started on varsity as a sophomore. He was a First Team Utility player in the 2012 season, but didn’t get any first team recognition last year despite putting up some of the best numbers and performances in the Dulles District and the Washington D.C. area. The coaches of Conference 21 got it right when they awarded Zack with First Team Pitcher, First Team Utility Player and Conference 21 Player of the Year. Nobody wanted to face him pitching and he was very hard to get out when hitting. Nick was also deserving of his first team selection. He had the best offensive year in school history, and led the league offensively also. I have never coached a better hitter, he also happened to be the best shortstop in the league too. I was very happy for Jack to receive the recognition he did. Jack had a solid year and established himself as a legit middle of the order player and somebody for other teams to pitch carefully next year.”
Coach Price also commented on the season saying, “I was disappointed that we didn’t bring home a championship, but I was pleased with the team this season. It was definitely the best team we’ve ever had. These were the closest group of players I have ever been around. We competed every night and had opportunities to do big things and hang banners in the gym. Unfortunately we didn’t stay as healthy as we needed to accomplish our goals, but still a very fun and enjoyable season.”
The Pride softball team finished the regular season with a record 10-8 overall and 7-5 in the Dulles District. They were coming off a 4-17 season and 3-15 in the district. The team had many injuries this year but fought through them. Pride’s Coach John Dugger was named Conference 21 Coach of the Year. Emily McCarty was named both First Team Player At-Large and Second Team Pitcher, in only her freshman year. Outfielder Melinda Gallagher and infielder Olivia Overton were both named to Second Team All-Conference 21.
“I feel really grateful [that] I was put in a situation where I could get this award,” McCarty on being named to the All-Conference 21 team. “I am so thankful for both my coaches and my teammates. All the work I’ve put in has made me a better player, but I still feel if I work hard everyday I can still get so much better.”
Coach Dugger, on the selections and being selected Coach of the Year, said, “We had a number of girls that did well this season. It was an honor to have one player on the first-team and three on the second-team. Being as young as we are makes this even more special. It is an honor to be named Coach of the Year.”
Coach Dugger also commented on the season saying, “I am very pleased with the growth in the softball program this year. It is difficult to compare this year’s team to last year’s. What is great to see is the dedication and drive exhibited by the girls this year. It is nice to have spots on the All-Conference 21 team, unexpected by the Heritage players.”
Boys lacrosse finished the regular season 5-7 overall and 2-5 in the district. After starting the season 1-3 the Pride won four out of the last eight games. As the season went along, they kept improving whether it was on the field or off it building team chemistry. The team had two players selected to the All-Dulles Group Team. Senior attacker Ryan Poland, was named to the First Team and also named Region Honorable Mention. Sophomore Defender Tyler Daily was named to the Second Team.
”It’s an honor really,” Poland said on his selection. “I wish I had another year to achieve more but I am happy with my achievements. I feel like I worked hard enough for them and I could not have done it without all the people who supported me and pushed me to be better this year”
“I am proud of Ryan (First Team Attack) and Tyler (Second Team Defense),” said Coach Burke. “Recognition is hard to come by, and they are well deserving of all the accolades they received from their hard work since the end of last season.”
Coach Burke also commented on the season saying,”During the course of the season the team grew and began to play better together. Playing in a tough conference doesn’t allow you any days off. There is no doormat in the Dulles District, and that’s make us want to be better, to raise the level of play even higher. I enjoyed the team as a whole. Everyone bought something different to the table, whether it was skill level, various levels of intensity, work ethic, or simply a good sense of humor and enjoyment. Each member of the Pride made the whole better.”
Girls lacrosse finished the regular season 1-13 overall and 1-7 in the Dulles District. As is expected with a new head coach, the third in the last six years, and with six players new to the sport, the team struggled but at times showed flashes of both great defense and offense. As the season went along, the team gained confident under the new system. The defense was lead by junior Caris Giessler, who was named to the All-Dulles Group First Team Defense and both senior Katie Lynch and junior Ashley Silvernale were named to the Second Team All-Dulles Group Attack.
“I was really surprised,” Giessler said on her selection during her first year. “I know I tried my best every game, but there are so many really good and experienced players! I was able to use some of my knowledge from like teamwork and positioning to help our team. I think that a first timer being named all district really shows how our team is so humble, welcoming, and helpful. I honestly learned something helpful about lacrosse from every player on the team. Having a team with a lot of people who never played before was kind of neat, I thought, because we all learned together and helped each other if we found something that worked for us. Also, you could see improvement every game and it really helped to keep our team attitude positive because we got excited about accomplishing the little things.”
Coach Greening, on Caris Giessler, Katie Lynch, and Ashley Sivlernale being named to the All-Dulles Group Team, said, “Caris deserves her selection because she used her knowledge and experience from playing soccer to understand the fundamentals of the game of lacrosse. She became a remarkably skilled defender because of her intelligence and her desire to learn and improve. She used her speed and athleticism to overcome (her) still developing stick skills to do what great defenders do – get the ball up the field and back to the offense to allow them the chance to score. Both Katie and Ashley were consistent scorers for our attack, both scoring almost 20 goals for the season. They also both contributed significantly to our draw controls – alternating between the two of them to get us as many possessions as we could manage.”
Coach Greening commented on the season saying,”The Pride team improved dramatically on its way to a strong developmental season for a program that promises to raise its profile in the next few years. The Pride focused quite a lot of attention on playing strong team defense. Throughout the season they played stretches of excellent defense. Injuries plagued the Heritage team this season, as three players sustained season-ending concussions while four other players fell to joint injuries, lost for the duration of the season. By the end of the season, the team managed only one win, but the skill level of all players improved significantly. This team has grit. They never gave up, no matter the score and continued to work hard to improve. This, more than anything else, bodes well for the future of Heritage girls’ lacrosse.”
“The team’s prospects for next season remain strong,” Greening added. “The team graduated only two seniors, and at least nine players from the rising freshman class will join the team next season.”
The Pride boys tennis team finished the regular season 4-11 overall and 4-7 in the Dulles District. They started out the season at 3-3 after the first six matches, but due to injuries and other problems they lost a few good players. The Dulles District is full of great talent so it was not an easy task for the young players to step in and win. They played well overall during the absence of their top players.
The Pride girls tennis team finished the regular season 4-11 overall and 4-7 in the Dulles District. They continued to develop during the course of the season. All the bad weather in the beginning of the season and the rain-outs during the season didn’t help the consistency of the team, but overall they did pretty well for a season with almost an all new top six.
Coach Gough said,”This season was a continuing growing season for the team. With the loss of five seniors, the ladies stepped up their game and continued to improve on their skills and play. Over the course of the season the girls were able to keep up their enthusiasm for the game despite the re-scheduling and lack of practice because of the weather.”
Coach Gough also added, “My favorite moments of the season are when the girls play harder and better than they thought they could. When they come off the court knowing they have done their best and given it their all win or lose.”
The Pride boys and girls track team had a great season. The results of those who advanced to states are as follows:
- F 1600m Finals – 6, Mackenzie, Georgie Heritage (Leesburg) 5:10.47 1
- M 400m Finals – 10, Pelenda, Christian Heritage (Leesburg) 51.04 1
- M 4x100m Finals – 15, Pelenda, Nyametei, Amenyah, Dailey Heritage (Leesburg) 44.67 1
- F 800m Finals – 9, Mackenzie, Georgie Heritage (Leesburg) 2:22.53 1
Coach Merriman commented on the boys season saying, “I am very pleased with the work our boys put in this season. We only had one senior, Henry Nyametei, who we will miss on our sprint squad next year, but it is great to have a young team!”
Coach Gilbert added for the girls season, “We had a great season with a young core playing a large role. We will miss our seniors very much next year, however they left their mark on the team that we hope will be a lasting one.”