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Parents Bulletin Board

Cavs Corner: Season previews for boys tennis, baseball, softball and girls lacrosse
Posted 03/08/2018 01:04PM

By Andy Pogach, Assistant Director of Athletics and Sports Information Director, Varsity Girls Tennis Coach 
Twitter: @daathletics
Instagram: @dacavsathletics   

This week’s edition of Cavs Corner includes part 1 of our spring sports season preview, featuring our boys tennis, baseball, softball and girls lacrosse teams. The boys lacrosse team opened the season Wednesday with an instant-classic 15-14 loss to defending state champs Christ School, and the baseball team walked off with a win over Norfolk Academy on Monday.

Boys tennis is No. 5 in the News & Observer’s top 25 poll

Two years ago, the boys tennis team had a starting lineup of talented and young sophomores, and now the team enters the 2018 season with a senior-laden lineup. It’s a group eager to compete for a state championship and join the girls tennis team for a DA sweep of tennis titles this year.

The Cavs are off to a 3-1 start following a second-place finish in the Florence Tennis Association tournament last weekend. DA took 6-0 wins over Beaufort Academy and Myrtle Beach High and a 5-1 win over Oceanside Academy, all of South Carolina. In Sunday’s final, the Cavs were bested 4-2 by 3A rival Greensboro Day. 

The top of the Cavaliers’ depth chart will be once again led by senior All-State players James Shaheen and Priyan de Silva. This dominant duo combined to go 35-2 in singles and 14-1 together at first doubles in 2017. In fact, prior to his loss on Sunday, de Silva had not dropped a singles match in almost two seasons. Shaheen (90 wins) and fellow senior Kenan Ulku-Steiner (92 wins) are poised to become the latest members of the 100-win club and may even challenge the school record of 125 wins set by current UConn tennis star Justin Warren ’15.

Ulku-Steiner, as well as classmates Alexander Brandt and Jack McCallie, will occupy the middle of the Cavalier lineup, an area that will be key if the Cavs will have any chance of advancing to the state finals for the first time in 11 years. These five seniors, all captains, will be joined by juniors Pierce Jenkins and Sheridan Kum as mainstays in the Cavaliers lineup at the beginning of the season. 

In Sunday’s final vs. the Bengals, the Cavs took wins at first singles from Shaheen (6-1, 6-2) and fifth singles from McCallie (6-3, 7-6). Unfortunately, straight set losses from Ulku-Steiner at 3, Brandt at 4, the doubles team of Jenkins/Kum and a three-set loss from de Silva on court 2 left the Cavs as runner-up. DA will get a rematch against the Bengals on March 27 and will travel to Charlotte Country Day in April — two matches that will determine whether or not the Cavs will have a high seed in this year’s state tournament.

DA, ranked fifth in the latest News & Observer top 25 poll, will be looking for a third straight TISAC championship and will be tested in the conference by No. 20-ranked Cary Academy. In addition, coach Sean Bilsborrow’s team will be challenged with matchups with top public school powers such as seventh-ranked East Chapel Hill (today), fourth-ranked Cardinal Gibbons (March 26) and Carrboro (April 11). Bilsborrow is hoping that his senior-experienced crew can not only return to the state semifinals for the sixth straight year, but also break through to the finals and capture the program’s first state title. 

Baseball team seems to favor tight, one-run battles

The 2018 version of the DA baseball team has picked up where last year’s team left off, competing in tight, one-run battles. Eight of last season’s 19 games were decided by a single run, and already the Cavs have been involved in two such games in their first three contests of the year.

Coach Tyrone Gould’s squad returns 10 players from last season’s 10-9 team and will look for a third straight year of finishing over .500. Not only is a .500 season within reach for the Cavs, so is a TISAC title and a trip to the state tournament for the first time in seven years. If the Cavs are to reach their goals, they will need starting pitching like they received from senior Cam Brown in their 2-1, eight-inning win over Norfolk Academy on Monday afternoon.

Brown — who on Tuesday was honored in a signing ceremony to continue his baseball career at Carleton College in Minnesota — scattered five hits and allowed just one unearned run in seven innings, sparking the Cavs to rally for the extra inning victory. Brown, who has an ERA under one through his first two appearances, pitched over 36 innings last season and will be counted on for big pitching performances like the one he had Monday.

Junior Michael Jaffe, one of three team captains, is batting a team-leading .545 through three games from the top of the lineup. Jaffe, last season’s team leader in batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases, was named all-conference in 2017. He came in to earn the win Monday by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. 

Senior Matt Willis, a senior captain, will be another pitcher the Cavs will rely on to eat up a lot of innings. Willis, last season’s team leader in both innings pitched and strikeouts, can also play third base and catch, and was named honorable mention All-Conference in 2017.

The third captain for the Cavs is senior first baseman Ted Middleton. Ted is a three-year starter and has been sure-handed at first base.

The Cavs will need to find some wins in a challenging out-of-conference schedule against the likes of Covenant Day, Forsyth Country Day and Greensboro Day following Friday afternoon’s 5-4 loss at Charlotte Latin. In that game, DA rallied from 4-1 down to tie the game with three runs in the sixth. While opportunities were there to take the lead in the seventh, the Cavs could not push across the go-ahead run and Latin came back with the winning run in the last of the seventh inning. Both Jaffe and Middleton had two hits for DA, while Willis and sophomore Benny Klein combined to allow four runs and six hits on the mound. Klein has emerged as an important contributor through three games, both on the hill and with the bat. He has given up just three hits and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings and is batting .400 with 2 RBIs, including knocking in the winning run in Monday’s victory.

 

The baseball team is back in action Friday with a 4 p.m. home game vs. Covenant Day School and a 10 a.m. Saturday home game vs. Avalon School of Maryland before taking off for spring break. 

Softball welcomes five new players in the ‘everyday’ lineup

Coach Heidi Kearnan and her 2018 softball team enter the season with a lot of new faces on the team and in key positions. Kearnan said there will be five new players in her everyday lineup, which will prove challenging, especially at the beginning of the year. Two faces that will not be new are senior captains Nicole Riepl and Kayla Bryant, who will be the leaders of a team looking to improve upon last year’s one-win season. Also returning for the Cavs in key positions will be sophomore starting pitcher Emily Donaldson, sophomore catcher Cristina Pastor-Valverde, junior infielder Imani Spence and sophomore second base/outfielder Ellie McGhee.

Kearnan points to team goals of “building relationships, fundamental skills and game understanding while competing in conference play.” She hopes for a top-half finish in the TISAC, which includes Wake Christian and North Raleigh Christian, two teams that were top-four seeds in last year’s state tournament. In last week’s season-opener against Franklin Academy, DA could not overcome an early nine-run deficit but battled back late for six runs in the third and three in the fourth in the 17-9 defeat. Riepl, McGhee and sophomore Finn May all had hits in the game.

With Tuesday’s game against Wesleyan Christian canceled for a second time in less than a week, the team’s next game will be after spring break when they enter TISAC play with a March 22 game at Ravenscroft. 

Girls lacrosse off to a positive start

The DA girls lacrosse team, coming off a TISAC championship season and a trip to the state semifinals, opened the season last night at Carrboro High School in a battle of two teams ranked in the News & Observer’s top 15 poll. The No. 12-ranked Cavaliers, led by junior Anna West’s 10 goals, took an 18-7 win over the Jaguars. West, junior Haley Leversedge and senior Lauren Thompson are the tri-captains for Debbie Rebosa’s squad, which will have to find a way to replace the scoring and leadership of the great class of 2017.

Among the starters that graduated from last year’s team are three Division I players: Madison Dunk, Hannah Pope and Lydia Carbuccia. West, one of last year’s leading scorers, showed in the opener that she has emerged as the Cavs’ top scoring threat. Leversedge and sophomore Charlotte Easley should provide the supporting offensive roles. Sophomore Caroline Sapir also filled that role nicely in the opener, with four goals and an assist. Leversedge added two goals, while ninth-graders Rebecca Urato and Kathleen Donovan each tallied their first varsity goals.

Rebosa said she is looking forward to the contributions she will receive from her “rising stars” — ninth-graders Urato, Donovan and Katherine Lantzy — as well as eighth-graders Brooke Epstein and goaltender Mirella Kades. Kades and sophomore Ella Virkler split time in goal last night, combining for nine saves.

The always daunting duo of Charlotte powers Country Day and Latin are on the Cavaliers’ schedule, as well as conference rivals Ravenscroft, which DA defeated twice in overtime last year. Next up for the Cavs will be a weekend doubleheader against Norfolk Academy on Friday and Pope High School of Georgia on Saturday morning. Both games are part of the annual King of Spring event, and both will be played on the turf fields at Duke University. 

Week in review

While our season previews of girls soccer and boys lacrosse will be published after spring break, both had their season-openers this week at home. The girls soccer team opened the season Monday afternoon with a 9-1 win over the New Life Storm homeschool team. DA scored four times in the opening 10 minutes to jump out to a 4-1 lead. The high-scoring senior offensive duo of Kendall Bushick and Erin Dilweg each had a hat trick, while sophomore Isabella Strauss added two goals and eighth-grader Kennedy Yon scored her first varsity tally. The soccer team’s Wednesday tilt vs. Jordan High was canceled due to poor field conditions, and the team will return to action after spring break. The team is currently ranked 14th in the latest News & Observer top 25 poll

Coach Jon Lantzy’s boys lacrosse team opened the season Wednesday in a unique setting. The game vs. last year’s state champion Christ School was played on the Middle School campus due to poor field conditions at the Upper School. The Greenies, who ran through the Cavs 19-5 a year ago, already had two wins under their belt this year, winning by an average margin of 16 goals.

After a back-and-forth first half that saw Christ School take a 7-3 lead, DA used a monstrous third period and a 9-1 run overall to take a three-goals lead. The Cavs led 14-11 with four minutes to go before the Greenies ran off the final four tallies to take 15-14 victory. While the loss was tough to swallow after playing so well and having a late lead, the result definitely bodes well for the 2018 version of the Cavaliers lacrosse team. Senior Tyler Carpenter and junior Drew Hantzmon each scored four times, while senior Benson Easley, junior Dan Clifford and junior Shaffer Woody added two goals each. Ninth-grader John Donovan was strong in goal, making 11 saves. The lacrosse team will battle Charlotte Latin and Charlotte Christian in the King of Spring event this weekend. 

Both the boys golf team and boys and girls track teams have yet to compete. The track team will be home today in a meet against Grace Christian, Cary Christian and Trinity School. We will have coverage of that meet and season previews for both of these sports in our next Cavs Corner. Thank you, as always, for your support of Cavaliers athletics!

Keeping up with the Cavs

As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the DA App: 

www.da.org/athletics: Schedules and Results

The DA App: Schedules and Results

  • The DA App allows you to keep up with athletics wherever you are. You can download the app from iTunes at http://bit.ly/DACavaliers. The DA App pulls athletics content directly from the DA website and delivers it to iOS-based devices including iPhone and iPad.
  • The Athletics portion of the DA App (after launching, click Menu, then click Athletics to open) features results of recent games, a list of upcoming contests and team records.

Parent Events
  • August 2018
    • ThuAug30 Parents Council Kick-Off Meeting 8:15 AMMiddle School Board Room
  • September 2018
    • ThuSep20 Parents Council Meeting 8:15 AMMiddle School Board Room
    • TueSep25 Dine for DA at Blaze Pizza 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM
  • October 2018
    • ThuOct18 Parents Council Meeting 8:15 AMMiddle School Board Room
  • November 2018
    • ThuNov15 Parents Council Meeting 8:15 AMMiddle School Board Room
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