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Fall Sports Highlights 10.7.19

Cross Country - First Boys'
Oct. 5: Cross Country - First Boys’ 28 vs. Kingswood Oxford School 29
Oct. 5: Cross Country - First Boys’ 41 vs. Williston Northampton School 18
Perfect weather. A fast first mile. Tricky footing in the back miles but also some flat areas. A downhill finish. Our first double dual meet of the season against Williston Northampton and host Kingswood Oxford at the West Hartford reservoir had all the elements for a great contest. Our boys team has been battling injuries and illnesses, and a number of our previous top runners were not able to line up this day ... opportunity for other runners to step up. Our phlegmy captain, Daniel Pinckney '20, was able to hold himself together well enough to pace the Martlets and run just over 19 minutes. He beat the No. 2 K-O runner by just over a second and a half in a dramatic sprint finish that we have come to expect from him over the years. That margin would end up to prove decisive, but at the time, with K-O's No. 3 finishing next, the score was heading south for the Black & Gold. Williston had run away with the meet by taking the first three spots and then a number of places after Pinckney, but Oliver Fenner '22 (first time under 20 minutes), Josh Mason '23 (also under 20!), Jay Henry '23 (over 90 second drop), James Beit '22 (90 second off his lifetime best with  20:43!) and Zach Burelle '20 (two minute improvement off his season best) all finished ahead of K-O's No. 4 runner to push them just higher than Westminster and secure the win. It was a true team effort. There were many season bests for the team down the ladder, with Will Warner ’22 also posting another lifetime best, his third of the season.
 
Cross Country - First Girls'
Oct. 5: Cross Country - First Girls’ 15 vs. Kingswood Oxford School 45
Oct. 5: Cross Country - First Girls’ 32 vs. Williston Northampton School 23
The Martlets had a banner day on KO’s home course. The spectacular fall weather and fast course — a combination of flat roads and wide trails – contributed to some excellent performances and multiple lifetime bests for the runners. Westminster narrowly lost to Williston Northampton but defeated Kingswood Oxford with a perfect score (15-45). Annabelle Smith ‘21 ran her fastest time ever (20:16) to place second overall behind Williston’s top runner. Laura Mittelman ‘20 also ran a lifetime PR (21:45) to secure a top-five finish, and captain Miranda Douglass ‘21 was close behind in sixth place (22:04). Fellow captains Olivia Goldstuck ‘21 (22:47) and Bethany Winters ‘20 (23:22) rounded out the top 10 finishers, guaranteeing a tight race against the Williston Wildcats (23-32). Bella Tawney ‘22 and Janessa Yan ‘22 both ran lifetime bests (23:53 and 25:34, respectively) as the Martlets’ sixth and seventh place finishers. Simone Routledge ‘23 (31:06) had her best race of the season so far and was followed closely by Alice Liu ‘23; both novice runners have been steady contributors to the team’s performance this season. Taylor Hill ‘22 and Hope Zimmerman ‘21 finished together after running 3.1 miles – matched stride-for-stride – to round out the Westminster runners.
 
Field Hockey - First Girls'
Oct. 2: Field Hockey - First Girls’ 8 vs. Miss Porter's School 0
The Martlets made the short trip to Farmington on a very heavy and hot day. Westminster scored five in the first half and three in the second. A nice range of goals came from corners and open play. Miss Porter’s had a strong defensive game and its goalkeeper did a great job with 16 saves. Congratulations to all goal scorers, but special congrats to captain Megan Rittenhouse '20 who scored her first goal for Westminster from attacking-mid after three years as our starting right back. Goal scorers first half: Sam DeLeo '21 (1), Mckenzie Bloom '23 (3), Rittenhouse (1). Assists first half: Claire Taylor '21 (1), Bennett Ghriskey '22 (2), Rittenhouse (1). Goal scorers second half: DeLeo (1), Casey Winslow '21 (2). Assists first half: Bloom (1), Taylor (1).
 
Oct. 5: Field Hockey - First Girls’ 7 vs. Loomis Chaffee 2
The Martlets pushed hard right from minute one, scoring four goals in the first half and conceding one. A further three nice finishes rounded off a strong outing for Westminster. This was a good challenge, and both coaches and watchers were proud of the focus and application shown by the whole team. Goal scorers first half: Mckenzie Bloom '23 (2); Gemma Green '21 (1); Megan Rittenhouse '20 (1) Assists first half: Claire Taylor '21 (3); Gemma Green '21 (1). Goal scorers second half: Mckenzie Bloom '23 (1); Gemma Green '21 (1); Claire Taylor '21 (1). Assists second half: Megan Rittenhouse '20 (1); Claire Taylor '21 (1); Gemma Green '21 (1); Betsy Winslow '21 (1).
 
Field Hockey - Second Girls'
Oct. 2: Field Hockey - Second Girls’ 7 vs. Miss Porter's School 0
Westminster continued the momentum from its Sept. 28 win and shut out a determined Miss Porter’s team. While Westminster kept the ball in the offensive zone for most of the first half, the Martlets weren’t able to capitalize on close opportunities inside the circle. With two minutes to go in the half, Liv Fernandez '23 found the back of the cage. A minute later, Halli Keenan '21 tipped a ball from Simonne Ponce '21 to end the half ahead by two. Westminster would go on to score five goals in the second half and play great team offense after a few halftime adjustments. Fernandez led the way on offensive with a hat trick, while Keenan notched two of her own.
 
Oct. 5: Field Hockey - Second Girls’ 2 vs. Loomis Chaffee 0
Two first half goals propelled the Martlets to victory on a beautiful fall day. Loomis was a competitive opponent that forced the defense to play as a unit and the offense to be smart with the ball to maintain possession. Westminster controlled the momentum of the first half, finally getting on the board with under 10 minutes to go on a shot from Halli Keenan ‘21. Minutes later, Elle Dorrian ‘22 added another tally for the Martlets. Loomis came out strong in the second half but the Martlets were able to hold their own for the victory.

Field Hockey - Third Girls'
Oct. 2: Field Hockey - Third Girls' 0 vs. Taft School 2
Westminster started off strong with a shot on goal in the first minute. The ball was offensively played for the majority of the game, but unfortunately, Taft scored two goals in the last several minutes, leaving the final score 0-2. 
 
Oct. 5: Field Hockey - Third Girls' 5 vs. Taft School 0
Thirds Girls' Field Hockey had its first win at home against Taft on Oct. 5, ending with a score of 5-0. Westminster played a strong game both offensively and defensively. Westminster’s shut out was thanks to Lara Connor ’22 in the cage and goals were scored by Callie Dermody ’23, Grace Rabley ’21, Caroline Bartley ’23 and two from Arin Goldberg ’22. 
 
Soccer - First Boys'
Sept. 30: Soccer - First Boys’ 2 vs. Suffield Academy 1
Westminster took the short ride over to Suffield Academy to take on a strong squad. Both teams came out and exchanged blows early on which set the tone for what would be a very physical game. Boniface Fatohou '23 would get the visitors on the board early with a well place hit from a distance to beat the diving Suffield keeper midway through the first half. Westminster would get another one before the half when Dylan Holley '20 would hammer home a rebound of a free kick from Percival Sibanda '20. Suffield would come out hard and press early on in the second half and score just over 10 minutes in. Both teams played extremely hard and left it all on the field. The Martlets were able to hang on and get the big win on the road. Lucas Wahlberg '21 had a strong game in net with eight saves.
 
Oct. 2: Soccer - First Boys’ 0 vs. Williston Northampton School 2
The Martlets knew Williston would be a tough challenge as they were coming into the game undefeated in league play. The home side would not do themselves any favors as they scored an own goal midway through the first half. Williston would get on the board soon, later knocking home a ball in the box. Westminster tried to rally at the half and play more team soccer, but were kept out of the net by a post and also a highlight reel save by the Williston goalie. Lucas Wahlberg '21 would finish the game with seven saves.
 
Oct. 5: Soccer - First Boys’ 0 vs. Kingswood Oxford School 3
Westminster came out on a perfect day for soccer and had a great first half of possession but could not break through the Kingswood backline. Kingswood played a couple of longball counter attacks that caught the Martlets backline off guard that resulted in prime scoring opportunities.
 
Soccer - First Girls'
Oct. 2: Soccer - First Girls’ 0 vs. Miss Porter's School 5
 
Oct. 5: Soccer - First Girls’ 1 vs. Canterbury School 4
First Girls’ Soccer worked hard against a solid Canterbury squad at home. The Martlets came out strong by putting one in the back of the net. Defender Cammi Ahern ‘22 cleared the ball out of the Westminster defensive half to find Jillian Gregorski ‘23 in the midfield. Gregorski then sent the ball down the middle to Eliza Roach ‘21 who put it past the very talented Saints keeper six minutes into the game. Canterbury responded three more times that half and put the home team in a tough spot, needing to climb back in the final 40 minutes. There were multiple opportunities for the Martlets in the second half, but Canterbury held on, putting one more in with 10 minutes left in play, to win 4-1.
 
Soccer - Second Boys'
Oct. 2: Soccer - Second Boys’ 0 vs. Williston Northampton School 5
The Westminster boys struggled through some key injuries to a heavy defeat to Williston Northampton. Despite the score line, Will Mell '21 had his best game of the season in goal. Mell made a number of athletic saves and commanded his box well. He should judge his performance from the quality of his saves and not the scoreboard. Westminster did threaten the opposition goal regularly, but were denied by some fine goal keeping. Peter Miller '22 was extremely active and energetic in attack. Miller improved on his decision making and made some excellent runs through the defensive lines. He showed his team ethic by dropping deep to help on defense. Colin Pogue '23 has been brilliant in practice this week and earned his first start of the season. Pogue works hard whenever he is called upon and has made great strides in all sides of his game.
 
Oct. 5: Soccer - Second Boys’ 0 vs. Kingswood Oxford School 0
Second Boys' Soccer put on an exciting display of soccer against a mature Kingswood Oxford team. The score line hides the quantity of excellent saves the Kingswood keeper was forced to make against an increasingly potent Westminster forward line. Peter Miller '22 is increasingly more efficient in front of the goal and produced several athletic saves. More important is his movement off the ball and work rate. Miller uses the ball smartly when in possession, and his industry creates a number of dangerous opportunities during a match. Colin Pogue '23 was a late addition to the starting line and added another composed and steely display to his game record. Pogue is still learning the game but the coaches can always depend on him to offer his absolute best, grinning all along. He always finds a way to get the ball and is quickly offering competition to the starting fullbacks. The midfield trio of Tommy Cramer '23, Christian Yalda '22 and Tunji Osho-Williams '21 continues to improve their handling of the game and granted the team a better platform to work from. Cramer is assured in possession and keeps far more balls alive than he should; Yalda is energetic and never gives up in a fight for the ball; Osho-Williams is free to roam, either closing down an imminent threat or making a rampaging run through the lines. A special mention is reserved for Adam Cerny '21 who supports so much of the good work the team produces, either making runs into space and providing for his strike partners, or making the decisive pass from the midfield to start a fresh attack. Cerny has played in almost every position on the field and always finds a way to excel.
 
Soccer - Second Girls'
Oct. 2: Soccer - Second Girls’ 0 vs. Miss Porter's School 0
Against a skillful and well-organized Porter’s side, the Martlets had to settle for a scoreless draw in Farmington. The Daisies did a good job of possessing the ball, but for the most part it didn't lead to significant threats on goal. The Martlets were more potent in counterattacking mode, especially in the second half when the heat began to show its effect on both sides. On the day, the Martlets outshot the Daisies 19-7, with Susie Mahoney '20 creating particular havoc on numerous occasions. Several times she got behind the defense, and she nearly scored the game winner in the 70th minute on a shot that went off the near post and rolled across the goal mouth, missing the far post by only a foot. The defense was strong as always, and the shoutout goes to Laura Velez '20 for her play in central midfield.
 
Soccer - Third Boys'
Oct. 2: Soccer - Third Boys’ 5 vs. Taft School 2
Third Boys’ Soccer received a moderate test Oct. 2 when the team played against Taft in Watertown. The home team struck first on a misplayed ball in the box, but the Martlets soared back as Danny Judge '22, off a feed from Darion Benchich '20, out-hustled the Rhinos' defense to put Westminster on the board. Benchich wasn't finished as he would keep rolling out assists to Finn Gerry '20 and Will Murphy '21. The latter's goal was his first of the season. Gerry would strike twice, the first time on an uncanny header — not unlike one against Pomfret Sept. 28 — from the foot of Owen Kaplan '22. Kaplan put together another excellent defensive performance. Taft responded late in the second half on a penalty kick but could not match the Martlets' gritty-yet-surprisingly-graceful play. Adding another goal was Will Mazzaro '21, who would not be denied during a scrum in front of the goal. Keeper Theo Vandervoorn '20 strung together eight saves, which included a diving stop on Taft's first penalty try. Travis "Old Man" Paulsen '20, returning from injury, played smart, sound soccer and was a welcomed presence on the bench. Goals: Danny Judge '22 (1), Finn Gerry '20 (2), Will Mazzaro '21 (1), and Will Murphy '21 (1). Assists: Darion Benchich '20 (3) and Owen Kaplan '22 (1).
 
Oct. 5: Soccer - Third Boys’ 2 vs. Loomis Chaffee 3
In an epic rematch, Westminster suffered its first loss of the season. Both teams sprinted out of the gates as they played a possession-heavy game. To the bystander, it must have looked like a serious Third Boys' Soccer match, which it certainly was. A couple misplayed balls by the Martlets led to two Loomis goals. The home team, however, would not fall easily. Jack Wainwright '22 drilled a ball from outside the box into the top corner of the net, the first goal of his young Westminster career. Danny Judge '22 also scored as he blasted a beautifully-placed ball past the Loomis keeper. With the score tied and time running out, Loomis was granted a free kick just outside the Westminster box. The Martlets failed to set up a suitable wall and, as their keeper was also out of position, Loomis lobbed one easily into the net, ensuring the tight upset. The Martlets received other notable performances from utility player Travis Paulsen '20, forward Ben Ferrell '21 and fullback Alex Tonioni '22.
 
Soccer - Third Girls'
Oct. 2: Soccer - Third Girls’ 0 vs. Kingswood Oxford School 8
Oct. 5: Soccer - Third Girls’ 0 vs. Loomis Chaffee 1
 
Soccer - Fourth Boys'
Oct. 2: Soccer - Fourth Boys’ 3 vs. Taft School 1
It was a buggy and muggy day on the pitch in Watertown as the Martlets faced the Rhinos. When the final whistle blew, Westminster had a 3-1 victory. Benno Wurts ‘22 got the scoring started with a beautiful pass to Peter Diorio ‘23. Diorio one timed the shot right into the top of the net. The score remained 1-0 at the break. In the second half Ryan Jainchill ‘23 passed to Jack Adams ‘23. Adams, playing forward for the first time this year, hit a rocket past the Rhino keeper. Finally Marcello Demerski ‘23 displayed some fancy footwork before placing the ball in the upper right corner of the net. Matthew Greggains ‘23 and Alex Unruh ‘22 were outstanding in net for the Martlets.
 
Water Polo - First Boys'
Oct. 2: Water Polo - First Boys’ 6 vs. Hotchkiss School 12
Westminster started slow, but the second half of this match was a much better showing, and it was something to build upon for the games coming ahead. Speed and endurance continue to be important, and the small details continue to come. Keegan Bankoff ’22 came up with around 18 saves in this contest, and he continues to be a huge impact player for this young group. Hunter Hoogkamp ‘21 sailed in a beauty of a goal squeezing the ball into the top corner early in the second half. He also added two others during the match. Carter Henshaw ‘20, Layton Harmon ‘21 and Jeremy Hopsicker ‘22 added to the total, and the Martlets tallied six on the day. This was a rough game, both teams could have used a few more exclusion fouls to keep the tenor of the game in check. Hotchkiss has a few players with four years of water polo experience, and that continues to be the difference in matches.
 
Oct. 5: Water Polo - First Boys’ 13 vs. Wilbraham & Monson Academy 5
It was a big game for the Black & Gold versus Wilbraham and Monson Academy Oct. 5. Determination and resilience were the name of the game early on, but in the second half, the Martlets began to execute in both even and odd man situations, capitalizing on good transitions and taking advantage of Wilbraham’s offensive-minded game. The game was physical, but the Martlets stood strong and kept their composure. They displayed improved ball management and evolving situational awareness. Westminster also has a few goal scorers, and hopefully this game will help the team understand how important it is to advance up the pool as a team in order to create opportunities off movement in the offensive half-court. Down 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, Wilbraham had the momentum. Westminster had a few opportunities in the first quarter, but shots were direct and from outside 5 meters. Shooting on the deep end in the second quarter, Westminster rallied as a team, and created opportunities inside the five-meter. With six goals in the second, the momentum swing was clear. With only one quality opportunity in the third quarter, the score held at 8-5 heading into the fourth quarter — still anyone’s game. Westminster earned five goals in the fourth quarter. More importantly, they limited turnovers and played as a team. Wilbraham continued to press, but Keegan Bankoff ‘22 shut down any opportunities it had. It was his work in the third quarter that made an enormous difference in the game. Wilbraham had some excellent opportunities inside the five meter and Bankoff came up huge by knocking down some shots and quarterbacking the transition. Layton Harmon ’21, Max Larock ’22, Jeremy Hopsicker ’22, Hunter Hoogkamp ’21, Rich Mugler ’22 and Kellen Seeley ’22 all contributed with goals in the Martlets’ first win on the season. It was a great effort from a great group of players who continue to work hard to learn a challenging game.  
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