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Winter Sports Highlights 1.13.20

Basketball - First Girls'
Jan. 8: Basketball - First Girls’ 45 vs. Hopkins School 34
Westminster had a great team effort in its first home game of the season. After a nip-and-tuck first half that saw neither team take a lead greater than four points, we went to the locker room down 20-22. The first half of the third quarter saw much of the same back-and-forth action, but excellent ball movement triggered a late run and Westminster ended the third quarter ahead 34-29. The team "held serve" for the fourth quarter and got baskets from four different players down the stretch to ice the win. Bianca D’Onoforio '23 led the team with 11 points and added 10 rebounds. Margaret Kennedy '22 had six assists, including a dramatic over-the-head play on the baseline, and nine defensive deflections. Eliza Roach '21 didn't miss a shot and added five assists and three steals. Sam de Kanter ’22 scored 10 points on five-of-seven shooting and registered five steals on defense. Bella Tawney '22 blocked four shots, grabbed 17 rebounds and tallied 12 deflections. 
 
Jan. 11: Basketball - First Girls’ 33 vs. Hotchkiss School 56
Westminster did not play well against an exceptionally aggressive and physical Bearcats team. Westminster got off to possibly its worst start of the year in the first quarter but played the hosts relatively evenly until halftime. Westminster came out of the locker room and played very well for about six minutes and cut the lead to 29-25, but that was as close as the team could get. Too many three-pointers allowed and too many turnovers committed added up to a 23-point loss. Bianca D'Onofrio ’23 led the team in scoring for the second straight game.
 
Basketball - Second Boys'
Jan. 11: Basketball - Second Boys’ 17 vs. Avon Old Farms School 66
Westminster was trailing Avon Old Farms just 7-10 when the Winged Beavers went on what very well might have been a 30-0 run. The Martlets were stagnant on offense, not moving the ball nor moving without the ball. Their game was marred with turnovers, and they only made it to the free throw line once all game. On a positive note, Westminster improved the second half, committing just three turnovers as the team took care of the ball and was more patient in its offense. The Martlets have a lot of heart but need to start registering the fact that they need more spacing on offense, can’t telegraph their passes and have to execute what they practice during the week. Jack Darnowski '23 led Westminster with five points.
 
Basketball - Third Boys'
Jan. 8: Basketball - Third Boys’ 28 vs. Fairfield Country Day 54
Third Boys’ Basketball played Fairfield Country Day School’s varsity team at home. The team got off to a strong start, including an early 3-pointer from Zach Blest ‘21. The crusaders came back strong, putting pressure on the team’s defense. The scoring drought was ended when Sam Bradley ’23 drew a penalty and scored on both of his free throws, helping to propel the Martlets into the second half. Westminster came out for the second half ready to play, and with good performances across the board, brought the score to 28 to 54, tying its season best scoring record. 
 
Hockey - First Boys'
Jan. 11: Hockey - First Boys’ 3 vs. Trinity-Pawling School 3
Looking to capitalize on a good week of practice at Jackson Rink, the Martlets boarded the bus for Pawling, N.Y. Saturday to play Trinity-Pawling. The Martlets started the game firing on all cylinders, scoring twice in the opening frame. After the first goal, TP was on its heels. Westminster made high percentage plays and good decisions with the puck, driving the Pelicans into their zone and keeping the pressure on their goaltender. Scoring a second goal captured the momentum for Westminster, but the pace and consistency dwindled heading into the second frame. TP scored late in the second period to bring the game within one before heading into the locker room for the second intermission. The Martlets came out swinging in the third, and punched home another tally to take a 3-1 lead. TP kept the pressure on, and they were able to capitalize on momentary lapses in effort and attention to detail. Effort plays were needed, and the inability to move the puck out of dangerous areas consistently led to TP’s opportunities in the third period. TP would score two in the third period, the last of which came with 19 seconds remaining after pulling its goalie. Westminster was unable to move the puck out of the zone, and to TP’s credit, it kept the pressure on and scored on a pass to the backdoor. Despite the tie, Westminster played well, creating many grade-A opportunities that just needed a little puck luck, and perhaps a redoubling of effort to bang the puck home.
 
Hockey - First Girls'
Jan. 8: Hockey - First Girls’ 5 vs. Gunnery School 1
First Girls’ Hockey hit the ground running in the first game of 2020. The team traveled to the Gunnery and despite some great offensive chances, came out of the first period behind 1-0. After a good rest, the Martlets took the ice for the second period ready to get to work. Third Former Amelia Molin led the way by stepping up on a breakout pass by Gunnery and going in alone with the goalie. Molin buried the puck and gave her team the momentum. Just 15 seconds later Casey Winslow ‘21 carried the puck into the zone off a great play by Liv Fernandez ‘23 and Callista Adorno ‘22, and let a hard shot go that deflected off the goalie and went into the back of the net. In just the next shift, forward Emma Gurnell ‘21 drew a penalty and Westminster took the ice for the power play. The Martlets controlled the play, peppering the goalie with shots. Defenseman Betsy Winslow '21 moved the puck to Adorno at the top of the zone. Adorno took a quick shot that snuck in the right side post to give the team the 3-1 lead. Westminster was feeling the rush of scoring three goals in under three minutes and worked to maintain control of the game. Then with just five minutes left, Fernandez snuck the fourth goal by the goalie to secure the lead for her team. The team had a solid third period, killing two penalties thanks to some great saves by goalie Kayla Ireland '22. With just one minute left, Sixth Former Jenny Guider scored off a pass from Cammi Ahern '22 to lock the score in at 5-1.
 
Jan. 11: Hockey - First Girls’ 3 vs. Taft School 0
Westminster was on the road again to face off against Founders League rival, Taft School. The Martlets had a strong start as they maintained good pressure in the opening minutes. At the 10-minute mark, forward Jenny Guider '20 managed to angle a breaking Taft player into her stick causing a turnover. Emma Gurnell '21 stepped up to collect the puck and went in alone with the goalie. She took a low shot that beat the Taft goalie giving Westminster the 1-0 lead. The second period brought more opportunities, but Westminster could not finish to increase the lead. Penalties plagued the team a bit, but the penalty kill units were aggressive and it paid off. The team increased the tempo in the third period, but Taft met the pressure by earning nearly a minute of offensive zone time. Westminster struggled to clear the puck and goalie Mandy Busky '21 made some incredible saves to keep her team in it. Gurnell finally got a hold of the puck and sent it flying down the other end. Winger Cammi Ahern '22 read the play and snuck behind the defender to beat the icing. Arriving first to the puck, Ahern looked in front and sent a perfect pass to a break Guider in the high slot. Guider one-timed the puck past the Taft goalie for the 2-0 lead. The sudden shift in momentum gave a surge of energy to the Martlets. The press continued with more good chances from forwards Megan Rittenhouse '20 and Margaret Sadak '22. In the final minutes, Taft put pressure on with a pulled goalie, but Westminster executed a perfect forecheck forcing a turnover to Ahern who buried the puck in the empty net with just three seconds left. It was another great win for goaltender Busky as she added her third Founders League shutout to the list.
   
Hockey - Second Boys'
Jan. 8: Hockey - Second Boys’ 2 vs. Springfield Rifles 4
The Seconds opened the 2020 campaign by hosting the Springfield Rifles for an early evening game at Jackson Rink. After only a single practice following the long winter break, and short several players owing to illness and injury, the Martlets played hard and improved with every shift. Despite falling behind 0-2 in the first period, the Black & Gold dominated play for long stretches and ultimately outshot the visitors 32-20 with most of those shots coming in the second and third period. David Harris '21 got the Martlets on the board midway through the second after several consecutive shifts of aggressive forechecking and peppering the Rifles keeper. Harris calmly collected a rebound off a Rex Flinn '21 shot from the point and fired it underneath the goalie's right arm to pull the home side to 1-2. What followed was several stretches of really solid play from the Seconds, but they were unable to solve the riddle of the Rifles’ goalie a second time to even the score and the second period ended with the Martlets trailing by a goal but clearly carrying the majority of the play. The third opened as the second finished, and the Seconds producing long stretches of possession in the Rifles’ end and several mad scrambles in front of the Rifles' goal — but all to no avail. To their credit, the Rifles withstood the Martlet onslaught, and with five minutes to play a defensive breakdown in the home end led to a Rifles' goal to make the score 1-3. But the Seconds battled on, and pulled to 2-3 when Willie Noble '20 collected a loose puck in neutral ice and got behind the Rifles' defensemen before roofing a blistering wrist shot under the crossbar. Several minutes of inspired Westminster play followed, but the Seconds could not score the equalizer. With roughly two minutes to play and a faceoff in the home end, the Martlets called a timeout. Despite winning the ensuing faceoff, a quirky bounce turned the puck over to the Rifles, who tucked the puck into the empty Martlet net for a 2-4 final score. Bad "puck luck," for sure, but the Seconds know that you make your own luck — and their play, particularly in the second and third periods, deserved better. Special mention to Jack Adams '23 and Nick Mascolo '21 for their smart and inspired play (Adams overall played his best game of the season). Generally, the coaches are pleased with the effort and the team's play overall, given the long layoff and short bench.
 
Jan. 11: Hockey - Second Boys’ 2 vs. Trinity-Pawling School 2
The Seconds hosted always-tough Trinity-Pawling for an afternoon game at Jackson Rink. In a see-saw contest that included end-to-end play and strong goaltending on both sides, the Martlets took a 2-0 lead into the middle of the second period before yielding goals late in the second and early in the third to the hard-working Pride. Westminster got on the board early in the first when Jack Adams '23 dug a puck off the near wall and fed Sawyer von Jess '22 on the left point. Von Jess made a quick move to evade the T-P winger before firing a low hard shot that beat the keeper on the near post. Credit to Adams's linemates Willy Noble '20 and David Harris '21 for setting up the forecheck and battling for position in front of the net to screen the goalie. The game was back-and-forth all game, with long stretches of offensive zone play from the Martlets matched by gritty defense in their own end in front of tender Rich Mugler '22. Mugler had 26 saves on the afternoon, some of which were worthy of a highlight reel (including one off his melon that required a brief pause in play). Nate Stevens '21 extended the Martlet lead to 2-0 in the second on the power play when Oscar Ball '22 collected a loose puck in the high slot and fed Stevens just inside the blueline – again, traffic in front of the net from Ball, Will Mazzaro '21, and Newt Cutler '22 obscured the goalie's view as Stevens's blast ripped through the crowd to the back of the net. But the Pride would not concede, and the Martlets had their hands full for the rest of the game. Pressing hard, T-P earned their first goal with five minutes to go in the second when a low hard shot on an odd-man break beat Mugler. The tying score came early in the third when the Black & Gold failed to get the puck out over the defensive blue line and an opportunistic T-P forward fired a hard shot into the top left corner of the net. The shots were ultimately 26-28 in favor of T-P, with most of their shots coming in the second and third periods. Westminster had chances of their own: Peter Diorio '23, Will Rizzo '21, and Ryan Huntley '21 all hit the post or crossbar with resounding clangs. The five minute OT stanza was more of the same: both sides had good chances but the 2-2 score held up. Overall, the coaches were pleased with the players' effort and the result – T-P came into the game with some impressive scores against historically very good teams.
 
Hockey - Second Girls'
Jan. 11: Hockey - Second Girls’ 11 vs. Northfield Mount Hermon School 1
After a month off, Westminster returned to action in good form against Northfield Mount Hermon, picking up an 11-1 victory on the road. The game marked Ava Lynch's ’23 first appearance in net for the Martlets. Ellie Cramer ’22 put Westminster on the scoreboard early netting the first of her two goals less than two minutes into the first period. With almost all of the action in the offensive zone, Claire Taylor ’21, Dylan Bloom ’23, Mckenzie Bloom ’23 and Susie Mahoney ‘20 all added to Westminster’s tally during the first period. Early in the second, Northfield Mount Hermon capitalized on a breakaway posting its lone goal of the game. Westminster, however, recovered quickly, going on to double the score in the second period and add a final point in the third. Bennett Ghriskey ’22, Annabelle Smith ’21, Caroline McDermott ’20, Abigail Moss ’20 and Jenna Kosior ’21 each added to the tally, in a strong effort.
 
Hockey - Third Boys'
Jan. 8: Hockey - Third Boys 0 vs. Fairfield Country Day 5
Jan. 11: Hockey - Third Boys’ 1 vs. Trinity-Pawling School 2
 
Squash - First Boys'
Jan. 11: Squash - First Boys’ 0 vs. Hopkins School 7 

Squash - First Girls'
Jan. 8: Squash - First Girls’ 0 vs. Convent of The Sacred Heart 7
The girls suffered their first loss of the season against a powerful Sacred Heart team. Each player lost in three, but the effort was excellent, and all found positives to take away. Highlights included the play of Eve Cathcart '20, who used her volleying to apply pressure at No. 5; Ellie Bailey '21 and Kaylee Hunt '10, who played long rallies under intense pressure at the top of the ladder; Lauren Way '20, whose unpredictability and court coverage earned her an 11-8 second game at No. 7; Rebecca Sargent '20, whose good length earned her an 11-8 third game at No. 3; and Nicole Smith '23, who mixed defense and attacking to produce a pair of 11-8 games to start her match at No. 4.
 
Jan. 11: Squash - First Girls’ 3 vs. Westover School 4
Despite another fine effort, the girls narrowly dropped their second consecutive match. Westover was just too strong at the top of its ladder, winning 3-0 at each of the top four spots. Nonetheless, the Martlet top four — Kaylee Hunt '20, Ellie Bailey '21, Nicole Smith '23 and Rebecca Sargent '20 — fought impressively, extending rallies and finding some opportunities to counterattack. The advantage flipped at No. 5, where the best match of the day was played. Clara Ekholm '20 and her opponent alternated games as each looked to play both short and long. Despite falling behind 1-0 and 2-1, Ekholm did the better job at hitting to length, earning the come-from-behind win ((6), 6, (9), 6, 5). Securing the other wins for the hosts were Gemma Green '21 at No. 6 (3, 7, 7) and — in her First Team debut — Georgia Nolan '20 at No. 7 (9, 7, 8), both of whom did a nice job of getting the ball to the back corners.
 
Squash - Second Boys'
Jan. 11: Squash - Second Boys’ 2 vs. Berkshire School 6
The Martlets were more than a little rusty after not playing competitive squash for a month and fell to the Berkshire Bears 2-6 in a match played in Sheffield, Mass. Berkshire won three out of four four-game matches and two out of three five-game matches, an indication of just how tight the overall match was. Coach Michael Cervas was pleased with the effort of all of the boys, but too many dubious strategic choices and wild shots doomed the Black & Gold in this contest. Charlie Pappas ’22 gets the "nail" for this match. He really kept his cool in a very entertaining and tight match.
  
Squash - Second Girls'
Jan. 11: Squash - Second Girls’ 7 vs. Westover School 0
Westminster returned to the comfortable confines of the Kohn Squash Pavilion and cruised to a 7-0 win over Westover. 
 
Swimming/Diving - First Boys'
Jan. 11: Swimming/Diving - First Boys’ 92 vs. Northfield Mount Hermon School 78
Westminster kicked off the new decade in style with an exciting win over NMH at Hibbard Pool. Max Larock '22, Eddie Shin '21, co-captain Hudson Stedman '21 and Layton Harmon '21 got things rolling with a win in the 200 medley relay, with J-C Lane '21, Alvin Zhang '23, Justin Shi '21, and Grant McCargo '21 placing third. Kieran Haug '21 took third in the 200 freestyle with his fastest time this year, with Shi placing fourth in his first attempt in that event. Stedman took second and Lane was fourth in the 200 IM, both with solid swims. Larock, Harmon and Shin went 1-2-4 in the 50 freestyle, respectively, to put the Martlets up by six heading into the diving break. Shi placed second in the 100 fly with his best time ever, with co-captain Daniel Pinckney '20 in third and Mason Zottola '23 in fourth. Harmon, Owen Huang '23 and Zhang finished second, third and fourth in the 100 freestyle, and Larock won the 500 freestyle with Haug in fourth. Shi, Huang, Shin and Zhang took second in the 200 freestyle relay, with Shin throwing down a best-ever split. Stedman battled to a come-from-behind win in the 100 backstroke, while Zottola and Lane placed third and fourth, respectively — Zottola with a personal best. Shin and Zhang followed up with a 1-3 finish in the 100 breaststroke, both with fantastic January swims. Huang, Stedman, Harmon and Larock took second in the 400 freestyle relay, where Larock almost ran down the NMH anchor with an incredible split. The team looked great; many swimmers diversified their portfolios by swimming new events — Pinckney in the 500 freestyle, Jamai Miller '22 and Huang in the 200 free, and Spence Kwan '22 in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
 
Swimming/Diving - First Girls'
Jan. 11: Swimming/Diving - First Girls’ 97 vs. Northfield Mount Hermon School 83
The Westminster girls rang in the new decade with much fanfare as they hosted at Hibbard Pool. The meet started fast with a great Martlet win in the 200 medley relay, swum by Lucy Benoit '23, co-captain Angelesia Ma '20, Katherine Ashe '21 and Ellie Thorson '21. Ashe was up soon after in the 200 freestyle on short rest, placing second with Sydney Schuster '21 in third. Annie Brewer '21 and Ma placed first and second in the 200 IM, respectively, and Thorson and Margaret Breen '23 took the top two spots in the 50 freestyle. Co-captain Cece Raymond '20 took to the air in the diving event, nailing her most difficult dives — including 7.5s on her front double pike — and broke her own school record with a score of 228.65. Ola Szopa '20 also earned her best-ever score to place second, and Riley Vincent '23 took third. Benoit swam a best time in the 100 fly to win, finishing just two-tenths of a second off the school record, while Ashe placed third. Thorson and Breen took first and third in the 100 freestyle, respectively, and Schuster took third in the 500 free. Ma, Janessa Yan '22, Simonne Ponce '21 and India Lalor '21 placed second in the 200 freestyle relay, and Benoit won the 100 backstroke with Campbell Swift '21 in third. Ma and Yan placed second and third in the 100 breaststroke, respectively, and the team of Ashe, Breen, Thorson and Benoit won the 400 freestyle relay. It was an impressive showing from the girls after being in the water for only a few days since before the holidays. Ponce and Michelle Wu '21 earned shouts for their first forays into the 500 freestyle, and Rachel Ha '21 swam her first 100 breaststroke ever.
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