Winter Sports Updates
February 8, 2019
The Los Altos girls varsity soccer team had a rough start at the beginning of the season. However, the players improved greatly as they have reached first place in their division, the SCVAL El Camino division, with a record of 9-5-1.
The Los Altos Eagles lost three and tied two of the pre-season games, but they did not let the losses discourage the team from meeting their goals.
“The season this year has been really fun especially because we’ve been getting the results we want,” junior Michelle Odnert said. “I’m very proud of how we didn’t let a few preseason losses affect us, and we came into the league still willing to give it our all and try to get wins.”
Coach Marcus Giovannoni noted that the greatest improvement he saw in the team was the group synergy. At the beginning of the season, the players did not know each other very well, and this affected the way they played.
“Once we got in our groove, we began working as a cohesive unit and winning more games,” junior Kayla Brinkman said.
For the rest of the season, the team will focus on the technical aspects they need to improve on. They will practice drills and many exercises in order to ensure that they qualify for CCS.
Varsity boys soccer began the season with a bang, going undefeated with three wins and four ties in 2018. However, the new year brought several challenges to the team, and several losses in a row led to the Eagles’ fifth place standing in the league with a 3-4-3 record. Now, the team is looking to turn the season around with a new attitude and renewed sense of teamwork.
“It [was] tough at the beginning of season,” senior captain Harry Allen said. “It was [going] really well [and] we went undefeated for a while. And then we lost a couple games and then we started to get on each other’s cases. We weren’t playing as a team very well, but now we’re starting to play as a team again. I’m hopeful that we’re gonna win every game [from now on].”
The team has been working to overcome their problems through teamwork and training harder at practices, passing to each other, and reflecting on their behavior toward each other in team discussions. The Eagles believe that they will regain the quality of teamwork the players displayed at the beginning of the season.
“Now there’s a lot of learning [opportunities] this year because [we have] a lot of young guys,” Coach Vava Marques said. “We have a freshman that starts for us, and we have a lot of juniors and sophomores on the team, [but] not a lot of seniors so I think the games that we lost [were] just because of decision making, which comes with experience. I think we’re doing really well for such a young team.”
As the season progresses and the team gains more experience with each game and practice, the Eagles have started regressing to the caliber with which the team played in the beginning of the season. On January 18, Los Altos beat Homestead High School, the current league champion with a record of 7-2-1.
The girls varsity basketball team has been dominating this season with a 16-6 overall record and 8-3 league record. With two players out with concussions and a starter out for leg surgery, the team worked hard to strengthen their gameplay to make up for injured players by setting both individual and team-wide goals for improvement.
“I outlined what we had accomplished so far, as well as what was still to come,” varsity girls basketball coach Jaclyn Brode said. “We broke the rest of our season down into four mini-seasons and set goals, as well as how we were going to accomplish those goals, for the rest of the four seasons.”
The team put goals into action on January 30 by redeeming themselves from their league loss against Homestead and defeating them with a score of 57-30.
After pushing past the obstacles during the season, team members have grown closer both on and off the court. Sophomore Maura Kelleher emphasizes that this tight bond has motivated her to improve her own game.
“We get so close throughout the season and we spend so much time [on the court] that it has become like a second family,” Maura said. “It makes playing basketball so much more fun.”
Boys basketball has seen a drop in performance this season and are now just 2-9 in league. They started the season steady with a 13-14 overall record in the preseason, but have faced numerous setbacks, including the injury of two starters.
Coach Trevor Naas tries not to dwell on the injuries, looking to the bench to fill the starters’ spots. This has allowed the non-starters to see more play time and improve for future league games.
“[Some things happened] that are out of our control, [but] you have to step up to the challenge and take care of it; there are no excuses,” Naas said.
The Mountain View game on January 16 was a wake-up call for Los Altos. It was their biggest loss of the season, with a score of 23-65 on their home turf, and it brought out the team’s most pressing issues. Despite the loss, Los Altos bounced back, putting up a fight in their succeeding game against Palo Alto. Los Altos had a lead against Palo Alto at halftime and were down by one at the end of the third, although they were not able to come away with a win.
Still, Naas is always trying to learn and build off of their losses. The team has shown improvement, working diligently during practice and covering the mistakes that have shone through in recent games, namely strengthening defense. Their defense was much more aggressive this Wednesday, February 6th in their second game against Mountain View. They frequently double-teamed players and forced Mountain View to miss more shots. Although Mountain View came away with another large victory, the score gap
As much as the team continues to improve, injuries are still dragging the team down and Los Altos must work with what they have until the lost starters can recover, which may mean more losses down the road. Naas concluded with an optimistic outlook, noting the willingness of bench players to step in and do their job.
“This is a great group of kids,” Naas said. “We’ve hit a little bump in the road during the first round of league, but they’re fighting through the adversity of guys getting hurt. We’re looking for a strong second half.”
As the previously inexperienced boys varsity wrestling team progressed through the season, they saw huge improvements. The team started off this year with many first-time wrestlers, but have been working hard to learn and improve as fast as possible.
“They’ve stepped up to the plate,” JV coach Chris Jimenez said. “We as coaches do not lower our expectations of how the season’s going to go, and they’ve met every requirement so far.”
On January 22 and January 24, the team had a dual meet versus Santa Clara and Lynbrook. Against Lynbrook, the team dominated with a score of 55-15.
“Tuesday was really amazing for us,” Jimenez said. “[Our] kids stepped up and showed amazing work. We had literally pin after pin, which was super amazing and definitely lit some sparks in the kids.”
The team is still working hard to improve and be prepared for league finals on Friday, February 8.
“Our goals are mainly just to improve our defense and be more aggressive,” varsity wrestler Aaron Sonnentag said. As league finals approach, the team is pushing full speed ahead.
“With how we’ve progressed, [I] definitely see us doing really well in league finals,” Jimenez said.