While watching Field’s middle school girls’ soccer team play in 2019, Alexis Redford-Maung Maung noticed Addison Kafele dominate the game.
Last week, Kafele scored two of Field’s three goals against Washington International to power the Falcons to their first Potomac Valley Athletic Conference title since 2008.
“There was a lot of pushback from Field students,” said Kafele, 14. “People were really just wondering if I deserved to be moved up or not. But after the first game, all the worries and the people who didn’t approve kind of just went away.”
Kafele didn’t start in her JV game, but about a minute after entering against Washington Christian, she sprinted downfield and scored one of her two goals that afternoon. It was obvious Kafele belonged on the varsity team, Redford-Maung Maung said.
Washington International had won three consecutive PVAC titles, but that didn’t faze Kafele, who leads Field (8-3) into the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament.
“I kind of just thought that I’d be playing with the middle school team and just make friends there,” Kafele said. “I never really expected to be playing on varsity and now going to states.”
— Kyle Melnick
Flint Hill is competing for a pair of titles this month, and it clinched the less taxing one Saturday with a three-set win over Georgetown Day for the Independent School League championship.
The top-ranked Huskies have won 35 consecutive sets entering this week’s Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament, where a probably championship-round date with O’Connell awaits. O’Connell handed Flint Hill its only loss this season, back in September.
Several Flint Hill players admitted their energy and confidence lacked in that early matchup, but they are clearly motivated now.
“We were playing too relaxed in that match, and it showed, because they wanted it really bad,” freshman Cari Spears said.
“Everybody’s gunning for us; everybody wants to beat us,” senior Jackie Bardin said. “If we let up, especially against a team with players who are playing competitively at the travel level, they’re not going to just lay down and let us win.”
— Spencer Nusbaum
On the first day of the fall season, Maret Coach Mohan Telfer told his team how he thought it might be able to find success this season.
“Let’s take one idea and take it really seriously,” he told his players. “We’re going to play a certain way, and we’re going to commit to each other.”
For the Frogs, that meant focusing on defense. They figured good defense would get them the ball, and from there they could control possession and create chances.
“If you defend well and create a couple of chances, you’ll always have a chance to win,” Telfer said.
But that defensive style doesn’t always translate to exciting soccer, so Telfer was proud to see his players buy in right away.
“The defense came early. Our first game was a tough game, and we were organized defensively,” he said. “And then the ball movement came as the weeks progressed, and we’ve played some really good soccer.”
The approach was put to the ultimate test Thursday, when the Frogs took a 1-0 lead over Georgetown Day in the first half of the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference championship game. From there, the recipe for a win was simple: play good defense and be smart in possession. The Frogs had been doing that for months. They had taken the idea seriously, and they remained confident in it until the final whistle. In the end, it delivered them a trophy.
— Michael Errigo
When Whitman’s field hockey and girls’ soccer teams competed in the Maryland 4A quarterfinals, neither squad truly had home-field advantage.
Principal Robert Dodd announced Thursday in an email to the school community that the school would not be using its turf field for the rest of the fall sports season out of “an abundance of caution.”
Instead, both teams played Friday at nearby Walter Johnson in Bethesda. Despite the change in venue, they both won, with the field hockey team coming back to defeat Urbana, 2-1, and the girls’ soccer team trouncing Parkdale, 13-0.
“We’re having a pretty good run here,” field hockey coach Jim Douglas said. “WJ is a great facility; we were happy to play there tonight. I always tell my players there’s three things you can’t control: the weather, the field, the officials. All you can control is the way you play.”
Girls’ soccer coach Greg Herbert downplayed the effect the venue change had on his team.
“We had a ton of kids — probably the most kids we’ve had at any of the games,” Herbert said. “It was a great turnout.”
— Varun Shankar
When given a choice between running and swimming, Battlefield sophomore Sailor Eastman prefers the latter. But in the former, she’s the fastest girl in the area.
On Thursday at the Virginia Region 6B championship, Eastman ran a 17:06 5K, which not only shattered her personal record by 50 seconds but was the best time among girls in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland this year by more than 20 seconds. Her school also took first place.
Eastman attributes some of the success to a slight adjustment in her practice regimen. While rehabbing a stress fracture in her foot over the past month, she ran only sparingly and didn’t compete for Battlefield. Instead, she spent almost every day in the pool.
“Maybe it was the rest, and I’ve always been a swimmer, but kind of letting go of running for a little bit … I was able to re-center my focus,” Eastman said. “I spoke with some other runners who cross-train before, and usually it seems like they’re primarily runners and then they swim on the side. For me, it’s like I mostly swim and then I kind of run on the side.”
Though typically levelheaded, Eastman said she was even calmer than usual before the meet because she went in without expectations. As she approached the finish line, her teammates told her she was going to set a personal record. That surprised her.
“I didn’t feel like I was going fast,” Eastman said. “I still had gas in the tank.”
— Spencer Nusbaum
As the St. John’s Cadets took the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title Sunday, Elizabeth Seton walked away disappointed.
A few years ago, the Roadrunners would have been happy to win two or three matches each season. But after rocketing to the top of the league, they had their sights set on their first title. They barely missed out, falling 31-30 in the tournament’s points system.
“It’s the first time in Elizabeth Seton’s school history that they went undefeated as a team, the first time in school history that they had four positions that they’ve won championships in, the first time in school history that they were runner-up at the WCAC,” Coach Mark Dalzell said.
Seton could be a championship contender for a while, with young stars such as freshman Camille Hall leading the way.
“The future is definitely bright,” Dalzell said. “As much as it hurts for them in the beginning, they’re going to capitalize on it and get better.”
–– Aaron Credeur