By Hailey Chase
HINESBURG, VT– It’s the most wonderful time of the year— playoffs! For varsity players, this is what they’ve been working for all season: a shot at being named state champions. Varsity boys/girls lacrosse, tennis, track, ultimate frisbee, baseball, and softball will all be competing in the tournament—dates TBD.
Baseball (Hunter Whitman):
For the strong CVU baseball team, senior and captain Hunter Whitman weighs in on the upcoming playoff season.
“Our pitching has really set us apart—Ollie Pudvar, Braedon Jones, and Ryan Canty are all strong pitchers for us this year,” The captain also noted that his advice to the team is to take playoffs game-by-game, and to continue doing what they’ve been doing well so far.
“We just need to continue to play good defense and to hit the ball hard. Some game-changers for us this year on the offensive side have been Ryan Eaton, Ryan Canty, and Braedon Jones.” Whitman predicts that by playing “their game,” the CVU baseball team has a good chance at conquering other strong teams such as Rice, Colchester, and Essex.
Softball (Sophia Stevens):
Junior Sophia Stevens plays on the CVU softball team as the starting shortstop. From her last season with CVU her freshman year, her role on the team has been enlarged tenfold. Stevens is the team’s starting shortstop, has scored 7 RBI’s, and bats third in the lineup.
Noting a strength for the softball team, Stevens contributed “One of our biggest strengths this year has been hitting and our offensive effort. Even against really challenging pitchers, we have players who are able to consistently make contact,” which she believes will be a driving factor for the team’s success in playoffs. The junior expressed that Essex is the biggest competition in the tournament, and CVU lost to them (insert score and date)
While the team is successful at the plate, the captain noted that players don’t have finalized positions on the field; “We are still trying to figure out who plays best in each position,” she said, “We’ve struggled to execute defensively and that’s contributed to our lack of confidence. We will do our best to overcome this by moving on, and learning how we can improve in the future.” Stevens’ method going into playoffs is to lead by example, and to keep the team positive.
Boys’ Lacrosse (Shane Gorman):
In 2019, the boys’ lacrosse team won the State Champion title against Burr and Burton, with the help of now-senior and captain Shane Gorman. Gorman has been a force to reckon with this season, and has earned 33 goals and 24 assists in only 12 games.
Gorman stated, “We have the talent and the people to win, it’s just a matter of coming together as a team and performing how we’ve been coached to perform.”
According to Gorman, the teams to beat this year are Essex, Burr and Burton, and Woodstock. In terms of the team’s strengths, the captain said “Chemistry honestly,” as many of the boys have been playing together for years, “Nolan Shea, Colin Zouck, and Owen Pierce are a great group because they have been coached together for so long.”
As a captain, Gorman preaches to the team about coming together as a team, and taking these playoff games one step at a time. “We need to play our best and not become stagnant. In other words, we just need to keep improving,” he added, hoping the team will respond to his guidance.
Girls’ Lacrosse (Petra Kapsalis):
Four-year varsity athlete—now-captain, Petra Kapsalis, leads the girls’ varsity lacrosse team into this year’s playoffs. The senior plays midfield alongside freshman Gretta White, who has been a key player for the team.
In terms of the team’s strengths, Kapsalis mentioned “We have a lot of strong players for each position.” Kapsalis believes the team’s skill depth is what sets them apart from their competition; most players have well-polished skills that benefit the team on the scoreboard.
In the regular season, Kapsalis expressed that her role was “to organize things and support younger players,” but with playoffs on the horizon, she anticipates her role to shift to “make sure everyones really focused and to get everyone hyped up and excited.” The captain touched on how her team’s leaders in the past made playoffs an exciting and ambitious time, and she hopes to replicate a similar atmosphere for her team this year.
The team is 10-4 and according to Kapsalis, their biggest competition are SB, Burr and Burton, and Rutland. The girls lost to Burr and Burton in the second game of the season, Rutland on May 1st, then finally SB on May 11, but only by two points. Kapsalis hopes that her standout players such as Lena Kerest and Madison Peet will help the team not only with skill, but also with experience—especially against these top-ranked teams.
Boys’ Ultimate (Nigel Wormser):
Nigel Wormser is one of the captains on CVU’s ultimate Frisbee boys team. This spring marks the handler’s second season on varsity, as his junior year season was cancelled due to COVID.
Weighing in on preparing his teammates for playoffs, Wormser stated “Ultimate is a real sport that requires a lot of focus.” Wormser hopes to refine team skills in the end zone, as one of their struggles this season has been execution when it comes time to score.
The No. 2-ranked team is 7-1 with their only loss given to Burlington High School on May 13. Wormser is relying on the team’s chemistry to be the guiding element in the team’s toolbox going into playoffs, as he stated, “This is probably the closest team I have ever been on. We have great chemistry and we all push each other.” Wormser predicts that by doing as they’ve been coached to do, keeping their focus, and calling fouls when they need to be called, the boys can place well in the tournament.
Girls’ Ultimate (Sofia Cofino):
Sofia Cofino is a senior on the girls’ ultimate frisbee team. Giving perspective on the team, the senior offers, “Our ability to work together is one of our strengths. We have so many different ages that it’s impressive how we learned to play together—and win.”
The girls’ biggest competition in the tournament this spring is Burlington High School, and with their coach on vacation, the team has been forced to organize practices without her. Stepping in during games, the boys’ varsity coaches have given aid to the girls.
With the weather warming up, Cofino is concerned about mask-wearing during games, as are most athletes at CVU this spring. “It’s been extremely difficult to play with masks, especially when it’s warmer,” Cofino states. The senior is excited for playoffs, and will lead the team as “Spirit Captain” in these important games.
Boys’ Tennis (Henry Bijur):
Singles and doubles player, Henry Bijur, is captain of the boys’ varsity tennis team.
The captain predicts his team will be successful in the upcoming tournament by “Bringing our A game to every match.” Bijur suggests that the team can remain focused and competitive. “We’ve got a lot of depth,” which he hopes will lead to a good turnout.
“Some of our best players are Ethan Lisle and Charlie Mjaanes,” Bijur claims, and hopes those key players can continue to stand out and play well in the tournament. According to the captain, the team’s biggest competition is Burlington High School.
Girls’ Tennis (Ella Kenney):
Ella Kenney from Williston is a senior on the girls’ tennis team, and she is co-captains with Lindsay Beer. Unfortunately, Kenney was playing 1st singles and injured her knee, and has been unable to play since the third match of the season.
Kenney gives insight to the team’s strengths: “We have brought intensity and focus to the games while learning out individual games and strengths.” The captain also mentions the varsity team is fairly new and very young. “We lost nine seniors from last season, so there are a lot of new faces. 13 to be exact,” which is a huge change for the returning varsity players.
Despite the team’s age, the girls are 7-4, with two of their losses given to South Burlington, who Kenney states is their biggest competitor in the tournament alongside BHS.
Kenney is leading her team into a hopeful playoff tournament, and is happy with how the season has turned out so far. “This year’s season has been so much fun; it has been great to get back on the courts and be with the team. We’ve done a lot of growing, practicing, and bonding this season.” The captain expects her younger players to be nervous for playoffs, but hopes to channel those nerves into playing a clean and successful tournament.
Track & Field (Mckenzie Marcus):
Mckenzie Marcus is currently a senior on the girls’ varsity track & field team at CVU. Marcus has been on the team since her freshman year and is an experienced track & field athlete.
The girls’ biggest competitors in playoffs this year are St. Johnsbury and Essex. Marcus has observed that both teams have many strong athletes that consistently place well at meets.
Giving insight on her own team, Marcus states, “We have a really strong distance team this year. Specifically, we have some strong female athletes that are consistently improving their times, which contributes to the entire team’s success at meets.” The senior believes that if she can lead her young team consisting of mostly 9th and 10th graders, continue rebuilding, and stay competitive, the girls are capable of placing 1st or 2nd (knock on wood).
CVU has always been a powerhouse when it comes time to win; hopefully, we can put up seven new banners in the gym to make up for last year’s canceled season. The leaders of the baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and track and field teams are eager to play, and hungry to win. Schedules and scores will be posted on team web pages, and the teams’ social media will be posting upcoming games and scores.