by Zach Rhein and Tate Slater, Sports Editor, Sports Reporter
photo by Marty Basaria
After a top five state finish last season, senior captain Bria Abbiati knows results are expected.
“We have pretty high expectations. We have nine out of 11 of our starting squad returning. And pretty much everyone that’s coming back has been playing [club soccer] and playing competitively year round. So everyone’s getting better. We want to win the DCL and we want to win states,” she said.
Communication is one thing the team can improve upon, Abbiati said. A unified group can flourish, and she said she wants to make sure the team feels connected.
“We need to be able to communicate well towards each other on and off the field. We need to hold each other accountable. We’re trying to change that culture so that we’re all working as a unit, instead of last year when it was a little more individual. We want to make sure the chemistry is there,” she said.
With communication, resilience and connection, nothing is impossible for this team.
Despite an extremely talented roster last season, the boys soccer team fell short due to inconsistency, senior captain Kamar Burris-Khan said. This season, he’s prepared to make the changes necessary to ensure the team is always at 100 percent efficiency.
“As a captain, I’m going to decrease toxicity by making sure that we win and lose as a team, and even when we lose, we are optimistic about the next game,” he said.
Although a state championship run is no easy task, Burris-Khan said he is hopeful after a strong preseason.
“We’re looking really good. I’ve always said it. I’ve been playing with these guys since elementary school. I’ve always said when we’re seniors, we’re gonna have a really, really good squad,” he said.
How many other teams in the DCL can say they’ve been playing together since elementary school?
There’s no doubt the team’s camaraderie will play a big role in the upcoming season.
Girls cross country is ready to take on the fall season as a team. Senior captain Margot Madison said that the girls program has a long history of team tradition.
“Carrying on traditions is always something that we look forward to, especially because we weren’t really able to do [a lot] with COVID-19 and other restrictions,” she said. “[I look forward to] bringing back a lot of team traditions that people may remember from their freshman season.”
Another way to establish a strong community is by staying in the win column. Madison said that helping others reach their goals can only strengthen the team’s record.
“We are trying to help everyone achieve their personal goals because everyone comes from different places,” she said. “And that’s helping someone out on a long run or being there at the finish or halfway as encouragement.”
Establishing a community within a team truly goes a long way, and will no doubt be helpful as the girls cross country team takes on the powerhouses of the Dual County League.
Last fall, the boys cross country team edged out Concord-Carlisle in a thrilling win. This year, senior captain Aidan Lieberman said that he is excited to secure another victory in their rematch later this fall.
“Last time, we ‘Conquered’ Carlisle, so we hope to do that again,” he said.
While wins are important, Lieberman said that individual improvement is also a priority for the team.
“I want the team to improve and I want the team to win. I also want everyone to make it through the season healthy,” he said.
The key to this goal is training during the off-season, he said.
“One thing that makes cross country different from other sports is that you really have to be working over the summer if you want to have a successful season,” he said. “Fitness is the whole sport.”
While only time will tell if Lieberman and the cross country team can repeat their big win, there’s good reason to believe that the team will have a successful season regardless.
The girls volleyball team has an exciting season ahead of them, with strong opponents filling up their schedule. Senior captain Lily Gamburg said that she has a couple of games on her radar that are sure to be entertaining matchups.
“Our senior night this year is against Newton North, so that’s going to be really fun. We also have a game against Needham. That’s our Big Pink game, which is a fundraiser for breast cancer funding, and it’s always a good time,” she said.
To take on such strong opponents, the team has to do some preparation before stepping into the spotlight.
“A lot of us play club volleyball and grass tournaments in the summer in the offseason to prepare. We need to do what we can to get the team ready,” she said.
We will see if the preparation is enough to thrive against teams like Newton North and Needham. This talented team will be sure to put up a good fight.
Senior captain John Toyias has high hopes for this season. He said he thinks the football team has what it takes to succeed.
“It’s looking really good. We have a new offense this year, and we’re doing some really good things. We’ve got some great personnel this year. We can go really far,” he said.
Despite a talented roster last season, injuries held the team back. Toyias said that the key for this season is getting the team to enjoy working hard at practice.
“That’s my major goal. It’s a grind, and you gotta put some effort in, but at the end of the day, it’s got to be fun. You’ve got to have fun stepping out playing with your friends,” he said.
A strong, hard working roster that genuinely enjoys the game? That sounds like a lot of trouble for the Dual County League. The 2022 Newton South Football team is ready to smoke their opponents with a smile on their faces.
Senior captain Caroline Blum is confident that the girls field hockey team can rise above challenging opponents this fall.
To prepare for strong competition, the team put in hard work during the summer.
“Our league is a super competitive league, so I expect the teams we are playing against to be very competitive games. This summer, many people on our team attended an overnight field hockey camp that the captains organized, and this really improved our play coming into the season,” she said.
Blum said she hopes that field hockey will be able to share the spotlight that’s taken up by other school sports.
“Often people at South do not take field hockey very seriously, but I want to show the students at our school that we are a very hardworking, serious, competitive team that deserves more respect.”
Blum is shooting to put field hockey on the student body’s radar this year, and a stellar season will do just that.
The dance team is prepared for another great fall, as they have been hard at work in the offseason, senior captain Luisa Pedreira said.
“We already had some practices and reunions where we started preparing our incredible choreography for games, competitions and other presentations,” she said.
Pedreira said she’s looking forward to building on the team’s strong foundation.
“I really want to help bring the team together and create a great image … for incoming freshmen who want to join,” she said.
The dance team will not only show off their skills in competitions of their own, but also during Friday nights under stadium lights.
“This season, our goal is not only to bring home a DCL title, but we’re also very excited to hype up the crowd during football games,” she said.
The dance team will be bringing the energy this fall; if you still have your voice after attending one of the games, you, quite frankly, did not bring enough.
The golf team has been hard at work in the offseason, doing their best to better their game, senior captain Will Freudenheim said.
“Since golf’s an individual sport, it’s your own responsibility to practice and try and improve during the off-season,” he said. “Everyone on the team was able to play at a golf course or use some sort of practice facility to better their game.”
Still, golf is very much a team sport. Freudenheim knows he has to push the team to their best to go far in the tournament.
“Our team is already composed of hard workers and people who have a genuine passion for the game, so in my mind the only thing for me to do is encourage my teammates to continue to practice as much as they can,” he said.
After placing fifth in the Dual County League Cup last year, the golf team is looking very competitive as they seek revenge on their opponents this year.