Fall varsity athletes reflect on what made the 2021 fall season special


Media: Photos by Andrew Albert ’22, Peter Galindez ’23, Emilie Kirschner ’23, Joey Asterino ’23, Rose Flaherty ’23, Caden Olenczak ’23

1) Varsity boys soccer goalkeeper Blake Groff ’22 runs to clear the ball. 2) Girls cross country runner Colette Zidek ’23. 3) Girls varsity soccer team celebrates together after a goal. 4) Ryan Kearney ’23 boys varsity golf player. 5) Emilie Kirschner ’23 steps to send a pass into the offensive circle. 6) Varsity football quarterback Hayden Fruhling ’22 listens to coach Orlando Patterson in between plays. 7) Mandy McCarrick, co-captain of the girls soccer team. 8) Varsity field hockey player Maddy Orsi ’22 wins a battle against Notre Dame opponent. 9) Varsity girls tennis captain Ava Carosella ’22. 10) Luke Pickard ’22 reaches for the ball in the offensive end zone. 11) Varsity boys water polo goalie Artem Kyselov ’23. 12) Varsity girls water polo player Harliv Singh ’23. 13) Varsity boys soccer team huddles up on the field. 14) Owen Manganiello, co-captain of the boys cross country team. 15) Goalkeeper Alexis Nussbaumer ’25 clears the ball.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 halting so many student-athletes’ seasons last year, the return of fall sports seems almost dreamlike. The buzz around campus is a different energy with athletics being in full swing. The stands are more packed, fans are cheering louder, and athletes are playing harder. As the season comes to a close, take a look at each team’s fall highlight. 

Mandy McCarrick ’22, the co-captain of the varsity girls soccer team, said, “The biggest highlight of our season would be the win against Westtown. We won 1-0 and, in order for us to win, we all had to come together and we put a lot of effort into that game. It was a lot of fun to win, so that’s my favorite memory.” This win ended the team’s three-year losing streak, a statistic that is being pushed to the back of Hill fans’ minds because of the team’s continued success this fall season.

Owen Manganiello ’22, co-captain of the varsity boys cross country team said,“The biggest highlight of my cross country season so far has just been coming in as an older guy and kind of being able to show some of the younger guys the ropes. Seeing them improve is really special to me because of how I was when I was younger.” 

Varsity girls cross country team runner Colette Zidek ’23 said, “The biggest highlight for my cross country season so far has been our Paul Short Invitational,” She said. “A lot of our girls who were new to cross country last year had never seen anything like that before, so to see everybody super excited to run, and to finish, it was really awesome.”

Artem Kyselov ’23, the varsity boys water polo goalie, also noted the role of the team’s younger athletes. “This year we got a pretty young team. Every game, every practice, we’re learning something new for everyone,” he said. 

Kyselov believes that the most impactful moment of their season was one that showed how far the team had come this season. “Our Lawrenceville game, away at L-Ville, was so great. We know what tactics we all have, and everyone remembered stuff from practices. Then we go and we play a real hard game. Everyone understood what he had to do to win this game,” he said.

Ava Carosella ’22, a returning varsity tennis player, said, “I think the highlight of the season has been really getting to know the girls, just because we had a pretty new team last year during the pandemic.”

This strong team culture is something that other fall athletes observed as well. Cole Bilotta ’23, a member of the varsity football team, described the culture on the team as a major role in their recent spike of success. “The team chemistry is pretty good; all the boys get along. The atmosphere is good, we get along outside of football; it’s perfect,” he said. 

Rease Coleman ’22, a captain on Hill’s varsity field hockey team said being such a nationally competitive team comes with its pressures and challenges, but Coleman expressed how keeping this year’s team close has been the key to maintaining a good team. 

“This year’s team culture is a tight-knit family, and that’s what HFHF is: Hill Field Hockey Family forever. And that basically means that we’re always going to be there for each other,” Coleman said. “Bringing the shovel means that whatever ends it goes, you can call one of us or anyone that was on the team in past years or recent years, and we’ll show up for you,” She continued. 

Harliv Singh ’23, a three-year member of the girls varsity water polo team, said, “Our main goal for the end of the season is to win Easterns, which is basically our state championship tournament.” So far, the girls water polo team has had a successful fall, with Singh’s highlight being beating Lawrenceville 18-8.

For boys soccer, varsity captain Noah Toole ’22 said his favorite memory this year as their big win against the Philadelphia Union Academy. “That’s where we flipped our switch and we grinded. We came together as a family, as a unit, and just put two in the back of the net. We also had a nice fan base, so that kind of shows the connection with our school community, and our peers,” Toole said.

Ryan Kearney ’23, a member of the varsity boys golf team, said that his favorite moment of this fall was playing during family weekend. “All the parents came out, and we played a great round of golf; we had a lot of great scores,” Kearney said. “It was all around a great day to hang out with our families and play golf.”

Whether it be on the course, the fields, the courts, or in the pool, Hill sports teams have had a successful first fall season post COVID-19. This doesn’t just mean the games they have won or the championships that they will bring home. It is the feeling that was expressed by many fall athletes of having a strong team culture that the Hill athletics community has kept despite losing last year’s athletics.

Staff Writers Joey Asterino ’23, Jesse Corser-James ’23, , Peter Galindez ’23, and Caden Olenczak ’23 and Sports Editor Rose Flaherty ’23 contributed to this report.