Spring Sports Wrap: Titles, Toughness and Teamwork
Championship for Varsity Baseball (17-3-1; 8-0 HVAL)
Harvey’s varsity baseball team made history this spring when the Cavaliers beat South Kent to win their first HVAL championship. Coaches Mike Rubenfeld and Luis Lopez raised their arms in triumph and exhilaration when second baseman Jake Hellinger scooped up a groundball and threw on to Brian Cicero at first base for the final out in the 7-4 title-clinching victory. Their impressive season earned the Cavs an invitation to play in the New England Prep School Athletic Council’s West Division tournament where Harvey fell to King to put an end to a remarkable season.
There were signs very early this spring that 2019 would be special as the team won three of four games in Florida during the annual preseason trip. It was the best the team had done on its trip South since the Cavs began making their annual excursions to warmer climes during spring break each March. Coach Rubenfeld said the trip served to bring the team together for a season with high hopes and expectations. “The way the team came together and bonded all year was fun to watch,” coach Rubenfeld said. “This was a great group with a lot of talent but also a great group of kids off the field as well who always pushed each other and really bonded as a group,” he added.
Harvey’s success came primarily from a potent offense and solid pitching. The team’s leadoff batter, junior Christian Perez, was the catalyst to an offense that gave opponents fits. Perez would get on base via a hit or a walk and promptly steal second and third, setting the table for Harvey to score runs early and often. Perez finished with a team-leading .549 batting average and led the Cavs in hits with 28, stolen bases with 30 and runs scored with 25. Senior Ethan Sarmiento, who batted .416, led the team in RBIs with 24 and home runs with five. He will move on to play D1 baseball next year for UMass Lowell. Junior Allan Rodriguez, who was second with hits, 20 and RBIs with 18, had a solid season, coming up big in many clutch situations. Aaron Shyer, Spencer Hellinger, Brian Cicero, and Jake Hellinger were mainstays in the Cavs’ lineup. They got on base, came up with some big hits and were key contributors to Harvey’s deep lineup all year. Spencer Hellinger, who batted .429, had an outstanding season both offensively and defensively at third base. Senior Ben Avila, despite missing some time due to injury, finished tied for third in hits and recorded the second highest average at .528. Grambling State-bound in the fall, Avila was the third on the team with 16 RBIs.
The two captains, senior Alex Ogg and junior Ryan Horowitz, were the team’s aces. Ogg, who will play for the D1 Arizona Sun Devils in the fall, had the best season of his high school career. Two games standout, one a complete game 1-0 victory against Rye Country Day, and the other, the one-hitter he fashioned against Master's in the semifinals of the HVAL. The Lions got their lone hit, a solo home run, in the seventh as Harvey won it 5-1.
Horowitz, who got stronger as the year went on, followed Ogg in the playoffs and pitched a gem against a strong South Kent team to lead Harvey to the title-clinching victory.
HVAL All-League honors went to Ogg, Perez, Rodrigues, and Sarmiento.
Beyond the talents of each player, the Cavaliers played as one, cohesive unit. “Everyone understood their role on the team,” coach Rubenfeld said. “Not once did anyone complain about playing time, which shows a lot about the team’s character and unselfishness,” the coach said.
While the season ended in great joy, the team had to say goodbye to seven seniors, who coach Rubenfeld said, “will be greatly missed.” He added, “We are so proud of them and the mark that they left on this program. This will surely be a team that will be remembered for a long time and we are so happy that they are able to leave with that long awaited banner. They deserve all the success.”
Not wanting to rest on any laurels, coach Rubenfeld is already looking at 2020. “This team has a lot of talent returning and we don’t expect this to be a one-and-done. The team will be back to work early next year and we will expect to compete again for another league title.”
At the team’s dinner, the two coaches announced special team awards for the following players:
MVP: Ethan Sarmiento
MIP: Aaron Shyer
Silver Slugger: Ethan Sarmiento
Gold Glove: Spencer Hellinger
Cy Young: Alex Ogg
Coaches Award: Sanath Kumar, Andrew Baron
Rookie of the Year: Jake Hellinger
Another Title for Girls Varsity LAX (12-2-0; 9-0 HVAL)
Harvey’s girls varsity lacrosse team celebrated back-to-back HVAL championships this spring after running roughshod through league opponents along the way. Coaches Greg Janos and Ashley Dineen guided their team on a championship journey that saw the Harvey girls outscore opponents by wide margins with a potent offense and a stingy defense.
It was another outstanding season capping a remarkable three-year run during which Harvey has not lost a regular season game against an HVAL opponent since the 2016 season. In fact, Harvey’s only loss to an HVAL rival over that span came in the 2017 championship game when Watkinson beat the Cavaliers 10-9 on a last-second goal.
Team captains Sophia Scarsella and Keegan Glucksman, selected as Western New England Prep School Women’s Lacrosse Association (WNEPSWLA) All-Stars, were at the top of their game once again this season. Scarsella, who led the team with 30 assists and collected 41 goals, became only the second player in Harvey history to reach 200 career goals. The perennial all-star finishes her Harvey career with 202 goals. Coach Janos offered high praise for Scarsella. “Sophia has been our fearless leader for four of the six years she has played here,” coach Janos said, adding, “She has given the team its identity and has kept the wheels on the tracks throughout every game.” Coach Janos said Scarsella’s “lacrosse IQ and ability to see plays develop has been second to none.”
Glucksman, an all-star again in her sophomore year, reached the 100-career goal milestone in a season in which she recorded 59 goals and 25 assists. Coach Janos calls Glucksman the team’s “full field workhorse.” The coach said Glucksman’s “natural athletic ability topped off with her lacrosse skills is unmeasurable.” Coach Janos marvels at his star player’s stamina. “She’s fast and doesn’t seem to ever tire,” coach Janos said.
Freshman Ellie Kalman continued this season where she left off as an eighth-grader last year, prolific at scoring goals. Kalman, who reached the 100-goal milestone last season, continued to be unstoppable on attack, scoring 73 goals alone this season. “She just continues to be resilient and very tough,” coach Janos said.
The team’s midfield was untouchable again with a big assist from senior transfer Daisy Grossman whose addition to the squad helped fill the void left by last year’s graduates. “Daisy jumped right in and it was like she has been there for her whole career,” coach Janos said. Coach Janos praised the midfield for “controlling each game and leading the charge downfield. “They were nightmares to try and guard against,” the coach said.
Coach Janos credits the addition of coach Dineen to the staff as “a key piece to the team’s offense puzzle.” He said, “Coach Dineen jumped right in to fine-tune our top scorers and design set plays based on our team’s talents and abilities.” Coach Janos called having coach Dineen on the sidelines “a blessing,” adding, “She brought a lot of extra knowledge to the table, and her playing experience proved to be just what we needed.”
Harvey’s defense was also dominant this year, featuring many shut down runs, a fierce double-team coverage and more turnovers recovered than in any past year. In praising the defense, coach Janos said, “They took the wind out of the sails of our opponents.” Coach Janos said senior Jane Kelleran and eighth-grader Lucy Durkin played “some of their best and consistent defense all year long filling in the rest of the defense.”
Junior Cameron Thomas and senior Katie Ketner were also outstanding on defense. Coach Janos called Thomas the “backbone” of the defense as the leading defender on stops and turnovers. The coach said the team will miss Ketner next year. “Katie’s gameplay was elevated this year and she was involved in almost every defensive play,” coach Janos said. “She doesn’t receive the credit she deserves but Katie is one of the quietest most hardworking players I’ve come across,” the coach said.
Senior goalkeeper Katy Kavounas was outstanding in front of the net for Harvey and recorded her 200th career save during her final season as a Cavalier. “Katy stood tough in multiple game-deciding situations where she set the tempo by her shutting down our opponents at point-blank ranges,” coach Janos said.
In reflecting on the great success of the 2019 team, coach Janos said playing with a short roster did not deter the Harvey girls from their preseason goal of repeating as HVAL champions. “We rarely had two subs, so everyone was involved and had to play all-out every game,’ coach Janos said. “This team rose to the challenge and played their hearts out. They were battered and bruised, and sick for most of the season, but they showed up to play. This year’s squad demonstrated what ‘hating to lose’ is all about. They were willing to do whatever it took at whatever cost to get the victory, and that is the type of character that championship teams possess.”
Scarsella, Glucksman, Kalman, and Thomas were selected HVAL All-League, and MaxPreps, a nationwide high school sports information registry, named Glucksman a “Player of the Year.”
At the end-of-season dinner, coaches Janos and Dineen handed out team awards to the following players:
MVP - Offense: Ellie Kalman
MVP - Defense: Cameron Thomas
MIP: Katy Kavounas
Coaches Award: Daisy Grossman
Unsung Hero: Katie Ketner, Keegan Glucksman
Players' Player: Sophia Scarsella
Albert Achievement Award: Sophia Scarsella
Scarsella Leadership Award: Sophia Scarsella
Varsity Softball (8-4; 5-2 HVAL)
Harvey’s varsity softball team enjoyed another outstanding season, making it two straight years the Cavaliers went as far as the HVAL championship game before losing to Forman again. This season also marked the first time in six years that the softball team earned a bid to play in the Western New England Prep School Girls Softball Association (WNEPSGSBA) tournament.
Amie Phillips, who returned as head coach this season after a six-year hiatus, teamed up with assistant coach Carolyn Bean to guide the 2019 Cavalier squad to a runner-up finish in the HVAL and third place in WNEPSGSBA.
In a talented lineup, several players earned postseason league honors. Senior co-captain Sara Hoffman, freshman Erin Phillips, and eighth-grader Kira Ortega were HVAL All-League selections. Phillips and Ortega shared the team lead in RBI with 17. Ortega led the team in hits with 25 and home runs with three. Senior co-captain Chloe Pinto was an HVAL All-League Honorable Mention.
Ortega and sophomore co-captain Kathryn Ogg earned WNEPSGSBA All-League honors. Ogg led the Cavaliers in stolen bases with 30. She also shared starting pitcher assignments with Phillips.
Coach Phillips praised the girls for working well together and for supporting each other. “We were proud of being their coaches, whether we were winning or losing, because they always displayed strong sportsmanship,” said coach Phillips, adding, “We will miss our four seniors.”
At the end-of-season dinner, the coaches handed out the special team awards to the following players:
MIP: Carli Levethan
Coaches: Chloe Pinto
Cavalier: Sara Hoffman
Silver Slugger: Kira Ortega
Golden Glove: Erin Phillips
Stealth: Kathryn Ogg
Boys Varsity Lacrosse (2-6; 2-3 HVAL)
The boys lacrosse team, slotted as the No. 4 seed in the HVAL playoffs, had the unenviable task of going up against an undefeated Wooster team, the No. 1 seed. While the Cavaliers came out on the short end of a 15-9 score, they gave the host Generals an early scare with a first half that featured what head coach Jason Hill called, “Harvey’s best first half of the season.” Wooster proved to be the better team in the end, but Harvey showed true grit and provided a glimmer of better things to come in 2020.
There were some signs earlier in the season that the Harvey boys were a team to be reckoned with. Coach Hill considers the team’s overtime loss to South Kent as a signature match. Down four goals in the fourth quarter, junior Josh Shapiro, a first-year player for Harvey, went on a tear to score four goals to tie the game and send it into overtime. Coach Hill praised Shapiro as a “fantastic addition to the offensive team with a hard attacking lefty shot off the run.” In their only two wins of the season, the Cavaliers dominated play against both Marvelwood and Chase, proving the team had talent.
In addition to Shapiro, Harvey had solid contributions from sophomore Tate Falta, and co-captains Joey Barocas and Treshawn Felder. Despite battling injury all season long, Falta led the team in points. Barocas, the squad’s sophomore goalie, was outstanding in front of the net. Coach Hill praised his goalkeeper as “a fantastic leader in cage with aggressive and competitive play all season.” The coach also singled out Felder as providing fine play and leadership throughout his four-year tenure.
Shapiro, Falta, and Barocas were selected as NEPSAC Division 3 All-Stars. HVAL All-Star selections went to Barocas and Falta while Shapiro and Felder received honorable mentions.
Reflecting on 2019 and looking beyond to 2020, coach Hill saw this season as a great opportunity for many of the team’s young players to enjoy a season of gaining experience and learning on the field. “It was a pleasure to watch the young players on the team experience the game and play in competitive situations,’ coach Hill said. “Many of our guys were able to contribute their skills and work hard to become better players,” he added. A sign of good things to come occurred on the final day of the spring season when the younger players got their chance to shine as Harvey beat Kildonan 12-3 in a JV match. “With a number of young players contributing at a varsity level, we show a strong trajectory for more improvement in the upcoming seasons,” coach Hill said. “I look forward to watching the team continue to grow and mature as well as develop a love for the game,” he added.
At the team dinner, coach Hill and his assistant Denis Arnautovic gave out team awards to the following players:
Most Improved: Alex Kaplan
Coaches Award: Josh Shapiro
Sportsmanship: Ethan Cohen
Ironman: Josh Hoch
MVP Defense: Joseph Barocas
MVP Offense: Tate Falta
Varsity Girls Rugby (6-8; 0-8 NJRugby Girls HS League)
The girls rugby team, guided by head coaches Brad Lawrence and Molly Whittaker, made great strides this season to post the best record the program has seen in a few years. While the Harvey girls struggled to get a win against the well-established club teams, they won all six of their matches against the high school teams they played.
Despite seeing his squad lose to the likes of the talented and highly experienced NY Rugby Club and Play Rugby USA (PRUSA), coach Lawrence was pleased that the Harvey girls played the powerhouse teams much more competitively. “Historically, these teams have beaten us by 20-50 points, but this season we were within 10 points a few times and improved each time we played them,” coach Lawrence said.
The high point of the season came when Harvey won five matches in a row, including three consecutive in a four-team round robin-style competition in early May, beating Horace Mann, Rye, and French American School in a series of sevens.
Coach Whittaker said her favorite part of the season was watching the team grow. She said the girls deserve to be recognized “for their hard work and amazing team play.” The coach added, “They never gave up against the stiff competition, stayed positive, constantly supported each other, and became a team to be reckoned with.”
Boys Rugby (4-5; 0-4 NY Metro)
Although the Harvey rugby program had its share of wins this season, none came against NY Metro League rivals, denying the Cavaliers a chance to play in a postseason championship tournament.
Luigi Loiola, Mike Leone, Nik Denyer, Nielsen Dry, and Liam McDermott said goodbye to a number of seniors who were on the New York State Tier 2 Championship team of 2018 and leave behind a legacy for the younger players to aspire to.
Coach Loiola said team co-captain Hunter Nascimento, along with fellow seniors Finley Shepard, Dan Pope, and Colin Glascott had extraordinary seasons “displaying a strong work ethic, commitment, and bravery during matches.”
One highlight of the season was the 46-17 JV victory over Fairfield Prep on the last day of the season. Captains Alex Pradines and Cyrus Casino and their teammates showed signs of Harvey’s chance to return to glory on the pitch in the years ahead. “The JV program has a bright future with 16 sophomores and a small but talented freshman class,” coach Loiola predicted.
The coaches selected the following players for team awards:
Varsity Players of the Year: Finley Shepard, Dan Pope
JV Player of the Year: Grady Halaifouna
Ted O’Connor Alumni Award: Hunter Nascimento, Colin Glascott
Discipline: Daniel Pope
Jazz: Grant Doherty
Bravery: Finley Shepard, Ronan O’Donnell
Girls Varsity Tennis (3-5; 2-4 HVAL)
The nasty early spring weather hit the girls tennis schedule hard, with rainouts resulting in the girls not playing their first home match until the last week of the season. Despite the early March weather patterns extending into early May, the girls handled themselves well, said first-year head coach Fernando Leon-Prado. “The whole team was outstanding in a hectic year with the rain and all sorts of events being pushed around,” coach Leon-Prado said.
Senior captain and MVP Charlotte Levy, the team’s No. 1 singles player and an HVAL All-League selection for the second straight year, provided one of the top season highlights with 20-plus rally points to her credit. Levy and junior Alyssa Lombardi, the team’s second HVAL All-League player, shone in their singles matches in the quarterfinals playing the two best players in the league. HVAL All-League honorable mentions went to sophomore Lauren Grauer and senior Lily Wang.
Other season highlights included a win in the playoffs by the doubles team of Wang and sophomore Isabel Bandon and the rise of junior Marina Man to the No. 4 singles slot. “Marina was the most improved player as she stepped up to become a singles player this year,” coach Leon-Prado said.
Coach Leon-Prado said he was proud of the girls for their efforts. “All the teams in the league are very good and our team competed fiercely with all of them never giving up,” coach Leon-Prado said. “At one point or another everyone had to step up and play,” he said. “I'm proud of the team’s honor and girt to compete no matter the circumstances or scores.”
At the end of the season, the coaches selected the following for special team awards:
MVP: Charlotte Levy
Coaches Award: Alyssa Lombardi
Most Improved Player: Marina Man
John G. ’50 Davis Award: Charlotte Levy (two-time winner)
Boys Varsity Tennis (3-10; 2-7 HVAL)
The boys on the varsity tennis team may have come up short on victories this season and missed out in competing in the HVAL playoffs, but they got another year of valuable experience under their young belts.
Guiding a team without a single senior on the roster, first-year head coach Gregg Sulzer and veteran assistant coach Tim Cornell witnessed several solid performances throughout a mostly rainy, chilly spring season. Sophomores Patrick Murphy and Ryan Villano, who shared the team lead in match victories with five, both were most impressive in their wins at The Master's School. Murphy, the team’s co-captain along with Pierson Husted, was Harvey’s lone HVAL All-League selection. Villano, the team’s No. 1 player throughout the season, continued to make progress.
Other notable performances came from sophomore Jack Perkins who had a great match against his opponent from Christian Heritage School. Murphy and junior Harley Cohen paired up very well at No.1 doubles and Cohen also did a solid job at No. 4 singles.
Coach Cornell said there were clear signs of improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. “We lost our first match of the year to Christian Heritage 7-0, but in our final match of the year we only lost 4-3 and had a chance to pull out a win,” the coach said.
The prestigious Davis Award went to Murphy who showed a consistently high level of sportsmanship, competitiveness, and cooperation among his fellow teammates, according to coach Sulzer. “Patrick’s willingness to give his all in every match both in practice and in competition made him stand out among his peers,” coach Sulzer said, adding, “Patrick was always eager to take instruction and put it into practice almost immediately.”
Coach Cornell believes Murphy and his teammates will find more success next year. “With such a young team, we have a lot of potential if we continue to work hard and play during the summer and winter months,” he said, and coach Sulzer agrees, saying. “The fact that we didn’t have any seniors means we can really grow and progress as a team, and if our players can continue to play in the months ahead, I feel pretty confident that we can have a shot at the playoffs next year.”
At the end of the season, the coaches handed out team awards to the following players:
MIP: Sid Zhang
Sportsmanship: Zach Amerling
Coaches: Pierson Husted
MVP: Ryan Villano
Davis Award: Patrick Murphy
The varsity golf team was short on tournament wins but not for a lack of effort. While the Cavaliers placed last in all their tournaments, two players qualified for the HVAL championship tournament and five team members lowered their stroke averages throughout the season.
Senior captain Alex Breitenbach and seventh-grader Robert Fischer qualified for the HVAL championship at Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, Connecticut. Breitenbach and Fischer, along with freshman Ryan Spiro and sophomores Kyle Canevari and Garrett Quinn, saw their scores improve as the season progressed.
Coach Doug Plaskett praised juniors Tommy Wang and Kelly Lin and sophomore Charles Zuo for “practicing extremely hard on their game.” The coach said he hopes to see them participate in matches next year.
Despite seeing the team struggle in tournaments, coach Plaskett applauded his players for putting in an “outstanding” effort.” Coach Plaskett said, “They were enthusiastic and displayed a willingness to improve.” He added, “I see a promising future for our team.”
JV Baseball (2-5)
The JV team got a healthy helping of some interscholastic competition despite a rainy spring season. Coaches Matthew Eccher and Nate Alexander were in charge of seeing to it that up-and-coming varsity players will be ready for the challenge of playing on the next level.
The performances of several players provided season highlights. Freshman pitcher Dom D’Onofrio showed promise on the mound, racking up nine strikeouts in a game against Forman and a season-high 12 Ks against Brunswick. Three players starred for the offense. Freshman Ryan Pink led the team in hitting with a .545 average. Sophomore Zi Glucksman posted the highest on-base percentage at .615, and freshman Kevon Patterson led the team in steals with seven.
Coach Eccher said the team as a whole performed well all season. “We showed tremendous improvement and fought hard every game,” coach Eccher said. “I am incredibly proud of every player on this team,” he added.
At the team’s end-of-season dinner, the coaches gave out team awards to the following:
MVP: Dom D’Onofrio
Coaches Award: Zi Glucksman
Most Improved: Kevon Patterson
Gold Glove: Robert Ogg
Coed JV/MS Tennis
Thirty-four students from both the Middle School and the Upper School joined ranks this spring to form the coed JV team under the guidance of coaches Samantha Saraniti, Madelon Visintainer, James McCombs, Maureen Moser, and Oliver Gill.
Focused on developing individual skills and teaching the nuances of the game, the coaches were happy to report that the JV squad made important strides.
"I was impressed by the dedication and progress shown by a number of players, especially Maria (Millette), Milo (Flamenbaum), Cordelia (McKenna), and Cole (Hamlin),” coach Moser said.
Coach Saraniti gives much of the credit to coach Gill for the improvement of the players. “Oliver Gill stepped up as an assistant coach and had a very real impact with his teaching skills,” said coach Saraniti.
Coach Saraniti also cited the contributions of sophomore captain Olivia Durkin, praising the team captain as “an exemplar of sportsmanship, reliability, and leadership.”
Coach Visintainer appreciated the overall attitude of the team throughout the season. “Many of the students impressed me with their willingness to put themselves out there in terms of playing matches," coach Visintainer said.
At the end of the season, the coaches handed out team awards to following players:
Most Improved: Maria Millette
Coaches Award: Olivia Durkin
Sportsmanship: Zachary Grann
Sportsmanship: Cole Hamlin
Coaches Award: Felix Oliver
Most Improved: Jordan Latta
Middle School Baseball (3-3)
Coaches Patrick Kennedy and Nate Alexander guided a team that received invaluable experience in playing baseball on an interscholastic level.
In a schedule cut short by too many rainy days, one game stood out. The Middle School Cavs earned a great victory at home against Brunswick after losing to the Bruins in Greenwich earlier in the season. Another highlight of the season was the Gold Glove-caliber play of eighth-grader Bradley Lederer at shortstop.
Reflecting on the season, coach Kennedy said he wished the weather had cooperated. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play as many games as we would’ve liked, but the weather was challenging this season,” coach Kennedy said. The coach said he enjoyed working with this year’s squad, saying, “It was a good group of young men who enjoyed playing the game.”
The following players received special team awards at season’s end:
Golden Glove: Bradley Lederer
Cy Young: Charlie Carpenter
Silver Slugger: David Lopez-Ryan