A year ago, Devin Leahy was a little-used freshman on one of the worst college soccer teams in New York City. Now, thanks to his key efforts in the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) championship game on Nov. 8, Hunter College’s soccer team is the toast of the town.
Hunter finished the regular season last year with a disastrous 2-13-1 record, but the Hawks improved this fall, thanks to a dynamic group of juniors and sophomores. And though Leahy, who played previously at the Trevor Day School on the Upper West Side, didn’t pick up any postseason honors, his performance was important in the turnaround effort. He played in 18 games and started 10 as a defensive midfielder. His first collegiate goal helped provide a victory against SUNY-Maritime in early September.
By the end of the regular season, Hunter was 9-7-1, a solid record but not one that turns heads. The Hawks certainly drew notice in the playoffs, though, by beating both City Tech and Brooklyn College in overtime games.
Extra periods couldn’t resolve the title match after Hunter tied York College 1-1, partly thanks to a goal that Leahy set up. That meant penalty kicks would have to determine the outcome, and once again the sophomore rose to the occasion. The Hawks couldn’t convert their first two attempts and quickly fell behind. But they made some clutch shots to tie things up at two goals apiece. Then Leahy, with his team’s fate resting on his foot, stepped up to the mark and sent a low shot to the right side of the net.
Game over: Hunter earned its first city championship and NCAA Tournament berth since 1999.
As usual, the fall has seen dozens of local athletes playing in college arenas. The following is a round-up of Manhattanites who attended high school on either the East or West Side.
Besides Leahy, the best soccer season undoubtedly belonged to Dan Hicks, a sophomore goalie at Bowdoin. He started the bulk of the season, finishing with a 1.47 goals-against average, 49 saves and a save percentage of .731 for a 6-8 team. He was joined on the pitch by Daniel Chaffetz, a former high school teammate of his at Trinity. Also a sophomore, Chaffetz started three games as a defenseman for the Polar Bears.
Monroe College, meanwhile, had a trio of local freshmen. Daniel Solis and Alassane Diakite, both members of the championship team at Martin Luther King Jr. a year ago, competed for the Mustangs. Solis played in 13 games as a midfielder and had a goal and an assist. He was joined by Jonathan Ortiz (Norman Thomas), who contributed two goals and an assist as a forward. At City College, America Nazario (Julia Richman) played 13 games and started 10 along the back line.
Three more freshmen saw action on college pitches this fall. Michael Chew (Collegiate) played in nine games for Bard, notching one goal for an 8-7-1 team. Briggin Scharf (Spence), a defender, saw action in eight games and started one at Oberlin. And Andrew Scott (Trinity) played four games for Hamilton.
Najua Ward (Beacon) continued to run impressively for City College during his sophomore season, finishing 12th at the CUNYAC Championships and 15th at the Baruch Invitational. Teammate Jabreel Sabir (Environmental Studies) placed 43rd at the CUNYAC meet.
Collegiate’s always impressive corps of runners also had a good fall. Dylan Trotzuk (Harvard) and Joe Myrie (University of Pennsylvania) wrapped up their freshmen seasons, while sophomore Peter Vizcarrondo competed for Yale. He finished 11th at the Fairfield Invitational.
Also at Harvard, Elizabeth Heller (Brearley) began her college career by finishing 88th at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships with a time of 20:18 on a five-kilometer course. UPenn’s Josh Weinstein (Dalton) was 21st at the Old Nassau Run during his sophomore campaign.
Other local runners included Tina Millburn (Chapin) and Kirsten Brown (Hunter) at Tufts and Skyler Walley (Brearley) at Bowdoin.
There was a tremendous amount of success on the courts this fall, and freshmen once again led the charge. Princeton’s Hilary Bartlett (Brearley) went 11-4 in doubles and 3-6 in singles. At St. John’s, Milo Hauk (Beacon) finished 10-4 in singles play and 3-4 in doubles. Michael Piderit (Dalton) of Wesleyan compiled an impressive 5-1 mark at No. 5 singles and a record of 4-2 at No. 2 doubles. He had good competition among conference foes from two Columbia Prep graduates: Julian Camacho at Amherst and Josh Cranin at Bowdoin. Camacho went 2-2 in both singles and doubles, while Cranin finished 4-4 on his own and 1-3 with a partner. A third former player at Columbia Prep, Emily Wolf, made her collegiate debut at UPenn. Rebecca Brown (Dalton) did the same at Oberlin, compiling marks of 1-4 and 2-3 in singles and doubles, respectively. And finally, Warren Elgort moved from Trinity to Johns Hopkins and put together an impressive fall. He finished 7-3 in singles and 4-2 in doubles.
Upperclassmen didn’t do badly, either. Curtis Roby (Trinity) continued his impressive career at Dartmouth. He was 5-2 as a singles player and 4-0 in doubles, winning the Dartmouth Shootout “C” Singles Title and the doubles bracket at the Big Green Invite. At defending national champion Williams, Kathryn Friedman (Chapin) was 6-4 in singles and 3-4 in doubles.
Caroline Gottlieb (Brearley) played at Bates, and Gabrielle Hess (Ramaz) started her senior season at Yeshiva by finishing 4-4 in singles and 3-5 in doubles, mostly in the No. 1 slot.
Andrea Rosengarten (Spence) was a serendipitous addition to the volleyball team at Colby this year. The freshman outside hitter played in every match for her 12-16 team and proved quite a force, both offensively and defensively. As an attacker, she finished with 227 kills, 45 aces and 19 assists. When it came to keeping points alive, she was just as spectacular, contributing 359 digs and 15 blocks.
Mary Reiser (Nightingale-Bamford), also a freshman, saw limited action for Amherst this fall, helping her team to a 22-8 record. She appeared in nine matches and recorded nine kills, seven digs and seven blocks. Thea Schlieben (Rudolf Steiner) played 12 matches for Brooklyn College and notched nine kills, four assists and 14 digs. At Kenyon, Meggie Strew (Trevor Day) started her college career by appearing in three games.
Lisa Jasienowski was the most accomplished local volleyball player besides Rosengarten. The sophomore outside hitter from York Prep played in every match for Skidmore, helping her team finish 26-10 by registering 77 kills, 19 digs and 57 blocks.
Brianne and Clementine Goutal (both from the Professional Children’s School) participated on the equestrian team at Brown this fall. At Bowdoin, Becca Warner (Chapin) played golf and Rafaela Uribe (St. Jean Baptiste) joined the rugby team as a prop. And though Manhattan has very few high school football teams, Terence Mooney (Hunter) didn’t let that stop him from reaching the college gridiron. He joined the Kenyon football squad as a backup quarterback.
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