Fall Teams Go Undefeated at Sports Saturday

Women’s varsity soccer players celebrate their 7–0 win over DC International on Sports Saturday. Photo by Shaila Joshi.

Five of GDS’ fall sports teams played in a series of games against Sidwell, Saint James and DC International on Sep. 24 as part of the school’s Sports Saturday tradition and went undefeated across all sports. The twice-a-year event also included an exhibition match between the women’s junior-varsity soccer team and a group of faculty and staff members.

The student–faculty game was the first of the day. The women’s JV team was originally slated to play against Jackson-Reed, but the opponents canceled the match earlier in the week. The students and staff were evenly matched, leading the game to end 2–2.

“They played with extraordinary energy,” Bobby Asher, GDS’ director of student life and wellness, said after facing the women’s JV team. Science teachers Gabe Koo and Greg Dallinger, math teachers Brooke Coleman and Beth Stafford, PE teachers Jodi Jackson and Taylor Brown, athletic director David Gillespie, assistant athletic director Pam Stanfield, transportation marketing associate Chris Oster and 11th Grade Dean Greg Wong, among others, also played on the faculty team.

Freshman Rachel Sachs, who scored the game-tying goal, called the team’s performance “a great sign for the rest of the season.” Two of Sachs’ teammates agreed and said both teams played extremely well.

Chris Oster jumps for a header in the student–faculty soccer game. Photo by Kaiden J. Yu.

Next, the men’s JV soccer team played against Saint James. The game was in the Hoppers’ control from the beginning, and they won by a score of 3–0, with goals by junior Omar Sheikh, freshman Suli Ajmeri and freshman Thomas “TJ” Jones.

“I thought we played a really complete game,” head coach Carlos Angulo said. “We didn’t score as much as we could have, but we did everything well, and I’m very happy with how we played.” 

Angulo also said he thought that the team was in the middle of a great season. “We only have one loss, and in that game we were unlucky, so we could easily be undefeated,” he said. “I think we play extremely well most of the time.”

The day’s events continued in the high school gymnasium, where the JV volleyball team faced off against Sidwell Friends School. GDS won the first set 25–8, and in the second set the teams traded the lead until GDS finally took control and won the set to end the match. 

“If we can beat Sidwell, we can beat anyone,” Poppy Davies, a freshman on the team, said in an interview.

Next came the varsity volleyball game against Sidwell. GDS dominated the first set, winning 25–4. The Hoppers had to fight a little bit more in the second set, but they won 25–12. Finally, GDS secured the third set, also 25–12, winning the match and prompting loud cheers from the crowd. 

“I think that it was great we kept them under 15,” junior Aaliyah Howell, a varsity volleyball captain, said. 

Sophomore Zoe Ryu, a standout player on the varsity team, expressed high hopes for the season after the victory. Senior Drew Cowan, the team’s manager, agreed: “We are on track to have an even better season than last year, so I’m excited,” he said. In 2021, the team ended the season with the best record in D.C. and made it to the state championship. 

Cowan also said he thought that games like the one on Sports Saturday are a great opportunity to play well in front of a big crowd and increase interest in volleyball.

Sophomore Shiraz Benyoucef gears up for a spike in the varsity volleyball game against Sidwell. Photo by Kaiden J. Yu.

Men’s varsity soccer played next, also against Saint James. After a quick goal in the first minutes of the game, the Hoppers never looked back and won 5–1. Sophomore Oliver Hsu led the team with two goals.

Hsu spoke with the Bit after the game about the season thus far. “It was hard to get momentum going with the amount of injuries we had, but as of now, I am very proud of the team,” he said. “We have been applying everything we work on in practice and you can see it has been paying off.”

The bleachers were full for the final game of the day, the women’s varsity soccer match against DC International. The Hoppers pulled ahead early, and victory was never in question as their lead increased to 7–0, the final score. 

“We controlled the ball well, especially at the end of the game,” senior Keevan Kearns, one of the captains, said after the game.

Head coach Katie Redmond agreed with Kearns’ analysis: “We moved the ball really well, we finished and obviously it was a really good scoreline.” Redmond said she believes that the win is a sign of good things to come for the team. “Our goal is to win the division, so each league game means a lot,” she said.

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