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Fall Season Success: Lions Roar with Victories!

Our Lions had an incredible fall season, racking up victories left and right as they brought home the gold! 

Some highlights: Our Cross Country Lions left the competition in the dust, with one running their way to first place at the ISAL Championship Meet. Meanwhile, our Boys Varsity Soccer team dominated the field, going undefeated and claiming both the League and Playoff Championships of the ACIS, but they weren't the only ones celebrating; the Girls Varsity Soccer team also triumphed as Playoff Champions of the ISAL. Our Girls Varsity Volleyball team also reclaimed their title as the Playoff Champions of the ISAL for the third consecutive time. Talk about a winning streak! 

Read on for more incredible success stories of our talented student-athletes alongside their passionate coaches…

Girls Varsity Soccer | Coaches Jonathan Ascher, Alicia Thoresen, and Mia Marcus
The Girls Varsity Soccer team finished their season with an impressive record of 10-3-2, securing a top seed in the regular ACIS (second) and ISAL (first) standings. Despite the injuries and illnesses that affected the team, they came out on top as the league and playoff champions of the ISAL, and even made it to the opening round of NYSAIS!

A standout moment of the season for the coaches was witnessing the girls' unity and celebration when they won the finals with a score of 2-1 against York Prep. This victory was especially meaningful, as the team had worked toward it all season. The seniors on the team made vital contributions — Isabella Toigo ‘24 scored eight goals out of the team's 40 total goals, while Julia Todd ‘24 played a pivotal role by scoring the game-tying goal in the championship. Rosalie Stein ‘24 was the anchor of our defense, and team captain Mia Abramson ‘24 not only scored ten goals, but also secured the game-winning penalty shot in the championship. A roar of pride also goes out to co-captain Ia Utmelidze '25, who achieved a remarkable 9-0 record as the starting goalie, achieving seven shutouts and only allowing five goals all season.

Looking ahead to the next season, Head Coach Jonathan Ascher acknowledged that the team will be losing key players, but is excited overall about the potential of his young team and the opportunity to continue building on this year’s successes.

Boys Varsity Soccer | Coaches Ra Ung and Regis Enama
After quickly gelling as a team, the Boys Varsity Soccer team attained an impressive season record of 10-1. Consequently, they clinched the leading position in the regular ACIS standings and accomplished a historic milestone for the school by securing the #1 rank in the NYSIAS Championship.

Coach Ra states that “the magic started to happen” once the team was able to operate as a unit and maintain a strong belief in the process, regardless of the outcome. One of the standout moments of the season was the impressive 11-0 season opener, which set the tone for their high aspirations. The coaches were impressed with the team’s ability to find their rhythm swiftly after a shaky preseason and maintain consistency from the first to the final game. Having the entire team sing along to their rendition of "Freed from Desire” on the bus will be a much missed post-win tradition.

The team was supported by the impactful contributions of its senior players. Ale Abdy ’24 and Vasilis Ntinopoulos ’24, who took turns in goalkeeping responsibilities, inspired each other to achieve excellence, culminating in a remarkable record of eight clean sheets. Meanwhile, Ilan Ibrahimagic ’24 and Jonny Goldenberg ’24 provided leadership both on and off the field. Jonny consistently showcased his reliability and unwavering presence in the defensive third, playing a pivotal role in initiating attacks from the back.

Looking ahead to the next season, the team is eager to embark on another shared adventure, welcoming both new faces and familiar ones. With a commitment to excellence both on and off the field, the team aspires to reach new heights and go beyond previous achievements. With a steadfast commitment, they look forward to nurturing and enhancing the growth of a strong soccer program at Dwight.

Boys JV Soccer | Coaches Casey Keith and Peter Harrison
The Boys JV Soccer team ended the regular season with a record of 6-0, securing the top spot in the ACIS regular season and taking second place in the ACIS Championships.

One standout memory from the season was the thrilling victory over Saint Ann's in the final minutes of the game. Captains Connor Janiak ’26 and Alessandro De Rossi ’26 played pivotal roles in guiding the team. Their maturity was evident, especially in heated or tense moments, providing the freshmen with a positive example of how to handle challenging situations correctly.

Looking ahead to the next season, the focus remains on fostering a cohesive and competitive team environment, as they aim for continued success!

Middle School Soccer | Coaches Ger Flood and Patrick Keirnan-Ramirez
In the beginning of the season, there were some growing pains as the players evolved into proper communication and team play. However, they bounced back in the game against Steiner by playing in lockstep and supporting each other — and ended up with a big win by scoring two late goals.

“Memorable moments such as Shaylon Mahoney’s ’28 game-winning goal against Steiner, the development of players like James Oppy ’28, Roshan Gautham ’28, and Fletcher Barnes ’29, and Henry McIntosh’s '28 first goal in the final game against BWL make coaching so rewarding,” says Coach Flood. A shoutout goes to John He ’28, who filled in as an emergency goalie and made a crucial save. The team's development, tactical implementation, the facilitation skills of Seb Gurski-Corniel ’29, and the adaptability of Misha Kroujiline ’29 were also commendable. Overall this season, experienced players contributed to the team effort, while less experienced players learned crucial skills to adapt to their roles.

Due to their efforts, the Middle School Boys Soccer team ended their season with a positive record of 5-3. Good job, Lions!

Girls Varsity Volleyball | Coaches Tiam Chuck and Aaron Colon
From the earliest days of the preseason, our Girls Varsity Volleyball team put their best foot forward. Their efforts paid off, as they walked away from the fall season as the Playoff Champions of the ISAL for the third time in a row!

The season was filled with memorable moments: engaging conversations on bus rides, the Make-A-Wish charity game, the many five-set game thrillers, and more! The most memorable game of the season had to be the second encounter against an undefeated LREI, when our Lions proved their ability to endure in the face of prolonged and challenging rallies and eventually emerged victorious.

Overall, the team had dynamic and strong serves, and the starting seven players left it all on the court. Danielle Reische ’25 reached new heights in both defense and offense, and they were essential in keeping plays alive and getting crucial momentum points for the team. Both Greta Irico ’24 and Lulu Deyer ’25 had fantastic plays in the middle hitter position — whether it was a solid hit or a big block. Lulu was even playing balls off the net, contributing to the team's defense. 

Melissa Purovic ’25 worked diligently in practice and in games to better her serve receive and defense and, as a result, picked up balls that ultimately helped the team claim the championship once again. Lina Thompson ’25 played a vital role in the team’s offense and defense as she dug hard-driven hits from the opposition only to return an even stronger swing of her own. Grace Capiraso '25 tenaciously went for every ball with intent and delivered the sets our offense needed — she truly was a force to be reckoned with this season. Vanessa Greenwald ’24 was out for a good portion of the season due to an injury — her strong serves and swings from the right side were missed — but she recovered just in time to participate in the big games toward the end of the season. 

With a record high number of seniors graduating the program next year, Coach T realizes that bidding farewell will not be easy, but they are determined to send those who remain off with one last fun and memorable season.

Girls JV Volleyball Blue | Coach Jan Gallao
Our Girls JV Volleyball Blue team had a great time climbing their way to the top this season! Although they fell a little short, we roar a huge congratulations for getting second place in the ISAL Championships. 

From day one, this team dug in with a real willingness to improve. Learning rotations for a 5-1 offensive system in volleyball is no simple feat, especially when it’s a new concept for most athletes. But by the end of the season, the team’s execution and communication were miles beyond where it started. This grit and determination showed through the entire season, though was more present than ever during the thrilling victory in the ISAL semi-finals match, where the game remained neck and neck until the last set, culminating in a hard-fought 15-13 win. The team's ability to compete at a high level with a young composition — including several freshmen and a middle schooler — showcased how much they have grown throughout the season, and their great potential. The leadership of captains Eloise Oppy ’26 and Giselle McCraw ’26 played a crucial role, as they always set a positive example for their underclassmen and contributed greatly to the team’s cohesion. The captains' strategic discussions before games fueled valuable decision-making. 

The Athletics Department is optimistic about the future, given the talent exhibited by the youngest players during the season. There is sure to be more positive growth and continued success with the Girls JV Volleyball program, and we’re excited to see what’s next.

Girls JV Volleyball Red | Coach Cam Pangalangan
Development was the focus of our Girls JV Volleyball Red team’s season. Our Lions were eager to put their skills to the test in competition — and were thrilled by their first victory against York Prep. 

Coach Cam says, “It was nice to see the athletes reiterate concepts mentioned in prior practices and meetings during the timeouts, which showed that there was a high level of retention.” Cam also mentions that she could feel how aggressive the team was in striving for more than just a win — they all strove for better play overall. 

Maddie York '26 contributed to team morale and held the team to a high standard. Considering how much they grew in a small number of games, it will be exciting to see what upcoming seasons will bring for these fierce competitors.

Middle School Volleyball Grade 8 | Coach Sarah Benton
Incredible energy and camaraderie filled an exciting season for the eighth grade Middle School team,” says Coach Benton. 

Coach Benton says her favorite memory of the team this season came during a competitive game where they lost the first set. “Feeling beat down,” she says, “I asked the girls to do their normal cheer, but with a twist. They put their arms around each other's shoulders and jumped around in a circle while chanting. Initially hesitant, they eventually started laughing and became excited to get back on the court.”

The team captains exhibited wonderful leadership qualities throughout the season. Grey Franciscovich ’28 was voted co-captain before sustaining an ankle fracture, but, despite the injury, consistently brought a positive attitude and sincere communication —  leading by example. Anna Ferber ’28, another co-captain, held her teammates accountable when the energy got a bit unfocused during games or practice. Anna certainly took the sport of volleyball seriously and was committed to both individual and team growth. Finally, Ginevra Carucci ’28 stepped up as a co-captain after Grey's injury. Ginevra’s energy helped bring the team together, and she never hesitated to speak up when she felt something needed to be clarified

The excitement that was always present in the room translated into the games. The team never stopped making aggressive plays, even under stress — showing their fearlessness and huge potential for future success in the sport. 

Middle School Volleyball Grade 7 | Coach Brett Madarasz
This year’s seventh grade Middle School Volleyball team was composed of players fresh to the sport — but eager to develop their skills! Coach Madarasz loved that all the athletes consistently came in ready to practice and improve everyday. 

One memorable game for the team was the hard-fought match against Steiner. The beginning of the game saw our team down a set in a best two out of three match. However, their spirits remained unbroken, and they rallied back to claim the next set, showcasing their grit and determination. The tie-breaker was an intense battle, but with guidance from their coach, the team came out victorious. 

Captains Julieta Galan ’29, Tyler Rapp ’29, and Madeline Zolotkovsky ’29 were praised by Coach Madarasz for being excellent teammates both on and off the court this season. Coach Madarasz wishes the athletes moving on next year, the best of luck and is eager to see how they perform on the grade 8 team.

Varsity Cross Country | Coaches Doug Sklar and Holly Nohavitza
Our Varsity Cross Country team found success in several different areas throughout the season. The boys placed third at the ISAL Championships, while two runners, Maia Magoulakis ’27 and Astrid Brinzer ’27, both achieved placements in the top ten of the girls division. Matteo Ruiz ’25 was the first runner to make it across the finish line, putting Dwight on the board in the ISAL Championships! 

Running proved to be both physically and mentally demanding, but each athlete pushed through to become better versions of themselves. One of the favorite memories of both coaches was witnessing the joy on each athlete's face after achieving a personal best time. The excitement of Svetlana Stephanopoulos ’27 was particularly memorable, as she broke 30 minutes for the first time, improving her time by almost ten minutes. 

With a team composed mostly of 9th graders, who showed significant improvement throughout the season along with the veteran members, the team is eagerly anticipating future success. There’s one major goal everyone shares and will work hard for in the coming seasons: a team league championship!

Middle School Cross Country | Coach Juliette Polis
Luca McCartney ’29 was the sole member of the Middle School Cross Country team this season — a small but mighty representation! Despite being the only member of the team, Luca was fully committed — and his determination and dedication shined through every race. 

During the season, Coach Polis pushed Luca even further by having him practice with Varsity Cross Country from time to time. As a result, Luca was able to effectively cut three minutes off his times from the season's start to its conclusion! This success translated to Luca earning a medal for placing top five in the Middle School Cross Country Championship Meet  — a very rewarding moment for him and Coach Polis. Coach Polis says, “I cannot wait for next season to see how much more Luca will progress.” 

They both have their sights set on the gold!

 

After such a successful fall season in the record books, we look forward to seeing what our winter Lions will achieve!