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  • Greg Lederer

Rams Boys' Lacrosse And Softball Teams Make SCC Finals On Tuesday, Cheshire Girls' Tennis Places Runner-Up In Conference


CHS girls' tennis finished runner-up in the SCC Tournament. Photo by Greg Lederer.


On Tuesday, Cheshire tennis player Alex Orlins swept all 12 games in the number one singles spot.


by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media


In the Southern Connecticut Conference on Tuesday, Cheshire High School girls’ tennis (third seed, 13-4) fell 4-3 to Guilford (top seed, 22-1) at Amity in Woodbridge. It was Cheshire’s first title match since 2014.

“Obviously, it is a great feeling getting here even though unfortunately we weren’t able to come out with a win today,” said junior Alex Orlins. “I think it is great feeling to be able to make this far. We haven’t been able to make it this far when I’ve been here. Honestly, it is such a team effort, with a lot of wins coming from our team.”

At number one singles, junior Alex Orlins remained undefeated with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.

“It is obviously a great feeling,” stated Orlins. “Any win at this stage is a big win to help the team get closer to being able to potentially pull out the win. I’m super glad I can have that momentum and carry that momentum forward for the rest of the season.”

In the top-two doubles positions, senior tri-captains Riley Baldoni and Anja Josef (6-3, 4-6, 6-3) and juniors Ashley Lentini and Tannistha Thumatti (2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1) pulled out victories in three sets.

In another three-setter, junior Leah Pisani came up just short 3-6, 6-3, 4-6 at number four singles.

“It is definitely exhausting, especially with the heat today,” explained Pisani. “I just wanted to keep fighting, so that is what got me through.”

To reach the final, the Rams had to complete their semifinal match against Amity (third seed, 13-4) in the morning. Due to darkness on Monday, the rivals had to suspend their match with the score tied at 3-3.

Pisani broke the tie by finishing off a 6-4, 6-2 victory. She led 6-4, 3-2 when the match was suspended.

“Honestly, I was just thinking I had to stay confident. I had to stay calm,” reflected Pisani. “I can’t just think I’m going to go in there and beat them. So, I really just prepared the way I prepared before and just got ready for it with a confident mind and went out there and did my best.”

She enjoyed clinching the match for her team.

“It felt amazing, especially because I hadn’t played much before, so being able to do it felt good,” stated Pisani.

Zacharias feels that Pisani has been a huge addition to the team this year.

“I can’t even put it into words almost, but I made sure to tell her that after today’s match that we wouldn’t have even been here if it wasn’t for her,” said Zacharias. “She played incredible in her matches over between the last two days. She has probably been on the court for seven years. She is just a human backboard. She moves so well. The pressure doesn’t get to her.”

Orlins (6-2, 7-5), Baldoni and Josef (7-6, (7-3), 6-4), and Lentini and Thumatti (5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5) were also victorious in the semifinals.

“The match that went on were unreal,” recalled Zacharias. “The performance by two doubles yesterday was amazing. They played well so well.”

With the close of the SCC playoffs, the Rams now await seeding for the Class LL Tournament.


Tennis player Leah Pisani played five total sets on Monday and Tuesday. Photo by Greg Lederer.


Boys’ Lacrosse (second seed, 14-3)

In the SCC semifinals on Tuesday, Cheshire picked up their third straight win, 13-10, over Notre Dame-West Haven (third seed, 11-4).

In contrast to the first meeting when CHS had to rally from a 5-0 deficit to win 17-10 on April 9, the Rams came out fast to take a 7-0 advantage in the rematch. Senior Matt Jeffery and senior Adam Vernon netted two goals in the spurt, while senior Ryan Grove and juniors Nick Miller and Sean Grevelding also found the back of the net.

After scoring on a pass from Vernon, Grevelding set up his teammate for consecutive goals.

“It was a good start,” reflected junior Brady Potyrala. “The last time, they came out hard and we were kind of asleep, but we changed it. We came out with energy today and jumped on them.”

ND-WH put up two goals, but Vernon scored on a feed from Grevelding to propel the Rams to an 8-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“It felt good to play fast after coming out so slow (in the first meeting),” said Grove, a tri-captain with Jeffery and Lucas Chymbor. Grove controlled 19 of 26 face-offs. “We definitely had a lot of energy in the locker room before the game. We just wanted to come out as fast as we can and do what we do best.”

CHS had seized momentum early, however, the Green Knights didn’t go away. In the second quarter, ND-WH outscored the Rams 4-0.

Senior Dominick Basti fueled the rally with two goals and an assist.

The Green Knights picked up their comeback in the second half, as junior Mitchell Johnston scored to pull them to within 8-7.

“It was a great start by our guys,” recalled Head Coach Mike Devine. “We knew they weren’t going to quit. I was very pleased with how we started the game, but they have a good coaching staff over there. They have some good players over there and if you let them creep back and give them confidence, they are going to grind to the end.”

In need of a spark, Cheshire finished the third quarter with goals from junior Brady Potyrala and Grevelding to go up 10-7. In converting on a pass from Jeffery, Potyrala snapped a scoring drought of over 23 minutes for the Rams.

“It was big. We started moving the ball better on offense, so it started clicking around and opened more shots,” explained Potyrala. “It was a huge momentum boost getting that shot to end the drought. It was huge for the rest of the game. It wasn’t our best game, but we still came out with the win and that is all that matters.”

In the fourth, Basti posted two goals and junior Zachary Goetze added a tally, but Cheshire used goals from Vernon, Jeffery, and Potyrala to hold off their rival and go 2-0 in the season series.

“I thought we weren’t ourselves on offense tonight,” said Devine “That is my fault for overthinking some things. We need to let our guys play and we’ll do that for the rest of the way.”

While the Rams worked to find their rhythm again on offense, the defense stood tall and didn’t allow the Green Knights to take a lead. Junior goalkeeper Joe Grenier shined with 15 saves.

“I thought that Joey made some great saves at key times,” reflected Devine. “We weren’t ever nervous about them coming back. They got looks, but he (Grenier) stepped up in big moments.”

CHS has advanced to Thursday’s SCC final against top-seeded Fairfield Prep (16-1) at West Haven. Start time is 7 p.m.

It will be a rematch of last year’s final won 8-7 in overtime by the Rams. It was Cheshire’s first rivalry victory and SCC crown since 2010.

“We just have a history of tough battles with them, so I can’t wait to get out there and just have a good game,” stated Grove. 

In this year’s first meeting on May 2 at Fairfield University, the Jesuits rallied to beat CHS, 14-13, in overtime.

“It fires us up,” said Potyrala. “We never like losing. It’s a group of guys that loves to win and when we lose, we take it really seriously. We are ready for them. I think we’ve been getting two percent better ever since that day. That loss really flipped a switch in our minds that we don’t ever want to lose to them again. As a team, we’ve been practicing very well together, so we are excited for the challenge.”


Lacrosse player Matt Jeffery netted three goals against ND-WH in the SCC semifinals.


Softball (top seed, 21-1)

CHS extended their win streak to 17 games, winning 3-0 over Mercy (fifth seed, 15-7) in the SCC semifinals at West Haven. On Head Coach Kristine Drust’s birthday, sophomore Jenica Matos pitched a three-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts and two walks.

Cheshire jumped ahead in the third inning and then added two runs in the sixth. Sophomore Ava Pearson singled twice and picked up an RBI, while classmate Jordan McCue had a single and an RBI.

Junior Erin Hersh contributed a double. Senior Karla Carangelo, junior Tai Byrd, and sophomore Lyla Blair also singled in the victory.

On Thursday at the same field, the Rams play North Haven (second seed, 20-2) for the title at 4:30 p.m.

Girls’ Lacrosse (second seed, 9-8)

CHS came up short 16-5 against Amity (third seed, 13-5) in the SCC semifinals. It was the third straight year that the Rams hosted their rival in the playoff round.

Much like Cheshire’s 8-4 win over the Spartans on April 10, the rematch started as a defensive struggle. In the first quarter, goals from Amity junior Addelyn Maxwell and junior Mollee Merritt led to a 1-1 tie. 

Amity senior Madeline Bosma scored in the second, but senior tri-captain Stella Tessier tied the game at 2-2.

From there, the Spartans took momentum by ending the first half on a 4-0 spurt. Amity netted the first two goals of the second half to go up 8-2.

Maxwell tallied four of her five goals in the surge.

“They played like they needed this game,” said Cheshire Head Coach Dan Warburton. “They have multiple scorers who are upperclassmen, while we have a younger group this year. That year of experience makes a difference.”

Cheshire used goals from sophomore Tema Caplan and juniors Sarah Goldstein and Allie Grove to cut the deficit to 9-5 in the third quarter, however, Amity ended the game on a 7-0 run to advance to the SCC finals.

“It was a struggle on the draw and with scoring and shooting,” stated Warburton. “It has been a recurring theme for us this year.”

Along with posting a hat trick, junior Haley Mario played a key role on the draw for the Spartans.

For CHS, Caplan and Merritt both had assists, to go along with their goals. In net, sophomore goalkeeper Georgiana Sheehan recorded nine saves.

CHS now turns their attention to the Class L playoffs.


Cheshire softball posed for a selfie after beating Mercy on Tuesday. Submitted photo.


Outdoor Track and Field

Cheshire teams competed in the SCC Championship at Amity. CHS girls placed fourth (67 points), while the Rams took 13th place (16 points) on the boys’ side.

In the girls’ hurdles, senior Squirrel Lanz won the 300-meters (45.00) and nabbed second in the 100-meters (14.73). Junior Leah Farrell was victorious in the 400-meters (59.33).

Lanz and Farrell teamed with junior Camryn Beeman and senior Mia Vientos on the winning 4x400-meter relay team (4:05.77). Farrell also came away victorious in the 4x800-meter race where she partnered with senior Alexa Ciccone, sophomore Ava Ciccone, and Vientos to clock a time of 9:42.16.

Individually, Vientos (800-meters, 2:19.44) and Alexa Ciccone (3,200-meters, 11:07.21) posted runner-up times. Senior Nicole Emede came in fourth in shot put (33 feet, 9.5 inches).

Senior Emma Rinaldi, Beeman, and freshmen Ava Hartunian and Shannon Gordon finished ninth in the 4x100-meter event (52.10).

For boys, senior James Ferraro, freshman Matthew Gajecki, and juniors Daniel Irish and James Boyd recorded second in the 4x800-meter relay (8:09.24). Junior Ja’mal Titus secured fourth in javelin (154’3”).

Senior Jack Lengyel (seventh, 4:36.33) and Irish (eighth, 4:38.86) came in consecutively in the 1,600-meters. Senior Daniel D’Souza (10th, 10:23.97) and Lengyel (11th, 10:27.89) did the same in the 3,200-meters.

Freshman Auritro Dasgupta sprinted to 11th place in the 100-meters (11.31).

On May 30, the Rams visit New Britain’s Willowbrook Park for the Class L Championship. Field events begin at 3 p.m. and track races start at 3:30 p.m.

Girls’ Golf (11-3)

CHS won 178-223 over host Lauralton Hall at Oronoque Country Club in Stratford. The dual-match medalist throughout the season, sophomore Julia Paek led the way with a 35.

Senior captain Sophia DelRosso (45), junior Olivia Beach (48), and sophomore Piper Dooling (50) also scored in the victory.

On Wednesday at Southington Country Club, CHS hosts Mercy at 2:30 p.m.

Boys’ Golf (10-3)

At The Farms Country Club in Wallingford, Cheshire posted a 156-184 victory over Foran. Senior captain Jack Brewster shot a 37 and junior Jack DeJoseph tallied a 39, while senior Josh Wildstein and junior Dylan Gillotti both came in with a 40.

On Wednesday at the same course, CHS plays Hamden at 2 p.m.

Remainder of Wednesday’s varsity schedule:

Boys’ Volleyball (top seed, 17-3)

In the SCC semifinals, the Rams pit their nine-match win streak against Amity (fourth seed, 8-13) at 6 p.m. In the regular season, CHS defeated their rival, 3-1, on May 8 and May 14.

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