2021 Season Recaps

Ian Comey and Ryan Leong

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It’s been an uncertain year for Paly athletes. With COVID-19 in full effect, the chances of a season happening for any athlete seemed bleak.  This was especially difficult to face for seniors, who were on the verge of losing their last chance to suit up for their team. Ruby Doerr, a senior on the Girls Soccer team, was particularly disappointed by this possibility. 

 “I was actually super bummed out because I thought I was gonna have one last season to play with all the juniors and seniors,” Doerr said.  “It was tough to think that we might not have our senior night and all those experiences.”  

Just when things seemed hopeless, Paly Athletics announced a modified schedule for its teams to compete in SCVAL events over the course of 15 weeks.  Each sport got a limited window to compete, but for senior athletes, the opportunity to be able to play the sport they love one last season for Paly meant everything.


Boys Water Polo 

The boys water polo team has looked strong in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. After losing the single-season scoring record holder Ryan Stanley and his star partner in crime Dexter Gormley, it was primed to be a challenging year for the Vikings. Nevertheless, the team has started 6-3 in league play as a result of phenomenal shooting from senior captain Luke Thieman and strong set play from sophomore Julian Chow. The highlight of the season was a remarkable comeback after being down 9-13 to Harker with less than four minutes to play. A bar-in shot from senior Loic Ijzerman forced overtime where the Vikings clamped on the defensive end to take a 15-13 lead. As the buzzer sounded on the first of two overtime periods, Chow netted a 20 yard shot to the upper corner to ice the game. 


Girls Water Polo 

The girls water polo team has found strong success this year as a result of high-level play from collegiate commits Sophie Kadifa (LMU) and Lulu Gather (Pitzer). After defeating Los Altos for the first time in nearly a decade last year in triple overtime, the Vikes have dominated the Eagles in both matchups. While they have plowed through most of the league, Los Gatos, Gunn, and newly added Castileja have proved to be challenging matchups. The team hopes to close out the season strong by defeating the top of the league on their second pass through the teams. 


Co-Ed Wrestling

The season has started strong for Paly wrestling despite having a relatively young squad. In particular, a strong junior squad led by Max Felter, Ella Jauregui, and Cade Creighton has been dominant. Since last season, Felter has moved up four weight classes but has managed to find success as he recently entered the state rankings. Another bright young star on the team is sophomore Philiop Santiago who will be a force to be reckoned with for the Vikings in the years to come. 


Co-Ed Badminton

Due to the pandemic, many team members opted out of the shortened season. Those who did play faced a variety of challenges, but despite the chaos and limited number of players, the team won several meets. According to Junior Eric Fan, the team has also developed a number of young promising talents for the season in the 2021 fall semester. 

“I’m very optimistic about having a strong team next year”, he said. 


Girls Cross Country

At the league championship on the Baylands course, the girls team took first place and had the top two individual runners. Our Viking Underclassman of the year Elizabeth Fetter (‘23) crossed the line first by a stunning margin of nearly 23 seconds over the 5K race. She was followed by her sophomore classmate Hillary Studdert who took second overall in the event. The win capped off a historically dominant season for Fetter who also broke the Gunn course record. 


Boys Cross Country

The boys team also placed first overall on the Baylands course by taking an incredible 2nd through 6th place. Freshman phenom and Viking Underclassman of the Year Grant Morgenfeld (‘24) led the pack for the Vikings with his 16:05 over the 5K course. He was closely followed by seniors David Evans and Aleksei Seletskiy who both averaged under 5:25 pace per mile. The Vikes graduate a historically strong class but look primed to continue their success in the future with young stars like Morgenfeld. 



Led by juniors Danny Peters and Josh Butler, the football team finished with a 2-3 record. While the record wasn’t up to par with a typical Paly football season, Senior Jackson Bundy doesn’t see the season as a disappointment. 

 “It might not have been the best season record wise, but just getting to play something was great”.

 Their best performance came against Milpitas, with a statement score of 59-26 in which Butler rushed 12 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns. 


Field Hockey 

The girls field hockey team finished the season with an impressive 8-1 record, a fitting end for the final year with the founder of the team Lexi Gwin. In the last four years, the turnout for the team has increased to the point where a JV team could be added, which was a big success for the team. 

 Senior Madeline Lohse was proud of how the team has grown in this fourth year. 

“This was our best season yet because it was the third year that we have all played and developed together,” she said. “This is the year that it finally came together”. 

Lohse also credited the success on the field to the team’s communication.

“I think that our skills and communication were at an all time high because our team chemistry was really strong and the team bonded really well. Also the team had a very positive attitude and growth mindset throughout the season which really helped”. 


Boys Soccer 

The boys soccer team struggled this season with a new head coach at the helm, finishing the season with a record of 1-8-2. Despite the poor record, Goalkeeper Teg Singh was proud of the team’s effort. 

“Obviously we didn’t have a very good record throughout the season, but we were able to work our tails off and fortunately the results came to fruition in the last game”.  

Singh also noted that the team’s defense was rock solid throughout the whole season, giving up the least amount of goals conceded in the league. 


Girls Soccer 

The girls soccer team finished the season with a record of 2-5-3, and despite missing out on a portion of the season, senior Ruby Doerr tried making the best of the irregular season. 

 “Our focus was to really have fun and to just get out there and play”.

 One of the team’s  most memorable parts of the season occurred when senior Hailey Hwang scored on senior night, “which was special not only because it was on senior night, but also because it was the last game and we won”, Doerr said. 


Boys Volleyball 

Led by standout players Owen Rice, Evan Passalacqua, and Calvin Wong, Boys Volleyball has started the season strong. Maintaining the second place spot in their division, they are off to a 4-2 start and look to win out.  Given that the sport was only introduced in Paly athletics in 2018, the current results are encouraging for the future of boys volleyball. 


Girls Volleyball 

The girls volleyball team finished the season with a strong 8-1 record which boasted them with the number one spot in league.  Despite there being no CCS competition, the girls won the virtual “league title” with an 8-1 record.  Senior Trisha Razdan believes that despite this frustrating reality, the season brought many positives. 

“It was definitely tough to have a shortened season but I’m honestly just really grateful to have been able to put on the Paly uniform one last time. The team was bigger than past years because we had a ton of players also playing club at the same time and I wish we could have had a longer season to bond but I’m still glad I got to meet some of the new girls!”


Boys Tennis

On the boys side, a series of in-league losses has contributed to a disappointing start to the season. The team is 0-3 so far with a pair of losses to Los Gatos and a tough game against Lynbrook.  They look to rebound with an away game at Lynbrook again. Check out the Viking website for more updates as their season continues. 


Girls Tennis

A strong team is led by standout players Iris Li ‘22 and underclassman Erin Li ‘24. The team took seven of the top 10 games to close out the season near the top of the league standings. On the individual side, Myra Xu from the class of ’21 finished the season with a perfect record: a great way to cap off her Paly career.


Boys Basketball 

The Boys basketball team has struggled this season, with a 5-7 overall record.  However, they’ve seen better results in league play (4-4) and won back to back games against Milpitas. Perhaps the most electric moment of the season has come at the hands of crosstown rival Gunn who fell to the Vikings 41-28. Senior star Aidan Raush, committed to play at Whitman College reflects on their past games and the growth they have made to turn their season around. ¨

Girls Basketball

The Girls team has fared better in the shortened season. Led by Senior Annika Shah, who just recently crossed the 1,200th point mark in her Paly career, they boast an overall 8-5 record and a 7-2 record in league play.  Shah notes the team’s growth over the course of the season.

“We’ve played some tough opponents which made us play better and we are starting to click as a team. We also just got off a huge league win where everyone got involved and we want everyone on the team to feel a part of something.”

Their most dominant performance came against Homestead, winning by a whopping margin of 56 points.


The baseball team has been phenomenal this season boasting a strong 10-4 overall record, and a perfect 4-0 league record. Led by seniors Hayden Jung-Goldberg, Zander Darby, and Aidan Berger the Paly baseball team looks to finish the season strong with 14 games remaining on their schedule and look to make a strong run in the CCS playoffs. Both Darby and Berger are committed to play division 1 baseball at UCSB and UCLA respectively, and have recently been tearing up the league with a combined 23 hits and 8 RBI’s. Berger noted that, “The team right now is playing really well. We’ve come together as a group and we have started to play like we know how we can play. we just need to keep it up. we have a lot of season left and we’re far from satisfied”.

Boys Track and Field

Boys track athletes have made the most of the irregular season, like senior Aaron Kim who has set personal records on the most recent meets. He recently jumped 6’3’’ to surge into the top three for California high school rankings. 

“The shortened season has helped motivate me because we have less time to train, which means that everything we do counts. Whether that is in practice or at the meets,  I’ve set high goals for myself this season and I know with the limited time that we have I have to work as hard as I can.”

Another notable performance came from Aleksei Seletskiy who nearly toppled the Paly mile record in 4:15. 

Girls Track and Field 

The track and field team was hit hard by the shortened season, as they missed out on invitational meets like the Arcadia Invitational – an elite meet held in southern California. Star sophomore Elizabeth Fetter had been one of Paly’s top qualifiers for the event, but she has made the most of her season with local meets regardless with a 10:52 in the girls 3200. Fetter’s classmate Hillary Studdert has been dominant in the middle distance, and most recently clocked a 2:14 in her 800. 


Boys Lacrosse

The boys lacrosse team has gotten off to a rocky start, winning the first game and then losing the next four.  However, senior Jace Purcell remains optimistic for the rest of the season.  

“We lost a bunch of games in a row partially because we are a young team, with there only being a few returning players from last year,” Purcell said.  “We have only five seniors, so we are still learning and growing as a team but we are looking to turn the season around and we are pretty confident with the rest of our schedule.”

The team broke a 6 game losing streak with a 9-5 win against Burlingame, and hope to close out the season with wins against Mountain View and Valley Christian.

Girls Lacrosse 

This season marked the first time in two years that the Girl’s Lacrosse team took the field, but the team has already found strong chemistry. Despite being anxious to play, the team has found their stride with a dazzling win against Los Gatos. As the final buzzer sounded, Lanie Henry ‘22 scored to put the Vikings ahead. The win also avenged a brutal loss to the Cats in the 2019 SCVAL final. 

Boys Golf

The boys gold squad opened their season with a series of strong performances but have hit a rough sport as of late. Luckily, time remains for the team to rebound and prepare themselves for a strong playoff run. Senior Austin Harrison looks to catalyze this improvement. 

“We want to play well enough to make sure we qualify for CCS”, he said. 


Girls Golf

After the first state title in school history in 2019, the team lost a few crucial seniors. Nevertheless, the team finished undefeated this year. After last season’s remarkable postseason run, it was challenging for the team to approach a season without playoffs. Senior Marina Mata was grateful for the chance at a semblance of a season to close out her final year. 

“We were disappointed to hear that we wouldn’t be participating at CCS,” she said. “But at least we got to play a season and personally get closure on my high school golf experience.”


After a coaching change, the Girls Softball team has been forced to adapt in a challenging pandemic season. While the team has only notched a 3-6 record, the season has not been without its bright spots. The team pushed an undefeated Gunn team to the brink in a 1-0 loss – the closest any team has gotten to unseating the titans. Senior Victoria Soulodre is optimistic about the future of the team. 

“I believe the younger members of this team will bring us success in the years to come,” she said. 


Mens Swimming and Diving

The boys swim team has been dominant so far, boasting a 3-0 record. 21 swimmers have qualified for CCS competition and are set to make a strong run in the event if they are allowed to participate.  A team record was set in the 200 freestyle relay as a result of strong performances from Sophomore Ethan Harrington and Junior Eric Gabbassof.


Women’s Swimming and Diving

The swimming and diving team is in the midst of a rebuilding year after losing two collegiate swimmers, but they retained a solid core led by Elizabeth Fetter, our Underclassman of the Year, who’s won every event she’s competed in this season. Hana Erickson and Sophie Kadifa have also put up strong showings in the butterfly and 100 freestyle, respectively.