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Girls soccer and volleyball place second in DCSAA finals

Lorenzo Antonazzo
A SECOND CHANCE – Junior girls varsity soccer player Olivia Heinemann battles a Walls player for the ball. After a devastating loss in the city championships, the Tigers must look forward to state’s.

With the DCSAA playoffs marking the end of the fall sports season, three of JR’s fall sport teams competed this past week in their respective tournaments. While the boys’ soccer team was knocked out in the first round, the girls’ soccer and volleyball teams both went far, eventually making it to the championship where both teams finished runner-up.

After the JR girls’ soccer team’s valiant run that featured a major upset of the third seed St. John’s and a dominant win over School Without Walls, the Tigers fell to Georgetown Visitation 3-0 Sunday night. The team kicked off their postseason in the DCIAA playoffs, where they claimed the first seed with a 7-0 record in league play and started off strong, beating Banneker High School 12-0 in the semifinals to advance to the championship against Walls. While the Tigers had beaten the Penguins 3-1 in their regular season game, the Tigers fell 1-0 in the championship, snapping a 13-year DCIAA championship streak. But the Tigers did not let this loss discourage them, as they headed into the DCSAA playoffs with one thing on their mind: revenge. 

With an overall record of 12-6-3, the Tigers received the sixth seed and faced the third-seeded St. John’s Cadets in the first round. While the Tigers had fallen to the Cadets 3-0 in the regular season, they did not let this phase them and pulled off the upset, beating the Cadets for the first time since 2015, 2-0. “The St. John’s game felt amazing and we were so thrilled to win. Something clicked in that game and we all just worked really hard and got the result which means so much to all of us,” senior forward Samantha Gordon said. Following the St. John’s win, the Tigers kept it rolling with a commanding 4-0 victory in a rematch against the Penguins, catapulting themselves to their third ever DCSAA championship. However, the Tigers couldn’t keep the momentum going, falling to top-seeded Georgetown Visitation. The Tigers struggled to keep possession of the ball and spent most of the game defending, while also being unable to capitalize on their limited offensive opportunities. “We worked our hearts out during the game, but couldn’t say that we were the better team,” senior defender Ruby Melrose said. Despite the result, the Tigers are proud of their resilience, bouncing back from their heartbreaking DCIAA championship loss and the determination that propelled them to the DCSAA championship. “We really wanted to finish the job, but we are also really proud of ourselves and know that we ended the season in a place we never thought we could,” Gordon concluded.

While next year’s team will look very different, as half the team is made up of seniors, junior captain Rowan McCrary is still full of hope. “We’ll be losing 11 players, so hopefully we’ll see some underclassmen show out; and with the players remaining, it’ll be an exciting senior year for sure.”

Following an impressive 12-2-4 season that featured a strong win over St. Johns and a draw with the eventual DCSAA champion St. Albans, the JR boys’ soccer team headed into the DCSAA tournament confident. However, the Tigers’ hopes were dashed quickly, as they were knocked out in the first round by the Gonzaga Eagles, falling 3-0.

The Tigers started off their post-season by earning the first seed in the DCIAA playoffs and claiming their spot in the championship against the Bell Griffins with a 1-0 victory over the Calvin Coolidge Colts. After surrendering the first goal of the match in the championship against the Griffins, the Tigers fought back and tied the game up with five minutes remaining, forcing overtime. With neither team scoring in overtime, the game was determined by shootouts. After both teams converted on their first four shots, both the Griffins and Tigers missed their fifth, leading to sudden death. As Tiger captain Nico Anagnostopoulos put the ball in the back of the net on the Tigers’ sixth shot, the Griffins proceeded to miss theirs, sending the ball over the goalpost and the Tigers home with a win. “We won a championship which was great, especially against a good team like Bell,” Anagnostopoulos said. While JR hoisted the DCIAA trophy, they were unable to ride the momentum into the DCSAA playoffs, losing in the first round to the Eagles. “Although we didn’t win states, we had a successful season with a great group of players,” Anagnostopoulos concluded.

TENACIOUS TIGERS- The girls varsity volleyball team brings it in for a huddle during their final game. (Lorenzo Antonazzo)

Coming off of an incredibly dominant season with a 22-3 record, the JR volleyball team went into the playoffs with high hopes. The team went on a twelve-game win streak during their fall season before eventually falling to Holy Cross in the Tiger Paws Invitational Tournament. The seniors on the team were vital to their success, as they contributed a hitting percentage of 0.485. Led by the seniors’ large contribution, the Tigers entered the playoffs as the first seed, putting a massive target on their back as they entered the tournament as the team to beat. This pressure did not affect the Tigers, however, who received a first round bye and faced Washington International in the quarterfinal. 

JR swept Washington International, winning all three sets (25-11, 25-20, 25-15). After this decisive victory, the Tigers moved on to face the twelfth ranked DC International School. JR had another dominant victory that solidified their number one ranking as they moved on to face Georgetown Day (GDS) in the championship. 

The championship game was highly anticipated as GDS went into the tournament ranked second in DC and is a main rival of the Tigers. While many Jackson-Reed fans came to support and cheer the team on throughout the match, the faceoff ultimately ended in favor of GDS, with JR unable to break through on any of the sets (25-11, 25-18, and 25-12). Despite the disappointing result, junior Ida Steinburg notes that “I felt really proud of our team. We came into the season with a bunch of new people playing vital positions and we were able to make it to the final.” Although the team was unable to find their rhythm and secure a championship, Steinburg points out that the second place result will just fuel the team for next year. “I think everyone wants to show we can come back stronger.”

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Norah Caplan, Sports Editor
Norah is just a superb human being. She plays soccer and writes for the Beacon and honestly, that’s kind of it. And she really loves High School Musical, like really. When she’s not doing any of those things she is hanging out with her friends because she is too scared to be alone with her thoughts.
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