Western Reserve Academy athletic director Herb Haller is quite pleased with the Pioneers success in several sports this summer and fall; including boys soccer, girls soccer, girls field hockey and boys golf.
Haller is the boys soccer coach and has led the team to a 12-0-1 record and a No. 1 ranking in the Division III state coaches poll with three matches left.
Sophomore forward Ryan Hassell, a Bermuda native, leads WRA with 25 goals and one assist. Senior Rishav Banerjee of Twinsburg has 11 goals and nine assists.
Seniors Federico Silva (10 goals and three assists) and Scott Schultz (six shutouts) are both key players that hail from Hudson.
WRA has wins over ranked teams Gates Mills Hawken and Mansfield Christian, and locally against St. Vincent-St. Mary, Firestone, Kent Roosevelt, Canton Central Catholic, Walsh Jesuit and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Pioneers’ lone draw came against defending Division I state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius this past Saturday.
“We have a pretty good team this year,” Haller said. “Up until Saturday, on the attacking end of things we have been scoring left and right. That was the first time going into a match I knew our [defensive] backs would be tested. That is what made it so much fun. Ignatius presented some matchups that challenged us and we presented some matchups that challenged them.”
Hudson residents senior Jack McCormick, junior Joe Blanda, junior David Ma and sophomore Kurt Haller also play integral roles for WRA. Other key players on the team are junior Alex Campana (Twinsburg), senior Connor Polak (Cincinnati) and Till Bethge (Germany).
WRA plays Archbishop Hoban tonight (10-4) and CVCA on Thursday (10-11)
The Pioneers are 13-1-0 in girls soccer and ranked No. 4 in the Division III coaches poll.
Forward Nicky Waldeck and defender Audrey Brown are senior captains. Waldeck, a Glen Ellyn, Ill. native, has 37 goals and six assists this season. She has 105 in her prep career.
“We have got a good mix of young and old,” WRA girls soccer coach Joe DiBiase said. “We have the best player on the field in every game in Nicky. This is the best team we have had and this is my 11th year.”
Brown is from Boston Heights. There are six Hudson residents who start: seniors Virginia Carter, Pauline Van Dijck, Lindsey Wirtz and Andie DiBiase, junior Maggie Wise and sophomore Zoe McCormick.
Rounding out the starting lineup are freshmen Maria Paparella (Akron) and Ann McArn (Bay Village) and sophomores Sam Mills (North Canton) and Samantha Haseltine (Fairlawn).
German junior Tim Ewers and senior Adam Sneath of Pittsburgh lead the boys golf team, which has a 12-3 record. Sophomore Tinhao “Barnabas” Wang and Tinshuang “Joseph” Wang have made an impact after coming to school from China.
Four Hudson residents – seniors Andrew Fazekash and Kevin Hoover and juniors Robbie Murray and Miles Van Blarcum – each regularly contribute.
“It’s been an unreal season in that no one had high expectations,” WRA golf coach Brand Closen said. “These guys were 2-13 last year, and when I say these guys I’m referring to the returning Reserve guys. They didn’t expect this.”
Girls field hockey
Coach Kirsten Walther has the Pioneers field hockey team at 6-4 with senior captains Julia Schiciano of Hudson and Annie Wyman of Akron leading the way.
Senior Maggie Graves of Pennsylvania is another integral player along with junior Annie Carter (Hudson), sophomore Sarah Forhan (Hudson), senior Cheyenne Gibbons (Tallmadge) and freshman Cristen Barnett (Brecksville).
“The girls are competitive,” Walther said. “They like playing field hockey and it shows. They play hard.”