Spring Sports Preview

Girls’ Lacrosse

Devin McCue, varsity girls lacrosse coach is thrilled to be back on the turf. With her team’s season ending abruptly last year, she is excited to give her players a sense of normalcy again. Aiming for success in conference and playoffs, McCue hopes the team is able to jump back into their rhythm of the game. While the future of their season is unknown, McCue worries that the time away from the team has changed up their game. However, she has great faith that her players will hit the ground running this season.

We have a strong group of players, smart and skilled, and I am excited to see what we can be when we put those two parts together,” McCue said.

Meg Bireley, senior varsity lacrosse midfielder, is excited to get back onto the field. Her last time playing in the stadium was as a sophomore and Bireley is eager and ready to make her reappearance. Her focus for this year is for the team to work more as a “unit” instead of having a few people taking full control. Bireley said the girls cheer one another on and constantly spread positive energy, with the addition of their own tradition to add to team chemistry. 

“A fun thing that we do are ‘pump ups, Bireley said. “Before every game, two teammates come up with something that will get everybody pumped up and excited for the game whether that be making a cool video, a piñata or writing an encouraging note to a teammate.”

With the girls’ lacrosse team heading into the start of their season, McCue and Bireley have their sights set on success.


Girls’ Track and Field 

Sophomore Maggie Jortberg is excited to be reunited with the girls’ varsity track team after a long year without them. With this being Jortberg’s first outdoor season, she wants to work on her times for her mile throughout the season. 

“My main event is the 1600, and my time goal is to get under 5:20 for that, pretty ambitious, but I am working on that,” Jortberg said. 

The team has had limited contact days, as well as numerous canceled practices, making it more difficult for the team to come together, junior Abigail Milott said. Despite these challenges, they continue to do team building activities and are working towards building stronger bonds between the athletes in all grade levels. 

“Me and some of my teammates go to TC Boost [sports complex], and we communicate through there and we practice together [at] contact days,” Milott said.
Although faced with hurdles for not racing in a year, the team is excited to finally be able to compete for the first time since 2020.


Boys’ Tennis

The boys’ tennis team is ready to return to the courts! Many players are coming back for their senior year, including key player, Marc Blekhman. The team has been forced to make various adjustments during Covid-19, including a season that will go into the summer and practices with many restrictions, Blekhman said. 

“ [There are] different things my team and I have to adjust to and we are just gonna do the best we can and take advantage of our opportunities,” Blekhman said. “We hope that everyone has fun, regardless of [these adjustments].”

Head Coach, Larry Faulkner, said that the upperclassmen have been able to guide the younger players, and believes that this team dynamic will lead them to a successful season. The team has been doing extensive training, despite Covid-19 restrictions, and is ready for a successful season, Blekhman said.

“This will be a really great year because it is important for us and the people on the team to finish off with a bang,” Blekhman said.


Boys’ Lacrosse

About a year ago, the South boys’ lacrosse team got ready for what was supposed to be a competitive season, but after only three weeks of practice, the season was canceled. After an offseason with limited contact days, the team is preparing to start fresh in 2021.

The team realized that canceling the season was inevitable and they have patiently waited for play to resume, according to senior Doug Reynolds. After graduating 17 seniors, Reynolds said, the team is very young and without last season, a lot of players have limited experience at the varsity level. 

“I think that’s a challenge that most upperclassmen are willing to take on,” Reynolds said, “[We’re trying] to develop [the underclassmen] and put them in a good position to make plays out on the field.”

For the transition into this season, the team’s inexperience shouldn’t hold the team back, Head Coach Matt Larsen believes. For many of the players, Larsen said, they have been playing club all year and it helps that they have been able to have practices three days a week. 

“There will be a little bit of confusion with the playbook, but when it comes to lacrosse, they have been doing it their whole life,” Larsen said.

While the team is unsure exactly how the competitive season will look, Reynolds still has goals, including beating Glenbrook North in both of their matchups, and, if the opportunity presents itself, winning a conference championship.

“More than any year that I’ve been on the team, I think we’ve got an attitude where we don’t really care who you are, we are ready to play you,” Reynolds said.

However, those are not the only goals the team looks to achieve. Larsen is more focused on recreating team chemistry and becoming a unified team.

“Just getting the kids all together and all sharing the same goals is going to be one of the biggest goals,” Larsen said.


Boys’ Volleyball

The boys’ varsity volleyball team is ready to kill it on the court and the main focus this year is to come at this season healthy and active, according to Annie Kotsadam, varsity boys’ volleyball coach. With hopes that her players are able to play together and improve their skills, Kotsadam is ready to take on this season.

“I am really looking forward to giving these seniors an opportunity to play,” Kotsadam said. “Just having missed a whole season, the goal is to have fun, to play and I think we are going to do really great this season in conference.”

As a senior, setter Mason Leone holds a leadership role on the team. Staying positive, encouraging teammates and performing well are a few of his goals. Although there was a complete loss of volleyball last year, Leone said having an intense season is something he can look forward to this year. 

“As a team, there’s a lot of talent,” Leone said. “There [are] good players from several grades and multiple different positions, I feel like it’s a very reasonable goal to want to perform well in the regular season and make a run in the playoffs.”

Girls’ Soccer

Last spring, the girls’ soccer team was heartbroken when their season was canceled right after tryouts due to the pandemic, Head Coach Mark Daniels said. However the team has bonded during optional practices and training sessions and Daniels said that they are excited to start competing again. 

“[I’m excited to start] seeing the players play again and compete [as well as] work with the coaches and players to be as successful as we can and have some fun,” Daniels said.

Key player senior Dani Stadler  is ready to get on the field for her senior season. She believes the players’ dedication will lead to a successful run in at playoffs. 

“Since it is my senior year, along with a couple other girls, we are much more excited, but also sad that the four years [are ending],” Stadler said.

The team will be facing many rivals, including Glenbrook North and New Trier.

“Playing against GBN is always fun because we [usually] win,” Stadler said. “I also like playing against New Trier, but it is always a tough game. Competition can be fun—I’m really looking forward to those two games.”

Boys’ Track and Field

This season, the boys’ track team has undergone major changes to their training schedule, although Head Coach, Kurt Hasenstein, is confident that the team will find much success as the team continues to train hard and work towards their goals.

The team has typically conditioned in the fieldhouse beginning in January and the entire track season is preparation for spring, Hasenstein said. However, due to the Covid-19 safety restrictions, the boys have seen a drastic decline in their practice time.

 “We had to make adjustments, we can’t have as many people in the fieldhouse but I am looking forward to having the season and getting outside.” 

Even with these unprecedented challenges, senior Artie Schleizer, a key player on the team, has found joy in reconnecting with teammates. The players have worked hard to stay in shape, and are looking forward to their first big event, the Titan Invite, on May 21, Hasenstein said.

 “We really got a lot closer with the pandemic, meeting up when we could to practice together,” Schleizer said. “We are definitely a much closer knit group.”

Boys’ Wrestling

After a dormant offseason, the South wrestling team began again April 19. For some wrestlers, they have not seen the mat in over a year, according to Christopher Albandia, varsity assistant coach. Yet, despite all the down time, senior wrestler Devonjae Hudson believes that the boys are ready to take things up a notch. 

“A lot of wrestlers who want to do well going into the next season spend a lot of time [practicing] in the offseason,” Albandia said.

While there is also not going to be a state tournament, Hudson continues to have goals for his senior year, he has big expectations for the team.

“[Our goal is] to win conference,” Hudson said. “I think this year we have a chance.”

Last year, the varsity team set the record for the number of dual meets won in a single season, Albandia said.

“[You can expect] to see everyone working hard and becoming the best wrestler they can be,” Hudson said.

Boys’ Baseball

Danny Hood, senior varsity baseball pitcher, prepared for his final season at South by strengthening his pitching arm. Hood has high hopes for the team during playoffs with his eyes set on the state championship. Hood said some of his most memorable moments on the team were creating new friendships.

“I would say my main goal right now is to develop the team chemistry needed to get to the playoffs,” Hood said. “We have to make sure that the bonding is there and that we’re all very close knit so that when the season actually starts, there aren’t any hiccups or disagreements.”

Steve Stanicek, varsity baseball coach, plans to focus on getting back into the game while improving the skills of his players. Stanicek said that despite being concerned about little experience, having the team compete this year is an excitement in itself. 

“After last year with the entire season being canceled, I think what I’m most excited about is just to see those kids back in their GBS uniform on the baseball field,” Stanicek said.

Girls’ Softball 

Dana Boehmer, varsity softball coach, hopes her team is hungry to compete this year. After losing their season last year, Boehmer is excited to see what the returning junior and senior players have to offer. Boehmer knows her team can overcome any challenge they encounter.

“We will go with the flow and overcome any adversity that comes our way,” Boehmer said. “We have a great group of young women who are very resilient and have a strong mental game.”

Returning softball senior player, Maddie Kapsimalis, is most excited to finish her final season at South competing and having fun doing it.

“A memory I have from playing at South is the growth we had as a team from my freshman year to my sophomore year,” Kapsimalis said. “It was really cool to see how much better we got and what we were able to do as a team.”

As the softball season starts up Kapsimalis hopes the team will be able to grow in skills and continue their strong bond together into this upcoming season. 


Malayka Abbas, Kris Blumberg, Matthew Cavender and Emily Pavlik contributed to these stories