Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00
As we take a look at Portledge School Varsity Athletics half way through the 2010–11 winter season, the girls and boys in Blue and White are putting together another fantastic all-around campaign. The Varsity Ice Hockey and Basketball teams have winning records, and there is great promise in the continued development of the Coed Varsity Fencing team and the Portledge Varsity Squash program.
Varsity Boys Ice Hockey – The premier Varsity Ice Hockey program on Long Island continues to impress by registering an overall mark of 10 wins and 2 losses and a tie at the half way point of the season. Although they were defeated by a gritty Middlesex School team 2-0 in the final of the prestigious Barber Cup Tournament in Massachusetts, the Panthers still boast wins over long time prep powers, such as St. Mark’s, Delbarton, Millbrook, Vermont Academy, The Hill and Long Island rival St. Anthony’s. According to several ranking sites, the Varsity Boys team is currently rated second among all schools in New York State, and 29th nationally out of approximately 130 independent schools. These are lofty achievements for the Panthers as they look toward a challenging second half of the season, which will include tough matches with Morristown-Beard and Brunswick, as well as a possible rematch with Albany Academy during the always competitive Empire Cup Tournament hosted by the Trinity Pawling and Millbrook Schools.
Varsity Girls Ice Hockey – The only Varsity Girls team on Long Island is going through a successful rebuilding process that is based on a strong core of younger players getting a significant amount of ice time. Still, the Lady Panther skaters are playing excellent hockey, which has led to an overall record of 3-3-1, and a mark of two wins, one loss and one tie in the Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid Atlantic. Critical league games with New Jersey’s Princeton Day School and Pingry School lay ahead, as does an important WIHLMA weekend series versus Holton Arms from Maryland and Shady Side from Pittsburgh. It all leads up to the WIHLMA Championships, which will be held at Rye Country Day on the weekend of February 12 and 13, and a season ending match up with longtime girls prep rival Lawrenceville on Feb. 16.
Varsity Boys Basketball – It appears that Head Coach Nick Woll is working his magic again as the defending IPPSAL Champion Portledge Varsity Boys Basketball team has rebounded from a slow start of two wins and six losses to reel in five straight victories and position themselves for another run at the IPPSAL crown and a possible berth in the state independent school tournament. Led by sophomore Niyah Highsmith (Deer Park) and junior Zach Pilson (East Northport), the Panthers are red hot having recently avenged an early season loss to St. Demetrios of Queens. Their up-tempo style gives opponents trouble as they get ready for the IPPSAL playoffs with late season clashes against Solomon Schechter of Glen Cove, Waldorf of Garden City and Evangel Christian of Queens.
Varsity Girls Basketball – Slow and steady is the progress of the defending IPPSAL Champion Portledge Lady Panthers. Although their overall mark stands at four wins and three losses, the Lady Panthers have played challenging early season games and remain unbeaten (3-0) in IPPSAL play. This team is extremely athletic and Head Coach Skip Amadio has them running and gunning up and down the floor. Junior Alexa Lodenquai (Westbury) has emerged as the squad’s most dependable scorer, but it is the combination of sophomore center Ceci Mulry’s (Glen Cove) rebounding and sophomore guard Kristie Kelly’s (Oyster Bay) speed that is generating the fast paced play. The Lady Panthers will be challenged by upcoming games against Lawrence Woodmere and Evangel Christian of Queens, before a massive home series with Waldorf will determine the final playoff seedings.
Coed Varsity Fencing and Varsity Squash – Portledge boasts two unique programs at the Varsity level in fencing and squash. The fencers are emerging as a dark horse candidate in the Independent School Fencing League, particularly in the Epee Division, while a group of young squash players attempts to rebuild a program hit hard by graduation over the last two years.