Falcons Nest - March 24th

Lulu Brase, Assistant Athletic Director
The spring sports season is in full swing.
Varsity Girls Soccer 
  • O’Neal vs. North Moore High School – Win 5-1 
  • O’Neal @ Harrells Christian Academy – Win 5-1 
“Teamwork makes the dream work.” “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’” “Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” There is no shortage of cliches about the importance of teamwork that coaches can repeat to players ad nauseam. Unfortunately, cohesion is not a skill that can be as easily taught as dribbling or shooting or corner kicks; it just has to happen. That’s been the goal this week on the varsity girls soccer team this week, and our burgeoning unity is shown precisely in our identical scores from this week: two wins, five goals to one.  
We began the week with a home game against North Moore HS, our first and only public school opponents of the season. After a tidy one-touch finish from Jordin Reed and a volleyed strike from Peyton Smitherman, the Falcons took a 2-0 lead into halftime. The teamwork came in a flurry after the break, with 3 goals in 3 minutes, all off corner kicks from Charli Bunder. Reed was the last to touch one of them over the line, and Smitherman finished off the other two which left her with a hat trick for the game.  
A long trek out to Harrells, NC later in the week brought on a physical challenge that would test the team’s resolve. After a hard-fought nil-nil draw in the first half, the team rallied to score five goals within twenty minutes. These all came amidst multiple game-stopping injuries from hard fouls by the opponents. It was the ferocity that is spurred on by defending your teammates that helped bring about goals from Smitherman (twice), Bunder (off an incredible free kick from a wide angle), Jaleesa Eichel (from another corner kick), and Hadassah Niswender (for her first goal of the season). The Falcons will look to continue their undefeated season and bolster their team cohesion in one game next week at Salem Baptist.  
Varsity Boys Baseball
The O'Neal Varsity baseball team had a great week of practice and competition. After two tough loses, the Falcons got back on track with two quality, non-conference wins.
  • O'Neal 8 vs St. David's 5 (W)
The week started with a trip to Raleigh as the Falcons faced off against St. David's. The offense finally came alive, scoring eight runs off ten hits. Aaron Pavlovich led the way with two hits, and eight other players recorded hits along the way. June Thomas started the game on the mound and was spectacular. June pitched four innings, giving up only one run while striking out eight. Jake Shepherd, and Joey Wade were solid in relief as well. This win was a catalyst for what was to come. 
  • O'Neal 16 vs Harrell's 9 (W)
On Thursday, the Falcons traveled once again, this time to Harrell's Christian Academy. Long trips are always worrisome, but the Falcons stepped off the bus ready to play. The offense was once again dynamic, scoring 16 runs off of 14 hits. Aaron Pavlovich and Will Slagle led the way with three hits apiece, while Ricky Mullis, Jake Shepherd, and Jacob Bates all contributed two hits each. Jake Shepherd started on the mound and threw three quality innings. Jacob Bates came on in relief and was highly effective as well. All in all, it was a full team effort and quality win. The Falcons start conference play next week with an away contest at Salem Baptist. 
Varsity Track and Field
After a prototypical, unstable and unpredictable North Carolina Spring season, the 2022 – 2023 Track and Field team was finally able to be kicked off this week against Burlington Christian Academy, Caldwell Academy, Carolina Friends, Greensboro Day, Trinity Academy of Raleigh, and Trinity School of Durham.  The Falcons hosted the meet at Durham County Stadium and successfully brought home 2nd place team finishes for both the boys and girls teams.  Key performances from Phillip Hancock (High Jump), Mary Grace Huntley (High Jump), Tamiya Judd (High Jump), Kanye McKeithen (100m Dash), Holt Neville (100m Dash), and Gavin Rabon (Discus) have already qualified for the State Finals in May.  Newcomers to The O’Neal School track and Field team, Collette Lovsin, Grant Sowell, Murphy Stanton, Elizabeth Shank, Christian Lyles, and Audrey Wilson have all ‘cut their teeth’ and are already showing strong individual performances and contributing at the team level.  Team ‘Jump’ consisting of Philip Hancock, Mary Grace Huntley, Tamiya Judd dominated the High jump fields bringing in Personal Records (PR) for the team.  The distance crew, led by Oscar Little and Ava Taylor Walker had an incredible day, contributing massive points towards the Falcons 2nd place finishes.  The Falcons will have a bit of break heading before stepping back onto the track on April 13th.  Stay tuned folks, this program continues to WORK on doing the little things to improve their skills, EXECUTING their role on the team and doing their job and doing it well, and placing a high value on TIME by making every second count.          
Varsity Boys Golf
The golf team claimed victory in its second Tri-TAC match of the season at Talamore on Monday.  Andrew Hobbs played a very solid round to lead all scorers with a 74, while Nick Joyce and Max Martin both carded 76s giving the Falcons a comfortable win.  Each player’s game is rounding out and seem to be quickly shaking off the rust of Winter.  The Falcon’s currently have 7 of the Top 25 golfers in the NCISAA rankings.  Practices are highly competitive with players pushing each other to step up their performance.  A big showdown with Village Christian is on the schedule for March 27th at CCNC’s Dogwood course.
Varsity Boys Tennis 
  • O'Neal 9 - North Moore High School 0 (W)
On Thursday March 23, the O'Neal Boys tennis team extended their overall record to 2 wins against no losses.  Junior, number one player, Will Kitchens led the charge with a 6-0, 6-0 win. Owen Williams, Ethan Kim, Chris Walter, Noah Bass, Nathan Reifenstahl all recorded straight set singles wins.  On Friday March 24, Wake Christian Academy will take on the unbeaten Falcons.  This is a home match starting at 3:30 pm.
Middle School Golf
Wednesday afternoon the Falcons traveled to Raleigh to play St. Mary Magdalene Middle School. A strong showing saw the Falcons win the match by 3 strokes. The low round for the Falcons was Natalia Henderson shooting a 36. Rounding out the scoring was Trevor Franklin (43), Wells Kuester (44), Charlotte Schroen (46), Julia Gamez (49), and Tanner Massey (54). The Falcons will use the next week to practice before the Spring Break holiday.
Middle School Girls Soccer
  • O’Neal vs Berean Baptist – 5-0 (W)
The Falcons hosted Berean Baptist on Thursday afternoon. A quick start saw the Falcons control the tempo of the game throughout connecting passes and slowing the Berean attack. The Falcons saw numerous goal scorers on the afternoon – 2x goals Paige Fusonie, Audrey Berry (assist Chesley Lucas), Keelie Bosworth, and Ella Bozovich. Lindsey Havenstein secured another shutout in goal with the help of her defensive team of Chesley Lucas, Callie Garrison, Ella Bozovich, Sydney Davis, and Keelie Bosworth.
The Falcons return to the field this afternoon traveling to Village Christian for a 4pm kick off before hosting Sandhills Classical Christian Wednesday 3/29.
Middle School Boys Baseball
The Falcons rolled through this week with three hard practices in preparation for two culminating exhibitions.  The team spent time on the field as well as Tate gym capitalizing on fundamental repetitions, molding the team into in to one cohesive unit.   
  • (W) O’Neal vs Berean Baptist  
Berean Baptist 
O’Neal’s pitching delivered another combined no-hitter on Thursday. Starting Pitcher, Andrew Gulley took the mound for the first time ever, and gets the win with 0 hits and 3 strike outs in a 2-inning showing: allowing 0 runs. Owen West finished the game, also pitching for the first time ever, pitching 1 inning with 2 strike outs, allowing 2 unearned runs on 3 errors. 
The Falcons ran through the lineup 4 times in 3 innings executing extreme patience in drawing 13 walks on the day. Jackson Mullis led the team with 3 hits, Jackson Booth with 2 hits, followed by Christian Baker, Parker Maxwell, and Sam Taylor with 1 each. The Fighting Falcons flew around the basepath stealing 5 bases on the day. Friday closes out with an away game against Village Christian followed by a home game against Sandhills Classical Christian on Wednesday, 29 March. 
The O'Neal School admits students of any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.