TASIS athletes produced a number of memorable moments this fall. Read about each team’s accomplishments, hear from the coaches, and see which players were recognized with awards.
The Varsity Girls Soccer team reeled off 11 wins in what Coach Matt Walker referred to as “one of our finest seasons for girls soccer here at TASIS.” The team hit the ground running with impressive victories over Zurich International School, whom the Tigers hadn’t defeated in more than seven years, and over defending Swiss Group of International Schools (SGIS) champion International School of Basel at a season-opening friendly tournament at the International School of Zug and Luzern. Striker Gabriela Luz Moreira ’17 poured in hat tricks in both games to easily take top-scoring honors for the tournament.
Four days after Antonella Piconi ’16 notched a hat trick to lead the team to an emphatic 7-1 win at the American School of Milan (ASM) on October 6, the Tigers cruised to their third straight Northern International School Sports Association (NISSA) Tournament title with convincing wins over ASM and the British School of Milan. Greta Apollonio ’17 was the tournament’s top scorer, finishing with four goals and three assists.
After a strong third-place showing at the SGIS Tournament in late October, Coach Walker’s squad headed to Munich in November for the season-concluding European Sports Conference (ESC) Tournament and promptly sprung a major upset, knocking off two-time defending champion Berlin-Brandenburg International School 2-0. The Tigers, who closed the season with a mark of 11-5-2, went on to finish third in the tournament after placing seventh the past two years.
Coach Walker, who handed out awards to Fiona Perdomo ’17 (Most Valuable Player), Apollonio (Most Improved Player), and goalkeeper Molly Hercules ’16 (Coach’s Award), was elated with his team’s performance this season.
“Bringing home three trophies from the three major championship tournaments was a great accomplishment for the girls,” he said. “Having five legitimate goal-scoring threats was a lot of fun this year. We were able to put a lot of pressure on some very good teams and force them out of their own style of play. The win over Berlin-Brandenburg will be a game for the ages. I’m proud of the way the girls competed and were in every game. Winning 11 games was a new experience for most of the players. Finding success helps bring a team together and the girls have some great memories they will share for a lifetime.”
The Varsity Boys Soccer team got off to its strongest start in years with a win and two ties at a friendly tournament hosted by the International School of Basel on September 18. Coach Kent Hercules’s team would go on to post a perfect 5-0 record in individual matches, including a 4-2 win over the American School of Milan, 4-1 and 3-1 wins over the International School of Milan, a 4-0 win over Scuolo Europa, and a 3-0 win over the British School of Milan to cap the team’s Academic Travel trip. The Tigers also earned a fourth-place finish at the SGIS Tournament in late October.
This year’s squad was the most talented in recent memory,” said Coach Hercules. “We had power and experience at most every position and could bring strong substitutes off the bench. The expectations were high. A sudden streak of bad luck gave the team some large obstacles to overcome, including a season-ending illness and two season-ending injuries. One of these was to our most prolific scorer, Joao Pedro Uchoa ’17. We had only twelve players available for many of our games late in the season. Notwithstanding the late-season injuries, the team worked hard all the way to the end and was never divided. They supported one another, learned to play together in the same scheme, and will not soon forget how it felt to be a team. My favorite memory was how after we got back late at night after the last tournament, they wanted to have one more super loud cheer together in the parking lot before returning to their individual lives. I think they may have awakened a few neighbors with their cries of "TASIS Tigers, a-oo, a-oo, a-oo!
Coach Hercules named Roman Sokolov ’16 the Most Valuable Player and Istmagambet Akhmejan ’17 the Most Improved Player. Eren Bahadir ’16 earned the Coach’s Award.
Junior Varsity Boys
The Junior Varsity Boys Soccer team’s season was characterized by tenacity and improvement. “After the first day of tryouts, two key points emerged,” said Coach Riccardo Venturini. “There was some good potential amongst the players and a lot of work to be done.”
The team did not get down on itself after a winless showing at the season-opening International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL) Tournament, instead using the losses as motivation to work hard and improve. The Tigers would go on to post two wins and two ties at the SGIS Tournament and then lose just two more times (once to a youth soccer club competing at the regional level) the entire season. The 2015 campaign was capped with a perfect 2-0 win over the British School of Milan that represented a completely different mentality compared to the season opener.
“Every single player improved his individual technical skills and gained the confidence to compete in any sport,” said Coach Venturini. “The basics for a bright future have been set as the younger players will emerge to replace this year’s seniors on next year’s varsity team.”
Team awards were granted to Williams Sarreri ’18 (Most Valuable Player), Filippo Cipolini ’19 (Most Improved Player), and Nicola Barbieri ’18 (Coach’s Award).
Middle School Girls
The Middle School Girls Soccer team had a solid season, winning two out of three games at the Swiss Northern Schools Friendly Tournament to open the year and later taking second at the ISZL Soccer Tournament in Zurich.
The roster of 17 was coached by Fabrizio de Gregorio and Camilla Perani, who did an excellent job blending experienced players with those new to the game.
“Some of the girls had never played soccer in their life, so we had to build the team from the beginning in order to understand the girls’ skills and get the best from them during the games,” said Coach Perani. “We initially had some trouble finding a goalkeeper, but during the first tournament Sofia Rita ’21 gave it a shot in an emergency situation and actually liked it, so from that moment on she was our official goalkeeper with great results.
Rita was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for her efforts in net, and Camille Molen ’21 earned the Coach’s Award.
“We built a great defensive line—strong and consistent—with some new entries who weren’t at TASIS last year,” Coach Perani continued. “We had two girls as midfield who were good at helping teammates and managing the game both on defense and on the attack, and we had several fast strikers. Penelope Baroni ’21 was our sharpest attacker, scoring many goals both during practices and tournaments.”
Middle School Boys
The Middle School Boys Soccer team made the most of a short season, exploding for seven goals against the International School of Basel at a tournament hosted by TASIS in September. Ianis Paval ’20 and Miroschnichenko Maxim ’20 each found the back of the net for Coach Tom Lill’s squad in the shutout victory.
“Our most valuable player for the season was Alessandro Piermattei ’20, who showed excellent leadership and poise during our tournament and during practices,” said Coach Lill. “He led the team well and supported everyone no matter their ability.”
The Varsity Boys Volleyball team compiled an outstanding season record of 23-2-1. Coach Masa Yo’s team closed the season with a brilliant 13-game winning streak, which included titles at both the ESC Championship Tournament and the NISSA Championship Tournament. The Tigers won a remarkable 26 consecutive sets over the same period.
Ivan Ubovic ’16 was named Most Valuable Player of the ESC Championship Tournament, and Pablo Tello Zuluaga ’16 earned MVP honors for the season. Ayhan Bezmez ’16 won the Coach’s Award while Nadir Timerbaev ’19 was named Most Improved Player.
The Tigers’ terrific campaign exceeded everyone’s expectations, including those of the coaching staff. “When tryouts came about, Coach Shea and I were not sure if we would have enough players,” said Coach Yo. “However, our experienced and talented seniors combined with eager young players led us to another successful season. We will miss the seniors but look forward to seeing some of these younger players grow next year.”
Coach Yo also led the Varsity Girls Volleyball team, which overcame a key injury to end the season on a high note with a runner-up finish at the NISSA Championship Tournament. Other highlights of the 2015 campaign included downing the International School of Milan 3-0 on October 1 and sweeping the American School of Milan and Scuola Europa in a three-team invitational tournament at TASIS on November 7.
This young team demonstrated strong technique throughout the season and flashed great potential at times, giving Coach Yo reason to be optimistic for bigger and better things in 2016, though the Tigers will need to replace the talent and leadership provided by seniors Alexandria Strawn (Most Valuable Player) and Carmen Alban (Coach’s Award). “We will miss our dedicated seniors,” said Coach Yo. “But we look forward to seeing what our young players can do with another year of experience under their belts.” Among those returning will be sophomore Anna Mizintseva, who was named Most Improved Player.
Junior Varsity Girls
Further support will be provided by players moving up from Coach Liz Zanecchia’s Junior Varsity team, which rallied to a third-place finish at the SGIS Junior Varsity Tournament. Season awards were given to Charlie Colombo ’18 (Most Valuable Player), Jennifer Lin Kraemer ’20 (Most Improved Player), and Anna Alyakina ’19 (Coach’s Award).
Varsity Boys and Girls
According to Coach Greg Birk, the Varsity Cross Country “enjoyed a very successful season in terms of individual improvement, positive attitude, great team camaraderie, and heightened respect for and love of the sport of cross country running.”
Both the boys and girls teams finished second behind Zurich international School in the Category A division at the SGIS Cross Country Championships, in which Lorin Gogniat ’17 and Luke Pugh ’19 took sixth and seventh place for the boys while team-MVP Antonella Piconi ’16 and Coach’s Award recipient Raffaella Alencar Barros ’19 placed eighth and ninth in the girls race.
Another highlight was the team’s performance in the TASIS Cross Country Invitational. Gogniat established a new TASIS record on the 5K course with a time of 20:25, good for an eighth-place finish out of a field of 39. Ethan Fredrickson ’18, who was named the team’s Most Improved Player, ran 20:59 to also crack the top 10. Barros (23:52) and Piconi (24:20) posted top-ten finishes in the girls race.
“While we only had the opportunity for one time trial and two competitions with other teams, each member of the team was able to challenge themselves with a variety of workouts on the roads and trails of the beautiful Ticino,” said Coach Birk. “Every member of the team posted significant time improvements from the initial time trial on our forested home cross country course in September to the TASIS Cross Country Invitational competed on the same course in October.”
Middle School Boys and Girls
Coach Thomas Joyce’s Middle School team provided some nice highlights as well, with Alice Girotta ’22 setting a personal best and placing third in her division at the SGIS Cross Country Championships, Matthew Gazin ’22 and Leonardo Panella ’22 finishing 11th and 12th among all boys in the 2.6K TASIS Cross Country Invitational, and Billy Harting ’21 earning a Coach’s Award for his tenacity.
“Billy went to every practice and competition and challenged himself to improve consistently during the season,” said Coach Joyce. “His best times were in the final race.”
Varsity Rugby returned to TASIS after nearly 10 years of absence from the Winter Sports calendar. Following last year’s reintroduction of Rugby in the form of Rugby 7s as a recreational sport, 2015 saw the creation of the TASIS Rugby 7s Varsity team under Coach Paul Diviani. The team struggled to schedule fixtures early on but finally got a chance to play at the SGIS Tournament in November in Le Rosey. Following three losses, the Tigers—led by two tries from senior Rron Lluka—closed their debut season on a high note with a thrilling 2-1 win over Collège du Léman.
“It is fantastic to have rugby back on the Athletics calendar at TASIS,” said Coach Diviani, who delivered team awards to Max Sala ’18 (Most Valuable Player), Mikel Elorduy ’18 (Most Improved Player), and Caimin Long ’16 (Coach’s Award). “This year’s team of 20 captained by Max Sala did incredibly well during their training sessions, quickly grasping the laws of the game. The majority of the team had no rugby background, and this was their first contact with an exciting team game. We are now looking to build on this positive year to grow the team further during future seasons.”
Best Fall Athletic Photos
Click here to see more great photos from School Photographer Kim Nelson.