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  • Julius Cohen

Season Recap: Penguins Impress in Fall Sports

Tillie Freed ('24) dribbles across midfield, opening an attacking chance for the Penguins against DCI / Credits: Rami Noursi

Fall sports at Walls came to a close this month when the girls’ soccer team lost an exciting match against the Maret Frogs in the quarterfinals of the D.C. state tournament. As we transition to winter sports, now is a great time to look back at the amazing accomplishments of our Walls athletes this fall.

Girls’ volleyball finished second in DCIAA, with a final record of 13-1 in league (14-2 counting postseason). It was an exciting season of DCIAA domination and tight out-of-league games. The girls won decisively or by forfeit against every in-league opponent aside from Jackson-Reed. Their next-toughest test was Banneker in the semifinals, who the Penguins took care of two sets to one. Season highlights included a three-set sweep over the Burke Bengals, a 25-4 first set against Coolidge and, of course, a second-place trophy. The Penguins impressed despite injuries that forced Ally Wallace (‘23), Elizabeth Mejia (‘23), Lourdes Ames-Rodriguez (‘23), Bronwyn Burns (‘25) and others to miss time. Walls volleyball was well-represented in DCIAA awards: Mejia and Natalie Broquard (‘25) both earned First Team All-League recognition, and Julia Kelly (‘24) earned a spot on Second Team All-League. Simone Franks (‘23) won the most outstanding senior award. Volleyball continued to be one of the dominant forces in the league and made Walls proud in their impressive 2022 campaign.

A senior-heavy girls’ soccer squad took their strong campaign into the final minutes of the championship match, where they lost 3-1 against Jackson-Reed. After two early J-R goals, Lilly Gore (‘24) closed the deficit to one on a cross from Kylie Emanuel (‘25). The championship match remained a one-score game until the final few minutes when the Tigers added a third. Despite coming up just short of gold, the Penguins showed grit, improvement and a high level of play throughout the season. In order to reach the finals, Walls leveled the Bell Griffins 8-0. They lost only one league match, earned a trip to states, and saw all eight seniors score in a 10-0 romp over Cardozo on senior night. At Episcopal, the squad found themselves down six in the first half. In perhaps the most impressive moment in Walls sports’ recent history, the girls scored five straight to bring the score from 1-7 to 6-7. While they ran out of time to complete the comeback, the ability to score five straight after giving up five unanswered goals to start the game perfectly illustrates the tenacity and explosiveness of this year’s group. As a 7 seed in the DCSAA state tournament, the penguins dropped DCI 4-0 while shorthanded before losing to Maret in the quarterfinals. Like volleyball, DCIAA recognized the invaluable contributions of Walls’ athletes on a league-wide scale, as Ellie Maxson (‘23) and Maeve Magura-Comey (‘23) both earned First Team All-League honors. Kylie Emanuel (‘25) led DCIAA in goals, but did not receive an award. With eight seniors and the head coach on the way out, there is opportunity for new leadership on and off the field after a successful 2022 season.

The boys’ soccer season also ended with silver medals, but it was not as smooth as volleyball or girls’ soccer. The squad hit bumps in the road mid-season, when they tied Bell and lost to Roosevelt in consecutive games. Later, they let a 0-0 tie at Sidwell slip away in the final minutes. But these hardships didn’t define the team: They added fuel to the fire. In the semifinals, the Penguins were down 0-1 in the second half before goals from Wilmer Reyes-Ceballo (‘24) and Ethan Pair (‘26), both assisted by Demetrius DeMammos (‘23). It was an electric comeback win. The team fell to Jackson-Reed in the finals while missing star goalie Van Harrlee (‘24). The team relied on a young attacking group with no seniors at wing or striker. It will be exciting to watch the developing group continue to grow into a formidable force next year. Captain Kazim Hall (‘23) held down the defensive line, one of the Penguins’ strong suits, throughout the season. Jack Meltzer (‘24) led the midfield with elite speed and precision passing. Lucas Campbell (‘26) earned First Team All-League honors, and the team finished second in DCIAA.

Thanks to all our Walls athletes and fans for an incredible season. This fall, we saw Walls get excited for sports like never before. Fans consistently showed up for games and stayed up to date on the teams’ successes. Let’s continue to support our athletes and keep the Walls athletic community stronger than ever. Additionally, thanks to all of the incredible athletes from the class of 2023. Our seniors were incredible for every fall team and brought leadership, energy, and talent day in and day out.

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