Branson Weekly Athletics Recap 9/21


Members of Branson's girls golf team

September 17, 2019 

As of this writing, the 2019 Branson Varsity Girls Golf Team (3-5) is halfway through its season, scoring definitive wins against Drake and Novato.  The team welcomes back Seniors Audrey Dickinson and Taylor West, Juniors Sydney Park and Sydney Pearson, Sophomores Kylie Kariotis and Abby Keenley, and welcomes Freshman Fiona Tran to the team.  Kylie, “SPark”, and “SPears” have led the team in scoring at matches both on their home course at Peacock Gap and away at Mill Valley, McGinnis, and Marin Country Club.  After competing in three consecutive matches last week, the team will host San Marin this Thursday at Peacock, followed by two back to back tri-matches next week at the Meadow Club and Indian Valley.  Go Bulls!



Senior Gavin Taub kicks off

September 21, 2019

The Bulls delivered a scoring clinic this Saturday in their 72-28 win against South Fork. Clean, workmanlike execution on the part of Seniors Maier (2 TD), Goldstein (1 TD), Roche (2 TD) and George (2 TD) as well as running by Juniors McCleod (1 TD) and Graham (1 TD) showed South Fork that this offense had plenty of options, and they delivered.

But these upperclassmen weren’t the story - not even with Luke “Catch me if you can” George’s second kickoff return touchdown. The story on Saturday was about depth, defense and rookie talent.

You could see the depth with freshman Zach Ulrich’s open-field tackle and his 32-yard reception setting up Maier’s 7 yard TD run, with Cade Cessna’s 40-yard kick runback, with Cooper Hoffman’s turnover and 2 extra point conversions, and Spencer Grant’s 4 yard TD reception. The Freshmen and Sophomores weren’t just getting reps, they were representing.

On defense, Pierce Sanderson shut down South Fork’s monster lineman and delivered a sack, matched by Austin Grant and Bateer.  An interception and fumble recovery by Hoffman and a fumble recovery by Treadwell frustrated the Cub’s offense.

Finally, we can’t overlook our rookie kicker Gavin Taub who, recovering from a dislocated shoulder (!) from the Cornerstone game, returned to wallop the ball into the end zone 8 times for the Bulls.


September 13, 2019

There was huge hitting on court one but, score wise, Brooke Pedersen cleaned up against TL’s main player, En-ya Zhang, who has big strokes but isn’t as consistent or as seasoned as Brooke. This was a good matchup between two big-hitting, aggressive groundstrokers. Sophie Liu played a senior who was a super consistent pusher. Kate Lardner nearly won her singles match in a close super tiebreak (the first to reach ten points by a winning margin of two points). Lillie Lippman also had a strong showing in singles. The Lady Bulls also outperformed TL in two exhibition matches. Way to go, ladies! 

Singles Results

Sophomore Brooke Pedersen #1    6-1, 6-1

Freshman Sophie Liu #5                  2-6, 3-6

Senior Kate Lardner #7                    3-6, 6-3, 0-1 (7)

Senior Lillie Lippman #8                  6-1, 6-2


Doubles Results

Sophomore Anna Lardner #2 & Freshman Alexandra Zak #9   6-1, 6-1

Senior Olivia Rosenlund #6 & Sophomore Molly Biggs #10     6-2, 6-3

Senior Katie Sayers #11 & Sophomore Sofia Bobroff #13         6-2, 6-1


Exhibition Match Results

Both of Branson's doubles team won in straight sets.

Senior Charlotte Fletcher & Freshman Isa D’Mario-McShane won 6-0, 6-1, beating two Juniors.

Freshmen Kaitlin Gasner & Kate Hatfield won 2 and 2, defeating a pair of Seniors!  Wow!



Each year at the end of the season, the top four teams head into playoffs against each other. The usual suspects include Tam, Redwood, Marin Catholic, and Branson. The winner prances home with the coveted MCAL pennant, a triangular banner signed by all the players, to be displayed proudly on the hallowed walls of the gym for all to admire. Our beloved school, Branson, small but powerful, has earned the MCAL pennant for two of the past four years. In true David-and-Goliath style, this is nothing short of a phenomenal accomplishment for a school of our diminutive size. Below, please enjoy examining comparative school sizes to assist you, dear and faithful reader, in truly savoring and reveling in the awesome strength of our Branson Girls' Tennis Team!


Redwood             1,809 (5.7 times larger)

Tam                      1,527 (4.8 times larger)

Drake                   1,142 (3.6 times larger)

Marin Catholic        780 (2.4 times larger)

Branson                  320



September 17, 2019

Our Girls' Varsity Tennis Team had a huge win against previously undefeated Tam, our arch nemesis. The culture and coaching approaches at the two schools are somewhat disparate, which always makes for an electrifying sports atmosphere. Tam showed up at COM ready and expecting to continue their undefeated winning streak. However, our Lady Bulls were not so easily intimidated! With an enormous amount of love and vocal support from teammates, parents, and spectators, including but not limited to Branson's notorious spirit leader, Leo, the Lady Bulls fought through the tense, nail biting moments and rallied for the W!  Congratulations, Ladies! 


Singles Results

Sophomore Brooke Pedersen   6-4, 6-2

Sophomore Anna Lardner         7-6 (6), 7-6 (3)

Junior Alana Talley                     0-6, 0-3 (retired, injury)

Junior Sedona Ward                   6-3, 7-6 (9)


Doubles Results

Freshmen duo Sophie Liu & Alexandra Zak                 0-6, 1-6

Senior duo Kate Lardner & Lillie Lipman                      6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (5)

Senior Olivia Rosenlund & Sophomore Molly Biggs    5-7, 1-6


Chronological Recap:

Alana Talley faced a fierce opponent in "Gen-Gen" Durham, who jumps around with the energy of a puppy and loves her backhand so much that she is one of the few players who will actually run around her forehand in order to hit more backhand groundstrokes. (Hey, this might be a good thing to remember for whomever plays her next time, hint hint). However, the real opponent for Alana was her lingering wrist injury, which hampered her match from the first game onward and left Alana unable to hit any of her normal strokes. Wisely (but sadly), Alana eventually was forced to retire due to injury. This was a smart but difficult decision to make. We all understand that athletes want nothing more than to compete. But when your wrist is hurting, every ball that you hit reverberates and makes life tough. I suspect that Genevieve Durham might not have such an easy time of it had Alana felt healthy. Next time! (Players, please make time to see Amanda Boivin--perhaps during lunch or free block--to tape up your wrist, or ankle, or whatever needs more support, before leaving Branson for your match.)

Running Score: Branson 0, Tam 1.


Olivia Rosenlund and Molly Biggs also faced one of Tam's solid doubles duos in Larkin Petersen and Sam Nichols. To be fair, all of Tam's doubles teams are very well trained and well coordinated. Tam does have some of the strongest doubles teams in the league, and we give them full credit for that. Our gals gave it their all and went strong out of the gate in their first set, but the opponents won it 7-5.  Then the opponents got more confident after having put the first set in their pockets (dangit!) and that confidence flowed from their strings as they took the second set 6-1. It's okay, we can work on some more drills at practices before we see them again in the second half of the season.

Running Score: Branson 0, Tam 2.


Senior stalwarts Lillie Lippman and Kate Lardner had a super squeaky close match, triumphing at last in the super tiebreak.  These two friends (and doubles partners) burst out of the gate, taking that first set 6-1. The Tam opponents (a regular doubles team, tenacious Tenaya Tremp and Gracie Cameron) didn't quite know what to do, but to give them credit, they reinvigorated themselves and turned the momentum around for a close second set, managing somehow to win it 6-4. Ugh! Super tiebreak (in lieu of a full third set). The thing with tiebreaks is that they can go by sooo quickly. It helps to stay calm and consistent, with one focused thought in mind before each point starts. Tiebreaks can make you feel like you've been robbed of a victory if they're over too quickly. Luckily, Lillie and Kate have probably already played two decades of tennis at Lagunitas while growing up, and both know how to focus in a super tiebreak. They dominated the STB and won easily, 10-5. Final score: Lillie and Kate win! 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5).

Running Score: Branson 1, Tam 2.


"Sedona Arizona" Ward faced an extremely tricky opponent in Alyssa Broad. The match was tight, the string tension in the rackets was tight, as was the tension in the air for those watching this close match. It all came down to a super tiebreak, which Sedona won 11-9. Alyssa seemed to be able to read Sedona's mind and give her exactly the type of ball that Sedona (and many players) hate receiving: the high, soft, floaty ball with no pace and no spin. Either that, or it's the main weapon she has. It's the maddening type of ball that lures you into overhitting, trying to hit an impatient winner, often resulting in you hitting the ball out. It's hard to put a ton of pace onto a ball which has zero pace to begin with. The onus is upon you to either be much more patient (a difficult task, at any age) or to add some pace and a goodly amount of topspin to keep the ball in (recommended, but difficult to execute without first practicing 10,000 times, according to Malcolm Gladwell). Alyssa had good court coverage and footwork, and her main weapon against Sedona was retrieving everything, no matter how hard Sedona hit the ball. Alyssa's soft balls were trying their level best to entice Sedona to hit harder and harder (and thus hit the ball out). After falling prey to Alyssa's soft bait, Sedona put on her thinking cap and decided to reign in that big forehand of hers just a bit, to be the more consistent and patient player, and to be choosier about when to pull that trigger and go for the big, glorious winner. For players like Sedona, who likes to hit it hard with great pace and great topspin, it can be taxing on the patience to play someone who bloops, dinks and lobs (on purpose, very skillfully). Luckily, Sedona gritted her teeth, showed her more patient side, and won. 6-3, 7-6, 1-0 (11-9).

Running Score: Branson 2, Tam 2.


Sophie Liu and Alexandra Zak, both nicely skilled singles players, tried their hand at doubles. Unfortunately, they faced Tam's #1 doubles team (a regular pairing) in Olivia Van Dien and Lucy Stiff, a doubles team that will most certainly enter the post-season league competition in their bid to be the top doubles team in Marin County. Our freshie gals went down 0 and 1, but it was a good look at a good level of doubles for our freshmen, who are developing nicely in both singles and doubles, and have years in front of them on the high school tennis scene. Onward!

Running Score: Branson 2, Tam 3.


Brooke Pedersen took on feisty Jamilah Karah, Tam's #1 player. We had a feeling that Brooke would probably dominate this match, as did Jamilah, as did Tam's entire cheering section. Now, keep in mind, Jamilah probably wins most of her matches. Jamilah is probably accustomed to winning. So, granted, it's hard for anyone to swallow a loss when you're used to winning. We all get it. It's easy to understand why Jamilah was unhappy that day. However, that doesn't condone delay tactics on court, verbal complaints on court, or unseemly (unsportsmanlike? unsportsladylike?) behavior later in the parking lot, flashing inappropriate hand gestures. We are very glad that, even when baited, none of the Branson team reciprocated with poor behavior. Stay above the fray! Don't give opponents anything to complain about (other than that they lost). Remember Michelle Obama’s words to live by: "When they go low, we go high!" Brooke is hereby awarded the on-court win as well as the off-court moral victory: 6-4, 6-2.

Running Score: Branson 3, Tam 3.


It all came down to Anna Lardner. Anna had to play Tam's Katie Bulger, known for a great all-around, all-court game. Katie looked a bit more consistent than last year, and the points were long. Both players are well known as excellent tennis players, experienced tennis players, tournament players from tennis families (dynasties?). This match COULD NOT HAVE BEEN CLOSER. It was the deciding court, meaning that whoever won would be rewarded with winning the overall match for their school. It was also the very last match on. All other courts had finished up. Simply put, Anna is tenacious and mentally tough, better able to handle this tense moment than many other players with less experience. The match was punctuated with loud cheering from a deep Tam support group (a head coach, 3 assistant coaches, and plenty of family and friends), as well as enthusiastic cheering from a loving Branson support squad. In return, Anna treated us all to a spectacular and nail-biting match of extremely high quality. It came down to mental toughness, and Anna prevailed 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3).  She crowned each of two very full sets with winning both set tiebreaks. What an impressive performance, young lady! We all certainly got our money's worth. Walk tall, walk proud!

Running Score: Branson 4, Tam 3.


Branson Wins!  YAHOOO !!!!



September 19, 2019


Singles Results

Sophomore Brooke Pedersen #1      6-0, 6-3

Sophomore Anna Lardner #2            6-0, 6-1

Junior Sedona Ward  #4                    7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (7)

Senior Lillie Lippman #8                   4-6, 2-6


Doubles Results

Senior Olivia Rosenlund #6 & Sophomore Molly Biggs #10    1-6, 2-6

Senior Kate Lardner #7 & Junior Katie Stovell #12                   1-6, 4-6

Senior Katie Sayers #11 & Junior Amanda Davis #14               5-7, 6-4, 0-1 (3-10)

Branson took the top three singles courts but MC won the next 4 courts (singles #4, and all 3 doubles courts). There were two super tiebreaks, and Branson won one of the them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough for the overall win. Still, we got a good look at their team and their depth, and we will be better prepared for when we see MC again in the second half of the season!