Senior Athletes Reflect on Their Last Sports Season


Dakota Canzano

Matthew Aizawa said that he has discovered the importance of community while playing soccer at La Salle.

Avery Eldon, Staff Reporter

For many of La Salle’s seniors, their final year of high school played out much different than they anticipated a few years ago. Some students returned to in-person learning during the second half of this year, and following strict COVID-19 protocols, have been able to retreat to a bit of normalcy, especially with the start up of athletics.

As students transitioned to digital learning last March, spring sports were cancelled just after the season began. Now, despite the modifications that have been made to athletic events and practices, winter sports are in full swing, and so were spring and fall sports.

Although sports may not have looked the same as they did in years past, seniors still had the ability to conclude their high school athletic careers. Here is what they took away.

Sarah Wease

Wease has been playing volleyball at La Salle since her freshman year when she made the JV team. But, following an injury on the varsity team, she moved up and continued to play at the highest level at La Salle for the rest of high school.

This year, Wease was most worried about having a season in general.

“We tried to do things in the summer, but it just didn’t work because COVID started [getting bad] again,” she said. 

While she was offered the chance to play volleyball one last time, the season was cut down to accommodate for the changes brought about by the pandemic. Because of this, Wease wasn’t sure if she wanted to play anymore.

“I definitely was very hesitant at first,” she said. “A lot of people ended up not playing just because they were like, ‘it’s gonna be so different, it’ll be weird,’ and I was like, ‘whatever, I’ll just do it.’”

As time went on, the team was able to quickly get back into the rhythm of how the season would usually operate, but a lot remained unfamiliar. 

“[It was] a short season, and our senior night was a little different,” she said.

Although Wease’s season was not what she would have wished for her senior year, she learned a lot.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned in volleyball would be to never take things for granted,” she said. “Freshman year, I was expecting [something] like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna make varsity now,’ but I shouldn’t ever get ahead of myself thinking that.”

Wease doesn’t plan to continue playing volleyball in college, but she has been looking into trade schools with hopes of going into construction. 

Mandy Sisul

Sisul has played for La Salle’s basketball program throughout all four years of high school, swinging between JV and varsity her freshman year and permanently earning a spot on varsity sophomore, junior, and senior year.

“My teammates are like my sisters and my experience wouldn’t have been the same without them,” she said. “The coaches are passionate and intense, but they bring out the best in us girls on and off the court. We have been more than just a basketball program, and have become one big family.”

Going into this season, Sisul worried about getting in good shape not only for herself, but to set an example for the underclassmen. 

As a senior, I knew that I would need to come in shape in order to set the tone for the rest of the girls, but the freshmen especially,” she said. “We don’t have a large varsity roster, so making sure that our entire team has the endurance to play all 32 minutes of a game if needed is more important than ever.”

The girls basketball program only had five practices before starting gameplay this season, and the teams had to learn to adapt compared to previous longer, more-outlined seasons.

“The short timeframe has definitely impacted our entire season because we’ve been forced as a program to be more adaptive to changes on the fly,” she said. “Going from a normal five month season to six weeks has made this season unlike any of my other years.”

Learning to fail is a notable lesson Sisul learned over her years at La Salle. 

“Without failure, my mental toughness wouldn’t be as strong as it is today,” she said. “Without failing, I wouldn’t have been as determined to achieve what I have as an individual and with La Salle. I have become a well-rounded athlete and individual because I had to overcome failure to get to where I am today.”

Next year, Sisul will attend Central Washington University to play for the women’s basketball team, and will pursue a major in communications. 

Matthew Aizawa 

In working his way up from JV2 to varsity from his freshman to senior year, Aizawa has spent hours on the soccer field. While he missed out on his sophomore season after tearing his meniscus, that didn’t stop him from getting back to the field for his last two years of high school.

“Since it was my last year, I just wanted to get the most out of it, even though it was really short,” Aizawa said. “I try to do my best in each practice and hype everyone up during practice, and really try to stay engaged with the team.”

Before games, Aizawa remembers playing soccer tennis with his teammates to lighten the mood. 

Aizawa knew many of his teammates at La Salle from playing club soccer, and as a result, the team clicked for having known each other for so long. This season, he appreciated their camaraderie and how supportive his parents were.

“I think I learned [a lot about] communication and how important the community is,” he said.

For Aizawa, his teammates are what made his high school soccer experience so special and are what he will miss the most about the sport. 

“This year, our team was incredibly talented and they’re all super fun to play with,” he said. “It was awesome to watch them and play with them. It was truly a blessing.”

Aizawa will be attending Pepperdine University next year, as he will study chemistry on a pre-med track. He hopes to play intramural or club soccer at the university.

Carly Weber

After spending 14 years playing soccer, Weber said that she was excited to have a final season, even if it was going to be shorter and met with restrictions. 

“This season was obviously completely different compared to other seasons, and although there were restrictions, we were able to still create bonds and play very, very well as a team,” she said. 

Weber was extremely nervous going into the season knowing it could’ve been cancelled at any moment and that she might not get to participate in a full last year of soccer.

“This concern played out throughout the season by our team making sure we were following all the guidelines to make sure we still got our season,” she said. 

Going into her last year playing soccer, Weber wanted to make as many memories as possible while balancing any bad news with always having a positive attitude. 

“The biggest thing that I have learned while playing at La Salle was how to learn and work through challenges as a team,” Weber said. 

In the fall, Weber will head to Utah where she will attend Weber State University. She is hoping to be accepted into the dental hygiene school and plans to play intramural soccer.