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Napa Valley Up & Comers: Capulong, Nadalie and Canepa look to lead way
Up & Comers

Napa Valley Up & Comers: Capulong, Nadalie and Canepa look to lead way

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With the 2019-2020 school year in our rear-view mirror, The Register sports staff has turned its attention to the Napa County student-athletes that are returning to play sports in 2020-21.

We know there are still many questions surrounding the fate of sports during the coming school year, and currently we don’t have many answers. But we do know that sports will return at some point. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

With that in mind we continue our new Up & Comers series, which highlights rising stars and players to watch for whenever organized sports do return to the area.

For our seventh edition, we’re featuring Caytlin Capulong of American Canyon High, Raphael Nadalie of St. Helena High, and Louie Canepa of Vintage.

Caytlin Capulong

School: American Canyon

Class of: 2021

Sport: Volleyball

The outside hitter was one of five All-County Player of the Year finalists for the second year in a row after making the All-Vine Valley Athletic League Second Team.

She finished the season with 94 kills, 366 digs and 55 aces.

“Caytlin is an all-around player and a driving force on our team,” head coach Katy O’Brien said. “She would have been our libero had she not contributed to offense strongly as well.”

Capulong and American Canyon finished 0-12 in the VVAL for the second year in a row, but played hard down to their very last point.

In their season finale, the Wolves traveled to Petaluma to face a Casa Grande team that had four league wins and made the Gauchos work for their 27-29, 25-22, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12 win. Leading the Wolves was Capulong with 16 kills and 24 digs.

Raphael Nadalie

School: St. Helena

Class of: 2021

Sports: Boys soccer

The Saints had a resurgent 2019 season in large part due to the play of its talented and experienced junior class.

The Saints won 14 games, their most in season since 2007, and went 10-4 in the NCL I, snapping a 10-year playoff drought. Out of their five all-league players, the three selected to the first and second team were juniors. That group was Nadalie (first team), Fabio Perez (second team) and Napa County Boys Soccer Player of the Year Diego Moya (first team). They’ll make up a formidable core whenever the Saints return to game action next season.

Nadalie was a center midfielder and led the team with 8 assists while adding 10 goals, including the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Lower Lake in the middle of a six-game win streak in league

“Rafa was our team Most Valuable Player this year,” head coach Ozzie Gallegos said. “He was our most complete player and our true center mid. If he goes, the team goes. If there was a quarterback in soccer he was our guy. He by far had the most awareness on the field and always made sure all players were in play and in the right spot. This is a true midfielder who could start for any team in our county.”

Louie Canepa

School: Vintage

Class of: 2022

Sports: Football, rec basketball

Canepa, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound tackle, was named to the All-Vine Valley Athletic League First Team after helping the Crushers smash-mouth their way to a second straight league title last fall.

After helping many a Vintage football teammate get into the end zone, Canepa showed he could score as well — as a member of the Optimist Youth Basketball league’s 9th-10th Grade Boys Division runner-up, Long Electric.

The league’s leading scorer, he led Long with 26 points and 13 rebounds in the championship game. He scored Long’s last points and had the ball in the final seconds, trying to set up the trying trey, before General Equipment Maintenance pulled out a 52-49 win.

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