Fall Sports Preview
Once again the end of August is upon us, which means the start of a new school year and the beginning of Fall sports at Mary Washington.
The UMW men’s soccer team is trying to build on a successful 2009 season where they went 12-7-1 overall, 6-1-1 in conference play, and advanced to the second round of the CAC tournament. The men’s team will have to replace two first-team All-CAC selections from a year ago, as both Peter Toohey and Emmett Rutkowski have since graduated. But that doesn’t mean that this team lacks talent as they should be a force to be reckoned with in the conference. Sophomore Duke Mensah-Abrampah returns coming off a first-team All-CAC year in his own right as he tied for the team lead with seven goals. The Eagles’ also return a pair of All-CAC second-team players in junior Will Gallop and senior T.L. Tutor as well as the CAC Co-Coach of the Year, Roy Gordon. The conference will once again be very strong as defending CAC champion Salisbury is ranked 20th among all Division III schools in the country and York will return their top three goal-scorers from last season. The men’s soccer season is set to kick off Sept. 1 with a road bout against Virginia Wesleyan College.
The Eagles women’s soccer team had a great year in 2009 as well. After a solid regular season in which the team went 12-5-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play, the women’s squad caught fire in the CAC tournament as they upended both Stevenson and Salisbury (the top two teams in the regular season) in succession to win the CAC Championship. The team returns all but three players from last year’s squad, including five first-team All-CAC selections, and a second-team All-CAC player. Junior Amy Olson will once again look to lead the Eagles scoring attack and junior goalie Tina Brehm will continue to anchor the defense on the other end. The CAC looks to continue to be a powerhouse conference as both Stevenson and Salisbury appear very strong once again, but with all the returning talent on the UMW team they should be in contention for another CAC title. The women’s season begins on Sept. 1 with a home match against Shenandoah University.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams had excellent seasons last year as the men won the CAC title and the women finished second in the conference. However, coming into this season the men’s team has the biggest holes to fill, as they lost last year’s Men’s Runner of the Year Frank DeVar, to graduation. Not only that, but the men’s team also bid farewell to All-CAC first-team selection Brian Fulton and a pair of All-CAC second team runners in Matt Cash and Jake Pattyson. The team will need sophomore Scott Plunkett to continue to run well as he is the only All-CAC first team member UMW brings back from last year. Meanwhile, the women’s team is happy to return their Runner of the Year in senior Sarah Dawes for a final season. Dawes looks to help take the Lady Eagles to the next level this year and win the CAC Championship. Both teams will continue to be under the supervision of last year’s CAC Coach of the Year, Stan Soper, and continue the rich tradition of cross country here at UMW. The cross country season gets underway with the McDaniel College Invitational on Sept 11.
The UMW field hockey team had a respectable 2009 campaign. The Eagles went 12-8 overall and 4-2 in conference place to finish third in the CAC regular season standings. The ladies went on a run in the CAC tournament, advancing to the championship game before falling to Salisbury. The team returns two All-CAC first-team selections from last year in seniors Emma Jones and Heidi Sheehan as well as a pair of All-CAC second-team members as senior Nicole Conti and sophomore Florence George are back as well. Senior goalie Chrissy Bowdren also returns for one more year after posting the third best goals against average in the conference a season ago (1.71). Both Salisbury and York look to be very strong once again, but the talent on the UMW team gives them a chance to compete with both of those schools for CAC supremacy.
The volleyball team at UMW had a strong season in 2009 as they finished second in the CAC regular season standings with an 18-11 record overall and a 7-1 mark in conference play. The Eagles will have a tough task on their hands as they will have to replace last year’s CAC Athlete of the Year, Anne Lutkenhaus, who graduated in the Spring. With Lutkenhaus gone someone will need to step up to fill her shoes, and that means more pressure is going to fall on sophomore Laura Gomez, who was last year’s CAC Freshman of the Year. Fellow sophomores Karissa Herrick and Ellen Smethurst will also need to step up to help Gomez pile up the kills in order to fill the hole left my Lutkenhaus’ departure. However, the team still has a lot of young talent out on the court and that coupled with the guidance from the sidelines from last year’s CAC Coach of the Year Dee Conway should make UMW volleyball a CAC contender once again. The volleyball season is slated to begin Sept. 1 with a road game against North Carolina Wesleyan College.