By MIKEY BARÑES
Sitting under the lights at the Campus Rec Field, you can see fans lined up along the sidelines screaming and cheering. You can hear one University of Mary Washington student consistently screaming “Randolph Bacon,” to get in the heads of the UMW opponent, Randolph-Macon College.
All the while UMW women’s soccer team battled it out on the turf field next to the Anderson Center on the evening of Sept. 14. The women’s team won that game by a score 1-0, after a goal by freshman Brielle Mitchell. At just about the halfway mark on the season, the Eagles currently have a record of 4-3- 1.
In that game against Randolph-Macon, it can be seen outside the field snow cones and free Chick-Fil- A sandwiches being handed out to fans. The fans and players seem to have a few interactions themselves, as smiles can be seen around the fenced off arena, by both the players and fans throughout.
Currently sitting at fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference, UMW is set to kick-off conference play Saturday, Sept. 24, against Marymount University.
Mitchell currently stands as the leading goal scorer on the team with three and sophomore goalkeeper Madeline Duvall has proven to be a force at the net, as Duvall was just chosen as the Capital Athletic Conference defensive player of the week due to her consecutive shutout performances.
Duvall has been a force in the net in her six games this season, despite playing in just two games and starting one all of last season. Duvall has 20 total saves on the year and is allowing an average of below one goal per game.
This season, behind the skill of Mitchell, Duvall, head coach Corey Hewson and the rest of the Mary Washington team, they will look to compete in their third straight Capital Athletic Conference championship game, with hopes and ambitions of coming away with this years title.
The women’s program has not won the CAC title since 2009, when the team went 12-5- 5 and advanced to the NCAA tournament, which was the second season in Hewson’s tenure. That was the first CAC championship and NCAA tournament berth since 2004, under recently retired men’s lacrosse coach Kurt Glaeser.
Sophomore Lizzie Brooks knows what it is like to compete in the conference title game and along with the rest of the program is looking to do that again and understands what it takes to get there.
“To win the conference, I think team chemistry is the key to winning,” Brooks said, “We need to work together and work for each other. We need to stay strong and keep the intensity up for the entire game until the last whistle blows.”
As winning the conference is the overall goal for the program, Brooks feels her team’s best effort is to focus one game at a time, “I think that we need to focus on each individual game at a time so each week we have a new goal….we find out what our weaknesses are what we need to sort out to succeed.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Eagles fell in a heartbreaker to Catholic University by a score of 2-1, even with the phenomenal performance of Duvall, who recorded nine saves. Despite being predicted to finish sixth in the conference this season, the Eagles are looking to prove themselves in the conference and bring a title back to Fredericksburg.
The women’s soccer team will be back in action Saturday against Marymount and then will travel to Salisbury University, then will be back home Oct. 5, for their first conference home game against Frostburg State.