By JESSE JONES
Homecoming: the weekend where alumni, students, friends and families all come together to celebrate a beloved institution, where sports and camaraderie are used as the base.
This year, the University of Mary Washington hosted its Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 22. The weather outside was perfect for the day, not too hot and not cold, just right for the average fan in attendance as well as athletes. The tailgate opened up at the battleground at 10 a.m. for people to pull in their vehicles and to begin the festivities.
The games kicked off with UMW’s No. 14 ranked volleyball team in the country as they played conference rival York College in the Anderson Center at 11 a.m. The Eagles volleyball team entered the game with a record of 24-2 against the then 20-8 Spartans. The Eagles had won their previous two games and 17 of their last 18, despite their loss to the then fourth ranked Southwestern University Pirates.
The Eagles started off the game well, as they won the first set 25-20, despite a bit of back and forth play. Following the first set, the Eagles eased in the following sets even smoother, as they took care of York in the second set 25-17 and then put away the game with a punishing third set, as they cruised to a 25-13 set victory and won the match 3-0.
The Eagles improved to 25-2 on the season with that victory and reached the 25-win mark for the first time since 1995. The Eagles were led in this match by freshman standout Savannah Powers, who had 12 kills. She was followed by fellow freshman Skyler Sisk with nine kills through the three sets. Senior captain Emma Olson led the team and entire match with 31 assists. The Eagles are currently atop the Capital Athletic Conference standings as they look to host through the CAC tournament.
Next to begin play was the University of Mary Washington field hockey team. The Eagles were set to face off against Wesley College, who entered the match at 5-13 against the 10-4 of Mary Washington Eagles. The UMW field hockey team fell just short of CAC title in 2015 and has been looking to return to the championship game this year, with the attempts of a more favorable outcome on their side.
The Eagles opened up the game early on, as junior Allegra Massey-Elim score a goal just two minutes and 15 seconds in. Just six minutes later, freshman Lexie Dixson scored on an assist from sophomore Shelby Press. Lone senior Christine Loehr joined in on the fun as she too scored in the first half, with the assist coming from Dixson. Junior Morgan LaRowe hopped in on the action, as she found the back of the goal to put Mary Washington up 4-0.
The scoring trend was nowhere close to done for UMW as they added two more goals before halftime, coming as the second goal each for both Massey-Elim and Loehr, who had a goal just 20 seconds before halftime. Mary Washington went into the half up 6-0 and came out firing again on all cylinders, as just minutes into the second half freshman Lauren Hopkins scored.
Fellow freshman Victoria Novak scored the final goal for Mary Washington with just minutes remaining, to give them the 8-0 lead and victory. The Eagles improved to 11-4 on the season, 4-1 in the conference and remain second in the Capital Athletic Conference rankings.
The women’s soccer team was the third team to begin in the array of games on Homecoming day. The Eagles, who just like the field hockey team, competed in the conference championship game last year, are looking for equal success.
They came into the Homecoming game against a 8-5- 2 Wesley team. Just like that of the previous two Mary Washington teams on the day, they came out red hot. Freshman Corinne Carson started off the scoring for the Eagles as she netted a shot six minutes into the game, to give UMW a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Kaitlyn Higgins added to Eagles lead about 30 minutes later with a goal of her own.
Fellow sophomore Lizzie Brooks opened the game up wider just minutes later, to put the score at 3-0 at the half. Sophomore Christiana Meyers continued the debacle of Wesley with a goal of her own to start of the second half scoring. Sophomore Allye Reynolds, who also had two assists on the game, scored a goal herself to put it at 5-0.
Senior Maryfay Jackson then scored two goals about 14 minutes apart from one another, to put the lead at 7-0 and to further solidify the victory for the Eagles. The UMW women’s soccer team is currently 10-5- 2 on the season and sitting in third place in the CAC.
The final game of the day for Mary Washington and its Homecoming festivities had a similar outcome to that of the others. The men’s soccer team came into the day with an 11-3 record and took on the then 3-9- 2 Wesley College conference foe. Senior Jacob Burke began the scoring for Mary Washington as he netted two goals before the half, to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Fellow senior Riley Fisher added to the score and his own array of goal totals, as he scored two straight goals to extend Mary Washington’s lead to 4-0 within three minutes of one another. Wesley snuck a shot past the UMW goalkeeper, to make it 4-1.
Burke then solidified the UMW sports sweep with another goal, giving him the hat trick and Mary Washington a 5-1 victory. Junior Goal Matt Spencer has one save in 76 minutes of play. When asked about what it was like to play and win on Homecoming, Spencer said, “The win was huge for us because we had over 2000 people out there, including alums and students, and that makes them proud to be a part of something so special especially with our success this year….to play in front of such a big crowd and have an awesome atmosphere made it such a sweet win.”
The Eagles improved to 12-3 on the season as they find themselves in the second slot in the Capital Athletic Conference standings.
The 4-0 sweep was big for Mary Washington as they will look to continue their success throughout the season, hoping to bring home a few CAC titles and even a few NCAA tournament berths.