By: LAURA MILSTEAD
On Saturday, Nov. 9, both the women’s and men’s soccer teams defeated their opponents. The women defeated York College of PA with a score of 4-0; the men’s team won their game against CNU in a penalty kick shootout (3-1). These victories claimed the CAC Championship for both teams and advanced them to the NCAA tournament.
This will be the first appearance for the women’s soccer team in the NCAA Championships since 2009. When asked how the team is preparing for the game, senior Corinne Carson stated that they are not really changing up their approach. Since this is the first time the team has advanced, they must be ready to handle any situation. “We’ve just focused this week on being prepared for whatever is thrown at us and coming out with all the momentum we had in the CAC tournament.”
The women’s team started their game out strong by scoring two goals within the first seven minutes of their game against York College of PA. They kept the momentum going and were able to score an additional two goals in the second half, securing their victory.
Coming in as an underdog, the team was overjoyed and proud of their performance. For Carson, this was her last shot at an NCAA bid. “Winning the CAC tournament was easily one of the top moments I’ve had with my soccer career and everybody was just beyond ecstatic. We wanted it the most and we went out and took it.”
The men’s team also started out strong by scoring a goal just under five minutes into the game. However, CNU was able to turn around and respond by scoring a goal shortly after. The game went into overtime, with neither team scoring an additional goal. This then forced the teams to go into a penalty kick shootout.
In the end, the Eagles were able to hold off the Captains and clinch the CAC title. “So much work and time have been dedicated to this program by every single guy so it’s an amazing feeling to see all of it paid off,” said senior Jacob Lovinger.
With this being the third consecutive year they have won the CAC Championship, this puts high expectations on them. Another senior on the team, Lucas Turney, said that it felt amazing to win the CAC Championship, however, he wants more. “Our program has evolved to a point where the expectation is winning the conference championship. Now, we are not satisfied, simply making it to the NCAA tournament, but we want to make a deep run into the tournament as well.
For Lovinger, this will also be his third appearance in the tournament with the UMW team. When asked how they prepare for the game Lovinger said that they will approach it like any other game they have played.
“Obviously, there is a lot of pressure on this game, but it’s exactly where we expect to be and have been preparing during practice and games in the regular and postseason for this moment,” said Lovinger.
Turney expressed his excitement for the tournament. In regard to preparation for the match, he agreed with teammate Lovinger that their approach will remain similar to that of their previous games. “we try to approach every game with the same intensity. Regardless of the type of match or who our opponent is, we want to approach each game with complete energy and focus, and that includes the NCAA tournament,”said Turney.
After completing the first round of the tournament on Nov. 16, it appears that not changing the team’s strategy has paid off. The women won their game against Geneseo 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The men’s team also won their game in the first round of the tournament. The men defeated Keystone 3-0.
The women advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and were to face William Smith College on Nov. 17. William Smith scored in the first half of the game, taking a lead over the Eagles. In the second half William Smith came up with another goal to solidify their 2-0 win over UMW; consequently, knocking them out of the tournament. The men also took to the field on Sunday for the second round of the tournament. UMW scored early in the first half to give them a lead over Rowan. Later in the first half Rowan was able to come back and score a goal. In the second half of the game both teams added another goal to their count, forcing them into overtime. It was here where Rowan was able to score another goal, to win the game 3-2 and ending the tournament for the Eagles.