By RYAN BRAUCH
The University of Mary Washington’s fall sports teams were quite successful in their 2018 seasons. Both men and women’s soccer teams, as well as the volleyball team all progressed to the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship game. Although men’s soccer was the only team to prevail in their championship game, they and volleyball both qualified for bids in the NCAA tournament.
The reigning CAC champions, men’s soccer had a spectacular season, in which they finished with a record of 14-1-5, leading the CAC. Claiming the top spot in the conference secured UMW home field advantage in all of their CAC tournament games. UMW went up against Southern Virginia in the CAC quarterfinals and were able to route SVU 8-0.
The Eagles’ semifinals match up against Frostburg St. went all the way to penalty kicks, in which Mary Washington won 4-2, paving their way to another CAC championship game. UMW hosted St. Mary’s in the CAC championship game, in which the Eagles won their second consecutive title, as they beat St. Mary’s 1-0, led by senior Ryan Van Maanen.
Since the Eagles won their conference championship, they earned an automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA tournament. The Eagles played a hard fought game against Eastern that ended 1-1 after two overtimes. Unfortunately, Eastern was awarded the tiebreaker over Mary Washington, as they had a better regular season record. This allowed Eastern to advance to the second round, therefore, eliminating UMW.
Although the team’s season has ended, they can still hold their heads high. Not only did the Eagles win their second consecutive CAC championship, senior Justin Carey was awarded CAC Player of the Year, head coach Jason Kilby was awarded Coach of the Year for the third year straight, and Van Maanen, Gary Foley, and Ken Kurtz joined Carey in receiving All-CAC first-team selections. Senior Will Donahoe and junior Ben Ahrens were awarded second-team selections.
UMW volleyball also enjoyed a successful season, finishing with a 21-12 record. Although they were the second best team in terms of overall record, the Eagles were undefeated in conference play which granted them home court advantage in all CAC tournament games. In the CAC quarterfinals, UMW shut out St. Mary’s 3-0, allowing them to advance to the semifinals against Salisbury.
The Eagles faced adversity against Salisbury, as they went into the fourth set down 2-1, but the Eagles rallied, taking Salisbury into a fifth set in which they dominated, sending them to the CAC championship game against CNU. In the championship game, the Eagles avoided a shutout, down 2-0 coming into the third set, UMW rallied to take CNU all the way to five sets, in which the team lost in heartbreaking fashion.
Although UMW was defeated in the championship game, they were still able to qualify for an NCAA tournament bid. The Eagles took care of business in the first round, shutting Marymount out 3-0. Unfortunately in the second round, Mary Washington was shut out 3-0 by Juniata. Like men’s soccer, the team could hold their heads high on their great season and for dominating in the CAC awards.
Junior Savannah Powers was awarded CAC Player of the Year, becoming the third Eagle to win since 2009. Freshman Alana Harris became the fifth-straight Eagle to win Rookie of the Year. Head coach Matt Troy was named Coach of the Year for the second time, as he also won the award in 2016. Powers was joined on the All-CAC first-team by senior Leslie Walters and senior Ryan Cho was awarded with a second-team selection.
Mary Washington’s women’s soccer team was second in CAC with an overall record of 12-4-1. As the team placed second in the conference behind CNU, they earned home field advantage for their first two CAC tournament games in which they beat Penn St. Harrisburg 1-0 and St. Mary’s 3-2. The Eagles then traveled to Newport News to play CNU. In the end, the Captains prevailed, beating Mary Washington 3-1 and sending them home for the season. UMW’s lone goal was scored by freshman forward Abby Zimmerman.
Despite being sent home early, UMW can still find some positives. Freshman Gracie Williams was named CAC Rookie of the Year and head coach Corey Hewson was awarded his second Coach of the Year. Williams also earned an All-CAC first-team selections, as well as Zimmerman and Corinne Carson. Sophomore Brooke Bauman and freshman Lindsey Hendrickson were named to the All-CAC second-team.
With a combined total of one CAC championship, two NCAA tournament bids, three Coaches of the Year, two Players of the Year, two Rookies of the Year and a slew of All-CAC selections, UMW’s fall sports teams did well in 2018. The underclassmen on these teams will now rest and regroup in preparation for their 2019 seasons while the seniors conclude their collegiate careers. To all of our talented and dedicated seniors, thank you.