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Athlete of the Week: Hannah Thompson ’19

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

Thompson, the team’s centerfielder, has started off the year on fire. Through the team’s first 11 games, the Washington D.C. native is hitting .436 with a team high of 17 hits and 8 runs. Thompson also leads the Centennial Conference with 7 stolen bases.

MAX KASSAN: What is your prospective major and what influenced you to pursue it?

HANNAH THOMPSON: I’m a prospective engineering and computer science double major. I think there are a lot of really cool and interesting applications for those fields and that they are both really influential in our world right now.

MK: What do you like most about being a student athlete?

HT:I really enjoy the community that comes with being on a team, and even being an athlete. I feel like athletes support one another in and out of the classroom and that’s really special.

MK: What is your favorite Swarthmore athletics memory?

HT: My favorite memory is when my teammate Emily Bowman ’18 hit a grand slam last year in Florida. That doesn’t happen very often and it was super exciting!!

MK: What was your favorite part about your trip to Florida?

HT: Florida was a lot of fun! We got to play a bunch of games and they were competitive. We also had a bit of free time where we got to go to the beach and go to a Twins spring training game.

MK: After going 6-2 in Florida, what are your expectations heading into Conference season?

HT: Heading into conference season, I think the team is looking really strong! I think spring training showed that we are really adaptable. That will be great for us in Conference because the game is unpredictable and it’s really good to be able to adjust effectively. People may underestimate us but I am confident that we will be competitive this year.

Spring Break Brings Success For Swat Softball

in Columns/Sports/Women by

Swarthmore’s Softball Team kicked their season off in full gear during their spring break trip to Fort Myers, Florida. The team started the trip on March 5 with an early double-header. Stellar pitching from Emily Bowman ’18 led the team to a dominating 8-0 victory over Albion College. Bowman had nine strikeouts in the outing and was backed with strong showings at the plate by Marisa Mancini ’20 and Kennedy Kings ’20.

After an early momentum boost, the team picked up right where it left off in the afternoon against Rockport University. Swarthmore once again put on a hitting display. Hannah Thompson ’19 went 4-for-5 at the plate while McKenzie Ward ’19 had a strong showing on the mound to help lead the team to an 8-2 win.

Day two started off strong for the team as well. They barely defeated the University of Pittsburgh Bradford by a score of 6-5. The team fell into a 1-5 hole early in the game, but continued to fight until the end. Late in the seventh inning, the young team showed its true colors. Kings, Mancini, Anna Jensen ’17, and Elizabeth Curcio ’19 all contributed and pushed Swat into the winner’s circle.
After this dramatic comeback, Thompson and Curcio were very optimistic about the team’s performance.

“We came back in the seventh inning of one of our games to score five runs and win! I think that shows that our team has a lot of maturity,” Thompson said.

Curcio believed that the team’s youth played a major role in their success over break and will continue to moving forward.  

“Having such a young team made the offseason really important. Our freshmen are all very good and most of them have learned to play new positions this year. Winning a game like that is just so much fun and showed all of us how good we can be,” Curcio said.
Swarthmore suffered a tough loss in the afternoon of day two, losing to Geneva by a score of 1-4.

Frankie Ponziani ’18 had a strong performance on the mound, striking out three opponents and only allowing one earned run. However, Geneva offense came on strong late in the game which propelled them to the victory.

Time spent off the field has helped add to the team’s camaraderie and companionship. In Florida, the team had a balance between games and free time. After a couple of long days of competition, the team had a break day to go to the beach and relax. Thompson said this added time together away from Swarthmore built even more team chemistry.

“We spent most of our time off together as a team. We went mini golfing, watched spring training games, and played countless hours of catchphrase and cards against humanity,” Curcio said. “On our full day off most of us went to the beach and then caught the end of Swarthmore’s baseball game that night. Just spending that much time together both on and off the field has created close friendships and these relationships help build good team chemistry.”

After some much needed time off the diamond, the team was ready to return to the field and play.
On day three, Bowman once again dominated the mound and led Swarthmore to a 3-1 victory over Eastern Nazarene College. Bowman struck out seven batters in a row and held her opponents to just three hits. Emilie Morse ’20 and Sara Planthaber ’17 had strong showings at the plate as well. The team continued their strong play in their second game of the day, played that afternoon. They defeated Clark University 4-1. Ward recorded her second win of the trip. Ward pitched seven innings in the outing and allowing no earned runs. Gabriella Natoli ’20 and Planthaber both shined at the plate, leading Swarthmore’s offensive attack.

Going into their final day of spring break competition, the team looked to end the trip on a high. In their first game of the day, Swarthmore defeated Bridgewater State by a score of 8-4. The win was highlighted by a five-run fourth inning and a three-run sixth. Morse, Kings, Mancini, and Curcio all contributed with strong at-bats in this impressive offensive stretch. On the mound, upperclassmen Ponziani and Bowman worked together to push the Garnet to the victory. In game two, Swarthmore recorded eleven hits, but ultimately came up short in a 1-2 loss to Rivier University. Mary Olesnavich ’18 kept the Garnet in the game with her strong pitching, recording a no-hitter through her first five innings. A tough stretch in the fifth inning was enough for Rivier to record two runs and slide past Swarthmore.

Overall, the players believe a strong offseason regimen has led to the team’s success thus far.

“We worked a lot with Chris and Erika at lifts and agilities. This helped our power at the plate a ton,” Thompson said.

With consistently strong performances at the plate game-in and game-out accompanying stellar pitching, the team looks to bring this high caliber play into conference games this spring.

“I feel like spring break was a really strong building block for us,” Ponziani said. “The freshmen in the lineup stepped up and got a lot of clutch hits, returners picked up where they left off, we have a completely healthy pitching staff this year that should do some great things, and everyone seems to be focused on winning. Going forward, I’m expecting a lot of positive things from this team, and I’m really excited.”

All signs point to a successful season for the Garnet this spring.

Garnet Softball Poised For Strong Season

in Men by

The Garnet softball team has experienced their fair share of highs and lows over the past several years. In the 2014 campaign, the team went a dismal 11-22 overall and 3-13 in Conference play, a bit of a letdown after their 19-19 campaign in 2013. The woes continued for the Garnet, as the struggles from the 2014 season spilled into the 2015 season. Although the team won the first three games of 2015, the rest was downhill from there. After their first three games, the team went 2-17 while winning one lone game in Conference play. A handful of season-ending injuries and departures forced the team to forfeit their last six games of the 2015 season. The team failed to improve, winning yet again one game in conference play in 2016. Over the past three years, the Garnet have a combined record of 22-65 while winning five total games in conference play.

However, team is ready to put their past struggles behind them, and are prepared to dominate the competition in the Centennial Conference this season. Previously, injuries and a small roster size prevented the team from having successful seasons. The team has eliminated this problem by bringing in a crop of six healthy and talented freshman after losing one senior to graduation. The roster size currently sits at 19, easily one of the largest rosters the team has carried in the past several years. Although it may seem like the team is characterized by its youth, it really boasts an advantageous blend of fresh blood and seasoned veterans. Sara Planthaber ’17 owns a career .302/.350/.380 slash line, and has driven in 35 runs during her time in the Garnet uniform. Her best season came in 2015, when she hit an impressive .403 while slugging .468.  Planthaber’s 2015 batting average ranks eighth all time in the program’s single season batting average record.

Another impact-making member of the team is Marit Vike ’19. Vike, who batted at the top of the lineup last year, has already made a huge impact on the team. Vike batted an astounding .374 while slugging .409, both of which led the Garnet last season. She has already made her way into the program record books. Vike is the all-time single season leader in stolen bases and ninth in single-season hits.

Leadership on the field by upperclassmen is complemented well by the talent that the underclassmen possess. Outfielder Amanda Lopez ’19 swatted .310 while swiping 19 bases in her rookie campaign. Lopez and Hannah Thompson ’19 are defensive specialists, combining for only nine total errors in their rookie campaigns.

The infield for the Garnet is also young and talented. Offensive threat Elizabeth Curcio ’19 looks to destroy Centennial Conference pitching while also manning-down the infield.

The Garnet pitching staff is one of the deepest the program has ever seen. Last year, the staff split the pitching duties between four players: Emily Bowman ’18, McKenzie Ward ’19, Mary Olesnavich ’18, and Frankie Ponziani ’18. The Garnet will retain these four members while also adding freshmen Marisa Mancini ’20 and Gabriella Natoli ’20.

To open up the season, the team will host a doubleheader against Wesley College, then will travel to Ft. Myers, FL for the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The team will start Conference play shortly after their trip to Florida.

Should club athletes qualify as Athlete of the Week?

in Columns/Sports by

The process of selecting the Athlete of the Week at the Phoenix every week is fairly simple, but that may change. Typically, the athlete who performed the best or had the biggest positive impact in their team’s game will get the weekly spot in the Sports section. The section, however, may begin to feature both club and varsity athletes in the coming years. The change comes as a part of a larger campus discussion regarding the cooperation, valuation, and, at times, animosity between the two groups of campus athletes. In the discussion of changing the way we select Athlete of the Week, the question of club athletes’ qualifications for selection as Athlete of the Week has arisen.

     Club sports play an important role in the lives of many students at the college. Between volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and rugby, some of the more prominent club sports on campus, non-varsity student-athletes have the opportunity to competitively participate in various athletic events. There are currently seven chartered clubs including Fencing, Men and Women’s Rugby, Men and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee, Men’s Volleyball, and Men’s Badminton. These clubs are highly organized and have clearly defined policies specific to club sports teams that they must follow. Like all students, members of club sports teams must also comply with policies set out by the college, including sexual assault and harassment, misconduct, safety, and hazing policies. Club athletes can face disciplinary action if they don’t adhere to these policies. The implementation of these policies suggests that club athletes are held to a particular behavioral standard as they are representatives of the school.

     Club sports are also held to standards of organization, similarly to varsity sports. Club captains are required to submit rosters, have their players sign an assumption of risk form, verify that the team has team insurance, and ensure that the team is authorized to travel. Most importantly, captains are required to develop and establish an attendance policy. Attendance policies are important in club sports, too, because club athletes can receive PE credit, which is a requirement for graduation, similar to varsity athletes.

     Because club athletes can receive PE credit, their activities are officially recognized by the school as competitive athletic events that contribute to a student’s learning in the same way varsity athletic events do. In order for a club sports to be eligible for PE credit, they must follow certain criteria. Club sports are required to hold at least three practices a week while they are in season, must have a committed coach or supervisor, and must keep attendance, as mentioned before. Club sports are classified as a chartered student organization, and thus receive funding from the Student Budget Committee. In the event that funding does not completely cover total costs, teams are allowed to fundraise on campus with approval of the athletic department although varsity teams also have the opportunity to raise funds through on-campus events.

     Much like varsity sports, club sports play a competitive schedule. Almost every club team played an away game last year, and every team could have qualified for their respective postseason, given they earned a good enough record. Teams are required to attend their scheduled games, or they run the risk of forfeiting.

     The competition creates rivalries. Last week, the Women’s Rugby team edged out Ursinus for the first time in five years. The long-standing rivalry between Swarthmore and Ursinus illustrates the competitiveness of many club sports on campus. Tim Greco ’19, a member of the Men’s Rugby team, spoke to the competitive edge not only present but required for competing in club sports.

     “The people on the team care about their performance very much. If you don’t care about doing well, you won’t be out there to begin with risking yourself getting hurt. There’s definitely a competitive spirit, on the same plane as varsity athletics,” said Greco. Greco also mentioned how club athletes represent the college, bearing the signature Swarthmore “S” on equipment and jerseys. He said, “We are still representing the college. It does not matter if it is through an official sport or through a club sport. We are still representing Swarthmore. Not only how well we do, but our level of sportsmanship reflects back on Swarthmore.” Some argue that many club teams are just as committed and dedicated to their sport as varsity teams.

     Rose Ridder ’19, a member of the Women’s Rugby team and former swimmer, spoke along these lines saying, “Some club sports are more hardcore than others, but some are definitely not hardcore. Some varsity sports are more hardcore than other, but some are definitely not hardcore.”

     Ethan Chapman ’19, a member of Men’s Ultimate Frisbee, approaches the question from a different perspective, saying, “The commitment level is higher [as a varsity athlete], but you’re bound to it. If you’re playing frisbee, and you’re committed that much to your team, the same level as a varsity player, that says a lot about you,” he said. “You’re not bound to that. Everyday, you have the option to not go, and nothing will happen. But if you choose to keep going, that just says so much about your dedication.”

     Chapman expanded on his statement when he said, “When a varsity athlete is on a team and is having a bad day, they are still forced to go to their practice. In club sports, if you’re doing it just for fun, and you’re having a bad day, you don’t need to go. But if you have that commitment, and you go on your own, again that just says so much.”

     On the other hand, many varsity athletes feel the current method for selecting Athlete of the Week, and for covering Garnet sports in general, should go unchanged. The argument, most often, was that only varsity athletes should be selected because they are more committed to their sport.

     Varsity athletes are, in general, not allowed to miss any practices except for emergencies, class conflict, or injury. By-and-large, coaches hold each individual athlete accountable for missing any type of team practice or lift, often requiring each player to make up the practice or lift on their own time. In some cases, athletes get sent back to their dorms for being late to a lift or practice without a proper excuse.

     “Some varsity athletes compete every single day for as many as three to fours hours, taking up a lot of your time. Varsity is official, people work really, really, really hard. Club seems to be more of a fun thing,” shared Chris Chan’ 17, a member of the Track and Field team.

     An anonymous player on the Softball team shared similar sentiments, explaining that she felt that varsity sports are more intensive than club sports.

     “They [club athletes] don’t put in as much time as we do, and don’t have official coaches. In general, they don’t get recruited or have to worry about getting cut.” She continued, explaining that she perceives club sports as less standardized and, therefore, less competitive.

     “They [club athletes] don’t have statistics or a league to be compared with. What would you be measuring them against? No one knows how good their competition is.”

     The majority of varsity athletes get recruited to play at the college; however, club athletes typically do not. Being recruited to play a sport in college is a slow and painful process. Most college coaches go to recruiting events that host hundreds of players, only being able to get a short glimpse at each of them. Many times, they go to recruiting events already knowing which players they want to take a look at. Other times, they rely on recommendations from travel coaches to build their recruiting classes. Some varsity athletes made the life-changing decision to attend one college over another solely because one college offered the opportunity to play on a varsity team.

     Of course, there is always the uncertainty of not being accepted into a certain college even after being offered a roster spot, which can make finding a school to play at even more difficult. Jackson Roberts ’19, a member of the Baseball team, recalls a situation in high school where he made plans to originally commit to another college.

     “I had made up my mind about playing and studying at [undisclosed college]. I had it taken away from me when I didn’t get in. I knew the baseball coach really wanted me, so I assumed I’d get in. I thought it was the best situation for me,” he said. In the end, the circumstances changed, creating undue challenges for Roberts.

     “I was forced to find alternative plans. Varsity athletes face and think about these things first. I don’t think club athletes think about that first. I think they choose a school based on academics, then reached out to club athletics after.”

     Another difference between club athletes and varsity athletes, many believe, is that varsity athletes are held to a different behavioral standard. Many varsity athletes can recall the traditional speech given by coaches before every weekend, which includes reminding ever player that, although they may be members of other groups, they are identified as a member of their team first. Many people identify well-known varsity athletes as varsity athletes first. Although club athletes still represent Swarthmore, they are not always identified as club athletes first. This distinction socially separates them from club athletes.

     All of this being said, the conversation will likely continue, as the athletic department and campus attitudes towards athletics shift and change.

 

Weekend Roundup

in Sports by

Baseball:

The Garnet (19-14, 3-8 CC) are beginning to turn their season around. This week, they went 3-4, sweeping Washington College and taking a game off of Muhlenberg while falling twice to both Johns Hopkins and Gettysburg. In the contests against Washington College, pitching was the story. In game one, Brian Gibbs ’17 and Charles Groppe ’19 combined to pitch eight shutout innings, helping the team earn a 3-2 win. In game two, Nate Booth ’16 picked up his fifth win of the year, throwing six innings and only conceding one run (no earned).

After going 0-4 on the weekend, the Garnet rebounded on Tuesday against Muhlenberg. Again, Booth came up big, throwing six innings and allowing no earned runs. However, it was a different senior who played the role of hero. In the bottom of the seventh, Roy Walker ’16 stepped to the plate with a man on first and the game knotted 5-5. On a 1-1 pitch, Walker walloped a hanging curveball over the left-center field wall. Jackson Ramey ’18 threw a scoreless eighth and fireballer Zach Gonzalez ’19 shut the Mules down in the ninth, picking up his second save of the year. The Garnet travel to Muhlenberg this Thursday and host McDaniel for a double header this Saturday.

Softball:

The team (10-20, 1-9 CC) had a rough weekend, getting swept by Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall. That being said, the Garnet had some bright spots. Specifically, they showed some fight in the final innings. In game two against Dickinson, they entered the bottom of the seventh down 4-0. Mary Olesnavich ’18 led off the inning with a double. The next four batters proceeded to reach base, making it 4-2. With no outs and the bases loaded, Elizabeth Curcio ’19 had a chance to tie the game. She did just that, ripping a two RBI single down the right field line. The game went to extra innings and the Garnet ultimately fell short 5-4. The Garnet host Washington College for a double header this Thursday.

Track:

Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Johns Hopkins for a meet last Saturday. Maggie O’Neil ’17 not only recorded a personal best in her javelin (36.6 meters) and hammer throws (35.45 m), but she also set school records in these events. On the men’s side, Noah Rosenberg ’17 also set a personal record with his javelin throw (43.79 m). Rosenberg’s classmate, Zain Hannan ’17 similarly had an impressive day. He came in eighth in the 400 m sprint and twelfth in the 200 m sprint.

 

Women’s Tennis:

Last week, the tennis team came through with two big conference wins. Last Wednesday, they defeated Ursinus 6-3. After dropping all three doubles matches, the Garnet singles players responded. Not only did all six players emerge victorious, but also none of them dropped a set. The team carried this momentum into Saturday where they defeated F&M 6-3. This win was particularly noteworthy because F&M had defeated Swarthmore two years in a row. Swarthmore (5-1) holds sole possession of third place in the conference and has positioned itself in a good position to make the conference tournament. This week, the Garnet have home games against Bryn Mawr on Thursday and Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Men’s Tennis:

The win streak is now at eight games for the men’s tennis team after their 5-4 win against 29th-ranked F&M on Saturday. The Garnet had a 2-1 lead after doubles play thanks to wins by Mark Fallati ’18/Josh Powell ’18 at #1 and John Larkin ’17/Blake Oetting ’18 at # 3. Larkin also earned a win in the #2 singles match, as did Josh Powell at #5 and James Hahn ‘19 at #6. The victory keeps the Garnet undefeated in conference play going into their next match against Dickinson on Saturday at home.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Despite forcing overtime, the men’s lacrosse team were eventually defeated by F&M 9-8 on Saturday. The Garnet had a 4-0 lead going into the second quarter, but were pushed back on their heels as F&M responded with four unanswered goals. The teams were deadlocked for most of the match after that, with F&M holding an 8-7 lead with one minute left in regulation. However, Cam Marsh ’18 was able to score a goal, one of his team-high three for the game, to tie the score at 8-8 and push the game into overtime. Unfortunately for the Garnet, F&M ultimately put in the game-ending goal in overtime. The team’s record is now at 2-3 in conference play and 7-5 overall. They host nationally-ranked conference opponent Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Women’s Lacrosse:

The women’s lacrosse team had its senior day match against F&M on Saturday, where they honored the six seniors on the team: Elizabeth Upton ’16, Christine McGinn ’16, Nathalie Perry-Freer ’16, Lizzie Kolln ’16, Tazmin Baliff-Curtis ’16, and Connie Bowen ’16.  They couldn’t savor the moment for too long though, as they were handily defeated by their opponents, ranked 5th in the country, 15-0. F&M scored 12 of those goals in the first half to seal up the result fairly quickly. The team will get a chance to improve their conference record, 1-4 after the loss, when they play at Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Men’s Ultimate:

After a stellar regular season, the men’s ultimate team played in the East Pennsylvania D-III Conference Championships last weekend. The Earthworms went in seeded 4th but ended the tournament in 3rd place, surprising many teams along the way. The Garnet had a 6-4 lead against Lehigh, a powerhouse ranked 1st in the conference, before they turned on the gas and pulled off the comeback win. They also had a 11-9 lead against Haverford, ranked 2nd in the conference, before losing 12-11. To earn 3rd place, the Worms defeated 3rd-seeded Muhlenberg 12-11 in their last game of the tournament after losing to them earlier in the weekend in pool play. Max Franklin ’19 led the team with 27 assists while Lee Tarlin ’17 had a team-high 16 goals for the weekend. With the result, the Worms earned a bid to the Regional Championships in Oberlin, OH on April 29-30.

Weekend Roundup

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Men’s Lacrosse

On Sunday, the men’s lacrosse team (6-4, 1-2 CC) went out to play nationally-ranked Gettysburg and were overwhelmed en route to a 14-4 loss. Gettysburg started off the game with nine unanswered goals, which prevented the Garnet from ever really getting back into the game. Nathan Relich ’18 scored two goals for the Garnet, while Cam Marsh ’18 and Will Black ’16 also added one apiece. The team has a chance to bring its conference record back up this weekend when they play at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday.

Women’s Lacrosse

Women’s lacrosse (5-6, 1-3 CC) also played Gettysburg, ranked 6th nationally, on Sunday. They did not fare much better than the men’s team as they ultimately lost 14-3. Goalie Connie Bowen ’16 still notched ten saves, but could only do so much against Gettysburg’s 34 shots. Elizabeth Wainwright ’19 and Taylor Chiang ’18 provided goals for the Garnet early on in the game that kept them close, only behind 4-2. However, Gettysburg then scored ten goals that put the game well out of reach. Shivanni Chinnappan ’18 assisted Kathryn Restrepo ’18 with 10:56 left for the Garnet’s third and final goal. The Garnet will face even tougher competition on Saturday, when they host fifth-ranked F&M.

Men’s Tennis

Simply put, the men’s tennis team (10-5, 5-0 CC) cannot be stopped right now. They played Gettysburg on Friday and swept them 9-0, marking their seventh straight win. At doubles, the teams of Mark Fallati ’18/Josh Powell ’18, Ari Cepelewicz ’18/Thomas Vernier ’17, and James Hahn ’19/John Larkin ’17 defeated their opponents easily. Everyone gave stellar performances in singles as well, kicked off by Evan Han ’19 at No. 5 singles blanking his opponent for a 6-0, 6-0 win. The Garnet, currently ranked 24th in the country, will have their undefeated conference record challenged when they play at F&M this Saturday.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team (4-5, 3-1 CC) continued their solid run against conference opponents on Friday night with an 8-1 win against Gettysburg. The only loss of the day came on No. 1 doubles. Although most of the singles matches were pretty straightforward wins, the No. 1 and No. 2 matches were slightly closer. At No. 1, Julia Gokhberg ’19 lost her first set before rebounding to win the final two 7-4 and 10-8. Arya Jemal ’19 also went to three sets at No. 2, but in the end had a solid 6-0, 2-6. 6-4 victory. The Garnet will be heading out to play F&M on Saturday.

Softball

The softball team (10-16, 1-5 CC) went into last Tuesday’s doubleheader against Rosemont College needing a win to break their four-game losing streak. They ended up getting two, blanking Rosemont 6-0 and 11-0 to sweep the day. In game 1, McKenzie Ward ’19 pitched a gem, recording the complete game shutout and 11 strikeouts. In game two, Emily Bowman ’18 and Frankie Ponziani ’18 combined for the shutout, combining for 10 strikeouts and allowing only one hit. On offense, Marit Vike ’19 and Bekah Katz ’19 contributed significantly in both games. Vike went 4-for-7 on the day, driving in two runs and scoring two more. Katz went 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. The team will try to carry its momentum into its next game against conference opponent Dickinson at home on Saturday, followed by F&M on Sunday.

Baseball

Last Friday, the men’s baseball team (16-10, 0-4 CC) hosted crosstown rival Haverford and came up short, losing, 10-0. The loss was their sixth in a row, dating back to March. Wesley Fishburn ’17 still found some success on the day, going 2-for-5 at the top of the order. After Haverford scored ten runs in the first seven innings, pitcher Griffin Kammerer ’18 came in for relief and settled things down, allowing only one hit and no walks during the final two innings. The Garnet have a busy weekend coming up, with games against conference opponents Washington College, Johns Hopkins, and Gettysburg.

Track & Field

The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Osprey Open at Stockton University on Saturday. The men had four out of the top five finishes in the 800-meter run, including Ethan Lee ’16 who placed first with a time of 2:28.29. For the women, Kate Hannah ’17 put up the best performance, placing first in the 1500-meter run. The two teams also sent two runners apiece to compete at Princeton on Friday. In addition to Katie Jo McMenamin ‘17 pulling off an amazing result in the 5K (see our Athlete of the Week for more info!), Spencer Friske ’16 also did well with a second place finish in the 5K in 14:50.87, the second-best time in school history.

Weekend Roundup

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Baseball:

The team (16-5) was off this past weekend. This Saturday, 4/2, they travel to Dickinson for a doubleheader—their first conference games of the season. Heading into Conference play, Ryan Burnett ’17 leads the league in steals (13), Aidan Miller ’17 leads the league in saves (4) and Joe Jackson ’18 ranks second in home runs (4).

Women’s Tennis:

Last Saturday, the Garnet (3-3, 2-0 CC) made quick work of McDaniel, sweeping all of their matches (9-0). In the nine matches, the women only dropped eight games total. Maria Cuervo ’18, Ashley Gao ’18 and Arya Jemal ’19 all won by the score 6-0, 6-0. Jemal, with her partner Amanda Izes ’19, also won her doubles match without conceding a game (8-0). Her impressive play earned her the title of Conference Player of the Week for March 21-27. The Garnet’s next opponent is The College of New Jersey. They will face-off this Saturday at the Faulkner Courts.

Men’s Tennis:

The men’s tennis team (5-5, 1-0 CC), ranked 31st in the country, also had a great Saturday, pulling off a 7-2 upset victory against 20th-ranked Washington & Lee. It began with a sweep of all three doubles matches, with the teams of John Larkin ’16 and Blake Oetting ’18, Mark Fallati ’18 and Josh Powell ’18, and Ari Cepelewicz ’18 and Simon Vernier ’19 earning the wins. Then, in singles play, the Garnet won the No. 1, No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6 matches. Fallati, after winning in doubles and the No.1 match, was named Centennial Conference Player of the Week. The team’s next opponent will be conference rivals Johns Hopkins on Saturday at home.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Despite an impressive 4-2 start to the season, the men’s lacrosse team lost 18-8 against Ursinus on Saturday in their first conference game of the season. After Ursinus went up 9-1 in the first quarter, the closest the Garnet ever got was a six-goal deficit in the second quarter. Matt Johnson ’18, who had missed two games due to injury, had a team-high three goals. Overall, though, the Garnet were outdone offensively, as they were outshot by Ursinus 45-25. The team will be looking for a better outcome in their next game at non-conference opponent Misericordia on Saturday.

Women’s Lacrosse:

This past weekend, Swarthmore (3-4, 0-1 CC) traveled to Ursinus for their first conference match. After a hot start that included two goals each from Elizabeth Upton ’16 and Lizzie Kolln ’16, the Garnet burst out to a 9-2 lead. However, in the second half, the lead quickly dissipated and the game went into overtime. With 22 seconds left in period, Swarthmore conceded a goal which capped off Ursinus’ impressive comeback. The team hopes to rebound in their next conference match against Bryn Mawr this Saturday at Clothier Field.

Golf:

This weekend the Garnet finished fifth out of eleven teams at the McDaniel Spring Invitational. Nick DiMaio ’19 led the Garnet, shooting a +6. He placed sixth out of sixty-three participants. Michael Chen ’17 also had a good weekend, shooting a +9 and finishing in 12th place. The Garnet play their next match on April 3 at Hershey Country Club.

Softball:

The past week did not go so well for the softball team, who struggled through a five-game losing streak that was finally broken Tuesday night. The first two losses were during a doubleheader on Thursday against Widener, in which the Garnet were outscored by a total of 16-2. Against Penn State in a doubleheader on Saturday, the team didn’t fare much better despite playing at home and lost both games. Things were starting to look grim when the Garnet lost the first game of the doubleheader against Muhlenberg, but they finally came through in the nightcap for a 3-2 victory. Despite starting down 2-0, the team rallied back in the fifth with runs from Marit Vike ’19, Amanda Lopez ’19, and Sara Planthaber ’17. Now, the team has a chance to build some momentum in their next matchup, a doubleheader at conference opponents Gettysburg on Saturday.

Badminton:

On Sunday, the women’s badminton team went out to Edison, N.J., to compete in the Northeast Collegiate Championship. There, they placed third out of five teams in the Division 2B bracket with a 2-2 record, earning wins against University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Mary Htet ’19 and Hailie Xie ’19 both won eight games. The team’s next competition will be the Pennsylvania State Open on April 8-9.

2016 Spring Sports Preview

in Men/Sports/Women by
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The Garnet teams are looking forward to a big spring

Men’s Tennis:

Even with a starting singles lineup composed of solely underclassmen (five freshmen and one sophomore), men’s tennis (13-6, 8-1 CC) put together the best 2015 campaign of any spring team. Though the team lost in the Centennial Conference championship to Johns Hopkins, the Garnet went undefeated against the other conference teams and was nationally ranked as high as 27.

Heading into this season, expectations are high. The team returns their top six singles players —  John Larkin ’17, Mark Fallati ’18, Ari Cepelewicz ’18, Blake Oetting ’18, Josh Powell ’18 and Michael Song ’18 — in addition to doubles specialist Thomas Vernier ’17. However, even with a strong core of players, the Garnet is faced with the daunting task of defeating Johns Hopkins — a team that has not lost a conference match since 2006.

“Beating Hopkins and making NCAAs is everything,” Fallati said. “We know we’re knocking on the door of that Centennial title and we’re only rising. Seeing what women’s soccer has done the last two years battling with Hopkins and finally getting a championship — we’re trying to emulate that and get our shot at NCAAs. And we plan to do it this year.”

With this indomitable attitude and bevy of talent, perhaps the tennis team could be Swarthmore’s next “Boy Who Lived.”

Women’s Tennis:

Last year the women’s tennis team (9-8, 5-5 CC) came very close to making the conference playoffs. However, on the last day of the season, a loss to #6 Johns Hopkins sealed the team’s fate, sending the players home before they were ready. Though the loss was tough to stomach, 2015 provided the Garnet with many positives. Specifically, the team did not graduate any of its players. As a result, coming into 2016, the team is familiar with each other and should only improve.

Led by Alli Wong ’17 and Maria Cuervo ’18, the team has high hopes coming into the year. In 2015, Wong and Cuervo each were named to the Centennial Conference First Team for doubles. Since they were both underclassmen last year, this year they should only be able to build on their previous success and chemistry.

Among the other contributing players are Anna Scheibmeir ’18, Ashley Gao ’18 and Rachel Bronkema ’18. Last year, these three athletes played major roles and this year should be no different.

“We have so much more experience, we have strong team chemistry…and we received some very good freshmen,” Bronkema said.  “I think we will be a much stronger team than last year.”

Men’s Lacrosse:

Despite coming off a rough season where it went 1-7 in conference, finishing eighth out of nine teams, the Garnet has high hopes. The team returns its starting goaltender Cole Fox ’17, versatile attacker Cam Marsh ’18 and defensive stalwart Jack Ryan ’18. Each of these players were starters for the entire year and made many positive contributions to the team. Fox was fourth in the conference in saves (166) and had an incredible seventeen save performance against Washington College. Marsh, then a freshman, tallied an impressive 23 goals in 15 games. Ryan solidified the backend, consistently forcing turnovers and recovering ground balls.

With star seniors such as Andrew Preiser ’15, Ian Lukaszewicz ’15 and Darrel Hunter ’15 having graduated, players like Fox, Marsh and Ryan will have to fill the void.

“The departed senior class was full of great leaders and important role players,” Ryan said. “But, strong freshmen contributors should fill the gaps with little problems.”

In particular, freshmen Griffin Johnston ’19, Dylan Rittenhouse ’19 and Christian Vik ’19 have all made positive impressions and appear primed for big years.

Women’s Lacrosse:

Heading into the 2016 season, the women’s lacrosse team will have graduated its two top producers: midfielders Elyse Tierney ‘15 (49 goals, 5 assists, 54 points) and Sara Lentricchia ’15 (29, 15, 44). Just like with the men’s team, players will need to step up and fill these gaping voids.

Three players to watch this season are attacker Lizzie Kolln ’16, attacker Kathryn Restrepo ’18 and defender Tazmin Bailiff-Curtis ’16. Last season, Kolln and Restrepo anchored the attack, combining for 54 goals in 16 games. On the flip side, Bailiff-Curtis proved to be a maven on the defensive side of the ball. She was named as an Honorable Mention for the All-Conference team.

However, Restrepo believes that the entire team will need to collectively account for Tierney and Lentricchia’s production. “I wouldn’t say that any specific person is expected to step up and fill their void,” Restrepo said. “This season is going to be team effort in every possible way. We gained two really strong freshmen and I think it’s safe to say that we have high expectations for every single member of the team this year.”

Another player in particular that the team has high hopes for is starting goaltender Connie Bowen ’16. Last season, Bowen ranked third in the Centennial Conference with 133 saves. If she can play at a high level, then the burden of replacing the star seniors will become a whole lot easier.

Softball:

After a year plagued by injuries, the 2016 softball team looks to regroup in a major way. First and foremost, the 2016 team will look a lot different from the 2015 team (5-17, 1-11 CC). Though the team graduated its catcher Emma Madarasz ’15, who led the team in hitting with a .413 average, it gained seven new freshmen. Now, eleven of the fourteen players are underclassmen, giving the team a very youthful feel.

The team also returns two standout upperclassmen: Christen Boas Hayes ’16 and Sara Planthaber ’17. Last year, both players hit over .400. Boas Hayes also led the team with 17 RBI while Planthaber finished second with 13. No other player recorded more than 6.

Excited by the prospect of a fresh start, Boas Hayes said, “I am confident this season will be one of our strongest to date…. We have talent and depth on the bench this year, so we have a strong foundation to start the season.”

Hopefully, for the Garnet’s sake, the team will be able to finish the year as well as it expects to start it.

Baseball:

Last season was a difficult one for the Garnet. After starting out with a record of 16-4 and 4-2 in conference, the team dropped 13 of its last 15 games, including its last 12 in conference. However, there were numerous positives from last season. Shortstop Wesley Fishburn ’17, pitcher Nate Booth ’16 and pitcher Aidan Miller ’17 headlined these positives.

Fishburn batted .399 and took home the Conference’s Golden Glove Award, which is handed out to the league’s best fielder. Booth led the team in ERA (2.50) and ranked second in the conference in saves (6). Last but not least, Miller, who finished with a stellar 2.61 ERA, threw the school’s first no-hitter since 1997.

In addition to these three standouts, the team has brought in twelve freshmen — many of whom are looking to make an immediate impact. Keep an eye out for pitcher Ricky Conti ’19, outfielder Andrew Kvasnicka ’19 and utility man Justin Pontrella ’19.

 

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