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Athlete of the week: Conor Harkins ’21

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The Men’s Basketball team started off this season hot, with a high-scoring 111-89 win over Hood College. Freshman Guard Conor Harkins from Greenwich, Conn. made a big arrival on to the collegiate basketball scene in his first career game, sinking nine three-point shots and scoring 27 points to lead the Garnet in scoring. The Garnet are now 4-0 and ranked 12th nationally, and will play their conference home opener tonight against Muhlenberg College in Tarble Pavilion.

Jack Corkery: What is your intended major, and what made you choose it?

Conor Harkins: I’m not entirely sure yet, but I am leaning towards majoring in economics. I have always been interested in the areas of business and finance and feel that an economics major would best capture that together.

JC: How did you decide to attend Swarthmore College?

CH: There were a lot of factors that went into making me choose Swarthmore. The biggest thing that I saw in Swarthmore were the endless opportunities. Between the top-notch academics and a talented basketball team, Swarthmore seemed like the perfect fit for me. Additionally, on my visits here all of the players and coaches and even other students I met were all nice and fun to hang out with. It was also a great location, being just over two hours away from where I live so not too far but far enough that I didn’t feel like I was still at home.

JC: How has the adjustment to college life been athletically and academically?

CH: At first it was a big adjustment trying to find the right balance and way to manage my time. I think what helped me and I’m sure the rest of the freshmen a lot was the fact that our first semester here is pass/fail. This made the workload seem a little less stressful, and allowed for me to figure out how to schedule my time between sports, academics, and sleep. As for basketball, it is similar to how I thought it was going to be work-wise. It is obviously more serious and takes up more time than high school sports, but it is something I love and am passionate about so it doesn’t seem like a hassle to me. By this point I would say I am pretty settled in and have gotten used to college life, but the biggest difference was just trying to figure out how to effectively use my time.

JC: What was it like sinking 9 threes and scoring 27 points in your first collegiate game?

CH: Going into the game I was definitely a little nervous, but I was also really excited. Scoring 27 points in that first game still feels surreal to me, but it felt great just to simply help the team get a win in the first game of the year. To hit nine threes in my first collegiate game is definitely something I’ll remember for a very long time, and it was a pretty special moment to have both of my parents there for it as well.

JC: Do you have any personal or team goals for the remainder of the season?

CH: Our team goal is to simply be the best we can be everyday. We talked about at the beginning of the year being a top team in the Centennial Conference and even the nation, but Coach Landry does a great job of keeping all of us focused on the next practice or next game, rather than a season-long goal.


Swarthmore Women’s Volleyball makes history

in Sports/Uncategorized/Women by

After an outstanding performance against the 12th-ranked Johns Hopkins, the Swarthmore Volleyball team has clinched a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals; the team ventures to Grand Rapids, Mi. today to play its quarterfinal match against Wittenberg University, the tournament’s current number one seed.

Swarthmore Volleyball had already set a school record by gaining its first-ever bid to the NCAA tournament. Three rounds later, the team’s unprecedented success resulted in Swarthmore’s being the first team from the Centennial Conference to reach the Round of Eight.

Advancing to the round of eight required an unprecedented team effort from Swarthmore Volleyball. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, Swarthmore dominated with a 3-0 win against Randolph-Macon, a liberal arts college of 1,400 students in Ashland, Virginia. Sarah Girard ’19 led the team with 19 digs, and Malia Scott ’18 helped the offense to a .223 hitting percentage with her 33 assists.

The next day, in the second round, the Garnet defeated the 10th ranked Carnegie Mellon with another 3-0 sweep. Swarthmore’s defense was outstanding, limiting the CMU Tartans to .130 hitting percentage. Additionally, as if the score itself was not dramatic enough, the game ended with two consecutive aces from Scott.

Following the win against CMU, on Nov. 12, Swarthmore faced Centennial Conference Champions Johns Hopkins. This year alone, Swarthmore had previously lost two matches to Hopkins. While the first was a regular season game that the Garnet lost 2-3, the second was the Centennial Conference finals, in which Hopkins defeated Swarthmore 3-1. The loss eerily echoed last year’s loss to Hopkins in the same conference final.

Across the entire season, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays had only been defeated by three teams, all of which were nationally-ranked. Even so, Swarthmore played a fantastic game, and despite the earlier losses against the Blue Jays, the team rallied to defeat Johns Hopkins 3-2 in an intense nail-biter. Fan support definitely played a role in the win; Swarthmore sent out a packed fan bus on the day of the game to support the team.

In a post-game press conference, head coach Harleigh Chwastyk commented on the dynamic between the volleyball teams of Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore.

“They came ready to play, and we did too. It’s been a battle between our programs over the last two years…It’s just, wow. It hasn’t sunk in…We’ve gone five sets with this team on multiple occasions. So, I felt like we had a lot of things in our favor. We weren’t getting the unexpected thrown at us, and I think our composure was fantastic too.”

Scott also spoke on this topic. When asked what it was like to play Johns Hopkins for the third time this season, she said the following.

“A lot of us, having played them twice, felt like we weren’t able to give it our all in previous two matches. I think we wanted to come out and be able to show in this vital match what we can do and to play to our full potential. So, I know I was excited to play them again.”  

Mehra Den Braven ’20, who was named the Most Outstanding Player for the Regional, shared her teammate’s attitude.

“I agree with Malia. It was exciting to get to play them again and have the outcome be so different from the last two times, but again, it was also a challenge, mentally especially, just because we do know what they are about, and we know that they are a good team.”

The Garnet will have to stay on top of their game and continue to play very well to win today’s quarterfinal match against Wittenberg. Wittenberg is seeded number one in the NCAA Elite 8 bracket, after winning five straight games, in four of which the score was 3-0.

Currently ranked third in all of Division 3 Volleyball, Wittenberg has had a consistently strong volleyball team in the past as well. The match against Swarthmore today will mark the eighth time that Wittenberg Volleyball has reached the Elite 8, the most recent having been in 2015. Needless to say, the Garnet will have to play hard today. Still, given how well the postseason has been going, there’s no doubt that the team has a good chance of winning and making it to the semifinals. For those who would like to follow the team’s progress, the game against Wittenberg will be available on live stream through the Swarthmore Athletics website.


Volleyball and Women’s soccer takes on the postseason

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With fall break having come and gone and going and the second rounds of midterms fast approaching, fall sports have begun winding down. As teams begin to hang up their jerseys and look to improve in the offseason, Volleyball and Women’s Soccer have a chance to compete for a Centennial Conference Championship.

Both of these teams have previous experience in playoffs. Women’s Soccer made it to the semifinal round, and Volleyball was the runner up in the Championship last year. Both teams have been working hard and putting everything they have into the final weeks of their season.

Volleyball is hoping to claim their first-ever Centennial Conference Championship this year. Seeded second in conference, the team hopes to make a strong run in the postseason. Last season, they came within a match of winning the Championship but were ultimately beaten out by Johns Hopkins. This year, Volleyball is working hard for a different outcome. The team has been doing everything in their power to prepare themselves for their upcoming game this Saturday against Muhlenberg. Emily Kibby ’19 elaborated on her team’s preparation.

All the training that we’ve been doing all season and the competition that we’ve faced has been leading up to now. This week is about focusing on what we can do well and making sure that we take care of ourselves so that we can play our best on Saturday,” said Kibby.

The team also stresses the importance of a healthy team environment off the court. For example, this Halloween the whole team dressed up as broccoli, decking themselves out in green morph suits and broccoli earrings. Creating a fun team culture has been an integral part of Volleyball’s current success. Their ability to be united off the court has played a big role in their positive team chemistry that has helped them win on the court. This amazing team atmosphere can be attributed to their five seniors who have dedicated the past four years to their team. Elise Cummings ’19 shares the impact the seniors have had.

“Our seniors have each played a huge role in taking Swarthmore Volleyball to the next level these past four years. I know I speak for everyone who has had the opportunity to play with these five when I say that I consider it a privilege to have shared the court with them. There is no one I would rather have to lead us to a championship this weekend.”

Led by these five instrumental seniors, the Garnet face Muhlenberg this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Although the game will be at Johns Hopkins, it can be viewed through the athletic website on the live feed. If they win that game, they play the winner of John Hopkins and either Franklin and Marshall or McDaniel Sunday at 1 p.m for the Centennial Conference Championship.

Women’s Soccer looks to claim its second-ever Centennial Conference Championship this weekend. Seeded second, the team hopes to make a strong run in conferences. Last season Johns Hopkins halted their conference run in the semifinals, but Swat Soccer is looking to come back strong this year. Instead of focusing on the championship, women’s soccer is playing in the moment and trying their hardest to win each game. Yasmeen Namazie ’19 expanded on this win-every-game mentality and how it is a different mindset from last year.

I think that this year we have been more fixated on the present than looking at games in the future. We have really emphasized a one game at a time mentality. Every game matters at this point; it’s win or go home.”

Garnet Soccer has been working hard every day in order to prepare for their conference championship tournament. When asked about their upcoming semifinals matchup against Haverford, Claire O’Brien ’18 gave some insight on how the team has been preparing.

“We have been preparing by staying focused and continuing to build on what we’ve done all season. We are continuing to work hard to stay sharp on our game skills and get our school work done since we’ll likely be away traveling most of the weekend.”

Swat Soccer takes on Haverford this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Like Volleyball, their game is away at Johns Hopkins but can be viewed on the athletic website’s live stream. If they win Saturday, they will play for the championship at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Swarthmore sports seem poised for a strong playoff run this fall. These two teams have worked extremely hard in the regular season in order to ensure a bid into conferences, and they are now continuing this hard work into playoffs. Volleyball looks to capitalize on their stellar senior class and their inspirational leadership in their pursuit of their first Centennial Conference Championship. Women’s soccer plans to use their win-each-game mentality to advance past semifinals and win the championship. Hopefully, both teams will come back to Swat with a Championship trophy and a bid into NCAA Playoffs.

Athlete of the week: Sophia Stills ’21

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

Last week, the Swarthmore Women’s Soccer team continued to build on a successful 2017 season, with two big conference wins against Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg. Crucial in the two wins was forward Sophia Stills 21 of Los Angeles, California, who scored in both games coming off the bench.  The Garnet have clinched a playoff spot and currently sit in second place in the Centennial Conference standings. They will play one more game at Haverford this Saturday before the playoffs begin.

Jack Corkery: What is your intended major, and what made you choose to study it?

Sophia Stills: I am interested in history and peace and conflict studies. Ever since high school, I have been very interested in history, and I had decided then that I was going to probably major in it once I got to college. Peace and conflict studies is something that I really didn’t know much about before coming to Swarthmore. But on the first day of classes, I was introduced to the subject and I gained a keen interest in the topic.

JC: What made you decide to attend Swarthmore?

SS: A variety of reasons. I think I am very lucky because Swarthmore is a place I can thrive academically, socially, and also it was a good fit with soccer. When I came here for a visit and took my tour, the classic “Swarthmore Student” sounded like a person very similar to myself, which made me realize I wanted to come here.

JC: How difficult has the adjustment to college academics and athletics been for you?

SS: The transition was made a lot easier by the fact I had the soccer team behind me. It was great to have a group of people to go to when you needed help with all the new stuff going on, like new professors, new environment, and new side of the country. Also, the social aspect of making friends was made much easier by having the soccer team.

JC: How does the team feel about moving into the NCAA regional rankings?

SS: I actually am not really sure where we are ranked. As a team, we try not to check the rankings and get caught up in where we are, so we can stay focused on the next team we play.

JC: Do you have any goals for the remainder of the season?

SS: Personally, my biggest goal is to fill whatever role the team needs me in, whether it is on the field or being a supportive teammate. I think if we continue to focus on being our personal best, our team will continue to have success.

Swarthmore sports fall break update

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While most Swarthmore students were at home enjoying fall break and reconnecting with family and friends, many of the varsity sports teams stayed on campus to continue their seasons, or begin preparations for their upcoming year. While both soccer teams, field hockey, and volleyball continued Centennial Conference play, both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams returned to campus early to prepare for their winter seasons. The ten-day break proved to be an eventful one on campus for many of these teams, filled with games, practices, preparations, and team bonding activities.

Last year the Men’s Basketball team boasted an unprecedented 23-6 record, which included a Centennial Conference championship and a bid to play in the NCAA Division III tournament. The team ended up winning their first game in the NCAA tournament, but narrowly lost to Christopher Newport University in the second round of the tournament by a score of 77-67. This was the first time in Swarthmore history that the men’s team reached the NCAA tournament, prompting huge fan turnout at both the conference games, as well as the NCAA tournament games. After graduating only three seniors and retaining three of five starters, the team looks to build on last year’s success. Over fall break, the team participated in a workout and team building regiment called “The Program” that incorporated the new first-years. The Garnet are lead by Swarthmore men’s basketball’s first All-American, Cam Wiley ’19, along with stars Zack Yonda ’18 and Robbie Walsh ’18. The men’s team opens their season up on Nov. 15 with a home game against Hood College.

The Women’s Basketball team looks to bounce back this year after experiencing a disappointing season last winter. The team returned to campus on Thursday to begin their new season, with three first-years joining 11 returning players. Head coach Renee DeVarney returns for her 13th season, and she will be joined by new assistant coach Brianne Camden. They have their season opener at home against Widener College on Nov. 15.

The Women’s Soccer team has been having an extremely memorable season as they improved their record to 12-3 over the fall break. The Garnet lost their first game to Johns Hopkins but quickly turned it around and won their two following games against Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg.  Marin McCoy ’19 led the team with two goals in the win against Bryn Mawr. The Garnet are now ranked 20th in all of Division III and look to continue their stellar play as they face off against Haverford this Saturday.

The Men’s Soccer team played four matches over the fall break period, losing three and drawing one. The team holds a record of 4-9-3 so far, which is similar to last year’s record of 7-10-1. The team played their senior match against Gettysburg College, honoring four seniors: Omadayo Origunwa, Michael Nafziger, Tommy Sheehan, and Ryan Ward. While the Garnet will miss out on playoff action yet again, the team hopes to build next year with a strong nucleus of underclassmen. The team will finish up their regular season this Saturday at Haverford in a rivalry match.

The Field Hockey team, with a record of 7-9, look to end their season on a positive note in their final two games. Fall break marked a rough stretch of the season for the Garnet, as they are on a three-game losing streak. Last week, the team had their Senior Day, honoring Ellory Laning, Clare Perez, Amy Gilligan, Jane Blicher, Nicole Phalen, and Sierra Spencer. They will finish their season against Centennial Conference rival Haverford on Saturday.

The volleyball team continues to be a highlight of the Swarthmore athletics program, as they have a record of 18-6 so far, with a 7-2 Centennial Conference record. The team narrowly lost last year in the Centennial Conference final to Johns Hopkins, and are looking to try and avenge that loss in the playoffs this year. Over fall break, the Garnet won three out of their four games, losing narrowly to Johns Hopkins in five sets. Sarah Girard 19, Emma Morgan-Bennett 20, and Mehra den Braven 20 continue to be standouts for the team, and have so far been leaders on the floor. The team finishes their regular season against Haverford on Saturday, as they look to close out the season in style and ready themselves for the Centennial Conference playoffs.

Field Hockey Thriving Under Coach Allison

in Fall/Season/Sports/Women by

If you happen to be by the athletic fields on a Tuesday morning, you will most likely catch a glimpse of Swarthmore’s Field Hockey team starting their day off with a 6 a.m. practice. It is this type of commitment that has contributed to their recent and unprecedented success. Having won six out of their last 10 games, Field Hockey has already won more games this season than in any other since 2012. The Garnet’s success can also be attributed to their new coach, Hannah Allison, who brings a refreshing new coaching style and a positive outlook for the team’s 2017 season.

Ellory Laning 18 shared her thoughts on her new coach and impact she has already had, and will continue to have, on the program.

“I think that we’ve always seen ourselves as a strong and talented team, but Coach Allison has dedicated a lot of practice time to helping us recognize where we break down and what has been preventing us from applying our strengths in games, which has greatly improved our play and helped us to connect and function as a united team,” she said.

Under Allison’s coaching, the Garnet have already won more Conference games this season than they have in the last four seasons. This newfound success must be attributed both to Allison’s coaching as well as her team’s ability to adapt and thrive under her new coaching style. This new coaching style focuses on the positives, creating a different team dynamic on the field. Instead of yelling when her athletes make mistakes, Allison tries to make each mistake a learning experience.

“I look forward to practices a lot more this season because I feel like I learn so much from them, as well as games. I think we just feel more confident playing our opponents this year knowing that we have a shot at winning,” said Zelda Bank 19.

The team have connected both on and off the field and all the players have really stepped up, especially the five first-years. Chelsea Semper ’21, who already feels like she has grown as a player under the guidance of Coach Allison, thinks that the team can became a competing force in the Centennial Conference.

“I’m really excited to see the program continue to grow this season and gain more respect in our conference. I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that is positively impacting the Swat Field Hockey program and helping turn it into a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” she said.

Having always been supportive and communicative, the Field Hockey team is making major headway in their level of confidence and winning mentality that will help them become a team to be reckoned with. Lizzy Stant ’19 gave some insight on a Centennial rival that she really wants to beat this year.

“John Hopkins! We had a tight game against them last year, and with our improvements over the past year we’d all love to bring them an even better game this year! We want to continue to improve in the conference and make other teams respect us and fear us! I believe in our ability to be able to do that this year more than ever before,” she said.

Field Hockey seems poised this year for their strongest season since 2012. With a new coach and new outlook on both practices and games, the team is set to grow and could be a solid contender in the Centennial Conference. While their much-anticipated game against John Hopkins is an away game on Oct. 14, Field Hockey faces Oneonta on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. on Clothier Field.

Athlete of the Week: Marin McCoy ’19

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This past week, Junior Women’s Soccer player Marin McCoy won her third Centennial Conference Player of the Week award after scoring seven points in the Garnet’s two games. She set the program’s record for career points on Wednesday in a loss to Arcadia and tied the program record for goals in a win against Franklin and Marshall. She has 13 goals and nine assists this year. The Garnet have a rivalry matchup this Saturday against Johns Hopkins at 4 p.m.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what made you want to pursue it?

Marin McCoy: I am a biology major and have always really enjoyed learning about the way things work. I particularly enjoy learning about how the body works and understanding the various biological adaptations that animals have made over time to survive in their environments. While I enjoy all these aspects about biology, including the intimate relationship with the natural world, I find incorporating social justice into biological studies most compelling. If public health was a major option at Swarthmore, I would love to learn about how science can be used to stop injustices, systematic racism, and discrimination in our society.

JC: What appealed to you about Swarthmore when you were in the recruiting process?

MM: I really liked Swarthmore because it seemed to put a greater emphasis on academics than athletics. I wanted to be able to take advantage of all the things a liberal arts college has to offer, with soccer also being a part of my life. I really liked the emphasis Swarthmore put on social justice and I wanted to meet weird and quirky people.

JC: How did you feel when you set the school points record?

MM: I guess when I found out I was a little embarrassed. While I am sure my ego benefits from the limelight, sometimes I feel like it is unfair that forwards (those often scoring and assisting) get so much more attention over the midfielders and defenders. This record is without a doubt a testament to the opportunities that those teammates have created for me to finish. I am really proud of our team for creating so many scoring opportunities (53 shots in our last game!).

JC: You have a unique background not playing club soccer in high school, unlike most of your teammates, and you were also a three sport athlete in high school. How do you think your unique background prepared you for collegiate success?

MM: I think I avoided playing club soccer in high school for my own sanity. I was already beginning to get burned out of soccer, and I don’t think I would have been in the right place had I continued playing. I think having access to three different sports and all the coaches and teammates that came along with that really helped my enjoyment of the sport and the various aspects of different types of games. I also think that playing different sports might have given me a better field awareness, and it has possibly helped me better understand the sport from an analytical point of view.

JC: The team looks really good this year. What will the biggest key for success be going forward in the season?

MM: I think the key to success this season is continuing to play together as a team. When we play as a unit we are really, really hard to beat (and it’s super fun). I also think that when we score early, we are able to settle into our style of play, and if we can consistently do this we will have a lot more success.

JC: Do you have any goals, personal or team, for the rest of the season?

MM: Our team decided this season that we were going to focus on being present. This means that we don’t look up other teams, and we focus on playing our game regardless of the opponent. Personally, my goal this season has been to not regret the amount of effort I have put forth. It can be really hard to score goals while putting extra pressure on yourself. Instead, I try to focus on giving as much effort as possible and hope that this will help the team succeed.


Athlete of the Week: Michael Brown ’21

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Golfer and first-year phenom Michael Brown ’21 has made a historic impact on the Garnet in his debut season so far. Hailing from Reading, Conn., Brown finished first overall Sept. 10 at the Swarthmore-Neumann Invitational in a field of 82 competitors, shooting a 68 overall, one stroke off the Swarthmore program record. He was named Centennial Conference Golfer of the Week for his performance in the tournament and has continued to impress in both the Harrisburg Invitational and the Montgomery Cup in the weeks following. The Garnet return to action on Sept. 30 at the McDaniel Mason-Dixon Invitational.

Ping Promrat: How has the adjustment to college been for you, both academically and athletically?

Michael Brown: In terms of academics, Swarthmore is definitely a step up for me, as there is a lot more time management involved in balancing aspects of college life. I think I’ve adjusted well athletically, and it is a lot of what I expected coming in. The tournament atmosphere is very similar to what I had in high school and the tournaments I played in over the summer.

PP: What is your intended major, and what interests you about it?

MB: I’m currently undecided. That being said, I’m much more of a natural sciences kind of person, so I’m thinking about a potential environmental studies major. I also really like my Introduction to Economics class, too, so I’ll see where my interests take me.

PP: What has been your favorite part about collegiate athletics so far?

MB: I’d say bonding with the guys on the team. We’ve travelled together for multiple tournaments so far on the weekends, and I’ve had a great time with them so far. Also, it’s been great to see where my game stacks up on the collegiate level, as the field of competitors is much stronger than in high school.

PP: What are your athletic goals for the fall season?

MB: Hopefully to win as many tournaments as possible as a team. Personally, I want to stick to my routine of practicing with the team along with working out on my own. We have a great hitting net right by Mertz Field, so I plan to keep working on my swing daily, and making sure that every piece of my game is at its best for the upcoming tournaments.


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