Big Saturday for Swat athletics

This Saturday will mark the busiest home weekend thus far on the Swarthmore Athletics calendar. Home action in various sports will be taking place at 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Clothier Field and Tarble Pavilion. The day is headlined by women’s volleyball, which hosts both Wilkes University and Cabrini College for the Garnet Classic and men’s soccer, who will put their undefeated record to the test when they host Wilkes.

Meanwhile, the women’s soccer team will also attempt to stay undefeated as they travel to Rowan University, while field hockey looks to heat up at Immaculata University.

The following is a primer for what is shaping up to be an exciting Saturday.

12 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball vs. Wilkes University, Tarble Pavilion

Overview: The Garnet will carry a 2-2 record into Saturday’s matches, having taken two of four in their season-opening tournament in Salisbury, Maryland. Seniors Kate Amodei and Chastity Hopkins lead an exciting young Garnet squad that is aiming to continue the recent success of Head Coach Harleigh Chwastyk’s program.

Players to watch: Madison Heppe ’16 and Sam DuBois ’16 look to improve upon impressive 2013 campaigns that concluded with both players earning All-Centennial Conference honors. Heppe has established herself as the conference’s best libero, earning first-team All-Conference honors by keeping points alive with her conference-best 4.85 digs per set. DuBois (Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship team) will aim to build on last season’s 8.92 assists per set average.

X-Factors: Class of 2018. Out of the 13 team members, five are first-years, more than any other class. The ability of these players to quickly make the adjustments necessary to be successful at the college level will be integral to the team’s playoff hopes.

2 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball Cabrini College vs. Wilkes University, Tarble Pavilion

Overview: Those interested in scouting out Swarthmore’s competition will have the opportunity to do so, as the hosts will have a break for middle match of the Garnet Classic.

4 p.m. Garnet Classic: women’s volleyball vs. Cabrini College, Tarble Pavilion

Overivew: Swarthmore looks to complete what it hopes will be a perfect day by playing host to the Cavaliers in the nightcap of the Garnet Classic.

X-Factor: A strong performance will give the team momentum entering Tuesday’s 320 Challenge matchup at Widener University.

7 p.m. men’s soccer vs. Wilkes University, Clothier Field

Saturday night lights: The Garnet will perform in primetime Saturday under the bright lights of beautifully renovated Clothier Field. The team frequently gets strong crowds at its matches and a particularly large one should be expected given the day and time of the match.

Overview: The perennially nationally-ranked Garnet entered this season with less prestige but has impressed thus far, remaining unbeaten with a 3-0-0 record. Notably, the team has yet to allow a single goal, beating Rowan University Monday night when Mike Stewart ’15 found the back of the net in the 80th minute.

Players to watch: Michael Superdock ’15 returns to anchor Swarthmore’s thus far stout defense. The computer science major excels in decoding teams’ offensive attacks, so much so that he was named to the Academic All-America first team. Also back for their fourth seasons are twins Mike and Geoff Stewart ’15. The three seniors will lead an extremely young Swarthmore squad that features 14 first years.

X-Factors: Team chemistry. Soccer is truly a team sport. In order to excel in the Beautiful Game, teammates must know each others’ every move and be able to anticipate passes and game situations before they even occur. This year’s seniors likely understand this phenomenon quite well. After a 2011 season when admittedly poor team chemistry contributed to the team’s fall from top-ranked team in the country to failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, the 2012 season saw a less star-laden, but more cohesive team make it all the way to the Sweet 16. With so many young players, the team’s ability to play effectively together will determine their ability to succeed.

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