Swarthmore sports fall break update

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.

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