Women’s Basketball Team Strives to Make Playoffs

Senior Allie Scott leads the team in rebounds per game. (Photo by Matt Molek)
Senior Allie Scott leads the team in rebounds per game. (Photo by Matt Molek)

The Lady Hawks, fresh off their recent win on February 4 against Hood College, are working towards a spot in the Capital Athletic Conference championship. The team has a 5-7 record in the CAC, and an overall record of 7-13. At the time of this writing, there are 5 games left before the championship games begin on February 24.

The top six teams in the CAC play against each other in the championship. St. Mary’s women’s basketball is currently ranked 6th, as of February 5, with four more conference games to play before the championship starts.

Women’s basketball had a major victory against Hood College on February 4, with a score of 84-31. The team played very well together, consistently scoring points and getting rebounds.

In an interview with Barb Bausch, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, she said the team was making “progressive improvement.” She said one of the major setbacks the team faced was not having a point guard, making it difficult during practices and during games. However, she has been doing recruiting and working on getting a full roster for next season.

Bausch also said the team was a “pretty close bunch…[they] support each other well.” Tiara Hurte, sophomore, supported this saying, “I feel as though our experience here has made us a stronger team.”

Junior Alex Wenger has played in every game this season. (Photo by Matt Molek)
Junior Alex Wenger has played in every game this season. (Photo by Matt Molek)

According to Bausch women’s basketball has been working on becoming a more cohesive unit, already strong in shooting and running in the open court. They are continuing to learn how to read defense and “get[ting] to know each other’s movements.”

Allie Scott, senior, said “we have a lot of talent, but we are young team.” In regards to the upcoming championship, she said, “Not all of the teams in our conference make the playoffs this year so we are hoping to be one of the teams that does, which is looking like we are.  Our goal is to make it to the championship by taking down our rivals that we lost to in the beginning of the season since we are now playing more like a team.”

Women’s basketball’s last home game is February 21.

Undefeated Seahawks Claim Two Tournament Titles

The Men’s Basketball team is looking stronger than ever with an impressive 7-0 record, and two tournament titles under their belts.

The Seahawks won the Penn State-Behrend Tip-Off Tournament, notching convincing victories against 2008 NCAA tournament qualifers Nazareth and Penn State-Behrend, and then proceeded to plow through the Provident Pride of Maryland Tournament. The Seahawks knocked out last years tournament winner, McDaniel College, in the first round of tournament play, and won the championship game in a come from behind 84-81 victory against Johns Hopkins University.

The team is also 2-0 in conference play this season, having posted 9 point victories over Stevenson (80-71) and Marymount University (76-67).

St. Mary’s was named to the No. 18 spot on D3hoops.com’s Division III Top 25 poll, the highest national ranking in program’s history. The team was ranked No. 28 in preseason polling.

The Seahawks won’t return home again until Jan. 3 when they will host Arcadia at 2:00 p.m.

Sailing Wraps Up Fall Season with Anticipation for the Spring

The team consists of sailors from all over the country, as well as outside. The recruitment process usually involves sailors “contacting us,” a sign of the status St. Mary’s holds in the sailing world. (Photo submitted by Jen Chamberlain)
The team consists of sailors from all over the country, as well as outside. The recruitment process usually involves sailors “contacting us,” a sign of the status St. Mary’s holds in the sailing world. (Photo submitted by Jen Chamberlain)

As most sports move indoors this time of year, the St. Mary’s sailing team toughs out the cold.  “It wasn’t too long ago that we all arrived on campus early to do boat work and prepare for the season. Now that our fall season is wrapping up I find myself in a dry suit all bundled up.  But as our coach always says, at least the water is still warm,” says junior Sara Morgan Watters.  The team concludes a most successful fall season: in a recent November national ranking, the coed team was ranked #2, while the women’s team was ranked #1 in the country.

Qualifying for each possible nationals event, including the men’s single-handed nationals, women’s single-handed nationals, and Sloops Nationals, the squad is proud of their accomplishments thus far.  They were only one point shy of winning a consecutive Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Sloop Nationals at the University of South Florida, and executed an exciting victory at the Co-Ed Atlantic Coast Championship, the most important double-handed event of the fall season.  Junior captain Ted Hale says, “I feel like the regattas we’ve had so far this season have gone really well, we are always in contention for winning every event, and have come home with some W’s. I think the whole team and the coaches are really excited and looking forward to the spring season.”

The team has high expectations for themselves this spring with their sights set on San Francisco, the location of the 2009 ICSA Women’s, Coed and Team Racing National events.  But to pave their way to the Golden Gate, they are firm believers in the adage “practice makes perfect.”  “Our goals for the spring season will be to continue to get better every day. As coach Bill [Ward] says, we are not just competing on weekends, we compete every day at workouts and practice  in hopes to work a little harder and get a little better than the other teams,” states Watters.

“Our biggest challenge will probably overcoming inexperience as we have a rather young but talented team,” says junior Jesse Kirkland.  Graduating a whopping eleven talented sailors last spring, the team is indeed a young one.  However, Coach Adam Werblow has faith in all of his athletes to keep the standards high.  “Our team is 15% smaller and that means we don’t have a person to waste.  If just a couple of people are doing less than their absolute best in our daily training; the results will begin to show it.  St. Mary’s College Sailing has a tradition of excellence and we hope and intend to be one of the teams capable of vying for national titles later this spring.”

The new River Center is an exciting addition to the campus that will be extremely beneficial to the sailing team.  “Our resources are more plentiful than ever and it is much appreciated by all the sailors,” says sophomore Michael Menninger.

The team is especially happy to have locker rooms for the first time, so that they won’t have to change out of their wetsuits in the frigid weather.  But although this addition to the campus is much appreciated by the sailors, Werblow hopes that the entire campus community will make use of the new waterfront as well.  “We hope the campus community as a whole couldn’t be happier with their new waterfront.  This facility is for the entire college community and we are excited to see it come online and fully operational.”

This weekend the Possum Bowl took place, an annual alumni regatta in which undergrads also participate and look forward to greatly.  Alumni from all across the nation flew in for the event to sail, reunite with college friends and teammates, and visit their beautiful alma-mater.  During this time, the River Center and Rowing Center were blessed.  With a great fall season and a stunning new facility, the team is rearing to go for the spring.  “The River Center has brought a lot of excitement to the team which we hope to translate to wins on the water,” says Hale.

Women’s Soccer Makes SMCM Sport History

Sofia Esparaza had three shots on goal in the game against York (Photos by Brendan O’Hara).
Sofia Esparaza had three shots on goal in the game against York (Photos by Brendan O’Hara).

With eleven hours and counting before they leave for Lynchburg to make program history, the ladies of St Mary’s soccer team are huddled around the Daily Grind for a Thursday night TNA coffeehouse, cheering for teammate Katie Klotz as she belts out an a capella rendition of Alicia Key’s “No One.”

Aside from the setting, it’s hard to distinguish the girl’s shouts of encouragement from the ones heard on their field at a typical game—but that shouldn’t be a surprise.  It’s that kind of continuous support–on and off the field–that the team cites for their extremely successful season which included a 12-2-3 record, a CAC championship, and a first-ever bid to the NCAA tournament.  “Things are clicking this year,” articulates senior captain Marie Oben.

And they certainly are—on top of a championship title, the Seahawks were recognized with seven All-CAC picks, matching a program record dating back to 1992.  Lauren Carrier was honored as CAC Player-of-the-Year, and managed to lead the conference with an average of 2.42 points per game and 1.08 goals per game, despite being forced to end her season early with a devastating knee-injury. Carrier’s injury on
October 15th was just another testament to the teams grit and togetherness.

Junior midfielder Sophie Esparaza describes; “the loss of Lauren really freaked us out initially but players stepped up, proved themselves, and we proved as a team that we could come back from that and not let it affect our chemistry on and off the field.”

And there’s no doubt in any of the girls minds that Carrier was deserving of her CAC honor; “even after missing those games, she [Carrier] still leads the conference in goals and assists,” says
Oben, “I’m glad they got that right.”

Joining Carrier on the all CAC first team was Oben, Esparaza, and senior defender Katie Klotz.  Junior defender Karisa Carroll, freshman forward Bridget McGovern and senior midfielder Taylor Cervenka all earned spots on the second team.  Excited as they are
about the honors, Oben and others don’t see this season as one about individual skills—“we’re all in this together” she says.

And that’s the attitude they carried with them into the tournament last weekend.  “Our team chemistry is fantastic” says CAC Coach-of-the-
Year Brianna Weaver; “Our goal throughout the year has been playing every game to the best of our ability, and that’s exactly what we hope to do on Saturday against Emory.”

Senior captain Taylor Cervenka describes how this year, the team and coach Weaver took a whole new approach to the season.  “Last year, we learned a lot about what to do differently and better,” she said.  It wouldn’t be surprising for a team whose been at it full-force since mid-August to be physically andmentally exhausted by this point, but Esparza says that Weaver makes sure that the girls maintain their composure and excitement going into the tournament.

“At this point in the semester and season people usually get stressed and burnt out. Bri’s done a great job of making it fun for us this past week while still working us hard. She always gives us days off and if people feel the need to take more time off to be completely healed and 100 percent for games she has no problem with that.”

Not only does Weaver coach a team of supportive and talented individuals, but she also makes a point to reach out to the greater St. Mary’s community.  “Bri strives for community outreach and wants to represent St. Mary’s outside of school.”

Junior midfielder Lea Gonzalez blocks the ball. She proved to be an essential player during the game.
Junior midfielder Lea Gonzalez blocks the ball. She proved to be an essential player during the game.

The team invited a few local girls, including St. Mary’s English Professor Ben Click’s daughters, to join them in a practice to participate in shooting drills, and the girls even came to some games.  Junior Brianne Carroll thinks that this outreach benefits the team itself as well as the community.  She says, “Seeing girls nine years old keeps us grounded and reminds you of when you were little, how you loved soccer so much, and how you still love it.”

And while the teams historic season ended in the first round of NCAA play with a 3-0 loss to Emory, all of this will serve them well.  Coach Weaver knows that the great success of her team this year will certainly benefit the program in the coming years.  “We had the fortunate opportunity to follow in the steps of lacrosse and basketball.

This will attract a higher level of soccer player to bring the [soccer] program up even more, and with it, the rest as well.”  This season marks the beginning of a very bright future for St. Mary’s Soccer, and this is all owed to Coach Weaver and her players.

Esparza says, “It feels great to be apart of the first team in the school’s history to win a CAC championship and I think it can only get better from here. The younger players have a lot to look forward to and the older ones are happy to have been a part of such a successful team.”

To end their historic season, the team lost to Emory University 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division III soccer tournament.

Seahawks Upset Bowie State

Camontae Griffin led the team with 25 points against Bowie State.
Camontae Griffin led the team with 25 points against Bowie State.

After winning the CAC championship and fighting to the NCAA Sweet 16 in an historic season last year, the men’s basketball team showed no signs of slowing down as the Seahawks upset the highly favored Division II Bowie State Bulldogs in an exhibition game at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. on Nov. 7.

Speaking about the victory, head coach Chris Harney said, “It was exciting. It was a hard fought win against a team that definitely didn’t expect to lose the game… Usually you don’t expect a team that has 12 full scholarships to lose to a team that has none.”

The Seahawks got off to a rough start at the beginning of the game, falling behind by 17 points early in the first half after an 18-1 run by Bowie State. “We were a little rusty…and I guess a lot of that had to do with nerves” said senior forward Calvin Wise. Those nerves were not unfounded. Bowie State is favored to win their conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), this year “which many feel is the best Division II conference in the country,” Harney said.

The Seahawks were able to pull it together though, coming right back against Bowie State with an 18-4 run of their own to finish the second half trailing by only 4 points. The game was very close for most of the second half, but giving up that massive first half lead had clearly gotten to the Bulldogs. “When it got tight and we took the lead they showed their almost lack of mental toughness. They became unraveled and started yelling at each other,” said Harney.

“[Basketball] is a game of runs. People are going to make a run at you. They’re going to have their run, and then you have to answer with your run,” said Harney. “It’s just going to be a constant back and forth battle of that, and the team that hangs tough is the one that will win.” After both teams exchanged damaging runs in the first half, it was St. Mary’s who gave the final answer, finishing the game on a 16-9 run to win by a score of 82-75.

“In the second half we really played our game,” said Wise. “We’re feeling as confident as ever.”

The team’s leading scorer in the game with 25 points was junior guard Camontae Griffin. A new face on the team, Griffin is a transfer from Division II Shaw University, also a CIAA program.  On the Bowie State game Griffin said, “It was a great experience. It was great for the team, confidence-wise. I feel as though we won’t play another team like that, as athletic as them, so I think we should be very good this year.”

The seahawks will see more preseason action at the Penn State-Behrend Tip-Off Tournament this weekend, with their first game friday at 6pm against Nazareth College. “Nazareth won 20+ games last year and went to the [NCAA] tournament, so we’ll get a test right away against a NCAA tournament caliber program,” said Harney. “I think we’ll be ready,” said Griffin. “I feel ready.”

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Harney said, “our schedule this year is one of the toughest I’ve ever seen here. So we’ll be tested early and often, but that’s why you play … I want us to work for everything we get.” Wise said that the team is “really excited to get at it.”

Look for the Seahawks at their first home game, Tuesday Nov. 25 at 7pm against McDaniel College.

Swim Team Makes Strong Strokes

First-year Troy Kent swam at Linganore High School. His strongest events include fly and freestyle (Photo by Brendan O’Hara).
First-year Troy Kent swam at Linganore High School. His strongest events include fly and freestyle (Photo by Brendan O’Hara).

The St. Mary’s Men’s and Women’s swimming teams have had a strong start this year; both the men and women have 1-0 conference records, beating Hood on November 8th. As of November 14, overall, the men’s team has a 1-1 record and the women’s team has a 2-1 record. The teams are looking forward to their meets and according to Head Coach Andre Barbins, “building] on their success and placing] higher in the conference.”

The teams faced Hood College and Catholic University on November 8th. The women’s team won against both, while the men’s team defeated Hood and lost against Catholic. On November 14th, the Lady Hawks squared off against Randolph Macon College, but lost 129-76. This past Saturday, November 15th, both teams raced against Washington College.

The swimming teams have been working very hard with rigorous preseason training. Coach Barbins said the teams have “good work ethic” and they “started off really well.” The swimmers have also commented on the intensity of their training and their preparedness for the season.

Sophomore Nico Pinto said, “We’re doing much better than last year and we’re ready for the championship.”

The swimming team also gained several new additions. Sophomore Kalvin Day, who joined this year said, he’s “looking forward to the season” and “everyone’s been getting along real well.”  Senior women’s captain Brie McDowell said that the bigger size of the team “makes us more competitive.” Coach Barbins also commented on the strong mix of senior class leaders and new swimmers.

The teams are not only strong in the water, but they are close outside of the pool as well. Both the men’s and women’s teams get together on the weekends and convene for meals which helps keep everyone committed and strong.

Although, things are looking up for the swimming teams, the teams are always looking to develop their abilities. Barbins said he wants the teams “to continue to get better cohesively.” Pinto also said the team has to have the “commitment to improve.”

Aside from near-weekly meets, the teams are preparing for their annual training trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In the beginning of January, the teams travel to Florida for a week and a half for twice a day practices, competitions and invitationals. McDowell said it’s “a lot of fun, but you definitely have to be in the right mindset.”

On November 21st the teams have a home meet with Marymount University and Gallaudet University. Coach Barbins invited everyone to come out and cheer on the swimmers.

Like her teammates, McDowell is optimistic and said, “I’m really excited for the season. I think we’re going to do really well.”

Water Polo Team Wraps Up with Hopes for Future

“Most people don’t even know we have a polo team,” says Day. (Photo submitted by Chris Sauter)
“Most people don’t even know we have a polo team,” says Day. (Photo submitted by Chris Sauter)

The St. Mary’s Water polo team recently completed their fall league, and moving on into the rest of the year, they hope to show their talents by garnering campus-wide awareness and attracting more athletes. “This year our team really made great progress. We joined the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) and competed in a month long, regional tournament with teams from both Maryland and Virginia,” says Senior player Chris Sauter.

The league consisted of three trips to University of Maryland, College Park, University of Virginia and James Madison University, from which the team earned a 9th seed going into the playoff tournament.

Sophomore Kalvin Day describes, “Unfortunately we had to forfeit every one of our playoff games because not enough players could go to the tournament.  We probably would have come in 8 or 9th had the team been able to come.”  The team posted forfeits against 4th seed UVA, 10th seed Loyola, and 11th seed Richmond.

But they are not dwelling on the past.  Moving into the spring, the athletes have many goals for themselves.  Day explains, “This year we plan on putting together some home scrimmages against College Park and Loyola, doing work at the Millersville University Invitational in the spring and hopefully hosting a home tourney in the spring as well.”

Day is also a member of the swim team and balances the two schedules throughout the year.  “It’s a lot of time and swimming is a varsity sport so it has to be the top priority,” he notes.  Many swimmers choose to play water polo as well to use their aquatic endurance in other ways and to stay in the water.  “Being a swimmer helps a lot with endurance during the games,” Day adds.

However, the team is not limited to those on the swim team, and many enjoy the sport for its fun atmosphere, while competing against top tier colleges and universities at the same time.  “The team is a great group of guys and the trips themselves are as fun as the games we compete in,” says Day. “With a lot of younger players, I am hopeful that the team will continue after I graduate. As always, our team focuses on the fundamentals of the game and caters to all (orno) skill levels,” Sauter added.

Moving forward, the water polo team hopes to become a more recognized club sport on the St. Mary’s campus, such as rugby and the St. Mary’s Ultimate team.  Day explains, “In the future I hope to see water polo become a full time club sport that has the respect of the campus.  Most people don’t even know we have a water polo team or how much fun water polo is.”

Lady Seahawks Small on Size, but not on Heart

Senior forward Kiely Murphy goes up for a rebound against Ramapo College on November 15. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Senior forward Kiely Murphy goes up for a rebound against Ramapo College on November 15. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

While the women’s basketball season didn’t officially kick off until last weekend, the lady Seahawks have already been spending plenty of time on the court.  Coming off of a great season (last year the squad went 18-8), the girls are looking to carry that momentum into this year, and are looking to match, if not improve, on their successes from the 2008 season.

Sophomore Jamie Roberts, who is returning for her second year feeling much more adjusted to the college level and pace of the game, feels confident the team will go far this year.  Says Roberts, “We’re definitely looking to improve upon last year’s record of 18-8 and do some damage in the playoffs; I’m really confident that we can make it happen with this team.”

But the team knows reaching their goals will take some seriously hard work, and they have been doing their best to prepare both physically and mentally for the season ahead.

Similar to last season, there are nine lady seahawk basketball players; an uncharacteristically small number for a sport that requires five players on the court at all times.

The low numbers are one of the reasons the team knows they need to stick together.  “It’s going to take hard work from everyone, both in practice and on our own,” explains Senior Allie Scott, speaking to how critical it is for all the players to be in “the best shape possible.”

While Scott admits that at times the small size of the team can be frustrating for running scrimmages or full court drills, the team manages to work around this but having a few guys come in once a week to help facilitate full-court scrimmages.  And, she explains, last year the small team size was actually to their advantage in one sense; “a lot of teams would see how small our team was and underestimate us.”

Since the school year started the girls have been lifting and doing pre-season captain’s practices, and now with winter sports officially underway, their regimen includes daily 2 ½ hour practices – sometimes at 5:30 a.m. – and an additional lifting workout.  Roberts describes the team’s bond as their way of getting through hard practices: “we all stick together and make sure we tough it out,” she says.

The team has been running things pretty similar to last year, mostly rebuilding on skills and working to make the new players comfortable and on the same level as returning players.

But, the Seahawks are bringing a new approach to the court in terms of attire.  Says Roberts, “we’ve got a new look this year, we just got some brand new uniforms that are super snazzy and will definitely make us that much better!”