Soccer Seahawk Earns CAC Honors

Kelsey Wirtz, first-year goalkeeper for the Women's Soccer Seahawks (Photo Courtesy of SMCM Athletics).
Kelsey Wirtz, first-year goalkeeper for the Women's Soccer Seahawks (Photo Courtesy of SMCM Athletics).
The Capital Athletic Conference awarded Kelsey Wirtz, a first year goalkeeper for the College, the player of the week award for “Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week.” Wirtz is the second Seahawk on the women’s soccer team to win the award this year.

Wirtz, originally from Parkton, MD, recorded five saves Saturday, Oct. 10, in St. Mary’s league shutout victory over York College. Wirtz’s defensive performance gave her a second shutout of the season.

A graduate of Hereford High School in Northern Baltimore County, Wirtz is a Biology major seeking to pursue a career in physical therapy. When asked how she felt about receiving the award, Wirtz described herself as “shocked.” “As a freshman, I didn’t really know they gave it to freshman,” Wirtz said, “I didn’t think I did that well.”

Wirtz said her key to success was playing well. “Especially defense, and [having] a close knit team really helps.”

Wirtz said having a “short memory” when playing is best for one’s emotional state. She said she doesn’t let a win inflate her ego too much while simultaneously doesn’t let a win demoralize her too much. “I just play my game [and] don’t get a big head about it,” Wirtz said.

Wirtz began playing soccer in first grade and received many awards and accolades throughout her soccer career. Her high school recognition included a nomination for the All-Maryland team; a member of the All-Baltimore County team and the Senior All-Star team; and an All-Division selection.

Wirtz was also a member of Hereford’s two-time Maryland State Cup semifinalist team and two-time regional 3A champions team.

The St. Mary’s Women’s Soccer has an overall record of 4-5-1 and an in-conference record of 4-1.

Volleyball Struck Down in First Round

Senior Allyssa Blackburn leaps to hit the ball. Blackburn had 76 digs across the season, the fifth most on the team. (Photo By Brendan O’Hara)
Senior Allyssa Blackburn leaps to hit the ball. Blackburn had 76 digs across the season, the fifth most on the team. (Photo By Brendan O’Hara)

Following a strong season in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) this semester, the SMCM women’s volleyball made it to the first round of the CAC Championship on November 3 before falling to York College in a 1-3 set spread.

The St. Mary’s Seahawks entered the tournament with a 4-win, 4-loss conference record to face off against York College of Pennsylvania, fourth in the conference with a 5-3 spread.

After showing a strong performance during the season with an 18-13 overall spread and 10 out of 14 games won at home, St. Mary’s needed a win against YCP to advance to the semifinals against Salisbury University.

The Seahawks began the tournament with a win in the first set, defeating the Spartans in a closely-scored match, 26-24.

Unfortunately, this win was not enough to carry the team through the match, as the next three sets were taken by York to win the game 3-1, with individual scores of 19-25, 18-25, and 21-25.

In the final set, the teams were matched 16-16 until York made their first point-leading score since the first smash, bringing the teams to a 17-16 standoff that ended with a loss for the Seahawks.

York College went on to face Salisbury University in the semifinals, losing to the Sea Gulls 2-3 in an impressive conference finish against the top seeded team.

While St. Mary’s volleyball season comes to a close, the team will be playing just as hard next season in August, ready to take on the CAC again next fall.

Volleyball Nets Wins, Prepares for Championship Playoffs

Sophomore Gena Hlavinka (in air) blocks. She added 26 kills to her record during the first two matches of the Seahawk Invitational.
Sophomore Gena Hlavinka (in air) blocks. She added 26 kills to her record during the first two matches of the Seahawk Invitational.

Despite a strong start in the Fifth Annual Seahawk Invitational with wins against Bridgewater College and Catholic University, the Lady Seahawks were defeated by both Eastern University and Washington and Lee University.

The results of this tournament are somewhat representative of the rest of the season, in which the Seahawks have an 18-13 overall record and a 4-4 conference record, placing them fifth in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).

Prior to this invitational, the team’s record was characterized by winning streaks punctuated by alternating wins and losses. There were several points in the season where the Seahawks won at least four games in a row.

Senior co-captain Jenn Feldmann said, “I think we have made great progress since the beginning of this season, but still need to work on certain areas of the game as a team.

“For example, we need to work on not playing ‘down’ to our opponents. As a team, we need to focus on playing at our level.”

In their most recent conference game against Salisbury University, the Lady Hawks played five sets against rival Salisbury University for the first time since 1998.

Although the individual sets were close, Salisbury won the match 3-2. Salisbury is currently undefeated and ranked number one in the CAC.

The Seahawks have had many close games like the match against Salisbury throughout the season.

Feldmann said, “I feel like we haven’t shown teams who we really are. We have lost a lot of close games by only a few points and I think we can change this by decreasing our mistakes and focusing on doing our job on our side of the net.”

However, the team is still optimistic about the upcoming CAC playoffs and proud of many of their accomplishments earlier in the season.

Sophomore Kasey Stanton said, “Our team has made some excellent comebacks this season. Even when we’re down, we pull through and play till the last point.”

Senior co-captain Jennifer Lamar said, “Our team has had its ups and downs but overall we have come away with some amazing wins. Two weeks ago we beat Virginia Wesleyan, one of the top teams in the region, playing one of the best games this year.

“It’s really great to see our whole team come togther and play as a collective unit. We have so much talent and to see it being exerted is exciting.”

Volleyball faces off against York College Nov. 3 in the first round of the CAC playoffs. York is currently ranked 4th in the CAC and defeated the Seahawks when they played against each other in late September.

Feldmann said, “Our team’s greatest strength is our cohesiveness. Many of the girls are very close and everyone gets along overall.”

Lamar added, “As a senior I really am just looking for a strong finish to the season.

“We have struggled at times and I would really like to see our team redeem ourselves in the conference playoffs.”

Men’s Lacrosse Ends Season Ranked Third in CAC

The mens lacrosse team ended their season on a high note with a 18-7 road win against Christopher Newport University on April 25.

After their historic victory against Salisbury on April 10, the seahawks lost their Capital Athletic Conference semi-final match against Ursinus by a score of 10-11. They end the season ranked thrid in the conference.

Sophomore attackman Chris Becraft, who scored the last second game winner against Salisubry, had a great performance scoring three goals, and two assists.

The team finishes the season with an overall record of 8-7, and a note worthy conference record of 5-2.

Mary Washington Shuts Down Women’s Lacrosse

After a strong season, the women’s lacrosse team suffered a disappointing 23-17 loss to the University of Mary Washington during the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Semifinals.

This game ended the Lady Hawks’  season with a 12-5 overall record and 6-1 conference record, which ranked them second in the CAC.

The game on April 21 against Mary Washington started off in Mary Washington’s favor, with Mary Washington leading 11-8 by halftime.

The Seahawks were able to make 9 more goals by the end of the game, but it was not enough as Mary Washington scored 12 goals during the second half.

The top Seahawk scorers were seniors Lauren Carrier and Emily Norris and junior Nora Fallon-Oben with 4 goals each.

A game on April 15 against Christopher Newport University was the team’s latest win, 14-9.

This final regular season game was also the team’s Senior Day, where they honored and celbated the accomplishments of the teams seniors: Allie Zerhusen, Emily Norris, and Lauren Carrier.

Salisbury University earned their seventh straight women’s lacrosse CAC championship on Friday after defeating Mary Washington.

Men’s Lacrosse Triumphant in Final Second

Sophomore Chris Becraft (in white) shoots the game winning goal, his second of the game, to defeat Salisbury. (Photo by Matt Molek)
Sophomore Chris Becraft (in white) shoots the game winning goal, his second of the game, to defeat Salisbury. (Photo by Matt Molek)

In a dramatic finish, men’s lacrosse defeated rival Salisbury University on Friday with the winning goal being scored by sophomore Chris Becraft with .2 seconds left in the game.

The men’s lacrosse team is on a four game conference streak with recent wins against Marymount University, Wesley College, and Hood College, ranking them third in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) behind Stevenson University and Salisbury University. They have a 7-5 overall record and a 5-2 conference record.

Friday’s game began after Festivus Awesomeness, an outdoor concert and BBQ on the Townhouse Green. Students basked in the sun eating burgers and tossing frisbees as the lacrosse team readied themselves for their game.

The game started off with junior Ryan Alexander scoring the first goal two minutes into the game. By then end of the first period, Salisbury was ahead by one point. By halftime, St. Mary’s had pulled ahead and was leading 7-6.

The action continued to heat up as Salisbury scored twice more in the third period. Tension was high as the final period began. With a little over 2 minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 10. Becrafts final goal with .2 seconds remaining won the game as the fans erupted in cheers and fans rushed the field.

Sophomore Amir Reda said, “It was the best lacrosse game I ever went to. It was awesome!”

Three-hundred eighty nine fans attended this game, which was a histoic win for the team.

The top scorers were sophomore Dennis Rosson with 4 goals and junior Ryan Alexander with 3.

The team’s streak began with an 11-6 win over Marymount while playing in Virginia on April 1. The top Seahawk scorers were sophomores Dennis Rosson and Chris Becraft with 3 goals each.

Both teams had 21 turnovers each during the game and the Seahawks never fell behind in points; they started with and held the lead throughout the entire game.

During the next game against Wesley’s Wolverines on April 4, the Seahawks added another conference win to their record, with a close 9-8 final score. Wesley kept pace with the Seahawks, gained the lead during the game and were tied up 8-8 in the fourth period with a little over 2 minutes left.

With 8 seconds left, sophomore Dennis Rosson, with an assist by sophomore Bobby Cooke, made the game-winning shot securing the team’s victory.

The game against Hood College on April 7 continued St. Mary’s winning streak. The Seahawks scored a crushing 17 points to the 2 goals scored by Hood. Eleven goals had been scored by halftime by St. Mary’s and only one by Hood. Men’s lacrosse shot a total of 58 times, while Hood attempted 9.

The team has been working all season towards improving themselves.

Senior captain Chris Featherstone said, “[T]he improvement out of both our offense and defense in recent weeks has been tremendous…[O]ur greatest accomplishment has been stepping up our play in conference…I think we’re all looking forward to the conference tournament.”

The CAC Quarterfinals begin on April 13 with Mary Washington facing Salisbury. The Seahawks will play the winner of that game on April 16.

Women’s Lacrosse Returns to Victory

Junior Kelsey Branch prepares to pass during the game against Marymount University. St. Mary’s is currently ranked second in the Capital Athletic Conference. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Junior Kelsey Branch prepares to pass during the game against Marymount University. St. Mary’s is currently ranked second in the Capital Athletic Conference. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

Women’s lacrosse is back on top breaking a 2-game losing streak and the team’s first conference loss. In the team’s last conference game before the playoffs, the Lady

Hawks defeated Stevenson University 16-9.

Despite the wet, overcast weather, the lacrosse team routed the Mustangs, scoring almost half their goals in the first period and leading by four points at halftime.

Despite six goals in the second period, Stevenson was unable to catch up to the Seahawks lead and went home ranked fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).
After a 20-8 defeat to Salisbury University, ranked first in the CAC, women’s lacrosse returned to victory against conference adversary Marymount University, defeating the Saints 19-6. The Lady Hawks are now ranked second in the CAC with an impressive 6-1 conference and 11-4 overall record.

The team’s loss on April 4 against Salisbury broke the Seahawks’ undefeated conference streak. During the game, Salisbury took a strong 12-point lead in the first period that the Seahawks were unable to overcome. The Seahawks also had almost twice as many turnovers during the game, further frustrating their chances.

However, this and other recent losses were not without their benefits. Junior Caitlin Nichols said, “I think it really helped us to realize that when we’re playing our game together we have the potential to beat either one of those teams [Salisbury and The College of New Jersey].”

The Lady Hawks significantly improved their performance against Marymount on April 7. The team scored 16 of their 19 goals during the first period, eliminating almost all chances of Marymount’s victory, which had only made 3 goals. The top Seahawk scorers were seniors Lauren Carrier with 4 goals and Allie Zerhusen with 3, and sophomores Aubrey Mirkin with 3 and Maggie Macleay with 3.

Even though the team won, they still remember struggles from earlier in the season. Junior Kelsey Branch said, “Our team can get mentally unfocused or panicky at times and if we can keep our heads together we could greatly improve our team’s efforts.”
Confidence remains high as the season begins to draw to a close. CAC quarterfinals begin April 18. Zerhusen said, “We don’t have any area on the field this year that is weaker than the next. From our goalie, to our defense, through our midfield, and to our attack we all have what it takes to be successful and win big games.”

Nichols said, “I’m really looking forward to getting into the play-offs to hopefully get another chance to show Salisbury what we’ve got.”

The team is pushing to make the CAC tournament and has been working hard all season towards that goal. First year Kimmy Routson said, “[T]he upperclassmen play really dominant roles on the team, and give all of the underclassmen someone to look up to both athletically and academically.”

The Lady Hawks’ next game on April 15 is against Christopher Newport University.

Tennis Teams Traverse Troubled Times

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have garnered wins and losses alternately in the past two weeks.

Women’s tennis, ranked third in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) thoroughly defeated Wesley College for their second conference win only to get shut down by Bridgewater College the following day. However, they bounced back to defeat University of Notre Dame but then were crushed by Mary Washington.

Men’s tennis, ranked fifth in the CAC, lost their first conference match to Stevenson University, but won their next two matches again Southern Virginia University and conference opponent Wesley College.

These victories were short lived as they lost their next two matches to Bridgewater College and conference opponent Mary Washington.

Both teams have a number of upcoming conference games that will determine their standings in the Capital Athletic Conference as the season draws to a close.

The teams will all finish their conference games this week, the last one being April 15 against York College.

Successful Swimming at CAC Championships

Brie McDowell, senior, set multiple conference and school records. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Senior Natalie Schaefer at the CAC championships. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

St. Mary’s hosted the 2009 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championships on Feb. 13, 14, and 15; where the women’s swimming team finished second and the men’s team finished third. Both teams swam very well, setting several records and winning a multitude of awards.

Aquatics Center Director and Head Coach Andre Barbins said, “[The tournament] exceeded all expectations, not only for our team, but for the conference.”

The University of Mary Washington teams were ranked first overall for both women’s and men’s events, but St. Mary’s had their share of individual accomplishments. Senior captain Brie McDowell won seven gold medals, set seven CAC meet records, nine conference records and nine St. Mary’s marks. She also qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships, which will be held during spring break. In an interview, McDowell said the women’s team gave their “best performance ever” and she was “definitely excited” about going to the NCAA championships.

But McDowell wasn’t the only one establishing herself in the pool over the weekend. On the men’s team, senior Mike Preston “capped off his career with 5 school records,” in Barbins’ words. Junior Rachel Hotchko will also be attending NCAA championships with McDowell.

The success of the Seahawks during this championship was also shown through sophomore Jackson Webb’s new school record in the men’s 200-meter fly, first year Amanda Pazouki’s new school record in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, and senior women’s captain Nat Schaefer’s first place finish in the women’s 1650-meter freestyle.

Barbins was also awarded his third CAC Women’s Swim Coach of the Year by the conference. During an interview, he stressed how “good [it was] to see the team’s goals and individual goal’s realized.” He said the team is still focused on this year and the upcoming championship in March.

Members from both teams also volunteered their opinions about the champions. From the women’s team, first-year Christine DiMenna said, “I was really nervous how I would rank against girls on the other teams, but knowing that my teammates were there to support me and cheer for me really took that stress level down.”

Also on the women’s team, junior Anna Chiplis said, “It was great to watch people race and see all of our hard work from September to February pay off.” When asked what could have been improved during the championship, men’s swimming junior Cameron Buckingham said, “Nothing. We did great.”

DiMenna said “There is amazing team unity and I am proud to say I am a part of it and to call these amazing people my friends.” St. Mary’s swimming teams were very successful during this tournament. Barbins said, “I couldn’t be more proud.”