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Opening matchups, big wins and tough losses

Sara Conroy, Sports Editor

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The Cougars have six teams competing in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) this fall. Many of these teams have already completed pre-season, named captains, and begun competing in non-conference matchups. The Scarlet brings you a round-up from the beginning of the season for each of the following seven teams: Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Field Hockey, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country. 

Women’s Volleyball team huddling during their opening match at the Trinity Invitational 

Women’s Volleyball – 

In this season, the Women’s Volleyball team will be led by juniors Sophia Torino and Caitlyn Kim. While these two can be considered veterans on the team (each entering their third season), they will be leading a younger team through a competitive season in the NEWMAC. There is a small upperclassmen group on this year’s team. Torino and Caitlyn are joined by teammate Kacey Legare (’19) who will continue competing while participating in the Master’s in Teaching program at Clark. All of the other roster spots are held by First years and Sophomores. 

The team has gone 3-5 and 0 in their non-conference season matches so far (as of Monday September 9th). They’ve struggled to pull out wins against opponents so far on their schedule, but there is still some time to bolster confidence before entering conference play next weekend. Furthermore, Sophomore Maria Oka was named the NEWMAC defensive athlete of the week for women’s volleyball. So, despite doing a whole lot of defending over the past few weeks, it seems Oka has been able to make a standout of herself by posting 177 digs on the season in just 8 games. 

Men’s and Women’s Soccer –

The men’s and women’s soccer teams moved back onto campus on August 17th. They began their pre-season training just a day later. Since then, both teams have competed in several non-conference games. The men split their results between Castleton University and Brandeis University in their opening matches. At their home-opener against Castleton, seniors Charlie Lane and Sean Munroe put points on the board for the Cougars, taking them to victory. Despite an incredible effort by senior Evan Jurkowski to squeak a tying goal in at the end of regulation, the Cougars fell in overtime to Brandeis.

The men then went on to a 2-0 weekend in a double header against Trinity College (Connecticut) and Roger Williams University. Collectively, the men have put up nine goals on their opponents. Senior Day is right around the corner for the men’s team. They will play Emmerson College on Saturday the 21st of September and all are encouraged to come out and support the seven seniors in their big game. Senior Jesse Aaronson received NEWMAC recognition for his defensive play in the games on the second week of play for the men’s team. 

For the women’s team, the lady cougars put up a nationally ranked 16 goals in their opening two matched against Framingham State University and Becker College. The Cougars were third in the nation for goals scored on the season and first in the nation for assists. In the opening match, there were 8 different goal scorers for the 9 total goals scored against the Framingham Rams. Clearly, the win was an overall team effort. The women have yet to lose a game on their season and will face some tougher opponents as they gear up to play conference games starting on the 21st of September. 

The women’s team has played several teams from Worcester and been able to show well. In preseason, the women suffered a loss to NCAA Division II team Assumption College. But they came back and put away a combined 9 goals against Worcester rivals Becker College and Worcester State University. The team will play WPI, in a conference matchup, on Saturday the 21st of September. You can catch the women’s soccer team at home again on Tuesday the 24th of September or Saturday the 28th for their senior game. 

Women’s Field Hockey – 

The Cougar Women’s Field Hockey team has played four games on their season – as of the time this article was written. The Cougars have been incredibly successful in over-time challenges. In their home opener against Simmons College, the Cougars won in a double overt-time contest. Emma Boland (’22) and Marie O’Donnell (’23) brought their team to victory in their first matchup.  This past weekend, the Cougars struck it again in an overtime win against Western New England College. Chase Collier (’21) put up two against WNE and first-year Kerry Lefebvre scored the game winning goal in the first period of overtime. 

The women’s field hockey team also lost two home matchups against Worcester State University and Nichols College. Unfortunately, the Worcester State Lancers were able to hold their 1-0 lead against the Cougars. The Nichols College Bison were able to dominate a win against the Cougars putting six goals away on the Cougars. The Cougars tried to rally back in the overtime period, but ultimately fell in a 6-3 loss. 

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country – 

You may have already read about the beginning of the cross country season in our story covering the men’s and women’s cross country program preseason. The two teams run at the same meets throughout the season and typically train together, essentially forming a united team. As stated previously in this issue of the Scarlet, that has become one of the Cougars greatest assets. The Cougars participated in their first meet of the season, which was the Worcester City Meet. Unfortunately, both teams placed 4th in the meet with Worcester State University, Assumption College, and Simmons College.

On the women’s side, senior captain Nicolina Braccio finished in the top ten of all runners with a time of 22:01 in the 5K. Not too far behind Braccio, Meghan Davinroy (’21) and Alexis Stone (’23) finished in 22:48 and 22:50 respectively. Braccio had stated that she was pleased with the outcome of the race. Many of the teammates on the women’s side are completely new to cross country and the course happened to be a new 5K course for everyone. 

On the men’s side, the runners take on an 8K. Cameron Keenan (’22) was the first to cross the finish line for the Cougars and was followed closely by Liam Stewart (’22) and Bobby Sharma (’22). Half the team on the men’s side are veterans of the program.