By Jordan Fairchild
Elm Staff Writer
After a full academic school year without official athletic seasons due to COVID-19, Washington College Athletics is returning to regular seasons for the 2021-2022 school year.
This means that all freshmen and sophomore student-athletes will be playing in their first college-career games these coming seasons.
Four teams arrived early to the College to begin training for the fall seasons: men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball.
The WC men’s and women’s soccer teams practiced throughout the past week on the Kibler Field.
“It’s a great feeling to be back on campus with the team,” junior men’s soccer player Jackson Sopa said. “It’s been two years since we have had an official preseason, so the atmosphere and dynamic is ecstatic.”
The Shoremen put most of their focus on the physical aspects of soccer during their preseason.
“The boys came back with solid fitness levels and we got to work straight away,” Head Men’s Soccer Coach Roy Dunshee said. “We’ve made good progress and our new players have adapted well to the level of play. Our leadership group is going a great job of onboarding our new players and we have a new assistant coach who is implementing fresh, tactical ideas.”
“Our team goal is to be as fit and technically sound as possible,” Sopa said. “We have a very challenging schedule ahead of us, so we are focusing on giving 100% every single practice.”
The Shoremen’s home-opener will occur on Saturday, Sept. 4, against Rutgers-Newark University at 4 p.m. on the Kibler Field.
The women’s soccer team’s attention was geared toward preparing the underclassmen for the collegiate level during their preseason.
“12 of our 24 players have never been through a college preseason due to COVID-19 last fall, so we’ve tried to cover as much ground as possible in a short amount of time,” Head Women’s Soccer Coach Thomas Reilly said. “Luckily, the younger players are a talented group, so they are already contributing and complementing what our upperclassmen bring to the program.”
Like the men’s soccer team, the Shorewomen are elated to compete again.
“So far, being back on campus for preseason has been great,” senior women’s soccer player Erin O’Reilly said. “It’s a good feeling to have more normalcy this year while getting back on the field with all the girls.”
The Shorewomen will compete on Monday, Sept. 6, against Hood College at 4 p.m. on the Kibler Field.
The field hockey team shared the Kibler Field with the soccer teams during their preseason, where they concentrated on developing their physical and mental capabilities.
“Our main goal this year is ‘person over player,’ which means focusing on developing our character and who we are as a person (and team) rather than who we are as a field hockey player,” junior field hockey player Kyra Heap said. “We also have an overarching goal to ‘play green,’ meaning we play with no hesitations and no limits. We’re a fierce and scrappy team this season, so I’m excited to see what we can do on and off the field.”
The Shorewomen will be traveling to Virginia Wesleyan University to face the Marlins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
The volleyball team used their preseason to capitalize on their younger talent, as only four out of the 13 Shorewomen are upperclassmen.
“For the upcoming season, I’m most excited to see our growth,” senior volleyball player Jenna Daunoras said. “Even though there is still work we need to do, the team has a lot of potential and awesome energy already.”
“Preaseason was very productive,” Head Volleyball Coach Jamie Leventry said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but the girls are working hard every practice to better themselves.”
The Shorewomen will compete next in a weekend tournament at Desales University beginning on Friday, Sept. 3.
Photo by Izze Rios