Eastern University Fall teams experienced their first year in the MAC Commonwealth Conference. Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball entered this year with high expectations, as they wanted to make their mark in the new league.
First Field Hockey had an unfortunate and challenging season, finishing 3-15 and 1-7 in the conference. A big reason is the tough competition against the conference. Facing first place Messiah (16-2, 8-0), York (14-5, 7-1), and Widener (14-5, 5-3). Including non-conference games in Stevens Institute of Technology (15-4, 6-1), TCNJ (11-5, 4-2), and Haverford (13-5, 6-4).
However, arguably the best win of the year was against Hood College. A hard-fought battle entering into overtime tied 1-1. An attack from Eastern’s Lily White scored the winning goal 2-1. It was a sight to see as it was our first win in the new conference. Regardless of the year, our field hockey team is ready for the challenge next season.
Women’s Soccer had both a great season and a disappointing outcome. They finished (7-8-3), winning six of their games at home. Two of which completely dominated their opponents, beating Gwynedd Mercy 9-1 and Lancaster Bible 6-0. Unfortunately, while doing great home, on the road was a different story as they lost seven on the road, four of them against in-conference teams. Thus, sadly, missing the playoffs while only scoring five points in the seeding race.
While the team didn’t go far, it was still enjoyable to watch them play at home. The constant attack from our strikers made one feel as if the ball was always going in the net. I can’t wait to see what they bring next year as they have a bright future ahead.
Men’s Soccer had a great season as well but just missed the playoffs. They were starting the season with a six-game winning streak. But the second half of the season proved to be difficult as they faced the conference. Especially against nationally-ranked Messiah (16-1-2), they barely lost 3-2 in double overtime. However, the team finished (10-5-2), winning their last two games wonderfully against Widener and Albright.
Everyone on the team played great, some even winning “player of the week.” From offense to defense to goalkeeping, each play was fascinating to watch. Goal celebrations made crowds go crazy. I’m glad I watched their exciting season.
Finally, the Women’s Volleyball team went all out. They dominated their schedule with a (24-5, 7-1) record, making the first seed playoffs. What can you not expect from volleyball? Mark Birtwistle has won 22 out of the last 24 seasons in the program. Great defensive play, perfect setting, booming kills, and nasty serves; this team was crazy to watch.
Game 1 of the MAC Commonwealth tournament hosted fourth-placed Messiah (20-9, 6-2). The Nest had the crowd wearing all white. Eastern managed to win the first two sets easily. However, they were in this position against Messiah as they suffered their first in-conference loss in five sets. Messiah won the following two sets to drive Eastern in shock, but we prevailed as we won the fifth set 14-16. Luckily Eastern had a couple of days to prepare for their championship matchup against second-place defending MAC Commonwealth champion Stevenson.
This game had back and forth action where both teams slowly took sets. Eastern found themselves down 2-1 entering the fourth set changing gears. They won 25-12, with momentum on their side in the fifth set, winning 15-13 and the championship. I would like to congratulate them for their hard work this season.
As for the Field Hockey and Women’s and Men’s Soccer teams, I would like to congratulate them and their seniors on finishing their careers as Eagles. It was an honor watching you all play.
Sources: MAC Commonwealth, Eastern Athletics, and NCAA