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Fall sports prepare for MAC playoffs

Women’s soccer

-Current Record: 6-0 (MAC), 12-4-1 (Regular) 

-Key Wins: Away game against Misericordia on Oct. 2

Women’s soccer has clinched a tournament berth, but whether they will receive the top seed during the playoffs will be determined on Oct. 30’s game against FDU-Florham.

According to head coach Dan Mouw, the team just needs to train hard all this week in preparation for the playoffs in order to succeed.

“We just have to keep adding speed to our game,” Mouw said.

Of course, it does not hurt to have sophomore Alysia Goodman back in the goalposts after recovering from an injury, as well as forward sophomore Kelsey Doutrich on the field.

Volleyball

-Current Record: 6-0 (MAC), 23-2 (Regular)

-Key Wins: Away games against Colorado College (#10) on Sept. 10-11 and home game against Christopher Newport (#6) on Oct. 15

It should be no surprise that Eastern’s volleyball team has clinched a MAC tournament berth. The team has flown by nationally-ranked teams to secure a #1 rank in the conference, a #2 rank in the region and a #5 rank in the nation.

What remains is to face conference rivals in the playoffs, including DeSales and FDU-Florham, and the semi-final game will be held at home on November 3.

As far as head coach Mark Birtwistle is concerned, the best way for the team to succeed in the playoffs will be to “continue to be aggressive with serving and attacking.”

Field hockey

-Current Record: 6-0 (MAC), 15-2 (Regular)

-Key Wins: Away game against King’s on Oct. 16 and home game against FDU-Florham on Oct. 20

No matter what happens, field hockey has top seed and therefore home field advantage in the MAC playoffs, but their other three competitors are likely going to be Misericordia, Delaware Valley and King’s. All three of these teams are closely ranked with Eastern.

According to head coach Camrin Azzarano, the team has to “stay focused on the task at hand” in order to win.

“We’ve never been at this position before (in the Top 10),” Azzarano said. “We’re learning how to use that as a mental edge over other teams by continuing to play our best individual hockey while making good decisions as a team.”

Men’s soccer

-Current Record: 5-1 (MAC), 10-4-1 (Regular)

-Key Wins: Home game against last year’s champs, Manhattanville, on Oct. 12

The Eagles may be holding first place now, but DeSales, FDU-Florham and King’s are breathing down their neck.

“It’s very tight,” head coach Mark Wagner said.

If the team wins the next MAC game against FDU-Florham this Saturday, then they will clinch a tournament berth.

“We also need to start faster,” Wagner said. “In seven of the games we’ve played this year, the other team has scored first, and that shouldn’t happen.”

Wagner also has another goal for his team: to stay healthy. “We haven’t had this many injuries in a season in years,” he said.

Cross Country

-Current Record: Men’s team, 45-37, and Women’s team, 33-40

-Key Meets: Delaware Valley Invitational on Sept. 4

One could say that Eastern’s Cross Country team is the “phantom team” on campus. However, it is making just as many waves in the MAC as the other teams.

“Last year, the XC guys’ team would have been hard pressed to see even one runner breaking 30 minutes in the 8k,” assistant head coach Mike Wilson said in an email. “This year, I think all 7 of them can break 30 at the Championships.”

Tough rivals, including Elizabethtown, Messiah, Lebanon Valley and DeSales, will be faced at the MAC Championships on Oct. 30, but both men’s and women’s Cross Country teams are ready for them.

“The goal, really, is laying a foundation for where we want the program the go in the next couple of years,” Wilson said. “That means doing it better than we did last year, and I think, therefore, that both teams will be aiming to finish in the top half of the conference.”

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