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Fall sports wrap-up: four teams reach PAC Championships

WOMEN’S SOCCER

The women’s soccer team was one of two teams to go undefeated in the PAC. The team lit up the scoreboard for five or more goals eight different times, finishing with a 19-3 record.

However, the season was not only about offense. The team put together a solid defense which frustrated their opponents’ attack, resulting in 12 shutouts.

The spark in the offense came from sophomore Jill DiRenzo and junior Ashley Hackman. DiRenzo finished the season with 25 goals and Hackman had 21 assists, both setting school records in those categories.

The team claimed their first PAC title in team history this season, defeating Centenary 1-0 in the final. Entering the NCAA tournament for the first time ever, they defeated Sailsbury 1-0 in semifinal play, but saw the historic run end against unbeaten TCNJ, 0-2.

“The growth we’ve seen in our team, in the way we play together and interact has been really great to see,” Head Coach Dan Mouw said in an email.

MEN’S SOCCER

Head Coach Mark Wagner had one goal before the season started. “Our goal was to win the PAC Championship and make it into the NCAA Tournament,” he said in an email.

The boys finished the season 6-1-1 in the PAC and 13-6-2 overall. The exciting season included a big 4-0 win over Cabrini in the PAC semifinals.

The electrifying team kept their fans on their feet, winning the PAC championship in a tight 1-0 game against Misericordia.

The team entered the first round of the NCAA tournament, on a roll. They defeated Stevens Tech on penalty kicks, 2-1, but fell to York College in double over time, 1-2.

FIELD HOCKEY

With a 9-1 record in the PAC, the field hockey team showcased a high-powered offence and a stingy defense. The Eagles entered the PAC championship game on a six-game winning streak, out-scoring their opponents 23-3 with four shutouts.

“We used an analogy of a puzzle to help us understand how we needed to find a way to fit together and fit different roles,” Coach Camrin Azzarano said in an email. The team finished with a 15- 6 overall record despite having a tough schedule against several nationally-ranked teams.

In the championship game the team faced a familiar foe, having played Alvernia in the past three championship games. Unfortunately, Alvernia squeaked by the Eagles as the game went into double overtime and was decided with penalty strokes, 2-3.

“Regardless of our disappointing loss in the finals, I would say with the most enthusiasm that we did indeed have a very successful season,” Azzarano said.

VOLLEYBALL

Going undefeated in the PAC this season, the volleyball team’s intensity kept fans on the edge of their seats. They traveled to Wittenberg University, Carnegie Mellon University and Juniata College to play some of the best teams in the country.

The Eagles finished the season with not only a perfect conference record, but also developed great underclass talent.

Unfortuantely, for the first time in 10 years, the team was defeated in the PAC championship match, losing to rival Neumann 1-3.

“I believe our younger players gained valuable experience and got a heavy dose of what college volleyball is all about,” Head Coach Mark Birtwistle said in an email.

CROSS COUNTRY

With both the men’s and women’s teams finishing 5th in the PAC championship meet, the cross country program had a strong season.

“We went from last place in the PAC last season to 5th this year,” Head Coach Eric Mundy said in an email.

With their strong showing at the PAC final, the team was able to compete in the NCAA race on Nov. 10. Sophomore Mike Wilson and junior Ben O’Donnell both shattered their previous personal records amidst the intense NCAA competition.

With more runners becoming interested in the program, it seems cross country will continue to be successful. “It was our largest number [of runners] yet and hopefully it will grow next year,” Mundy said.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

Despite high hopes at the start of the season and a dominating finish against Philadelphia Biblical University, the women’s tennis team finished its 2007 run with an overall record of 3-12.

The team is optimistic about the future. Next year, many of the players will have at least two years of experience. In addition, the team will be playing in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, which will present a clean slate.

Despite everything, Sprock remained proud of her team. “They scored victories that no scoreboard can display,” she said.

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