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Spring sports battle through tough season in competitive conference: three make playoffs

Softball

Eastern’s softball team has had an unpleasantly unique experience for their first year in the MAC. The death of Head Coach Mark Ambler during the first week of the season threw a wrench in the team’s plans but new Head Coach Colleen Stuppy stepped in to grab the reins.

Nevertheless, the Lady Eagles have put up a good fight, gaining a conference record of 6-10 for the end of the season.

Stuppy is proud of what her team has accomplished. For most of its games, the softball team has come from behind- “never giving up,” in Stuppy’s words.

As the new head coach, Stuppy has done her best to not disrupt the coaching style of Ambler. In fact, she has made no drastic changes at all. However, she emphasizes the importance of teamwork and wants the girls to not focus on statistics.

That being said, the softball team has put up some good stats with a team total of more than 100 RBIs and runs. Senior Karen Hertzog and first-year Maggie McGowan have belted more than 20 hits a piece.

Next year, the team will be more comfortable facing their new MAC opponents, but until then, Stuppy urges her girls to take Romans 12:9-10 to heart.

“We lose sight of what’s really important, and that’s using our gifts to the glory of God,” she said.

Men’s Tennis

For its first year in the MAC, Eastern’s men’s tennis team has done well. Their season began with a memorable come-from-behind win at Hilton Head, S.C. It continued with another win, followed by a string of six losses.

But then the team won four straight matches and ended its season with a MAC semi-finals match against Manhattanville last Saturday.

“It’s been an up-and-down season,” Head Coach Mark Spangler said in a phone interview.

Despite the inconsistency in its record, the team still snagged a 4-3 conference record which was enough to get it into the semi-finals.

“Our first goal was to reach the playoffs,” Spangler said.

His team did well to get as far as it did. Sophomore Michael Roth has contributed for the team in the number one position, winning some difficult matches. Other team members stepped up as well when injury struck three of the players.

Next year promises to be just as good with five players returning, three of them top players. “This [season] was a good step up from last year,” Spangler said.

Golf

Mother Nature has not been kind to the golf team, sending rain and wind that prevented the Eagles from getting low scores. However, the team still posted a record-breaking low score of 313 on March 26 at the Island Greens match.

The match at Island Greens was the first of the golf team’s wins. They won again at their home match at St. Davids, while scoring second in two of the season’s matches. In general, the golf team entered the MAC Championships at Blue Ridge with a good score.

“I think they can play well this weekend (at the MAC championships),” Head Coach Mark Birtwistle said in a phone interview.

Birtwistle said that facing teams like FDU-Florham, DeSales and Alvernia was tough, but he had confidence that his players would do well. Seeing the team fight through the weather to tough wins showed him that his team can play alongside those teams and perform well.

“It’s been good to see these guys improve,” he said, referring to the five seniors on his team – Drew Krupp, Dallas Post, Nick Agazarian, Jeff Loesser and Adam Rogers.

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