Eastern Sports: A Look Into The Fall 2017 Season

      Greg Werner, Depauw alumnus and former NFL athlete, once said “There is no offseason for someone on the road to being a champion. There is only preparation and competition.” This is certainly true for Eastern’s athletic department. Despite it only being the third week of classes, the Eastern Eagles have been busy training and competing since early August.

      The EU women’s volleyball team has jumped into the fall season with a pair of wins under their belt after the Haverford Invitational on Sept. 3. Head Coach Mark Birtwistle says that the women’s volleyball team is “young and excited about learning and growing together.” The 2017-2018 team has four underclassmen, and so Birtwistle trusts that  they “‘will rely on the experience of our upperclassmen to lead our team on the court this year.” The younger players will certainly get their fair share of court time, however, and gain “valuable experience early in the season.”

      It is sure to be a thrilling season, with EU hosting two Quad Matches that will include top regional and national level competitions. On Sept. 29, the women’s volleyball team will go head to head with nationally-ranked Juniata College at seven p.m., and the next day will face Rowan University and Messiah College. At the end of Oct., Eastern will also host Ithaca College, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Carnegie-Mellon University: more specific times and dates can be found on the Eastern University Eagles website.

      The men’s soccer season is also off  to a tremendous start. The Eagles took home a win on Sept. 1 three-one against Alvernia University, and then another win against California Lutheran on Sept. 2. The Middle Atlantic Conferences Office took particular notice of EU juniors Cade Harmon and Jake Cahill, ranking them as Offensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for the beginning of the 2017 men’s soccer season.

     The women’s soccer team is keeping busy and focused on bringing its best to each and every game. New Head Coach Brandon West says, “We are excited for the upcoming fall and getting better everyday.” The team has had a bit of a rough start, with losses against Widener University and Swarthmore College, but they will play against Penn State Harrisburg on Sept. 16, and West is optimistic that the team will continue to grow and strengthen as the season continues. “Every game is a big game for us…We are excited and focused on our standard of excellence and trying to meet that standard in every practice and every game.”                                           

      The men and women’s cross country teams are also making the most of this season. Men’s cross country came in second out of nine at the Sept. 1 Bryn Mawr Invitational. The men’s team returns its entire varsity lineup for the 2017 season, including captains Greg Thomas, JC Garges, and Clayton Bender, and they will be joined by some excellent incoming freshmen who are sure to add to the already talented team. Head Coach Mike Wilson says that their goal is, “to capture our first MAC title this coming fall, and we believe we have the talent and work ethic to do so.”’ The runners have been logging 60-100 miles of training each week, so they are “fit, focused, and ready to go.”

      The women’s cross country team also did well at the Bryn Mawr Invitational, coming in third out of six. Hannah Schmitt and all-conference athlete Kierra Zack will lead the team as co-captains, and the remainder of last year’s varsity squad has returned, including all-conference athlete Megan Bernotas. Coach Mike Wilson says “We have added some depth in the freshman class, and I think this group of girls has the ability to compete near or at the very top of the conference this year. The MAC is deep, but we have the talent, energy and fire to run with anyone this year.” Eastern Eagle supporters should not miss the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University on Sept. 29, the Inter-Regional Battle at Rowan University on Oct. 14, the MAC Championships at Del Val University on Oct. 28, and the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships at Dickinson College on Nov. 11.

      Eastern’s men’s and women’s golf teams have not had as many Sept. matches as their fellow Eagle athletes, but they have certainly been busy training with new Head Coach Drew Patterson. Their season has picked up considerably this past week, with the men’s team competing against Swarthmore College in the Neumann Invitational at Rock Manor Golf Club on Sept. 10 and then against Elizabethtown College at Hershey Country Club on Sept. 19. The women’s team will compete against Penn State Harrisburg on Sept. 16 and 17 at the Country Club of Harrisburg.

      Last, but certainly not least, is the women’s field hockey team. The team has been training hard with Head Coach Camrin Azzarano and competing just as hard against teams such as Montclair State University on Sept. 1 (L 1-3), and Albright College on Sept. 2 (W 3-1). The season will continue to pick up, with games on Sept. 13 at Franklin & Marshall College at 5:00 p.m. and against Stockton University on Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m.

      The fall 2017 season will certainly be an eventful one and the Eastern community eagerly waits to see how our athletic teams will grow and develop. Support our Eastern Eagles by going to games and matches at home and away. For more information and specific game and team information, go to goeasterneagles.com.

     Sources: Hoopsu.com, goeasterneagles.com

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