By Sara Few
The fall sports teams have stepped up their games from the Fall 2018 seasons and have made their 2019 CSAC debuts in the preseason polls. Some of the Gator sports teams have had their highest rankings this season in their program.
The Gators return after a successful year with 2 CSAC Championships in the 2018-2019 season. After many student-athletes received CSAC All-Academic Honors and CSAC First Team or Second Team Honors last season, the Gators look to push further and become a dominant force on the field.
However, student-athletes also prove their strength in the classroom. Student-athletes must achieve a GPA of 3.20 or higher to be eligible for an All-Academic Honor. NDMU finished with 31 student-athletes earning this honor at the end of the fall sports season.
The soccer team, led by Lexi Rudolph in her 2nd season with the Gators, are ranked 8th in the CSAC preseason polls. The soccer team has started the season with a 4-3 record with one of the games being the double OT game vs Gallaudet for the first game of the season. The Gators finished the 2018 season 6-9 and got their only CSAC win over Wilson College 2-1. The team had 8 student-athletes earn All-Academic Honors, and one of the seniors was named to the First Team All-CSAC and another to the CSAC All-Sportsmanship Team. The Gators play Clarks Summit University on Alumnae Field Saturday September 28, 2019 at 1:00 PM. “We were a little disappointed in the preseason poll, but our focus this year is on ourselves so we aren’t too worried about the ranking. We want our performance to make the statement for us,” Rudolph said.
The field hockey team, led by Candice Russ in her 2nd season with the Gators, are ranked 4th in the CSAC preseason polls. This is the highest preseason ranking since the team joined the CSAC in 2007. The team comes back after winning the CSAC 3D Award and having six athletes earn postseason honors. Field hockey led fall sports with nine student-athletes on the CSAC All-Academic. The field hockey team is 3-5 with one win being a 4-3 OT win against Eastern Mennonite University. The Gators play Immaculata University at Alumnae Field Thursday September 26, 2019 at 4:00 PM. “We are really excited to see ourselves as fourth in the preseason polls and even more excited about the opportunity to go higher if we play to our potential,” Russ said.
The cross country team, led by Patrick Donohue in his 3rd season with the Gators, were ranked 4th in the preseason polls. This year was their highest preseason ranking since the program started in 2016. The Gators finished 4th overall missing out on 3rd by 1 point. Cross country finished with six athletes earning CSAC All-Academic honors. The Gators are at the Goucher Invitational Saturday October 5, 2019 at 4:00 PM. “My hope for the season is that each athlete has a fulfilling experience and exceed their perceived potential. I hope that collectively we represent our school with integrity, competitiveness, and excellence,” Donohue said.
The volleyball team, led by Henry DeTitta in his 13th season, are ranked 1st in the CSAC preseason polls. The volleyball team started the season with a 9-2 record with one of the games being a 3-2 victory over Penn State Abington. The Gators ended the 2018 season 25-5 with the first CSAC championship since they joined the CSAC 13 years ago. The volleyball team’s next game is a trimatch at home versus Medgar Evers College and University of Valley Forge at 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM respectively. “Most coaches vote on the previous season, but also look at who is returning and who has graduated. We went undefeated in the CSAC so we have a huge target on our back and all eyes are on us,” Assistant Coach and a new member of the NDMU Hall of Fame, Catherine Subrizi said.
Photo Courtesy CSAC Instagram