By Kari Condel
Togetherness has been a common theme strung throughout the fall season of sports. Our DeSales Bulldogs have faced all challenges with grit, determination and unity. The love of the game has been driving force for all athletes, carrying them through preseason, long practices and tough games.
2018 Record: 23-9 (Freedom Conference 7-0)
The women’s team claimed its second straight perfect MAC Freedom regular season, closing the play with a 3-0 win over King’s College.
Passion and hard work have driven the women to dominate regular season play and return to the title match for the eighth straight year. While the outcome was not ideal, many favorable circumstances presented themselves throughout the season.
Personal and team records were broken along with four players named All-Conference. First-Team honors were awarded to seniors Natalie Gray and Gabby Savite`. Joining the senior duo were Second-Team junior Morghan Shoemaker and freshman Audrey Wolfe, earning MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year and Second-Team honors.
“One of our biggest strengths is our sense of family,” said Gray. “I look at my teammates as not only my best friends but my family.” The sense of togetherness will carry the team into the future, working together during the hard times and celebrating together during the good.
The Bulldogs will keep their head down and eyes forward, already working to be a great team in the future. The underclassmen will recollect themselves after dropping the MAC Freedom Title Match and set their sights on the next challenge.
2018 Record: 7-9-1 (Freedom Conference 2-5-0)
The DeSales Bulldogs created many opportunities that were the starting point for the men to come together and face adversity as an unwavering unit. The men finished their season play with a 4-0 win at Delaware Valley.
“Our biggest strength was our defense because it was the most consistent throughout the season,” said senior Alex DiRienzo. The defense was consistent for the Bulldogs, headed by sophomore Sean Tunney and senior Giuseppe Natale.
With graduation on the horizon, the men’s team will be losing a lot of key players, but the rest will continue to push forward and find a new identity within the underclassmen. This new identity will be coupled with a new style of play to outshine their competitors.
Key players throughout the season were Michael Kirby who was named MAC Freedom Offensive Player of the year, First-Team sophomore Sean Tunney and senior Justin Habick earning Second-Team honors.
“Our motivation throughout the season was each other and doing our absolute best,” Habick stated. Mental and physical toughness was shown throughout the season, and will carry the men into their fall practices and games.
2018 Record: 8-8-2 (Freedom Conference 5-2-0)
The DeSales women’s soccer team closed their regular season with a 5-0 win at Delaware Valley University. The Bulldogs entered the MAC Freedom postseason tournament as the #3 seed but was unable to surpass Wilkes in the MAC Freedom semifinals.
This season has been characterized by their chemistry and team character, with each and every player contributing to play. The team faced many obstacles throughout their season but were able to work through the adversity as a unit, transferring this togetherness to the soccer field.
“The biggest accomplishment was turning the season around,” said senior goalkeeper Haley Jacobs. “At one point we were 0-2 in conference play and we went on to win the last five games in the conference to earn a playoff berth at 5-2 in conference play.”
“Although we didn’t get the result we wanted [in conference play] we overcame a lot of obstacles and we played our hearts out,” added junior forward Sydney Amato. “We are looking forward to learning from this season and implementing it in the fall.”
Key players throughout the fall season were MAC Freedom First-Team sophomore Rachel Medlar and freshman Gabby Torchia, with freshman Natalie Dorsheimer on the Second-Team and freshman Meghan Corbran earning Honorable-Mention honors.
“We motivated each other, we play for each other,” said Amato, with an affirmative head nod from Jacobs. “It was hard to stay motivated but we did and something great came out of it.”
Heart and determination outlined both conference and postseason play, and will be the characteristics that carry the team into their fall season. The team’s eyes are on the future, working to build on both strengths and especially weaknesses. The young team, comprised of many awarded freshmen and sophomores, will continue to improve and bring the intensity for next season.
2018 Record: 11-8 (Freedom Conference 6-1)
The Bulldogs stayed competitive and fought tough matches throughout the season, allowing them to advance back to the MAC Freedom Championship game with a 3-2 win over Wilkes. This marked the second straight year DeSales has advanced into the Championship game, traveling to FDU-Florham.
The women’s team chased the Freedom Conference but fell short, ending their season prematurely. However, this past season created many chances and change for the team which will improve their chemistry and togetherness in the future.
Many players were named All-Conference, totaling six. Junior Christie Hansen earned MAC Freedom Offensive Player of the Year as well as First-Team, joined by First-Team select junior Madison Brader. The Second-Team was comprised of junior Kylie Honnick-Payne, sophomore Alexa Rhodunda, freshman Olivia Witmer and junior Katarina Polyviou.
“Our biggest strength as a team is our fortitude,” said Honnick-Payne. She outlined the importance of togetherness and the importance of pushing each other in everything that they do.
Motivation and determination carried the team throughout their season, always doing everything together. While the outcome was the same as last year, falling short in the Championship game, it will light a fire in the hearts of the players and carry them into spring training and next season.
Men’s Cross Country
2018 Team Finish: Fifth in the Middle Atlantic Conference
The men’s cross-country team placed fifth out of 16 teams at the MAC CC Championships at the end of last month.
Highlights from the Championships include fifth overall finish by senior Gabe Lamm and Second-Team sophomore William Summers taking 14th place.
“The biggest accomplishment this season was our culture on the team improving and our team working together with one another during races,” said junior Kyle McCann.
The team remains focused on the races, gearing both on and off-season toward being healthy and improving their individual times. The men’s team faced every race together, believing in each other and having each other’s backs through the ups and downs of both the course and the season.
“Our motivation was doing our best, reaching our fullest potential and winning the Freedom Conference,” said McCann. “The team is looking forward to performing at our best [at the NCAA Regionals].”
The Bulldogs are set to continue running during the NCAA Regionals, hosted by DeSales on Nov. 10.
Women’s Cross Country
2018 Team Finish: Seventh in the Middle Atlantic Conference
“Our team’s biggest strength throughout the season was our unity. Together we built off of each other and that made all of the difference,” stated junior Alaina Neubauer. “You can’t always have a good day, but as a team every day can be a learning experience.
Tremendous growth and positivity have identified the DeSales women’s cross-country team this season, always surrounded by the sheer love of running. This combined growth and love had brought the women’s team to finish seventh at the MAC Cross Country Championships to end their regular season. The key runners were senior First-Team Meaghan Driscoll who finished eighth overall, junior Third-Team Kayla Murawski, freshman Leeann Markwalter and junior Alaina Neubauer.
“In the future, we are looking forward to watching this team grow in numbers and talent,” said Neubauer. “We are in a rebuilding phase, but seeing the growth within one season it’s incredible to think about the possibilities when we add people and continue to grow as athletes.”
The women’s team exemplifies the eagerness to learn and the willingness to sacrifice both for each other and the sport.
The Bulldogs will continue with postseason running during the NCAA Regionals, hosted by DeSales on Nov. 10.