By Neil Kavanaugh
Most students spend their spring breaks traveling to warm, tropical destinations, spending too much time on the beach and thinking about anything other than school. While this was happening, the athletic teams of Catholic U were traveling across the Southeast to take on some of the best teams in all of Division III. The annual spring break trip to Florida and the Carolina’s also served the final warmups before the beginning of conference play for the teams.
The softball team traveled to Central Florida to participate in the Spring Games. The team played decently, going 5-6 against 11 different opponents. The definite highlight of the trip came during the first weekend, when the Cardinals blew out Newbury College 21-3. The team recorded 20 hits in the effort and had an explosive second inning, recording 11 runs on 12 hits.
The spring break trips served as one final tune up and record padding for the teams as Landmark Conference play begins this week. Softball opened their conference play by hosting Elizabethtown for a two-game series. The Lady Cardinals won both games, 6-1 and 2-1 respectively. The second matchup went to extra innings, ending when sophomore Makayla Czan hit a sacrifice fly to bring home outfielder Taylor Forgen for a walk off in the bottom of the Eighth.
The baseball team had a strong start to the weeklong break, as it beat #3 Christopher Newport 4-3 on the road before flying to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The team participated in the tournament held at the Ripken Experience, where it went 4-0 against 3 opponents. The most impressive victory from the trip was its first game. The Birds beat Penn College 15-3 before sweeping a double header against Dean College.
The baseball team also kick-started its Landmark Conference season as it traveled to play Elizabethtown. The early season matchup was between two conference heavyweights, as the Cardinals and Blue Jays were ranked first and second respectively in the Landmark Conference preseason polls. The Cardinals won two out the three-game series, 6-3 and 5-2, but dropped the middle game of the series 12-8. Graduate student David Gately was instrumental in the team’s success over break. The pitcher recorded two wins against Penn College and Elizabethtown, recording five strikeouts in each game, giving up only three earned runs, and surrendering only nine hits and two walks over 15 innings of work. This body of work earned Gately Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
The Women’s Lacrosse team also had a very successful week off from classes, as the team went 3-1 in all competitions. The team started its break ranked 16th in the region and faced arguably the toughest schedule of any Catholic team, facing against three ranked teams. The break began by earning an easy 21-10 victory at Meredith College in North Carolina. The team then faced off against the #12 Wesleyan (Ct.) Cardinals, losing by a six-goal margin of 14-8. The Lady Birds rebounded quickly however, beating #15 Cortland 14-12 in Mount Sinai, NY this past weekend. This win elevated the Cardinals to the #14 team in the region, and freshman Rachel Searle earned both her first career win and Landmark Defensive Player of the Week honors.
They followed this up on Wednesday, March 20 with an overtime win over #2 Franklin and Marshall 10-9. This week brings the team’s record to 4-2 and an even .500 against teams ranked in the top-25.
The Men’s Lacrosse team did not fare as well as its female counterparts, going 1-2 on its trip to Clearwater, Florida. The team has struggled greatly this season, going 4-5 on the year thus far. The team has also dropped three of the last four games before beginning Landmark play at Elizabethtown.
While spring break was an entertaining escape for most students, the athletes of Catholic University were busy honing their skills on the field. The teams were mostly dominant in their travels, and looked to be in top shape as each looks to make the Landmark Conference Playoffs, and make their championship dreams a reality.