By Jared Prenda
As the warm weather has finally come to the nation’s capital, many of the Catholic University athletics teams are wrapping up their regular seasons. Spring is looking to be the university’s most productive season, with four of the seven teams in season sitting within the top four of their respective tables. Both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse have already clinched their births in the Landmark Conference Playoffs, but for the rest of Catholic University’s teams, the season is far from over.
Men’s Lacrosse has been the biggest surprise out of any of the teams this season. The team was projected to finish 6th in the Landmark Conference Preseason poll and went 8-8 (2-4 Landmark) last season. The men had a lackluster start to the season, going 4-5 before beginning conference play, looking like déjà vu. However, the team has been a perfect 4-0 against Landmark opponents including a 14-13 win over Moravian and an 11-6 win over Susquehanna, both potential playoff foes.
The team locked up its bid to the conference playoffs this past Wednesday, April 10th with a 16-7 home win over Goucher. The true highlight win of the winning streak came on the road against Drew, when Catholic scored the final four goals of the game for a 8-6 comeback. Freshman Mike McShea earned his first career Landmark Conference Player of the Week award for his performance in the Drew game. The first-year faceoff specialist won 11-17 faceoffs in the game, including 9-12 over the final three quarters. McShea also leads the conference in faceoff percentage this season with 64.9%, winning 174 of 268 faceoffs with 109 ground balls.
Women’s lacrosse has continued their reign of dominance over Division III and the Landmark conference as they sit atop the conference with a 9-3 (4-0 Landmark) record and are ranked seventh in the Mid-Atlantic. The team has gone 8-2 over their past 10 games and have gone 2-2 against ranked opponents.
The team celebrated its six seniors prior to this past Saturday, April 6th as the team hosted the Drew Rangers. The Lady Cards defeated its conference foes 15-5 as seniors Jess Lyons and Megan Ellis each scored twice. Classmate Erin Dugan came up from defense to score her first goal of the season and third of her career, and fellow senior Molly Kelly had a goal of her own in the effort.
Though its place in the playoffs is set, the finale to the women’s lacrosse’s season is no walk in the park as they face back-to-back ranked opponents on the road in its next two games. The team faces #20 Scranton on the 16th and #3 Mary Washington on the 18th.
The one team which has not lived up to expectations has been the Catholic Baseball program. The team sits tied for fourth in the conference with a 16-10 (6-6 Landmark) but were heavy favorites in the preseason coaches’ poll. The team found struggles early in its season but has recently rattled off a five-game winning streak.
The team has picked a perfect time to find its stride as it only has two more series remaining against conference opposition, including this upcoming weekend series at home against top-ranked Moravian. The team sits tied with Scranton, which is 10-14 (6-6 Landmark) but owns the head-to-head tie-breaker. They are also only three games behind third place Drew which is 16-10 (6-3 Landmark). Drew and Catholic face off for a three-game series against Drew on April 27th and 28th in the last Landmark Matchup before the end of the season.
Both Baseball and Women’s Lacrosse are both looking to defend conference titles in May, and Men’s lacrosse is looking to advance to the conference championship after missing the playoffs last season. Conference playoffs across all sports will take place in the first week of May, with championships buying a place in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournaments.