Fall Sports Season Preview

A picture of the brand new Carlini Field at the Cardinal Athletic Complex at the Dufour Center. Courtesy of the Catholic University Website.

By Claire Purdhomme

There is a lot to look forward to in this upcoming sports season at Catholic University. With the new addition of Carlini Field, our women’s and men’s fall sports teams are striving for their Landmark Conference Championships; the Landmark Conference is made of eight teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and DC.

Here are some things to look for in this upcoming fall season.

Field Hockey:


Coming into its 50th anniversary as a program, the field hockey team is looking into a very promising season. The field hockey team has won 386 games, attended five NCAA tournament appearances and won four conference championships since its inaugural season in 1969. 

Last season the field hockey team finished with a 7-0 record in the conference and a hard loss in the Landmark Semifinals to longtime rival Scranton. This year, with a tough non-conference schedule, the players are pushing themselves by playing teams in the preseason top 20, hoping to get back to the top of the Landmark Conference play.

Returning Landmark Conference players sophomore defensive player Grace Jung, junior midfielder Meghan Shallow and senior defensive player Nicole Tsiaras are sure to lead the team on the field this fall to their goal of ending the season with that Landmark Conference Championship.

Coach Heidi Lewis will be here for her third season as head coach this year, she was a 2017 Landmark Conference Coach of the Year and spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the Cardinals. She has been pushing the girls this season with a unique playing style. 

“We have a playing style that we refer to as the ‘Catholic Hockey System,’” Lewis said. “Our system has three main points: push the pace, use the space; shoot early, shoot often; and always double down on defense. The main emphasis for everything we do is speed – we want to play at maximum speed offensively and defensively.”

The team is also celebrating its 50th anniversary by bringing back alumnae for a game against Messiah College at 1:00 p.m. on September 21. Come out and support on September 21!

Football:

After a heartbreaking loss in the opening game of the season in double overtime to Kenyon College on September 7, Catholic U’s football team is hoping to change things up this year. They have had one goal and one mantra only.

Coach Mike Gutelius, the thirtieth head coach in Catholics program history, has over two decades of coaching experience and a little over ten years of experience as a program coordinator. This year he has been focusing on the mentality of his players.

“1-0 is just a quick way for me to remind the team to stay focused and to stay present in this moment. I do not want them to become distracted by possible future events or mired in past failures (or successes for that matter),” Gutelius said. “It is much more important than they are intentional about daily improvement and take each game 1 at a time. 1 play at a time, 1 series at a time, 1 quarter at a time, 1 half at a time, and 1 game at a time.”

The team is focusing on becoming more upfront and physical on the offensive and defensive lines; and with Andrew Funaki as safety on defense and Brady Berger’s arm at QB, the football’s next game will be this Saturday, September 14 at Georgetown.  

Men’s Soccer:

After ending the season in a loss in the Conference Final last year to a late shot, the Cardinal Men’s Soccer team is hoping to return to the finals again this year. Some key returners that are hoping to make a difference this year are seniors Mike Narzikul and Ryan Kennedy as well as sophomore Ben Alexander. All three were selected as All-Landmark Conference players in the 2018 season.

Coach Travis Beauchamp made sure to pick a challenging schedule for this season against teams like Lynchburg, St. Joseph’s College New York, Salisbury and many more. Coach Beauchamp hopes to handle all kinds of games and to react and adapt as quickly as possible to each team. 

“Each team we play is different,” Beauchamp said. “While we know what we want to do we still have to be prepared for different scenarios.”

The team is optimistic, competitive and working hard for as many wins as they can this season.

Women’s Soccer:

The team started the season off with three wins before losing against Randolph-Macon on Sunday, September 8. The team is hoping to keep this winning record throughout the season and up to the Landmark Conference games that start at the end of September. The team has made it to the conference semifinals in the past three seasons. The players are hopeful to continue this streak and get the championship title this fall.

Returning all-conference players from last year senior Mackenzie Earley, senior Elizabeth Johnson, senior Grace Boras, and junior Maggie Moorcones are showing great promise to lead the team to victory this year.

Coach JP Sousa is hoping to improve the teams passing and possession style. 

“We are also spending a lot of time defending as a team and being patient and organized when our opponents have the ball,” Sousa said.

The team’s next game will be 

Volleyball:

This year the team is ranked even higher at 4/6 in the Landmark Conference preseason poll. Last year the volleyball team began its season ranking 5/6 and finished the season in the conference semi-finals. The teams returning players are Patricia Martinez who led the league in kills last year and Caroline Kelly who led the league in digs per set, both returning All-Landmark Conference Team selects.

The team’s biggest competition is usually Juniata and Christopher Newport University, last year the team put up a huge fight and this year we hope for an even harder push. The team this year not only has its returning players but some excellent freshmen. 

Men’s Cross Country:

The men’s cross country team was ranked sixth in its preseason poll. The Cards will be returning with six runners from last years sixth-place team at the Landmark Conference Championship. 

The team opened its season with a second-place finish at the Howard Labor Day Classic. The Cards totaled at 36 points, just eight points behind first-place Howard. The freshmen were out to impress at this race: John O’Rourke with a third-place finish, Paul Ames in seventh, Colin Agostisi in the tenth spot and Brian Reinhart in eleventh.

CUA Cross Country will be hosting the Cardinals Classic this upcoming Saturday, September 14th at Colmar Manor Community Park.

Women’s Cross Country:

The women’s cross country team was ranked fourth in its preseason poll and was ranked number eight in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for the South/Southeast Region preseason rankings. 

The team opened its season with a first-place finish at the Howard Labor Day Classic. The Cardinals beat Division I host Howard with a total of 32 points. The Lady Cardinals were led by sophomore Paige Wilderotter in second place, sophomore Hannah Marino in third, senior Marykate Higley in the eighth spot, freshman Zoe Zelch in ninth, freshman Danielle Ohrtman in eleventh and Alexandra Niggemann in twelfth.  

CUA Women’s Cross Country will also be hosting the Cardinals Classic this upcoming Saturday, September 14th at Colmar Manor Community Park.

There is a lot coming up this fall season at CUA. The Cardinals are looking forward to their 2019 schedules and of course striving for that coveted Landmark Conference Championship title.

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