Sweaty palms, the feeling of butterflies in the pit of your stomach, and the roars of the student section can only mean one thing: fall season is here. The 2013 fall season was filled with excitement from start to finish, capped off with an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship by the men’s soccer team. But 2014 appears to be even more filled with confidence, experience, and fresh talent.
“Usually after a team wins a championship, they say next year is ‘Championship or Bust.’ Well, in our case, it really is,” said senior men’s soccer forward and two-time all-conference honoree Isaac Arrington. “We are returning a team that is far above any other team in our conference in attack, and with our coaching staff, there is no reason why we can’t repeat as champions.”
Arrington played a big role in the success of the team this past season, making six goals and six assists and contributing 18 total points to the team’s offense, which finished with an overall record of 16-5-1 (9-2 in conference play), the best season since 2007.
On the women’s soccer team, the expectations are just as high, and with a solid returning core and a talented incoming freshmen class, the Marlins plan to be at right at the top of the ODAC once again.
“We need to raise our standards as a team next season,” said Jasmine Dao, junior forward. “We didn’t quite reach our goals last season, but I fully expect us to be playing for an ODAC championship and reach the NCAA tournament next year.”
Women’s soccer finished with an overall record of 12-5-2, marking its 15th consecutive winning season, including the last 14 under head coach Jeff Bowers. VWC also posted a 9-3 mark in the ODAC competition, marking its 16th straight winning mark in the conference.
Volleyball looks to bring in lots of new talent, as this year’s freshman class will play a vital role in the success of the team. A leadership-driven returning class, with the accompaniment of a young talented group, will look to place their stamp on the conference next season.
“Next year is going to be huge for us!” said Kirstin Sessoms, junior setter and captain. “Our incoming class is going to double our team in size, which will bring great talent and competition to our gym.”
Sessoms led last year’s team in assists per set and helped the Marlins finish the 2013 season with a 16-14 record, which marked the 10th winning season in the program’s 11-year history.
Field hockey looks to “break-in” the newly added turf field with a “breakout” season in 2014. With a solid and experienced returning class, and hopeful an incoming freshmen group, the Marlins plan to make some more noise in the ODAC this season.
“We have been working hard since the end of last season in preparation for big things to happen next year,” said senior Danielle Pellerin. “I am excited the team will be going in as underdogs. The other teams will have no idea what to expect.”The team will begin its 2014 campaign under second-year head coach Christina Restivo. It finished last year’s season only one game under .500 and plans to make a deep run in the tournament next season.
Nothing kicks off a school year right like a trip to the first home game of the year, and this season looks to be one full of expectations and thrills. Last season proved to be one of the most successful fall seasons in Virginia Wesleyan history, with our teams winning 60% of all matches, games, and meets. In 2013, the Marlins of fall sports produced a total of 20 All-ODAC honorees and expect to increase that number in 2014. Virginia Wesleyan takes pride in its student-athletes, and nothing shows more pride than winning.