By Brian Klose
With the early arrival of 84 student athletes in mid-August, the fall 2015 athletic season is underway. Freshmen athletes, newly hired coaches, and returning players of men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball are ready to compete in the Centennial Conference and have high playoff hopes.
Much of the offseason for WC Athletics was highlighted by the numerous coaching changes and hires, including new Assistant Field Hockey Coach Kelli Williams and new Assistant Volleyball Coach Morgan Hoover. Williams is a graduate of Lynchburg College where she led her team to a 71-15 record and four Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships. Hoover, a graduate of Frostburg State University, earned two MVP awards as a Bobcat and is third all-time in career blocks.
Volleyball is entering the season with back-to-back 19-9 seasons. Last season, the Shorewomen dominated the non-conference schedule with a 16-2 record but fell short in conference play (3-7). The program is still in search of its first appearance in the Centennial Conference Tournament. Returning players, including this season’s senior captains Kritin Lee and Jess Daunoras, are poised to make a historic run. The team has a well-mixed group of upper and underclassmen that are ready to continue the success of Head Coach Jamie Leventry as he enters his third season at the helm. In addition to assistant coach Hoover, three freshmen, including Maryland natives Lizzie Baden of Severna Park and Katie Corbin of Prince Frederick, add to the talented group. Their season begins Sept. 1 at rival Salisbury.
Field Hockey is also ready to build off a successful 2014 season. Their 13-5 was the team’s best since 1998 (15-3), earning them a spot in the CC Tournament for the fourth time in five years. Head Coach Rachel Boyle, entering her 14th year in the position, and her team welcomes 11 freshmen and two new assistant coaches, Williams and WC alum Steph Harryman. Harryman, Class of 2014, spent last season as an assistant coach for Oberlin College and Conservatory. In addition to coaching, Harryman will serve as the team’s recruiting coordinator. Field Hockey opens their regular season at Hood College on Sept. 3. One early game to watch is the Centennial opener at home against Johns Hopkins on Sept. 18. This will be their first meeting since the Blue Jays eliminated WC from last season’s CC tournament in the first round. According to a coaches’ poll, the Shorewomen are projected to place fourth in CC standings and return to the playoffs.
Men’s and women’s soccer are both looking to recover from losing seasons a year ago, 7-9-1 and 3-11-3 respectively. The Shoremen are lead by head coach Roy Dunshee, entering his fourth season, and captains senior Jack Butler, senior Chris Koch, and junior Dimitri Kaliakin. Butler, a defender, was unable to participate in the 2014 season due to an injury, but scored two goals in 15 starts through the 2013 season. Koch, also a defender, intends to make the biggest impact of his career as a captain. Kaliakin, a midfielder, led the team in assists last season and will be critical in creating offense for WC in 2015.
While women’s soccer did not finish the season successfully record-wise, the team made impressive strides toward a dominating defense. Last year’s squad allowed the fewest goals in WC history, 28 in 17 games, and second year Head Coach Kerry Smith is ready to build off of this success. The team is welcoming six freshmen, including twins Olivia and Arianna Sabatino, and is captained by senior midfielder Bailey Howard for the second year in a row. Howard is the active team leader in career games, games started, goals, assists, points, and shots. Her veteran experience will give the team the leadership necessary to make a run for their first winning season in at least 17 years and pose a threat in CC play.
Men’s soccer opens their season Sept. 1 at Gwynedd Mercy and opens at home on Sept. 12 against Albright. Women’s soccer opens their season Sept. 1 at Rosemont and at home on Sept. 5 against Widener.