Summer may be cooling down but our fall sports are just heating up. Seton Hill University celebrates its first year competing in the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference (PSAC), the largest and most competitive conference in Division II.
Men and Women’s Cross Country:
The girls return with the top seven runners, including NCAA all region qualifier, junior Jeannie Bujdos, from last year and brought in a strong freshman class adding depth to the team. The team looks at earning a top four regional berth to the NCAA championships in November. The boys graduated national qualifier John Bogert and All Region Performer Justin Weaver, but look to the younger runners, sophomore Steven Lafferty and junior Austin Rigsby to lead the top five runners. However, moving into the PSAC will be a big challenge for both teams. “We will be looking to compete with some of the top teams in the region at our conference championships in October”, says Coach Timothy Creamer. Last year the girls finished eighth NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships and the boys 6th, respectively.
Women’s Field Hockey:
The women’s field hockey team is not new to the PSAC as they enter into the conference for their third season. Last year the team finished 4-8-0. This season the team brings in a large class of 10 freshmen and expects a lot from the young team.
“Our strengths are our speed and big roster,” said senior captain Mac Scanlon. Coach Whitney Harness acknowledges that with a young team, they “have to go back to the basics”.
This young team, however, was able to hold their own in their preseason scrimmage against Robert Morris. “It went well and the results showed us what our strengths were as a team”, said Harness. Look out for Nov.2 to watch the girls play against powerhouse Shippensburg at home for senior night.
The women’s golf team welcomes one newcomer to their veteran squad and looks to make a name for themselves in the PSAC.
“After a week of intensive training, the team is highly motivated and positioned to have a strong presence in the PSAC,” said coach Carolyn Thompson. Junior adds,
“The PSAC is greater competition with several teams in which most of their players are consistently in the low 70s. This is a positive challenge, though, because when you play with better players you want to play better too,” said Morgan Miller, junior.
Keep an eye on the girls for the PSAC Championship in Hershey, Pa. Miller said, “I think it will be interesting to see how we score when we are competing against new teams at new golf courses”. Last fall the team finished third in the WVIAC Championship.
The women’s volleyball team is looking ahead to playing new teams.
“Playing all new, more competitive teams will mean that we must bring our A-game to every tournament, match, and practice. There are no easy wins in the PSAC and we will have to be ready to go from game one. It may be frustrating at first, and wins might not come as easy but we have to push through that challenge in order to come out on top,” said coach Rick Hall.
Senior Kelsey Profio said, “we only graduated one senior and gained one freshman so our team is not that different. This is a good thing for us because that means most of the team is experienced and comfortable playing together. This will be a huge strength for us this year, and allow us to build on our success from last year.”
Last year the team placed second to Wheeling Jesuit in the WVIAC tournament with an overall score of 22-12-0.
The men’s soccer team is expecting a distinguished season as there are many differences between this year’s team and last year’s team.
“The first thing is that we have great chemistry”, said coach Dan McCarty. “I think you can expect a more aggressive style of play this season, more attack focused and we will be more competitive.”
Additionally, McCarty recruited six international players and expects them to begin contributing to the team even as freshmen. The boys finished preseason with a successful scrimmage against CMU.
“We still have some work to do as far as our play is concerned. We should be able to attack with pace and we need to clean up our defensive positioning in certain situations. But for the most part, it was a good start,” said McCarty. The team’s first PSAC home game kicks off against Bloomsburg, Friday, Sept. 13.
The women’s soccer team transitions into a challenging season as they face opponents that are ranked in the top twenty-five in the nation for Division II. Senior captain Madison Gourley says, “the PSAC is a on a whole different level then the WVIAC and the competition is going to be very tough for every single game. Our team just has to be prepared to go into every game with the best effort we can put out on the field”. So far the girls are showing that effort. “The team play is improving every practice”, said Coach John Fogle. Last season the girl finished 10-7-1.
Coaches for equestrian and tennis were unavailable for comment.