Your Inside Look Into What’s Coming Up This Fall
BY NATALIE HEAVREN, SPORTS EDITOR AND DOMENIC ALLEGRA, STAFF WRITER
With the 2018-2019 academic year off and running so are fall sports.
The 2018 cross-country season will be the first one back for Tony Mihalich, who was hired as an assistant cross-country and track coach late last November. Mihalich served as a volunteer assistant coach at Mason from 2012-2014, during which he worked with middle distance, distance and cross-country athletes. He spent the previous four cross-country seasons at Iona College.
The cross-country teams will kick off their season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Spider Invitational in Mechanicsville, Va., and will race every other weekend through the Atlantic 10 Championship in late October. The NCAA Southeast Championships and the IC4A/ECAC (Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America/Eastern College Athletic Conference) Championships follow in consecutive November weekends.
The men’s cross-country team ended last season on a high note, finishing 13th out of 25 teams at the IC4A/ECAC Championships. This finish was just one week after they finished 19th in the NCAA Southeast Championships.
The team will look a lot different this season after the departure of six seniors. This includes Logan Miller, who earned All-East accolades at last season’s IC4A/ECAC Championships. However, four other top 85 finishers will be returning.
The women’s cross-country team also finished 13th out of 25 teams at the IC4A/ECAC Championships. This was just one week after placing 22nd in the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, their highest finish in three years.
The team is returning many of its members from its successful 2018 campaign, including Ciara Donohue who earned All-ECAC honors at the IC4A/ECAC Championships, as well as Riley Freeland, Carolyn Conley and Sarah Richart, who all placed in the top 100 runners at the race.
After their 5-9-2 season last year, the men’s soccer team is looking to make a comeback. This year they have added 12 players to their roster, five freshmen and seven transfers. Mason will return seven starters from their 2017 roster and a total of 21 letterwinners.
Mason will play 16 games, nine of which will be at home. The seven away games include three against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams: Coastal Carolina, UMass and Virginia Commonwealth.
The team started with three exhibitions games against Wright State University, University of Maryland Baltimore County and The College of William & Mary prior to their first game on Aug. 24.
After the women’s team finished with a 9-9-2 record in 2017-2018, the Patriots look to improve this year with the addition of eight players. According to a poll of the Atlantic 10 coaches, Mason is picked to finish third in the conference this year.
In their 18-game schedule, they will play eight games at home and 10 on the road including games against five 2017 NCAA Tournament teams: La Salle, Georgetown, Rutgers, Tennessee and Central Florida.
Mason opened their season with a 1-0 win at East Tennessee State University and lost three days later to No. 25 University of Tennessee 4-0.
Women’s volleyball finished the season last year with a record of 6-21 and failed to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Championship. However, with six returning players and the addition of eight new ones, Mason looks to perform at a higher level this season.
The Patriots will play 26 games this season, 11 at home and 15 on the road. They will compete against teams such as American U., Navy and Georgetown, in hopes for a chance at the Atlantic 10 Championship.
Mason opened their season last weekend when they played American and Howard in the DC Challenge.