Fall sports recap: F&M football wins ECAC Southeast Bowl

by Sophie Afdhal ’15, Assistant Sports Editor

F&M has much to be proud of now that the Fall sports season is completed. The College’s sports teams saw many successes over their seasons, winning conference titles and having personal student athlete successes.

Among those with notable seasons was F&M’s football team. With a 7-4 winning season, the team rebounded from a slow start.

“After facing adversity early in the year by starting out 1-2, this team persevered and battled and never quit,” said John Troxell, head coach of the F&M football team, “They did something that had not been done in a while which was winning every regular season game at home in back-to-back seasons.

“Then to make it to a post-season game for the fourth time in five years, I cannot tell you how proud I am of this team,” he continued.

The team also competed in and won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southeast Bowl Game. They defeated Delaware Valley College 38-14.

“[The team] will never forget our ECAC Bowl Championship game against national power Delaware Valley College,” Troxell said. “It was one of the most amazing performances by a group of Diplomats to ever take the field.

“This team was so much fun to work with and will leave here as Champions,” he continued.

The football program saw many accomplishments this semester. Another F&M team of note is the women’s field hockey team. The team had a 17-2 record and was undefeated in conference play.

They defeated Haverford College  in Centennial Conference Semifinals 3-1, however, fell to the Ursinus College Bears in the Centennial Conference Championship 2-0.

The season was also a notable one for Melissa Mariano, head coach of the women’s field hockey team, who became the all-time winningest coach with her 77th win over McDaniel College.

The Men’s Soccer team that had the most achievements this fall. Winners of the first Centennial Conference Championship for the Soccer program, the team had the most wins in school history (17), the most shutouts in school history (13) and the first win in the NCAA and Final eight appearance.

The team also won both coach and player awards. Four soccer players won multiple awards. Chris Scott ’15 was awarded ALL CC 2nd team. TJ White ’15 is ALL CC 1st team and 2nd team All- Mid Atlantic. Both Dave Rosenfeld ’15 and Ben Beaver ’14 were named Centennial Conference 1st team, 1st team All Mid-Atlantic, and NSCAA All-American.

“Junior Captain, Conference player of the year and All-American Dave Rosenfeld embodied the warrior mentality which drove the team,” said Dan Wagner, head coach of the men’s soccer team.

Wagner won both the Southeast Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association award and the NSCAA D3 All Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year. Wagner also won in 2006 and 2007 and is the only active Mid-Atlantic coach to win the award three times.

“The coach of the year awards just added to what was already a very fulfilling season,” Wagner said. “I was fortunate as many things just came together for us this year.”

This was true for the team especially at the end of the season when they won five straight games for the CC title and to qualify for the NCAAs.

“Even though we are just a D3 soccer team, we really put our heart and soul into what we do,” Wagner said.

“The emotional roller-coaster of it can be very hard to take. I find it interesting that this was the first year that I was at peace about our results. I did the best I could to prepare the guys and trusted them to go out and do their jobs.

“I told them that there is much more to me personally than winning and losing soccer games and challenged them to actually not take things too seriously,” he continued. “There is a lot of luck in sports, much that you cannot control. It is unhealthy to constantly evaluate yourself on things that are out of your control.”

Through the players’ hard work, the team made it to the elite eight, farther than any CC team has gone in NCAA history since 1997.

“This is simply the toughest team I have ever had,” Wagner said when asked what separated this team from others. “While we did have great talent, what separated this group was there tremendous mentality. Many players played through serious injuries and kept playing.”

The accomplishments by these three teams are only a portion of the F&M athletic success this Fall. With so many triumphs by F&M sports team, the College has much to be proud of and will hope continue its strong performance through the Winter season.

Junior Sophie Afdhal is the Associate Sports Editor. Her email is safdhal@fandm.edu.

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