Women's Soccer and Volleyball Teams Head into Semifinals This Weekend
Update, Sun. Nov. 9: The women's soccer team captured its first-ever Centennial Conference championship after defeating No. 22 Johns Hopkins in penalty kicks (5-4). The Garnet advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Goalkeeper Reba Magier '15 was named the tournament MVP, while Carolina Khanna '17 and Amanda Bosworth '16 both scored in regulation for Swarthmore. The NCAA bracket will be revealed at 1 p.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 10.
Update, Sat., Nov. 8: Mele Johnson '17 and Emma Sindelar '15 each scored to propel the women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over No. 1 seed and nationally-ranked Gettysburg. The Garnet will face No. 2 seed Johns Hopkins at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9, for the Centennial Conference Championship. The volleyball team dropped its Centennial Conference semifinal match against No. 3 seed Muhlenberg by a score of 3-1 (22-25, 20-25, 25-14 and 14-25).
The volleyball team, making its fifth Centennial Conference playoff appearance in the past six years, is hoping to cap one of the best seasons in program history (22-6 overall / 9-1 in conference) with a title. The No. 2 seed Garnet will face off against No. 3 seed Muhlenberg in the semifinals on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. from Haverford College, with the winner moving on to Sunday’s championships match (1:30 p.m.). The Fords, the top seed for the tournament, will host all the weekend’s playoff volleyball matches.
The No. 5 seed women’s soccer team (12-6, 6-4) advanced to the semifinals after defeating No. 4 seed Muhlenberg 1-0 on Wednesday night in Allentown. The Garnet now travels to No. 1 Gettysburg for a semifinal matchup on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner moves on to Sunday’s championship match at 1 p.m. from the battlefield.
On the court, the Garnet volleyball squad concluded the season on a 12-2 run, in part due to the balanced floor put together by head coach Harleigh Chwastyk. Now in her 13th season at the helm, she introduced five freshmen to this year’s roster, while the returning seven players all are capable of making the starting rotation. “This year our primary focus has been leadership, attention to detail, team chemistry, and the all-important dance move," says Chwastyk. "At the end of the day, competing to win must be fun."
While this year’s squad has received key contributions up and down the roster, the Garnet offense has been paced by outside hitter Sarah Wallace '18, the Centennial Conference leading attacker (3.87 kills per set) and places in the top-50 among all Division III players in four statistical categories.
As the primary setter for the offense, Sam DuBois ’16 (7.53 assists per set) finds holes in the opposing defense for the Garnet hitters like middle blocker Chastity Hopkins '15, the second leading scorer for the Garnet, with 262 total kills and 56 blocks this season. Volleyball is very much a defensive game for Chwastyk; libero Madison Heppe '16 reached the 1,000-dig mark earlier this season and is third in the conference with 4.28 digs per set, while four other starters average over 2.57 digs per set – a statistic no other team in the league boasts.
The women’s soccer team enters the weekend with two of the conference’s top five scorers in Hannah Lichtenstein '17 (24 points) and Emma Sindelar ’15 (23 points) who set the program’s career goals, points, and assists records during the regular season. Against conference opponents, Swarthmore has scored 23 goals to set a single-season program record and is second best in the league.
Head coach Todd Anckaitis, in his 10th season, speaks to the team’s drive to work together toward a shared goal. “This team works hard, cares for each other and is living up to this year’s theme, UBUNTU (I am because we are)," he says. "We’ve worked through some adversity this season, but the team has brought a forward-looking, positive outlook to each training session and every match.”
Those unable to make the trip to Gettysburg or Haverford to see Swarthmore in action can watch all this weekend’s games online by visting the Centennial Conference’s website.