This article is also available in print: Quaker Campus, Volume 19 — Issue 1, dated Aug. 24, 2021, on the Whittier College campus.
After over a year, sports in Whittier College have finally returned with Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Football, Cross Country, Men’s Water Polo, and Women’s Volleyball all releasing their schedules for the season. Each team looks to return with a bang after missing out all last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and Whittier College going to remote learning for all of the 2020 – 21 school year. With each team having many fresh faces, as well as some returning players, the new Fall sports season looks towards each team to make an impression.
The first team to take action for Whittier College is the Men’s Soccer team, who had a game on Aug. 21 against Bethesda University. The team looks to improve from their 2019 season, where they finished with an 8 – 6 – 2 record and lost in the SCIAC semifinals against Redlands 2 – 0. The Poets do have three more preseason games before entering conference play, where they take on La Verne, away, on Sept. 15, when their SCIAC season begins.
As for Women’s Soccer, the Poets look past their 2019 season, which ended with a 3 – 8 – 5 record, and hope to win the SCIAC Championship as they did in their 2017 season. Four years ago, they won their second-ever SCIAC title and qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament. The Poets’ first game is against Hope International at home, where they hope to start their season off on a good note. The Poets start their SCIAC season on Sept. 15, where they play La Verne at home; they will look to start their journey to a SCIAC Championship.
Women’s Volleyball also looks to improve from their 2019 season, which ended with them having a 13 – 14 record, seeing them just miss out on the SCIAC tournament. The Poets’ first game is against Fullerton College on Aug. 25, and they start their SCIAC season off on Sept. 21, where they will play away at Claremont-M-S.
Men’s Water Polo is one of the teams to definitely watch this season, as they look to recapture their 2019 season glory, as they went on to win the SCIAC regular season, the SCIAC Tournament, as well as the NCAA Division III National Championship. They beat Claremont-M-S 5 – 2 in the final, which gave them their first treble that season. As for this season, though, the Poets look to start their road back to glory at the University of California San Diego on Sept. 4 – 5, and then start off their SCIAC season with an away game at Redlands on Sept. 22.
On to Cross Country, a sport which is sometimes viewed as an individual sport, but teammates are probably the most vital part of this sport, as each runner is pushing themselves to the limit. Along with every other Fall sport, both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams look to make a mark this season after having a year off from competition. Fourth-year runner Jeanie Cox spoke on how it felt to be able to compete once again: “Overall, I’m very excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to race this season and have another chance.” Cox also spoke on how it felt to compete once again after having a year off: “It is a bit nerve-racking going into this cross country season since I haven’t had any form of competition since March of 2020. I feel a bit unprepared and out-of-practice for how competing will be, but it is really nice having a team to run with again, which takes away some of the nerves that come with competition.”
As far as preparation for this season, Cox said that there have been little differences as far as practices go, but more safety precautions have been put into place: “I have noticed that there are more athletic clearance meetings due to COVID, so that we can all understand the safest way to go about practices and competitions [this season].” Cox then talked about the goal for the team as a whole, as well as what she is looking forward to this season: “The main goal [for this season] is for each team member to improve their race times and as a team to continue to improve our standing at conference meets.” She continued, “I am mostly looking forward to being able to practice with my teammates, as well as competing once again, and I am currently looking forward to racing at the SCAIC Championships and the NCAA regionals, since those have always felt the most competitive.”
Last, but not least, we have Football, who had a rocky 2019 season, where they had a record of 3 – 8. However, they look to improve greatly, as there are a lot of new players ready to make an impact this season. Their season starts off when they face La Verne away on Sept. 4, and their first home game is against Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 11. They also start their SCIAC season against Pomona-Pitzer, away, on Oct. 2.
As for the Winter and Spring sports, there is also some excitement in the air for them. Fourth-year attacker of the Women’s Water Polo team, Teresa Marchetti, cannot wait until the season begins: “Water Polo has always been a big part of my life, so I am really excited to start playing again. I am just excited to get back in the water with my teammates and motivated to have a successful season.” Marchetti also spoke about how Fall sports’ runs through this year can affect the other sports: “I think the way Fall sports go can definitely affect the way our season goes. I know everyone is being extremely careful at school, especially in the athletics department.” In response to a question about lingering nerves regarding the success of the Fall season, Marchetti said, “Things have been changing at a fast pace [during the pandemic], so the situation is unpredictable, but the best thing we can do is stay positive and enjoy everything we are finally able to do.” As far as what Marchetti looks forward to this season, she said, “ I would love to win my first championship at Whittier, especially since it is my senior year, and it will be my last chance to represent Whittier College.”
As each of our teams look to start their new season off and find glory, they look to supporters to help them get through it, and help them continue their push to championship form.
Featured Image: Kristi Weyand / Quaker Campus