Annie Hirshman ’24 (she/her/hers)
The reigning Pioneer Football League champions and women’s soccer A10 runners-up have been working hard since the beginning of August, focusing on defensive and offensive skill, athleticism, and playing as a unit.
The men’s football team is coming off of what many consider to be their best season in decades. Their record was 4-3 which secured them a Pioneer Football Championship. Head Coach Scott Abell is in his fourth year here at Davidson College. When asked about the upcoming season in relation to last spring’s, Coach Abell remarked that he believes it could turn out to be his team’s best season yet. He speaks with high regards in terms of the freshmen class, remarking on their running ability, athletic frame, and ability to transition well into college athletics. Abell is not the only one to remark positively on the significance of the freshman class. Chris Panko ‘23, a junior linebacker, speaks of their contagious intensity, stating that they “all came in eager to learn and eager to get after it”.
In addition to his confidence regarding the incoming class, he speaks highly of the senior leaders on the team. This group includes Coy Williams, Eli Turner, Louis Colosimo (a fifth year senior who will be adopting the role of starting quarterback), Cade Vela, Jordan Reed, and Jalen Jefferson. He points out how this group of seniors all bring experience, dedication, and work ethic to the table. Besides the freshmen talent and senior leadership, Abell is very confident and believes strongly in the strength of the team as a whole.
When asked about the possibility of a second ring, Abell, Jefferson, and Panko all answered very similarly, emphasizing how important it is to take it one game at a time. While all are confident that their team has the potential and talent to be in the hunt for a conference championship, Abell carefully remarked that “all we can do right now is focus on the challenge at hand”. ‘Playing one game at a time’ is the key to success according to Jefferson. Panko agreed by stating firmly that the team can’t “rely on what happened last year to predict how this year will go”. But, he does believe that if the team “stay[s] true to ourselves, stay[s] true to the WE culture,” that the future does look rather promising for Davidson football.
While Davidson Women’s Soccer didn’t come out with a ring last season, the reigning A10 Championship runner ups are back and ready for revenge. Head Coach Adam Denton, heading into his fourth season as head coach, expressed his high confidence that this upcoming season could be a great year for Davidson. His confidence stems from his admiration for the freshmen class. He speaks of their consistency as a class, remarkable acclimation into Division 1 soccer, and respectable attitudes about dealing with adjustment and competition. Ali Menard, senior midfielder, states that “Adam has done a really good job of recruiting a class that fits into our team perfectly. Junior midfielder and captain, Sophia Caruso, adds to Menard’s statement, speaking of the “really good camaraderie” the team has “on and off the field”. Notable freshmen include Aleia Gisolfi-McCready ‘25, who has already netted A10 Rookie of the Week.
The team has switched up leadership roles this season, accruing four captains rather than the usual two or three. The leadership is spread between classes as two seniors (Menard and Mary Grace Bunch ‘22) and two juniors (Caruso and Keeley Copper ‘23) are fulfilling the roles as captain this year. The four person squad is constantly looked up to for motivation, guidance, leadership on and off the field and making sure everything is in check. Despite two of the captains being juniors, Denton speaks highly of the senior class as a whole. While they all have different experiences and roles, he believes they each bring something unique to the program. More than anything though, Denton remarks on their ability to adapt, grow over the years, and how they always put the team before themselves.
While last season was a standout year for the DCWS program, Denton points out that “with having a good season, expectations are raised,” arguing that the team must stay true to their philosophy if they want to be successful yet again. He states that the team must “control the moments that will make the difference between winning and losing, because they will be very tight games. Need to do everything we can do on and off the field to create success.” He is highly confident in his team as long as they stay focused on the task at hand, one game at a time. Menard and Caruso agree with Denton’s views on the season, believing that another A10 run is possible. Menard argues that confidence is key, stating that “the team has to have confidence both in ourselves and our teammates that we can get the job done because we definitely have the ability to”. Similarly, Caruso comments on how if DCWS “keep[s] working hard and has the mentality to look at it game to game, rather than looking at it in terms of the A10 tournament, the team will have more success individually and as a team”.
Both teams aim to feed those raised expectations entering their 2021 seasons, hungry to continue to dominate their respective leagues and stamp Davidson as a top team not by fluke but by design and recurrence.