Harrison Turner (He/Him) ’24, Staff Writer
Davidson Volleyball is off to a strong start as they opened the season by winning the Wildcat invitational at home, beating UNC Asheville and Western Carolina. They then travelled back to back weeks competing against strong out-of-conference opponents in two additional tournaments hosted by University of North Florida and College of Charleston. The ‘Cats went a combined 2-4, beating Georgia State and Campbell, while also putting up strong fights against Virginia Tech and College of Charleston. Next for the ‘Cats are two tough road out-of-conference matches against Wake Forest and UNC Chapel Hill coming up this weekend. They will then turn their focus to conference play next week at home against Saint Louis.
Outside hitter Annalyse Kitzberger ‘22 commented on the team’s performance so far, saying “We’ve grown a lot and competed well against a challenging non-conference lineup, with our last games before conference against Wake [Forest] and UNC this weekend. We’ve had great contributions from returners and all of our freshmen. We’re excited to start conference play at home against Saint Louis next Friday.”
The team’s underclassmen have so far become important contributors on the court, as many freshmen are seeing valuable playing time. Isabel Decker ‘25, from La Grange, Illinois, was named A-10 Rookie of the Week after her strong performance in the North Florida Invitational. In addition to this accomplishment, the ‘Cats have already accumulated four more A-10 accolades, three being attributed to Bella Brady ‘24. For the third week in a row, Brady was named A-10 Defensive Player of the Week. She is one of the top performers in the nation when it comes to digs per set (4.60) and looks to lead the Cats defensively moving forward. The Cats will be focused on performing well against strong A-10 opponents VCU and Dayton — the defending champions — as they look to compete for an A-10 title.
Davidson men’s soccer has seen a historic start to their 2021 campaign, and are currently ranked 22nd in the nation. The ‘Cats have already beaten multiple strong out-of-conference opponents including High Point and Campbell. Most recently, the team held off Mercer on the road in Georgia, winning 2-1. The Cats lone loss of the season came against UNC Chapel Hill at home last week. Davidson students and local fans showed up to support the ‘Cats as they took on top five ranked UNC Chapel Hill in a packed Alumni Stadium, including a historically high fan attendance of 2,163 people. The ‘Cats put up a strong fight, but fell short following two late Tar Heel goals in the 3-0 loss.
Right-back Jack Wilson ‘22 commented on how the team plans to move forward, “We have had a lot of success so far against some good out of conference teams, but our main goal remains winning an A-10 title. We expect to be really competitive in conference play and look forward to starting that part of our season. The seniors on this team want to go out with an A-10 title under our belts, and we are determined to do so,” said Wilson. The ‘Cats just have one remaining out-of-conference match today against Furman before starting A-10 play at St. Bonaventure this weekend.
Head Coach Mike Babst commented on the season so far and what’s to come, saying “We’ve played a difficult schedule these first four games, and I think the commitment the guys have to one another have shown through in the results we have been able to get. It has been a really positive start, but the beginning of the season is a race to improve for every team, and we just have to keep making strides,” said Babst.
The captain leadership from both Henry Howell ‘22 and Mateo Alzate ‘22 have been crucial for the team both on and off the field, as the ‘Cats chemistry across the pitch has been elite thus far. The team has also seen strong contributions from underclassmen, including Vincent Bennage ‘25, who is tied for the lead in goals (3) along with Lucas Hauth ‘22. In terms of A-10 play, the Cats will look to compete against a strong slate of teams. Specifically, defending champs Fordham along with VCU will pose as strong threats to the ‘Cats ultimate goals of winning an A-10 title.