Josh Mabry, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
Miranda Smith, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
While most Berry students were at home or on vacation over spring break, many sports teams traveled to compete in other states.
The men’s lacrosse team traveled to Clearwater, Fla., for spring break. They dropped their spring break game against Catholic University 15-13. However, they dominated the following weekend for their home opener against Marymount University to come out on top 18-5, and against Southwestern College 24-8. Since spring break, the men’s team has started their conference play, first against Centre College to be edged 14-15.
While enjoying spring break, senior Chris Berchock received the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Men’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week award. Junior Riley Brogdon also received the SAA Defensive Player of the Week award. So far in the year, Berchock is fourth in the SAA in goals, with Brogdon recording 24 saves over the course of two games with a 54.5 percent save percentage.
Senior Josh Baker gave his take on the oscillating win-lose outcome the men’s lacrosse team has faced, and how to combat it with conference play remaining.
“When we play together and everyone does their job, we are one of the best teams in the country,” Baker said. “We just have to keep doing that, because when we try to get outside of what we do or start going rogue, cracks start to form and we shoot ourselves in the foot. The only team capable of stopping us this year is ourselves.”
In the dominant victory against Southwestern, Baker set a program record for faceoffs won in a single game and for ground balls. He went 28 of 34 on faceoffs with a recorded 17 ground balls. Baker expressed his feelings toward these records and discussed how his teammates make his job easy and would enjoy sharing credit with this fellow wing players. Baker shared how he has coaches to push him to do better and to help him along the way.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Hilton Head, S.C, for their spring break matches. Opening their 2019 spring season, the team competed at the Professional Tennis Registry Spring Tennis Fest, where the women’s team went 5-0 and the men’s team went 2-3 for the tournament. Coming back from spring break, the team traveled to Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, Ga.The men came out on top 5-4 and the women’s team went undefeated again 9-0.
The tennis team rented a condominium for spring break in Hilton Head, and spent time on the beach. They helped out at the local special Olympics that were being held at the nearby high school. Throughout the week, the team also came up with a compilation of sayings and developed a new repertoire of phrases, which made spring break the most fun it could be.
For the women’s tennis team, junior Sydney Stone described her team’s victories and what it has meant for the team as a whole.
“The tennis matches over spring break were really special and sweet for our team,” Stone said. “This marked the start of our season, and I was encouraged to see how resilient and motivated our team was on the court. I think this set the tone for the season, raising our expectations and giving us the confidence, we need to take on some big conference matchups later in the year.”
Stone also explained how the matches following spring break, prepared them for upcoming matches that will be tighter and more competitive. The team plans to continue their winning strides.
The softball team traveled to California to face the University of La Verne, Ithaca College and Chapman University over spring break, but they had the opportunity to do more than just play games during their travels.
One of the most exciting activities that the teams did was sightseeing, according to sophomore catcher Madison Morgan.
“We went to Big Bear Lake and (Joshua Tree National Park),” Morgan said. “We got to see a little bit of desert, a little bit of snow and got to play some great softball.”
Freshman catcher Meghan Hunt said that in addition to all of this, the team had the chance to watch whales, which Hunt said was her favorite part of the trip.
“I had never been to California before,” Hunt said. “Newport Beach was my favorite because we got to eat on the pier.”
Morgan said that her favorite part of the trip was the van rides and that getting that bonding time with her team was really special.
Cori Thiermann, head softball coach, said that the Vikings always try to do memorable activities when they travel.
Thiermann said that the team’s overnight trips have been cancelled early on this season due to poor weather conditions, which pushed back the team’s crucial bonding time.
“In terms of building that family and turning that corner, that week was really good for our program,” Thiermann said.
As far as competition goes, the teams that Berry faced offered good competition, according to Thiermann. La Verne had a kind of pitching technique that the Vikings had not seen before.
“They are a great team, definitely an above average team, that can make a run into postseason,” Thiermann said. “We were a little bit flat the first game, probably from transition from time zones, flying and all of that.”
Even though the team did not perform as well as usual in the first game, they battled all the way to the last pitch, according to Thiermann. Berry ended up losing 3-2 against La Verne.
Thiermann said that the Vikings would have won the game off of a missile that Samantha Crabtree hit to left center field, but a La Verne outfielder made a diving catch that prevented the team from winning.
Berry came back and won the second game against La Verne 9-5.
The next day, the Vikings faced Ithaca.
“They were a very well-prepared team,” Thiermann said. “We split with them. I think it was good for character building and confidence that we could hang around and we weren’t even playing our best softball.”
Thiermann said that Berry had five errors in the game that they won against Ithaca.
The third series that the Vikings place in California was against Chapman who had a very large roster, according to Thiermann.
“It was good for us in terms of seeing a lot of pitchers and trying and trying to make adjustments really quickly and continue our offensive threat,” Thiermann said. “Competition-wise, it was good for us.”
Morgan said that one of the teams that Berry faced liked to squeeze a lot.
“We hadn’t really seen that yet, so now we’re more prepared against things like that,” Morgan said.
Like Thiermann, Hunt said that competing as well as the Vikings did in California was a confidence booster going in to the main part of Southern Athletic Association (SAA) conference play.
Over Spring Break, the women’s lacrosse team had the opportunity to visit Virginia to play a few games and visit Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas and an underground cavern.
Senior Mary Grace Gaskin said that visiting the alpaca farm was her favorite part of the trip.
“We learned all about farming and alpacas,” Gaskin said. “It’s a very lucrative business, but it’s also very interesting because they are very environmentally friendly.”
The team learned the basic care and maintenance of alpacas and got to pet and feed the alpacas as well, according to Gaskin.
“That was a very different experience that I think a lot of girls had never experienced before,” Gaskin said. “That was unlike anything else.”
When the team visited the underground cavern, they learned about the formation of the cavern and how it was found. Much like the alpaca farm, Gaskin said that this was a different kind of experience, but it ultimately brought the team closer together.
Brittni Hall, head women’s lacrosse coach, said that a lot of bonding happens through shared experiences.
“When you do funny things, out of it comes the bond of having shared that same thing, but also a lot of inside jokes,” Hall said. “A lot of memories are formed and created from that. Team unity can be created from any kind of road trip.”
Gaskin said that while the team was in Virginia, they stayed in a lakeside cabin that was not close to where the team was playing, which meant that the team had a lot of time on the bus.
That was where the team had the most fun, according to Gaskin.
“People would start out the trip with their headphones in, sleeping and reading, but eventually people were taking out their earphones and we were talking to each other.” Gaskin said. “We started playing bus games that made you feel like a little kid again.”
The team took pleasure in the little things, Gaskin said. At the lakeside cabin, the Vikings put together many puzzles that each contained at least 500-1,000 pieces.
“We were staying up way too late working on puzzles,” Hall said. “It was crazy to see who would circle around the puzzle and as you’re putting puzzle pieces in, to hear the conversations that were happening and getting to know each other.”
Hall said that the women got into individual groups in the cabin. There was one group who cooked, one group who cleaned and a group of freshmen who claimed their own room with bunk beds.
“It was neat seeing different groups bonding, different groups talking and being in a house that big is a fun experience,” Hall said.
Hall said that spending as much time together as the women’s lacrosse team did can lead to many annoyances by the end of the trip.
“Throughout it all, you gain more respect, more understanding, and a lot of love for your teammates,” Hall said.