A week in CNU Sports

Details on Football’s return and results from a week’s worth of Captains athletics 

~Matthew Morhiser, Sports Editor~

What a difference a week makes. All of the sudden, things almost seem normal in the realm of Christopher Newport University (CNU) Athletics. A week ago, only Men’s and Women’s basketball were competing regularly. Now, CNU Baseball, Softball and Men’s Lacrosse each joined the basketball teams in weekly competition. Not to mention, CNU Football declared a date for their own impromptu spring season. In a time of almost normalized global unpredictability, CNU Sports are slowly becoming a periodical mirror into the age old times of 2019. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at the previous week and all the fresh insights and entertainment CNU’s returning sports had to offer. 

Before any actual sporting events took place, a headline from the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and CNUSports.com made waves. On Feb. 19, the NJAC released an article detailing the return of the conference’s football competition. The NJAC, which is the official parent conference of CNU Football, revealed play would resume briefly this month. CNU will play a four-game season, and each returning team will play one scrimmage game against a conference opponent. In the case of CNU, they will square-off against rival Salisbury University on Sunday, Mar. 7 from Townebank Stadium. It will be Head Coach Art Link and the Captains’ first game since Nov. 16, 2019. More information on the return of CNU Football is linked below from CNUSports.com. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, Men’s Basketball got the week started when the squad faced-off against Marymount University at the Freeman Center. After trailing for the entire game, CNU took the lead with 7:17 left in the second half after a three-pointer from sophomore guard Devon Parrish. From that point on, the Captains took control, and they eventually won the game by a final score of 84 to 75. Apart from freshman forward Landon Hawes’ 20 points, the team secured 50 rebounds, 11 more than the Saints, and shot an efficient 42.3% from behind the three-point arc. They snuck in another win against Shenandoah University on Sunday. The team’s next game will be Saturday, Mar. 6 in a road rematch against Maymount. 

After the Men’s Basketball team’s performance, Women’s Basketball followed up with their own display of hardwood proficiency on Thursday, Feb. 25. Against Southern Virginia University, the Captains dominated inside the paint with 44 points, and scored 36 points off the Knights’ turnovers en route to a staggering 86 to 56 victory. The women held the lead for the entire game, and four captains entered double-digits in scoring led by sophomore Anaya Simmons’ 13 points. 14 of 16 players registered a basket for the Captains. On Saturday, the team once again put together a phenomenal group showing. Against Averett University, the Captains upticked their points in the paint total to 68. Led by 17 points from freshman Alivia Giles, four players scored in double figures on the way to a 108 to 58 win. With only two exhibition games left, the team will strive to repeat this past week’s performance in their next matchup against Southern Virginia on Wednesday, Mar. 3. 

Earlier in the day, CNU Men’s Baseball had their first outing of the 2021 campaign. The team, led by returning senior and Virginia Sports Information Directors’ 2020 College Division All-State member Conner Clark, will play a 33-game regular season, and if Thursday’s opening day matchup against Roanoke College is any indication, the Captains can look forward to more success on the diamond in the months to come. The Captains defeated the Maroons 8 to 7 after nine innings of hotly contested baseball. CNU entered the top of the final inning trailing 5 to 7, but a pitch that hit No. 27 Alec Reilly scored No. 5 Eric O’Brien, a sacrifice fly ball from No. 46 Scott Crosson scored No. 2 Matt Rhodes and a second sacrifice fly from No. 17 Jay Cassady advanced No. 7 Daniel Elliott for the winning run. Their next game will be Mar. 3 against Hampden-Sydney College. 

The next day, Friday, Feb. 26, Men’s Lacrosse blasted-off two and a half hours northwest of Newport News versus Hampden-Sydney. The Captains conquered the Tigers 16 to 10 after four rainy periods. Hampden-Sydney outpaced CNU 39 to 38 in total shots, and both teams tied in assists with five. The pairing of No. 8 William Schlager and No. 31 Will Perry gave the Tigers a 13 to 8 advantage in saves, but the Captains’ own goalkeepers, senior Andrew Clark and later sophomore Zac Hanway, held strong for the team all game. Sending CNU over the edge was the performance by junior midfielder Brady Altobello. No. 25 led the team in total shots with 8, goals with 3, points with 4 and shots on goal with 5. After sophomore Michael Brost won the opening faceoff and Hampden-Sydney jumped to an early lead, Altobello scored the first goal of CNU’s season at 12:22 of the first period. Just over a minute later, senior Jackson Deal scored again for the Captains off a Tigers’ turnover, and from that point on, CNU would never look back. Now, at 1-0, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) No. 13 ranked Captains will look ahead to their second game against Southern Virginia on Wednesday, Mar. 3. 

Rounding out the week were a slew of games from CNU Women’s Softball. With graduated Captain Savannah Couch returning to the dugout as Assistant Coach, Women’s Softball kicked-off a four-game weekend with a Saturday, Feb. 27 road doubleheader against Virginia Wesleyan. In the first game, the Captains fell to the undefeated Marlins 2 to 0. With only two hits in the game, one from senior Patty Maye Ohanian and one from sophomore Kensley Hess, the No. 3 ranked Captains almost pulled off the upset in the top of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and one out left, junior Bailey Roberts grounded out to the pitcher to end the contest. In the second game, the Captains were once again bested by the Marlins 11 to 8, but CNU connected with 11 hits this time around. Ohanian staked claim to the team’s first home run of the season in the first inning to give the Captains a 2 to 0 advantage. After briefly falling behind in the third inning, Roberts doubled to right field to bring in three runners and tie the game 6 to 6. After that, Virginia Wesleyan pulled away after scoring five runs in the fifth inning. Ohanian took the loss for the Captains as pitcher, and she finished her outing surrendering 9 earned runs and 0 strikeouts. 

However, the CNU Softball team got back on the winning track with two victories in a Sunday doubleheader against Randolph College. The Captains took the first game 3 to 1, and they improved their record to 2-2 with a 12 to 2 victory in the second. They’ll take the diamond again on Wednesday, Mar. 3 for a doubleheader with William Peace University. 

All information and statistics retrieved from: 

Christopher Newport University Athletics – Official Athletics Website (cnusports.com)

CNUSports.com’s coverage of football’s return:

Captains Football to Begin Play in March…Schedule Released by New Jersey Athletic Conference – Christopher Newport University Athletics (cnusports.com) 

NJAC’s Announcement: 

NJAC Announces Its Plans For Football – New Jersey Athletic Conference (njacsports.com)

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