A Dominating Start to a Year Full of Athletics

The early stage of the 2017-18 academic year has been riddled with success from our Cougar athletic programs. From sailing to volleyball, College of Charleston has competed marvelously as fall sports come to a close.

A number of College of Charleston teams represented the school well in tournament play. Both the male and female athletes came to play this fall.

For the men, the sailing team and the soccer team have experienced postseason runs this year. The men’s sailing team is headed to compete in the Rose Bowl (Los Angeles, CA) come January, and the soccer team is coming off a CAA Semifinal appearance, where they fell in gut-wrenching fashion in OT.

The women, on the other hand, have dominated throughout the fall season. The women’s sailing program is headed to the Rose Bowl along with their male counterparts, the soccer team experienced a CAA tournament berth, and the volleyball team continues to show their muscle as they advance onto the NCAA tournament, facing Miami on Nov. 30.

For such outstanding seasons to occur, individual players have to take leaps forward in their development. No player garnered as much attention as senior stud Leland Archer, who was named CAA defensive player of the year thanks to his commanding play all season long. This award was monumental not just for Archer, but for CofC as a whole, as it marked the first Player of the Year award earned by any Cougar since CofC first joined the CAA, in 2013.

The fall season also saw seven other cougars claim All-Conference nods in soccer, four from the men’s team and three from the women’s. 1st Team All-CAA included Laura Ortega, Eli Dent, and Leland Archer. 2nd Team featured Maddy Brill-Edwards and Kevin Shields. The list of Cougar all-conference players was rounded out with Rio Speller-Drews and Vebjorn Krovel being placed on All-CAA 3rd Team, along with Freshman Jake Nicholson on the All-Rookie squad.

The College of Charleston volleyball team showed up more prepared than ever before this season, as they excelled all fall long and finished the regular season with a 27-5 overall record, along with a 15-1 CAA record to boot.  Nobody could’ve seen this type of season coming from the Cougars, as the 2016 campaign was one that ended with disappointment, with a mere 17-12 overall record. This group of athletes is one that is used to defying expectations by now, as they’ve managed to do it all season. On November 30th, the Cougars will appear in NCAA tournament play for the first time since 2013.

The College of Charleston’s co-ed sailing team has been second to none this fall season. According to the most recent rankings published by Sailing World, Charleston sits alone atop the rankings at the #1 spot, in the driver’s seat of all of college sailing. The team was motivated, after remaining one of the top programs in college sailing all of last spring, only to fail to reach the national championship.

The College of Charleston’s athletic programs has certainly been on the rise. This successful fall season set the table for the rest of Cougar athletics to follow up, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

The women’s equestrian team has commanded attention this season, as they have had 1st or 2nd place finishes at 5 of their 6 shows so far. As their season nears the halfway point, the team has every reason to believe more success is to follow. The equestrian team still remains outside of the top 10 of the national rankings, but these Cougars seem to be on a quest for recognition.

Basketball season is also upon us, and the men’s team has started off scorching hot, earning a 4-2 record across their first 6 contests. This season, Cougar hoops’ fans hope the team builds on its 25-10 season in 2016-17, which featured win streaks of 5 and 7 and an appearance in the CAA championship game. As the team aims to make an NCAA berth since 1999, starting off the season on the right note, as they have so far, is vital to keep hopes alive.

This considerable success that Charleston athletics has had has been extremely thrilling and easy to get used to. With the way that our Winter programs have looked so far, that success might be here to stay a while. So buckle up Cougar fans, you’re in for a long year.

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Sean Pedernales is a Senior Communications Major at The College. Sean is the sports editor for CisternYard Media, and when not at school, can be found in Charlotte, NC with family. If that’s not interesting enough, Sean has also received a black belt in Taekwondo, eats (probably too much) chipotle, and has owned a hedgehog.

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