Spring sports teams post some good records, but fall short in playoffs

 

The end of the spring semester is always an extraordinarily stressful time for Norwich students. With finals exams, extracurricular activities, and sunny weather, it is certainly a challenge to finish out the school year.

However for student-athletes, this time of year is especially daunting due to the end of the spring sports seasons, and the GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic Conference) playoffs. Here’s a rundown on how the teams have fared.

The Norwich men’s and women’s lacrosse teams recently closed out their seasons with disappointing playoff losses, both in the GNAC semifinals.

The men’s team suffered an 11-2 drubbing at the hands of Emmanuel College, the number one seed in the GNAC playoffs.

Last season the Cadets won their first-ever GNAC championship in a thrilling triumph over rival Mount Ida, and were looking to repeat as champs and earn a bid to the NCAA playoffs.

“I think our goals more so this year were to just play better ball every chance we could, whether it be in conference or out of conference,” said sophomore long-stick middie Peter Soonthornprapuet (Pelham, N.H.) . “Our goal was still to win and repeat as GNAC champions, but we still had to focus on the little goals first,” he said.

Despite a rough start to the season, the Cadets won 7 out of their last 9 while sweeping their last five games in a row, including an 11-7 victory over Mount Ida in the opening round of the GNAC playoffs.

“We really started clicking when we bought into the system as a team. Our goal is to simplify the game as much as possible. Once we started doing that we really improved. Not being on the turf all off-season didn’t help though,” explained Soonthornprapuet.

However, Norwich faced top-seeded Emmanuel in the GNAC semi-finals, and the results were not as desired.

“They were just more prepared than us. They put in a lot of work in over the off-season and it showed, all throughout the season and the game itself,” stated Soonthornprapuet.

Soonthornprapuet continued that “the returners know what we need to do during the off-season, and all of us are excited to put in the work.”

The women’s lacrosse team also had high hopes for a run at the GNAC championship, having won the GNAC crown in 2012.

After putting together a very respectful regular season, the Cadets won their first playoff game against Simmons College in the opening round in the GNAC playoffs.

The Cadets next matchup was with St. Joseph’s College (Maine). Norwich held a lead until the second half when St. Joe’s scored five straight goals in the last 15 minutes of the game for a final score of 7-5.

The heart-breaking loss leaves the Cadets at a final record of 8-5, which is still an improvement from last season’s mark of 6-9.

The Norwich baseball team also had high hopes this season that a strong cast of sophomore pitching and senior leadership would spearhead the 2014 campaign. Despite a solid start to the season, the Cadets lost several close games throughout season.

However, the Cadets did play well enough to get themselves into the first round of the GNAC playoffs, for the second year in a row.

The Cadets faced off with third-seeded Lasell, having been swept by the Lasers in their previous two meetings by scores of 9-4 and 1-0.

The Cadets dropped this meeting as well, by a score of 4-0. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the Cadets have four remaining games on the schedule, including a double-header at home against in-state rival Castleton.

Freshman outfielder Donovan Murby (Manchester, N.H.) commented, “We were disappointed that we couldn’t meet our expectations but we did make improvements from last year and are looking forward to ending the season on a good note to put us on the right track for next year.”

The Norwich softball team had a terrific 2013 season, as it won the regular season GNAC championship. But then, unfortunately, it was upset in the first round by Suffolk College.

The Cadets posted a solid 17-16 record in the regular season, yielding a berth in the GNAC playoffs. In the opening round of the double elimination tourney, the Cadets split a double header with a 5-3 win over Simmons College and a 4-3 loss to Johnson and Wales University.

The loss meant the Cadets faced elimination if the lost to St. Joseph College (Conn). The Cadets were outplayed by the Blue Jays and fell by a score of 10-4. “It was a tough game. But I am proud of our team. It’s hard for the seniors but we can’t wait for next year,” said sophomore outfielder Justina George (Wallingford, Conn.).

The men’s rugby team has also seen action this spring, playing six games in the month of April. The men’s rugby team typically uses the spring season to develop younger players, and there has been a glimpse of new talent coming to the forefront as the club has been competitive in most games, winning one. The Norwich Rugby Club hosted a Sevens tournament on the 27th, squaring off against Dartmouth, Vassar and the University of Vermont.

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