Written by Julia Fischer for CUWFalcons.com
The leaves have fallen off the trees and the air is crisp, which means the fall sports season has come to a close at Concordia Wisconsin. As winter approaches, we look back at the wins and losses of our fall sports programs. With many stories of success during the 2016 season, some of CUW's teams excelled at reaching their goals, while others fell short of standards they have set.
CUW's Volleyball and Women's Tennis programs obtained memorable wins throughout the season, none more than when they clinched their respective NACC title. Volleyball won the NACC regular season and Tournament to earn its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Women's Tennis cruised through the regular season with an undefeated record to win their second-straight NACC regular season crown. Both teams reached what they challenged themselves to achieve during training camp and each program was lead by a sole senior leader, but the success was achieved by the hard work of every student-athlete.
Both Cross Country teams set many goals at the beginning of their season and were determined to fulfill each one. Sometimes in life athletics has to take a backseat for more important things and the Falcons were missing valued member, Lilly Johnson, due to her fight against 2B Hodgkin's Lymphoma. With such a powerful motivator, both teams rallied together to dedicate their season to their beloved teammate. Head coach Russ DeLap raised needed awareness for his runner by completing 101 miles in 24 hours, as part of the team's 'Run for Lilly' campaign.
Each fall sports teams supported the cross country team's mission. Field Hockey dedicated their only home game of the season to Lilly and her fight. With Field Hockey being a new program this year, they had the chance to make a statement as they won their only home game against Lindenwood Belleville, 6-0, and eventually were triumphant in six contests. They were on the road for nearly the entire season and with that had a lot of time to bond and get to know each other. With future seasons on the horizon, they can use the inaugural experiences to build on for the next year and every season after that.
Triathlon was also a brand new program to CUW and competed hard at each of their races, hoping to make a statement. Although the team only competed in five competitions, they used the practice time to expand upon their training regiment and learn one of the newest sports for female athletes at the collegiate level. Since it was the team's first ever season, they had ups and downs as expected, but with experience and team bonding, they can look forward to future events and racing faster times.
Men's and Women's Golf both had moments of success over the season. The men's team tied for third during the fall portion of the NACC Championship, while also having an individual tie for first place through 36 holes of play. The women's team, on the other hand, finished fourth in the NACC Championship and had a golfer place ninth on the leaderboard to earn All-NACC honors.
It started out promising with back-to-back wins for the Football team, including one over Augsburg -- a program the Falcons hadn't defeated. Then things started to go in a different direction and fell short after their second win of the season, checking just one more win the rest of the way. CUW lost five games in a row and was finally able to break their losing by achieving success during a Homecoming game against Rockford, 49-46.
Both Men and Women's Soccer returned to the field this season with the expectation to repeat as NACC champions and to reclaim their titles, but both fell short of their goal. With an overall record of 13-5-0, the men's program only missed out on making history by a slim margin. Although the Falcons didn't win claim their title back, they had six members each All-NACC accolades. The women's team struggled from the start and throughout the season to score goals, which hampered their abilities to walk off the field with victories. They went from 14 wins in 2015 to just five this fall, which is a disappointment but gives the program motivation to be better and return to the top of the NACC.
With another season of fall sports wrapped up and put away in the archives, there is a lot to be optimistic about as we start our winter sports. The goal is to always win a title, but if that boxed cant' be checked at the end of the season, success can be defined in other ways. It is just a matter how you define success. Good luck Falcons.