By Wesley Evans
BUENA VISTA, Va.—In its first ever season as a competitive program and member of NCAA Division III athletics, the Southern Virginia University women's lacrosse team concluded its 2014 campaign with momentum while picking up its first win as an NCAA program.
The young Southern Virginia team finished the season with a 1-12 record, but showed poise against a tough field of Capital Athletic Conference opponents.
During the season, the Knights fell to then-No. 1 nationally ranked Salisbury University towards the end of March. The Seagulls are currently ranked No. 2 after having their 39-game win streak snapped by Cortland State.
Southern Virginia also dropped a contest at York College, who has spent considerable time in the Top 25 and is currently ranked 14th heading into the NCAA Division III tournament.
"The best part of this year was seeing the progression of the team from where we started to where we finished," said head coach Jordan Sorensen. "From a macro perspective, we learned a lot, we improved and we take a lot of knowledge and athleticism into next season. What I saw this year is that the team is invested. We didn't see the results in wins and losses, but we did see a higher level of commitment. With that, success will follow."
The Knights picked up their one victory against Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) member Hollins University in its second game of the season by a 9-1 margin.
Southern Virginia also had a strong showing against CAC opponent Wesley College in its final game of the season. In that contest, the Knights led 8-3 at halftime, but were unable to secure the victory as Wesley rallied off nine goals in the second half to take a 12-9 win, robbing the Knights of their first ever CAC victory.
Sophomore midfielder Zoe Bradshaw led Southern Virginia in goals for the season with 17, highlighted by her three goals scored in each game against Ferrum and York College.
In her final season, senior Caroline Schroeder punched in 15 goals while playing in 13 games. The Parker, Colo., native recorded a career- and team-high six goals in her final collegiate game in the Knights' loss to Wesley College.
Rainey Whitworth, a sophomore midfielder, also contributed 13 goals to go along with a team-high 30 groundballs for Southern Virginia, scoring three goals each against Hollins and Sweet Briar College.
Goalie Kathryn Lyman recorded 91 saves on the year, ranking fifth among CAC goalies.
"We have a good summer workout program and solid recruits coming in," Sorensen said. "All in all, I can only be proud of how we played in conference and we gave a good battle for many of our games. There were so many flashes of excellence and signs of where our program will be. Next year we want to go from flashes to a consistent trend."
A more experienced Southern Virginia squad will look to build off this year and compete at a higher level next season in the Capital Athletic Conference.