Another season of Vixen athletics is just around the corner and with Sweet Briar's return to ODAC play after a one-year hiatus, it is certain to be a fun and eventful fall.
Cross Country- The inaugural season of Vixen cross country will get underway on Sept. 1 when the team competes at the Bridgewater Eagles Cross Country Challenge. Under the guidance of Head Coach Megan Behrle, the Vixen harriers will get their first taste of the competition.
Sweet Briar joins Hollins University as the two new programs in the ODAC season, bringing the field up to 12 teams vying for the league title. While the Vixens were picked to finished 12th in the preseason coaches poll, a pair of first-year runners will look to set the tone for the future of Vixen cross country.
First-years Victoria Lawson and Jessie Melrose have impressed during the preseason and will look to lead the pack of Vixens on race day. Senior Kim Uglum, along with juniors Maggy O'Donnell and Claire Zak, will provide veteran leadership for the young Vixen squad. Zak is also a member of the Vixen swim team and Uglum rides for Sweet Briar, so leadership and varsity athletic competition will be nothing new to these seasoned vets.
With six races on the docket this fall, the Vixen will have their sites set on impressing all season, especially at the ODAC Championships on Oct. 29.
Field Hockey- The Sweet Briar field hockey team returns to action on Sept. 1 when they host Bridgewater College, the reigning ODAC champions. With a core of eight returning players, third-year Head Coach Hannah Lott is looking to build around them with a talented crop of first-years.
The Vixens were picked ninth in the ODAC preseason poll, but will be working hard to improve on that mark and climb the conference rankings.
Seniors Kiley Jolicoeur and Jessica Lusby will anchor the Vixen defense and provide veteran leadership from the back. Joining them in the back will be junior Emily Dodson, who is ready for a breakout season in goal for the Vixens.
Upfront, the Vixens will look to the junior speedster Rachel Rogers and senior poacher Kayla Dooms to find the back of the cage, just like they both did last season.
Through the midfield, senior Amanda Terry will be called upon to orchestrate and organize the Vixens attack. Joining Terry in the middle will be classmate Mary Kate Bailey and sophomore Maddy Widjaja.
First-years Kierstan Mullins and Ashleigh Skipper have impressed during preseason training and will look to carry that over into the regular season.
Vixen hockey opens the season with four-straight home matches at Thayer Field and will conclude the season on home turf as well, facing off against Randolph-Macon on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Soccer- With nine returners on the roster, Head Coach Amy Dahlin has her eyes set on a successful second season at the helm of Vixen soccer. The Vixens open their season at Southern Virginia University on Sept. 1.
Picked to finish 12th in the conference preseason poll, the Sweet Briar soccer team is geared up and ready to impress the skeptics.
Senior Des'rae Davis looks to cap off her Vixen career with an impressive offensive season as the Vixens primary striker. Returning goal scorers Jona Cumani and Alicia Wooten will also be primed to contribute on the offensive end of the pitch.
Returning to the Vixen midfield are juniors Melissa Wert and Leyte McNealus. The classmates have made a combined 33 appearances in green and pink and are primed for a solid year in the middle. Joining them will be transfer Alexa Dahlin, who will work out of the defensive midfield and serve as the fulcrum of the Sweet Briar attack.
On the defensive end, the work will turn to senior Kayla Kishbaugh and sophomore standout Elizabeth Phaup. Kishbaugh has transferred back to Sweet Briar after making 13 appearances and registering both a goal and an assist for ODAC rival Randolph College last year. In her first two years at Sweet Briar, Kishbaugh flashed her talents all over the pitch, starting 30 games, scoring seven goals, and registering six assists.
Cassidy Bodkin and Lacey Tucker, who both played significant minutes in Sweet Briar's preseason exhibition against Averett University, headline the Vixens crop of talent first-years. Joining them are Svetlana Morgan and Courtney Nelson, who will anchor down the goalkeeping duties for Coach Dahlin's team.
After opening the season with three consecutive road matches, the Vixens will make their home debut on Sunday, Sept. 11 against Cedar Crest College. Big home matches for the soccer Vixens includes an Oct. 19 matchup with six-time defending conference champion and preseason favorite Lynchburg College and a season-finale matchup with rival Hollins University on Oct. 29.