Two weeks ago, UR students had the pleasure to pause our studies for a week of sleep, relaxation and family: Spring Break had arrived. Yet many athletes—both varsity and club—used their time off as season kick-starters and season-enders. Thankful to be out of the freezing weather for a week, UR athletes ventured from the colder climates of Rochester, NY to locations like Florida, North Carolina, France and Spain.
The baseball and softball squads took their talents to the middle of the Sunshine State, as the men’s squad began their season with the University Athletic Association (UAA) championships in Sanford, and the Lady Yellowjackets played some neutral exhibitions in Clermont against Bethany College, Salve Regina University and Finlandia University.
After starting out the season 2-1 at home, the Lady ‘Jackets continued their Floridian tour with the women’s softball UAA championships held in Altamonte Springs. Sophomore Tiffany White said her teammates “play best when [they] are having fun and relaxed,” and the warm Florida environment change “was a good way to bond [and] enjoy the beautiful sunshine that [will] be nonexistent in Rochester for awhile upon our return.”
UR Softball won six out of ten of their contests within the championships. Two of those losses were to eigth-ranked Emory, allowing for the Lady ‘Jackets to finish third at the championships. This top-three finish came after sweeping Brandeis and NYU and splitting match ups against Washington University in St. Louis and Case Western Reserve.
Junior shortstop Kayla Kibling had an exceptional performance, putting up a .512 batting average along with six doubles and 12 runs. Additionally, senior Brittany Grage batted five home runs and drove in 19 RBIs along with striking out 25 batters throughout the Lady ‘Jacket’s run in Florida.
The men’s baseball team also finished the UAA championships in third and went 4-4 throughout the tournament. They are now tied with Case Western Reserve as they share the third place mark within the UAA standings.
Although the ‘Jackets didn’t finish the tournament above .500, they ended their UAA play with a very convincing 12-0 over NYU. Difference-makers who emerged from their opening contests consisted of junior Nolan Schultz and senior Josh Ludwig. Schultz accumulated two home runs and ten hits during the Sanford stay, while Ludwig put up five doubles and drove in nine runs.
The ‘Jackets also saw impressive pitching performances from senior Josh Schulman, junior Michael Mondon and freshman John Ghyzel, who together achieved 28 strike-outs throughout the championships.
After a tough opening loss to Ithaca College, UR Women’s Lacrosse also traveled to Florida, but this time to Clearwater. The team played two games against Lynchburg College and Swathmore College, and returned from their spring play reenergized after turning their 0-1 record into a 2-1 record.
Sophomore Jamie Wallisch continued the momentum she gained last season, with a combined nine-goal performance in Clearwater. Along with Wallisch, junior Elizabeth Watson and sophomore Mara Karpp scored two apiece.
Freshman defender/midfielder Madeline Mullholand commented on the two away games, stating that playing in Florida enabled the Lady ‘Jackets to “experiment with [our] lines and rotations to see what chemistry would develop on the field.” She continued to say that being in Florida wasn’t only a “great opportunity on the field” but allowed the team “to grow off the field as well.”
The men’s and women’s ultimate frisbee teams took their spring break to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the High Tide Tournament. The women’s team tied for third place while the men’s squad won the consolation “Chumpionship” Bracket.
Junior Nina Fogel expressed the importance of this tournament for both squads.
“This tournament enabled us to try out new things” and allowed for “our younger members to take leadership on the field.” Fogel continued to reflect upon the season for the women’s squad and said how they have been “plagued by injuries” and a change in coaching, but she is proud of the way in her her teammates have stepped up.
While the above teams all took their spring break excursions in the beginning and/or middle of their seasons, the UR women’s Soccer team took their talents to Barcelona, Spain and Nice, France for some sight-seeing and offseason international play.
Their adventures began in Barcelona as they were introduced to Spanish foods, traveled to the El Barri Gotic—the Gothic Quarter—and saw an F.C. Barcelona game at Camp Nou.
The soccer team then continued their Spanish adventures with some time at the Picasso Museum followed by their first match against a team from San Andreas. The competitive against the Spanish team was intense, as freshman midfielder Hayley Orciuch scored to end the match in a tie.
The Rochester women had their second match in France against OFC Nice, which also resulted in a draw of 3-3. Not only did the lady ‘Jackets immerse themselves in diverse culture, but they learned a great deal about how the sport they love is portrayed and practiced around the world, according to journal entries posted to the UR Athletics website by members of the team.
Spring break was a time for the ‘Jackets to either begin or end their seasons with pride. Their spring break trips allowed the athletes to refuel their drive to keep up their intensity in both training and competition, whether their seasons are underway or come closer to beginning.
Powell is a member of the class of 2018.