For a remarkable nine-month stretch, the University’s sports teams put up some of the best numbers in school history. Innumerable personal and team records were set. From April 2020 through January 2021, all of our teams went undefeated.
Athletic Director George VanderZwaag expressed his pride for the athletic program’s success. “Maybe if we never played any games, they’d give us all a raise for being so successful at exerting such high performance out of our athletes,” he said.
Our Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Field Hockey, and Women’s Lacrosse teams all set defensive records as respective units. Not only did they all allow zero goals, each team’s defense was so good that it prevented any shots on net.
All of the baseball and softball pitchers let up zero hits, zero walks, and zero runs. Their hitters never stuck out. They even improved at fielding, with zero errors. The Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams had no unforced errors, no double-faults, and none of the players lost even one game or set, let alone a match. The football team never fumbled. Their quarterbacks threw no interceptions. Their offensive line gave up zero sacks. Their defense gave up no yards.
But over the past few weeks, all of these teams have suddenly begun to regress.
Starting in February, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams started a drastic decline in defensive quality, but also a solid improvement in offensive performance. More shocking was the remarkable similarity in this pattern between the men’s team and women’s team.
After 10 months with 0 points given up, Men’s Basketball has now given up 444 points — at the time this article was written — in less than two months. Women’s Basketball’s defense has regressed more slowly, giving up only 320 points in the past month. However, both have had their offense infinitely improve.
It is unclear whether this season’s shocking statistical records will have an effect on recruitment. “It would be a lot of pressure to join a team that kept up a scoreless streak for five sixths of a year,” said Abigail D’Alessandro, a high school senior from New Jersey who is the starting goalkeeper for her school’s soccer team. “But at the same time, it’s nice to get an offer from a top-tier research university that has shown so much athletic improvement this year.”
One of the most worrying aspects of the amazing defensive streak for the ’Jackets was the record-low attendance at games. It is unclear what people felt was more important than showing up in-person to cheer on such high-quality teams.