SPORTS COLUMN: A year in review

Erin Madden


Faith. Virtue. Knowledge. Self-Control. These are the pillars on which Franciscan University athletics prides itself in building its programs. You can even see that phrase located on our website.

I think we can add another word here: success.

For a university that is not widely known for athletics, we are gaining ground in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference and in the NCAA. The 2014-2015 school year was the most successful to date for many of our different sports teams.

Thirty-one student athletes were named to their respective All-Conference Teams with four head coaches winning AMCC Coach of the Year honors. Three teams won conference championships, two of them winning for the very first time.

Let’s take a quick walk down memory lane.

On Sept. 6, our men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted their very first meet in which the women won and the men came in second. A month and a half later, Franciscan University hosted the AMCC championship meet in which the women were crowned champions and the men again came in second.

The women’s soccer team went an incredible 8-1 in conference play on its way to a 13-5-1 overall record before a heartbreaking loss in the AMCC semifinals to Penn St.-Behrend.

The women’s tennis team went a perfect 8-0 in conference play and won its first-ever conference title 5-2 against Penn St.-Behrend in October. The Lady Barons will make their first appearance at the national level in the first round of the NCAA tournament in May.

Rounding out the fall season’s success was the volleyball team. The Lady Barons made their first-ever appearance in the championship match in which they pulled out a stunning comeback in the five-set upset of undefeated Penn St.-Altoona for their first conference title. Four days later, they had the experience of playing in their first-ever NCAA tournament in which they lost in straight sets to Juniata College.

The women’s basketball team had its most successful season in program history with 10 total wins, eight of them coming in conference play. A first-round playoff game in the AMCC tournament capped off the team’s season, the first-ever postseason appearance for the Lady Barons.

But the season isn’t over yet. Our spring teams are still going strong with just a few weeks left in the season. Men’s tennis is well on the way to winning its third straight conference championship and gaining its third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

The future looks bright for Franciscan Athletics.