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TWO EAGLES teams landed this past weekend with a thud--but not before soaring to exalted heights in regular athletic season play, achievements for which their heads should be held high.
The University of Mary Washington field hockey team lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA Division III semifinals in Geneva, N.Y. After a 20-1 season, the UMW Eagles, ranked third in the playoffs, faced the Montclair State University Red Hawks, 22-1, ranked second. Known as the "comeback kids" during regular season play, the UMW Eagles couldn't quite find the bounce to overcome the Hawks' three first-period goals, two of which came in a blistering one-minute, 8-second span. The final score was 4-0.
"That was not UMW hockey," said disappointed senior forward Lisa Charney. "We didn't play to our potential." Noted coach Lindsey Elliott, "We let them dictate the play of the game."
Still, after a valiant season, all is not lost. Senior midfielder Florence George commented, "The bond we've created is stronger than anything I've ever been part of." Scores will be forgotten, trophies discarded, but those bonds of friendship will last a lifetime. Congratulations, UMW Eagles, for a stellar season.
The Fredericksburg Christian High School Eagles football team tangled with the Virginia Episcopal School Bishops in the VISAA Division III state championship game in Lynchburg on Saturday. The Eagles lost, 48-14, but that's not all there is to the story.
The program at FCS is only four years old. Six of today's seniors started with the team as freshmen. In that short period, the team has gained strength and skills. Their dedication drove them to the semifinals last year and the finals this year. For a young program, that's quite an accomplishment.
Eagles' senior Bret Barham said, "[I]t's the hard work that got us to where we are and it's the hard work that's going to help this team next year." That's a legacy for every player to remember, and sound advice for the gridiron and for life. The FCS Eagles can rest now--but wait 'til next year.