The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Fall sports are not over yet

Student-athletes reflect on their experiences as some teams end on heartbreaking loss, while others push forward
Men’s soccer defeats Randolph-Macon 2-0 in the regular season on Oct. 7. Photo Courtesy of Generals Athletics

As Washington and Lee’s fall sports season winds down, some teams have concluded their seasons while others continue to play into the post-season. The athletes have spent time reflecting on their experiences this fall.

Women’s soccer closed its season with a 1-0 loss to No. 3 Carnegie Mellon in the first round of NCAA play on Friday, Nov. 10. The team entered the tournament with an at-large bid, having lost the championship matchup against Virginia Wesleyan in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament.

The Oct. 28 matchup against Averett was an especially noteworthy game, as they knew they had to finish strong to end the regular season. They swept the Cougars 4-0, with goals balanced in both halves. On Oct. 31, they used the same momentum and to defeat Roanoke in the first round of the ODAC playoffs, ending with the same score. They also went on to down Lynchburg 3-2 in double-overtime.

Catherine Grasso, ’26, had a positive experience this season, and she has appreciated the influence of the team’s mentality outside games as well as the improvements they made as a whole compared to last season.

“Our practices are always a very competitive environment, and keeping that consistent regardless of the game the previous weekend is important,” she said. “We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the little things, such as making simple passes and not forcing anything.”

Grasso also said in the past they might’ve been more frantic, but now they are focused on staying in control of the game instead of reacting to it.

Despite a few tough losses including the season ending loss to Carnegie Mellon, the good moments outweighed the bad to Grasso. Tying No. 2 Christopher Newport University 0-0 on Oct. 1 gave the Generals a boost of esteem, as this team has consistently ranked in the top five in Division III over the past few seasons.

“Going into the game, we knew it would be a tough match, but we fought really hard the whole time,” Grasso said.

The men’s soccer team had a devastating 1-3 loss to Lynchburg in the ODAC Championship. Regardless, they got to host the first two rounds of NCAA play.

The team went on to defeat Western Connecticut State 2-0 and SUNY Oneota 2-1 on Saturday and Sunday. The Generals will face Tufts in their quarterfinal matchup.

Field hockey had a fair run as well, concluding their season 11-7 and ending on a 0-2 loss to No. 2 Shenandoah in the conference semifinal matchup. Even after defeat, Margaret Cover, ’27, said her first-yar on the team has been worth it.

“The whole experience in total has been great,” she said. “Upperclassmen are great leaders on and off the field, and we’re really connecting as a team.”

After defeating Roanoke 4-0 on October 25, the team seemed to gain a boost of momentum, and went on to have a six-game win streak.

“It was a great fight, and the team connected through passing,” Cover added.

Tate Whitmer, ’26, has felt a similar energy on the football team. Describing the challenges they have faced, he mentioned execution in games as a major setback.

“Every single game we’ve been in has been close, but it really just comes down to whether or not we can believe in each other and try to turn the ball over,” he said.

However, Whitmer has had faith in their ability to overcome this obstacle.

“We’ve been able to dig ourselves out of a hole,” he mentioned. “Our motto is ‘go 1-0 this week,’ and we don’t care about what happened last week because every week is a new week.”

He said camaraderie has been a strength for the team this year.

“Our team is a lot closer this year; we love each other and have each other’s back. And when we watch the film on Sunday, it helps us keep our vision.”

So far, Generals football has an overall record of 8-2, with a 6-1 record in the ODAC. With wins against Bridgewater (31-21) and Shenandoah (40-21), they are now looking toward a bowl game on Nov. 18.

The men’s cross-country team received an at-large selection to nationals which will be its first appearance since 2016. The team was selected after their second-place finish at the South Regional Championships in which Row Sterne, ’25, and Keaton Rush, ’26, finished sixth and tenth respectively.

The women’s cross-country team finished third in regionals. Elise Molinaro, ’24, finished seventh overall to earn her spot at the NCAA Championship representing the Generals. Claire Hamlet, ’25, will also race in the championship.

Dickinson College will host the men’s and women’s races on Nov. 18 and will livestream them at 11 a.m. Eastern.

The volleyball team claimed their nineteenth ODAC title on Saturday after taking down the Randolph-Macon 3-1. With their conference title, they claimed an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Generals will face Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga. at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Editors Note: This article has been updated to include the correct score for the women’s soccer loss and new information for women’s cross-country and volleyball.

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