With Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University moving into the CALPAC conference there were huge expectations, but they were underrated. Embry-Riddle shined more than anyone would have expected in the first year of joining this conference. Whether it was soccer, golf, or volleyball, Embry-Riddle athletes had a phenomenal year.
The men and women’s soccer teams each achieved high praise by becoming the CALPAC Soccer champions. The women’s team had a final record of 13-5-3 with a conference record of 4-0. Going into the championship, they defeated Menlo College 2-0 advancing them to the NAIA Championship.
The men’s team fared just as well as the Lady Eagles. Ending with a season 14-3-3 and 2-0-2 conference record the men were also CALPAC champions. Both the men and women teams went to the NAIA Championship. The men went to Portland, Ore. to face Concordia University where they fell to a 3-1 loss. The women did not fare much better as they went to California and got swept in a 3-0 game against Vanguard. These were tough matchups, but they performed better than anyone would have guessed in the first year of Embry-Riddle joining the CALPAC conference. However, they were not the only ones to have success this year.
The volleyball team had a rough start this season with the change in coaching staffs. Assistant Coach Jill Blasczyk was named interim coach, but soon became head coach for the Lady Eagles. With a rough start to the season, they quickly changed pace and Blasczyk even said, “They are playing better than I have ever seen this team play.” With an overall record of 13-15 and a conference record of 6-3 the volleyball team also made it to the CALPAC championships. After a tough set of matches, the team placed second in the conference. Many would have written off the team after the changes through the summer and rough start, but their coach stuck by them and coached through it all. This team knows how to take a loss and use it to secure a later victory. This team is going to go far in the coming years under the new coaching staff.
The golf teams were phenomenal under the direction of Coach Kim Haddow. The men’s team welcomed a new crop of freshmen that turned to be the best freshmen team in the country. The men and women teams each performed fantastic throughout the year. This is only the second year that Embry-Riddle has had golf teams, but they were phenomenal. With first place finishes at home and a hole-in-one, the golf teams have become a force to be recognized within the CALPAC conference and other divisions across the country.
This season, Embry-Riddle saw many long favorite athletes play their final games, but they will not be forgotten. Freshmen in all sports have stepped up to fill the spots and new sports are on the way for future fall semesters. Men and women’s cross country has started to take shape along with the naming of a softball coach. This was Embry-Riddle’s first season in the CALPAC conference and the school has made a huge name for itself.