Women’s soccer and volleyball teams make MC history in fall 2023

Far too often the accomplishments of women in athletics go without recognition, but Maryville College’s women’s soccer and volleyball teams demanded the spotlight in their respective impressive finishes to the season. Each team brought vigor and athleticism to their conference tournaments and displayed the fighting spirit of the Scots. 

Winning the Collegiate Conference of the South Women’s Soccer Championship against Covenant put the Scots in the running to receive an NCAA tournament bid, which they secured. This season is the first time since 2019 that the Scots have gone to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship. 

“We are so proud of this group of players,” said Pepe Fernandez, head coach of both the women’s and men’s soccer teams. “They have been dedicated on the field, in the classroom and, more importantly, dedicated to our core value of a ‘collection of friends first, soccer players second.’”

The team’s strong bond carried them all the way to the first-round match against Washington. Although this game ended 2-0 in Washington’s favor, the Scots did not go out without a fight. Their defense held Washington to 0 points after the first 22 minutes of the game. 

Fernandez expressed how monumental the achievements of the team have been this year, and what that means for the future of the program. 

“[This team has] represented Maryville College in such a positive way. They have high-set standards that will be used to measure excellence in all future teams,” Fernandez said. 

Though their elimination from the tournament may not be the outcome hoped for, the Scots established themselves as a talented team that is not to be underestimated through their performances, both offensively and defensively.

The volleyball team showed defensive skill against Covenant, blocking three point attempts. Photo courtesy of MC Athletics.

Another callback to 2019 was made by the volleyball team, as they progressed to the CCS Finals for the first time in four years. Making the championship game was the result of a stunning athletic display against Huntingdon in the Semifinals. 

This landmark season was characterized by the grit of the women on the court, as well as the leadership of interim head coach Brienna Laskowski. This dynamic pushed the Scots to claim their place in the championship, something that felt out of reach in past seasons. According to Laskowski, the key to the team’s success this season was trust. 

“This past season, we had no seniors and only two true returning starters. Everyone had to earn their spots and grow within their roles this year. Playing with that many new faces is challenging, and the only way to do it—and do it well—is with trust. The girls had to show up consistently for one another and prove that they could be trusted to handle hard games and nail-biting scenarios. Their learning to trust one another is what carried us to a final appearance,” Laskowski said. 

Although they were bested by Covenant in the final game of the tournament, the Scots showed resilience in the 3-set matchup with scores of 25-19, 25-12, and 25-19. 

“Being in a final, whether the last time was in 2019 or not, was a huge accomplishment. So many people looked at this season as a “rebuilding year” and counted these girls out. While our roster looked much different, the talent was there, and I was proud to coach a group of girls so resilient and so passionate,” said Laskowski. 

Both the soccer and volleyball teams attained impressive placement in their conferences through their hard work and dedication. The Scots have come a long way in four years and will undoubtedly continue to be great representations of Maryville College and female athletes everywhere. 

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