As the school year comes to an end so does college sports. Despite the pandemic canceling all sports events around the world, we are going to take a trip down memory lane and recap the best sports moments from student athletes at Marshall University this year.
Starting with the fall season, Marshall men’s soccer team won their first Conference USA Championship title in program history. Going into conference, the team was the number one seed, so they were exempt from the first day of playing. The next two days the Herd played the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and defeated both teams.
“What was so special about this memory was that the whole team experienced an unexplainable feeling of excitement and joy,” junior Pedro Dolabella said. “It was such a pure moment that you could truly see that every person celebrating in that locker room was being their true self. There was no envy, just happiness and gratitude.”
Dolabella scored the winning goal in double overtime at the Conference USA Championship. He said this was his best memory from the school year.
“Scoring the championship goal for the school that I love is something that I could never have imagined, not even (in) my greatest dreams,” Dolabella said. “The whole season still seems like a Disney movie to me, and scoring the goal that gave us the trophy was an amazing ending for me.”
As soccer had a successful year, so did our football team, including senior kicker Justin Rohrwasser. In December 2019, he planned to continue his football career after college and prepare for the NFL draft. During his time at Marshall, Rohrwasser said his best memory was the homecoming game against Western Kentucky University.
“That moment was so special,” Rohrwasser said. “Because not only was it homecoming, but it was a game where we were ahead going into the second half and Western Kentucky fought back to tie the game. It ended on a game-winning field goal but more importantly the team fought tooth and nail together to overcome adversity.”
During the end of the fourth quarter, the game was tied 23-23, and Rohrwasser had a 51-yard field goal to make to defeat WKU. He kicked two field goals and there was a time out called both times making each field goal unofficial. On the third attempt Rohrwasser successfully kicked another 51-yard field goal to win the game 26-23.
“This year was very special,” Rohrwasser said. “Although every award and accolade I received should be shared among the whole team especially the teams, players and coaches that I worked with every day.”
Heading into the spring season, women’s tennis was winning numerous matches before COVID-19 canceled all remaining matches in the spring season. The team was on a four-game winning streak before the cancellation. They won 11 out of 16 matches this spring, defeating teams such as Wright State University, University of Toledo and North Texas University.
“I think our team dynamic was really special this year and because of that so many great memories were made,” sophomore Liz Stefancic said. “One that immediately comes to mind is our match against North Texas as it was our home opener and was super close. I think that the best and most memorable matches like North Texas are those that require everything from everybody, and as a result everyone is completely invested in what happens. So, when we were able to pull out the win with the level of effort put in it, it made it extremely special.”
The match between Marshall and UNT was a special moment for Stefancic and her team. During the spring season, Stefancic and freshman Jutte Van Hansewyck competed against Yale. The two women defeated a doubles team that was ranked number three in the nation. After defeating the team, their rankings shot up becoming number 39th in the nation.
“It was also a super cool experience to beat Yale in doubles because it felt as though the hard work Jutte and I were putting in was showing,” Stefancic said. “I am super excited to continue this progress we made into next season. From this past year I think a tremendous amount of work and commitment was put forth, and though it was cut short I am still so proud of what we were able to accomplish. It is only the beginning for the women’s tennis team, and we are counting down the days until we can begin the whole process once more.”
Stormy Randazzo can be contacted at [email protected]