By Dennis O’Donnell
Excitement abounds for the varsity athletic teams at Rochester with the 2014–15 seasons approaching. Many of the Yellowjackets who helped lead last year’s athletic success return this season, including 12 who earned All-America honors.
Here’s a quick look at the 2014–15 athletic seasons:
Men’s soccer won the University Athletic Association title and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA champion- ships. All-Americans Alex Swanger ’15 and Keith Grafmeyer ’15 headline a strong case of returnees.
Field hockey was ranked throughout the season and played in the Liberty League championships.
Women’s soccer returned to the Top 25 poll last year.
Men’s and women’s cross country were among the elite teams in the Atlantic Region in 2013 with the men sending two runners to the NCAA Championship meet.
Football wants to build on the excitement of a team that won two games in the final minute—one on the final play of the game.
Ten veterans return to the women’s volleyball team, which plays in four early season tournaments, one of those at home.
Rochester will host the Liberty League championships in women’s and men’s swimming and diving. The Yellowjackets won the women’s title for the fifth straight season. The men were second a year ago. Seven women earned All-America honors in 2013–14. Lauren Bailey ’15 was honored four times. Emily Wylam, formerly at Case Western Reserve University, will debut as Rochester’s head coach this year.
The squash team finished seventh nationally a year ago and returns three First Team All-Americans—Neil Cordell ’16, Ryosei Kobayashi ’17, and Mario Yanez Tapia ’17.
The women’s and men’s basketball teams will look to get back into the thick of the UAA race as both teams return skilled veterans.
Rochester’s indoor track and field teams for men and women set numerous records last winter and performed well in the New York State Championships and the ECAC Championships.
In 2014, softball advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Round for the first time in school history. The Yellowjackets won the Liberty League’s automatic bid. Seven starters—including two pitchers—are back.
Baseball rode a mid-to-late season hot streak (21-5) to the championship game of the Liberty League. Most of the lineup returns.
Women’s lacrosse was bolstered by a strong freshman class last year and produced one of the top defenses in Division III.
Golf won a thrilling match-play victory over Skidmore Col- lege to win the Liberty League title in 2014 and advance to the NCAA Championships. The Yellowjackets shot their best four-man score ever at NCAAs where they finished 12th nationally.
Rowing built on the success established two years ago with victories by two shells at the Dad Vail national championships. Rochester was ranked 14th nationally at the end of 2014. One of the key returnees will be Emily Widra ’15.
Two women qualified for the NCAA Division III track and field outdoor national championships last year. Rochester’s men and women carried their indoor success on to the outdoor circuit.
The success of the men’s tennis team was recognized by the national voters as Rochester was ranked 37th nationally in the final Division III poll. Much of the lineup is back.
Women’s tennis posted a seventh place finish at the UAA championships built around a rugged schedule that included six nationally ranked opponents.
Dennis O’Donnell is director of athletic communications.