By: Adam Tortelli ~Sports Writer~
As another year of Xavier sports approaches its end, we look back at the first year in the Big East. Fall brought great achievement in inaugurating Xavier into the new conference. Volleyball had a terrific season, finishing with a record of 21-11 while wasting no time transitioning to a heightened level of play in the Big East by going 12-4 in conference play.
Men’s and women’s soccer both had an impressive year, setting the stage for noise to be made around on the pitch in future years.
Senior Nick Hagglund was picked 10th overall in this year’s Major League Soccer Draft and has begun play for Toronto FC.Cross country also received its fair share of success, highlighted by senior Clare Fischer earning a spot in the NCAA Championship meet.
As 2013 came to a close, the winter season gave Xavier fans as much to cheer for as they could manage.
The men’s basketball team entered their first season in the Big East with high hopes but low expectations from preseason analysts. Arguably the main catalyst behind the transition into a new conference, men’s basketball battled early injuries and a revamped roster to earn them a well-deserved spot in the First Four of the NCAA tournament.
Men’s swimming may have experienced the most success of any team across campus by earning Xavier their first ever Big East Championship (highlighted by conference Coach of the Year Brent MacDonald and MVP Chad Thompson).
Track and field and baseball have also lined themselves up to close out a successful first year in the major conference as the spring season winds down. And the women’s tennis team finished second in the Big East Tournament.
While many outsiders questioned and criticized Xavier’s move to the Big East as a “purely basketball decision” it is clear that every sport exceeded every expectation set for it.
While not every team plays its games in Cintas before thousands of filled seats, athletic achievement reaches much further than where credit is given.
This transition to the Big East has not only given Xavier University a higher level of competition, but also a more notable and recognizable platform for the university. The Big East Conference has been one of the biggest conferences in sports for many years. Now that Xavier has been promoted to this level, it gives the university much more recognition in the media and the public.
Perhaps this is marking a new era for the university as a whole as many changes and renovations are being made on campus and in the classroom.
The Big East Conference has certainly made an impact on Xavier athletics in the eyes of students and fans alike. Perhaps most importantly, Xavier athletes excelled off the court as well as on it. Xavier prides itself in having each and every student-athlete in high academic standing, year in and year out.
With the final sports seasons beginning to wind down, it has been made clear that all Xavier student-athletes played a significant role this year in the transition to a bigger stage, and there is no doubt that Musketeers will have their names stamped all over the Big East in the near future.