Soccer Teams Hit Milestone Wins in 2013
It was a special fall season for the Elizabethtown College men’s and women’s soccer teams.
The Blue Jay men, coached by 31st-year head coach Arthur ‘Skip’ Roderick ’74, returned to the Commonwealth Conference Final for the first time since 2010.
In his third full season, Jason Petronis led the women’s team to 12 wins and an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament—their first national bid since 2007.
Both had individual successes, but one they shared was a century-mark win in the same season. On Oct. 8, at Alvernia, the men became just the third team in NCAA history, across all three divisions, to win 800 games. Later that month, on Oct. 29, at Lycoming, the women notched win No. 300 for their 26-year old program.
Elizabethtown has fielded a men’s soccer team since 1938, and it won 63 games over its first 17 seasons from 1938-1958, ceasing play from 1943-1946. In 1959, the College joined the Middle Atlantic Conference, immediately winning a league championship in its first season under legendary coach Ira R. Herr.
The Blue Jays would total 18 MAC Championships from 1959-1999 and a Division III National Championship in 1989, before the MAC became Division III’s only umbrella conference and split schools into the Commonwealth and Freedom Conferences in select sports. E-town went on to claim the 2004 and 2006 Commonwealth Conference titles.
Roderick’s seen plenty of the program’s wins, both as player and coach. He’s been involved in more than 500 victories: nearly 50 as an all-conference player in the early ’70s and 478 on the sidelines as coach since 1983.
With its historic 2-1 win at Alvernia, the Blue Jay men joined the likes of Division I UCLA and fellow Division III member Wheaton (Ill.) as teams with 800 wins or more. UCLA is the only program in collegiate history to go over 900 victories.
While Zach Lee ’14 was disappointed he didn’t go out a champion his senior year, he said it was a fun ride. “I had a blast playing under such a great coach. I’m proud to be part of the 800th win and was lucky enough to score in that game.”
This kind of celebration doesn’t come around very often.
While the women’s program has a history dating back to 1988, the players that have donned the blue and gray have certainly left their imprint on the program. It took nine seasons for the Elizabethtown ladies to reach 100 wins, which they did Sept. 20, 1997, in a 3-0 triumph at North Carolina’s Methodist, on their way to an appearance in the national semifinals. It took eight more years to reach 200 in 2005 and another eight to claim 300 this fall. “Being a part of the team’s 300th win was very special. This kind of celebration doesn’t come around very often so to be able to experience it with my teammates was awesome,” said Lauren Berry ’16. “We really wanted to win this game for our seniors to send them off with some part of E-town women’s soccer history.”
The Blue Jays left no doubt in getting the milestone, blanking Lycoming 8-0 to join some of Division III’s elite programs in the 300-win club. In a twist of irony, win No. 300 for the men’s program came Oct. 29, the same date 33 years prior, in 1980. The opponent? Lycoming. The score? 9-0.