The Catholic University of America and The University are quite similar. Both are Roman-Catholic affiliated, have a similar student body size and boast successful athletic programs. However, it is similarities like these that have brewed a competitive athletic rivalry for years. Three of The University’s fall sports teams take on Catholic this Saturday and all hope to be the victors.
All three teams agree the rivalry is alive and well. “It’s one of the biggest rivalries we’ve had because of how competitive the matches are,” men’s soccer senior captain Eric Hintz said. Women’s soccer senior midfielder Christina Akalski agreed, saying, “As a team, it’s mutual that they’re our biggest rival. 100% [the rivalry] increased.” What fuels the rivalry most is the desire to win. “Both teams always play their hardest when we play each other, because we both want to win really bad,” field hockey senior captain Amanda Maresca said.
For the field hockey team, a win against Catholic would mean keeping the dream alive. Defeating Catholic on Saturday is part of the equation that would result in the field hockey team clinching the fourth and final spot in the Landmark Tournament. After a hard-fought season thus far, the team hopes to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“This would be our biggest accomplishment of the season. It would mean everything to us,” senior captain Elizabeth Yorey said. “We’re really pushing to win because this would mean more than just winning, this would be a huge accomplishment to our team.”
For the men’s soccer team, a win against Catholic would mean redemption.
Even though they went on to win the Conference Title last year, they weren’t able to defeat Catholic when they faced them in the regular season, tying 1-1.
Having already secured a playoff spot, giving them the confidence they need, the Royals look at this year as the year to get the win against Catholic.
“We lost my freshman and sophomore year and tied last year so it would be nice to beat them,” Hintz said. “The past three years they have been really competitive. [Beating them] would be a sense of joy and relief, considering that we got into the playoffs, and this game isn’t as much as it has to be, it would still be nice beating them even when the stakes aren’t high.”
For the women’s soccer team, a win against Catholic would mean security. It would secure them the top seed in the Landmark Conference and home field advantage. It would secure them a perfect record in conference play. It would secure them a path to take the Landmark Conference Tournament by storm.
“That’s a good place to be after two years of not having that,” Akalski said.
“The past two years they beat us every single time by one or two in OT. The past two years we played them in the finals and they beat us.If we do [win], it will be the most amazing feeling.”
Whether it be for security, redemption or for keeping the dream alive, these Royals will give it their all to come out on top against Catholic this Saturday.
The field hockey team hosts the visiting Lady Cardinals at 1 p.m. on Fitzpatrick Field.
The women’s soccer team travels to Washington D.C. to play the Lady Cardinals at 1 pm, while the men’s game will follow at 3:30 pm.