The traditional opening day of the season for the Capital Athletic Conference - and all NCAA Division III teams - is Sept. 1 (or the last Friday of August if Sept. 1 falls on Labor Day Weekend). So today marks the opening of the 21st season of fall sports in the CAC with 19 events in four sports.
All four CAC field hockey teams in action Thursday will play non-conference games at home - Frostburg State (vs. Sweet Briar), Mary Washington (vs. Lynchburg), Stevenson (vs. Washington & Lee) and York (vs. Alvernia).
UMW and Stevenson open the field hockey season Thursday under new mentors. The Eagles hired former Salisbury All-American Lindsay Elliott to replace long-time coach Dana Hall while Stevenson gained the services of long-time successful Division III coach Laurel Martin (formerly of Lebanon Valley) to serve as head coach following the departure of Erika Blozie, who moved on to the head women's lacrosse coaching position at Hiram.
Seven women's soccer teams jump into action on the first playing date, including five with home games.
Frostburg State (vs. Div. II Concord), Marymount (vs. Trinity, D.C.), Stevenson (vs. Cabrini), Wesley (vs. Gwynedd-Mercy) and York (vs. Scranton) are all on home turf Thursday. Stevenson's contest, following the field hockey match, will be the first event under the lights in the Mustangs' new 3,500-seat multi-sport stadium (football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse).
Mary Washington (vs. Shenandoah) and Salisbury (vs. Rutgers-Camden) will travel for Thursday's season-opening women's soccer action.
Hood is the only men's soccer team with a home game Thursday. The Blazers, in their final season as members of the CAC, will take on local rival Goucher in a non-conference "friendly" while CAC rivals Stevenson (at Bridgewater, Va.) and Wesley (at CCNY) will play road games.
A pair of veteran CAC men's soccer coaches retired during the off season, with former North Carolina Wesleyan mentor Jason Kilby taking over for Roy Gordon at Mary Washington and St. Mary's alumnus Alun Oliver replacing his former boss and coach Herb Gainey.
Stevenson, also entering its final season as a member of the CAC, is the only institution with all four "ball" teams in action Thursday. The Mustangs' volleyball team will be one of three CAC teams on the court, hosting Notre Dame (Md.) in a cross-town battle. Marymount (at Randolph-Macon) and York (at Messiah) will travel Thursday for their season-openers.
Marymount's men's and women's cross country teams will also open the season Thursday in a five-team meet at Shenandoah.
Almost every CAC team will return to action over the Labor Day weekend, either in non-conference matches or tournaments. Check out the CAC website, or the athletic website of your favorite team(s), for weekend scheduling details.