The start of the fall semester brings lots of emotion to Albion College’s campus, whether that’s stress, excitement or eagerness. For sports fans, however, there’s no better feeling than knowing many of the Albion athletic programs had their season debuts during Labor Day weekend.
Here are some standout performances from the first games of the year.
Under the pressure of bringing on a new coaching staff, the Albion football program showed no signs of slowing down in its distant victory against Carthage College on Sept. 9, winning in decisive fashion, 41-20.
The Britons bring a new wave of players on both sides of the ball. On both the offensive and defensive side, there’s plenty to be excited about this upcoming season.
Offensively, fifth-year running back Philip Jones-Price from Reed City put together a career performance. Totaling 142 yards on the ground with a breakout score for 79 yards in the second half, Jones-Price assured many Britons that the energy in the backfield this season will be high.
Along with ten other men earning a reception on the stat sheet, senior wide receiver Kyle Bristow from East Lansing had two touchdown receptions from quarterback Luke Lovell, Pinckney junior. Lovell threw three touchdown passes for 254 yards total for the day.
Defensively, senior linebacker Jayth Joseph from Lansing stood out nearly the entire game. Joseph recorded seven tackles, three of those having been for a loss. Although it was not a defensive play, senior defensive back Greg Piscopink from Holly had a blocked punt that allowed the Britons to extend the lead by three scores in the first quarter.
Head Coach Travis Rundle keeps the streak alive as Albion wins in the opening week for the sixth season in a row.
Opening day for the women’s volleyball team was packed – with games against Suny Brockport and the University of Mount Union on Sept. 1.
In game one against Suny Brockport, the new faces made almost an immediate impact. First-year right-side Carly Frank from Cottrellville had eight kills, along with fellow first-year libero Paige Williamson from Caledonia contributing 18 digs for the Britons. Albion would go on to win in straight sets.
Game two against Mount Union went on for five sets. Senior outside hitter Olivia Alexander from Brownstown had 19 kills and 18 digs in a standout performance. Albion dug out the victory, winning 3-2.
The following day, the Britons faced another doubleheader slate against Buffalo State and John Carroll University.
Game one against Buffalo State saw another impressive performance from Alexander, adding another 14 kills and 11 digs to the stat sheet. Senior setter Mariah Brenz tagged twenty-one assists in the affair as well. Albion would go on to win in a shutout.
The duo went on to lead in the second game against John Carroll where Alexander put up a career-high 21 kills and Brenz had a momentous 43 assists. The Britons won 3-1 to stamp a 4-0 opening weekend.
On Sept. 5, Brenz passed 2,000 career assists against Earlham College.
The men’s team took the field for the first time this season against Bluffton University on Sept. 1.
In the last 30 minutes of play, senior forward Brett Swaton from Marshall found the back of the net, providing the only goal for the contest.
First-year goalkeeper Dario Vucic from New Berlin, Wisconsin, posted four saves in the shutout victory.
The women’s team did not get the start they wanted against the Milwaukee School of Engineering, losing 0-2.
However, on Sept. 2 the Britons managed to flip the script against Ohio Wesleyan University. Fifth-year goalkeeper Romee Natschke from Jackson saved nine shots for the day, though the Battling Bishops doubled Albion’s shots on net, 18-9.
Goals that game for the Britons were credited to senior forward Avery Campbell from Waterford and sophomore midfielder Ryann Locke from Albion.
With newcomer Head Coach Ron Rainey, the win signals an exciting season ahead.
The men’s season began with the Lou Collins Memorial Classic on Sept. 1 when the Britons competed amongst 13 other schools.
After day one, first-year Camden Paul from Clarkston led the team with a score of 72. Paul earned the second-lowest score of the day
.To conclude the event, the following day, sophomore Ryan Knitter from Dewitt posted a 74, leading him to have the best mark of the weekend with a 79-74-153.
As a team, Albion tied for seventh overall.
The women debuted against the Flying Dutchmen of Hope College on Sept. 1 in a two-day duel. On day one, the Britons were led by senior Emily Abramczyk from Rochester Hills who scored an 81. Albion at the time was beating Hope by two strokes.
The second day resulted in a loss for the Britons but individual performances by sophomore Zoe Autore from Cedarville, senior Sabrina Fitzgerald from Clarkston and Kenzie Gillette from Harbor Springs stood out nonetheless.
Autore shot a personal best at 92. Gillette and Fitzgerald both finished at 82 with Fitzgerald making her best performance as well.
Albion debuted a young core of Britons at the Olivet Comet Opener on Sept. 1.
On the women’s side, first-year Cassandra Gallagher from Sault Ste. Marie led the team in the 5k race with a time of 20:06.0.
The men had standout performances from first-years as well. Alexander Hammond from Royal Oak placed 24th with a 16:44.9 time and Logan Vining from Grand Haven ran a 17:03.8.