Rocky Mount, N.C. - The Battling Bishop football, soccer, and cross country teams all opened up their seasons on the road over the weekend, marking the official start of the 2017-2018 athletics season.
The N.C. Wesleyan women's soccer team was the lone Bishop squad to remain unbeaten over the weekend, fighting to a 0-0 double-overtime draw versus Sewanee on Saturday in Raleigh. The Bishops, who held an 18-10 advantage in shots, forced Sewanee keeper Samantha Bourgeous and her defenders into 11 saves on the day, while Bishop goalie Ashley Major made four stops to secure the shutout. With Friday's match against Southern Virginia being canceled due to the weather, Wesleyan comes away from the Meredith College Classic with an 0-0-1 record heading into Wednesday's match at the University of Mary Washington.
The top-ranked Purple Raiders of Mount Union were too much for N.C. Wesleyan on Saturday in Alliance, Ohio, cruising to a 58-0 victory in their home opener. UMU used a pair of special team touchdowns and a pick-6 to pull away from the Bishops, who fought poor field position for most of the afternoon. Wesleyan's backfield did manage to rack up 122 rushing yards on the day, led by the trio of Darian Curley, Deandre Gillis, and Brandon Hardy. Defensively, Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Graham tallied seven stops apiece. The Bishops will host their 2017 home opener next Saturday night at Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium when they welcome Shenandoah University for a 7:00pm tilt. Free admission will be offered to anyone donating six non-perishable food items.
The NCWC men's and women's cross country teams opened up their seasons at the the Chick-Fil-A Invitational in Salisbury, N.C. on Saturday. Wesleyan's women showed marked improvement from last fall's opening meet, finishing 14th overall and beating out USA South foe William Peace University. Freshman Samantha Valeros led the way with a time of 27:30 in the 5K event to finish 69th among 115 entries. Junior Sarah Grossman finished just three seconds behind her teammate to help pace the Bishops. On the men's side, Wesleyan failed to notch a team score with only four runners competing, but freshman Carlos Clinton turned in solid performance in his first collegiate event, finishing the 8K course in 32:49 to lock up 65th place among 103 competitors. Next up for the Bishops is next Saturday's Royals Twilight hosted by Queens University of Charlotte.
Wesleyan's men's soccer team suffered a pair of losses at the Sonny Carter Invitational hosted by Emory University on Friday and Saturday. The Bishops opened play on Friday with a 3-0 loss to the host Eagles before dropping a 4-1 decision to Oglethorpe University on Saturday. Sophomore Tyler Jones managed to net NCWC's lone goal with an unassisted score off a free kick in the 72nd minute. The Bishops return to action on Wednesday when they host Christopher Newport at 4:30pm at Scalf Field.