While the IUP sports calendar came to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t take away from the year it was for the Crimson Hawks. We, as fans, were treated to some prolific games this year.
The IUP community played witness to numerous debuts, championship runs and multiple playoff appearances throughout the six months or so the Crimson Hawks were in action.
With these games, there were 10 that stood out among the rest. This week we will take a look at Nos. 10 – 6, and next week we’ll reveal what we consider the top five games of the year.
No. 10: Football (Sept. 7)
IUP 24, New Haven 13
Kicking off our list, no pun intended, is the premiere game of the football season, during which fans saw the debut of multiple freshmen, Duane Brown’s emergence as a top wide receiver and IUP’s new face at quarterback, Quinton Maxwell.
A plethora of questions clouded the football team following the loss of Lenny Williams, Chris Temple and many defenders due to graduation, and all of them were answered throughout the season-opening game.
Nazir Streater, one of the additions to the secondary, racked up six tackles and one interception in his first game in the crimson and gray, Maxwell tallied 163 passing yards and one touchdown on 13 completions, and Duane Brown showcased his offensive prowess after he opened the scoring with a 47-yard touchdown reception and sealed the game with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
The Hawks took the non-conference matchup to open up the 2019 campaign which proved to be a season to remember as the weeks progressed.
No. 9: Baseball (March 10)
IUP 17, St. Thomas Aquinas 8
The IUP baseball team took the field in the fifth and final game of the 2020 spring break trip to Cary, N.C., against St. Thomas Aquinas.
While the Hawks started the season on a losing note, they were 2-2 in the spring break series entering this game and looked to end the trip with a winning edge. They accomplished just that.
After they found themselves down 3-0 after the first inning and a half, three consecutive singles by Drew Weglarz, Nick Hess and Austin Mueller drove in five runs, and a two-run double by Alex Thornberry shifted momentum in IUP’s favor and it stayed with the Crimson Hawks throughout the game.
Along with his RBI single, Mueller added a two-run home run in the third which added some insurance to the lead.
IUP took a 12-8 lead into the final four innings and would add five more runs, propelling the Crimson Hawks to a nine-run victory to end the trip, and unbeknownst to them, the season as well.
No. 8: Swimming (Nov. 2)
IUP women 133, St. Vincent 70
IUP men 108½, St. Vincent 89½
In the first of only three swimming meets held at Pidgeon Natatorium this year, the IUP men and women trounced the visiting Bearcats of Saint Vincent College.
IUP won 18 of 22 total combined events on the night, but the most impressive achievement might have been the Crimson Hawks winning 17 of 18 individual events, including sweeping all 11 events on the women’s side.
Gabrielle Gironda stood out among the women’s team as she took first in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events. Additionally, Gironda and nine other swimmers qualified for the PSAC tournament.
This was the highest scoring meet for IUP on the abridged season as well as the highest winning margin (+63) in a dual meet on the season.
No. 7: Field Hockey (Sept. 14)
IUP 2, Bloomsburg 0
The IUP field hockey team came out of the gates firing, bringing a 2-0 start to George P. Miller Stadium against the Huskies, who entered the game ranked No. 9.
What made this game stand out among the rest wasn’t the victory itself, but rather the events that led to it.
IUP and Bloomsburg stayed scoreless through the first half of the game. IUP was notorious for scoring early, as they scored five of their six total goals in the first two games in the first half.
However, Bloomsburg’s rock-solid defense prevented the Crimson Hawks from finding success on offense through the first two frames.
In the third quarter, two quick penalty goals by Georgiana Chiavacci and Blaise Cugini broke the scoring drought and ultimately led to IUP’s upset victory.
Additionally, the Crimson Hawks’ defensive unit limited the Huskies to only three shots on the game, all of them coming in the first quarter.
The win led to IUP’s first 3-0 start to the season since 2011.
No. 6: Tennis (March 1)
IUP 7, Oberlin 0
Everyone loves a shutout victory.
More importantly, everyone loves a shutout victory on the road to silence the opponent’s crowd. And that’s exactly what the IUP tennis team did at Oberlin College.
In the fourth match of the spring season, IUP came in with a 2-1 record and on the heels of back-to-back wins over the previous week.
In doubles matchups, Katya Minchenkova and Idoia Huerta took the first match 6-3, while Thais Andreotti and Maria Magraner also came out victorious, 6-2.
Singles competition saw IUP sweep Oberlin without dropping a single set. Reigning PSAC singles champion and IUP’s No. 1 player, Joanna Stralka got things started with a straight-set win, and Minchenkova, Huerta, Julia Newman and Laura Dunarova followed suit.
With their third shutout of the season, the IUP tennis team ran their record to 5-1 to begin March.