Group 1: Excellent Tribe teams that should remain that way throughout your time here
2010 Record: 8-4
2011 Opener: Sep. 3, 6 p.m. at U.Va.
The defending CAA champs enter 2011 consistently in the top five of the nation in pre-season polls. The Tribe has qualified for the FCS playoffs in each of its last two seasons, reaching the semifinal round back in 2009. The team will look to start the season by repeating its shocking 2009 upset of ACC-rival U.Va.
2010 Record: 15-4-3
2011 Opener: Aug. 27, 8 p.m. at SMU
The men’s soccer team has had a winning record in each of its last three seasons and is coming off an historic 2010 in which the Tribe made it all the way to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. A top-notch 2011 recruiting class should ensure that this team stays great in the future.
2010 Record: 10-7-2
2011 Opener: Aug. 19, 7 p.m. vs. St. John’s
The women’s soccer team hasn’t had a losing record since the 2005 season. It qualified for the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2008. That said, the team hasn’t qualified for the CAA Tournament in two seasons. It’ll look to end the short drought in 2012.
Group 2: Unproven teams with the potential for breakout seasons in 2011
2010 Record: 10-22
2011 Opener: TBA
After falling in the final round of the CAA Tournament in 2010, 2011 was pegged as a rebuilding year. The regular season was a yawn, but the Tribe has built a name for itself recently in the post-season. Back in March it scored an upset of JMU in the first-round of the CAA Tournament. With a strong returning core and exciting underclassmen, the team is preparing for a promising 2011-12 season.
2010 Record: 11-15
2011 Opener: Aug. 26, 7 p.m. vs. Bucknell
Anticipation was high at the start of the 2010 season, but the volleyball team fizzled, posting a 5-9 conference record. The team is extremely young though, with nine underclassmen on a roster of 13. That could mean another middling season due to inexperience, or a breakout season that sets the tone for years to come.
Track and Field
Next Meet: Aug. 27, IAAF World Championships
The College’s track and field team, often overshadowed by the outstanding cross country team, has been consistently average in recent years. It frequently finishes in the top half of its meets, but has struggled to find success as a team at major national or regional meets. Still, impressive individual performances at recent national meets have the team optimistic about the future of the program.
Group 3: The teams for which there’s a lot of room for improvement
2010 Record: 4-14
2011 Opener: Aug. 26, 7 p.m. vs. American
The Tribe’s field hockey team hasn’t posted a winning record since 2006, and 2010 was one of the team’s worst seasons in recent memory, as the squad went 2-6 in conference play. But the team is young, featuring eight freshmen and just two seniors, so if coaches develop the team’s talent well, things could be looking up.
2010 Record: 3-26
2011 Opener: TBA
The 2010 record really says it all for the women’s basketball team. Last season was woeful on an historic level. Thankfully, the team’s returning its core. Senior guard Taysha Pye will once again star for the Tribe, and sophomore forward Kaitlyn Mathieu is coming off a breakout freshman campaign.But even a marked improvement in the 2011-12 season wouldn’t spell relevance for this team.
2010 Men’s Record: 5-5, 5th of 7 in CAA Championships
2010 Women’s Record: 7-6, 4th of 9 in CAA
This is an unfair grouping for the women’s squad, which reached the NCAA Tournament in 2009. The men’s team, though, hasn’t been on the podium at the CAA Championships since 1999.