KEUKA PARK — School is back in session for local colleges, and students making their way to classrooms also marks the beginning of the new athletic season.
The 2019-20 campaign will be a transitional one for the Keuka Wolves, who compete in the North Eastern Athletic Conference one more year before moving its 17 varsity sports to the Empire 8 Athletic Conference.
On Friday, three varsity sports will kick off the new season.
First up is women’s soccer, which travels to Hartwick College to begin play in the Erinn K. Brozman Cup. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Last year, the Wolves had another solid season on the pitch, going 13-4-1 overall and undefeated in the NEAC. Their 2018 season included a stretch of 10 straight wins in which they outscored opponents by a staggering 50-2. However, their quest for the NEAC championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs came up just short, as they were beaten Penn State-Berks in the conference title game.
The Wolves, on paper, were relatively young, and many athletes will be returning. Last year’s roster featured seven freshmen and eight sophomores.
Keuka’s top four scorers from 2018 will return. The team’s leading scorer, Emily McGuigan, enters her senior year looking to surpass her 2018 stat line of 42 points. Second-leading scorer Julia Oglesby enters her sophomore year, while Kelsey Maurer is now a junior.
The same day women’s soccer kicks off its season, Quinn Wright will make his coaching debut at the helm of women’s volleyball. The Wolves will look to regain the form they had at the beginning of the decade.
In 2013, they posted a 23-7 record. Five straight losing seasons have ensued.
A six-strong junior class will lead a squad that sports no seniors.
The Wolves host the Keuka College Invitational Friday and Saturday. They begin Friday with matches against Hilbert and Union, then face Rowen and Lasell Saturday.
Men’s soccer also opens its campaign Friday with a visit to Skidmore. The Wolves will stay in the Capital Region and play Union Saturday.
In 2018, the men’s soccer team endured an up-and-down year. They finished 11-7-1, falling in a penalty-kick shootout to Cobleskill in the NEAC quarterfinals.
The 2019 roster has a healthy mix of class years. Six seniors lead the way.