By: Lucius Harvin, Staff Writer
Heading into spring, the Paladins have accomplished one of the greatest sports years in school history. The football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s cross country teams all contributed to the great success. The football team won 6 out of their last 7 and finished in a tie for first for the Southern Conference Championship. Not to be outdone, the Paladin’s men’s basketball team beat 2018 Final Four teams Loyola Chicago and Villanova en route to their highest ranking in school history. Wins this week over East Tennessee State, UNC Greensboro and VMI have pushed the Paladins into third in the conference and a date with rival and first place Wofford Saturday, Feb. 23. As Furman’s winter seasons comes to a close, Spring has sprung for many other teams around campus.
Furman baseball opened the season going 1-2 at home against the Morehead State Eagles. In the first game of the three game series, the Paladins struck out 11 times against the Ohio Valley Champions and ultimately succumbed to a 6-3 defeat. However, when the series resumed on Saturday morning the Furman bats came alive to torch the Eagles with 16 runs. Designated hitter Trent Alley and infielder Jabari Richards went a combined 9-12 with 7 runs batted in, while first baseman John Michael Boswell contributed with a 4 run homer in the 16-11 win. The third and final game of the series came down to the wire as the Paladins mounted a comeback with 2 runs in the 9th to cut it to 6-5. However, the team could not overcome two crucial errors and in the end dropped the series. The Paladins will be back in action as they travel to USC Upstate Feb. 19.
The Paladin’s softball team also opened its season in the spring and have started by going 2-7 and have experienced a dry spell in terms of hits. However, while Furman has only been batting .227, they have had great success with the long ball, hitting 6 home runs. The softball team opened with three straight losses, twice against George Washington and once to Gardner Webb, rebounded with two wins, but dropped the last four games at the Plainsmen Invitational. This week the Paladins return home with the Furman Invitational in hopes to get back on track.
Furman men’s lacrosse team opened with one of the toughest schedules in the nation that has strongly contributed to an 0-3 start. The Paladins opened the season in Greenville against the second ranked Duke Blue Devils and put up an admirable fight in a 17-9 defeat. The next game did not get any easier as the team headed down Tobacco Road to face another top 25 ranked team in UNC. The Paladin’s hung tough behind attackman Jarrett Birch’s 4 goals, but ended up dropping the game 14-10. Throw in a really rough half against Sacred Heart and the Paladins are winless through three games. This week the team plays Canisius at home on Tuesday night.
Furman women’s lacrosse team opened the season dropping two very different games to start the season. The first game at home against High Point, the Panthers pulled away in the second half for a 21-12 seasoning opening win. In the second game against Davidson, the Paladins could not overcome a horrendous first half start and ended up dropping the game 13-8. Next up is a home game Wednesday against Presbyterian.