Athletic Highlights Fall 2023

Men’s Basketball: 1st Conference Championship

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, fans could hardly believe what they were witnessing. When the top-seeded Widener University Pride scored a late basket to cut the Eastern lead to 29 points, Eastern’s starters hardly noticed. They exchanged celebratory hugs and high-fives with their teammates on the bench. The Eagles outscored the 13th-ranked Pride 50-23 in the final 20 minutes to earn a 98-69 win and claim the first Conference Championship in Eastern Men’s Basketball history. 

The domination in the second half came after an incredible recovery in the opening frame. With Eastern on Spring Break, most of the crowd in the gym was there to root for the hosts. Those fans had a lot to cheer about early in the game as Widener built a 15-point lead in the first nine minutes. 

Junior guard Davin Hernandez ’25 came off the bench to ignite a rally, and the Eagles took a 48-46 lead to the locker-room. Widener scored six of the first seven points in the second half, but the Eastern defense held the hosts to only 17 points the remainder of the game. Hernandez scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting, and Zubair Lee ’26 scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to claim Tournament MVP Honors.

Eastern’s first Championship run came after the program had made the postseason in each of the previous seven seasons. 

“I am very proud of our team and coaching staff,” says Head Coach Dan Pruessner of the team’s run. “To win road games against two very different NCAA Tournament teams in a four-day stretch is an enormous challenge. Our guys worked hard to prepare and responded to in-game adjustments. Widener crushed us twice in the regular season, so it’s a huge credit to our guys that they were able to recover after their fast start.”

The next weekend, the Eagles (21-8) won their first game in the NCAA Tournament to achieve another program milestone. Jaron Fairweather ’23 and Zubair Lee each earned ALL-Conference and NABC All-Region Honors.

Beyond Basketball

For other honorable mentions, the Women’s Volleyball put together an amazing 28-4 season and had four players named AVCA Honorable Mention All-America. The Eagles won a third-straight MAC Commonwealth Championship and beat the Tufts University Jumbos in an incredible five-set battle in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Eastern Football won two MAC games in the program’s first year of varsity competition. With the Pep Band, Drum Line, Cheer, and Dance squads igniting the energy, the Eagles beat Alvernia, 30-23, in the rain during the program’s first home game at Franklin Field. Five weeks later, the Eagles beat Albright 21-9 to win our homecoming game. Beyond the two exciting wins, the Eagles scored in every game this season. In 2024, Eastern Football will play its home games at its newly completed facilities at O’Hara Field on the campus of Valley Forge Military Academy.