Marymount competes with Catholic University in inaugural Pope’s Cup

Pope's Cup ceremony with Marymount and Catholic


In a ceremony hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on Thursday afternoon, the Catholic University of America Cardinals received the inaugural Pope’s Cup over the Marymount Saints.

A group of administrators from each university were on hand for the ceremony that saw Most Rev. Michael Francis Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, present the trophy to Catholic University Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan.

“We are grateful to Bishop Burbidge for his support and for hosting the inaugural ceremony of the Pope’s Cup,” said John Garvey, President of Catholic University. “We have raised the stakes for future athletic competitions with Marymount. We look forward to many good games in future years, but most importantly, to a strengthening of ties between the two institutions.”

Similar to the Army vs. Navy “Star Series” and other athletic department rivalries across the country, each team in the department (in sports that both schools sponsor) will have an equal chance to contribute points toward their institution claiming the Cup.

Each sport can earn one point for their school by defeating their local rival, with Olympic sports selecting an invitational/tournament, dual meet or performance list comparison to count as their Pope’s Cup event. Teams will not be required to compete against each other in every sport.

“The Pope’s Cup competition between Marymount and Catholic University provides a great opportunity for the two of us to build a new athletic tradition which encourages alumni participation for us both,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “I am very excited about our Marymount family coming out to root the Saints on to victory when the two schools compete with each other.”

Pope's Cup ceremony with Marymount and Catholic

In future years, the winning university will be presented with the Cup at one of the final competitions of the school year. If the overall Cup points are tied at the end of the year, the previous champion will retain the cup.

Students, alumni, family and friends are encouraged to attend Pope’s Cup rivalry games and root on their favorite teams as they look to help their university win the trophy.

“I am delighted to see our two great area Catholic universities, Marymount University and the Catholic University of America, engaged in this activity,” Bishop Burbidge said. “The Pope’s Cup celebrates the fine athletic traditions of these wonderful educational institutions and will be a welcome annual competition.”

Over the 2021-22 academic year, both athletic programs have reached tremendous levels of success. In addition to having four teams win conference championships (Men’s Soccer, Men’s Swimming, Men’s Lacrosse and Women’s Lacrosse), Catholic had nine programs represented at the NCAA championships. The Cardinals also had six Landmark Conference Senior Scholar-Athlete Selections.

On the other side of the rivalry, Marymount Men’s Volleyball qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history while Marymount Women’s Golf won its second-straight Centennial Conference title and appeared at the NCAA championships. In its first full season as a program, Marymount Men’s Tennis won the Atlantic East title. The Saints also earned six Atlantic East Elite 20 Awards for individuals holding the highest GPA at the conference championship.

Catholic University and Marymount University are separated by just 11 miles and are the Washington, D.C., area’s two Division III Catholic institutions.


  • Men’s Soccer – CUA def. MU, 4-1 (9/5/21)
  • Women’s Volleyball – MU def. CUA, 3-2 (9/6/21)
  • Women’s Soccer – CUA def. MU, 5-1 (10/6/21)
  • Women’s Cross Country – CUA (8th) def. MU (21st) at NCAA South Region Championships (11/13/21)
  • Men’s Cross Country – CUA (9th) def. MU (23rd) at NCAA South Region Championships (11/13/21)
  • Women’s Basketball – CUA def. MU, 65-53 (11/20/21)
  • Men’s Basketball – MU def. CUA, 74-69 (12/1/21)
  • Baseball – CUA def. MU, 10-6 (3/5/22)
  • Men’s Golf – CUA (2nd) def. MU (7th) at Cardinal Classic (3/26/22)
  • Women’s Golf – CUA (4th) def. MU (7th) at Cardinal Classic (3/26/22)
  • Softball – CUA def. MU, 5-2 (4/27/22)
  • Softball – MU def. CUA, 4-2 (4/27/22)
  • OVERALL – CUA def. MU, 8.5 – 2.5