Union’s golf, volleyball and soccer teams approach their upcoming season optimistically as each team aims for lofty goals.
The men’s golf team is led by head coach Andy Rushing and assistant coach Don Morris. Together, they train the seven-player team.
Within the team, there is heated competition. Only five players get to participate in a tournament for the team at a time.
“The inward competition is ‘the thing’ [this year],” Rushing said. “There is competition for the number one spot. There is great competition for that fifth spot.”
Rushing is encouraged by the talent present in the men’s team. Returning player, Hunter Travis, a sophomore sports management major, ended last year’s season well due to his consistent high scores. Steven Cofelt and Andrew Knight, both senior business administration majors, are also key players the team is depending on this year. Freshmen Jay Taylor, a sports management major, and Jon Sain, major undecided, will provide a deeper pool of talent than a year ago, according to Rushing.
As Union volleyball’s second year with the same head coach is in place and the first year to qualify for awards in the NCAA, the team excitement is very high.
Season preparation included players making nutritional habits and weekly workout plans that focused on areas such as arm strength and agility.
Major goals for the 13-player team include working to be competitive, while balancing each player’s health and to be one of the top teams to advance to the Gulf South Tournament this year.
Elise Seufert, junior social work major, and Lydia Wright, senior public relations major, provide much leadership to this year’s team.
“[Seufert] provides a vocal leadership but then she’s also the backbone of our passing, our serve-receive and our defense,” Swisher said.
Wright was termed the “quarterback” of the team by Swisher, serving as the leader of the offense.
Union soccer’s high expectations for this season leaves the team optimistic for quality performance.
The team aims to reach the Gulf South Conference tournament in Pensacola, Fla. later this year.
The men’s coaching staff including head coach Clovis Simas and assistant coach Scott Sinclair maintain high academic goals as well for this season.
Last year, five players received Division II ADA academic achievement awards, an NCAA award for student athletes reaching a GPA from 3.5-4.0.
In preparation for the season, during the summer players had a workout plan designed by Sinclair that focused on running long distance up to 5 miles and then working on increasing speed as well.
This year’s players bring quality team dynamic including developed skills from new players, individual abilities from returning players, as well as character and an understanding of how Union’s team plays, according to Simas.
Chip Cockarell, an MBA graduate student, serves as the team captain and offers leadership and experience to the team.
Alex Pratt, senior business administration major, served as last year’s top scorer and is expected to contribute much to the team.
“Out of all the combinations, we develop our style of play in the objectives we have for them the whole season,” Simas said.