Volleyball, soccer focus on team-building and strength during off-season

off season sports
The men’s soccer team warms up at a practice. | Photo by Amanda Rohde, staff photographer

The Union University volleyball and soccer teams are busy in preparation for this coming fall season.

McKenna Carter, sophomore public relations major and middle hitter, said she has enjoyed working with the volleyball team’s new coach, Darrin McClure, former coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

“We’re currently having team meetings and getting everything set out for this coming season: what he’s expecting of us, what he wants do to do in the season and what he’s planning for recruits coming in,” Carter said.

Carter said she feels highly optimistic about this upcoming season.

“Coach McClure already has an incredible outlook for this coming season that we haven’t had before, as our last season wasn’t great and everyone has been sad about it,” Carter said. “We are ready for a change and a big improvement.”

Currently, the women are focused on planning and team building.

“Before we start actual training again, Coach McClure wants to make sure we start out right and work towards our best,” Carter said.

For the women’s soccer team, improving their last record is one of their main goals for next season.

During the month of February, the team spent time weight training and conditioning three times per week, with an emphasis on speed and agility.

“Our team is really small right now, with only 18 girls in the program currently, and that has made training really great,” said Julie Stauffer, women’s assistant soccer coach. “I feel like the girls are bonding well because of the small group.”

Six freshmen will be joining the women’s soccer team this fall.

“The girls we’re bringing in are really great and are going to challenge for starting spots,” Stauffer said.

Starting in March, the team will practice three days per week and continue weight training.

“Coach Brooks is changing up his philosophy on how we practice and we’re getting a lot more done,” said Kayleigh Patterson, sophomore public relations major and team captain. “We try to play smarter, while also being faster and stronger.”

The men’s assistant soccer coach Scott Sinclair developed a program for the men’s team last summer to advance the players physically and help them play better on the field, and intensity levels are elevated in the off-season.

“Since 2012 when we finished second in the Gulf South Conference, we have graduated every single one of those players and the key starters,” Sinclair said. “Now is a new era, this season is based on this new class of recruits, which is the experience we need.”

The men’s team is improving their skills through weekly training sessions and practices and is looking forward to see how they progress during their spring campaign games.

“I think the success of this fall season is ultimately going to hinge on a strong 2015 recruiting class that the program can build on and continue to be competitive with in the GSC and at the national level,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair and  head men’s coach Clovis Simas are aiming to finish recruiting by the end of March so they can finalize who will be playing this fall.

The men’s soccer team begins the spring portion of competition on March 21 against Hardin-Simmons University (Texas).

Image courtesy of Amanda Rohde|Cardinal & Cream
About Suzanne Fletcher 11 Articles
Suzanne Fletcher is a reporter for the Cardinal & Cream and intern for Rocketown, a music venue and indoor skate park in Nashville, Tennessee. She will graduate in May 2016 with a degree in public relations and English. Fletcher enjoys reading, concerts, traveling and involvement with the Student Government and Chi Omega Fraternity.