Welcome to The Doghouse, a weekly column recapping Union University sports action from the weekend.
This weekend, volleyball went 1-1, losing to Christian Brothers and defeating Mississippi College, women’s cross country won the Gulf South Conference title, and men’s cross country took 8th. In soccer, the women’s team beat Christian Brothers, but the men’s team lost. The Union Jaxx finished 9th in a 16 team tournament at Mississippi State.
Traveling to Christian Brothers University to take on the Lady Bucs, Union volleyball fell short, losing 3-0.
CBU opened the match with a 6-0 run. The Lady Bucs maintained their lead and finished the set with an 8-2 run to win 25-10. In the second set, Union started with a 4-3 advantage, but CBU put together two more 8-2 runs to win 25-17.
The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 6-2 in the third set, but worked back to a 12-11 lead. The remainder of the third set was back and forth, with CBU coming out on top 25-22.
Deja Moorer led the Lady Bulldogs in kills with nine. Hannah Huguley had 20 assists and four service aces in the match. Huguley crossed the 2000 assist milestone in the contest.
“My assists are a direct reflection of my team putting me in a great position to run the offense and then my hitters making plays,” Huguley said. “I would not have been able to reach this achievement without them.
Huguley led the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday in bouncing back from the loss, as Union ousted Mississippi College 3-1.
“My goal in trying to lead this team is to do everything I can to give them sets that allow them to be aggressive on the court,” Hugely said. “I also try to keep everyone composed and focused on the next play regardless of how the last one went.”
The two teams traded points in the first set until Union put together a five point run to go up 15-9. The Lady Bulldogs pushed this lead to a 19-11 advantage, and then went on to win the set 25-18.
In the second set, the Lady Choctaws were more dominate than in the first set. They opened with a 6-1 run. Union tied the game 7-7. Later, Mississippi College put up a 10-1 run to go ahead 22-13. They won the set 25-19.
The third set was back and forth until Union mustered an 18-13 lead. The Lady Bulldogs closed out the set with a 25-15 victory.
Union continued to find success in the fourth set – the Lady Bulldogs took an early 5-2 lead. Though the Lady Choctaws came back to lead 11-9, Union went on a 9-1 run to regain the lead 20-14. The Lady Choctaws came close to forcing a fifth set, as they were down by one point at 21-20, but Huguley had back to back aces to clinch the victory for Union.
The match was a night of personal bests for Union. Katie O’Malley recorded 15 kills, which ties her career high; Taylor Chiaro had 24 digs, which is a new career high for her; McKenna Carter had seven blocks, which is her highest total of the season. Huguley recorded 45 assists, which is just shy of her career high 46 assists.
“My position automatically makes me the one that should naturally get the most assists each game, but with it being my senior year, it’s exciting to work hard running the floor and to get to reach these goals,” Hugely said.
After the weekend, Union volleyball is 8-16 overall and 5-8 in conference action.
“Obviously, our record is not what we wished it would be at this point in our season,” Hugely said. “When we have lost, we have tried really hard to learn from our mistakes, but focus on the next play or the next game where we can make a difference.”
In the Gulf South Conference Women’s Cross Country Championship, Union took first with 61 points, edging out Lee University by one point.
“This win was special because of the quality of our girls and how hard they worked,” Gary Johnson, Union head coach, said to Union Athletics. “We think Lee has a good team and it was rewarding to win against such a high quality team.”
Janey Berends led the Lady Bulldogs with a time of 18:52, good for fourth overall.
Behind Berends were Amy McKelvey in 10th, Rebecca Tankersley in 14th, Amanda Leatherwood in 15th, and Lindsey Jakeman in 18th. Also for Union, Sarah Fickley finished 23rd, Abby Berends finished 26th, Jordan Meadors finished 56th, and Rebecca Dalton finished 58th.
Berends and McKelvey each earned All-GSC First Team honors. It is Berend’s second time receiving this honor and McKelvey’s first. Tankersley, Leatherwood, and Jakeman each earned All-GSC Second Team honor. This is Jakeman’s third second team honor, while Tankersley and Leatherwood are freshman and receiving this for the first time.
Johnson was named GSC Coach of the Year.
“We talked about 1 Corinthians 9:24 on the way to the race and that we would run in such a way as if to win,” Johnson said. “Our team loves each other and pulled together as a group to accomplish this goal. They represented Christ and Union well.”
In the GSC Men’s Cross Country Championship, Union finished eighth with 217 points. Lee won the event with 52 points.
Jacob Whitney led the Bulldogs with a sixth place finish and a time of 25:34. Will Donelson came in at 11th with a time of 25:51. Forrest White took 66th, Alex Russell took 76th, Ben Noland took 81st, and Aineah Kipkemboi took 82nd.
Whitney earned All-GSC First Team honors for the third time in his career. Donelson earned All-GSC Second Team honors after a season laden with injury. It is Donelson’s second time receiving this honor. He earned two first team honors in his career as well.
In women’s soccer, Union shutout Christian Brothers 2-0 at home for their first win since October 7.
Kayleigh Patterson scored both goal for the Lady Bulldogs. Her first came in the 29th minute, as she put a pass from Olivia Schmitke into the lower left corner of the goal. In the 50th minute, Patterson put a pass from Kelsey Wilkes into the lower middle of the goal. Patterson leads the team in goals this season with seven. Wilkes leads in assists with four.
Union outshot Christian Brothers 9-0 in the first half and 12-11 in the second. Patterson took 10 of these shots.
With one conference match to play, Union is 5-4-5 overall and 5-2-4 in conference, good for sixth. Only the top six teams advance to the GSC tournament.
The men’s soccer team fell short against the Christian Brothers men’s squad, ending the Bulldogs’ postseason chances.
Alejandro Chinas Lopez scored first for Christian Brothers in the 41st minute with a header into the lower right corner of the goal.
In the 76th minute, a hand ball was called in the box, and Union’s goal keeper Igor Luczensky took the penalty kick. He sent the ball into the back of the net over opposing goal keeper’s, Viktor Hoestbo, head, tying the game 1-1.
Bernado Ferreira scored in the 85th minute to give Christian Brothers the late 2-1 lead and the win.
Union is 5-10 overall and 3-6 in conference.
Union Jaxx Club Ultimate
For the Jaxx, Saturday’s first three games were pool play to determine seeding. Union went 1-2, defeating Samford 12-10, losing to Mississippi State 12-9, and losing to the Mississippi State alumni team 13-9.
Because of their record and seed, Union faced Ole Miss in Saturday’s fourth game. The winner would advance to the championship bracket and the loser would move to the consolation bracket. The Jaxx were only down 7-6 at half, but lost 13-9.
Sunday morning, with worship music playing, Union head coach Harrison Hayes spoke to the team about how building relationships is more significant than winning. He said that winning is the byproduct of a successful team, not the root, and people having fun and growing is the root. This message motivated the players, and in Sunday’s consolation action, Union went undefeated to win the bracket.
First, Union played Rhodes, and won 15-9. Then the Jaxx had a rematch with host Mississippi State and won 13-7.
In the consolation championship, Union faced a squad from the Barefoot Ultimate Club in Tupelo, Mississippi. Barefoot came out in a zone defense to try to fight the Union offense, but the Jaxx broke through the zone and went into halftime leading 8-0. Due to a lack of numbers, Barefoot forfeited the game at halftime, conceding the 9th place finish and consolation victory to Union.
The Jaxx named Joseph Leech and Avery Teague as co-MVP’s for the tournament.
Looking ahead, Union has a busy week with fall sports nearing their close. Men’s soccer has senior night on Friday and women’s soccer has senior day on Saturday.
Men’s Golf: Monday and Tuesday at the Martin Methodist Fall Invitational
Women’s Golf: Monday and Tuesday at the Martin Methodist Fall Invitational
Volleyball: Tuesday vs. Shorter University; Friday vs Alabama Huntsville; Saturday vs. North Alabama
Women’s Soccer: Wednesday vs. Auburn Montgomery; Saturday vs. North Alabama
Men’s Soccer: Friday vs. Auburn Montgomery; Sunday at Ouachita Baptist