Following a 10th (Men’s) and 12th (Women’s) finish at NJCAA Nationals last year, coach Glen Moser looks to make strong strides this season with a mostly reloading cast of freshmen. The men’s tennis team finished out the season 8-8-1 and look to build on last season’s finish behind returning sophomores Maksim Fil (Minsk, Belarus) and Harry Lee ( Brisbane, Australia) alongside a cast of talented freshmen including Martial Lescure (France), Daniel DeZamacona, Michael Draper (Green Valley, Missouri) and Southwest Baptist transfer Juan Estepa (Columbia, South America). Consisting of a solid core and a large versatility of depth, the men’s are still looking for their dominating 1 for the season as coach Moser plans to rotate multiple players into the position leading up till conference play. For the Lady Cavs, the loss of their 1, 2, and 3 girls to graduation will certainly make an impact, but the Lady Cavs team will look to develop in their incoming recruits. Moser expects freshmen recruits Shannon Beckett (Australia) and Jean Ochs (Kurtsville, Missouri) to make a big impact this season as “a very good one-two punch.” The Cavs look to make an impact this spring season with assessing who’s to start in their set team roles, having lined up half a dozen scrimmage dates against four-year colleges in the area in the fall. As coach Moser explained, “It’s a time to see how our players are progressing and who might team up as doubles partners.”
Completing a 4th place finish in the East Jayhawk conference this past season, the men’s golf team have their eyes set on what they couldn’t achieve this past season: an NJCAA finish. With new talent being added to the team, along with returning players such as Devin Montague, the Cavs have added a new dimension to their game that they lacked in the previous system. Having the opportunity to use the indoor facilities of golf clubs, the Cavs are now able to specially zone in on their short game – focusing on both their putting and chipping game – while also utilizing a par-3 course in-house to improve their play throughout the season. It will aid the Cavs in giving them a different application and creating competition, something coach Lafayette Norwood would love to see in the coming season. “We’re in the area we want to be, and that’s becoming competitive,” explains coach Norwood. While the traveling teams spot have yet to be set, Norwood believe his new cast of freshman should fill the void and add a new element the team lacked last year. The Cavs begin compete in their first tournament on Sept. 11 and 12 as they compete in Garden City.
Coming in as the new team after a brilliant past season is always a hard act to follow, but the Lady Cavs see it as an opportunity to add fuel to the fire. Capping the season last year at 16-3-0, the Cavs locked down the conference with a second place finish but ultimately met their demise to Butler in the regional semi-finals with a third- place finish. Now the Lady Cavs look to right their previous season as a team that appeared to be under the radar all last season looks to make the jump once more. Returning sophomores Jessie Jacobs, Katie Sharp, Phoenix Keane, Marissa Nolan, Haley Wagner, and one of the most explosive players in the conference last season, Thomasenia Bouknight, look to help motivate the team along their journey. Playing alongside new recruits Marley Sutter, Samantha Richards, Kali Webb, and Emma Crenshaw – who is expected to add a great backup keeper behind Jessie Jacobs and the breakout season she enjoyed the year prior. Coach Jim Schwab believes this team has the making and has already shown long strides towards it in training leading up to the season ahead. Coach Schwab adds, “The girls really put in some great conditioning during training camp, despite the heat, and gotten a lot accomplished. Whether that translates to the season? It’s too early to tell.”
The men’s soccer team of last season didn’t finish the season on what they expected, but truly showed a breakout in scoring potential that would make any soccer fan excited. Outgunning most the conference in the second half of the season, the Cavs look to continue the trend with their focus building on an invitation to a D-1 Tournament appearance. “There is a lot of potential to carry the team,” explains head coach Fatai Ayoade. “We recruited a lot of freshman that can certainly do that.” Working hard in the offseason, the line has added some great depth to come and build upon. Returning players such as Devin Zvosec are expected to make a jump this season as the players work ethic in the offseason have improved by leaps and bounds with players becoming more comfortable in the system. “Players are coming in every day with the mentality of leadership because even though there is a captain, when they play on the field together they have to work together,” adds Ayoade. “Hard work, dedication and sacrifice; all coming together as they play together.”
The Lady Cavs team looked more like an offensive powerhouse last season, running fast break plays that would bring a smile to the likes of Mike D’Antoni even. Capturing the District B Championship (32-5 for the season) as they outscored every team across the board in route to an invite to the NJCAA Tournament and 5th place finish, the Lady Cavs can look to an aggressive freshmen class to add depth in their quest back to promise land. Adding three transfers from D1 schools the Cavs can count on Coach Ben Conrad to continue his heavy emphasis on defense and rebounding. “Offensively we [want to] really space the floor and push the ball in transition,” said Conrad. “Let our players make the plays.” With five returns from last year’s squad, Conrad believes there is to be an all around jump in each girls play. “But I think the kid with the highest upside and the most to gain this summer was Ameshia Kearney,” explains Conrad. “I think people will see a totally different player this season. She could be special.”
Coach Mike Jeffers has always looked at the returning talent as what truly help builds a great team, and for the Cavs team of 2011, it’s certainly no different. Returning players for this team include: Chris Brasher, Quasim Jones, Justin Leathers, Melvin Turner and Nick Boehler who was redshirted for the season last year. Though it may seem simple enough, flipping an entire team of somewhere between 40-60% is no easy task. The summer hasn’t given the best resources for training, with Jeffers actively trying to figure out offensive and defensive schemes for the team ahead. “We have a certain style and philosophy, but you can’t put the square peg in a round hole, it doesn’t fit year after year.” explains Jeffers. “You got to be a little flexible and make adjustments as time rolls around.” Starting their official season and games not until October 1st, Jeffers has more than enough time to set his lineup.
With a new set of depth in every position this season, the Cavs look on track to make another run at a NJCAA tournament appearance. Despite losing a well-recognized bullpen from last year that would make any opposing coach worry, Coach Kent Shelley believes his new cast of freshmen and previously redshirted freshman will fill the roles adequately on the mound. One of the main changes in this year’s squad is a one that can run. Shelly said, “We had 14 players post sub-7 60-yard dashes. Which is the most overall speed we’ve possessed in a long, long time.” Next to their speed, the team has two players that lit up the stolen bases category in Black Sturgeon (second baseman) and Chad Shannon (third baseman) who were respectively second and third in the nation. Hitting-wise, Shelley feels a solid training camp and working during the fall, the team will be swinging big sticks by the time spring rolls around. As in years past, the team works diligently on their small ball game – running, pressure on the defense, sack putting, safety squeezes, and stolen bases – something they’ve been extremely aggressive on year after year. While the starting roles have yet to be set at this time also, Shelley is confident that by spring each player will have elevated his game to where he’d like the team to be.
Compiled by Dillan Straight.