Friday, August 20, 2010

GamecockIllustrated's JSU Fall Sports Preview

Practices have begun. Our teams are preparing for success. Predictions have been made, and it’s time to step on the field and compete. Before that happens, Gamecock Illustrated takes a look at the fall sports and brings you the unofficial preview.


Last season, the Gamecocks had a memorable run with a 27-8 season record. Even more impressive, the team went 17-1 in the OVC, winning the conference handily. Gone from last year’s team are Brittney Whitten and Paige Beasley. Whitten was a highly decorated outside hitter, and she will be missed. The Gamecocks, however, are bringing back 5 starters off of that team.

The team will be led this year by seniors Kara Slater, Caitlin Vorbeck, and Brooke Schumacher. Vorbeck, along with sophomore Jen Meyer, have earned Preseason All-OVC honors. Another major contributor will be Junior Libero Lauren Harkins. Her name will be in the record books before her career is over with an amazing number of digs. Another leader on the team that must be mentioned is Coach Rick Nold. Selected as the Midwest Region Coach of the Year last year, Nold has also been the OVC Coach of the Year twice.

Coming off a 17-1 conference record, only losing one starter, and having one of the top coaches in the country is not enough in the eyes of the prognosticators. JSU is picked to finish second in the OVC behind Morehead State.


Picked by many to finish 8th in the OVC this season, we feel that our soccer team will be a surprise. After an exhibition match last weekend against Kennesaw State, many feel pretty good about our chances. Although the score was 1-0 in favor of KSU, the Gamecocks had a strong showing against a nationally ranked team that won their conference last season.

This is a young team, made up of mostly sophomores, with only 3 seniors on the roster. Unofficial sources report that this team is doing much better in the preseason that our teams in the past. As we gain more experience, we will get even better. While the 8th place prediction may be based on what the team did last year, we feel that this is a different team.

Cross Country

Both men’s and women’s cross country teams are picked to finish in the fourth and fifth, respectively, in the OVC this season. On the women’s side this year, watch for Ashley Stovall, who earned All-OVC honors last year. On the men’s side, watch for JSU’s George Kiplaget, from Kenya.

We'll preview football in another post...


There are enough preseason predictions out there. If you’re picked 2nd, 4th, or 8th, does it really matter? Let’s go settle it on the field. We’re in this to compete, to win. At the end of the day, there’s only so much talking, writing, and predicting you can do. The time for all of that is over. Soccer starts this weekend. Volleyball starts later this month. After a scrimmage tomorrow, the football team has 2 weeks to get ready for Ole Miss. Let’s not consider where we are picked to finish. JSU is determined to win it on the field.

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