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Coach Moats focuses on players, not 700th win

Without even realizing it, Wildcats Head Volleyball Coach Candace Moats brought home her 700th career win Oct. 7 against Mt. Vernon Nazarene University.

In previous years, her assistant coaches kept track of her record, but this year she had no idea the game was a landmark win.

“I came to the office later that day and someone tells me congratulations for 700, and I said, ‘700 what?’” Moats said.

Kelly Cypher (jr) said Moats is more focused on her players than she is her own record.

“She isn’t just about the wins we get or the stats of the game,” Cypher said. “What she wants more than anything, is to be invested in each one of us as her players to help us grow as a person in our character and our walk with the Lord.”

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

At her first college, the University of Nebraska, she struggled to find her own identity outside of volleyball. She transferred to Crown College, a Christian college, and carries that experience over to coaching and supporting her players.

“I just try to live as a woman of God would live in front of the girls that he gives me to mentor and in some ways be accountable for,” Moats said.

“She really wants to know who we are outside of volleyball,” Cypher said. “As we go through the volleyball season, she reminds us of the bigger picture of why we play: ‘For Him.’”

Moats had not planned to go into coaching. She was prepared to go into elementary education, but, as she states, that was not God’s plan for her. She helped coach her final semester at Crown since she was ineligible as a transfer student. When the head coaching position opened up after that semester, the current head coach recommended her for the job.

After 10 years coaching at Crown, she felt God “nudging” her to go. After attending Crown herself, she had built a strong support system of family and mentors, which made leaving difficult.

“I didn’t really want to [leave] because I was very comfortable there,” Moats said. “Through a lot of fasting and praying over a course of time God made it very clear that I was supposed to go.”

Moats said God provided her with a specific Bible passage, Genesis 12, to strengthen her during this time of decision-making.

“He’s talking to Abraham and says, ‘I want you to go to the land that I will show you and I will make your name great and I will bless you,’” Moats said.

Moats said she sees that blessing all around her, even now at Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I look back at the years and, even this year, we have squeaked by so many matches that could have put us in a situation and we wouldn’t be where we are,” Moats said. “But again, there is this blessing that just seems to be there and I am so grateful for that.”

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Moats spent 8 years coaching at Grace College before being called to IWU, where she has been for the past 13 years. She tries to focus on growth and bringing new ideas to the team rather than how many more years she will coach.

“I’m just trying to enjoy this more and more every year instead of fighting it,” Moats said.

Moats said her assistant coaches, players and even other teams give her new ideas and coaching strategies.

“Every year I’m thinking differently,” Moats said. She doesn’t want the team to feel like a “dictatorship.” Instead, she tries to build community through teamwork and collaboration.

Student manager Cindy Coats (sr) said she has enjoyed learning from Coach Moats.

“[It] has been such an honor because she is always so humble as a coach,” Coats said. “She always gives glory to God and praises her team.”

Moats said the relationships she has built over the years have “impacted” her, “shaped” her and made her different.

“The highlight for me is all that I’ve learned by being in relationship with all of the women that I’ve been able to be a part of their lives,” Moats said.

Moats said she hopes IWU will be one of the final schools she works at before retirement. She credits the strength and vision of the Athletic Department with the joy she receives from working at IWU.

“God’s created this opportunity, this career, this calling for me and I need to be faithful in it till the end,” Moats said.

Coach Moats Timeline

A timeline of Coach Moats’ career from Crown College to win number 700.

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Second half surge pushes men’s soccer past St. Francis

Three second-half goals lifted the No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team as the Wildcats defeated the St. Francis Cougars by a final score of 4-1 Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The Cougars came in having lost five games in a row, but Interim Head Coach Joe Schulman said he still expected a tough game.

“Being at the top of the conference, everyone is kind of gunning for you and the fact that we’re ranked nationally just accentuates that,” Schulman said. “We definitely expected a battle.”

Corey Lopez (jr) works against a Cougar defender. (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

Corey Lopez (jr) works against a Cougar defender. (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

Wildcat Field was slippery and wet for the contest after a few days of heavy rain. Tyrone Martin (sr) said the less-than-ideal conditions forced the Wildcats to stay disciplined.

“[The conditions] caused us to focus a lot more, concentrate a lot more and just be ready,” Martin said

The Wildcats started the first half lethargically, but took a 1-0 lead into halftime on a goal by Derek Williams (fr) with four minutes to go in the half. Keaton Albert (jr) got the ball past two defenders in the corner to set up Williams’ first collegiate goal.

After a passionate speech from Dylan Bronkema (sr), it was all Wildcats in the second half. The team came out of halftime with much more energy and effort.

“This team’s pretty mature,” Schulman said. “We were able to rally at halftime and really bring significant effort into the second half.”

But the Cougars would not go quietly, tying the game at 1 on a goal from Alexis Ferreira da Silva (jr) that slipped right through goalkeeper Josh Goepper’s (jr) hands. Ferreira da Silva drew boos from the Wildcat faithful after a flashy celebration, sliding through the grass and posing in front of the bleachers.

Taylor Lehman (jr) scored the third goal of the night for the Wildcats. (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

Taylor Lehman (jr) scored the third goal of the night for the Wildcats. (photo by Lauren Dafoe)

Martin answered for the Wildcats about 10 minutes later, putting the Wildcats up 2-1. Corey Lopez (jr) weaved the ball through three Cougars defenders to assist Martin on the goal. Four minutes later, Taylor Lehman (jr) headed a pass from Evan Young (so) into the back of the net for the Wildcats’ third goal.

Things heated up when Goepper and Cougar defenseman Alex Fletcher (sr) got tangled up in front of the net and began to shove each other. Fletcher was given a yellow card.

Seth Kintigh (jr) helped the Wildcats pour it on late with a goal assisted by Young, and the Wildcats cruised to a 4-1 victory.

The Wildcats won their 11th straight game and remain in first place in the Crossroads League, with an undefeated league record of 6-0 and overall record of 12-1. Their next game is Saturday, Oct. 18 at home against Huntington University.

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Volleyball plays everyone in victory over Spring Arbor

Katey Holler (jr) prepares herself for a powerful serve // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Katey Holler (jr) prepares herself for a powerful serve // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s volleyball team used a balanced attack to defeat Spring Arbor University in straight sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-20) Wednesday, Oct. 15.

In a battle between IWU, the Crossroads League’s No. 1 team (11-1 in league play), and Spring Arbor, and the last-place team in the league (0-13), Wildcats Head Coach Candace Moats made sure all 15 of her players got in the game.

“I really wanted to generate some encouragement for some of the players that don’t get much playing time,” Moats said.

Leading the offensive attack for the Wildcats were Kylie Portera (so) and Alijah Mulitauopele (sr) with seven and six kills, respectively. Katey Holler (jr) set up her spikers to the tune of 28 set assists and Ashlen Buck (so) added 11 digs for IWU. Every Wildcat player registered at least one kill, set assist or dig.

But the game wasn’t all positive for the Wildcats. Moats still hopes to see her players take more initiative going after the ball.

Remy Bucknor (so) unleashes a spike on Spring Arbor // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

Remy Bucknor (so) unleashes a spike on Spring Arbor // Photo taken by Jared Johnson

“There’s still timidity there,” Moats said. “There’s not a lot of directing traffic.”

Moats was happy, however, with how the Wildcats were able to stay focused despite playing a less-talented team.

“We wanted to keep up the passion and energy, and I think we did that,” Moats said. “This weekend we are playing some teams that will play their best matches of the season against us, so we really have to be on our guard.”

The Wildcats host Bethel College at 7 p.m. Friday and Goshen College at 3 p.m. Saturday this weekend in Crossroads League play.

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Wesley Wildcat to get new costume

Wesley Wildcat is getting a makeover.

The beloved school mascot will be cheering on Wildcats athletics in a new costume sometime within the next month.

The Wesley Wildcat costume, which has been used for around 15 years, will be replaced within the next month.

The Wesley Wildcat costume, which has been used for around 15 years, will be replaced within the next month.

Athletic Director Mark DeMichael said the old Wesley costume was around 15 years old and “in really bad shape.” It was also designed after the old Wildcat logo that was replaced three years ago during the athletic department’s rebranding campaign.

“We wanted something that more resembled our new logo,” DeMichael said.

DeMichael said the athletic department collaborated with Scott Todd, director of marketing and communications, and the rest of the marketing department to design the new Wesley costume. The two departments shared the cost and creative input into the design of the costume.

“[Todd] really took the bull by the horns and has led the process of the new one,” DeMichael said.

The athletics and marketing departments hired a mascot company and began the design process. After a nine month process of contracting the company and sending sketches back and forth, the final design for the Wesley costume was approved.

The new costume has an internal fan and a cooling vest to make the person inside the costume more comfortable.

“The technology in these things has improved so much since we bought the old Wesley,” DeMichael said. “It’s much safer and more comfortable.”

DeMichael said the athletics department will be looking to hire one or two more people to be Wesley as they try to get the new costume to more events on campus and in the community.

DeMichael declined to release design sketches to The Sojourn in order to keep the design a secret until the costume arrives. The new Wesley costume will be introduced to the public sometime in late October or early November.


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