Archive | Women’s Athletics

Split season brings challenges for golf and tennis teams

Soccer is a fall sport and basketball is played in the winter. But when do sports like tennis and golf play their seasons? The answer is both fall and spring.

The women's golf team has a split season: playing half their schedule in the fall and half in spring.

The women’s golf team has a split season: playing half their schedule in the fall and half in spring.

The men’s and women’s golf and tennis teams at Indiana Wesleyan University have split seasons: playing half of the season in the fall and half in spring.

Unpredictable Indiana weather is the main reason for the split season, according to Men’s Golf Head Coach Austin Conroy. There simply isn’t enough good weather in either individual season to play a full schedule.

Conroy said a split season is necessary at the collegiate level.

“If we just did a spring season, then you know, that’s what high school sports do,” Conroy said. “We’re a college program.”

Conroy said there are lots of events in the fall that help improve the team’s NAIA national ranking in the spring, when they play their league season and the NAIA national tournament is held.

Women’s tennis Head Coach Eddy Shigley said he “loves” the fall season.

“The weather’s awesome and [players] get to play all summer and they come ready,” Shigley said. “They come prepared, they come tennis-ready.”

The Crossroads League is the only NAIA conference to play its tennis conference schedule in the fall. Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams won the league championship, earning an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament next May in Mobile, Ala.

Men’s tennis player Kyle Johnson (sr) said it’s tough to have such a long wait between qualifying and playing in NAIA Nationals.

“You have to wait six months before [you] can play which is kind of unfortunate when you’re coming off such a high,” Johnson said.

Coach Conroy also said it’s hard to maintain the momentum from the fall into the spring season, about a four-month layoff. He sees the fall and spring as two different seasons.

Johnson said team chemistry is also a disadvantage to the split-season format.

“We try to keep in contact with each other and camaraderie going but at the same time we aren’t with each other as much,” Johnson said.

Kyle Johnson (sr) said it's hard to keep momentum going during a 4 month break in the season.

Kyle Johnson (sr) said it’s hard to keep momentum going with a 4 month break in the season.

Both Coach Conroy and Coach Shigley said their teams stay together through offseason workouts, study tables and devotional times.

“I think it’s really important for us to have shared spiritual experiences that aren’t just in season,” Shigley said.

Another problem with the split-season format is practice times during the winter months. The tennis teams are able to practice in the Troyer Fieldhouse, but spring teams like baseball, softball and track and field have priority. The golf teams are not so lucky, as they cannot practice in the fieldhouse.

The tennis teams finished up their fall seasons at the Crossroads League championship on October 4. The golf teams wrapped up their fall seasons this week at the NCCAA National Championship tournament in Panama City Beach, Fla. Spring seasons begin in the middle of March.

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Women’s soccer gives gutsy effort in loss to unbeaten Spring Arbor

The Indiana Wesleyan University women’s soccer team lost 0-2 Wednesday, Oct. 22 in a physical contest against the Crossroads League’s only undefeated team, Spring Arbor University.

From the start of the game, the Cougars, ranked No. 9 in the NAIA, put a lot of pressure on the Wildcat defense. They finally broke through in the 12th minute when Shannon Balcer (jr) headed in a corner kick from the far post to give Spring Arbor a 1-0 lead.

Photo by by Becka Roth

Photo by by Becka Roth

The Wildcats held strong the rest of the half, quelling several Cougar attacks while producing a few offensive strikes of their own.

The even possession continued through into the second half, but the physicality of both teams increased significantly after the intermission. Overall, IWU committed eight fouls in the contest, while the referees called three fouls on Spring Arbor.

In the 68th minute, a deflected ball by IWU goalie Megan Weiss (fr) bounced off of Spring Arbor’s Aubrey Schierbeek (fr) and into the goal to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead and conclude the game’s scoring.

Wildcats Head Coach Tim Strader said he was proud of his players’ effort against a very talented Spring Arbor squad.

“To lose 2-0 against a very high-quality team like Spring Arbor is really good,” Strader said. “The fight [the team] brought was unbelievable.”

As the last home regular-season game of the season, the Wildcats celebrated Senior Night for their seven seniors: Kerrin Clancy, Caitlyn Mains, Tracey Tiernon, Elisa Teller, Haley Svrcina, Megan Hardesty and Jillian Owens.

photo by Becka Roth

photo by Becka Roth

“The seniors have showed a lot of heart and determination for us all year,” Strader said.

With the loss, the Wildcats moved to 3-4-1 in Crossroads League play. They conclude their regular season 3 p.m. Saturday at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

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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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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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