The fall sports season gets underway this weekend at the University of West Florida.
Dave Scott, Athletic Director at the UWF says "Our fall sports have always been a very strong part of our program". The five fall sports teams at the school were highlighted at a press conference this week. The men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volley ball teams were all in the spotlight as they spoke about their plans and hope for the coming season which gets under way this weekend.
The women’s volleyball team is going into this season as the top ranked team in the Gulf South Conference. Coach Melissa Wolter says most of last year’s team will be back. "We returned 13 players. We added only 3 new players which I think is definitely going to be to our advantage." The volleyball team spent part of the summer competing in Europe, which Coach Wolter says not only helped the team bond personally, but gave them a taste of some very different competition. "We played against some really physical players, we played against completely different styles. So, it was great. Totally out of our comfort zone. Unairconditioned gyms, different ball, the officiating was different, just a lot of scenarios that pushed their comfort level."
During the press conference UWF President Dr. Judy Bense talked about the school’s past championships and hopes for the coming season. "I am wearing the 2012 National Champion of Women's Soccar Pendant. I want another one, okay? From all five of you would be just fine. then I'll have a bling problem."
That women’s soccer team also did some traveling during the summer. Coach Joe Bartlinski says they spent some time in the Asheville, North Carolina area and it helped to bring a team with a lot of new faces together. "We learned a lot about each other. We have a brand new blend of players, quality returners, transfers and some new freshmen so by heading up to the mountains of Carolina and getting a couple of scrimmages in we were about to have some great training sessions and some team bonding."
The women’s soccer team will spend most of the first month of the season on the road, with only one home game on September 22. The men’s soccer team will start their season at home this weekend. Coach Bill Elliot says last year’s team was very young and almost all of those starters are returning and growing. "What excites me about this team is not necessarily where we are, we're not sure where we are, but it's how far we've come." The team’s first game is this Saturday against Tampa. All fall sports games at the University of West Florida are open to the public.