Tag Archives: Basketball

UWF spring sports teams, all in top 25, could sweep all conference titles

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

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It’s no secret the University of West Florida’s spring sports are a force to be reckoned with. After the men’s golf team, women’s golf team and women’s tennis team won their respective Gulf South Conference Championships this week, spring sports now hold 56 of UWF’s 86 all-time championship titles. Currently, all six UWF spring teams are ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA DII national rankings.

 

Men’s golf

Ranked highest is men’s golf. After the fall season, the UWF men’s golf team was ranked No.1 in the nation. The men’s team battled 10 other teams in the GSC to win the championship. After sitting in second place for the first two days, they came out on top on the final day to win its 14th consecutive GSC Championship title. Men’s golf now is ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into the NCAA South/Southeast Regionals to be hosted in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

 

Men’s tennis   

UWF Men’s Tennis, possibly the most successful and decorated team at the university, follows closely behind in its respective polls at No. 4. After a close match with Valdosta State at the GSC Tournament, the Argos lost 4-5, dropping them to No. 2 in the South Region. Ranked No. 4 in preseason national polls, the Argos held on to its spot in national rankings as they head into the Regional Tournament May 7 with the location to be determined.

 

Women’s tennis   

Women’s tennis follows closely behind the men’s team at No. 6. The women’s team victory over Valdosta State landed the GSC Championship over the weekend. Despite adding six new players to its roster of 13, the women continue to be successful and challenge each other to win its sixth consecutive GSC title (16th overall). The women’s team will head into the South Region Tournament from May 2 with a 22-5 overall record.

 

Women’s golf   

The women’s golf team proved it is worthy of the No. 8 national ranking last week by winning the GSC Championship title. Though they sat on an eight-shot deficit leading into the final day, they bounced back to win the fifth consecutive GSC title for UWF women’s golf. Head coach Bryan Clarke has high hopes for the team in the NCAA Tournament, but they must first make it past the NCAA South/Southeast Regional, which will be in Pensacola May 2-4.

 

Baseball   

Next in the corresponding rankings, formerly No. 17-ranked UWF baseball’s split-series win over No. 12 Delta State University last weekend earning them the No. 11 spot in national rankings. Currently ranked No. 1 in the GSC, the baseball team still has seven regular season games before it enters the GSC Tournament beginning on May 7.

 

Softball   

Last, but certainly not least, the softball team moved up in national rankings after sweeping No. 21 Delta State, earning them its 14th consecutive win and the No. 21 national ranking. With an overall record of 35-11 and a GSC record of 21-8, the softball team’s conference record is the best since 2006. UWF softball still has three regular season games against Shorter University before heading into the GSC Tournament held from April 28-30 as No. 2 in the conference.

With three of six of the 2016 GSC tiles already won, UWF’s potential to nearly sweep the conference championship titles look promising heading into the end of the season.

For information on all UWF sports teams, visit goargos.com.

Clock runs out on UWF Women’s basketball season

By Kenny Detwyler

Contributing Writer

 UWF women’s basketball team was eliminated from the GSC Tournament after a close game with the Lee Lady Flames. Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

UWF women’s basketball team was eliminated from the GSC Tournament after a close game with the Lee Lady Flames.
Photo by Kenny Detwyler.

The University of West Florida women’s basketball faced off against Lee University’s Flames in an intense Gulf South Conference tournament match-up Tuesday night at the Field House.

Ultimately, the Lady Argos fell to Lee by one point, with a final score of 63-62, thus ending the Lady Argos’ season.

The battle for victory was one that was hard-fought by both teams, with neither team taking more than six-point lead at any point in the second half.

The Lady Argos’ scoring drive was led by sophomores Toni Brewer and Courtney Meyer, who put up 12 and 11 points, respectively. Junior Katie Bobos put up 10 points. UWF led in rebounds, 47-32; but was edged out in field goal percentage 40.3-37.3.

Lee’s victory was no blow-out by any means, and was heavily contested up until the end. In the final minute of play, the Lady Argos, down by four points, scored a three-point field goal. There was a foul on UWF; then, to UWF’s satisfaction, Lee went on to miss both free throw attempts in the final seconds of the game.

That stroke of luck made a Lady Argo victory seem a lot more feasible. Junior Alex Coyne took possession when the game resumed; however, her distance from the goal and pressure from the clock turned what could have been a game-winning shot into a season-ending miss.

“They started to make good shots, and we couldn’t score on the other end, then we lost our momentum,” Brewer said.

This game marked the Lady Argos 14th appearance in the GSC tournament and the fourth straight appearance under head coach Stephanie Lawrence Yelton.

“We didn’t play a perfect game, but we played pretty close to one,” Yelton said. “We played well defensively. Lee has a very strong offense with a lot of scoring threats, and I thought we did a good job of shutting them down. I looked at this game as a win, even though it didn’t show up that way on the scoreboard.”

Although this loss closes the books on a 17-10 season, the Lady Argos are excited about what lies for them next season.

“I’m very excited, if you think you saw something tonight, just wait for the future,” Brewer said. “I feel like we’re going to do even better things.”

“I’m looking forward to getting this young team in the gym,” Yelton said. “They have to have some tenacity to improve themselves individually, and if they don’t, then we’re going to be sitting here next year saying the same thing.”

For detailed game statistics and more information on women’s basketball, vis

All in the Laatsch family

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

Second in a series on Siblings in Sports

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Jason, (left) and Josh Laatsch have played basketball together since their high school days in Birmingham.
Photo courtesy of Jason and Josh Laatsch.

 

Often, siblings share similar interests, especially when it comes to sports. The NBA has had 61 pairs of brothers in its history. The University of West Florida also is home to many athletic siblings, but only one duo in the sport of basketball.

For the Laatsch family, basketball is a family affair. Junior guard Jason Laatsch and his freshman guard brother, Josh Laatsch, have joined forces on the UWF men’s basketball team. The Laatsch brothers have played on the same basketball team since Josh’s eighth grade year and Jason’s sophomore year in high school. Both brothers attended Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Alabama and played for the school basketball team under their father and head coach, Chris Laatsch.

Jason’s outstanding basketball skills earned him a four-year career on the varsity team in high school where he set numerous records: 1,404 career points, 197 career three-pointers, 73 three-pointers in a single season. Jason was named Most Valuable Player for three seasons, Offensive MVP for two seasons, and served as a team captain his senior year.

Two years behind Jason, Josh followed closely in his older brother’s footsteps. Josh was a five-year varsity letterman for the basketball program, named team MVP for two seasons, and was selected to the All-Shelby County team for two seasons.

Following his prodigious high school career, Jason decided to continue his basketball career at UWF. He became the only freshman to see significant play time in every game of the 2012-13 season, averaging about 18 minutes per match. Unfortunately, he only recorded time in three games of his sophomore season after sustaining a shoulder injury.

While there were many contributing factors to Josh’s decision to also come play for the UWF basketball program, the idea of playing alongside his older brother again had the greatest influence.

“Coming out here, you’ve got the beach, I loved the coaching staff, and of course Jason,” Josh said. “We’ve been best friends since the day I was born, so coming down here, following him, was the best decision for me.”

Josh’s first season at UWF was cut short. He saw court time in two games and was then given a medical redshirt for an arm injury.

Jason, a starter, has seen play time in every game this season and is averaging seven points per game. Coming off his injury, Josh has played in eight games of the 2015-2016 season.

As with any sibling pair, the brothers often get asked who the better player is. Jason and Josh replied that neither can be distinguished as the better payer because they play differently from each other.

Jason and Josh both elaborated on each other’s strengths on the court.

“Josh is a really good shooter,” Jason said. “He rarely misses and he’s also a good ball handler; he rarely ever turns the ball over.”

While Jason elaborated mostly Josh’s skills, Josh expounded on Jason’s basketball IQ.

“Jason is basically a game manager,” Josh said. “He’s good at everything and has the career to prove it. He’s a playmaker and is very knowledgeable about the game.”

While playing on the same team with a sibling often brings out the competitive spirit in many, the Laatsch brothers’ competitive edges push each other to be better every day. Playing alongside each other also serves as an inspiration to play up to their potential.

For a complete men’s basketball schedule, visit the team’s page on goargos.com.

To read our first Siblings in Sports article, click here.

 

 

The Argos sports teams look forward to the spring 2016 seasons

Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

With the spring sports season just around the corner, the University of West Florida hosted a Spring Sports Media Day and Luncheon to spotlight men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball teams. UWF currently holds 83 championship titles, 53 of which were won by spring sports teams. Head coaches and two athletes from each sport attended to answer questions in the Argonaut Athletic Club on Wednesday afternoon.

MEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Kenny Brasil, Head Coach Derrick Racine and senior Alex Peyrot address the media regarding their nationally ranked tennis team.

 

 

 

Men’s tennis took the podium first. Head Coach Derrick Racine brought senior Kenny Brasil and junior Alex Peyrot to share the spotlight. Racine has been coaching for UWF tennis for 18 years with a career record of 409-89 and three NCAA National Championship titles alongside the men’s tennis.

Both Brasil and Peyrot were on the National Championship Team in 2014 and are nationally ranked in the top 22 players in the singles rankings. UWF men’s tennis is ranked No.4 in NCAA DII preseason rankings. With such high standards set for the tennis team in the preseason, the players approach the season with confidence.

“We have the same team we had last year,” Brasil said. “Everybody is back, were confident, we’re practicing hard and we’re hoping for good things this year.”

The men’s tennis program lost only one player off last year’s roster and has not added any new players to this year’s roster. The men’s tennis team is extremely confident going into the spring season with the same roster as last year, but with more experience. The UWF men’s tennis will begin its season at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, see the men’s tennis page.

 

WOMEN’S TENNIS

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From left to right: Senior Nina Bubelova, Coach Racine and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic were all smiles in anticipation for their spring tennis season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s tennis, also coached by Racine, followed the men. Senior Nina Bubelova and senior Katarina Dikosavljevic attended. Racine has also coached the women’s team for 18 seasons and has a record of 375-124.

While the men have made little changes from last year’s team, the women have made drastic changes to its roster after losing multiple top players. They have added six new players to the 2016 roster. Despite the personnel losses, UWF women’s tennis is ranked No.6 in NCAA Division II preseason rankings. Both Bubelova and Dikosavljevic are ranked in the top 42 players in national singles rankings.

Spirits are high as the UWF women’s tennis team heads into the regular season. They are confident that its 13-player roster has strengthened from challenging each other to be the best players they can be.

“I think that having a lot of girls at the same level creates a really competitive environment,” Dikosavljevic said. “We know what happens on the court, stays on the court, and we just all try to push each other every day and try to be the best that we can be.”

The women’s team said it believes that this year will be a battle for the top spot and it plans to treat every point as such. UWF women’s tennis will also open at Columbus State University on Saturday, Feb. 6. For the complete schedule, visit the women’s tennis page.

 

BASEBALL

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From left to right: Senior Kyle Hamner, Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat and senior Brandon Nagem address the media after news of their second place pre-season ranking in the Gulf South Conference.

 

 

Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat brought along senior catcher Kyle Hamner and senior pitcher Brandon Nagem. Coach Jeffcoat, a former UWF baseball player, has been coaching baseball for 15 years. In his 10 seasons at UWF, Jeffcoat’s 356-190 record includes the NCAA National Championship in 2011.

As for the players, Hamner was named to American Baseball Coaches Association’s South Region Gold Glove Team for his performance in 2015. Nagem was selected last year as the 2015 Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Year, and ABCA South Region Pitcher of the Year. UWF baseball was selected to finish second behind the University of West Alabama in the GSC this year in preseason polls. Nagem, senior Alex Greene, senior Chase Kiefer and junior Jarrod Petree were selected on the preseason All-GSC Team.

According to Jeffcoat, because the preseason polls are based on last season, they are insignificant to the performance of the players this upcoming season.

“The ranking are kind of subjective, opinionated and really based on what you’ve done in the past,” Jeffcoat said. “Where we start is definitely not indicative of where we finish.”

Jeffcoat will coach alongside other former Argonaut baseball players Kyle Brown and Justin Bennett. The UWF baseball team will start its 2016 spring season at Florida Southern College on Saturday, Feb. 6. See the baseball schedule.

 

MEN’S GOLF

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From left to right: Freshman Bryce Geraghty, Head Coach Steve Fell and senior Talin Rajendranath are optimistic about their spring season due to fall successes.

 

The UWF men’s golf team followed the baseball team. Head Coach Steve Fell was joined on stage by freshman Bryce Geraghty and senior Talin Rajendranath. Fell has coached the UWF men’s golf team for 22 seasons with two NCAA National Championship titles in 2001 and 2008 as head coach. The golf team came out of its fall season as the No.1-ranked team in the nation.

Both Geraghty and Rajendranath finished in the top three players at fall tournaments. Players said that on a team of 13 players, team chemistry is key to success as a team and for the players’ individual achievements. Geraghty, a freshman from Gulf Breeze, said he feels he is adjusting well to the transition from golf at the high school level to college level.

“I’ve known these guys for a semester and I feel like I’ve known them my whole life,” Geraghty said. “We help each other on and off the course, we hang out together all the time and it’s things like that which make the transition really easy.”

The UWF men’s golf team will begin its spring season at the Matlock College Classic hosted by the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Monday, Feb. 8. Find the schedule here.

 

WOMEN’S GOLF

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From left to right: Senior Daisy-May Kenny, Head Coach Bryan Clarke and senior Fanny Starzmann address their fall season as well as their upcoming spring season.

Head coach Bryan Clarke addressed the media with seniors Daisy-May Kenny and Fanny Starzmann. Clarke, a UWF graduate, has coached the women’s team for four seasons. Both Kenny and Starzmann have been on the team since Clarke’s inaugural season as head coach.

Over the fall season, the women had the opportunity to go to the NCAA preview in Denver to practice on a high-altitude course. They hope to return in May for the NCAA Championship tournament. Because a team from the southern region has won the NCAA Tournament every year, except for last year, Clarke said she believes that if the women’s team can be successful in the southern region, they have a great chance at Nationals.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on our team, and we’ve got a couple new players,” Kenny said. “We’re fighting against each other but at the same time, we’re pushing each other, and I think that’s important to have a strong team.”

With nine women on the team, only five are selected to play in any particular tournament over the course of the season.

The women will start its spring season at the World Golf Invitational at the Slammer and Squire course at the World Golf Village on Feb. 7. Find the complete schedule here.

 

SOFTBALL

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From left to right: Senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew, Head Coach Melissa Paul and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman hope their momentum from last season carries on into the spring.

 

Last to address the media was the softball team. Head Coach Melissa Paul brought along senior outfielder Emily Pettigrew and senior pitcher Kalyn Chapman to represent the team. This season is Paul’s second season with the team and fifth as a head coach.

After losing all but one starter, the Lady Argos did not start its season the way it wanted. The Lady Argos finished with a lot of momentum and hope it carries into its 2016 spring season. With experienced players such as Pettigrew and Chapman returning this season, the team hopes to improve its record.

“This year has changed because we’ve really focused on building our culture,” Pettigrew said. “I think that this year that is our focus; being good teammates and playing hard and holding each other accountable more.”

Paul said they are trying out a new, creative system this year in order to develop skills and improve play. The UWF softball season will commence on Feb. 5 at Tuskegee University. Find the complete schedule here.

Huge comeback for UWF men’s basketball team ultimately ends in loss

Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

 

When the University of West Florida men’s basketball team fell short by 14 points at halftime against the University of West Georgia on Monday night, a win did not seem probable for the Argos. The Argos were down 25-39 to the Wolves when they fled to the locker room at the half.

When the Argos returned to the court at the beginning of the second half, it seemed as though an entirely different team had emerged from the locker room; a team that refused to lose to UWG and allow them to extend their history of defeating the Argos. The intensity from players such as redshirt junior guard Mario Stramaglia, junior forward Austin Somerfield and junior guard Jelani Pruitt changed completely with the start of the second half.

After a three-point field goal by Stramaglia with less than 10 minutes in the game, the Wolves lead only by a single point. Two successful foul shots by junior forward Deangelo Legrier gave the Argos their first led in the second half.

For the next nine, stressful minutes of the game, both teams would alternate leads up until the final three seconds of the game.

With a tied score of 69-69, a foul against UWG guard Iakeem Aiston with only three seconds remaining resulted in a loss for UWF. Aiston’s two successful foul shots would be the last points scored in the game. The 71-69 win for the Wolves would leave the Argos heartbroken.

The Argos’ history of losing in the final seconds of the game has grown tiresome for players, and they say they hope to improve their game by playing both halves with everything they have.

“We need to start the game just like we end the game,” Pruitt said. “We tend to pick it up in the second half more, so that’s a bad habit to have. We need to play 100 percent the whole time.” Pruitt was the top scorer for UWF with 16 points against the Wolves.

Players bowed their heads as they returned to the locker room, and Head Coach Jeff Burkhamer was visibly angry at the result of the game.

The team that returned from the locker room at the start of the second half would have won the game if they had played both halves, according to Burkhamer.

“They listened in the second half,” Burkhamer said. “They played together, they passed the ball, we dug in defensively, and we have to play that way every minute of every game in order to be in it.”

Burkhamer says he hopes the Argos will drive to win one-possession games such as this one to repair their current losing record of 10-3.

A lack of defensive play was the catalyst for the loss, according to Stramaglia.

“I think the biggest difference was our defense execution between the first half and second half. We were not able to stop the ball in transition a few times in the first half and our defense execution was poor,” Stramaglia said. “Second half we were able to make stops on the defensive side, which led to fast break points and easy baskets that helped us chip away a 16- point lead to being up by two. Unfortunately, we were just one possession short in finishing the game.”

Despite an unfortunate loss for the men’s basketball team, the women’s basketball team was able to defeat UWG 61-57, improving their record to 10-4. The Argos have now won seven consecutive games, a win streak that hasn’t been matched in more than 10 years.

Sophomore forward Toni Brewer led the team by scoring a personal season high of 14 points and seizing 14 rebounds in the game.

Both the men and women’s basketball teams visited Valdosta State on Saturday and will return to the UWF Field House on Jan. 28 to face off against Lee University.