Tag Archives: Men’s basketball

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.

UWF athletics weekly roundup

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

An Argonaut placed in the top third of the NCAA Division II cross-country national championships, the women’s soccer team’s 2015 season ended on a high note, and the volleyball team’s post-season mission commenced at home.

Cross Country

Early in the fall, University of West Florida cross-country Head Coach Caleb Carmichael declared his short and long-term goals.

“I want to build the team back up to prominence,” Carmichael said. “I want to go to the nationals every year.”

Thanks to junior runner Tim Wenger, Carmichael can say the team made tangible progress in realizing their ambitions. Wenger finished 81st out of 246 runners in the Division II national championships, which were held in Joplin, Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 21, according to a UWF Athletic Communication’s press release.

Wenger’s time of 31:10.7 was his career-best, according to UWF Athletic Communications.

Women’s soccer

Not all losses warrant regret.

The UWF women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to host and national No. 4 Barry University on Sunday, Nov. 15, in the NCAA Division II national tournament. The Lady Argos defense, which has been strong all year, held Barry to nine total shots and only two official shots-on-goal.

UWF’s allowed only .703 goals per game this season.  Measured in those terms, the Lady Argos defense finished the season ranked No. 30 in the nation. The Lady Argos finished the season as the stingiest team in the Gulf South Conference.

The Lady Argos graduate only two players in Julianne Gaubron and Amber Pennybaker. Pennybaker capped her UWF career with 19 goals this season, which was good for 8th-best in the GSC.

The Lady Argos will return the conference’s No. 2 and No. 5 scorers in sophomore Daryl Bell and junior Kaley Ward.

Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team entered the GSC tournament, which they host, with momentum.

The Lady Argos defeated Shorter University 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-20) in the GSC semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the UWF Field House.  The win extended their winning streak to nine games as they readied for Sunday’s GSC final against the University of North Alabama. UWF is currently 28-5.

Earlier in the week UWF sophomore Emily Cosgrove was named GSC Defensive Player of the Week, according to a GSC press release. Cosgrove is the third Argonaut to be awarded that honor this season. She joined juniors Tori Martella and Kathryn Torre as 2015 recipients of the award. Martella has been recognized twice.

In other news, the men’s and women’s basketball teams’ make their home debuts this upcoming week. The men’s lone game is against Spring Hill College on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at the UWF Field House. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. The women have two games. They open on the road against Spring Hill, on Tuesday, and meet Young Harris College at 12 p.m. in the Field House, on Saturday, Nov. 28.

UWF athletics weekly roundup

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UWF’s Tim Wenger (right) leads the charge in a recent race. The junior from Inverness, Florida has qualified for the NCAA Division II national championship. It is the first time an Argonaut runner has qualified for the race since 2006.
Photo courtesy of UWF Athletic Communications.

Jason Dustin

Sports Editor

The University of West Florida women’s volleyball team wrapped up the regular season in convincingly, the men’s cross country team took a step forward, and women’s soccer clamped down in the NCAA Division II South Region tournament.

Men’s basketball

Four points were the difference between the UWF men’s basketball team opening the season with two wins versus two losses.

The Argonauts lost on Friday to Benedict College, 72-69, as part of a conference challenge tournament involving the Gulf South Conference and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which was hosted by Valdosta State University. Junior guard Mario Stramaglia led the Argos with 23 points. The Birmingham, Alabama, native was 4-for-5 in three-point attempts.

The Argos almost recorded their first win of the season on Saturday, on the road against Fort Valley State University.  The 82-81 overtime loss was highlighted by a monster game from UWF’s Austin Somerfield. The junior forward from Greenville, Michigan, led the team with 35 points and 18 rebounds, while logging 45 minutes.

The men’s next game, and home-opener, is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 against Spring Hill College at the UWF Field House.

Women’s basketball

The women’s team opened the season 0-2, as well. The Lady Argos traveled to host University of Tampa to participate in the season-opening Spartan Challenge Tournament where they lost 77-52 and 72-65 to the No. 20 UT and Rollins College, respectively.

Belle Bistrow posted UWF’s single-game high for the tournament. The freshman guard from Jacksonville scored 15 points in the loss to RC.

The Lady Argos’ next game is away against Spring Hill College on Nov. 24. UWF’s 2015 Field House debut will be at noon on Nov. 28 when they meet Young Harris College.

Men’s cross country

UWF junior runner Tim Wenger has qualified for the NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country Championships, according to a UWF Athletic Communications press release.

By virtue of Wenger’s fifth-place finish at the South Regional Championships, he became the first Argo to qualify for the national race since 2006, according to UWF Athletic Communications.

Women’s soccer

Daryl Bell scored the lone goal of UWF’s first-round 1-0 victory at the NCAA Division II South Regional tournament, which was hosted by Barry University, in Miami. The goal was all the Lady Argos defense needed as it held Nova Southeastern University to one second-half shot on goal, and only six for the game.

UWF’s Alissa Festagallo, a junior from Fort Pierce, assisted Bell.

UWF meets host BU on Sunday for the region’s championship. If victorious, it will advance to the NCAA Division II Super Regional Tournament, which will be hosted by the highest-seeded participant.

For more UWF athletics information visit goargos.com.