The Choctaws Look To Push The Basketball This Season And Play With More Pace. By Corey Rholdon, Sports Editor

The Mississippi College men’s basketball team started their preseason practices last week. The team looks to take the next step this season and make it to the GSC tournament after coming up short last year.

The Choctaws are looking to push the ball and play at a faster pace this season. Junior forward Brandon Boston believes that energy and pace will help the team offensively. “In camp, we have been focusing on defense and getting into shape more. This season we plan on going up and down the court more, so we are going to need to be in great shape to do that,” said Boston.

Sophomore forward Jon Harding wants to see the team get back to the tempo which led the team to a 9-8 start during the 2017-2018 season. “We need to move the ball up the court, not sure we played with the same amount of pace at the end of last season. We played slower, and we felt like that was not playing to our advantage. This year we have some guys who can get out and go. We are seeing more intensity, trying to get up and down to get more easy buckets,” Harding said.

New assistant coach Alex Ainsworth wants to see the Choctaws improve defensively during camp. “Our focus is on energy and defense. We have to be excited about the things that we are doing, and I think if we can get some stops, that defense will fuel the offense. We have some really talented guys who can score the basketball, so if we get to the point where we get some stops and we share the basketball, we can be a really special team,” Ainsworth said.

MC has high expectations entering into the 2018-2019 season and the team is returning two of its top scorers with Guard, Donovan Ham and Forward, Brandon Boston. Ainsworth is excited to see what MC’s talented roster can do this season. “I think with Donovan and Brandon returning it gives us some experience and gives us two guys that we can really count on. We also added some special pieces like Marcus Lytle who is really versatile and can guard some guys bigger than him. I think we have a really good chance to make a run and to do some special things this season,” said Ainsworth.

The Choctaws learned from their mistakes from the season prior and Boston’s wants him team to compete from the get-go. “We have to come into every game with a competitive mindset; we cannot take anybody lightly. We lost a lot of close games at the end of last season, and we have to finish games this season,” Boston said.

Although the basketball team has some key returning starters, the team did lose their leader and point guard Anthony Johnson, who graduated last May. Harding has seen Sophomore Dyllan Taylor step up thus far in preseason camp. “Dyllan Taylor has taken a lot of strides; he has taken a hole on the spot and has improved every day so far in camp. So has Trey James, who is a junior college transfer from Alabama. He is a pretty witty guy,” said Harding.

Last season Boston averaged 14.6 points and 7 rebounds. This season, Boston wants to improve his game defensively. “I need to improve defensively, and I want to also improve my ball handling. I need to get to the rim more. I obviously want to make the GSC tournament, and I want to be first-team all GSC,” Boston said.

MC’s first exhibition game is against division 1 Nichols State on Nov. 6, and their regular season opener is against Belhaven on Nov. 9 at home.

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Choctaws get ready for Homecoming vs. 3rd ranked West Georgia By, Mary Elizabeth Ballard

The screams of the crowded spectators, the thrumming beat of the drumline, the clatter of equipment colliding during a tackle, and the rush of adrenaline as you see the ball soar after kickoff: these sounds and sights let you know that we are in the thick of football season.         Homecoming is always a highly anticipated game every year on campus. There are alumni reunions, tailgating, concerts, and of course, the football game. This year, the Mississippi College football team will be facing off against the undefeated West Georgia Wolves for the annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 27. The team has been on the road since the first week of this month, and they have brought home a 37-24 win against Shorter University.

West Georgia is going to be a challenge for MC. They’re currently ranked third in the division 2, and they bring an impressive offense to the game. The Choctaws will take the field directly following their thrilling victory over Shorter, which was sealed when sophomore defensive lineman D.J. Smith returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown. Senior running back, Tiberias Lampkin, said, “We need to be physical and intense. If we can play our game and be intense, we’ll be alright.”

Junior defensive back, Turner Rotenberry, added, “That running back we’re going to face is pretty good, so if we can contain him and make him go sideline to sideline, I think that’d be a great accomplishment for our team.” The team is definitely prepared to take on this challenge.

Detric Hawthorn, the starting quarterback, has such ability that even at away games, you can hear the crowd of the opposing team talk about his speed. “We’ve been getting focused at practice, making sure everyone’s locking in. We’ve made a couple of changes with the offense; defense just needs to keep doing what they’re doing. The offense is going to stay strong,” said Hawthorn. “Defense sets the tone,” he added, “I hope defense gets on the field first. If they get the stop, then the offense gets in, and we’re going to go ahead and score. So, if we start off with a touchdown, it’s going to be great.”

Detric has been a force to contend with, rushing for 592 yards so far this season. His new nickname, “The Great Eight,” might just stick. Laughing, he said the moniker makes him “feel like a hero.”

When it comes down to it, it’s more than just a game. When asked about what a win would feel like for this team, Lampkin stated, “It would mean everything, since [West Georgia is] ranked #3. Not just for me personally or for our team, but for our university and for the city of Clinton. I feel like it’d be big, but I feel like we’re going to get it done.”

Additionally, there’s a lot of talk about brotherhood amongst the players this year. Rotenberry mentioned how the team “plays for each other.” As the Choctaws return home, they’ll be fighting hard and playing for each other, whatever the competition. Because of the excitement of this team, what started as a tongue-in-cheek catchphrase around campus has now become a passionate cheer: Choctaws on the Move!

 

Striding to the Finish By: Damon Wright

The fall sports for Mississippi College are beginning to wrap up, and these teams are no strangers to finishing strong. The Choctaw football team beat the Shorter Hawks on a late-game pick six, the men’s soccer team has come from a 2-0 deficit to beat out rival Delta State, and the women’s soccer team has been perfect so far in GSC play. The men’s and women’s cross-country teams are no different in this regard as they gear up for the Gulf South Conference, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3.

The men’s cross-country team finished the season with an overall team win at the MC Division II Invitational on Oct. 20. The Choctaws have seen much improvement in the 2018 season. The team has come together and has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the conference.

From young runners such as 4-time GSC freshmen of the week, Evan Del Rio, to Staples to cross-country team members such as Jordan Pritchard, the Choctaws have made huge strides in the program. From the very beginning of the season, the team could see that this would be a special season. “This season has been great; just starting off the year we did a little time trial. The top eight guys ran faster than the fastest guy last year, and it was awesome to see that,” said Pritchard.

Another special moment in the year for the Choctaws came at the Greater Louisville Classic where the team finished in second place. “We placed second overall at the Louisville meet this year, and that was the big marquee meet that we were trying to get after this year, and there was a lot of great competition… it was a great team effort, and it was really special because we went out there and accomplished a lot of great things; we ran the fastest team time we ever had, and it was just really special,” said Pritchard, as he was boasting a baseball bat that is awarded to the runner up of the meet.

The women’s cross-country team has had a little bit of a different start due to the 2018 team being a relatively new and young team. “It has been a different season for us because we have three sophomores and a transfer sophomore, and then we have seven freshmen, so it has been a really young team. It has been a growing year,” says sophomore runner, Madeline Campbell.

Though the Choctaws are young and boast a lot of newcomers, that does not change the fact that they are ready for the conference championship. “There is a little bit of nervousness going into the meet but I think that everyone is pretty encouraged and is really hoping to step up and make each other proud … Alabama Huntsville, Union, West Florida, and Lee are some teams that we have to watch out for, but I know we will be ready,” says Campbell.

Assistant coach Matthew Reneker has both the men’s and women’s teams striving to achieve major goals, which have set the foundation for the 2018 cross country season: “It is a growth mindset; that is what we talked about in our goalsetting sessions at the beginning of the year. We are really happy with the leadership of the team and that they keep the goals at the forefront of every single practice and every single week… what has been indicative of our success has been taking each practice and meet one at a time … I have seen the leaders talking to the underclassmen about what was done well and what can be improved, and I think that is why we are having exceptional seasons on both the men’s and women’s side,” said Reneker.

Mentality is the name of the game when it comes to any sport, and the Choctaws boast a lot of mental fortitude and that has shown inside results. “Our sport is done to exhaustion every single season. There is no way to get around it, grinding out mileage, and people are falling down at the end of every race. I have been impressed with the mindset of the freshmen coming from a high school program to fighting for a spot at a college. There is a psychology to that, and the people on this team are learning the mental resiliency that it takes to be a distance runner,” says Reneker.

The Choctaws will have stout competition to overcome if they are hoping to bring home a GSC title. Reneker highlighted some of the areas of improvement for both teams. “On the women’s side, a controlled confidence is the thing we have been working on. We have a lot of perfectionists and they need to realize that not everything is going to go perfectly, and they need to learn how to be resilient in any situation … on the men’s side, it is learning how to communicate with each other, along with using a team dynamic and learning how to be successful at the regional and national level,” said Reneker.

Though there are areas of improvement, the excitement buzzing around the team is contagious and brings life to both the men’s and women’s teams. “There is an excitement, we have been stringing together really good work outs and then those work outs turn into really good races, and that will help us realize that we do not need to do anything special. We just need to perform how we have been and do what we always have done. There is no need to overhype the situation,” said Reneker.

This year for the 2018 cross-country teams has been one to remember and both the men’s

and women’s teams look to put an exclamation point on their seasons with a great finish in the conference meet. Reneker recognized that this is a special group of athletes, and they will be remembered as one of the most impactful teams to come through Mississippi College. “Trailblazing is a good way to describe these teams; we are trying to do something in this conference that is new to a lot of people. We have been successful, but being a division II national qualifying team has not happened in the recent past … we are trying to make a pathway and show that it can be done and the steps necessary to achieve greatness… these teams will be seen as the genesis and the beginning of the new norm, which is success at all levels. I hope that when people see the picture of the 2018 teams, they will appreciate that this is the team that showed those results and showed that goals can be achieved,” said Reneker.

Lady Choctaws fall just short in ‘Match of the Century’ By Elliot Reeder

Texas vs. USC in 2005, Michigan vs. Ohio State in 2006 and LSU vs. Alabama in 2011: these are all recent occurrences in College Football of matchups between the #1 and #2 ranked teams and were all called “game of the century.”

When Mississippi College and West Florida met in women’s soccer on Thursday, Oct. 25 at Longabaugh Field, it was a battle of two juggernauts who were ranked first and second in the conference and were both nationally ranked. It was a battle of two teams with double digit game winning streaks, and it would decide who would win the GSC regular season title and the #1 overall seed in the GSC tournament. The game easily could have been called “Match of the Century,” and it lived up to the hype.

West Florida came into the game with a record of 15-0 (11-0 in conference) and were ranked #2 in the nation according to the United Soccer Coaches poll. The Lady Choctaws came in at 13-1 (also 11-0 in conference) and were riding a program record 12 game-winning streak, while being ranked #18 in the nation. Both teams had to endure sloppy conditions due to rain before and during the game. MC came out a little slow in the first half, and West Florida went up 1-0 on a 37th minute goal off a corner kick and would take the one goal lead into the break. MC came out energetic in the second half and controlled the pace of play the majority of the half. Coach Daryl Longabaugh said he feels that in the second half, his team “came out really strong with determination.”

“We started playing the brand of soccer that we are capable of and that we are used to, and even went a step ahead of what we have normally done,” said Longabaugh. The Lady Choctaws had numerous chances in the box during the second half but were unable to put one in the back of the net, missing by mere inches several times.

Sophomore Lindsey Stephenson said that she feels that “we had a lot of chances that we could have scored, but we just did not put them away today.” Even though MC controlled the majority of the 2nd half, they fell just agonizingly short, losing 1-0.

Even though the Lady Choctaws fell just short, Coach Longabaugh still liked the team’s relentlessness all the way to the end. “The kids never quit; they never backed down. That’s always positive when you are going against the #2 team in the nation.” Stephenson also spoke to how the team did not give up, even trailing a West Florida team that has only allowed eight goals all season.

Up next for the Lady Choctaws will be Senior Day on Saturday, Oct. 27 against 1-13-1, Spring Hill. MC will honor eight seniors. The seniors are Goalkeeper Andrea McDonald, defenders Gaylynn Cooper, Lauren Dodge and Cara Benedict, midfielders Samantha Carson, Peace Gill and Julie Reid, and then forward Lauren Smith.

Longabaugh said, “I’m not looking forward to Saturday because it’s Senior Day, and I don’t want to say goodbye to some of my seniors yet.” Stephenson said of the seniors, “I have gotten really close to each and every senior and knowing these are their last few games is heartbreaking, but I hope I can at least give everything I have for them on Saturday.”

After Senior Day, the Lady Choctaws will head into the GSC conference tournament, which will begin next week. MC will walk into the tournament as the #2 seed and will host the first tournament game on GSC “Super Tuesday” on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The Lady Choctaws will host either West Georgia, Christian Brothers, or Montevallo. If MC wins on Tuesday, they will head to Montgomery for the conference tournament semifinals on Friday. The tournament championship game will be on Sunday, Nov. 4.

The GSC tournament will feature several of the top teams in the country. Stephenson spoke to how challenging the tournament will be and said, “Every year, it’s always really tough, but we are hoping to come through and finally win it and give everything we have.”

After the conference tournament will be NCAA Division 2 regionals (if the Lady Choctaws advance). MC was ranked 3rd in the latest Regional rankings. Longabaugh and Stephenson both feel that the team can go deep into postseason play and potentially compete for a national title. Longabaugh pointed to how his team had the #2 team in the country in West Florida on the ropes in the 2nd half as proof that the Lady Choctaws can compete with any team in the nation. MC will have to rebound after a heartbreaking defeat, but the team has the confidence that they can rebound strong, even if it means playing West Florida again or any other highly ranked team in the country.

 

Football’s Hot Start By Elliot Reeder

A hot start to the season has given the Mississippi College Choctaw Football team a renewed sense of energy and confidence as they head into Gulf South Conference play. The Choctaws have opened up the season with two home non-conference wins over Clark-Atlanta (31-30) and Southwest Baptist (34-9) respectively, and they have opened up the season 2-0 for the first time since 2010.

The Choctaws installed a new Triple Option based offensive system under new Offensive Coordinator Tommy Laurendine over the offseason. The new Choctaw offense has been nothing short of spectacular, averaging 32.5 points a game so far this season (almost triple the average per game of last year’s squad). Senior running back Tiberias Lampkin, who is second on the team in rushing yards and first in attempts, said “just adjusting to it at first was a little challenging mentally, but now I wouldn’t trade it. Now we’re 2-0.” Lampkin also mentioned that moving to more of a fullback role was difficult, but went on to say “…after the adjustment, Coach Laurendine is a pretty smart guy, so he’s going to play to your strengths.”

Choctaw Head Coach John Bland, who is in his fifth season as MC Head Coach, also raved about the new offense and his new coordinator, saying, “It’s always good to put points on the board, no matter what style of offense you have, but Coach Laurendine has brought a new energy to our team.”

The Choctaws’ run-based offense is averaging 283 rush yards per game and has already scored six rushing touchdowns on the year. Quarterback Detric Hawthorn has flourished in the new offense. He leads the Choctaws in rushing yards with 216 and also has a team high three rushing touchdowns, not to mention his average of 8.6 yards per carry. He also has completed 10 of his 18 passes for 177 passing yards (with 1 passing touchdown and 1 interception) on the year.

The Defense has also stepped up, holding its opponents through two games to just 19.5 points per game (a stark improvement from the 32.7 points per game it allowed last season). A big part of the success on the defensive side of the ball has been the takeaways produced by a very aggressive defense. Senior Linebacker Colton Magee says that this is not by accident: “Coach instilled it in us from day one; he hammered us over the head with it. He was like, ‘Takeaways are going to win us the game,’ and we have believed that since day 1.”

The Choctaws have forced 5 takeaways (4 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery) through the first two games, including an interception with under a minute left by Elijah Rogers to seal the season-opening win over Clark-Atlanta. Coach Bland also pointed to a stretch at the end of the half against Southwest Baptist when the defense forced two takeaways in the final minute to turn a 7-3 lead into a 17-3 halftime lead as a big momentum shifter.

The Choctaws have a team full of leaders, but some who were pointed out include Lampkin, fellow running back Ja’Mori Mark, quarterbacks Detric Hawthorn and Aaron Feazelle, wide receiver Moregan Sharp, linebacker Trey Thompson, defensive lineman Dalton Frederick and defensive backs Turner Rotenberry (who returned an interception for a touchdown against Clark-Atlanta) and Corey Rholdon. Tiberias Lampkin praised all of the defensive backs as a whole, saying the whole group were leaders and one of the best defensive backfields he has seen.

A big part of the Choctaws success early on has been the crowd and a true home field advantage that has been created by the student body. Magee said, “The fan support is huge; it’s major. The more fans you have and the louder it gets, it’s always a home field advantage.” Lampkin spoke about the role the fans have played in motivating the team, “…If you got somebody riding behind you, and you got support, that stuff is big.” He also mentioned the great support from a group of students who have painted up at both home games to start the season. Coach Bland mentioned a great moment after the Southwest Baptist game when the players went over to thank and celebrate with the fans.

Mississippi College will now head into Gulf South Conference play. The Choctaws were scheduled to travel to face new GSC foe North Greenville in their conference opener on the 15th, but that game has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. The Choctaws will instead open up GSC play at home against 2017 Division 2 National Runner-Up West Florida on Saturday, September, 22nd. The Choctaws realize that the GSC is one of the toughest conferences in Division 2, but they will continue to take the season on a day-by-day basis and will attempt to just stick to the game plan.

This Choctaws team is a committed, attack-oriented and aggressive squad that has started the season well after improving on both sides of the ball. Mississippi College has a tough schedule for the rest of the season, but the Choctaws have momentum, have bought into the system, have plenty of talent and are off to their best start in years.

 

 

 

From Hollywood to A.E Wood, Kendall Platt’s Star Keeps Getting Brighter. By Corey Rholdon, Sports Editor

The Mississippi College volleyball team has a new phenom from Hollywood. Freshman Kendall Platt has made an immediate impact for the Lady Choctaws, breaking a school record with 23 kills against Southern Arkansas and being the first MC volleyball player to be named GSC Freshmen of the Week since rejoining the GSC in 2014.

Platt has been vital part of Mississippi College’s success this season, and Lady Choctaws Head Coach Shawna Laurendine believes the best has yet to come. “I believe that record will be broken by her again. Kendall has done a great job for us; she is our 6th rotation outside, so she does not come off the floor,” said Laurendine.

Coach Laurendine knows how talented of a freshmen Platt is and tries to use her strengths to the best of her advantage. “Kendall brings a lot to us, she reads the court well, reads her opponents well, and she is a good size block for an outside hitter, which is rare” Laurendine said.

It’s not just the coaches who are impressed by Platt’s talents but the players also trust her to make plays. “In our offense, Kendall gets a lot of swings, and it’s because our setters trust her. We trust that she can put the ball away, and she has proven that she can do so,” said Laurendine.

Platt is from Anaheim, Calif., but the hospitality from Mississippi College has made her feel right at home. “It has definitely has been a big switch. Southern California is completely different from Mississippi, but it has been a lot of fun getting to know people here and getting to experience everything Mississippi has to offer. Everyone is so nice, caring and seems really genuine,” Platt said.

Southern California, unlike Mississippi, does not have rain often, and Platt says that she has enjoyed the rain the most. “The one big thing for me is the weather. It never rains in Southern California, so I absolutely love the rain. I ran through it the other day. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of fun,” said Platt.

Platt has been making it rain on the court, leading the team with 137 kills, including 23 against Southern Arkansas that broke a school record. “Kendall was on fire that day. The two matches before that, I believe she tied the school record with 20 kills. Her attempts doubled anybody else’s just because we keep feeding her the ball. She was in a different place and very in-tune that day” said Laurendine.

Coach Laurendine is just as impressed by Platt’s play off the court as on. “She is pretty low-maintenance. Kendall is a kid that comes to practice, goes to the cafeteria, and goes to class. She hangs out in her room or with her teammates. Kendall does not have to be doing something all the time. She is pretty chill,” Laurendine said.

Mississippi College will continue to need Platt to have outstanding performances, as GSC season is starting to heat up. The team is currently 5-6, and plays the number 10 team in the country, West Florida, this Friday in Clinton.

 

On Pace for Greatness By: Damon Wright

One of the key components to a consistently successful program comes down to a little thing called attention to detail. Attention to detail, a frequent saying expressed by the Mississippi College head strength and conditioning Coach Michael Shumaker, is the constant notice and appreciation of the little things that make an entire unit function. The Mississippi College cross country lives by this saying, and it is shown not only through their performance on the trails, but also through the care taken by the team and especially by head coach Butch Ard.

 

Head Coach Butch Ard is entering his 14th season, and he still tends to the cross-country trails nearly every day. Coach Ard recently had surgery on his shoulder, and he is still out in the heat giving great care to the Choctaw Trails and has earned the respect of the team and seniors such as Jordan Pritchard: “Without Coach Ard Choctaw Trails would be in shambles. He does a phenomenal job maintaining the course everyday so we can use it for practice or if there is a meet that week.” Pritchard, a senior from Painesville, Ohio and a member of the 2017 GSC all conference second team, has seen major improvements in the program from the time when he transferred from Lake Erie College.

Pritchard has seen improvements not only on the trails, but in the hearts of every Choctaw on the team: “My favorite part is seeing how much our team has grown. We have improved so much athletically overtime, but also a lot of us have transformed our spiritual lives as well.” Pritchard has had a stellar career here at Mississippi College and looks to leave a legacy that will last a lifetime: “I hope to leave a legacy that will be remembered as being part of the first team in MC’s cross-country history to qualify for nationals,” said Pritchard.

Coach Ard has taken notice of not only the upperclassmen on both the men’s and women’s side, but also the newcomers to Mississippi College: “Something that stands out to me about the teams is the teamwork aspect; they all work together, they are great as a team. It’s not just the upperclassmen, but the freshmen as well. They have come in with an attitude that they want to do something big, and they are working really hard to make that happen.” Ard explained that freshmen runners Evan Del Rio and Gabe Poulin have already made an impact for the Choctaws on the men’s side, and Ard is still looking for some of the freshmen women to separate themselves from the pack.

Though this flock of newcomers has brought a new, youthful and inspiring feeling to the team, Ard still leans on his veterans for leadership and guidance: “Will Young, Sam Darnall, and Alex Gibson have taken the experience the past three years and are working well with these freshmen and guiding them in the right direction … they have done very well because you always want your upperclassmen to be able to do that … these guys have done an excellent job of bringing the freshmen along and teaching them the things that they are going to need to know to go a longer distance and get better in college competition; they have done a great job,” Ard said.

Pritchard also harkens back to the positive impact that the seniors have had on the team, specifically Will Young and Sam Darnall: “Will Young has played a huge role in being a leader to such a young team; he is filled with so much knowledge, and he’s great to go to for advice. Sam Darnall is equally as important; he is great at keeping us on track during workouts and is a great motivational leader.”

On the women’s side of the team, it is basically an entirely new group of girls attacking the trails. The Choctaws only have three returning runners from the 2017 season, but that does not mean the Choctaws will falter from their consistent success. Sophomore runner Alexis Dunn, who was the top finisher for the Lady Choctaws at the MC Season Opener, recognizes that each runner on the team brings their own skill set that works for the strengths of the team: “I think each runner has brought something special to our team this year. Since we have a small team, we really focus on taking advantage of each and every one’s strong characteristics and using it to preform our best at meets. Kimber Watson and Rachel Faulk have taken a great initiative in their training and racing, as we have only have three returning runners this year, and so we are very grateful for that,” said Dunn.

Dunn and the Lady Choctaws is also excited to compete once again at the Rhodes Invitational this coming up weekend: “The team is feeling great going into this meet! It’s our first time traveling this year, and so that is always a fun experience, but not only that, we have had 4.5 solid, hard weeks of training, and so we are ready to bring our A-game,” Dunn said.

Though the team will change each year, and bonds will both end and be created, Dunn is looking forward to experiencing the growth of the program and the team in the coming years: “In the next couple of years, I am really looking forward to growing the team and having those experienced runners. I think as we mature, we will be able to take a different approach in training and racing, and so I think that will be a big change,” said Dunn.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be traveling to Memphis, Tennessee, to compete in the Rhodes Invitational on Saturday, September 15th, 2018. Both teams are excited for this meet, and they are looking forward to putting their talents on display on the trails in Memphis.

Meet MC’s Women’s Soccer Team Captain, Katie Taylor, By Marquisha Mathis

Just a young girl from Tupelo, Katie Taylor had a different route when it came to playing sports, but soon found a love for soccer that would change her life.

Taylor transferred from the University of Arkansas to Mississippi College at the end of her freshmen year and quickly found a role on the team. “I really did not know what to expect coming to MC, but it has been a great experience and really good soccer program. This is the most loving, encouraging atmosphere I could have asked for with a soccer program,” said Taylor.

Katie Taylor and her team have been getting back into the swing of things for this new season and are looking forward to this year. “I’m looking forward to finally getting that conference championship ring. We’ve been so close the last two seasons, and I’m looking forward to finishing this season,” Taylor said.

As captain of the team, Katie says sometimes you can get caught up in trying to be the best soccer player. She has tried to make being a captain be more about encouraging her teammates to be the best version of themselves on and off the field, and that is going to make the team the best it can be. “I feel like this team has a really good reputation at this school, in the conference, and even in the country, as one that works hard each and every day on and off the field, and we’re just trying to strengthen that reputation,” said Taylor.

Taylor loves spending time with her teammates because they know when it’s time to have fun and when it is time to focus. “My favorite part is that, even though we have a good time and love playing with each other, we know when it’s time to work hard,” Taylor said.

Besides soccer, Katie loves working out and staying active. She also really enjoys spending time with her teammates during free time. “We’re a really close group and love hanging out together off the field, as well,” Taylor said.

Katie Taylor is a redshirt junior and is majoring in Psychology. After college, Taylor would love to stay involved in athletics in some form or fashion. “Sports psychology is a tough field to break into, but that’s the goal. I would also love to be a coach in the future,” said Taylor.

 

Josh Robinson: GSC Player of the Week By: Sadie Wise

Mississippi College’s Joshua Robinson was named GSC Player of the Week after his top notch performance in the team’s season opener against Nova Southeastern. The senior forward is from London, England, and this is his fourth year being with the Choctaws. “I’m very happy about being named Player of the Week,” Robinson said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing where the season goes from here.”

Robinson has been playing soccer his entire life. “I’m from London, so since the age of 7 I’ve been kicking a soccer ball around outside. It’s our nation’s sport, so to not play soccer in England is crazy,” he said. “I never knew I wanted to play in America, though. It’s something I found out about when I was about 15. I started looking into it, and before I knew it, I was here.”

As far as choosing Mississippi College, Robinson said he loved the program, loved the style of coaching, and even considered the academic side as of things as well, as he is a general biology major, with a minor in marketing. “I was really impressed with this place as a whole, and I’m so happy I’m here,” he said.

Head Coach Kevin Johns says that Josh is a player that his teammates should look up to. “He’s been very patient. He’s getting his chance, and when he’s being called upon, he’s doing a good job,” Johns said.

Despite his solo award, Robinson praised his team for their accomplishments together and how far they’ve come over the last four years. “We know our strengths, we know our limits, and I believe we have what it takes to go far this season,” he said. “We really are more of a family than just a team, and I love being a part of it” said Robinson.

“Being on this team has given me identity, being so far away from home, and not having family out here, these guys have become my family. I’d die for my team. I’d put everything on the line for them, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that they’d do the same for me,” Robinson said. “Being on this team is everything for me, it gets me through the day.”

Robinson says one of the things he’ll miss most about being on this team is the dancing. “We have this thing at the beginning of practice where Coach claps and the last person in has to dance. We’ve had some amazing dancers, but then others who make you question the very definition of dance,” Robinson said.

Being a leader is something Robinson is looking forward to this season as well. “It kind of happened overnight,” he said. “I still remember my very first practice, and now I’ve blinked and I have freshmen who look up to me and ask me for advice. It’s given me a lot of responsibility that I like. I really want to make sure the freshmen feel comfortable and included,” Robinson said.

The senior has high expectations for his team this year. “Being responsible and holding each other accountable to our strengths and weaknesses [is an expectation]. We know when we set out against any eleven that we play that we have the depth, ability, and talent to beat any team that we face.”

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