Running: It’s a sport! By Madison Brown

The Mississippi College men and women’s cross country teams are off to a great start this season. MC hosted the season opener at Choctaw Trails in the beginning of September. The men’s team claimed the No. 1 spot against 13 NCAA and NAIA schools, and the women’s team finished in second place behind Division I member, Southern Miss. Both Mississippi College cross country teams are led by some of the strongest runners in the GSC.

Senior Abbie Easter and Junior Jordan Pritchard are two leading runners for the blue and gold cross country teams. A transfer from Lake Erie in Painesville, Ohio, Pritchard led the men’s team in their season opener. He finished in third place with a time of 16:34.20. He was also named “Wright and Ferguson Athlete of the Week.” Running all four years with the Choctaws, Easter finished in the top seven for the Lady Choctaws. Overall, she finished in 17th place with a time of 16:17.79.

Easter and Pritchard both began running at an early age, but it was due to the encouragement of others that they really got into cross country. Aside from joining the soccer team in middle school, running was never on Abbie’s radar, at least until the 7th grade. “My best friend actually made me join the cross country team. That’s when I started running.” For Pritchard, running was just something his parents made him do in the 4th grade. “I’ve always been really fast, and I was always running around in the yard. So, my parents made me do track.” He didn’t start running cross country until his junior year of high school because he was focused on other sports, like basketball.

When most people think of running, they usually imagine an individual sport, but there is a team aspect to it. Easter says, “It is individualized in the sense that you’re always trying to beat your personal record, but it’s also a team in the fact that we focus a lot on running together as a pack.” She says it’s easier to run with teammates beside you who push you harder than if you were alone. Pritchard says team scoring is emphasized in cross country versus track because every team member is valuable.

Both Easter and Pritchard have individual goals for this season, too. In her last year of running with the Choctaws, Easter aims to be more of a leader. “There’s several seniors this year. We wanna leave the team in a good place.” She hopes to continue bettering her personal record and finish in the top seven to qualify for regionals.  For Pritchard in his first year at MC, he wants to have a high team finish. “Hopefully I can get all-conference and all-regional this fall.”

Finally, they decided what they enjoy most about running. Pritchard says his favorite thing is seeing his progress. “It’s just seeing where you’ve started and where you’ve come. When I first started running, I could barely run a lap, and now I can do, like, 15 miles.” For Easter, it’s the same idea, but her teammates are what makes it enjoyable.  “It’s a totally different relationship — having to put yourself through those challenges and having somebody to do that beside you.”

The men and women’s team practice together every weekday morning to prepare for their next meet. Both teams will travel to Memphis, Tenn., where they will compete in the Rhodes Invitational on Sept. 16.

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Player Profile: Joshua Robinson By Anais Eliseeva

Full name: Joshua Marcus Robinson

Birth date: April 27th, 1997

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 160 lbs

Position: Forward

Joshua Robinson came to Mississippi College from London three years ago to receive a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Business and to play for the MC soccer team, which is no less important. The quality of education as well as the quality of the soccer program were the two decisive criteria for choosing a university. Robinson was also looking at universities in the UK, Oregon, Idaho, and West Virginia. However, the final choice fell on MC.

Soccer has taken place in Robinson’s life since childhood. “Soccer is just so ingrained in the lifestyle of my country that everyone grows up playing it. I went from playing in the streets of London as a young boy, using jumpers [sweaters] for goalposts, to playing for my local Sunday League team,” he said. It is worth noting that prior to the Choctaws, Robinson semi-professionally played at Sutton United Football Club.

Besides soccer, Robinson was fond of other sports as well, which helped him to improve his skills as a soccer player. “I swam frequently and that helped with my core strength and balance, skills that go a long way in soccer. I also ran track, which of course helped my speed and endurance,” said Robinson. He also added that he mastered the art and skill of Karate and achieved First Dan [rank] Black Belt. “I’m a rather physical soccer player,” he said. “I don’t mind taking a hit and definitely don’t shy away from giving one.”

As for Robinson’s strengths as a soccer player, Robinson stands out because of his athleticism and also because he usually plays aggressive soccer. “When I have a smile on my face, I’m the most dangerous. I like to be a positive character on the field, commending my teammates when they do well and encouraging them when they mess up,” said Robinson. At the same time, he admitted that his “on-ball decision-making” may be a little quicker than it should.

According to Head Coach Kevin Johns, “Josh is a ‘Smart Proper Witty Englishman’ and, as a soccer player, he is a pacey winger who trains and works very hard for the team.”

Robinson grew up watching the English Premier League when it was emerging. “I became a fan of two players around the early 2000s: Louis Saha and Thierry Henry. I, being a Manchester United fan, had a jersey with Saha’s number on my back with Robinson instead. I hated how much I loved Henry, as he’d always score past us,” he said.

“Being a student-athlete really is a way of life,” said Robinson. He explained it as a 4-year commitment to participate in a sporting program as well as to receive a higher education. “I have the utmost respect for all my fellow student athletes, as it is more difficult than I anticipated,” said Robinson. Even though it is hard to find a lot of free time while being a student athlete, Robinson likes to spend it reading, eating, and sleeping. “Not necessarily in that order though,” he noted. Robinson also added, “I’m an avid part-time video gamer, playing Super Smash Bros — and this is a public call-out to anyone willing to get patterned!”

Robinson’s usual pregame ritual helps him do his best on the field. “Before I step onto the field I religiously talk to myself with a little mnemonic I’ve been doing for as long as I remember, SLM. It stands for ‘Soccer Lets Me,’ and I follow it with what I’m able to do and what I am grateful for,” said Robinson. This takes around a minute and then he steps on the field with his right foot first. Also, there are two songs that keep Robinson motivated, which are “Roc Boys” by Jay-Z and “Money Dance” by Rick Ross. “Every single time,” he said, “It makes me feel so grand and so knowing of my worth.”

Soccer has given Robinson countless opportunities in his life. For example, he toured Europe twice playing soccer. “I also have teammates from across the globe who have become some of my closest friends,” he said. “Ultimately, soccer has given me the opportunity to get a degree whilst playing the sport I love being in a new country, conquering unchartered territory! I’d be crazy to say no to it!”

Robinson also shared some of his life goals. Looking to the future, he is looking forward to get into pharmaceutical sales. “Whether that’s in the United States or elsewhere, I will find out. All I know is I will need to be able to keep my family close as I’m so tight with them,” he said. Currently, he does his best to focus on both contributing to the soccer team as well as maintaining a solid GPA. “This season I have two personal goals: to improve my consistency whilst playing with a smile on my face and to fight for my spot in that squad,” said Robinson.

“I’m grateful for my family, as they support me, and without them, I’d genuinely be lost,” he said. “I’m grateful to those who inspire me, whether they know it or not. I’m funnily enough grateful for my mnemonic, SLM, as it’s brought me so much joy with the thing I love. I’m grateful for my independence and stubbornness, as it was those things that got me out to America to pursue my dreams. Last of all, I’m grateful for my teammates, as they’ve been a family out here to me.”

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MC Softball “Fall Ball” Kickoff by Carlie Prescott

Following the Gulf South Conference Championship last year, the Mississippi College softball team is ready to kick off this year’s season of fall ball. Fall ball is essential to the success of this team, because it’s a time to focus on the growth of the team and to prepare for the spring season. This team will take full advantage of this time to go above and beyond the bar that was set last season with the conference championship win. Head Coach Brooke O’Hair says, “During the fall season, you are not as worried about the wins and losses as you are the development of your team.” This time is vital. With a different group of girls learning how to work collectively, fall ball is the manner in which they discover how to fuse one another’s abilities together. Freshman player Alexis Jones says, “I can’t wait until next week when we get to start full practice and see how we all gel together on the field.”

The goal each and every year, according to O’Hair, is to win the Gulf South Conference championship. “We were blessed enough to come out on top last season, but the goal is to be a consistent program,” she said. “We also want to get back to NCAA postseason play and learn from last year to advance deeper into the tournament.”

Already, O’Hair can see the qualities of the team that will be beneficial this year. “This team will have some collegiate experience in the circle. Last year, we had such an inexperienced pitching staff, but we bring back a lot of talent and girls that saw a lot of time on the field,” she said. With regards to the upcoming season, she added, “I’m looking forward to seeing how much that helps us going forward.”

Concerning her final season as a Choctaw, senior player Katherine Lee says, “I know this team is going to give everything they have to be the best in the conference again. I expect us to compete for the conference title and to advance further in the NCAA postseason because of all the talent we have on this team.” A challenge Lee addresses for this season is that the team lost four starters from last season, so it will take time to get used to playing with one another. Regardless, she believes this team still has the ability to be the best on the field.

The Lady Choctaws’ first opponent of the season is Copiah-Lincoln Community College on Sept. 30 in Clinton. Co-Lin is a good junior college program and will be a proper test to start off for the team, according to O’Hair. The toughest opponents of the season, in the eyes of the coaches, will be Co-Lin and Pearl River Community College, as well as Southern Union from Ala. O’Hair says that in recent years, each of those schools have helped the team in the recruitment process, and the team is excited to face them on the field. On Oct. 7, The Lady Choctaws are also competing against South Alabama, a Division 1 program that went 35-20 in 2017 and just missed out on a berth in the national tournament. With these teams in line, the Mississippi College softball players will have a true test of their abilities early.

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DIG, SET, SPIKE! Lady Choctaw Volleyball Team Looks Build on Last Year’s Improvements! By Andrew Vaughn

The Mississippi College Volleyball team defeated the Loyola (La.) Wolfpack this week, 3 sets to none. This marks the first time in program history the Lady Choctaws defeated the Wolfpack. The team will travel to Arkansas for the Dr. Margaret Downing Invitational, where they will finish out their non-conference schedule with matches against Grambling State, Arkansas-Monticello, Texas A&M International, and tournament host, Southern Arkansas. The Lady Choctaws will play host to Auburn Montgomery to kick off Gulf South Conference play.

With a record of 10-21, one might not instantly describe the 2016 season as successful, but it was a huge improvement for the Lady Choctaws. 2016 was the first time in five seasons that they won 10 games. It was also Julie Redus’s first year as head coach. When any coach comes to a program, especially one that has not been winning a lot, they want to change the team’s culture. That is easier said than done, but Coach Redus thinks the Lady Choctaws are on the right track. “It’s really hard to change a culture, especially with the transition to Division 2 and playing in a tough conference like the Gulf South Conference. What’s going to change our culture this year is our eight-senior squad. I’ve got eight seniors this year who are really changing the culture themselves. I’m just allowing them and leading them in the right direction. I let them take control and leave their own legacy. Culture and legacy are synonyms for us right now.”

Senior Madison Frazier would like to see more conference wins this year, as the Lady Choctaws only won three Gulf South Conference matchups. “It was great to have 10 wins,  of course, but we would hope to get a lot more conference wins this year. We had a slow start but I feel like we can still do it, for sure.” Two of those conference wins last year came against the West Georgia Wolves, who happen to be one of Frazier’s favorite opponents. “My favorite team to play against is West Georgia; we’ve beaten them twice, two years in a row. Hopefully we can do that again.”

Junior Shelby Grace Mays and her teammates have established a team goal to help get more wins this year. “Our goals are to minimize on our own errors. We think we have a lot of potential this year; we have a lot of talent. I think we really beat ourselves most of the time by our own errors. I think if we minimize our own errors offensively and defensively we will double our wins from last year.” By eliminating errors, you avoid beating yourself — this can be applied to all sports. Mays also has a personal goal she believes will help the team. “My personal goal is help the team as much as I can by minimizing on my own errors. Serving errors are big for me right now.” You can find Mays in the gym getting in extra practice on her serves, especially for opponents from Alabama. Mays, an Alabama native, looks forward to playing against other players from her home state. “Coming from Alabama I would love to whoop up on UNA or West Alabama or Huntsville. There’s a lot of pressure when I play over there, but I feel like I play better under pressure, so that helps. There’s at least one player on each of those teams that I played club (volleyball) with, so it’s always good playing against old friends.”

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MC Football team starts the 2017 season. By Madison Brown

The Mississippi College Choctaws begin their 2017-2018 season on Thursday as they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to face the Clark-Atlanta Panthers.  John Bland begins his fourth season as head coach and looks to improve his 6-24 record. Bland says with the addition and contribution of new players on the roster, the team has improved greatly over the last three weeks of preseason practice.  “They’re growing together as a team,” Bland says, “and that’s awesome to see.” He, along with the rest of the coaching staff, is excited to see the team “on display in the regular season.”

To start the season, the Choctaws are on the road for the first three weeks before playing two home games in a row[a].  Bland says the constant travel will have the more effect on the coaching staff rather than the players. Although being on the bus for such a long time will be difficult, he doubts it will have any effect on their playing abilities.

Looking forward to the new season, Bland hopes for some victories to add to the Choctaws record. He says, “We’ve used the majority of our scholarships,” something that hasn’t happened at MC over the last 22 years.  “Being able to compete at a higher level” he feels will carry over into the win column.

Senior Chris Manning is excited to continue his football career for a fourth and final season with the Choctaws. The Gulf South Conference chose Manning as the only nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his contributions on and off the field. Manning has made a huge impact on both his teammates and community.

Starting as defensive back, Manning says the team is “developing talent wise and we’ve all grown together as a family.” He is one o only a few players who have been with the Choctaw team all four years. With years of experience behind him, Manning feels that his most important role on the team is to be a leader because other team members look up to him. After a month of long summer practices, he’s excited to get this new season underway.  “We’re just ready to play another team besides ourselves.”

The Choctaws are looking for their third consecutive win in a season opener against first time opponent, Clark Atlanta. Next week, the team travels to Bolivar, MO to face the Southwest Baptist Bearcats.

MC Men’s Soccer: The Numbers Behind the Choctaws. By: Andrew Vaughn

The Mississippi College Men’s Soccer Team looks to start out the 2017 campaign on a high note as they play host to the Nova Southeastern Sharks. After an interview with Head Coach Kevin Johns and Senior Midfielder Bastian Busch, the Choctaws look to build on last year’s regular season dominance. Soccer, like all sports, can be broken down as a game of numbers. These numbers seem random and insignificant alone, but when related back to MC Men’s Soccer they are important.

15: The number of international players the Choctaws have on their roster. It is the second most in the Gulf South Conference. Coach Johns attributes the worldwide popularity and opportunities in the United States for student athletes to the amount of players who want to come to the United States, “…with soccer being the world’s game and the most popular game in the world. The game itself is played in every single country with a massive passion. In America, (soccer) it’s way down the list as far as the passion compared to other countries. And they all would love to come get an education in America. In most of those countries, you either pick university or soccer. They don’t have the opportunity to get an education and play soccer.”

12: The number of returning seniors. This depth of experienced players will help the team execute little details that can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Senior Bastian Busch highlighted some of the keys the team has been focusing on this offseason, ““This year we will focus on trying to move the ball quickly and limiting our mistakes. When games are close, it’s the first team to make a mistake that would lose the game.”

10: With 10 wins last season, Mississippi College finished the regular season with the best record and therefore the number 1 seed in the GSC Tournament. Last year was a huge improvement from 2015’s 8th place regular season finish.

9: The jersey number of last year’s scoring leader for the Choctaws: Jorge Delgado. Delgado led the Choctaws on the offensive end, with ten goals and forty-three shots. Fear not Choctaw fans, Coach Johns believes the combination of solid defense and good recruiting will pick up any slack left on the offensive end.

3: The West Alabama Tigers have won 3 straight Gulf South Conference Championships. They look to win another as the coaches of the GSC voted them to first place in the GSC Men’s Soccer Poll. Coach Johns expressed the depth in the GSC, “Our conference is not top heavy, like there’s not a team that could win the national championship. There’s five or six teams that could win the conference.”

1: The jersey number of the reigning Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Humberto Pelaez. The senior goalkeeper is also a preseason All-GSC Pick. Pelaez anchors the Choctaw defense as the one of the best players in the conference. It will make it easier on the offensive end for newcomers when you have such a reliable, experienced goalie behind you.

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Title Bound? Lady Choctaws Have Sights Set on GSC Championship in Second Year of Competition By: Josh Clark

                     “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” That’s what USA head coach Herb Brooks told his group of ragtag college hockey players in the locker room as they prepared to take on Russia in the semifinal game of the 1980 Winter Olympics. His team entered the game as the ultimate underdogs, with their roster being primarily comprised of players either fresh out of college or not good enough for professional play. Their opponent was a team that had not lost a game in the Winter Olympics in 12 years. The Russian machine was supposedly undefeatable, and it seemed as though only a miracle would help the Americans prevail. But that’s exactly what happened and the USA won, successfully giving birth to the “Miracle on Ice.”

          A great moment was born from the greatest of opportunities, and the 1980 Miracle team is immortalized in American history because of it. And though they may not become one of the greatest stories in American sports, it doesn’t downplay the great opportunity that the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws soccer team has this coming season.

          This fall, the Lady Choctaws will dive into their second season as full-time members of the Gulf South Conference, and there’s plenty of reasons to be excited for the year.

          In their first season as full-time members in the fall of 2016, MC took the GSC by storm. They turned in a 13-5-2 overall record and a 9-2-1 record in conference play. This performance was good enough to get them third place in the GSC standings and an automatic bid to the GSC Tournament. In the tournament, they almost went the distance (including an upset win in PKs against no. 2 Lee University), but fell just short in a 2-0 loss to the West Florida Argonauts in the championship.

          With the loss, MC fell just short of the NCAA Division II playoffs. West Florida earned a spot and advanced to the quarterfinals (final eight) before losing to Columbus State. The Argonauts finished eighth overall in the NCAA D-II Top 25 poll. So in other words, the Lady Choctaws fell two goals short of one of the best teams in Division II. But the past is the past and it’s time to look towards the future.

          The Lady Choctaws enter the 2017 season as one of the best teams in the GSC. MC landed third in the preseason coaches’ poll, trailing the same two teams they did in the 2016 final standings (West Florida and Lee). Though they didn’t receive any first-place votes, they earned a top spot because of their solid 2016 performance. But could this be the year that the Lady Choctaws take it one step further? It certainly seems like it could be.

          The Lady Choctaws began preseason practice on Monday, Aug. 14 here in Clinton, MS. Since then, they have played two exhibition games against LSUA and Hinds Community College. They beat Hinds by a whopping score of 12-0 and edged LSUA by a score of 1-0 thanks to a goal from junior Daisy Rodgers. The Colleyville, TX native is one of the many Lady Choctaws excited for the season.

          “We have a lot of returning talent and new talent,” Rodgers said of the 2017 squad. “Our bench is pretty stacked.”

          24 of the 41 players on the Lady Choctaw roster are returners from last season, with nine of them being presumed starters. In addition to the 24 returners, senior Caitlin Hayes and sophomore Lauren Kate Carter made the GSC Preseason All-Conference Team. Sophomore transfer Scarlett Hodges and freshman Holly Pascoe made the GSC list of Top Newcomers as well.

 

“We’ve been focusing very much [in the preseason] on precision in our formation and the structure of it,” Rodgers said. “Our formation we switched up a little bit this year and we’re doing well with it. It’s been an adjustment but we’re hoping to see some breakthroughs in these upcoming games.”

          And some breakthroughs will need to happen rather quickly. The Lady Choctaws opened up regular season play this past weekend in Cleveland, TN. They open up conference play on Friday afternoon at home against West Alabama, who came in just behind MC at fifth in the preseason poll.

          The Lady Choctaws will host UAH two days after their game against West Alabama. Following the two-game homestand, MC will hit the road for four straight games, two of which will be against Lee and West Florida. There’s a lot of talented opponents in a short period of time, but Rodgers and the Lady Choctaw team aren’t too worried about it.

          “We’re doing well working together,” Rodgers said.

          The Lady Choctaws will play each member of the GSC once this season, ending the year with a three-game homestand against Montevallo and Auburn-Montgomery (who are new to the conference) as well as rival Delta State.

It is looking to be a good year for MC women’s soccer, and there is reason to believe that a GSC championship could be waiting at the end of the ride.

          “Oh yeah,” Rodgers said about MC having a shot at the championship. “That’s our goal. We’ll see as the season unfolds if that goal looks more obtainable than how we see it right now. That’s our goal and it’s looking like we’re going to have a good shot at it, so that’s very exciting.”

          So even though there may not be new bleachers out at Robert P. Longabaugh Field just yet, make sure to go out there and support your Lady Choctaws this season. Chances are they will make it worth your while. Not bad for a team starting their second year in the conference.

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Last season the Mississippi College Volleyball team went through a culture change under Head Coach Julie Redus. That led to 7 more wins for the lady Choctaws, now the team is ready for the next step.
MC has an experienced group led by 8 seniors, and Coach Redus is excited about how the group bought in this preseason. “They are ready getting after it and buying in now. They are making sure they are changing the culture one day at a time.”
Redus says this group of seniors have been though a lot and that’s what makes this group so close. “This senior group was the first class to come in for us in our division two transition. They’ve really battled it out if I am going to be honest. They’ve went through a change of coach, completely different play of style. They have really just bonded together, and really gone through life together”.
The Lady Choctaws brought in a lot of talented freshmen this season. Those freshmen have left a good impression on their teammates. Senior’s Krista Zieschang and Kayana Mitchell have seen more and more talented players from in since they have been here. Zieschang said that it will help the program grow. “Every year there is higher level athletes that come in. Which really helps contribute to improving our program. I have seen an increase of the skill of the athletes that come in. I think the freshmen will add a lot to the team this year and help get more wins on our record.”
Mitchell is a leader on the team, and she says that she loves the freshmen “I love their attitude and mentality. We have a lot of athletes on this year’s team.” Mitchell wants to show the freshmen the ins and outs of the program. “I lead by example, and showing them how to go about practice. Helping them understand how our coaches are, because this is a new environment for them. Showing them how to be a college athlete.

With an experience and talented group the Lady Choctaws want to take the next step, and Coach Redus says that is winning one more game. “Next step for Mississippi College Volleyball is winning one more game. That is our motto, just one more, just one more. Because in volleyball or in any sport we just need one more to keep pushing through”. Mitchell says the team goals are not only to win more games but go to the conference tournament. “It is step by step, the next step is getting more wins, and eventually getting to the conference tournament”.
Zieschange has seen a marked improvement of the team as she sees a more motivated team. “I think that there is more drive and more desire to win. There is more drive to play our best and winning to be an expectation and not to expect to lose. I’ve seen that change in culture and for the better.” Zieschange also believes in the coaching staff, which she said will bring them to the next level. “Expectations are pretty high, I think we have a really good team this year. I really think our coaching staff has what it takes to bring us to the next level; for us to do really well and be successful this season”.
The Choctaws start the season in the capital classic in Springfield, Ill. MC plays two games on Friday September 1st, and two games on Saturday September 2nd. Coach Redus expects her team to be challenged this weekend, and wants to see where her “scrappy” team is at. “I expect good tough competition that is why we are going there. We are hoping to gain a little more knowledge and find our weaker areas”.
Mitchell says the team is ready to go “Balls to the wall, we are ready to get after it, and we start the season off on a good foot.” The Choctaws look to have their first winning season since rejoining the

The Lady Choctaws Volleyball team is ready for the next step, as the team starts the season at the Capital Classic in Springfield, Ill. By Corey Rholdon

Last season the Mississippi College Volleyball team went through a culture change under Head Coach Julie Redus. That led to 7 more wins for the lady Choctaws, now the team is ready for the next step.

MC has an experienced group led by 8 seniors, and Coach Redus is excited about how the group bought in this preseason. “They are ready getting after it and buying in now. They are making sure they are changing the culture one day at a time.”

Redus says this group of seniors have been though a lot and that’s what makes this group so close. “This senior group was the first class to come in for us in our division two transition. They’ve really battled it out if I am going to be honest. They’ve went through a change of coach, completely different play of style. They have really just bonded together, and really gone through life together”.

The Lady Choctaws brought in a lot of talented freshmen this season. Those freshmen have left a good impression on their teammates. Senior’s Krista Zieschang and Kayana Mitchell have seen more and more talented players from in since they have been here. Zieschang said that it will help the program grow. “Every year there is higher level athletes that come in. Which really helps contribute to improving our program. I have seen an increase of the skill of the athletes that come in. I think the freshmen will add a lot to the team this year and help get more wins on our record.”

Mitchell is a leader on the team, and she says that she loves the freshmen “I love their attitude and mentality. We have a lot of athletes on this year’s team.” Mitchell wants to show the freshmen the ins and outs of the program. “I lead by example, and showing them how to go about practice. Helping them understand how our coaches are, because this is a new environment for them. Showing them how to be a college athlete.”

With an experience and talented group the Lady Choctaws want to take the next step, and Coach Redus says that is winning one more game. “Next step for Mississippi College Volleyball is winning one more game. That is our motto, just one more, just one more. Because in volleyball or in any sport we just need one more to keep pushing through”. Mitchell says the team goals are not only to win more games but go to the conference tournament. “It is step by step, the next step is getting more wins, and eventually getting to the conference tournament”.

Zieschange has seen a marked improvement of the team as she sees a more motivated team. “I think that there is more drive and more desire to win. There is more drive to play our best and winning to be an expectation and not to expect to lose. I’ve seen that change in culture and for the better.” Zieschange also believes in the coaching staff, which she said will bring them to the next level. “Expectations are pretty high, I think we have a really good team this year. I really think our coaching staff has what it takes to bring us to the next level; for us to do really well and be successful this season”.

The Choctaws start the season in the capital classic in Springfield, Ill. MC plays two games on Friday September 1st, and two games on Saturday September 2nd. Coach Redus expects her team to be challenged this weekend, and wants to see where her “scrappy” team is at. “I expect good tough competition that is why we are going there. We are hoping to gain a little more knowledge and find our weaker areas”.

Mitchell says the team is ready to go “Balls to the wall, we are ready to get after it, and we start the season off on a good foot.” The Choctaws look to have their first winning season since rejoining the GSC.

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