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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The Lady Choctaws are ready for the Next Step as they start their season in 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.

Issue #6

It’s our last issue of the Spring 2017 semester! Check out the online edition below or pick up a copy on campus to read about next year’s housing, learn about some featured senior artists, and read senior letters written to your major!

Click here to check it out!20170425_190902-2

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