*This article was originally published in The Inkwell and on its website.
With a new school year underway at Armstrong, the first semester is jam-packed with Pirates athletics.
Fans will enjoy women’s soccer, volleyball, cross country, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s basketball throughout the semester.
Women’s soccer has already began with a 1-0 loss to Division I opponent Stetson, though the match was just an exhibition and will not count towards Armstrong’s season record. They host Lee University in an exhibition on Aug. 30 and then host the “Clash On The Coast,” starting Sept. 6 versus No. 2 Grand Valley State.
Last season was another storied year for Armstrong soccer. The Pirates won the Peach Belt Conference as well as the conference tournament, and were crowned Southeast Region champions. For an extended period of time last season, the Pirates were ranked No. 1 in the nation.
This season the Pirates are currently ranked as the No. 5 team in the nation, and are picked to finish second in the PBC. Senior midfielder Andye Dawson and sophomore defender Taylor Russell were selected to the preseason All-Conference team, selected by PBC coaches.
“We’re a younger team this year, but expect to produce the same winning results as last year,” said head coach Eric Faulconer.
Volleyball is right around the corner and ready for another successful season. Armstrong begins their season by hosting the Pirate Volleyball Classic, Sept. 6 against Erskine.
Pirates volleyball enjoyed one of their finest seasons last year. They dominated the conference, winning both the regular season and PBC tournament. Winning ways earned them the right to host the Southeast Regionals, where they made it to the second round of playoffs.
Preseason honors have come in bunches for Armstrong volleyball. They were picked to win the conference again this season and individuals were honored too. Senior outside hitter Jessica Santaniello and junior libero Stephanie Sfara were voted to the preseason All-Conference team.
“Last year is over,” said head coach Will Condon. “We’re looking to improve and be back where we were last year.”
Cross country is looking to improve this season, and coach Michael Sergi expects just that.
“We will be significantly improved from 2012, with a solid recruiting class,” said Sergi.
Armstrong’s cross country team has been picked to finish 10th in the PBC. The first race takes place on Sept. 13 against Georgia College.
Men’s and women’s golf both flourished on the links last year. On the men’s side, Armstrong finished third out of 11 teams at the PBC Championships and 14th out of 28 teams at the Division II South/Southeast Super Regionals. The women found plenty of success too. They placed second out of eight teams at the PBC Championships and third out of 13 teams at Super Regionals.
The men’s team first tournament is at the Kiawah Island Invitational on Sept. 16. Women’s golf begins on Sept. 28th at the Lady Bearcat Invitational.
Michael Butler coaches both the men’s and women’s golf team sees their winning ways to continue.
“Making the Regionals is a goal for both teams every year,” said Butler. “Our women’s team is very experienced and the men will host the Regionals this year.”
Basketball is the last sport starting PBC play this semester. Both the men’s and women’s team have new coaches and begin play with an exhibition game at Savannah State on Oct. 31.
Last season, men’s basketball went 15-12, with an 11-8 PBC record and made the conference tournament.
“It’s all about them, not me,” said newly appointed head coach Evans Davis. “We’re ready to compete.”
The women’s team went 13-14 with an 8-11 record in the PBC last season, while also making the conference tournament.
“I may be new, but this is an experienced team,” said new coach Fala Bullock. “We will play hard and fast this season.”