UNCP fall sports are ready for competition
By Ryan Kelly
Assistant Sports Editor
The UNCP fall sports season will feature every team trying to claw their way up the ranks of the Peach Belt Conference.
2006 Record: 7-8-2 (4-3 PBC)
Key Losses: GK Richard Sallin, D Christian Staackman
Key Additions: GK Dean Moore, D Jamie Beck, M Sean Luckie
MVP: Miguel Ferrer, Midfielder
Blessed with great vision and ball skills, Ferrer has the potential to be the best playmaker in the Peach Belt.
This team's success relies on how creative he can be in the attack.
He should feed speedy forwards Andrew Brown and Thomas Morrow all season long.
Game of the season: Lander (Oct. 6)
The Braves will look to upset the Preseason favorite Bearcats on Homecoming weekend.
The team narrowly lost out on the conference championship a year ago after a 2-3 overtime thriller.
A win here could be the catalyst for a late season title run.
Outlook: This is a skilled team whose biggest strength is its overall size and aggression. They will out-muscle you for the full 90 minutes.
The loss of Christian Staackman will hurt, but if they can avoid mental mistakes late in games the Braves could make a push for the Peach Belt title.
2006 Record: 7-11-1 (3-5-1 PBC)
Key Losses: GK Hillary Helms, D/M Allie Black, D/M Brenna Russick, F Melanie Cobb
Key Additions: M Sam Dunn, M Jamie Clark, F Faye Corbett, F Lefke Boysen,
MVP: Lefke Boysen, Forward
The German Boysen returns to the Lady Braves after a three-year hiatus when she last led the team in scoring in 2003.
Her ball skill and field awareness will help to fill the void left by All-Southeast Region Melanie Cobb.
Game of the season: Armstrong Atlantic (Sept. 19)
This game doesn't count in the PBC standings but it could be just as important.
The Lady Braves lost twice to the Pirates in 2006, including a first-round 0-1 loss in the PBC tournament.
This is a statement game and a must-win to have a successful season.
Outlook: The Lady Braves are young but they've already established good team chemistry.
The team will rely heavily on senior leadership from Boysen and Jamie Clark, who is also making a comeback.
A strong 2007 recruiting class should help get the Braves back near the top of the Peach Belt Conference after a disappointing season a year ago.
2006 Record: 9-20 (3-9 PBC)
Key Losses: OH Alicia Hill, OH Abigail Parker, S Lexie Wood
Key Additions: S Heather Fierce, OH Kayla Marbert
MVP: Heather Fierce, Setter
Fierce is a newcomer to the squad but is already one of the best players.
She brings in a wealth of experience and has played at some of the top programs in the country.
Fierce does what a good setter is supposed to: she controls the tempo of the game and makes her teammates around her better.
Game of the season: Fayetteville State (Sept. 5)
In what has become a recent local rivalry, the team will take on the Lady Broncos for their 2007 home opener. Last year's opener brought in over 600 spectators, a record for UNCP volleyball.
You can expect the Jones Center to best that number for this match.
Outlook: The Lady Braves are trying to do something they haven’t done since 2001, have a winning season. Unfortunately, their biggest problem is that they don't have a lot of veteran experience.
One thing the Lady Braves do have is competitiveness. This is not a team you want to back into a corner.