It was just a couple of weeks ago that a North Alabama loss on their home pitch turned their advantage toward making the Atlantic Sun Conference women’s soccer tournament into a wait-and-see situation.
Since then, they have gone on the road to New Jersey and battled the hosts, New Jersey Institute of Technology, to a scoreless draw which – coupled with a loss by another ASUN squad – catapulted them into the tournament this past weekend back up in New Jersey.
In other news, cross country wrapped up their season at the conference meets, volleyball continues to grow as a new squad, and football looks to extend their winning ways to finish the year. The Pride of Dixie is also making the news and rounds this fall as they gear up to travel and compete for the first-ever Collegiate Marching Band Championship.
Running toward the ASUN
Both cross country teams wrapped up their seasons this past weekend at the ASUN Championships in the Bronx, New York as NJIT hosted the event. The ladies finished sixth at the meet led by all-conference selection, Emma Knight. She ran the 5K course in a time of 18:52.4 to finish 12th overall and earn a spot on the ASUN All-Conference second-team. Meanwhile, the men’s teams finished 8th led by senior standout Justin Watson. He was UNA’s top finisher with a time of 25:57.2, placing him 15th in a field of 71 runners.
Still learning the ropes
UNA’s volleyball squad continues to develop their team chemistry and attack the learning curve of DI and ASUN competition. This past week, Malaisia Stallworth won the ASUN’s Play of the Week award on social media for her kill against Kennesaw State. The Lions still have four more conference matches (three of them in Flowers Hall) before wrapping up their season.
Making a name for themselves
The UNA Marching Band has been the discussion of a few people after news stories regarding a potential name change for the group. It was pretty shocking to some but not so much to others. Times change and so do names. I noticed recently that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. While nothing has been announced yet for the POD, they will remain one of these best marching bands in America regardless of their official nickname.
The largest student organization on campus, the Pride of Dixie was seen this past weekend as a feature exhibition band at the Bands of America South Regional Championships in Georgia. That talent and precision will be on full display Saturday, December 1st as the group invades Columbia, South Carolina to vie for national recognition at the National Collegiate Marching Band Championships.
New conference on the horizon
North Alabama’s football team has two home games remaining (both against D2 foes) in the season after having completed the FCS portion of their schedule this year. UNA went 3-2 against FCS opponents in preparation for next year’s leap to an all-DI schedule with a full slate of Big South contests to be played.
The only Big South matchup this season was a game against Campbell. The Lions flew up the day of the game and had a bit of jet lag in the first quarter. After spotting the Fighting Camels by 23 in the opening period, the Lions played them to a 7-7 tie the rest of game. Following a close loss to West Florida, UNA went on the road again and played their best game of the season while dominating Jackson State.
Playing for the title
The UNA soccer team has surprised a lot of DI folks this season by how talented and well-coached they are and that was, no doubt, the case over this past weekend when Kennesaw State and NJIT were both defeated by the first-year ASUN participant in the conference tournament.
Those wins have advanced the Lions into the conference championship match against Lipscomb this Saturday up in Nashville. It’s UNA’s seventh all-time appearance in a women’s soccer conference tournament final. However, even if the Lions win, they are not eligible to move on into the NCAA tournament because of the transition to DI. The Lions are only the third No. 6 seed to ever advance to the ASUN Final – the last being Kennesaw State in 2014.
This squad has also earned several postseason honors as announced by the Atlantic Sun Conference. Juniors Shelby Wall, Tay Cavett, and Haley Yarber were all named to the ASUN All-Conference Team while freshmen Anna Bove’ and Kate Wiseman were both named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team. Wall was also selected for the Academic All-ASUN team.
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(Photo Courtesy ASUN Conference)