08/15/05 — MOC fall teams getting ready

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MOC fall teams getting ready

Published in Sports on August 15, 2005 2:11 PM

Classes may not start until next week, but three Mount Olive College fall sports teams - men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball - already have a week of practice under their belts as they prepare for their 2005 campaigns.

The men's soccer team begins defense of its first-ever Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference championship, winning last year's tournament as the No. 4 seed. With 19 returning players, fourth-year head coach Jerry Riggs likes what he's seen so far in the preseason.

"Our team unity is much further ahead now than it was at this time last year," said Riggs. "Having so many returning players is a major plus. I don't have to re-teach and the returning players are taking pride in guiding the new players."

The Trojans have six freshmen and one junior college transfer on this year's 26-player roster.

Mount Olive has a pair of preseason scrimmages, Saturday at East Carolina and Monday (Aug. 22) at home against North Carolina Wesleyan.

The Trojans kick off their regular season Aug. 27-28 with the Mount Olive College Invitational, sponsored by Sleep Inn.

The women's soccer team also enters the 2005 season as defending CVAC champions. The Trojans posted a 20-3-0 record last season to set an NCAA Division II record for the greatest single-season improvement. After playing with a predominantly freshmen starting lineup last season, the Trojans will again have a young starting lineup as this year's roster is comprised of three juniors, eight sophomores and nine freshmen.

Third-year head coach Chris Shaw, the 2004 CVAC Women's Soccer Coach of the Year, says last year was just the first step of a journey, not the final destination.

"We hope to build on last year," said Shaw. "Expectations are obviously quite a bit higher this year than last year. We don't want to rest on our laurels or think we've arrived because of what we accomplished in one year.

Mount Olive has a scrimmage at home this Thursday, then begins its regular season Aug. 27 at North Greenville, the first of four consecutive road contests to start the season. The Trojans play their home opener Sept. 8 against Chowan.

The women's volleyball team finished second in the CVAC regular season standings for the third consecutive year and reached the NCAA II Tournament for the first time in school history. The Trojans have a combined 46-8 record in conference play over the last three seasons.

With six returning players and five freshmen on the roster, second-year head coach Sasha Gutor says this year's squad has returned to campus ready to play.

"We spent the first week on physical and technical preparation, and now we're starting on tactical preparation and communication," said Gutor. "The returning players and the freshmen are getting to know each other and getting used to each other on the court. They're all working hard to get ready."

Mount Olive begins its 2005 volleyball season Aug. 26 at home with a non-conference match against Shaw.

The Trojans men's and women's cross country teams will begin practice next week and will begin their season Sept. 3 at the Campbell University Invitational.

Mount Olive Sports Information