Fall sports just around the corner

Bridget Reilly

Zach Purcell, business finance freshman, catches the ball during practice on the football fields on Aug. 16. Photo by Justin Marquart

As we prepare for our first day of the fall semester, MSU’s athletic programs have already been hard at work. Football, as well as men’s and women’s soccer have been in pre-season camps this past week, preparing and refining their skills.

“Because we had a lot of returners last year, all we had to do was make sure they were fit, refine what they already knew and get better at the things we did wrong the year before,” Doug Elder, men’s soccer head coach, said. “The transition is harder [now], because when you have 14 new players, you have a two-week window to get them all ready and playing they way you want them to play.”

The young blood of the men’s soccer team does not stop Elder from giving the athletes his best.

“I’ll be coaching harder this year here than I have in a while, because we have so many new players who need to learn,” Elder said. “It makes it fun — sometimes those seasons are more rewarding because you know how hard you worked, and if you’re successful with a team like that, then you can look back and be like, ‘Wow, we made this new group of players play like that.’”


Head Football Coach Bill Maskill also has a young team this season, with 49 out of 120 of his players being freshmen.

“We are going to be a lot younger this year. Our defensive line is young, but our linebackers are a little bit more mature,” Maskill said. “We have a lot of new faces in the offensive line. With a young team, we have to improve on our technique and our fundamentals, we have to get better at what we are doing.”

Fundamentals are not the only technique they are working on. With new faces come new friendships; however, the bond between this football team is just the same.

“We are a brotherhood. We all do everything together and no man gets left behind. We compete and push each other everyday and it has contributed tremendously to our locker room,” D.J. Myers, wide receiver and psychology senior, said.

Myers said he is looking forward to playing more home games.

“I am excited for the opportunity to being playing six games here in Wichita Falls this season. We were road warriors last season, traveling seven out of 11 times,” Myers said. “It will be exciting to log less miles and have our biggest rivals come to us.”


Women’s soccer is another sport with new faces — just over half the team is new recruits.

“This year we will be very young, unlike last year when we had seven or eight seniors starting,” Imani Morlock, defender and undecided junior, said. “We have many new freshman coming in with tons of potential, so it will be interesting to see how everyone plays together.”

Morlock believes that even with the fresh faces, the team is adjusting just right.

“This year our team chemistry is great. The freshman are fitting in very well and are adjusting to our style of play well,” Morlock said. “We have some fun personalities that will make the season very fun.”

Cross country

Head Cross Country Coach Koby Styles believes experience will pay a major part in this season’s successes.

“The one thing we have going for us is that we now have experience on our side. I look at the class that will be juniors this season, and we only have three seniors on the team, so we always used inexperience almost as an excuse or a crutch to lean on in the last couple of years,” Styles said. “But now we’re at the point where we have veteran leadership and we have a lot of upperclassmen, so I think they are going to be ready for whatever the season will throw at them.”


In the past, the cycling team has had races almost every weekend. Head Coach Charlie Zamastil is looking forward to a more relaxed, but competitive season.

“I am looking forward to racing more regional races this year. Not being limited by an overstuffed collegiate calendar gives us opportunities to advertise our program across Texas to talented junior racers who might be interested in attending MSU one day,” Zamastil said.

With the cycling team being slightly smaller than previous years, Zamastil believes a stronger bond will be an easy find amongst these riders.

However, with new riders comes different experiences.

“This year’s team has changed,” Brissia Montalvo, cycling team member and exercise physiology graduate, said. “We lost some great riders that were a huge part of the team. But I believe we will be getting new riders that will contribute big time. The mentality has changed for the better, since every experience brings knowledge.”


The women’s volleyball team has jumped right into the season with their first game being played Aug. 16 — all the way in Argentina. Starting off the season quite differently this year, the women have a completely new mindset.

“I’m looking forward to working towards our goals and moving forward in a positive direction with this team,”  Addison Semer, middle blocker and mass communication senior, said. “We have high expectations and I am excited to see us achieve them.”

The trip to Argentina has made the women’s volleyball team more resilient to changes and have a better appreciation of different cultures.

“Argentina is a great experience,” Semer said. “We’re facing challenges and having to adapt to different things. It’s neat to see the different culture and how it compares to back home. We came in willing to try new things and excited to experience the culture.

We have a guide who shoes us where to go and help us. We walk a lot to get us around, and it’s fun to see the locals and try to interact with people here.”


Sports whose seasons technically do not start until spring are still in the midst of forming new team bonds and working on everything they can to be on top.

“From September until the beginning of October, we will be playing tournaments, in which we will focus more on individual games and less as a team,” Greta Lazzarotto, tennis player and management junior, said. “We still go to all the tournaments together; however, we will be playing less as doubles and more individual.”


Women’s basketball will be back in full swing and practicing, come the commencement of the school year, with their first game being an exhibition against Hardin Simmons at the D.L. Ligon Coliseum on Nov. 2.

“Getting back on the floor is always exciting, its what you work for.” Elizabeth Cathcart, forward and marketing sophomore, said. “Not only are we looking to seed high in the LSC tournament, but ultimately make it to NCAAs. We have a big senior class and you want to play hard for them and send them out in style. We have five new people, we are looking to play more uptempo and score off forced turnovers. We all are more mature, have experience, and there is no room for excuses.”

The women’s basketball team are only bringing in five new recruits – two freshman and three transfers. However, with a more experienced team, head coach Noel Johnson, is planning to go back to her original coaching style.

“I feel like I have gone a little way away from my style of play than in the NCAA years where we were three years in a row.” said coach Johnson. “We’re going to gravitate back to that where we are a little more geared towards a defensive orientated style of play, as far as pressing and a more uptempo style. The leadership on this team is going in a great direction. We have some young ladies who are stepping up and taking the helm, and getting people to go with them.”

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