After seeing several matches in the early stages of 2022 get away from its “W” column, the Mississippi University for Women men’s soccer team finally got the result it wanted with a 1-0 home win over Pensacola Christian College at the Lowndes County Soccer Complex. The win was also the first for head coach BJ Pheasant with the Owls.
“We played scrappy today, kept our heads up through the entire game to come away with a win,” Pheasant said. “The Eagles are a good soccer playing team, and it was a good battle between two teams that want to play soccer.”
The teams finished fairly even statistically. PCC took eight total shots to seven for The W. Both teams had two shots on goal.
Neither team was able to breach the scoreboard until the 43:19 juncture of the match. The Eagles were whistled for a penalty in the box to give the Owls a penalty kick attempt. Pheasant called on DJ McElroy to take the try, and when the PCC goalie dove to his left, McElroy slid the ball to the opposite lower third for the goal.
That score stood heading into the halftime locker room and through the second stanza, as well.
Senior Terrell Johnson had three of MUW’s shot attempts, joining McElroy with one shot on frame.
Owls goalkeeper David McCutchen had a save in each half to keep the Eagles at bay. It was the first shutout for The W in 13 matches dating back to 2021.
The Owls will next travel to LaGrange College (Georgia) at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Cross country: Owls place 13th at Rhodes
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The W cross country teams each had two individuals set personal best marks in their respective races Saturday as the team competed at the Rhodes College Invitational. Both squads placed 13th in their races.
“I was really proud of how everyone performed today,” MUW assistant cross country coach Hannah White said. “This was our men’s first 8K of the season, and they all finished strong. Our women ran their third 5K of the season, and we are seeing improvements meet by meet. I am super excited for what the second half of the season has in store as our athletes continue to work hard.”
In the women’s 5K race, sophomore Kaitlyn McRee was MUW’s top finisher and had a personal-best clocking of 24:54.2 minutes, good for 93rd place out of 135 finishers. Teammate Kalee Sanders was 107th in a time of 26:51.7.
Junior Lillian Ergle was the Owls’ other runner to finish with a PR. Ergle, in 112th place, hit the finish line at 27:56.0 for the 5K.
The men’s tandem of Joshua Gonsalves and Tavonta Macon both set PRs in their first 8K of 2022. Gonsalves was 91st in a time of 30:58.1 minutes. Macon was 122nd at 38:16.5.
The W runners will have a couple of weeks before their next meet on Oct. 1 at the Blue Mountain Topper Trails Classic.
Volleyball: The W wins third straight match
The W volleyball won its third consecutive match, defeating Rust College, 3-1, at Pohl Gym on Friday. The Owls (6-4) outdueled the Bearcats (3-7) by set scores of 25-19, 25-17, 22-25 and 25-22.
The win also served as a reminder of the continued positive, program-changing, upward direction of the 2022 team. With six wins in the first 10 matches, it is the best start for any team since the sport was reinstated in 2017. Additionally, this year’s Owls have already matched the most wins in an entire season during those years with at least 15 matches left on the 2022 schedule.
“Although the game was challenging, I feel as if we are getting better each day,” head coach Halee Hensley said. “I’m proud of how the girls handle adversity.”
The W easily won the first two sets, leading wire to wire in both, before set three went to the Bearcats. Set four was an epic struggle, featuring 11 ties and six lead changes before MUW prevailed.
Balance was once again The W’s forte, as three players finished with double-digit kill totals. The trio was led by Amonie Silas, who registered 11 kills and a sterling .333 attack average.
Llayne Skinner and Maggie Griggs each booked 10 kills. Skinner finished with a “double-double,” also making a team-best 12 digs. Griggs, meanwhile, served up four of the team’s 10 aces.
The Owls’ duo of setters — Camryn Johnson of Caledonia and Karmen McCrory — combined for 25 assists. Johnson had 13 assists, and McCrory had 12. McCrory also chipped in 11 digs.
Libero Maddy Suggs of Caledonia had 10 digs, as well as seven assists. Jasmine Kelly led all blockers with three stuffs.
Next up for MUW is a date at Huntingdon College at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Montgomery, Alabama.
Tennis: Owls topped at Johnson
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Mississippi University for Women women’s and men’s tennis teams continued the fall portion of the 2022-2023 season Thursday at Johnson University. The Owls’ men fell 9-0 against a formidable Royals team, and the women dropped a 7-2 decision.
The W men struggled on the doubles courts, dropping all the courts by 8-0 scores. The singles matches started the same way for the Owls, falling on courts 1, 2 and 3. Freshmen Lucas Suggs lost 6-3 6-3 at No. 4 singles and Carson McClung fell 6-2 6-1 at No. 5 singles, as both pushed their opponents hard but came up short.
The Owls women picked up a winning court at No. 2 doubles, where sophomores Sarah Kackley and Mallory Parker won their match 8-5. Freshman Maggie Etheridge won her first collegiate singles match, playing at the No. 4 spot, by a score of 6-3, 2-6, 10-5.
“We have a long way to go,” MUW coach Daniel Talley said. “But we won’t get there playing easy opponents. We have to play quality teams and rise to their level.”
The Owls tennis squad will be at home at 10 a.m. Friday for a scrimmage against Northeast Mississippi Community College and will play a home match against Huntingdon College at 10 a.m. Saturday.