UWF Fall Sports Meet With Local Media
Aug. 21, 2008
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Coaches and student-athletes from the University of West Florida fall teams came together with members of the local Gulf Coast media at the UWF Fall Sports Media Day on Thursday, August 21 at The Fish House in downtown Pensacola. Newspapers, radio stations, and television stations were well-represented at the event.
Dr. Deborah Ford, UWF Vice President for Student Affairs opened with a guarantee that "there's always a great story at UWF within our Athletic Department."
The UWF volleyball team will begin the 2008 season with a pre-season national ranking of No. 23. Following a 32-win season a year ago, Head Coach Melissa Wolter believes that experience will be key.
"This should be a good year for us; we have 11 returning players," explained Wolter. Present at Media Day were two of those players, seniors Luciana Rapach and Jerica Carter. Rapach earned third team All-America honors last season and Carter is UWF's all-time leader in digs.
Wolter also discussed the changes in the schedule, as national powers Florida Southern and Tampa will be regional opponents in 2008. She explained that the new regional alignment may be more top-heavy, but overall it will not be as balanced.
First year men's and women's cross country Head Coach John Bergen introduced the two seniors from each team: Justin Gates and Patrick McHugh from the men's team; Katherine Ragia and Shannon McDougall from the women's team.
Coach Bergen reminded those present that between the two teams the women have lost five out of seven runners and the men five out of eight.
"Both teams placed third in the Gulf South Conference last year," Bergen answered. "We're hoping to match or improve on that standing this year."
"This year our team will be more motivated," confirmed McHugh. "All of our freshmen are motivated and I think this year we will be successful."
After back-to-back Gulf South Conference titles, the UWF men's soccer team is the pre-season favorite to make it three in a row and is ranked No. 19 in the pre-season national poll. Head Coach Bill Elliot admits that he will have to depend on a young squad to step up.
"We have lost 18 players in two seasons," Elliott answered, "but fortunately for us we have two very talented seniors, Nolan Intermoia and Matt Williams." Intermoia is a three-time All-GSC selection, and Williams transferred to UWF from North Florida in 2007 and played a key role in the midfield.
Elliott also highlighted the offseason accomplishments of Intermoia and UWF graduate Keith Savage. Intermoia scored the game-winning penalty kick for the Thunder Bay Chill in the Premier Development League championship game, and Savage is seeing action as a professional with Chivas USA of Major League Soccer.
The UWF women's soccer team is once again the favorite to win the Gulf South Conference, but after six straight national tournament appearances they have their sites set on loftier goals. Junior goalkeeper Courtney Jones, an honorable mention All-America selection in 2007, will anchor the Argonaut defense and senior defender Sheka Codner leads the team as captain.
Head Coach Joe Bartlinski is quick to point out that, "they have been a great team not only on the field but off, maintaining a 3.5 GPA as a team."
Bartlinski's players have also been traveling the world in the offseason, and he mentioned Jones' experiences in Iceland and Codner's in Costa Rica.
UWF fall sports will officially begin their seasons next weekend. The volleyball season starts with the Comfort Inn-vitational, featuring 10 teams from across the country in the UWF Field House on August 29 and 30. The men's and women's soccer teams will each travel to Flagler College and Thomas University (Ga.) the same weekend for the season-opening matches. On September 5, the cross country teams will start their 2008 seasons at the University of Central Florida Knight Attack Challenge in Orlando, Fla.
UWF followers should keep their eyes open for stories featuring the Argos fall teams in the Pensacola News Journal, WEAR Channel 3, and many other local media outlets. Fans can always follow all the action at the Argonauts' home on the Web, www.GoArgos.com.
For more pictures of the event, visit the Argos Blog by clicking here.