New season, new vigor, new goals

As the season openers approach for fall sports, coaches and team players have new goals . Fans can expect non-stop lion pride from Roomie The Lion as seen above.
File Photo

The university has several sports teams that compete in conferences during the fall that are composed of football, soccer, volleyball, men and women’s basketball and golf. 

The university’s football team placed third in win-loss ratio in the Southland Conference in fall 2016. 

“Game one, obviously that’s the biggest focus right now,” said football Head Coach Ron Roberts. “We’re all focused on us. It’s all about us right now, how good we can get and how good of a team we can become in the next three weeks.”

Football Assistant Coach and Offensive Coordinator Matt Barrett explains the staff’s expectations of the players and the team’s approach to preparing for this year’s competitors.  

 “We expect to play really well 11 times,” said Barrett, who is also a quarterback coach for the team. “They expect that too. A common theme in our building is just improve every day and keep getting better, honor the process. We’re just focused day-by-day right now.” 

The men’s basketball team has set high goals for themselves such as reaching the Division I National Championship, but the main focus that men’s basketball Head Coach Jay Ladner wants for his team is to strive for the Southland Conference Championship. 

“I really feel like we have an opportunity to compete for the league title,” said Ladner. “Really for the first time since we’ve been here, we’ve had some teams that have made some really great progress over the last few years, and I will certainly be disappointed if we can’t make a run at the conference championship.”

The Lady Lions basketball team finished the 2016 season with an overall 5-24, and hopes for a more solid foundation in the 2017 season due to their program having more consistency. 

“Obviously, we’re looking to get better and win more games,” said women’s basketball Head Coach Ayla Guzzardo. “Have a successful season as we call it. Ideally, we’re looking for leadership. We’re looking for competition between each player during each practice, and we’re just looking to get better overall in the community, in competition and in the classroom. We’re just looking overall to get better in all three aspects.” 

Guzzardo also lists the teams she believes will be the strongest competition and who the Lady Lions will be more aware of going into this season. 

“All the Louisiana schools are our biggest rivals to us,” said Guzzardo. “We’re also looking at the top part of our conference. Stephen F. Austin, Central Christian and Lamar are going to be very good. We’re just taking each game step-by-step, and we’re going to have a different game plan for each game.”

The fall season kicks off with the soccer team having a match against Jackson State University Aug. 18. Volleyball has a Green and Gold match Aug. 22. Football begins Sept. 2 with a match at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The first golf tournament, Sam Hall Intercollegiate, will be held Sept. 10.  Men’s basketball starts Oct. 26 with an exhibition against Southern University at New Orleans, and women’s basketball has an exhibition game against LSU Alexandria Nov. 3.