Samford University The BelltowerSeptember 2004

Soccer, Volleyball Teams Begin Seasons

“…Samford’s soccer and volleyball teams have begun their seasons with high hopes, and the soccer program is expected to win a second consecutive championship…”

Samford’s soccer and volleyball teams have begun their seasons with high hopes, and the soccer program is expected to win a second consecutive championship. In mid-August the Samford University women’s soccer team was predicted to repeat as Ohio Valley Conference regular-season champions as the Bulldogs received seven of eight possible first-place votes from conference coaches.

"This is a great honor for our team," said Samford head coach Todd Yelton. "It is especially rewarding because it is voted on by all of the other coaches, but the reality of it is that our job probably just got a little tougher. It's nice to receive this prediction, but I'm definitely more concerned about where we finish up at the end of the season."

In 2003, its inaugural season in the conference, the soccer team posted a 12-4-5 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark en route to winning the 2003 OVC regular-season title. Yelton, the 2003 OVC Coach of the Year, boasts nine returning starters from a year ago, including top returnees Kim Matthews and Marian Wagner.

Matthews, the 2003 OVC Freshman of the Year, was ranked in the top 10 in the league in a number of offensive categories, including points (16), goals (6) and game-winning goals (4). Wagner, a 2003 All-OVC Second-Team selection, also returns for the Bulldogs this season after finishing fifth in the league last year with 20 points and seven goals. "Both Kim and Marian came up huge for us last season," Yelton said.

Samford’s volleyball team also was ranked by OVC coaches in August. "We hope to improve on our ninth-place ranking in the OVC poll and use this as our motivation to strive for a great season," said Samford’s new Head Volleyball Coach Michelle Durban.

The volleyball team will not play a home game until the 14th game of the season, against Tennessee State on Sept. 25, which is also the first home conference match of the year. "Though we travel out of the southern region early in the season, the preseason tournaments were scheduled to give this team the opportunity to succeed while competing against very good volleyball teams," said Durban. "We feel that these nonconference matches will prepare us for another tough OVC season."

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