Head Coach Eza Steele and the University of Lynchburg Women’s Field Hockey Team received the opportunity to present at the National All Sports Coaches Summit.
Steele said, “It was definitely an honor to be asked to present at the National All Sports Coaches Summit with so many prestigious coaches across a variety of sports. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, but it went smoothly. My presentation was the 4 Stages of Games Play concepts.”
She continued, “This concept is vital in designing and progression of drills to best facilitate transfer of skill to the actual game. My players were videoed in all four progression stages while I spoke about the concept and how it would transfer into the actual game.”
Interim Head Coach Hannah Givens and her women volleyball players have remained motivated and focused so they can serve up defeat in the season opener against Marymount University on Feb. 27, 2021.
Givens said, “So far we have not played any matches yet, but we are looking forward to our first match coming up on the 27th against Marymount. Practices have been great, and the girls are working hard. We have plenty of goals this season, and we are looking forward to competing for an ODAC.”
Natalie Lavelle, a senior on the team said, “Our season has not yet officially begun. However, the atmosphere in the gym during practice is filled with intensity and an intentional mindset. Our team’s expectations this year are to continue to better our play and achieve our goal of winning the ODAC.”
The University of Lynchburg men’s track and field and cross-country teams are finding ways to stay motivated, stay on track to overcome setbacks, and compete against their fellow rivals.
Sam Llaneza, a distance runner on the men’s track and field team, credited his friends, family, coaches, and teammates for keeping everyone motivated. Llaneza said, “I stayed motivated by communicating with fellow teammates and by looking forward to the goals we set as a team. Also, having some great training partners always helps.”
Brennan Straits, who is also a distance runner on the men’s cross-country team, said that he had a productive break that increased his motivation. Straits said, “This break was a little bit different. We were able to take advantage of people that live nearby. We stayed in contact with one another quite frequently through group meet. We would send each other selfies and post reports of the times we ran that day. We would do all of this to hold teammates accountable.”
The University of Lynchburg men’s basketball team has been chanting, “National on Three, Champs on Six,” after every lift, play, and practice during their three-game win streak according to Tharon Suggs, a senior who is a guard on the team.
The team’s winning streak is attributable to their hard work over the holiday. Suggs said, “Each and every one of us knew the importance of staying in shape and working on our craft. We began doing skill development workouts as a team before we left for winter break. The only way to ensure we continued moving forward was to maintain that same work ethic while being on break. Our coaches also scheduled small group workouts while we were home, which also helped us stay on top of our game.”
Israel Lockamy, a senior guard on the team, said, “It was not hard for me to remain motivated. I would say because it is my Senior year and I want to win more now than I ever have. I am sure the team feels this way as well! It was challenging for me to be able to practice over break, but I did workout often at home and at a friend’s house.”
The University of Lynchburg women’s tennis team is looking forward to playing this spring and avenging their losses against conference rivals, Averett University.
Senior Caroline Guill said, “We have some incredible talent and an amazing culture on the women’s team, and I expect for us to apply this culture and hard work in a way that will result in some big wins throughout the season. Coach has done a great job in scheduling various non-conference matches against teams that are notoriously big players. I am most looking forward to playing Averett this season; this is a team we have played in the past and lost to, but this is also a team we are very capable of competing with. This will be a great opportunity for each of our players to work to their strengths and exhibit the perseverance on the court that I know each teammate is capable of showing.”
While the team hasn’t yet started practicing for the semester, Ellen Druebbisch, a senior said, “Coach Johnson does a great job setting up drills throughout the practice and then giving us a chance to put them into play towards the end of practice. I am really excited to get going this season and being able to play actual matches will be awesome!”
Director of the University of Lynchburg Men and Women’s Cross-Country Track and Field James Sprecher will speak at the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association’s Technical Symposium Series.
Sprecher said, “It is a great honor to represent the University of Lynchburg on the national stage. It is an opportunity to sell our program, our institution, and the ODAC with a national audience. As a NCAA Division III coach, it is nice to share the stage with the best coaches and programs in the country. From a recruiting standpoint it always helps to put your name and program out there for others to see.”
The Lynchburg men’s lacrosse team is growing their mustaches and fundraising in an effort to fight cancer with HEADstrong Foundations Mustache Madness.
With fall ball coming to a close for the men’s lacrosse team, they have joined an initiative started by the HEADstrong foundation where college lacrosse players around the country are raising money to support families who are battling cancer. A member of the Lynchburg men’s lacrosse team recently had a close friend diagnosed with testicular cancer and this sparked the interest to get a fund-raising page started.
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Basketball Team is kicked off preparation for their 2021 season with the Hornet Cup.
Israel Lockamy, a senior guard on the University of Lynchburg Men’s Basketball Team, saw the Hornet Cup as a confidence boost for the 2021 season. Lockamy said, “My favorite moment was when our team won the Hornet Cup, and I hit the last half-court shot to win it! It will give me more confidence when shooting in actual games.”
He also said, “Just working out, I have seen many improvements from my teammates, which shows that they have worked on their game throughout the offseason.”
After being away from competition, all University of Lynchburg varsity athletes received the opportunity to compete in the Hornet Cup, a series of intrasquad competitions.
University of Lynchburg Athletic Director, Jonathan Waters, gave more detail about the Hornet Cup. Waters said, “The Hornet Cup was a fun way for our student athletes to be engaged and show their pride during the week leading up to homecoming. They have all worked incredibly hard this semester and sacrificed a lot while not being able to compete externally to represent the University. We are proud of all of our students on campus and look forward to the spring with hopes that the cheers that normally fill our venues can once again be heard and will be louder than ever as we dominate our ODAC foes.”
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Tennis Team is training to ensure they are able to return to competitive play.
Head Coach Christopher Johnson, said, “Our practice format has not really changed due to fluctuations in case count on campus with the coronavirus.”
Johnson also said, “Our players do a great job of working out and playing over the summer. I was immensely proud that they were in great shape when they returned this fall despite the circumstances.”
He said, “Serving and returning is all about starting the point with a purpose. We do put a high priority here. Our objective is to make the other player work as hard as possible and that is unable to happen if we do not start the point.”
On Oct. 5, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Track and Field Team returned to practice in the midst of the pandemic.
As practices began, Head Coach Samuel Reed said, “Fortunately, for our sport the impact is minimal. Our athletes always train in smaller groups for workouts anyways based upon current fitness and ability level. The changing dynamic is the ability for the whole team to go out for a normal or long run as one big unit. There are still opportunities to interact with everyone at the beginning and end of practices within the safety guidelines required. From a practice standpoint, there is not much of a change and the impact on us is minimal. Mentally and emotionally there is a lot more of a demand to help the students manage the drastic change in campus life and ensure we do not have major issues from a mental health standpoint. We definitely have to invest way more time having individual meetings to ensure our student-athletes stay on track and connected with the proper campus resources to ensure their success in every aspect of life.”
On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team returned to practice. Senior starter and goalkeeper, Kyle Gallagher said, “It is no doubt a great feeling being back in my favorite place on campus. As far as the ODAC goes it is still too far in the future for us to really set our goals and expectations with so many moving pieces going on from the COVID implications. I just want us to take it one day at a time and let our situation materialize a bit further before we set expectations that we may not have the opportunity to take part in. The ODACS are certainly our team goal in any given “normal” season but we just need to take it one step at a time right now.”
Gallagher also said, “Being a role model is something that I am striving to do for our team. I am being more vocal with my teammates and trying to give all the new guys confidence and the best advice to succeed on and off the field. I try to help the team with reminders and grabbing the gear on the way out and many of the smaller things. My focus is to be as consistent and reliable with all of our team expectations and just try to lead by example. I think the most important aspect of a leader is that the team can choose who they look up to. If the guys want to look up to me, I will gladly take on that responsibility, and if they choose someone else then that will not impact how I go about being the best teammate I can be.”
University of Lynchburg Interim Women’s Volleyball Head Coach, Hannah Givens is enthusiastic about resuming the postponed volleyball season in spring 2021.
Givens said, “When I stepped foot on the campus, I easily realized how special this University is. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would become head coach, but I am so thankful that I have been given this opportunity. I wanted to become a hornet because I saw the community that the individuals here shared. When you talk to the students, faculty, and staff, it is obvious that being a hornet is something that everyone is proud of.”
Despite not being able to coach any matches yet as head coach, Givens has experience as she was the assistant coach last year for Head Coach Beth Ellinger, her predecessor at the University of Lynchburg.
On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg began allowing in-person classes and athletic practices. When the University initially moved to Alert Level 2, many coaches were disappointed in the turn of events.
Enza Steele, head coach of the women’s field hockey team, said, “Disappointment was my initial reaction but my primary thought was that the students and campus need to be safe. Another week of no in person contact is okay as long as the campus is safer, and we get better control on this pandemic. My players were able to get outside and do fitness training which helped with their own disposition.”