Rams and 'Belles gear up for upcoming seasons

Preseason: Teams rely on veterans to help lay preseason foundations

By Jason Helms
On August 25, 2011

  • Two Ram football players battle each other and the heat during preseason practice Tuesday, Aug. 23. Pam Belcher
  • Sophomore Brittany Martinez passes the ball during a preseason practice Wednesday, Aug. 24. Pam Belcher
  • Junior Emily Booth jumps to spike the ball in the “Belles preseason scrimmage against Cisco Junior College Wednesday, Aug. 24. Photo by Pam Belcher

With opening games just around the corner, the fall athletic programs have been busy this summer preparing for their upcoming seasons.

The football team, under the direction of new head coach Will Wagner, has been practicing in the record-setting West Texas heat for over two weeks now.

Wagner, who was named head coach last December, inherited a team that includes 18 offensive and 20 defensive lettermen returning from a 5-5 season last year.

The Rams begin their 2011 campaign with a road game against Western State on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Gunnison, Colo.

The team's home opener is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. against Central Oklahoma.

Rambelle volleyball has also been busy on the practice court this summer, as they began two-a-days on Aug. 15.

The squad returns all of its starters from a team that finished third in conference last season with a 12-2 record (19-12 overall).

"We feel really good about this season," junior Emily Booth said. "We've got a lot of experience on this year and aren't the young team we used to be."

The ‘Belles, who are ranked second in the 2011 Lone Star Conference preseason poll, begin their season at the Lady Buff Classic in Canyon, Texas, Thurs., Sept. 2  against Western State.

The ‘Belles host rivals Tarleton State on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at Stephens Arena in the Junell Center for their first home match.

 The soccer program also began its preseason practices in the mid-August heat.

"It was difficult for the first few days but it seems we have gotten used to it since then, sophomore midfielder Kaitlynn Glendinning said of the heat.

The LSC preseason poll has ASU projected to finish third in 2011.

This season's squad includes seven returning starters from its most successful season in program history (13-7-1, 9-2 LSC), which earned the school its first NCAA D-II national tournament berth.

"It's hard to gauge exactly where we are this early, but we are probably a little ahead of where we were at this point last season due to the amount of veterans we have," head coach Travis McCorkle said.  

The Rambelles open their season with a trip to Austin to take on the Hilltoppers of St. Edward's University on Sept. 2 at 4 p.m.

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