Soccer, volleyball teams finish regionals, continue to nationals

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November 14, 2019
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November 14, 2019

Soccer, volleyball teams finish regionals, continue to nationals

The BJU bruins took all three sets against the Methodist University on September 13, 2019

Three months of competition and countless hours of practice will all culminate in one weekend—the national tournament.  Over the weekend of Nov. 22 to 23, the women’s soccer team will travel to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete, while Bob Jones University will host the NCCAA DII women’s volleyball championship here in Greenville.

The women’s volleyball team has had another excellent season, winning the  NCCAA South Region Championship against Pensacola Christian College and wrapping up the regular season with a four-game streak. They currently hold a 28-4 record, with their four losses coming against two NCAA Division II colleges—Converse College and North Greenville University—and two NCAA Division III colleges—William-Peace University and Piedmont College. 

Head coach Vickie Denny said the team has competed well this season against hard competition. “We’ve had some big wins against NCAA Division II and III teams, and we remain undefeated in our NCCAA region,” she said.

Last season, the Bruins volleyball team captured their first NCCAA DII National Championship with a sweep over Maranatha Baptist University. This year, the team looks to continue their good play by winning their second straight title on their home court. Their preparation includes experimenting with different lineups and combinations of players and working to get everyone playing time before the nationals competition.

At the end of every game, win or lose, each team seeks to use their sport to glorify God. “We recognize that our athletic abilities are a gift from God and strive to use those gifts to give Him glory, that in all things He will receive the glory due His name,” Coach Denny said.

The men’s soccer team began the season with their new head coach, Matt Hotchkin, and nine new freshmen players. The team ended their regular season with a 5-11 record overall, but in their conference, they had a winning record of three wins and one loss. 

Coach Hotchkin said the team has accomplished many of the objectives he set coming into his first season as coach. “Last year, we had over 50 goals scored on us,” he said. “This year, we have cut that number in half—26 going into the NCCAA Regional Tournament.”

In the 2018 National Tournament, the men’s team was eliminated in the group stage after losing both of their games. This year they entered regionals with a desire to improve their performance. After defeating Johnson University 7-1 in their semifinal match, they fell short against Pensacola Christian College 1-0 in the final. With the loss, the Bruins ended their season, missing the NCCAA DII National Tournament for the first time since 2015.

The women’s team also began the season with some roster changes, welcoming 13 incoming freshmen players. Overall the team ended the regular season with a record of 10-8, winning the only conference game they played this season. 

Head coach Chris Carmichael said that although this season has been difficult, the team has played well overall. “This was arguably our most difficult schedule to date,” he said. “Despite this, we were able to end up with our 7th consecutive winning season. That’s a huge accomplishment for such a young program and a testament to our players and their work ethic.” 

The women’s team won the regional tournament for the 5th season in a row, defeating Toccoa Falls College 4-0. They enter the NCCAA DII National Tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Last season, the women’s team suffered a hard loss in the championship game, losing to Grace Christian University on penalties. Going into nationals this year, the team looks to rebound from that loss by winning the tournament. 

“This season, we’re in excellent health, and the team is excited to have the opportunity to keep competing,” Carmichael said. “We have experienced highs and lows, but we will work hard to extend our season. We will always fall short in some areas, but in the end, we want to show the same grace, mercy and love that Christ extends to us,” Carmichael said. “Serving others is just part of the fabric of who we are.”