Fall sports add fresh faces
By Lee Bontecou
After three months of quiet desertion, the grassy fields of Georgia College are soon to see a change of scenery. These desolate, forgotten outcroppings will once again return to the spotlight as the gathering spot of the university’s many athletes.
New faces will be joining GC athletics. Tennis’ Taylor Powell and soccer’s Ally Barys will lead the latest crew of freshman athletes across the courts and fields this year. The two may be new faces, but the team’s overall goals remain the same.
“At the start of every year you go in trying to win every match you can … there are no changes in that,” tennis coach Steve Barsby said.
Powell is the latest addition to the men’s tennis team, which saw a great deal of success last year finishing at 12-9 (4-5). This placed them at sixth in the Peach Belt Conference and 17th nationally. This success resulted from a 7-2 run in the team’s final nine matches.
“I know the Peach Belt is real tough, so I want to be peaking at the end,” Barsby said. “I think it’s just the guys, you know, nothing shocked them. They were more comfortable in their own skin and were able to compete at a high level at the end.”
Powell is a graduate of Evans High School in Augusta, and has been playing tennis since he was 7 years old. This decorated athlete won the National Open in doubles and has not lost a match since his freshman year of high school. He credits his success to his forehand and creativity on the court.
“I go with the shot I’m feeling,” Powell said. “I don’t stick to a certain, organized path to the match.”
Georgia College was Powell’s school of choice due to a combination of the coaching and the team’s competitive disposition.
The soccer team is looking to build on a young group with the addition of midfielder Barys. The team finished last season with a 5-14 (4-6) record.
“We were very successful considering our youth and lack of experience at this level,” coach Hope Clark said.
This year’s team will contain 17 underclassmen; six of the players are freshmen.
A native of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Barys
on her high school team and won team MVP in her junior year. Clark says the wide variety of skills Barys brings to the table is just what she is looking for.
Barys said her strengths lie in “good anticipation, ball movement, knowing where others are and an aggressive approach on the ball and in the air.”
The California recruit will be one of two out-of-state players on the team, but she believes “if (she) comes in prepared and knows (she) is there for a reason” she will adapt quickly.
Clark found Ally at a tournament in Las Vegas last year and knew that “her passion for the game, leadership, tactical knowledge and drive to do her best” would fit the team perfectly.
Barys wanted to find a school on the East Coast with a committed soccer team and felt that GC would be the right place to settle down.
The soccer team also added six additional members for competition this year.
Other fall sports are welcoming new athletes into the mix as well.
Hitting the trails is the Bobcat cross country team, beginning its regular season with the annual home meet, the Bobcat Invitational. With a diverse travelling schedule ahead of them, the team looks to build off of its successful 2011 season with addition of four women and three men to the roster.
In addition, the Sassy Cats dance team aims to continue performing well after placing tenth at nationals in Orlando in January.
As the temperatures cool down, the Bobcat athletes will be warming up and heading out to courts and fields around campus.