By Kellie Lagoy
Virginia Wesleyan’s Men’s Basketball team is doing the same thing it does every year: win. The powerhouse squad has only dropped three matches, giving it an 18-3 overall record.
Head coach Dave Macedo knows that this kind of talent doesn’t come from any one player. He prides himself on having a talented team across the bench.
“I think it’s been a collective effort from everybody, and I think there has been steady progression. We have been getting better at the details. I think every week we just try to get a little bit better with everybody doing their part,” Macedo said.
Before the team can look ahead to a conference run, it must first finish its regular season. The four remaining games are all conference play, and the Marlins will have to make them count to maintain a home-court advantage moving into postseason play.
“We’re trying to make sure our preparation is intact and that we are moving forward. I think we are really trying to hit our stride going into the end of February and certainly the ODAC tournament. So it’s just making sure that we’re putting our guys in a good position and making sure they are playing with a high level of confidence,” Macedo said.
This team is looking to come out strong in the conference tournament. Unlike in years past, the Marlins have dropped two conference games so far in the regular season. Both of the losses have come from ODAC rival Randolph-Macon College. Neither loss was a blowout or high-scoring. Both teams gave a hard-fought effort, but the Yellow Jackets came out on top both times. These losses haven’t given Macedo or his team any worries. The only thing this team looks to do is improve as it moves forward in the season.
“I think we’ve really been stressing that we need to improve our half-court defense. That is something that has been a point of emphasis for us, and we challenge our guys to do that and to be playmakers this time of year. We want our seniors to set that tone. These guys want to be playing in March, and in order for that to happen we need to be taking it one game at a time and just keep getting better,” Macedo said.
This mindset of success runs deep with the players, no matter how long they have been in the program. Nick Doyle, a transfer student from Delaware State University, is already accustomed to the values and expectations that the members of this team hold close to them.
“The biggest difference is the atmosphere. Here, coach holds everyone accountable, and he really strives to make us be great teammates whether you’re playing 40 minutes or 20 minutes or you’re the last guy on the bench. You always have to be ready,” Doyle said.
Success and a strong family atmosphere is going to be what drives this Marlin team to a conference championship and another NCAA run.
The Marlins will finish with games against Eastern Mennonite and Washington and Lee on the road, and their last two regular-season home games will be against Hampden-Sydney and Guilford.