The Men’s Basketball team started their 2021-2022 season this past Friday, Nov. 5, against the North Carolina Wesleyan University Battling Bishops where the Marlins took home the win 80-69. Last season, the team finished with a record of 3-5 overall and 3-0 in conference. This season they were selected third in the 2021 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Marlins are coming off a challenging season last year because of multiple pauses due the COVID-19 pandemic that had pushed them back for almost two weeks. However, the team has pushed past that set back and are ready to come back stronger than before. “We all definitely feel really prepared this year, not worried about any stoppages since we’re all vaccinated,” said senior Joey Lee, a point guard for the VWU Men’s Basketball team.
The team has recruited a decent freshman class for the season to assist
the Marlins in reaching their overall goal of winning ODAC championships and national championships. The Marlins also have brought back their super squad, Tim Fisher, Corey Pelham and Tyree Golston; these Marlins decided to use their extra eligibility that was given to all NCAA athletes due to the pandemic cutting their season short. “We got a lot of good freshmen who just came in. We have a veteran team and a lot of seniors, as well
as a really good coaching staff,” Lee said.
Lee stated that one thing that the Men’s Basketball team is doing differently this year is putting more work in the weight room. They are conditioning more often and hitting the weights harder.
“One thing that we did stress in the offseason is conditioning and hitting the
weights a lot harder cause we thought that kind of held us back a lot last year but we definitely did that this offseason with a lot of tough workouts and we all feel it on the court and so I think that it will be big and we can really deep this season,” Lee said.
The Men’s Basketball team continues their season at home when they face the Saints of Marymount University on Nov. 13 at 3:00 p.m. The Marlins will then travel to Raleigh, NC to play against the Pacers of William Peace University on Nov. 20. Finally, the team will finish out the month of November with two home games against the Falcons of Pfeiffer University on Nov. 22. and the Eagles of the University of Mary Washington.
The Virginia Wesleyan University Women’s Basketball team finished last
season, 2020-2021, with a record of 5-7 overall and 4-4 in conference. Like
many of the sports teams here at Virginia Wesleyan, their season got pushed back due to COVID-19 and other situations. Last season was a hit and miss for the Lady Marlins, but this season they have a different game plan that will help lead them to a conference championship title. “The ultimate goal is to get to the ODAC [tournament] and of course do better than we did last year. We are very optimistic that we can achieve that goal,” junior Bianca Atkinson, a point guard for the VWU Women’s Basketball team, said.
A challenge faced last year by the Lady Marlins that was tough for a lot of athletic teams was that there were no fans in the stands. Teams had to compete to empty arenas and only had their teammates on the bench to rely on for hype noise. However, that has changed this year as fans are now allowed back, masked up, in the stands. “We’re very excited to have fans back. We hope a lot of people show up because it’s kind of weird playing in a quiet gym and sometimes the fans have an aspect of energy and it is just nice to know you have support,” Atkinson said.
To prepare for the season, the Lady Marlins focused on their weaknesses that showed last year. Atkinson mentioned that the team has focused on doing more cardio exercises to improve their strength on the court to get better results. “I think we definitely put more emphasis on our weaknesses, like we’ve done more cardio to get better prepared for the upcoming season,” Atkinson said.
The VWU Women’s Basketball team continues their season as they travel to
Winston-Salem, NC to face off against the Spirits of Salem College on Nov. 13 at 1:00 p.m.
BY SHIRELL WASHINGTON
Feature Image Courtesy of Cameron Evans
(#4 S’Zahria Jones Pictured)