Daily Egyptian

In the War Room with Warfel: Women athletes deserve more recognition

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

In retrospect, former sports reporters believed both volleyball and women’s basketball served the best chance at bringing home gold in the Missouri Valley Championship.

While the volleyball team brought home three wins and the women’s basketball team finished fifth in the conference, a different women’s sport was in fact the first to bring home a championship this year.

Last week, the SIU women’s golf team brought home a Missouri Valley Conference championship after getting voted to finish third in the pre-championship poll.

While golf may not be the most exciting sport to watch for some, my congratulations go out to the women on their accomplishment.

The women’s golf team’s win has strengthened my opinion it is the right time to be a fan of SIU women’s athletics — this is during a year where the football team finished with two wins, the men’s basketball team stumbled into third place in the Valley and baseball was in the midst of a seven game losing streak.

Looking at the rest of the year and into next fall, we are among exciting times and it is time to recognize the efforts of our women athletes.

While the season was not ideal for volleyball, I believe Ed Allen will be able to turn the volleyball program back into the NCAA contender it has been.

It can be argued the women’s basketball season was a disaster, but looking into the stats — this team is returning all of its starters. For a team who went 9-5 at home despite their fifth place finish in the conference, there is hope for the future.

Competitors on the Track and Field team have been on fire and have impressed the nation — from junior Megan Krolak to senior Tyjuana Eason, the women athletes are setting records what seems like almost every weekend.

Then there is the softball team, which to me has by far been the most impressive of any of the women’s teams, having won 10 straight games at one point this season.

Coming off a sweep last weekend against Indiana State and taking two out of three from Loyola this weekend, the softball team looks like a force to be reckoned within the conference.

While all of the teams will be finished competing by the end of May, the excitement for women’s athletics rolls into Fall 2019 as the women’s soccer team makes its Southern Illinois debut.

Looking at the body of work the women athletes have done to represent Southern Illinois University, I want to personally thank you.

In a year where everyone thought football would be contenders, men’s basketball would win the Valley and make a run in the NCAA tournament —  it has been the women athletes who have gone out and competed and represented the university in terms of wins.

I’m still hopeful for the men’s side of athletics at Southern coming into next year, and I fully believe in Jerry Kill as athletic director.

I hope Nick Hill will turn this football team around with his revamped staff and Bryan Mullins will bring back the “Floorburn U” mentality to Saluki men’s basketball.

For fans who have not turned their eyes towards the women athletes, I hope the Women’s Golf MVC Championship win has opened your eyes.

I hope you sit back and instead of complaining Saluki Athletics has had a terrible year, look towards the women and admire their efforts and their abilities in bringing recognition back to SIU.

Adam Warfel, Sports Editor, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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