In the War Room with Warfel: A Saluki Welcome

It’s a new year for Saluki athletics and with a new year comes new hopes, new dreams and sometimes even new coaches.

For the incoming freshman, to recap last year for SIU athletics, the football and volleyball team struggled in the fall with both teams combining for seven wins across 42 games for both teams.

The track and field team, as well as the cross country team, broke some individual records as well as some team records in the fall, including Josh Maier winning the MVC championship and senior Megan Krolak taking 11th in the championship for the women.

Advertisement

The men’s basketball team had high expectations heading into the season, but a four-game losing streak in conference play left many fans wondering what had happened.

They were able to rebound and finish third in the conference, but ultimately fell to UNI in the conference tournament.

After the loss, former head coach Barry Hinson stepped down as coach after a deal he made with the former chancellor with a promise to make the NCAA tournament or the NIT.

The women’s basketball team did not fare much better, losing four in a row as well in conference play, but winning two out of their last three games helped them to finish sixth in the conference.

The women also played UNI in their tournament, where they fell 66-63 to end their season.

Men’s and women’s golf had the best seasons of all of SIU athletics as far as hardware goes, with both teams hoisting the Missouri Valley Conference tournament trophies in the spring and advancing to the NCAA regionals.

Softball lost their first two games to open the season, but nine straight wins, including a win over Mississippi State, saw them receiving votes in the top 25.

They finished with an 18-5 record in conference play, good enough for second behind Drake, but they fell in their conference tournament to UNI.

The loss to UNI left the softball team to hope that they had put together a good enough schedule to get a bid to the NCAA tournament.

On May 12, they awaited to hear their name as they were announced as being apart of the Evanston regional as one of the last four in.

The softball team fell in the Evanston regional, winning against Detroit Mercy but falling to Louisville and host Northwestern, ending their season.

Baseball, much like the men’s basketball team, had high expectations heading into the season, being picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll.

They put together a respectable 21-13 record in non-conference, but as the schedule turned to the conference games they struggled claiming five wins and finishing last in the conference.

The MVC introduced a new format for the baseball tournament this year, which required teams to lose twice to be eliminated.

Southern was able to win their play in game against Bradley then lost to Illinois State, but they then beat Missouri State to survive and advance.

They played Indiana State in a win or go home game, which they lost 10-9 as the Sycamores would be the eventual winners of the tournament.

The track and field team set more records in the spring, with Josh Maier breaking a 38-year-old conference record in the MVC for the 5K with a time of 14:04.78.

Bri’Anna Branch also made her name known in the conference championships with a school record time in the 100 meter of 11.40 seconds.

This new season of SIU athletics includes a whole new sport in women’s soccer, as well as new coaches in football, volleyball, men’s basketball and baseball.

To those new to Southern, I welcome you. As for advice as to what to expect for athletics, I say enjoy the ride.

Buckle in those of you new to the Saluki family, and please attend at least one sporting event; you are paying for it anyways.

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

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement