Friday, December 27, 2013

A Look Back at the A-Sun's 2013 Champions

As 2013 comes to a close, a quick look back shows that the year was a championship season in at least one sport for nine of the A-Sun's 10 members.

Check out the photo blog below to recap each of the A-Sun's 2013 Champions.


Men's Tennis Tournament Champs

Baseball Tournament Champs

Volleyball Regular Season Co-Champs

Women's Golf Tournament Champs

Men's Soccer Tournament Champs

Women's Tennis Regular Season Champs


Men's Basketball Tournament Champs

Women's Basketball Regular Season Champs

2012-13 All-Sports Champs

Women's Indoor Track & Field

Women's Outdoor Track & Field (8 straight outdoor titles)

Volleyball Regular Season Co-Champs, Tournament Champs

Women's Soccer Tournament Champs

Kennesaw State

Men's Indoor Track & Field Champs

Men's Outdoor Track & Field Champs


Men's Cross Country Champs

Women's Cross Country Champs


Men's Basketball Regular Season Champs

Baseball Regular Season Champs

North Florida 

Men's Golf Tournament Champs

Men's Tennis Regular Season Champs

Sand Volleyball Regular Season & Tournament Champs

Women's Tennis Regular Season & Tournament Champs

Softball Regular Season Champs


Women's Basketball Tournament Champs

USC Upstate

Softball Tournament Champs

Thursday, December 19, 2013

'Tis the Season For #ASunWBB Giving

Atlantic Sun Women’s Hoops is about more than a game. Around the league teams have put an effort out to help the community, while balancing practices, games and school work.

FGCU started giving back to the community during the off season as the squad spent time volunteering at the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The team volunteered as part of the “Fill Our Fleet to Feed the Hungry” initiative that encouraged local shoppers to load donations onto LeeTran buses parked in 34 Publix parking lots on Sunday.  After loading, the buses went to the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Fowler Street location where the team joined more than 100 other volunteers in unloading the donations.  With the help of the team, the packed buses were unloaded in just a few hours. 
The Mercer women’s basketball team participated in the Be a Good NeighBEAR service event before the season kicked off. The event involved several groups who participated in five different neighborhood cleanups across the city with local neighborhood associations.

Next, North Florida started the season of giving as the team volunteered at Halloween Doors & More which I a program that allows children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families to enjoy Halloween festivities. To date, the event has raised more than $2.8 million for the Community PedsCare program. The Ospreys escorted children through the different themed rooms that allowed children to get their faces painted, hair done and receive candy and gifts.
ETSU brought helping hands into the community during Thanksgiving in multiple facets.

The Buccaneers started the giving season as the team volunteered their time to mentor youth from Andrew Johnson Elementary.  Later that day several Bucs donated their time to bag groceries for the United Way at Food City near ETSU’s campus.

 “Thanksgiving week is the perfect time for our team to give back to the Johnson City community,” said first-year ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell. “We, as a program, have a multitude of things to be thankful for and what better ways to express our gratitude than to have our players serve others.”
Kennesaw State got into the holiday giving spirit as the Owl’s women’s basketball team partnered with the 
MUST Ministries Toy Shop in helping local families shop for Christmas gifts at the toy shop. The toy shop consisted of gifts and goods that were donated in order to help families in need.
Jacksonville will look to assist with the Christian Laettner Second Harvest Clinic for Kids on December 28th. During the clinic the children of the Riverside Presbyterian Youth Basketball League, which consists of more than 80 girl’s and boy’s teams, will receive instruction from former NBA player Christian Laettner and the Dolphins who will lend their hands with the free camp and also facilitate a food bank collection for Second Harvest.
"Our program prides itself on serving the community,” said Head Coach Yolett McPhee- McCuin. “Every month, we have participated in at least one community service event and this month’s is special because it is Christmastime. This is when people need others the most for various reasons and we plan to do whatever we can to bring warmth during special this time of the year. "

Friday, December 13, 2013

Social Media Map: #ASunMBB Hits The Road

Only 35 days into the 2013-14 Atlantic Sun Men’s Basketball season and road contests have begun to stack up for league teams with a combined 57 games away from their home arenas.

Life on the road for A-Sun student-athletes can be tough with early departures and late arrivals coupled with studying for classes on the road, but it also takes them to places otherwise would have gone unseen.

Take a look through this social media travel map of some of the trips, adventures and historic arenas that A-Sun teams have come across so far this season - starting with a winter wonderland that North Florida encountered on its trip to Bloomington.

An Upstate fan added some flair to Tennessee's campus before the game vs. the Spartans
The Ospreys' Dallas Moore dropped 27 points in IU's Assembly Hall that has housed three NCAA Championship teams.
Northern Kentucky hits the sites in New Orleans before an overtime victory vs. Tulane.
The Norse appeared in the UCF Cure Classic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Behind 37 points from Jakob Gollon, Mercer won a triple overtime contest at Valparaiso
Prior to the Valpo win, Mercer practiced at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse:
Lipscomb faced Georgetown in the Verizon Center; Home of the Washington Wizard's and NHL's Capitals.
Stetson has played on some "interesting" courts on the road this season.
The Hatters also took part in the Gulf Coast Showcase at Fort Myers' Germain Arena.
NFL Legend Jerry Rice talked with Kennesaw State prior to its game at Mississippi State
ETSU squared off in Georgia Tech's remodeled Hank McCamish Pavilion.
An early shoot-around allowed FGCU time to adjust to FIU's new court.
FGCU's Bernard Thompson came prepared for the Eagles' trip to Nebraska.
A look inside the Jacksonville huddle at in-state foe, Florida State
Finally, USC Upstate started off the season right with a win at Virginia Tech in its first game of the season

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shift in Attitude Led to Success for Courtney and the Dolphins

Winston Churchill once said that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Jacksonville senior Kendall Courtney and her Dolphins personify that statement, as they concluded a record-setting 2013 season in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship Thursday evening. The Dolphins fell to fifth-seeded Florida 3-0, but completed an amazing 2013 season in which they enjoyed a list of impressive accomplishments, including a turnaround from 10-24 overall (7-11 A-Sun) in 2012 to 30-4 overall and 16-2 in A-Sun play this season.
It is fitting that Courtney led the team in assists with 24 as she concluded her collegiate career against the Gators. Leading the team statistically is nothing new for Courtney, as she has led the Dolphins statistically and been among the conference leaders in each of her four years at JU. She has also garnered A-Sun Academic honors all four years along with All-Conference Second-Team and Player of the Week honors this season.

Courtney admits that as a younger player her expectations for herself and her team were high.

"I set pretty high goals for myself coming into the program, because I am hard to please," said Courtney.

As a freshman, she earned A-Sun All-Academic honors and was named to the Dean’s List. She was the only player to start in all 30 matches in 2010 and led the team in assists (1,095), service aces (50) and double-doubles (assists & digs) with seven.

In her sophomore season, in which she was a captain, Courtney was again an A-Sun All-Academic selection and was named to the President's Honor Roll. On the court she started in all 31 matches and led the A-Sun in overall assists (1,222) and ranked second in service aces (54).

Individually Courtney was achieving, but it was not translating into success for the team. ""In my first two seasons, my goals were centered around my personal play, and that didn't work out too well," she says. "I was captain my sophomore year, and I really struggled with that too."

In Courtney's junior season Michelle Collier was hired as head coach of the Dolphins, bringing with her the philosophy of "team first" that has pervaded the program and propelled JU to its place among the nation's leaders in team - not individual - statistical categories. Courtney points to that event as the turning point for both her attitude and that of the team.

"Michelle brings a lot of energy and passion to the game, and she really makes you look forward to practice," said Courtney. "She really turned things around. Before she arrived I had gotten to the point where I really didn't look forward to practice and had lost some of my excitement for the game, but all that changed. I changed my attitude toward everything about volleyball, and she has shown us what an opportunity this is and how rare it is to be able to compete like we have at the Division I level."

Courtney's success has been well documented, and Collier is quick to point out how fortunate she was to inherit a player like her. As a junior she was one of two Dolphins to play in all 127 sets and was once again recognized academically by membership on the A-Sun Academic All-Conference team. On the court she led JU and ranked fifth in the A-Sun with 1,211 assists and ranked first on the team in digs (355) and second in aces (24).

Kendall considers herself a player that leads by example, and says the change in attitude was also adopted by her teammates, something that not only led her to individual success but to her team's success as well.

"When we bought into what Michelle was trying to accomplish, that really helped put it all together," says Courtney. "I changed my attitude, and I really think that my leadership has improved the most in the last two years. 

As a senior, the 2013 season has been a memorable one. She competed in 126 sets, starting in all 34 matches. She became the Atlantic Sun career leader in service aces after JU's win over North Florida on Oct. 10 and finishes her career with 168. She earned selection as the 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP and membership to the All-Tournament team, along with A-Sun All-Conference Second Team honors. She earned her first career Player of the Week nod on Sept. 4, and wrapped up the season as the eighth-ranked career active leader in the NCAA in assists.

"This season was unexpected to me," says Courtney. "Not to say that the past three years have been disappointing, but the program was not where I had hoped it would be. This season has been a total team effort, because we have a tremendous team chemistry and we are all on the same page."

Collier credits Courtney for her change in attitude, but is also quick to point out that much of her success also comes from a well defined work ethic and passion for the game.

"Kendall is a rare kind of player," says Collier. "We share a love and passion for the game, and that helps us see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.

"She is also an extremely hard worker, one who not one day would ask for anything special or a break in anything, and she would go through a wall for this team if we asked her to. That has earned her a great deal of respect from her coaches and teammates. She is more patient with other players now because her focus is about the team, and she has become a great role model because of that.

"Kendall is basically a regurgitation of what this program is all about," Collier concludes. "It is hard to find a player like her."