Piedmont Sports: 2022 Fall Season Preview

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Senior midfielder Kaity Hemperly is one of the team’s

 Women’s Soccer

Senior midfielder Kaity Hemperly is one of the team’s six All-Conference returners. PHOTO // KARL MOORE

The Piedmont University’s women’s soccer team rallied all the way to the championship game last season, falling short to Covenant College in the finals of the USA South Tournament. This season, they hope to win it all.

The team ended 2021 with a record of 13-5 with 4 ties. In the USA South regular season, the Lady Lions went 7-1, which included three overtime wins. For the first time in program history, the Lions outright took home the USA South — West Division regular season title. This year, the Lady Lions bring on 14 freshmen after losing nine seniors. They will be led by an experienced group of upperclassmen, including All-Conference honorees Kaylee King, Abby Judge, Anya Olson, Kaity Hemperly, Victoria Sierra, and Gabbie Hayes.

“Our team is excited about the challenges that are on the schedule this season and the opportunity that is ahead of us,” said Timmy McCormack, head coach and USA South Coach of the Year last season. “We have a difficult schedule full of teams who have won national championships and are perennial contenders in the national tournament. Since that’s always our goal here, we enjoy getting to match up with those teams and relish the opportunity to compete with some of the nation’s best.  Our support here at Piedmont is unwavering, and we know with that foundation that we can continue to compete amongst the best in the country.”

The Lady Lions opened their season Sept. 1 in Tacoma, Washington. Catch the Piedmont University soccer team battle Toccoa Falls College at home, Sept. 9.

—Vanessa Manzo

Men’s Soccer

Senior defender JoJo Croffie will be one of the team leaders for the Piedmont men’s soccer teams.

After a strong finish in last season, the men’s soccer team hopes to turn heads in 2022.

Led by graduated player Cameron Earls, the team finished 6-10 in the regular season (2-4 in the USA South). Earls led the conference with 18 goals during his time at Piedmont. With the leading goal scorer gone, the team hopes to bring in a host of new talent onto the pitch. With 20 new freshmen on the roster and a few returners, there will be plenty of scoring opportunities for the young Lions. Senior Jojo Croffle will look forward to staying healthy for the Lions and helping the team capitalize on their success this season.

Head Coach Jimmy Stephens, who has been led the team for 17 years, anticipates success for this squad.

“My expectations for our team are to work well together and establish great team chemistry,” Stephens said. “We have a lot of new faces this season and hope the upperclassmen can lead the younger guys to success in the classroom and on the field.”

The Lions start the season with two road contests at Warren Wilson on Sept. 1 and Sewanee on Sept. 3.

—Leandro Forero

Men’s & Women’s Cross Country

Hoping to chase the success from the 2021 cross country season, the Lions cross country teams have high expectations for the 2022 season.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams ended 2021 with a fourth-place finish at the USA South Conference Championship. The men started their season with a bang, placing first of nine at the UNG Invitational. Connor Moranos finished the 5k race in third place, setting the school record at 15:32:5 and being named USA South men’s cross country “Runner of the Week.” The men had a solid run the whole season, ending 12th out of 23 at the NCAA South Regional.

Also at the UNG Invitational, the women brought home some successes. Val Angel finished 6th while Jaycie Ponce placed 12th. Angel set a Piedmont record, crossing the finish line at 18:48.5 in the 5k. Ponce’s time also passed Piedmont’s previous best time, coming in at 19:12.6.

The team started the 2022 season off strong at the Watermelon Run in Mount Berry. Senior Gary Halverson finished first with a time of 27:33.1, nearly 40 seconds shorter than his 2021 time. The Lady Lions finished the Watermelon Run with a third-place finish, with Ponce pacing the team with a time of 25:03.8 .

“Based on our teams performance on the first race, I am very excited to see what comes in the future,” said Halverson. “Our team is looking strong and the season has just started. We’re ready to push our capabilities and try to drop some serious time over these next few meets.”

The cross country teams will compete at the UNG Invitational on Friday, Sept. 9 at the University of North Georgia in Oakwood.

—Emma Marti

Volleyball

After an uncharacteristic down year in 2021, Jamie McCormack’s team is looking to rebound tremendously and take the Collegiate Conference of the South by storm. The team finished 6-20 last season, including a 5-11 record in conference play. The team looks to take on familiar foes in the new conference, Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS), allowing them to see the same talent from last season. There is a lot of upside in this team, as we all hope to see them succeed this season.

The team lost one of the most pivotal players in Jessica Beil, but other than her departure, the roster is pretty much the same. The team is bringing back a very talented roster that has the ability to make some noise in the new conference. The team was projected to finish 6th in the CCS, but with the depth at every position, a top 3 finish could be in the cards of this team. This Lady Lions roster brings back a talented sophomore class and an impressive senior class. Sophomores are highlighted by oustide hitter Jessica Sconyers who is the team’s leader in blocks and

Jenna Ash who led the team in kills last season. A few seniors who look to have an impact in their last year are Brianna King, Hannah Kate Chadwell, Ciera Phelps, Jennifer Herrera, and Jaclyn Sampson.

The duo of Jessica Sconyers and Hannah Kate Chadwell look to continue their success in the middle, having both players top 2 in blocks last season. Most players returning this year had good seasons last year, but this is a totally new season, a fresh start for most of this roster. This team has a chip on its shoulder and is looking to shock the conference by really turning it around.

 “I expect some big wins and I expect to catch a lot of teams by surprise with what we’ve got this year,” McCormack said, adding that he expects a huge turnaround from last season, “I am thrilled about the level of play I have seen in our practices and I can’t wait to see it translate to our matches.”

McCormack has a lot of optimism heading into the 2022 campaign. “Regular season most likely won’t feel too different since the new conference is comprised of teams from our division of the old conference plus one more,” McCormack said. “I suspect it will feel different when we get to the playoffs.”

The volleyball team will begin their season with a regular season match against Oglethorpe University in Atlanta on Sept. 6. The team will get their home schedule started on Sept. 16 against Florida College.

—Chad Hall

Women’s Golf

After finishing third in the USA South Tournament last season, the Piedmont University Women’s Golf Team looks to work towards a championship this year.

This season the Lady Lions welcome new Head Coach, Hannah Satterfield, who joined the team this fall after coaching for three years at Tallulah Falls School. Satterfield replaces former Head Coach Susan Martin, who concluded her career at Piedmont after six seasons.

“I’m very excited for the upcoming season,” says Satterfield. “We have a very young but talented team, and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish this year.”

The team welcomes three freshmen to the green after having a successful 2021-22 campaign.

The Lady Lions received a team title at the Piedmont Invitational with the help of newcomers Lizzie Hamilton and Sarah Fox, who led the Lady Lions to victory. After earning USA South Co-Women’s Golf Rookie of the Week for their all-tournament performance, this duo will play a key role in Piedmont’s success this season.

Another player predicted to make a swinging impact this season is Savannah Barefoot. In her sophomore season, Barefoot posted an 88.05 scoring average and finished in the Top 10 at the Piedmont Invitational.

The Lady Lions journey will begin Sept. 10 at the Transylvania Fall Invite in Lexington, Kentucky.

—Anya Olson

Men’s Golf

The Piedmont University men’s golf team had an outstanding season last year and are looking forward to keeping their hot streak going this fall.

The golf team finished last season ranked #13 in the country according to Golfstat, and ranked 11th in the GCAA poll as well. Despite some seniors graduating this past spring, the Lions will continue to excel on the course. Michael Clardy will be back in action this year as a graduate student and was one of the Lions top performers throughout the year. Clardy ranked #12 in all of NCAA Division III by GolfStat following the fall 2020 season.

The Lions are also looking for help from senior Fred Roberts IV. Roberts is a native from Richmond Hill, Georgia. Roberts also ranked as the No. 7 golfer in all of NCAA Division III following the 2020 fall season, when he played in 4 events averaging a round of 72.

Head coach JP Kircher is excited about this upcoming year. “We have a lot of leadership on the team, and that’s a great key to success when we bring in our new freshman.”

The Lions open their first tournament in Robinsonville, Mississippi at the Tunica National Golf Club with the Rhodes Fall Intercollegiate golf tournament on Sept. 18-19.

—Connor Rogers

Women’s Tennis

Junior Brook Patton is one of the returning Lady Lions hoping to pace the tennis team to a conference championship this season. PHOTO // KARL MOORE

The Piedmont University women’s tennis team had a very triumphant season last year and are looking to ride that wave into 2022-23.

The Lady Lions are coming off the high of winning the USA South conference tournament last spring and a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to Emory University. This fall season the Lady Lions have their line up mostly intact from last year, losing only three key players but adding some fresh faces and legs with four new freshman in the class of 2022. Piedmont will be entering play in the new Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS), and holding winning records against the other eight teams.

Trey Martin, head coach of the Lady Lions, has high hopes and even higher expectations for the team as they enter their fall schedule. “I’m hopeful in this season,” he said.“Even though the fall is technically off season for us, we still have a stacked schedule.I really believe that these ladies can pull off what they did last year and do even better.”

The women’s tennis team will kick off match play this Friday, Sept. 9 as they host the first ever “Piedmont Invitational,” where they will welcome Methodist University, Brevard College, Huntingdon College and Belhaven University.

—Silas Sandles

Men’s Tennis

The Piedmont University’s men’s tennis team is hoping to build off a successful 2021-22 season when the Lions finished with a record of 16-6.

Last season, graduating senior Patrick Dempsey led the team with a 13-3 overall singles record and fellow senior Chris Bale was right behind him with a 12-3 singles record. Keeping up with them was junior Cooper Kework, who had a singles record of 6-0. On the doubles team, Dempsey and Bale posted a record of 10-3.

The Lions hope to build on their previous record, relying on some new faces this year. These tall freshmen include Austyn Adderly who stands at 6’3” and Simon Johnstone who is 6’2”. Both are hoping to help the Piedmont men’s tennis teams progress on their success.

“I feel like we have a very strong team this year with a great freshman class,” said senior tennis player Cooper Kework. “We are all more motivated than ever to grow and succeed together.”

The Lions will begin their 2022 campaign on Sept. 9-10 at Young Harris.

—Jessica Sconyers

Men’s & Women’s Swimming

They say the third time is the charm. In the case of Piedmont swimming, it seems they’ve found their stroke as they enter the third year of the program. Coming off a successful second season, Piedmont swimming looks to be a dominant force in the conference going forward, with a new and improved roster that adds on to an already large pool of talent.

Last season the team started off strong for both the men and women, as both squads dominated the Warren Wilson College Owls at the Ruby Fulbright Aquatic Center on Oct. 23 in the only home meet for Lions. The men followed up that performance with more dual victories – including a pair of double-dual sweeps – to finish the season 6-0 in dual competition. Through their first two seasons as a program, Piedmont men’s swimming is still undefeated in dual action at 10-0 overall.

The Lady Lions swim team was involved in a little more dual action than the men and finished the season with an 8-1 record. Their only loss was a 103-65 defeat to local NAIA opponent Brenau University. The Piedmont women have a record of 12-2 in duals through two seasons of competition.

Piedmont swim coach Teddy Guyer is excited about the incoming talent, and is looking for the 2022-23 squads to build upon that previous success.

“This year we are expecting to compete for the conference championship. I am looking forward to the upper-classmen taking that next step, and for all our new swimmers helping us reach our goals — they are ready to compete and help this team get better.”

Piedmont Swim added added 19 freshmen, who will work with juniors Lizzie Arrendale, Jon Brown, Ross Coppedge, Zane Morgan and Ashley Pugh to achieve the team’s aspirations of winning conference.

Both the men’s and women’s swim squads will be in action starting Sept. 24 against Suwanee: The University of the South.

—Aaron Palmer