Fall quarter has begun and with it starts the soccer, volleyball and cross-country seasons at Clark. But for student-athletes, who have been playing games since early August, the season started this summer.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams are halfway through their seasons. The men are on a five-game winning streak with a 5-2-1 overall record and 4-0 in NWAC conference play. The women have yet to lose a game with a season record of 7-0-2 and 5-0-1 within the conference.
Women’s soccer head coach Sean Janson said his team plays fast and technical. He said they have great depth and he is comfortable playing all 25 rostered players every game.
Brett Jacobs, head coach of men’s soccer, described his team as genuine. “That’s what is really, really important, that the guys are honest, they’re hard working and as long as they take it game-by-game good things will happen,” Jacobs said. “But we never want to look beyond the next game.”
Jacobs is tempering expectations despite calling the start to the men’s season “solid.”
“Good things happen when you get around teams with good chemistry,” he said.
Janson said the women’s goal is to get halfway through the season without losing. “Once you get into the playoffs anything can happen, but that’s too far ahead for us to think about,” he said.
Head volleyball coach Mark Dunn said his team of “big swingers” is defined by hustle and character. He said they were “put through the ringer” to start the season going 4-5 against some stiff competition. They are now 11-8.
Sophomore captain Meghan Turner credits the group’s chemistry for their turnaround. “We flow better,” she said.
The team is 3-1 at home. “The support of the home crowds has been awesome,” Dunn said.
Dunn has the postseason in his sights, and hopes to make it back to the playoffs after making appearances the past two years.
Both cross-country teams returned only four runners from last year but used the offseason to replenish their dwindled rosters. Last season they ran with only three men and six women, instead of the full rosters of nine each.
Head coach Bob Williams said his new-look team is, “Jelling really well, they’re getting along really well, almost immediately.”
They will look to continue the success they had at the NWAC Preview at Lewisville Park. The women placed second overall and the men came in third in the opening race of the season.
“I told them that they should be happy but not satisfied,” Williams said. “We’re definitely going to be better. How much better is the big factor.”
Chemistry, character and the one-game-at-a-time mentality are common themes in the rhetoric of Clark’s head coaches. Rhetoric that appears to be reaching their student-athletes, who are poised for the impending playoff push.