George Jones, former head basketball coach at Arkansas Tech and University of the Ozarks and head baseball coach at Ouachita Baptist University, will be the featured speaker at Monday’s month luncheon of the Arkansas Sports Club.
The luncheon, free to all interested, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Golden Corral. The program will begin at 12:05 p.m.
UCA men prepare for soccer season
The University of Central Arkansas men began serious preparations for the soccer season this weekend with a road exhibition match at the University of Mobile.
In their first season under head coach Ross Duncan, the Bears, as an affiliate member of the Missouri Valley Conference, improved from 2-11-4 (1-3-2 MVC) to 8-9-1 (1-4-1 MVC) and defeated third-seeded Bradley, 1-0, in the conference tournament.
“We feel like we built a base to move forward from in the next few years,” said Duncan. “Eight wins and postseason competition were good when compared to previous seasons, but they aren’t what we’re ultimately shooting for.”
The biggest question mark for the Bears this season is on the offense, where just one player to a score a goal last season, senior Alex Ghaffari, returns for Central Arkansas.
Defensively, the Bears return most of a strong back line that held opponents to 1.11 goals per game last season and features a pair of All-Missouri Valley performers in junior Matt Taphorn and sophomore Jacob Campbell.
During the offseason, the University installed lights, allowing the men’s and women’s soccer programs to schedule matches in the evening instead of the afternoon.
“Not only do the lights give the players a better feeling playing out of the heat of the day, but the fans will have a much better experience,” Duncan said. “Also, the day games are often tough for families to get to because of school and work commitments, so the lights will make for better attendance in the evenings.”
UCA will open regular season play on Saturday, August 31, by playing host to Houston Baptist.
Hendrix hires assistant volleyball coach
Brett Sikora is the new assistant volleyball coach at Hendrix.
“I’ve known Brett for a few years now and we were extremely lucky that someone like him was available,” said Hendrix coach Ryan Meek, entering his third season at the helm. “He has experience at the highest levels and is highly regarded as a trainer and recruiter.”
Prior to joining the Warriors, Sikora spent the 2012 season as a volunteer assistant at NCAA Division I powerhouse Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He spent three seasons as the assistant at Arkansas Tech University, helping the Golden Suns to two conference titles and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011. Besides his collegiate career, Sikora has coached several club teams in Michigan and Arkansas.
Sikora graduated from Western Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2006 and was the captain of the WMU men’s club volleyball team.
Sikora and the Warriors will open the 2013 season on Aug. 30 when they host the Hendrix Labor Day Invitational.
Conway players selected for elite regioin group
Four baseball players from Conway have been selected to compete for the Midwest Team in the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series.
Those selected are Mitch Jones and Jacob Adams and Conner Williams, 17, and Bubba Carter, 16. They were chosen from a five-region area that includes Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas). They leave this week for a final tryout in Cary, N.C.,
Each player played for other teams this summer Jones (American Legion 19U),
(Rawlings 16U), Williams (Conway Rockies) and Carter (Arkansas Express).
All will play for Conway High in spring.