» By MARLON SCOTT – mscott5@my.apsu.edu

After weeks of intense, sweat inducing practices in warm ups and Under Armour, the athletes representing APSU in fall sports donned fresh, clean uniforms and smiled for the cameras during the fall sports media day held in the Dunn Center on Aug. 20.

The Lady Govs soccer and volleyball teams were especially ready to spread the word about their expectations.

Both teams are coming off exceptional seasons and are looking forward to repeating their success.

Flashes from the expensive cameras held in the steady hands of professional reporters reflected off the freshly buffed floor of the Dunn Center and the pearly white smiles of the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Volleyball Champions.

The Lady Govs volleyball team finished 26-8 last season. They won the OVC Championship and earned a spot in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship where they lost to Illinois in the first round.

The question on the lips of all the reporters at media day was: Could the Lady Govs repeat as champions under new head coach Bill Egbert, their fourth coach in four years?

“We have a great group of girls returning and we have a great group of freshmen in, so it’s really exciting for myself and for the staff,” Egbert said.

“It’s really a great thing to come into a group of girls that have the mindset our kids have, and just have the passion and drive for the game that they have. I am very lucky in coming here and taking over girls that are truly amazing.”

Egbert was backed up by the three seniors on his team: Paige Economos, Kayla Grantham and Ilyanna Hernandez.

“Everything is going really great. Bill, Lora and Leah have come in and are really making us work hard,” Economos said. “It’s going really well, and everybody is stepping up to the occasion.”

Economos, Grantham and Hernandez were not the only Lady Gov seniors confident and ready to face the press on media day.

Mackenzie Ladd and Olivia Fournier, two of the seniors on the Lady Govs soccer team, expressed their hunger to capture an OVC championship this season too.

“I think being a senior has a lot of responsibility to have leadership and to show the underclassmen what we are all about,” Ladd said. “We are expecting good things from them and coming into the OVC tournament, showing them that we want to take it this year.”

The Lady Govs soccer team broke almost every record in the books on their way to a historic 15-6-1 record last season.

The team made it all the way to the OVC Championship game, but loss to Morehead State, 1-2.

With 13 players returning from last year’s team, including their top five scorers, the Lady Govs know they have the talent to win the championship they came so close to capturing last season.

“We are starting to adopt this mentality that we are here to win a championship and we are not going to take it easy on teams,” said redshirt junior Sarah Kluttz. “We are going to do what we have to do for 90 minutes as best as we can.”

All the individual and team pictures were eventually taken, and the answers to questions that echoed in the Dunn Center eventually dwindled to silence as the media day ended.

As the media guides are assembled and websites updated, the players will be doing what they have practiced in the heat of summer for-pursuing championships. The next pictures taken will be of all the players in action with their uniforms not nearly as clean as on media day. TAS