Assuming that the spring goes as scheduled on the campus of APSU, it’s safe to say that the beginning of 2021 will be restless when it comes to Governors athletics.

All 15 teams are currently projected to compete for an Ohio Valley Conference title when their respective seasons kick off. With that in mind, here are The All State’s projections as to how each team will finish in the conference this season.


If their first three games were any indicator, followers of the APSU football team may not be willing to watch the spring portion of the Govs season. In the fall, the Governors were outscored 134-37. Given, two of the three games were on the road against once-ranked members of the AP Top 25.

However, the small sample size from their 0-3 start should be anything but a sign of things to come. With the Preseason OVC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year on the roster, alongside the emergence of freshman running back C.J. Evans, I expect the Govs to repeat as conference champions and punch their ticket into the FCS playoffs.

PROJECTION: OVC Championship

Men’s basketball

Belmont and Mu**ay State have had their fun in the basketball portion of OVC play. The two teams have been crowned conference champions seven of the last 10 years. In that span, APSU has only won one Ohio Valley title.

Unfortunately for the Bruins and Racers, the Governors are destined to add another to their trophy case in 2021. Belmont may have won it all in Evansville a year ago, but the transfer of Adam Kunkel and Nick Hopkins only hurt an already veteran-depleted team. Tevin Brown returns for Mu**ay State but will be faced with more of a challenge on the interior when driving against power five transfers Corbin Merritt and Mike Peake.

Lindy’s Sports Magazine has already tabbed the Govs as OVC champions, with basketball insiders additionally predicting a nationally-ranked squad for Matt Figger. Considering the return of Jordyn Adams and Terry Taylor, give me the Governors for men’s basketball.

PROJECTION: OVC Championship

Women’s basketball

Anyone who has been around APSU women’s basketball head coach David Midlick knows that the program is heading in the right direction. They’re fresh off of their best season since 2004, which concluded with an overtime finish against the regular season’s second-best team.

With returning all but one starter from a season ago, the expectations should be high for the Governors in 2021. However, their inexperience in the postseason could limit their potential moving forward.

Midlick’s squad finished seventh in the conference last year and, while they should perform better in the OVC this season, the remaining competition to be found in UT Martin, Southeast Missouri State and Belmont leave me to believe that the Govs will finish in the middle-of-the-pack this year.



A team is going to perform well when you return 24 players from the year before. Head coach Travis Janssen has an excitement about the program that is incomparable to previous seasons. That means a lot when examining the Governors win against top-ranked Vanderbilt two seasons ago and a third-place projection in 2020.

The biggest question comes down to pitching for the Bat Govs. Last year, the starters on the staff held a combined ERA of 8.45. The key for the Govs to stay afloat in an offensive-minded Ohio Valley Conference is through their pitching rotation. Through a handful of scrimmages, I am willing to believe that Janssen and company have strengthened their staff from a season ago.



Now in her third year as head coach, Kassie Stanfill seems to have a grip on managing the culture within the Governors softball program. An 11-12 mark from 2020 doesn’t tell the whole story, partially because all 23 of those games were out of conference and only a third of them were at home.

With Harley Mullins now joined by a complete pitching rotation and all three outfielders gaining experience from a year ago, this team can continue their respectable play in the OVC during the 2021 season.


Ginny Busse celebrates during a set against Eastern Kentucky in 2019. RILEY COOPER | APSU SPORTS INFORMATION
Ginny Busse reacts during a set against Eastern Kentucky in 2019.


Between the 2016-18 seasons, the APSU volleyball team produced over 80 wins. Highlighted by Ashley Glotta and Ginny Busse, the program shined bright with a conference championship and an NCAA tournament appearance to boast.

Last year saw the graduation of Glotta and, although Busse still shined – eventually earning Defensive Player of the Year honors – the program only managed 11 victories. The youth of last season served as a thorn for Taylor Mott’s squad, but their experience in 2019 will undoubtedly help them moving forward.


Men’s tennis

The men’s tennis program has certainly seen better days. As attention focuses onto the continued success of the women’s team, the men have failed to produce a winning season in five years.

Ross Brown returns five players from a season ago, but only has six players on roster. Success could come their way through seniors Anton Damberg, Oliver Andersson, Jacob Lorino and Christian Edison, but the lack of depth may create fatigue early and often for the program.


Women’s tennis

Opposite to that of the men’s tennis team, Brown has excelled in leading the women’s program to 49 wins over the last four years, including an NCAA tournament berth in 2019. Considering the return of every player from last season’s 9-3 squad, it’s safe to say that the Governors are primed to repeat as conference champions.

PROJECTION: OVC Championship

Women’s soccer

Naomi Kolarova has managed to get her team into the OVC soccer tournament three of the last four seasons. That mark is impressive, except for the fact that the Govs have not been unable to make it past the first round in any of those appearances.

The Governors’ spring record at Morgan Brothers Soccer Field remains to be a key component to how their year fares in the conference. In 2019, APSU managed just two wins in seven matches at home. If that continues in 2021, it’s hard to expect much more than another first-round exit for the Govs.


Renee Semaan prepares a penalty kick in a match against Mercer. | THE ALL STATE ARCHIVES
Renee Semaan prepares a penalty kick in a match against Mercer. |

Men’s golf

The men’s golf program returns a roster compiled of only two underclassmen, which will benefit Robbie Wilson and company as they attempt to break out in the OVC. However, the transfer of Tate Dickerson takes them a step back from the next level.

Besting Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky in a match play challenge last season brings confidence to a group who experienced two tournaments prior to the conference’s cancellation. Look for APSU to produce their best conference finish under Wilson in 2021.


Women’s golf

A junior-laden roster sets the 2021 season for second-year coach Jessica Combs. In her first year, the APSU alum led the Govs to four top-three finishes in non-conference play. Although Combs’ program lacked the opportunity to play in an OVC tournament last year, a season of resurgence for APSU women’s golf is to be expected.


Beach volleyball

The most important question regarding the upcoming season for the beach volleyball program is the evident overlap that now plays with the court volleyball season. Now participating in the OVC’s second year offering the sport, the seven players who play for both teams will be stretched thin for Mott’s beach department as well.

Mott and company were a perfect 4-0 prior to athletic competition being canceled, and hopes for more of the same when facing conference foes this spring.


Cross country

Very similarly to beach volleyball, cross country wouldn’t normally tend to overlap with track and field. Since both programs now anticipate to compete in 2021, players are caught between both sports. Seven athletes participated in the fall and spring editions of the sport last season and may leave a lean roster on the women’s side.

Combine the potential stretching of rosters with the 10th place performance in last year’s conference finale, the bar for success is set low for the cross country program.


Track and Field

Valerie Brown has brought the track and field team back to its former glory, securing a conference championship last year for the first time since 2001. With impactful athletes such as Kenisha Phillips and Lennex Walker returning, the Governors should repeat their success during the spring of 2021.

PROJECTION: OVC Championship