Friday, October 29, 2010

Tricks, Treats, Titles

Happy Halloween weekend, SHOUT fans!

My goodness, just look around the Big South Conference right now--tricks and treats abound.
That's what happens in late October, as the fall sports engage in critical Conference play and approach their seasonal conclusions and championship tournaments--while the basketball machine begins to hum to life (IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE!)

Football? Got that...and no trick there--fans are getting treated to what was expected coming into the season: Liberty and Stony Brook on top. Neither of those squads would be forecast to stumble this week, but you never can tell with this bunch--"any given Saturday" and all that. The Flames and Seawolves have each begun Big South play 2-0 this year, and the conclusion-jumpers are already pointing to that late November clash in Lynchburg, when those teams could meet with a playoff berth on the line. Too early to call, but it could happen.

Volleyball? Yep, got that too--Liberty is on top as I write this, but the margin is small: Flames at 10-1, High Point Panthers at 9-2. Looks like those two could easily wind up as the top two seeds, but there are a couple more weeks of Conference play to sort that out...

Soccer? Two times over, of course...for the men, High Point has already clinched the regular season title, thanks to a double-overtime victory at Coastal Carolina this week. The Panthers have been ROLLING, mounting goal after goal on the way to a 7-0 Big South record. Meanwhile, the women's side is going to be a lot messier than that...not a treat for those trying to sort out tie-breakers: as of this morning, Winthrop is 6-1-1, with FOUR teams tied for second, just one game back, at 5-2-1...that's CSU, Coastal, Radford, and HPU. Yep. Messy.

CROSS COUNTRY????? So glad you asked! Men's & Women's Cross Country will be the first championship events of the season, kicking off the 2010-11 Big South Championships with a running start in Radford, VA. Liberty swept all the running sports a year ago and would appear to be the favorite yet again for this year's contest. So will the Flames burn brightest again--or can someone else "run away" with the title this year? We'll have the answer by early Saturday afternoon. You bet. Practices have begun and preseason games are right around the corner. The seasons for both men and women tip off officially on Friday, November 12th, just two weeks away from right now. Lots of hoops fans have their countdowns running with anticipation for another great batch of thrills on the court, and with good reason.

So, is it the most wonderful time of year? Well, that's all about perspective of course, but you have to like what you're seeing out there right now.

That's your recap for today -- gotta run, folks -- and that's SHOUT -- out.

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