February 27, 2013

Weekly Athletics Release 23 – Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Women's Tennis (0-5) 

Last week (0-2): Away vs. #7 Columbus State (Wed., Feb. 20 – L, 8-0); Home vs. UNCP (Sat., Feb. 16 – L, 6-3)
This week: Away vs. Mars Hill (Wed., Feb. 27 – 2:00 PM); Away vs. #1 Armstrong Atlantic (Sat., Mar. 2 – 1:30 PM); Away vs. Flagler College (Sun., Mar. 3 – 11:00 AM)

The University of North Georgia women's tennis team has three road matches this week that include a trip to Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C. and a trip to the best team in the nation, Armstrong Atlantic State University. The Saints will then end their week in St. Augustine, Fla. where they will play Flagler College on Sunday, Mar. 3.

The Saints will first travel to take on Southeast Region opponent Brevard College today, Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 2:00 p.m. before traveling to Savannah, Ga. for a Saturday, Mar. 2, Peach Belt Conference match at No. 1 Armstrong.

North Georgia will return home for a pair of home PBC matches next week following this week's three-match road swing.

No. 23 Men's Tennis (2-2)

Last week (0-1): Away vs. #7 Columbus State (Wed., Feb. 20 – L, 8-0)
This week: Away vs. Mars Hill (Wed., Feb. 27 – 2:00 PM); Away vs. #1 Armstrong Atlantic (Sat., Mar. 2 – 1:30 PM); Away vs. Flagler College (Sun., Mar. 3 – 11:00 AM)

University of North Georgia men's tennis player Matheus Guida has been named the Peach Belt Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week after winning his lone singles match last week as the Saints took on No. 7 Columbus State last Wednesday, Feb. 20 in Columbus and went a combined 2-0 as he and doubles partner Felipe Friedrich also won their doubles match.

In his singles matchup at No. 2 singles, Guida defeated 24th in nation and eighth in the Southeast Region Olivier Simonet 6-2, 4-6 (10-2). Prior to that, he and Friedrich took down the doubles tandem of Gordan Divijak and Quentin Rayniere, which are ranked 10th in the nation and third in the region, 8-2. The duo plays No. 1 doubles for the Saint men and is ranked ninth in the Southeast Region.

For the season, Guida is 3-1 in singles action and is 2-2 in doubles play with Friedrich.

The University of North Georgia men's tennis team has three road matches this week that include a trip to Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C. and a trip to the best team in the nation, Armstrong Atlantic State University. The Saints will then end their week in St. Augustine, Fla. where they will play Flagler College on Sunday, Mar. 3. 

The Saints will first travel to take on Southeast Region opponent Brevard College today, Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 2:00 p.m. before traveling to Savannah, Ga. for a Saturday, Mar. 2, Peach Belt Conference match at No. 1 Armstrong.

North Georgia will return home for a pair of home PBC matches next week following this week's three-match road swing. 

No. 4 Softball (16-3)

Last week (2-1): Sun., Feb. 24 vs. Le Moyne (W, 12-1) – Catawba College Invitational
                   Sun., Feb. 24 vs. Catawba (L, 2-1) – Catawba College Invitational
                   Sun., Feb. 24 vs. East Stroudsburg (W, 8-4) – Catawba College Invitational
                   Mon., Feb. 25 vs. Shippensburg (11-5) – Catawba College Invitational
This week: Mid-South Classic (Spartanburg, S.C. – Fri., Mar. 1 – Sun., Mar. 3)

The University of North Georgia softball team remained fourth in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top-25 Poll released Wednesday morning.

The top-five remained unchanged as Valdosta State University holds onto its position atop the standings with 15 first-place votes thanks to a 13-2 record. Southeastern Oklahoma State (15-4) remained second in the nation with West Texas A&M (10-1) third but receiving a first-place vote. Cal State Dominguez Hills is still fifth with an 11-3 record.

Fellow Peach Belt Conference institution Armstrong Atlantic State University moved up one spot to 10th in the poll while Flagler College dropped a spot to 16th.

The Saints went 3-1 in the Catawba College Invitational this past weekend, playing three games on Sunday and a final game Monday morning.

North Georgia started their time in the two-day tournament by capturing a 12-1 win over Northeast-10 Athletic Conference institution Le Moyne College. The Saints then dropped a Southeast Region game 2-1 to the tournament host, Catawba College, before finishing Sunday's play with an 8-4 victory over East Stroudsburg University. 

The Saints (16-3) ended the tournament by posting an 11-5 win over Shippensburg University Monday morning.

North Georgia will next travel to Spartanburg, S.C. to participate in the Mid-South Classic. The Saints will play in six games between Friday, Mar. 1 and Sunday, Mar. 3 starting with a 6:00 p.m. game against Lenoir-Rhyne. Following the game with Lenoir-Rhyne, the Saints will turn right around and face Brevard College in an 8:00 p.m. game.

Saturday will see the Saints facing off against Newberry at 12:00 p.m. and Mount Olive at 4:00 p.m. The Saints will close out the Mid-South Classic with a 12:00 p.m. game against Queens University of Charlotte and a 4:00 p.m. contest against Wingate on Sunday, Mar. 3. 

Baseball (3-9) 

Last week (2-1): Home vs. Pfeiffer University (W, 5-4; L, 2-6; W, 5-4 – 10 Inn.)
This week: Away vs. #5 Lander – PBC Series (Sat., Mar. 2 – 1:00 PM – DH; Sun., Mar. 3 – 1:00 PM)

The University of North Georgia claimed its first weekend series of the season last week going 2-1 against Pfeiffer University. The Saints kicked the series off with a 5-4 win in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Bob Stein Stadium before dropping a 6-2 decision to the Falcons in the second game. North Georgia then bounced back on Sunday to win a 10-inning contest 5-4.

The Saints are 3-1 this season when they score five or more runs.

This week, North Georgia opens its Peach Belt Conference schedule at No. 5 Lander University. The Saints and nationally-ranked Bearcats will start the weekend with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, Mar. 2 and end things with a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 3.

Women’s Basketball (11-14, 9-9 PBC)

Last week (2-0): Home vs. Young Harris (Thurs., Feb. 21 – W, 73-67); Home vs. Lander ( Sat., Feb. 23 – W, 91-83)
This week: Away vs. Georgia Southwestern – PBC Game (Sat., Mar. 2 – 5:30 PM)

The University of North Georgia women's basketball team enters the final week of the regular season in need of just one more win to make their return to the Peach Belt Conference Basketball Championships. The Saints (11-14, 9-9 PBC) play just one game, a Saturday, Mar. 2 contest at Georgia Southwestern State University, and if they win that game, then the Saints will return to the PBC tournament for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Junior forward Mimi Hill was named the Peach Belt Conference women's basketball Player of the Week after being the driving force behind North Georgia winning the last two games and three of its last five.

In the Saints' two wins this past week, Hill averaged 34 points and eight rebounds while helping North Georgia remain in playoff contention. For the week she shot 58% from the floor, hit all five of her three-point attempts and all 13 of her free throws. With her efforts, Hill is now ranked in the PBC's top-10 in scoring and is also ninth in blocked shots and free throw percentage.

The junior forward from Gainesville, Ga. started her week off by scoring a career-high 41 points against Young Harris, a school single-game record in the NCAA era and tied for the most in a single game in the PBC this season. In that game, she hit all four of her three-pointers and added 10 rebounds with five coming off the offensive glass.

Hill followed that up with 27 points and six rebounds against Lander, adding two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

In the last three weeks, Hill has averaged 27.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 60.2% (65-108) from the field. In those three weeks, she has set her career-high in points three different times and also set a new career-high in rebounds at 13 while averaging 35.5 minutes per game.

Men’s Basketball (15-10, 10-8 PBC)

Last week (1-1): Home vs. Young Harris (Thurs., Feb. 21 – L, 89-83); Home vs. Lander (Sat., Feb. 23 –W, 82-78)
This week: Away vs. Georgia Southwestern – PBC Game (Sat., Mar. 2 – 7:30 PM)

The University of North Georgia men's basketball team is officially in the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Basketball Championships. With their 82-78 win over Lander University on Saturday, Feb. 23, the Saints punched their ticket to the tournament after missing the cut the last two seasons. 

All that is left to decide is the seeding. A win on Saturday at Georgia Southwestern State University would help the Saints' chances of being the No. 2 seed coming out of the PBC West.

Last week, the Saints went 1-1 in their final two home games of the season. After falling 89-83 to Young Harris College on Thursday, Feb. 21, the Saints bounced back with a come-from-behind 82-78 win over Lander.

In Saturday's game, four seniors scored in double figures to lead the scoring in the final home game of their careers. The quartet of seniors who led the Saints in scoring with double figures on "Senior Night" were Robby Goldsmith with 12 off the bench, JC Ward and Pat Moynihan with 11 each and Scott Windom with 10 points. The quartet combined to hit 13 of the Saints' 22 shots and went 16-18 (88.9%) from the free throw line. Ward also tied Ishmael Hollis for most rebounds on the team with seven. 

Junior Lamar Richardson led North Georgia with 17 points, including five three-pointers. The Riceboro, Ga. native had half of the Saints' made three-pointers in the game and finished with four rebounds and three assists.

North Georgia (15-10, 10-8 PBC) led only briefly in the first half of play as the Bearcats (8-16, 3-14 PBC) started the game shooting 54.8% (17-31) from the field in the opening stanza. In contrast, the Saints connected on just 35.7% (10-28) of their looks from the field, including 23.5% (4-17) from three-point range, and committed 10 turnovers to fall behind 44-31 by the half time buzzer. 

But the Saints did not give up and stepped up with a big second half that saw them score 51 points, a season-high in the second half, while connecting on 50.0% (12-24) of their shots from the field. North Georgia also forced Lander to turn the ball over 14 times in the second stanza and ended the game shooting 42.3% (22-52) from the field while the Bearcats finished 28-58 (48.3%) from the field.

Mixed Rifle

This week: SEARC Championship (The Citadel, Charleston, S.C. – Sat., Mar. 2)

Last weekend, the University of North Georgia mixed rifle team traveled to The Citadel for a Southeastern Air Rifle (SEARC) conference tournament and the National Rifle Association (NRA) Sectionals.

The NRA Sectionals is a national championship event used for NCAA championship selections.

In the three-position smallbore rifle event, 14th-ranked North Carolina State University took the overall win with a score of 2,287/2,400. UNG took second and prevailed over The Citadel men's team in a hard fought NCAA match with their close rival. The margin of victory was a razor thin one point – 2,212 to 2,211. The Citadel women's team took 4th with 2,061 points.

Freshmen Casadie Bragg (572/600), Cadet Ryan Moran (549), sophomore team captain Cadet Luke Duncan (548) and freshman Sara Howell (517) contributed to the team score. Individually, Bragg took fourth and Moran 10th.

Bragg broke the UNG school record for smallbore, completing her hat trick this season of breaking all three individual school records: air rifle, smallbore rifle and aggregate. The team school record for smallbore was also broken by 34 points. 

In air rifle, N.C. State (2,236/2,400) again took claimed first place, with The Citadel men's team (2,291) placing second. UNG was close behind in third with a score of 2270. Finishing behind UNG were Wofford (2,242), The Citadel women's team (2,225), and University of Alabama Birmingham (2,206). 

Combining for the Saints were Bragg (581/600), sophomore Cadet Chris Tiller (564), freshman Cadet Kyle Bailey (563), and Howell (562). Bragg finished fifth in the individual standings in a very tightly packed top-6. The top 13 places all fell within a slim 15-point range.

The Saints continue to improve from year to year and within this season. In addition to Bragg breaking all three UNG individual school records at least once this season, the team has done the same thing with all three UNG team school records. In Saturday's match, the Saints raised the school record for aggregate (air rifle and smallbore combined) once again, this time by 42 points to 4,482/4,800. 

The Saints will next travel back to The Citadel to complete their season at the Southeastern Air Rifle Conference championship on Saturday, Mar. 2.

Women's Golf

This week: CSU Lady Cougar Invitational (9th)
Next: Armstrong Atlantic Pirate Invitational (Mon., Mar. 4 – Tues., Mar. 5) 

The University of North Georgia women's golf wrapped up the one and only round of the TSYS Collegiate Classic ninth of the 11 teams that attempted to get the tournament in despite the weather wreaking havoc.

Instead of the original 36 holes, the field played just 18 with Lander University taking home the team crown with a 321. Catawba College finished second one stroke back with a 322 while the Saints recorded a 344 as a team to finish ninth. 

Senior Catalina Olarte paced the Saints with a 78 that left her in a tie for third. With that effort, she was also named to the all-tournament team. Freshman Anna Belle Higgins and sophomore Abbey gill both finished with 86's while LeeAnn Noble ended her 18 holes with a 94.

North Georgia will next compete in the Armstrong Atlantic Pirate Invitational on March 4 and March 5 in Savannah, Ga. before hosting the Chick-fil-a Spring Invitational at Achasta Golf Club on March 18 and March 19.

Men's Golf

This week: Armstrong Atlantic Pirate Invitational (Cancelled)
Next: Chick-fil-a Spring Invitational – Dahlonega, GA (Mon., Mar. 18 – Tues., Mar. 19)

For the first time in the 12-year history of the Armstrong Pirate Invitational, weather has forced the tournament to be cancelled. The decision was made Tuesday morning that course conditions would not allow play to be resumed after being suspended Monday afternoon. 

When play was halted, junior Grant Rish was pacing the University of North Georgia with a two-over par score while sophomore Will Brackett was at three-over through nine holes. Freshman Zach Caldwell was +4 and sophomore Aaron George was at +5 through the first nine.

North Georgia men's golf team will return to Dahlonega and will not compete again until March 18-19 when the Saints host the Chick-fil-a Spring Invitational at Achasta Golf Club.