Senior point guard Ryan Daye and the Wingate Bulldogs men’s basketball team are on a mission to reclaim their swagger in the South Atlantic Conference. A 14-13 finish to the 2013-14 season and first round exit in the SAC Tournament have the Bulldogs champing at the bit to start the season.
Daye, the Bulldogs’ lone senior, averaged 17.5 ppg and was a key cog as Wingate won eight of their first nine games before losing six of seven heading into the SAC Tournament.
Inexperience could impede the Bulldogs’ shot at advancing to the NCAA tournament for third time in the past four years. With six freshmen, seven sophomores and only two juniors, head coach Brian Good will rely heavily on Daye’s senior leadership.
Wingate’s 2014-15 season starts Nov. 14, when they host the OrthoCarolina Tip-off Challenge against Limestone.
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The Bulldogs will play 28-games, 14 at the Cuddy Arena and 14 on the road. Wingate’s first SAC home game is Dec. 20 against Anderson.
Lady Bulldogs hope to recapture magic
Optimism is high for the Wingate women’s basketball team after going 24-6 overall and 17-5 in the SAC last year, capped by winning 2014 SAC Tournament Championship.
Despite losing a combined 33 points per game from graduating seniors Kayla Harris (17) and Janitsha Williams (16), coach Ann Hancock’s cupboard is stocked. Juniors Morgan McGee and Amber Neely (Mallard Creek), and sophomore Shelby Tricoli each averaged eight points per game.
With a beefed-up schedule, starting at ACC power North Carolina, Wingate will play their first seven games on the road.
Bulldogs fans will get their first look at the 2014 SAC Champs Dec. 3 against Lander. The first conference home game is Dec. 31 against Anderson.
Sweeps propel swim teams
The Wingate men’s and women’s swim teams both stood on the top step of the podium at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference swimming meet against St. Andrews Oct. 18 in Laurinburg.
The men claimed a 168-65 victory and the women coasted to a 196-37 win. The double-header was the season-opening dual-meet for both schools
Wingate combined to win 26 of 28 events in the meet.
Six men won at least one event, with sophomore Leif-Henning Klüver winning three events: 1,000 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
On the women’s side, nine swimmers won at least one event. Sophomore Sofia Petrenko won three medals as well in the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley.
Wingate will travel to Charlotte Nov. 1 to face Queens at the Levine Center starting at 1 p.m.
Volleyball moves up in poll
Wingate volleyball is off to a 22-1 start (15-0 in the SAC through Oct. 23).
The Bulldogs, on a 16-match winning streak, are ranked No. 7 in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, up one spot from the previous poll.
The Bulldogs won their eighth straight regular-season SAC title last year, going undefeated in league play for the sixth time in seven years. Wingate also won the SAC Tournament championship for the eighth straight year.
Wingate is aiming for its 10th straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs play Lincoln-Memorial 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at Cuddy Arena, Carson-Newman 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at home and Coker 7 p.m.Nov. 11 at home.
Hall Of Fame induction
Former Wingate basketball players Temeshia Dawkins-Abney and Julie Law, along with baseball catcher John Spencer (Independence High) and softball standout Stephanie White, will be inducted into the Wingate University Sports Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the LaVerne Banquet Hall.
Tickets are $20 per person and $12 for children ages 12 and younger.
For m information about the Wingate University Sports Hall of Fame, contact committee chairman Bill Nash at 704-233-8121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.