Asbury Athletics week at a glance

Published 9:00 am Friday, October 13, 2023

Submitted Article

Asbury joins Division III Collegiate Conference of the South

“Asbury University is honored and excited to join the Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS),” said Dr. Kevin Brown, the president of Asbury University. “We are proud to join a conference whose schools strive for academic rigor, student development, and high-level athletic performance that prioritizes effort, excellence, hospitality, and character. We are excited for the days ahead!”

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“From the beginning of the formation of the Collegiate Conference of the South, expanding membership has been a topic of conversation. I am absolutely thrilled to add Asbury University and want to thank our Presidents Council for their leadership and prioritizing conference membership,” said Beth Vansant, the CCS commissioner. “Asbury truly understands the NCAA Division III philosophy and commitment to a holistic approach for student-athletes. I look forward to developing relationships with the community of Asbury in the years to come.”

“Asbury is an institution deeply dedicated to development of the whole student, which makes for an ideal fit with the CCS,” said Dr. Bryan Coker of Maryville, the CCS Council of Presidents chair. “We have been quite impressed with the entire Asbury community and are so excited to welcome them to the conference.”

In 2021, the NCAA announced AU’s approval of Division III provisional membership. Following the announcement, the NCAA approved AU’s application to waive the exploratory year, making Asbury the first institution to be granted the waiver to accelerate the membership process from four years to three years.

“This is a monumental step in the growth of Asbury Athletics. We are deeply grateful for the opportunities membership in the CCS will provide our student-athletes and coaches,” said Mark Whitworth, Asbury’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics & university communications. “We will work diligently to represent the CCS in a way that reflects positively on the member institutions and fulfills our mission.”

The Collegiate Conference of the South was established in January 2022, with their first year of competition beginning in 2022-23. In addition to mens’ and womens’ soccer, the CCS sponsors baseball, mens’ basketball, womens’ basketball, mens’ cross country, womens’ cross country, mens’ golf, softball, womens’ outdoor track and field, mens’ outdoor track and field, mens’ tennis, womens’ tennis and womens’ volleyball.

Women’s Soccer

Asbury womens soccer (1-5-4) traveled to Springfield, Oh., to take on Wittenberg University (2-5-4) on Wednesday, Oct.  4. The two teams each converted one goal and ended the game with a 1-1 draw. Maci Muncie, Reese Bolton, Mary Hostetter, and Caroline Absher got SOG for the Eagles, with Muncie converting her’s into a goal for her second of the season.

Asbury women’s soccer honored eight seniors on Saturday, Oct. 7, when they hosted Georgetown College (4-4-3) on Senior Night. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in a physical, defensive match and the score ended in 0-0.

Volleyball

Sophomores Lucy Kate Gray and Megan Walden each set career-highs on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the Luce Center to lead Asbury volleyball (9-10) past Ohio Christian (8-10), 3-1. Gray dished 53 assists on the night to reach her career-high at Asbury by one assist. In her freshman season, she had a 52-assist night at Rio Grande. Gray sits fourth in the NCCAA in total assists with 537 and seventh in assists in a game at 53.

After Asbury volleyball defeated Ohio Christian in a late-night matchup on their home court, the Eagles traveled to Lexington on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and slipped to No. 15 Transylvania, 0-3. The Eagles were led by Emma Grace Gray (five), Megan Walden (four), and McKenna Rumage (four) on the night in kills. Lucy Kate Gray dished 16 assists (fourth in the NCCAA with a total of 553) and served an ace as well.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, freshman Macie Pack tied a career-high with 14 kills alongside a career-high five blocks to lead Asbury volleyball to a key road win over Anderson, 3-1. Pack’s performance was her second match this week with 14 kills, including the win on Tuesday night over Ohio Christian. She now has six double-digit kill matches and is third on the team with 144 overall.

Asbury volleyball took their ninth win on Monday, Oct. 10, sweeping Welch College in the Luce Center with a .309 hitting percentage. The .309 is Asbury’s most efficient of the season, as they have now won two straight and four of their last six to be one win short of .500. In head coach Tiffany Horton’s second year, the Eagles are finding their stride heading into the back half of the 2023 season.

Cross country

Both Asbury cross country teams raced to first-place finishes, along with a Bailey Gassmann individual first-place finish on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Wilmore. The Eagles hosted the 50th edition of the Asbury Invitational in its first year, being renamed as the Justin Spoon Fiercely Faithful XC Meet. The Fiercely Faithful XC Meets pays tribute to Justin Spoon, the Asbury alum who passed away this past year after a two-year battle with cancer. Spoon was one of the greatest runners ever for Asbury and was a two-time champion in this meet. Asbury freshman sensation Bailey Gassmann raced to first place in the womens’ 5 Kilometer contest, finishing nearly a minute ahead of Mount St. Joseph’s Kayla Hess. Bailey’s time of 19:52 marked only the third time in the last twenty years that an Asbury runner has gone sub-20 minutes on the challenging home course. Wes Preston and Dan Kersey did their best to stay with Spaulding’s Wyatt Frye but eventually faded to second and third in the final standings of the mens’ race.