A few things you can count on this fall

Published 10:29 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

We are literally now only weeks away from the kickoff of the 2009-10 athletic year locally.

Before you know it, young men will be reporting to football fields throughout the Roanoke-Chowan region while the young ladies will be taking to the tennis courts and volleyball courts.

As I look into the coming year, here are a few things I think you can count on seeing during the fall sports season.

1. Chowan University football will be better. At this point it isn’t time to worry so much about wins and losses. Right now that’s the job of Tim Place and his staff.

While we all certainly want to see the Hawks improve in the win-loss column, we first must want to see them improve on the field. Last year saw vast improvement even as the team welcomed a new coach and a new philosophy.

I personally think many will be shocked at the improvement they see in James G. Garrison Stadium this season. Go Hawks!

2. Dr. Ed Clouse will keep the Lawrence Academy volleyball team in contention.

The Lady Warriors have graduated three consecutive solid performing classes including a trio of Most Valuable Players in the Tarheel Independent Conference. The return of Ashtyn Mizelle certainly helps, but Dr. Clouse will have Lawrence in the thick of things all season long.

Dr. Clouse may be one of the most under-rated coaches in the region.

3. Ethan Phelps will develop into one of the best goal keepers in the eastern part of the state.

During his tenure at Ridgecroft, Phelps has gotten better and better every year. He is being coached by the top soccer coach in the region as far as I’m concerned in Aron Martin. Those things add up to a solid year for Phelps and, hopefully, that translates into even more wins for the Rams.

4. Matt Biggy and Greg Watford continue to turn around their football programs at Gates County High School and Northampton-East respectively

The two coaches are entering their third year at the schools they lead. They have each shown improvement over the last two seasons and I think they have a pretty good shot of getting better again this season.

Watford is a veteran who knows the game and Biggy is a young coach with all kinds of talent. Here’s hoping that when they meet, they are deciding the championship in the Tar-Roanoke Conference.

5. The Chowan University volleyball team contends for a league championship in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Don’t get me wrong, walking into the league and winning a conference title is nearly impossible. It will take an excellent season from the Hawks and they’ll probably have to catch a few breaks along the way, but it is possible.

Peter Green and the Hawks give Chowan an early chance to make a statement in the conference and it would be excellent to see them win the first CIAA championship in the fall of their first year in the league.

Thadd White is Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211.