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Spring Sports Preview

 

Caleb Wood
Senior Staff Reporter
calwood@uab.edu
wood

 

The spring sports season is already underway. Here’s how everyone is handling the season.

 

Beach Volleyball

It is a new year for the beach volleyball team. The team is young and recently added eight freshmanand the schedule is tough. The team is scheduled to face nine of the twenty currently ranked teams and three additional teams receiving votes. 

Even though the competition is tough, third year Head Coach Kyra Iannone said she wants her players to be consistent in how they approach each game.

“We try to prepare for every competition the exact same way,” Iannone said. “That's part of trying to create professionalism within the program.”

Coach Iannone said she is proud of how her team is playing.
“I feel like we’re playing at a higher level and smarter volleyball than we’ve ever played before,” Iannone said.

The team will be playing at the newly renovated courts, the scoreboard is new this year and the seven home matches in Birmingham is a record for the program. 

Salli Napolitano, junior, said she has high expectations for this year.
“Every year we’ve gotten better, so I think this year is probably going to be our best year yet,” Napolitano said.

The team is led by Kenley Adams, senior in kinesiology. Adams enters the season seventh in career wins for the program. Adams said that leaving UAB is bittersweet.

“I’m excited for what’s to come next for me, but I don’t want to leave these girls and this staff,” Adams said.

The team opens official play against North Alabama and Tulane on Feb. 22 at the Beach Volleyball Courts.

Baseball

The baseball season is well under way.  

The team is led by Head Coach Brian Shoop who is entering his fourteenthyear as UAB head coach. 

“It's a very, very fine line between winning and losing,” said Coach Shoop. “We return a lot of hitters that have had a lot of bats. We have potential to have a very good offense. So, I think in the end, you know, it will come down to you how we are on the mound.”

The team is coming off a 27-29 season in 2019. They lose multiple key contributors including Tyler Tolbert and Graham Ashcroft. 

The team does have a lot returning, however, including star outfielder Zack Davis who earned preseason all-conference honors and brother Jess Davis who was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team last season.

Both Zack Davis and fellow senior outfielder Colton Schutlz landed on the NCAA Top 150 hitters list. The senior duo led the team in several statistical categories last season. 

As Zack Davis enters his senior season, he said he appreciates his time at UAB. 

“It's been a blessing five years, here,” Davis said.I wouldn't trade it for anything else.”

Junior infielder Justin Wiley said the team is closer this year. 

“I feel like it's a real brotherhood this year,” Wiley said. “If we get down nobody is gonna fold on anybody, we’re all gonna stay together.”

The team was picked to finish eighth in Conference USA.