UD Players of the week

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Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor

 

Crusader profile: Joey Killion

I caught up with senior Joey Killion, the University of Dallas men’s soccer captain, this week to see how the season is progressing. Conference play is about to begin and the men’s team is looking strong. Killion has been playing soccer since he was six years old. My first question for him was how exactly being a captain has affected him. Being the team player he is, Killion responded by saying, “I’m just able to talk to the ref without getting in trouble now. I’m not any better than the other guys on the field.”

As I spoke with Killion, it became evident that James Kerin, the senior goalkeeper, has been and will continue to be a key aspect of the Crusaders’ campaign for victory.

“We are expecting big things from James,” he said, “and he has responded so far.”

A challenge the team faces is that many of the players are young and they are in the midst of integrating a new formation. He is expecting all the seniors to put forth their best, as they are the most experienced.

A difficult thing for a team to get down is the team chemistry, and the seniors provide a foundation, having played together before, and serve as de facto mentors to their new teammates. Killion said another critical factor for the season is the rate of play.

“Sometimes we play too slow and we need to play a lot faster for conference. We will work on our speed of play for sure,” he said.

Killion added that the team’s biggest strength is its ability to work hard to accomplish its goals.

 

Lady Crusader profile: Emily Caples

I recently had the chance to sit down with Emily Caples, a sophomore middle blocker on the University of Dallas volleyball team. Caples was recently designated the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week, and, additionally, the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week. She told me that she has been playing since her freshman year of high school, and was kind enough to describe some of the volleyball lingo to me.

The UD team routinely plays multiple opponents a day, and this, typically coupled with four days of practice a week, does not leave much free time. When asked how she was able to balance it all, Caples conceded that last year was difficult academically because she had put so much focus on volleyball, but now, she says, “School is the priority. I’ve just learned to schedule very well.” She told me her trick is to turn off her phone and to not let any distractions get to her.

Caples also displays this focus on the court. When asked if she had any personal goals for this season, she responded without hesitation that she wants “to have the highest hitting percentage in [the] conference.” She anticipates that the program will do very well, noting that most of the players are very young, with only two upperclassmen. She also says that the team chemistry is unparalleled.

“We’re very competitive at practice,” she added, acknowledging that there are more players than spots on the floor: “Things can get stressful, but there is no drama.” She is enthusiastic about the improvement and commitment of two freshmen in particular, Jaime Birzer and Cat Dowgwillo.

Caples is looking forward to facing Trinity University, as it always presents a challenge. Additionally, she says that Austin College will be an intense game as the Lady Crusaders have built up a rivalry with them. Unfortunately for UD spectators, both these games will be away this season.

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