If ever there was anyone who knew everything about Volunteer Athletics, John Homan would be that person. Homan covers sporting events, exports the news on the JALC website, and does various broadcasts and interviews with coaches and players.Along with the JALC website, John hosts a weekly show on 103.5 WXLT called Talkin’ Vols Sports.
John has had the pleasure of seeing many former Volunteers take their talents to a larger stage. Some of them include Jesse Perry, who plays basketball for the University of Arizona, Nathalie Timmermans, former Softball Volunteer who represented The Netherlands in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and Jamey Carroll, former Volunteers baseball player who is now playing for the Minnesota Twins. Carroll is the only former Volunteer to play Major League Baseball.
John gave the Volunteer News some insight on how the Volunteer Sports seasons have either finished, or how they are currently going.
“The (volleyball) team was good, but not as good as last year,”said Homan. The Volunteer Volleyball team won the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) Championship; the Vols rode that momentum to take the Region 24 title as well.For those who may not know, Region 24 is a makeup of all the JUCO teams in Illinois south of Springfield. Homan explained this and it was easier to understand the playoff system afterwards.
Three volleyball players have signed to play for a 4-year university so far. Michelle Lazorchak signed to play for Murray State, while Holly Schweigert and Jasmine Garnett both signed with the University of Arkansas-Monticello. More signings are to come in the near future.
To the average fan, the baseball season seems to have had quite a rough start. The Volunteers started off 0-3 on the season after being swept in a tournament down in Alabama. Although, according to Homan, looks are deceiving.
“Unlike other teams, Logan plays loaded teams right out of the gate. Many teams begin playing bad teams in order to build up their record. Coach (Jerry) Halsted believes in playing a stronger schedule to see how good a team truly is,” said Homan.
In a second Alabama tournament, the Vols took two out of three games, beating Spartanburg Methodist and Calhoun CC. The only team that defeated JALC was Southern Union, who went to last year’s JUCO World Series.
The Softball season began February 27 and started with some unfortunate news.
“Unfortunately due to budget constraints the team won’t be making a spring trip” said Homan. He prefers to look on the bright side though. Homan said, “This will allow for more home games.” John expects the season to be a successful one; he said. “I think they will contend for the GRAC against Lakeland College and Wabash Valley College.”
The Vols will be led by a group of strong sophomores including ace pitcher Dakota Knop. Last year the Softball Vols won the Region 24 title before falling in the National tournament.
The Men’s Golf team has experienced the sweet taste of success over the past 12 years.
“The team speaks for itself” said Homan.
The team has won the JUCO National Championship two out of the last three years and has taken the Region 24 title in 10 out of the last 12 years. The team will be boasting three All-Americans: Colin Robinson (Scotland), Derek Rohlfing (Effingham), and Bryce Doughty (Benton).
The winning tradition looks to continue under recently crowned JUCO Head Coach of the Year Tom Ferris. The team did however lose Filip Timmerman (Santiago, Chile) to graduation. Timmerman won an individual National Championship while the team won their most recent title.
For the Women’s Golf team, the season was not as successful.
Led by Head Coach Bill Glenn and defending Region 24 individual champion Alexis Gatton (Edwardsville), the team fell to its arch nemesis, Rend Lake College, in the Region 24 tournament. Players who look to make a name for themselves include Whitney Nugent (Harrisburg), Katie Taylor (Trico), and Kelsey Cicardi (Pinckneyville).
The Volunteers’ Men’s Basketball team currently boasts a 13-10 record after falling to Lakeland College on February 22. Overall, the biggest win of the season came from the hands of Anthony Shoemaker. Shoemaker came four points short of the single-game scoring record set by James Mackey in 1971. The Volunteers finish their season on March 3 against the Falcons of Southeastern Illinois College.
For the Lady Vols basketball team, the season has been somewhat difficult. The Volunteer Women hold an overall record of 7-15 with only a 3-10 record in GRAC play. Their most recent loss came at the hands of Lakeland College by a final score of 77-70. The Lady Vols play next against Southwestern Illinois on February 29, before ending their regular season at home on March 3rd against Southeastern Illinois.
All in all, the only way to look is up if you’re a Vols fan. Time will tell, and we can hope to see more successes coming to the men and women in blue.