After most sports were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every ETSU sport was played in the spring for the first time in ETSU athletics history. This exciting and eventful return to sport has made Buccaneer athletics the ideal place.
The most notable story of the season, which was reported nationally, was the men’s basketball program.
A local controversy – the resignation of former head coach Jason Shay and the recruitment of Desmond Oliver – has stormed the region over a period of several months. Oliver has announced his entire staff for the 2021-22 season. Shay left the show only after the first season.
On the field, the Bucs recorded a 13-12 aggregate record and qualified for the Southern Conference tournament before falling to top seed University of North Carolina Greensboro in the semifinals.
The women’s basketball program also got a whole new staff after parting ways with longtime head coach Brittney Ezell, who posted a 105-132 overall record over eight seasons. ETSU appointed former Ohio State University assistant coach Simon Harris as the next Bucs head coach shortly after. Harris looks to reinvigorate the program and recently announced his staffing lineup for the 2021-22 season.
The Bucs ended their 2020-2021 campaign with a 4-12 aggregate finish but also secured a spot in the Southern Conference tournament, reaching the semi-finals before losing to Wofford.
While this isn’t the typical season for any sport, the Bucs have enjoyed a great 4-2 record. The Bucs, week after week, find themselves in close contests. No game is decided by more than one score, win or lose.
The Bucs faced their biggest test yet when they visited the undefeated Virginia Military Academy Keydets and walked away with a 24-20 victory. The Bucs lost their next game to Mercer, and unfortunately couldn’t get a proper final of the season, as Chattanooga canceled the Bucs’ final game of the year.
The Bucs baseball team looks set to end their season on a high. In second place in the SoCon Blue rankings, the Bucs are 9-11 in the SoCon match as of May 5 and are a long way from first place.
Led by senior Ethan Cady (Soddy Daisy, Tennessee) with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs, the Bucs have struggled on the leaderboards this season, but hope to turn the tide when the season comes tournament ends.
Both ETSU’s men’s and women’s golf programs are competitive and successful throughout the season.
The men’s program has seen numerous individual honors awarded, most notably freshman Archie Davies (Carlisle, England), who won SoCon Bronze Player of the Year and Freshman Year. of year. Davies helped lead the Bucs to the 26th Southern Conference championship in the program’s history.
The women’s show also saw numerous individual titles, led by senior Tereza Melecka (Belcovice, Czech Republic) who was named SoCon Player of the Year. The women’s team also won the SoCon championship, giving the show the first SoCon championship in their history. The team earned an automatic slot to the NCAA regions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Additionally, both male and female program coaches were named SoCon Coach of the Year.
Men’s football fought hard throughout the season, finishing with a 3-5-3 record, but that didn’t stand in the way of individual play, as the two Bucs were named to the All-SoCon Second Team and two people were named to the All-SoCon Freshman team.
Jared Leheta (Montreal, Canada) and Kieran Richards (Hamilton, New Zealand) were named to the Second Team. Jared Leheta was also named to the All-Freshman team along with teammate Tarik Pannholzer (Flensburg, Germany) who also received the nod.
The women’s team also battled through a tough season, ending the season 1-6-1 along with being forced to cancel the remaining three games of the season due to non-attendance and injury. However, Sinoxolo Cesane (Cape Town, South Africa) shined. As head coach Jay Yelton’s first recruiting class entered the field, it was a lot of fun when Cesane was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.
Holding a 7-0 record in a SoCon match, the men’s tennis program won its third consecutive SoCon championship and competed in the NCAA Tournament on May 8 against 10th-placed Georgia.
With a 7-2 record in the SoCon match, the women’s tennis program has enjoyed a lot of success this season by reaching the SoCon Championship before falling to No. 1 seed Furman. Head Coach Ricky Rojas was named SoCon Coach of the Year.
The softball program ended their season with a loss to Samford and closed the year with an overall record of 15-22. The team finished 3-14 in the Southern Conference match.
After a season full of injuries, the volleyball program has a lot to look forward to next season. Freshmen and new players will help the team recover from achievement 7-9. The team ended the season by wiping out Chattanooga for the second time in a row.
Track and field
The Bucs put on a great performance at the SoCon Track and Field Outdoor Championships to close out the season. The Girls show was able to rise to fourth place in the SoCon rankings after Mekayla Brown (Elgin, South Carolina) gold medal winning triple jump performance.
The men’s program won a bronze medal in the 4x400m Relay. They finished the season in seventh place in the SoCon rankings.
The triathlon team entered just two events this spring, the Draft Legal Challenge and the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon.
In their last event of the year, the Bucs saw four individual bests and three top 10 hits in their respective age groups.
The Bucs were successful at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in March, thanks in large part to Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tennessee). Red shirt boys ended 38order and was awarded the All-American title after her performance.
The Bucs e-sports program also has activity in League of Legends and Overwatch.
The League of Legends team recorded a 4-2 record, including a victory over the University of Alabama. The Overwatch team didn’t have much success, finishing the season 2-11.
Meanwhile, ETSU’s first Rocket League team is recruiting and preparing for their inaugural season that will take place in the fall.
At the end of April, the ETSU Dance Team, one of the Buc Spirit Teams, competed virtual in the Global Dance Association College Dance Team National Championship 2021. The team finished third nationally in the Division. Pom Virtual Division 1 entry.