Winthrop will be a beehive of activity this weekend with the men's soccer, volleyball and cross country teams hosting invitationals.
Events get started Friday with the men's soccer team hosting Georgia Southern at 7:30 p.m. in the Wingate Inn Classic. The volleyball team hosts the Wingate Inn Invitational and squares off against Mercer at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, more than 200 runners will hit the cross country course at the Winthrop Farm for the Asics Invitational. Coach Ben Paxton is expecting 12 teams on each side, with the men's 8k starting at 9 a.m. and the women's 5K at 10 a.m.
The volleyball invitational continues with the Eagles meeting Troy at 10 a.m. and Georgetown at 7:30 p.m., each match at Winthrop Coliseum.
The men's soccer team returns to Eagle Field at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for a matchup with Gardner-Webb.
• POSIPANKO MILESTONE: Soccer coach Rich Posipanko is one victory away from career No. 300.
The Eagles won a pair of matches at the Lancer Invitational this past weekend -- 2-1 over George Washington and 1-0 over host Longwood -- to improve to 3-1.
Senior Saidi Isaac scored the winning goal in both matches, and was named the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men's Soccer Player of the Week on Tuesday.
The Eagles played sporadically, something that caused Posipanko some concern.
"Obviously I'm pleased with the win over a quality team," he said after Friday's match. "However, I was disappointed in our defensive effort. I thought individually and collectively it was the poorest we've been on defense in the last two years."
Georgia Southern comes into Friday's match 1-3. Radford (2-2) takes on Gardner-Webb (0-3-1) at 5 p.m., then tangles with Georgia Southern at noon Sunday.
• CROSS COUNTRY: Winthrop's Trevor Beesley says the Eagles and Lady Eagles will have one big advantage when the gun sounds to start Saturday's races at the Winthrop Farm.
Knowing the ins and outs of the course isn't really it.
"The big thing is we don't have to travel and sit on the bus for hours, then run," Beesley said before heading off for a round of golf Monday. "I've never really thought of knowing the course to be an advantage, but being rested will be a big help."
Winthrop opened the season at Appalachian State with Beesley leading the Eagles to a fifth-place finish with a time of 25:40. Lisa Sickman was tops for the sixth-place Lady Eagles with a time of 19:42.
Paxton said he's looking for UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee and the Eagles to battle it out for the top spot in the men, while the Lady Eagles, East Tennessee and UNCG should battle for the women's title.
• GOLF: In Draper, Va., Winthrop's women's golf team won the 36-hole Draper Valley Intercollegiate on Tuesday. The Lady Eagles fired a 297 on Tuesday to complement Monday's school 18-hole record of 292 and best the 15-team field. Winthrop's two-day total of 589 was six strokes better than runner-up Charleston Southern, which shared the team lead with Winthrop after Monday's first round.
Senior Jutta Degerman finished with a 1-under 143 (71-72) to finish second behind medalist Olivia Higgins of CSU, who finished with a 4-under 140. Junior Sara Hester, a Fort Mill native, finished third at 145 (73-72), while sophomore Rachel Smith was fifth with a 146 (72-74).
• GOLF COURSE CLOSED: Because of Saturday's cross country meet, the Winthrop golf course will close at noon Friday and remain shut down until noon Saturday.
• WOMEN'S SOCCER: The road-weary and winless Lady Eagles (0-2-1) head to Columbia at 7 p.m. today for a match against No. 13 South Carolina.
It will be the third of five straight road trips for Winthrop, which doesn't return home until a Sept. 28 match against Georgia Southern.
"We know it's going to be a test for us," coach Melissa Heinz said of the 4-0 Gamecocks. "We know what we need to do and we're ready to play hard.
"Who knows what will happen? Nobody gave Appalachian State a chance, but they beat Michigan. There have been a lot of upsets so far and we would like to continue the trend."
• VOLLEYBALL: It's been a struggle for the 1-8 Eagles, who have played their first nine matches on the road. The Eagles dropped matches to Colorado, Colorado State and Miami (Ohio) this past weekend.
Now comes the home debut for the Eagles and first-year coach Sally Polhamus.
"We'll officially be the first Winthrop team to play on the new floor," said Polhamus, who inherited a team that went 34-3 last season and has won five straight Big South tournaments. "We're looking forward to a good turnout."
As far as the start, Polhamus said, "Each match, I've seen us grow as a team and as individuals. We've been able to compete in most matches, but we haven't been able to make that push at the end that would allow us to put games away."
Friday's other match in the invitational has Troy meeting Georgetown at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday it's the Hoyas against Mercer at noon and Troy meeting the Bears at 5 p.m.
The team will also hosts its first "Kid Clinic," to be held Sept. 25 and Oct. 17.
The clinics, open to kids in kindergarten to eighth grade, are free and will be instructed by Winthrop players and coaches.
Participants will be recognized at halfcourt during the Winthrop-UNC-Asheville match on Oct. 19 and will get the chance to attend autograph sessions with the players and a practice day at Winthrop Coliseum.