Coach Sally Polhamus put her volleyball team through a tough early season schedule with games against ACC, SEC, Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 schools. Seven losses served a purpose. The team is playing well now.
Winthrop has won four of its last five conference matches. The last two have been straight-set wins over Radford and Gardner-Webb. The team was picked second in the Big South preseason poll. The Eagles are in fourth with a 5-4 record behind Liberty (10-1), High Point (9-1) and Coastal Carolina (7-3).
• ON THE AIR -- At least two women's basketball games will be televised locally this season. The games are: Dec. 30 vs. Campbell and Jan. 19 vs. High Point. Both games will be broadcast on CN2 (cable channel 2 in Rock Hill).
• WINNING STREAK ENDS -- A school-best seven-game winning streak came to an end after the men's soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss at UNC Asheville this past Saturday. The Eagles are in third place in the Big South with a 4-1 record (12 points) and will be taking on league-leading Gardner-Webb this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Eagle Field. The Bulldogs are 5-2 (15 points) in the league and Coastal Carolina is second in the conference at 4-1-1 (13 points).
• INJURY UPDATE -- Women's basketball redshirt junior Shelly Hankins had surgery last Thursday on her knee to repair a meniscus tear. The procedure took about 30 minutes. She was at practice Friday without crutches but heavily bandaged.
• Men's soccer junior midfielder/forward Matt Skonicki missed the Eagles' postseason his freshman with a broken foot. He was out at the conclusion of the season last year with a hip injury. The team is hoping it won't be a three-peat for their second-leading scorer.
Skonicki suffered a high ankle sprain Oct. 21 against College of Charleston. He missed Saturday's loss at UNC Asheville and is out for Thursday's home match against Gardner-Webb.
"It is a Grade 2 sprain," Skonicki said on his way to practice Tuesday afternoon. He tore the ligament on the outside of his left ankle.
"The main goal is to get back for the playoffs," he said. But he is ahead of schedule on his rehab. He is hoping to return for either the Nov. 5 game at Coastal Carolina or Nov. 8 vs. High Point.
• Casey Lyons' injury is now known. The sophomore had been coach Ben Paxton's top runner this season. He tore a tendon in the final mile of the Asics/Winthrop Fall Classic Oct. 18. He is out for the remainder of the season.
• PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Rachel Smith, a junior from Mansfield, Texas, was named Big South Women's Golfer of the Week for events played Oct. 16-22. Smith tied for 12th with a 13-over-par 226 at the par-71, 5,939-yard Lady Pirate Intercollegiate. She moved up from 55th place in the first round (81) to card a 72 in the second round and 73 in the final round to record the highest finish among the 19 Big South golfers in the event. Her second-round 72 was a season-low, while her 12th-place finish was her best of the fall season. Smith was one stroke shy of placing in the top 10.