Welcome to the 2012/13 atheltics season!
Believe it or not, this will be the seventh season we have covered Oregon athletics here at ATQ. When I first started this site back in the fall of 2006, I had no idea it would last this long or grow to what it has, but thanks to an awesome community and the wonderful writers who share this space with me, I am more excited than ever about what the season holds in store. We've got some new stuff happening at ATQ this year, along with features that have been favorites over the years, and I'm sure everyone will be excited once they see what we have in store.
One of my goals this season, especially with the coming of the Pac-12 Network, is some kind of a regular focus on the nonrevenue sports. I know that a lot of people are here mainly for football and mens' basketball, and those will always constitute the primary focus of our coverage, but, as highlighted by the historic season put together by our student athletes last season, fantastic things are being done across the range of sports that Oregon has to offer. Additionally, with the Pac-12 Network, a good chunk of those events will be televised making those sports more accessible than ever.
We want to cover these events, but it also leaves us in a precarious position. We want to cover these athletes for our readers and hopefully get new people excited about these sports and watching them on the Pac-12 Network, but we also have the reality that not everyone wants volleyball and lacrosse posts, and that plastering these all over the front page will start to drive some people away. What we have come up with here is the Nonrevenue Spotlight. This piece will come out Sunday evening or Monday morning in the fanposts section of ATQ. We will highlight everything going on with our nonrevenue sports in this piece (so, in the fall, coverage of volleyball, womens' soccer, and cross country). We will recap the previous week's action, preview the upcoming week, and get you caught up on all the news. This will also serve as the defacto open thread for all Pac-12 Network telecasts of those sports over the course of the week. Your job as the reader is to rec each new post weekly, ensuring that it stays at the top of the fanposts for people to discuss over the course of the week. When these teams play in really big games, or if demand starts to require it, these sports will be covered on the front page, we will move coverage there. But, for now, we're hoping this compromise can give our hardcore fans the coverage they want and deserve, while preserving the front page for the events that drive the bulk of our traffic. Of course, let us know what you think of this idea in the comments thread. With that said, lets get into our first Nonrevenue Spotlight!
The volleyball team wrapped up their first week of practice with an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena. Jim Moore begins his eighth season at the helm of Oregon Volleyball. This is a team that set all kinds of program records last season--21 wins, two wins over #1 ranked teams, and a #13 national ranking all while smashing attendance records. However, they had the disappointment of falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks were picked fourth in the preseason Pac-12 coaches' poll, advancing in the tournament is the unequivocal goal for the upcoming season.
Oregon certainly has a lot of firepower coming back with All-Americans Alaina Bergsma (OH) and Lauren Plum (S) coming back, as well as last year's freshman sensation Liz Brenner (OH), senior Katherine Fisher, and a transfer who was an All-Big Sky player in Bethany Bair (Stetzon's wife). The schedule opens up with tournament at Ohio State and Ohio U, and the conference season opens up with Oregon State at home on September 19. Overall, eleven of Oregon's 20 conference games will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
The Ducks have one more exhibiton, the annual alumni exhibition, next Saturday at 7:00. Admission is free, so if you are in Eugene and looking for something to do, check out some volleyball girls in action. For more preseason information on the volleyball team, Goducks.com has a season prospectus, as well as a three part season preview (recorded in June) with coach Jim Moore that I will post at the bottom of this entry.
Oregon soccer began their season Sunday with an intrasquad scrimmage, and start things for real next Sunday at their all new facility against UAB. The squad has struggled in recent years, and last year was no exception, as the Ducks finished 3-6-2 in Pac-12 play. Similar things are expected this season, as Oregon was picked in the coaches' poll to finish tenth in the conference, despite ten returning starter, although the one starter lost is leading scorer Julie Armstrong. The Ducks' nonconference schedule is almost a who's who of the West Coast Conference, with games against the likes of BYU, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, and perennial power Portland. The first televised game is against Seattle on September 14, and the Ducks have six games televised overall, including four conference matches.
These are the goings on in the first week of athletics for the 2012-13 school year. Best of luck to the soccer team on Sunday. Check out the volleyball videos below: