Nothing but net
January 17, 2012
Pamplin Sports Center
The Pioneer basketball teams are on the rise, with the women’s team in mid-January jumping all the way to seventh in the USA Today/ESPN Division III national ranking, the highest ever in program history. Student-athletes James Hollins ’13 and Kristina Williams ’13 have also reached an impressive milestone, scoring 1,000 career points each.
With a winning combination of chemistry and experience, both teams are primed for Northwest Conference success. Men’s head coach Dinari Foreman and women’s head coach Juli Fulks shared their thoughts on what’s still to come this season, which players to watch for on the court, and what coaching staff look for when it comes to recruiting the next class of Pioneer student-athletes.
What have been the highlights of the season so far and what can we still look forward to?
Fulks: We went undefeated in the nonconference portion of our schedule, beating three ranked teams (Concordia, Corban, and Kean). Now, we are looking forward to the rest of conference play and making a run at the conference championship and the NCAA tournament.
What challenges or opportunities does this season offer?
Foreman: We have a great opportunity to be the most versatile team in our league. Having such a great group of young men to work with has allowed our coaching staff to be very flexible in how we play.
Tell us about your starting five.
Fulks: Our starting five are Sara Villaneuva ’13 (point guard), Megan Spence ’12 (forward), Neva Hauser ’12 (forward), Kristina Williams ’13 (guard), and Margaret Dowling ’12 (guard). Everyone but Sara also started last year. Kristina is the reigning Northwest Conference (NWC) Player of the Year and Neva is a member of the college orchestra. Margaret is also on the volleyball team and is copresident of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Megan, Margaret, and Neva have all been NWC All-Conference in their careers.
Foreman: We actually have a starting nine, since most of our rotation plays starters’ minutes; a different group finishes games based on who has it going on any given night. Our older players—PJ Taylor ’12, James Hollins ’13, Scott Pisapia ’13, Marcus Wells ’12, and Don Perconti ’12—have all stepped up their leadership roles to help the newcomers get comfortable on and off the court.
What do you most enjoy about coaching in Division III, which emphasizes well-rounded experiences for student-athletes?
Fulks: My love of coaching is directly tied to watching our players learn and find personal success on the court, in the classroom, and in daily college life, while they also learn how to be contributing members of a successful group. Our staff want to challenge and encourage them to grow in each area, and Division III allows us the platform to help make that a reality. I believe the most important part of our profession is helping young women learn how to be personally successful, nurturing their self-confidence and belief in their abilities through the process.
With the college application season in full swing, what are you looking for when recruiting future Pioneers?
Foreman: We are graduating a heck of a class, so we have holes we must fill, but our staff have worked hard at identifying the very best student-athletes who will make a significant impact as first-year students. We feel that our student body, as well as our professors and staff, have done a great job showing our recruits what Lewis & Clark has to offer.