The coaches’ poll. It seems like no coach is ever thrilled about it when they win. The coaches’ poll is a survey conducted by the Great West Conference for every athletic event at the start of each season. Coaches of a specific sport are simply asked what team in the conference they project will win the GWC Championship that year.
The women’s soccer team is familiar with it. They were just selected as the projected team to take home the GWC Championship. If they do, it will be a repeat. When I asked head coach Brent Anderson about the poll results, he laughed it off.
“I’ll say exactly what that is,” Anderson said about the poll. “That’s the rest of the conference trying to put that target on our back to see if we can handle the pressure and that’s okay. That’s fine. We will handle the pressure, we don’t care.”
Regardless of whether the pressure is working or not, the women’s soccer team is not the only one with high expectations after winning the GWC Championship last year.
But since we’re on the subject of soccer, let’s point out their home games. There are only four left on the season that just opened up last month. The team is held to a high expectation to win their third GWC Championship in four years during a season that has a month of straight road games and only six total home games.
Expectations for the baseball team are set very high, as well. Not only did they go 28-0 during conference play, 27-2 during home games and beat teams like BYU and Arizona, but they told The Nation magazine that we exist with their 32-game winning streak that stood at the highest in the nation.
The baseball team lost some very valuable players at the end of the season, however. Goose Kallunki, the national leader in RBIs is now playing professionally along with Taylor Mangum.
Then there is the volleyball team. They had a goal to win their first-ever GWC title and they did it. They also beat their previous 21-season win record with 23 season wins. And now this season they face the challenge of one single senior on the roster and a light home schedule similar to that of the soccer team.
I am not saying that the athletes of Utah Valley can’t perform to a higher level than they have in seasons past. So far this season, I have seen athletes step up to leadership rolls and do it with success.
My point is that as we have witnessed some of the best sporting last year than possibly ever before in UVU history, myself and Utah Valley need to be cautious of the expectations we put on our team and our school.
Do we expect UVU to win games? Absolutely. Do we expect GWC Championships? Of course.
I don’t have any doubt in the teams that our couches have set up, but I am currently trying to expect what some might see as unexpected.