Everything is coming up green

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Photo by James Durrant

The 2015-16 year can only be considered a momentum-building year for Utah Valley University athletics in and there is a lot for students to look forward to when their teams take the field for the 2016-17 campaigns. Whether it was on the soccer pitch or the basketball court, UVU did some things that made the rest of the Western Athletic Conference take notice, and the Wolverine squads will be aiming to make waves in the WAC in the upcoming seasons.

In only their second year of Division I competition, the men’s soccer team secured an at-large NCAA tournament bid, while the women’s soccer team locked up an NCAA tournament bid with the program’s first-ever WAC tournament title in 2015. The UVU women went undefeated at home and the men were the first team in school history to receive a top-25 ranking during the season. This spring, men’s soccer head coach Greg Maas pulled together what has been widely regarded as one of the top recruiting classes in the country to add to a team that is losing just two players from the 2015 season. The Wolverines are expected to be nationally ranked in the top 25 as the season begins.

“We look forward to this year as an opportunity for us to continue to build off of last year and with a couple of larger goals in front of us,” said Maas. “Now that we have that experience of getting to the WAC Championship and making it to the NCAAs … It gives us really a good foundation to move forward from.”

Photo by Jay Drowns

Dayon Goodman and the UVU men’s basketball team provide excitement for Wolverine fans with fast-paced play and high-flying dunks. Photo by Jay Drowns

On the hardwood in 2015-16, the UVU basketball teams reached some milestones as well. The Wolverine women earned their best record in recent years and won their first WAC tournament game in program history. The men fell just seconds short of a WAC tournament win, but made strides in building that program as well, although the team lost five seniors after the season. There will be a lot of roster turnover, but some big signings, including Salt Lake Community College’s NJCAA championship MVP Conner Toolson, should lead to an improved product on the court.

“We’re really excited about next season,” said men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope. “There’s going to be a learning curve, but it’s going to be a learning curve where we think we have a really high ceiling.”

In regards to the coming year, there are a plethora of reasons for UVU students and fans to have hope in their teams. The coaches and athletes are confident that they are doing their part to build something special on this campus, and with the support of students both returning and newly enrolled, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future of the Wolverine brand on the field.

“These students on this campus are going to make or break this program, in a sense,” said Pope. “They can take us to a new level … We need these students.”