Rocky Mount, N.C. - The Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan are set to officially kick off the 2017-18 athletics season this weekend as six different teams open up play on the road. A team-by-team preview follows, as well as links to live coverage when applicable.
Wesleyan football opens up play on Saturday with a 12:30pm kick-off at 12-time National Champion Mount Union. The game fulfills the home/away deal signed by the two teams a season ago and sends the Bishops to Alliance, Ohio for the first time in program history. The trip looks to be an eventful one as head coach Jeff Filkovski will be taking his guys to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on Friday, the same day the team takes control of the USA South's Instagram account! Be sure to check out their posts at www.instagram.com/USA_South and the hashtag "#USASouthTakeover" as the Bishops give everyone an inside look into this memorable road trip.
Wesleyan then takes the field against the Purple Raiders on Saturday looking to build on last season's 5-4 overall record and second-straight runner-up finish in the USA South. Thanks to the UMU Sports Information Office, Bishop fans will be able to follow the action live online! Just click one of the following forms of coverage: LIVE STATS | LIVE AUDIO | PAY-PER-VIEW VIDEO
Picked to finish third in the League's Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bishops will then host their 2017 home opener versus Shenandoah University next Saturday, September 9th, at Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium. Wesleyan's Student-Athlete-Advisory Committee will also be kicking off their Cans Across the Conference food drive that evening, with the donation of six canned goods earning free admission! The Bishops open up their conference schedule the following weekend at defending champion Huntingdon College. The Hawks tied with Maryville College for top-billing in the preseason poll.
Chosen as USA South East Division favorites in the League's Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bishops and head coach Frankie Taal open up their 2017 slate on Friday and Saturday at the Sonny Carter Invitational hosted by Emory University. Wesleyan will head to Atlanta to take on the host Eagles on Friday, followed by a match-up with Oglethorpe University on Saturday. Both matches are set for 4:30pm and will feature live stats and video with links available via http://ncwcsports.com/sports/msoc/2017-18/schedule.
The Bishops have high hopes this fall after capturing a share of last year's Conference regular season title, the seventh in program history. The Bishops, who finished 14-6 overall last season, received 25 total points and five first place votes in this year's preseason poll. Following opening weekend, Wesleyan hosts its 2017 home opener on Wednesday at Scalf Field versus regional rival Christopher Newport at 4:30pm.
The NCWC women's soccer team also opens up on Friday, traveling to Raleigh for the Meredith College Classic. Friday's match pits the Bishops against Southern Virginia University at 4:20pm, while Saturday will see Wesleyan take on Sewanee at 2:00pm. The Meredith Sports Information Office plans to offer both lives stats and video. Links will be posted closer to gametime at http://ncwcsports.com/sports/wsoc/2017-18/schedule.
Head Coach Beverly Biancur's Bishops are coming off a solid 10-6-2 campaign a year ago, which saw them go 9-4-1 in the USA South. Returning nine starters from that squad, Wesleyan was picked 5th in the League's Preseason Coaches Poll with Meredith, Salem, and Piedmont earning top billings. Following this weekend's tournament, NCWC will play a trio of road matches before returning to Scalf Field for its home opener on Saturday, September 16th, versus Bridgewater at 3:00pm.
Wesleyan's volleyball squad hits the road on Saturday for a season-opening exhibition at Cape Fear Community College. The Bishops will then head to Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Tuesday prior to competing in the Marcia French Tournament next Friday at Saturday in Ohio. The two-day event will feature four matches and the first live coverage of the season. More information can be found at http://bwyellowjackets.com/sports/wvball/marciafrenchinvite.
The Bishops are looking to build on last year's 10-win season and USA South Tournament bid. With a host of talented freshmen, NCWC tied for 4th among nine East Division Teams in the League's Preseason Coaches Poll with Averett and Covenant picked to win their respective divisions. Fans can catch their first in-person look at head coach Vicky Gentile's squad on Thursday, September 14th, when the Bishops host Johnson & Wales University on Youth Night in Everett Gym. The match is slated for a 7:00pm start.
Finally, Wesleyan's cross country teams open up their seasons on Saturday in Salisbury, N.C. at the Chick-Fil-A Invitational. The 8K and 5K races will be held at Salisbury Community Park. The Bishop men return to varsity status for the first time since 2010, while first-year head coach Marshall Leonard's women boast a program-best nine runners on the roster, led by a trio of returners (Sarah Grossman, Hannah Ivester, Jade' Jordan).
In the USA South Preseason Coaches Polls, NCWC's men and women were picked to finished 10th and 13th, respectively, while Piedmont College was predicted to sweep top honors.
Be sure to check out www.ncwcsports.com for updated results, stats, and recaps from all events. Additionally, up-to-date rosters and photos are available by visiting each team's individual site. GO BISHOPS!