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• March 29, 2012

Faculty/staff intramural team runs the court by CHASE ERICKSON Intern Sports Reporter


Olivia Wilkes | The Appalachian

(Above) Staff Infection, an intramural basketball team made up of faculty and staff, and DoubleChecks, a student intramural team position for a rebound Sunday evening in the Student Recreation Center. (Below) Co-coach Jamar Banks motivates his team during timeout.

fter a long school week, one can only assume professors and staff members are ready to relax - but others are geared up for a game of basketball. That’s how Staff Infection came to be. Staff Infection is an intramural basketball team made up of faculty and staff. It was started by Dwight Turner, an analyst with Information Technology Services. “I have guys texting each other all day long getting psyched up for the game,” Turner said. “We live it. We love it. We live to love it.” Turner organized the team six years ago - it was originally the result of an informal lunchtime basketball program faculty and staff members participated in during the week. “Before you know it, you just get used to playing with some guys,” Assistant Professor of Psychology Shawn Bergman said. “You notice some guys that play well together and you try to put a team together to go out and play intramurals.” Over fifty teams of Appalachian State students played intramural basketball this season, but none of them are like Staff Infection. The team is older and less athletic than the rest of the field, but it brings a certain amount of intimidation with its fast-paced, aggressive style of play. “We do have a reputation,” Turner said. “We are a bigger team and a physical team and I think the students know that.” Most of the intramural teams don’t know how to handle playing a team like Staff Infection. They can’t sleep on the court, because the team loves to get out in transition. Staff Infection can also consistently

play fast because it has the deepest bench in the league, usually bringing 10 to 15 players to the court. The chemistry of Staff Infection can’t be denied either, as several players have played together for over six years. And of course, when students play alongside their professors, the situation can get heated. “Unfortunately, smack talk does happen a lot,” Turner said. “What happens, though, is usually there are a lot of students and we are a professor and staff team. So some of the staff members have their students playing against us, but it’s a friendly rivalry.” The most important advantage Staff Infection carries with it going into each matchup is an extreme love for the game of basketball. Most of its team members are in their thirties and forties and they haven’t let go of the game. Even Jamar Banks, director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, is involved with the team. He no longer plays, but he’s now serving as coach. “I’m the guy who shows up and tries to help out,” Banks said. “I recently gave up playing basketball, but now I’ve started coaching.” Staff Infection’s season ended Sunday with an 11-point loss in the elite eight round of the intramural basketball tournament. But Staff Infection will continue playing basketball every winter and keep competing for an intramural title as long as they’re having fun. “It is fun playing against students,” Shawn Bergman said. “We’re older and don’t move as quick, so it’s kind of fun to play against guys that are a little more athletic, younger and faster.”

Kassouf ’s .420 batting average Women’s tennis struggles, drives ASU’s fearsome offense falls 6-1 in third-straight match to UNCG Spartans by JAKE AMBERG Sports Editor

Two years removed from leading all of college baseball in home runs, senior designated hitter Daniel Kassouf is back up to form - and he’s hitting everything. After being perhaps the most feared batter at the Division-II level, Kassouf showed flashes of talent last season but underperformed overall. It could be the year off, the change in leagues or the change in collegiate bats in 2011 that’s to blame, but whatever the case, Kassouf hit just .259 and only eight home runs in his first ASU season. But this year, “I feel like I’ve Kassouf ’s early adjusted back to season success where I need to be.” has built at an unprecedented Daniel Kassouf clip. Senior designated hitter Fol lowing a 1-4 performance against N.C. State, Kassouf has safely hit in 21 of Appalachian’s 24 games for a blazing .420 batting average, the highest mark in the Southern Conference. “I think sitting out a year and the new bats all together may have slowed me down a little bit,” Kassouf said. “I feel like I’ve adjusted back to where I need to be.” What is even more impressive about Kassouf ’s recent performance is his resurgence in power. After eight home run year last season, Kassouf has already surpassed that total during the first month of the season. Kassouf ’s power is a big part of Appalachian’s early season success and is anchoring the heart of Appalachian’s lineup. That lineup features six batters hitting above .300, including junior Will Callaway, who is currently fifth in the Southern Conference in average with .384. “Everyone offers everybody protection,” Callaway said. “There’s not really a weak point in the lineup.” Kassouf ’s improvement, according to head coach Chris Pollard, is a result of improved patience at the plate. Kassouf leads the team with a .462 on base percentage and has walked seven times this year, over a third of what he walked last year. Pollard joked that it’s “crazy” that people keep pitching to him.

Photo by | The Appalachian

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Olivia Wilkes | The Appalachian

Junior Ellie Linsell executes a shot Wednesday afternoon on home court versus UNCG. The Mountaineers fell 6-1.

by JORDAN DEVERE Intern Sports Reporter Paul Heckert | The Appalachian

Senior DH Damiel Kassouf rounds third base during Tuesday afternoon’s game against NC A&T. ASU won 14-0.

“He’s in a really good place right now and he’s taking advantage of it,” Pollard said. “ Patience definitely does makes a difference. As Coach Pollard made clear, Kassouf is waiting for his pitches. He’s been getting them early in the count too, as opposing pitchers have yet to start pitching away from him. Against Elon, Kassouf recorded all five of his hits in just 14 pitches, two on his first pitch. “Something I’ve really had to work on is picking out good pitches and laying out of pitches out of the zone,” Kassouf said. “Just getting comfortable in the box helps, you just have to get in there and let them come to you.” Kassouf will put his SoCon high average to the test this weekend against Oakland Grizzlies. The series’ three games start at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

The ASU women’s tennis team lost its third consecutive match to the UNCG Spartans by a score of 6-1 Wednesday afternoon at the ASU outdoor tennis courts. The doubles were hard-fought, with seniors Blakeley Bean and Kim-Lea Dinh winning two points against the Spartans, but UNCG ended up winning all three matches. “It was mine and Kim’s first match together” Bean said, “It was hard to get a rhythm going and they were good at the net.” Bean, however, felt that the two were a good pairing. “It takes a few matches to get into a rhythm and we played really well in practice yesterday,” she said. Despite falling in their third straight match, all was not lost for App as freshman Gabby Gabriel was able to find a way to win by a score of 6-3, 6-4. During her match Gabriel seemed

to get a little flustered and gave credit to those around her for keeping her focused as she attributed her focus to the crowd and her teammates. There were also some special fans of Gabriel’s in the crowd as her parents were in attendance for the match. “Usually when my parents come I get extra nervous,” Gabriel said. “But today it helped. I focused on the present and wasn’t afraid to just go for it and use things and shots that I had messed up before.” Assistant Coach Eri Latimer was encouraged by the team’s performance. “The doubles didn’t play bad. Their opponents today were just stronger but we gave them a scare,” Latimer said. “It is a tough condition to play in this wind but it goes both ways. In singles all the matches were close and Gabby had a big win and they are a good team and we gave team a tough fight.” App looks to return to form and break the slide as they play host to Western Carolina on Saturday.

March 29, 2012  
March 29, 2012  

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