By ROB WITHAM
H-P Sports Correspondent
Volleyball: A major announcement from Randolph-Macon College last Friday, announcing that the school will offer men’s volleyball as the institution’s eighteenth varsity sport, which will begin play in January of 2019.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), which Randolph-Macon is a full-time member, does not offer men’s volleyball. Fellow ODAC member Eastern Mennonite, the only current conference member with a men’s volleyball program, competes in the Continental Volleyball Conference. Four new members in 2018 including Southern Virginia, will give the conference ten members. No decision has been made on whether the Yellow Jackets might join.
Men’s volleyball season at the Division III level runs from January to mid-April. The college announced historic Alumni Gymnasium, a fixture on campus since being built in 1927, will be renovated and become the home for the men’s volleyball team, whose first coach will be Jared Horrigan, an assistant women’s volleyball coach for the Yellow Jackets for the past three seasons. Current head women’s volleyball coach Bill Rogers will add the title of Director of Volleyball for the school.
The women’s team returns to campus this weekend for camp ahead of their September 1 season opener at the Virginia Wesleyan Tournament in Norfolk.
Redskins: Year five of training camp in Richmond officially ended Monday at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center with a practice closed to the public before the team began their move back to Redskins Park in Ashburn to continue preparation for the season, trying to figure out what went wrong offensively in their 23-3 loss last Thursday in Baltimore in their preseason opener.
The team signed free agent offensive lineman Kendall Pace and linebacker Ron Thompson, Jr., waiving safety Tim Scott and wide receiver Kendal Thompson, the latter designated as injured. Trent Murphy was lost for the season, injured in the Baltimore game.
A major addition would be the long-awaited return to the field of tight end Jordan Reed, bothered by a toe injury that kept him off the field in Richmond the entire camp. Though it will just be game two of preseason, there will be more than the usual pressure on the offense to perform better when they take on Green Bay on Saturday.
As for the team’s fifth year in Richmond, daily crowds at the center rivaled the lower attendance figures of 2016, with Fan Appreciation Day August 5 being the biggest day by far. The team, who once tweeted out daily attendance totals for camp in the early years, no longer makes such information public. With word of new Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney opening new dialogue with the team on a possible re-negotiation of the final three years of the original eight-year agreement that brought the Redskins to town back in 2013, expect a side story this fall as the team makes a drive for the playoffs to be how the city can improve the team’s performance in training camp with concern about the city’s coffers.
Football: 2009 Hanover graduate Josh Wells returned to action for the Jacksonville Jaguars in their 31-24 preseason win over New England. Wells, who missed the 2016 season due to injury, was on the line at right guard when rookie Leonard Fournette scored on a one-yard run just before halftime for the Jaguars.
2013 grad Sam Rogers saw limited action in his Los Angeles Rams debut in their 13-10 win over Dallas Saturday night. A pass intended for him in the second half was knocked down by the Cowboys at the line of scrimmage before it could get to him in the right flat.
At the University of Virginia, 2016 Atlee graduate Cole Blackman suffered a broken leg that required surgery, which was successful over the weekend. A tweet from Blackman noted the operation’s success. The sophomore is expected to miss the 2017 season for the Cavaliers.