Head coach Chris Vozab fired

Hayden Boudreaux

Originally, I planned to write a piece on head coach Chris Vozab and a review of her third year at the helm for the Lady Eagles. After news broke on Sunday of Vozab being released from the team, I opted to examine the season and offer up an explanation of the decision.

SEASON BREAKDOWN

It has been a rough year for the Lady Eagles in their first year of Sun Belt play which included a 15-game losing streak and winning only five of their 29 matchups. A victory over Georgia State on Saturday broke the trend, but Vozab was relieved of her duties on Sunday.

The Lady Eagles started off the season with an exhibition win against College of Coastal Georgia where they posted 114 points. It was hard to gauge the season based on the early out of conference games. The Lady Eagles faced resembling their win over Jacksonville University all the way up to a road trip to Athens against No. 22 Georgia.

Over the winter break the Lady Eagles traveled to Gainesville to wrap up the out of conference schedule. They wrapped up the trip with a loss to Eastern Washington and a win over Southern University. The team was prepared to turn things around and everyone seemed optimistic.

Despite the good intentions, the team dropped three heavy losses to UT Arlington, Texas State and Arkansas State, with each being at least 12 point losses. The team needed a win and found one against South Alabama on the road. While the Eagles hoped that things were prepared to turn things around, it only got worse.

Three straight 10-point losses came at the hands of conference opponents before they traveled to Louisiana and battled with UL-Monroe. In one of their best performances of the season and they fought well into overtime, but took the loss.

They were set to have five straight home games and after the tight loss things seemed to have turned around. Every game saw flashes of brilliance, namely against Appalachian State where they led for a majority of the game and another close match against UL Monroe. All five home matches ended in losses including the away game against UALR.

After the losses came, one of the most exciting basketball games I have witnessed at any level happened. The Lady Eagles returned home against Troy when they opened strong and battled back and forth with the Trojans. The game ended in a tight overtime loss, but it was one of the highest totals for the Eagles as they put 94 points on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately, as with the past sparks of light, the team fell in the next four matches by at least 20 point margins. With 15 straight losses, the team was at a low point. Their last game of the season matched them up with in-state rival Georgia State in Atlanta. The team was able to rally and end their season on a high note with an eight point victory.

WHY FIRE VOZAB?

When looking at the statistics from the season, things look bleak. The team was outscored by an average of over 10 points per game which was the worst scoring margin in the Sun Belt. The team lagged at the bottom of the conference in nearly every statistical category. The blame has to be shifted on someone, and in situations like these the first person on the list is the head coach.

In her first of three years taking over the team Vozab led the team to an 8-24 record that came off of an eight win season the previous year under the former coach. Last season saw improvement as she picked up 10 wins and a second round SoCon tournament appearance. This season did have its downs, but there are positives that Vozab left behind to better the program.

Examining the good, we can look to the development of players on the court. With only one senior leader, Anna Claire Knight, it left an opportunity for her recruit Angel McGowan to take up a leadership role and become one of the best players on the team. Additionally, Vozab recruited Patrice and Sierra Butler. Patrice, a transfer, was a constant asset to the team that made big plays in every game she appeared and her sister has a bright future ahead.

I had the privilege of interviewing and talking with Vozab several times and they were some of my most pleasant experiences in reporting. She was full of passion and was excited about every opportunity her team received. After talking to several fans, it is clear that all of them understand the circumstances but have great respect for her and what she has done for the players. From the players, fans and myself we wish Chris Vozab the best of luck and a successful career.