2008 Record: 11-17 (12-27 overall)
Key returnees: Both Bobby Clouse, Lake Orion senior, and Ryan Gunderson, Grosse Pointe senior, were named All-MIAA second team for the 2008 season. Last season, Clouse earned the honor of MIAA Player of the Week, and Gunderson ranked second among pitchers with an ERA of 3.56.
Strengths: The Britons can count on a veteran outfield with seniors Clouse, and Craig Hitchcock, Davison senior.
Weaknesses: Of the 27 players on the Britons roster, 14 are first-years. Graduated is All-MIAA first team pitcher John Fileccia, but joining the team is his younger brother, Andrew Fileccia, Fraser first-year.
Key games: Albion will play their first league and home game on March 28 at 1 p.m. against Trine. After going 1-3 against Hope last season, the Britons will seek vengeance when they play a home double header against Hope on April 10.
Outlook: “As of right now, if you look at our roster from top to bottom, you’ll notice we are very young in some key positions,” said assistant coach Kurtis McMahan. “We are going to be counting on the first-years in key situations; however, the season starts with the upper-classmen’s ability to show leadership and play like true returners.”
2008 Record: 4-12 (14-19 overall)
Key returnees: Jessica Stange, Macomb junior, was named All-MIAA second team for the Lady Brits.
Strengths: Albion did not graduate any players and has the veteran leadership of six seniors heading into the 2009 season. In the 2008 season, the top three batting averages were from juniors now seniors: Katie Dotter, Columbus, Ohio senior; Jenna Hogg, Flat Rock senior; and Brenna Przeslawski, Harper Woods senior.
Weaknesses: Of the 14 wins last season, only four of them came within league play for the Lady Brits softball. Albion will have until March 26 until they start conference play.
Key games: In their home series against Kalamazoo, Albion swept the Hornets. This year, the Lady Brits will battle Kalamazoo on the road on April 4.
Outlook: “We’re really working hard on bunting and executing the bunt because it’s going to be so crucial for us to have a successful season,” said head coach Christina Finch. “Leadership on the part on the seniors has been big in our development and our overall execution.”
2008 Record: 4-2 (13-7 overall)
Key returnees: Ben Miller, Carmel, Ind. junior, led the Britons in single matches with a 13-4 record. Miller also had a six match winning streak last season.
Strengths: Albion placed third in the final standings in the MIAA for the 2008 season, only losing three graduating seniors. With a core group still intact, the team looks to be strong once again in 2009. The team is focusing on their doubles’ matches.
Weakness: Last season, All-MIAA awards were received by three graduating seniors.
Key matches: The big matches for the Britons will be against Kalamazoo and Calvin Colleges. The two teams finished ahead of Albion in the 2008 MIAA final standings. Kalamazoo has won the MIAA every year since 1935. Calvin finished second.
Outlook: “The goal is to be strong enough in doubles to be ahead going into the singles, and honestly we have a ways to go,” said head coach Scott Frew. “At this point we aren’t consistent enough with what we’re doing, but it is getting better. So with that said, we’re glad that it’s still considered early relative to when we need to be playing our best, which is April.”
2008 Record: 8-0 (18-2)
Key returnees: Shelley Zamler, Beverly Hills sophomore, was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2008 season and was named All-MIAA first team.
Strengths: Albion is coming off of another MIAA title, their fifth consecutive championship. The Lady Brits only lost two matches last season and both were non-conference.
Weaknesses: With the 2009 season underway, the Lady Brits lost their first match of the season to Ferris State, 8-1.
Key matches: Calvin and Hope Colleges will be the biggest hurdles for Albion this season. Both teams are solid and finished second and third behind Albion in the MIAA final standings last season.
Outlook: “We haven’t set any outcome-based goals, only performance based, and they center around the idea that we all need to bring consistently good effort and intensity to each practice,” said head coach Scott Frew. “My experience has always been that when people are working hard and with good focus, the wins and loses take care of themselves.”
Men’s Track and Field
2008: Finished third in MIAA
Key returnees: Albion’s only recipient of All MIAA honors graduated at the end of the 2008 season
Strengths: With the season already underway, the distance medley relay team, which scored six points in their last meet by placing third, looks to continue to be an asset to the team. The relay team consists of Ben Alger, Grass Lake sophomore, Drew Fuentes, Bangor first year, Carl Wharam, Manchester first year, Taylor Polzin, Sturgis first year.
Weaknesses: Losing key seniors like Evan Walters, Nick Kyriakopoulos and All-MIAA athlete Michael Nyika will call for underclassmen to step up and fill leadership roles.
Key meets: After placing third last season, the Britons biggest matches will be against Calvin and Hope, who finished ahead of the Brits in the MIAA standings.
Outlook: “Having classes start later on Jan. 20 set us behind everyone in the conference because they got a little bit of a head start on us,” said head coach Dave Egnatuk. “It was especially tough in our situation with having a young team because we’ve been bringing things along slow for them to grasp. We’re working hard on improving in every area right now. Our main goal is to make sure that every player realizes their potential collectively and just to have a good season over all.”
Women’s Track and Field
2008: Finished third in MIAA
Key returnees: Katie Spencer, St. Ignace junior, named All-MIAA.
Strengths: With their season already underway, Albion finished eighth out of 13 teams at the Indiana Wesleyan Invitational and second place at the Friday Night Series. Look for the Lady Brits to perform well in distance and field events. At the Friday Night Series, Erika Nichols, Greenville junior, won two distance events for Albion. Emily McLaughlin, Grosse Pointe sophomore, also won the 5,000-meter. In field events, Kaycee Damm, Bay Port first-year, won the high jump and Dana Koenig, Midland sophomore, the triple jump.
Weaknesses: Albion has a lot of new faces on the team. The Britons welcome 11 first-years and rookie head coach Steve Allison.
Key meets: Albion will host the MIAA Championships on April 30- May 1.
Outlook: “The Albion College Women’s Track and Field team added some outstanding first-years to replace an equally fine group who graduated,” said assistant coach Hayden Smith. “Combined with the returning athletes the team is in a strong position to duplicate the success of 2008.”