With the fall season looming around the corner new head coaches in the UA sports program faced high expectations. Matt Wion is enjoying his first year as a head coach of the girls volleyball team while Carlos Bonilla of the boys soccer team is exercising discipline and bringing unity on the field. Ron Mautz is also keeping his golfers focused and relaxed under pressure.
The girls volleyball team is flying through the season with an undefeated record of 9-0 at press time. The confidence they have gained with a strong start has them in competition for an OCC title with rival Dublin Coffman. Although, a new team, Wion feels confident.
“I have 10 amazing, athletic and mentally strong girls to work with this year,” Wion said. “The girls trust each other on the court and are overall very confident. These are all reasons why our season has been going so well.”
In past years, Wion has coached volleyball teams at Hastings and has been an assistant coach for the UA boys volleyball team.
The men’s varsity soccer team season, however, is moving along much slower. A 3-4 record, at press time, has not been a great beginning for coach Bonilla. Senior Timmy Seek, a starter for the Bears, has noticed the change of pace.
“Our coach this year is very strict and demanding,” Seek said. “Our team this year needs the structure, and so far coach is really trying to connect us on the field. Our old coach didn’t have the intensity that we have this year because he coached the team for over 10 years. That might have been one of the reasons Bixel decided to retire.”
Fellow senior Cody Palmer also has noted the coaching change.
“Our coach this year had really high expectations of us and is really pushing us to connect,” Palmer said. “He is also enforcing the importance of speed and agility. This team needed someone like coach Carlos, but it might not be the year he hoped for.”
Mautz may be the new boys golf coach, but he is far from new at UA. He led the baseball team into winning the Class AAA title in 1987 and then coached basketball until deciding to switch to golf.
Expectations are high for all teams with seasons nearing their finish. While new coaches, Wion and Bonilla, though Wion might be in the clear, Bonilla and the boys are going to need some luck and support to finish strong.