Here are the top 10 sports moments of the past year for the University of North Alabama athletics teams. As there are many great moments to relive in the past year for North Alabama sports, it is hard to select only 10. Managing Editor Chase Glover and Sports Editor Quin Norris cut down their top-10 best moments from this past year.
Chase’s Number 10: Women’s Tennis beats Western Kentucky for fourth straight win
The women’s tennis team beat Western Kentucky 4-3 on March 9 for the fourth consecutive win on the season. The reasoning for this to make the Top-10 moments is because the team finished 6-9 on the season and started the year with an 0-4 record. The team had a 2-9 record before starting on their four-game win streak to end their short season.
Quin’s Number 10: UNA Football ranks 23rd in attendance
The University of North Alabama reaches this mark by having an average attendance of 9,548 beating out all Big South conference members including Hampton (7,218) and Kennesaw State (5,875).
Chase’s Number 9: Shelby Wall leads ASUN in goals made
Wall led the ASUN conference in goals made in the 2019 season with 15; the next closest player is Reiss from North Florida with 12. Wall also ended her four-year campaign at North Alabama with landing at the No. 6 spot in career goals (37) and career assists (23).
Quin’s Number 9: Cross Country hosts first meet since 2007
The Lions Cross Country team hosted their first home meet under new coach Jeremy Provence. To add to this monumental meet the Women’s Cross Country team placed third at the meet.
Chase’s Number 8: Manny Little’s ASUN rebounding leader
Emanuel Littles, better known as Manny Littles, led the ASUN this past season in rebounds per game with 10.3. He totaled 279 this past year for the second most overall while only playing in 27 of the 30 games. He shot up from 8 rpg in the 2018-2019 season and cements himself in Division-I; this total from the year allowed him to become the 24th ranked rebounding leader in all of Division-I.
Quin’s Number 8: Baseball pitches first no-hitter since 2010
There weren't many bright spots for UNA baseball this season, but the combined efforts of Cosi Scinta, Colton Teal, Jacob James, Bryant Claunch, and Kyle Moore to defeat Belmont 1-0 in the team’s first no-hitter since 2010 and the first at home since 2004.
Chase’s Number 7: UNA Football ranks 23rd in attendance
North Alabama released the numbers of the average attendance per football game this year. The Lion’s raked in over 9,548 fans for each game; this allowed them to be No. 23 out of 127 FCS Division-I programs. This a huge mark for North Alabama as they are in they finished their first full season in the Big South.
Quin’s Number 7: Women’s basketball snaps FGCU 42-game conference win streak
Coming into the game against Florida Gulf Coast on February 29th, 2020 the ladies had a giant task ahead of them as FGCU had not lost any of their previous 42 conference games. However, on back of Emma Wallen’s 22 point performance the Lions were able to achieve one of the programs largest victories.
Chase’s Number 6: Missy Tiber’s 100th UNA win
As coaching careers go, Tiber has one of the most prolific histories as she has bounced around the Division-II totem pole all the way up to Division-I with North Alabama. She received her 100th win against Virginia-Lynchburg to open up the season, which ended up giving her a contract extension through 2023-2024.
Quin’s Number 6: Megan Garst pitches 15-game strikeout
Pitcher Megan Garst has been next level in her time at The University of North Alabama. In her 2018 and 2019 seasons at UNA Garst had a record of 40-9 including a 16-6 record in the Lions first season as a Division-1 program. Garst career accolades include: 2018 All-American honors, 2019 second team honors from the NFCA, 2018 third team honors by the D2CCA, 2018 first team All-Gulf South Conference honors, 2018 Gulf-South pitcher of the year, 2019 first team All-Asun Conference honors, and 2019 Asun pitcher of the year.
Chase’s Number 5: Softball 11 shutouts in short season
As everyone knows, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the middle of spring sports causing baseball and softball to lose most of their season and all of the playoffs. However, the Lions did a lot more with a lot less this year. In 46 games last year, they had 11 games that ended in shutouts for their opponents; this year they only played 23 games (half of last season) and provided the same outstanding performance with 11 shutouts. That only left 12 games to where the other team scored; 138 scores allowed overall for an average of six runs per game.
Quin’s Number 5: Missy Tiber’s 100th UNA win & 300th win later in the season
Coach Tiber has a long and successful career as a coach starting with her experience at the Division II level seeing her lead three different schools to decent records before transitioning to head coach at Southern Illinois. Following that she took the reigns as head coach of the Lions in 2013 where her career has skyrocketed seeing her get 128 of 306 career wins with UNA. She is also the dominant factor in the team’s almost seamless transition into D-1 play.
Chase’s Number 4: Women’s Basketball 102-point win
The women’s basketball team had an amazing year and started it off in a way many people could not believe. The women’s team opened the season against Virginia-Lynchburg with a 102-point win over the Dragons.They held the Dragons to a 15% shooting mark while the Lions scored on 65% of their attempts. They held VLU to single-digit scoring in each quarter and provided Missy Tiber with her 100th win of her North Alabama career.
Quin’s Number 4: Shelby Wall leads ASUN in goals made
Similar to baseball there were not many bright spots for Lions soccer this year. However, Shelby Wall was the exception to that. Her explosive offensive style leads the ASUN with 15 goals a whole three more than second place.
Chase’s Number 3: Megan Garst pitches 15-game strikeout
Garst, a 3-year veteran pitcher for UNA posted a 15-game strikeout against Northern Illinois on Feb. 28. A year removed from becoming the ASUN Pitcher of the Year, Garst showed reason after reason why she bestows that honor. In the game, she struck out the first 14 batters she saw before allowing a 2-out single to ruin her perfect game. However, she struck out the last batter to receive the shutout and close the game in five innings.
Quin’s Number 3: Football beats Western Illinois for first FCS home-game win
The Lions opened their 2019 season on August 29, 2019, against heavy favorite Western Illinois. Despite their role as underdog, the Lions outplayed the Leathernecks from start to finish, never trailing in the game and winning 26-17.
Chase’s Number 2: Women’s basketball snaps FGCU 42-game conference win streak
In one of the biggest whirlwinds of the year, the North Alabama women’s team went into enemy territory in Fort Myers, Fla., to defeat the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Lions, in their second season of Division-I and in ASUN conference play, have never beaten the Eagles in previous matchups in regular season or playoff games. However, they held the Eagles to 26% from the field on the night allowing Tiber and Co. to come storming into Fort Myers and snap the Eagles 42-game conference winning streak for their first ever victory over FGCU.
Quin’s Number 2: Jackson Wedgeworth wins Tiger Invitational
Over a three day stretch from March 8, 2020 to March 10, 2020 the Lions golf team competed in the Tiger Invitational in Opelika, Alabama. At this tournament were multiple top amateur athletes in golf rankings. In a largely unanticipated performance, Wedgeworth saw himself shoot his best game since joining the team, finishing with a 207 over 54 holes. This was a strong enough performance to finish first in solos. However, as a team the Lions finished in a tie for ninth place.
Chase’s Number 1: Ivy and Emma Wallen become UNA No. 1 & 2 scorer’s in history
On top of both our lists ranks the Lauderdale county twins that have terrorized opposing teams with their swift ball handling, passing, scoring, and defense. The two seniors, Ivy and Emma Wallen, cemented their legacy by leaving the program as the No. 1 and No. 2 leading scorers in school history. Ivy Wallen ends her four-year campaign with 1,762 points in her career, while averaging 16.6 ppg, 6.7 apg, and 4.7 rpg. Her sister, Emma Wallen, finishes her crusade with 1,640 points for her career while averaging 13.9 ppg, 1.4 apg, and 2.8 rpg.
Quin’s Number 1: Ivy and Emma Wallen become UNA No. 1 & 2 scorer’s in history
Is it any surprise that the Wallen sisters top this list? Ever since they came to UNA from Lauderdale County High School they have dominated their competition. While their numbers are impressive, the aspect of their game that can’t be shown in numbers is their passion for the sport and competitive attitudes. From start to finish at UNA they played with an unmatched fire and drive to win. This was on full display as they were the unquestioned leaders of their team this season as the Lions steamed through opponent after opponent.
Continue to read the Flor-Ala and follow @FlorAlaSports on Twitter for all updates and keep an eye out for Chase and Quin's upcoming talking heads podcast.