The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 24, 2013

Jaguar teams avoid chopping block


DANVILLE —  In athletics, victories are typically easily defined on the scoreboard.

On Tuesday night, three sports at Danville Area Community College didn’t earn a victory and they didn’t suffer a defeat. Instead, it was basically a tie.

Volleyball, men’s soccer and men’s golf were given a one-year reprieve from being suspended on a 4-3 vote of the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees.

“It’s a victory for the kids that are returning and the kids that we had coming here next year to play,’’ said DACC men’s soccer coach Dave Barney. “But, it’s not really a victory for the long haul. We want our sport to be available for the foreseeable future here at Danville Area Community College.’’

Andres Molina, who will be a sophomore soccer player next fall at DACC, admitted it was good news for him.

“I’m happy that I get to play another year, but it’s also sad that they are still planning to get rid of the program after the next season,’’ he said.

The international student, from Columbia, admitted that athletics has provided a wonderful opportunity at education and learning a different lifestyle.

“It’s kept me from doing bad stuff like drugs and joining a gang,’’ said Molina, who also talked during the public discussion how DACC gave his older brother, Juan Molina, the same opportunity.

“Juan came to Danville and actually met the love of his life,’’ Andres said. “He was also able to transfer to a four-year university and he is going to get his degree.’’

Juan Molina is a senior-to-be at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Va.

While Andres Molina has already played one season of college athletics, the one-year window for volleyball and men’s golf has renewed opportunities for Westville’s Kaitie Shaw and Bismarck-Henning’s Austin Toler.

“It lets me achieve my goal of playing college volleyball for at least one season,’’ said Shaw.

And according to Toler, if the DACC Board has eliminated golf, it probably would have been the end of his athletic career.

“Without a team, I doubt that I would have continued playing and practicing every day,’’ he said. “I still would have gone golfing with my buddies, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

“Now, I have a big reason to keep getting better every day this summer.’’

Both Shaw and Toler hope that their respective sports can be saved for more than one season.

“I really didn’t think that I would be able to play volleyball again if these sports were suspended,’’ Shaw said. “Now, we have another year to try and save volleyball at this college.’’

And Toler said that even if the school isn’t able to save golf, he still has a season to be seen by another college coach.

“If I play well enough in my one season at DACC, I might be able to continue my career somewhere else,’’ he said. “If I don’t play well enough, well, at least I can say that I gave it my best effort.’’

Barney is hoping that the Danville community can find a solution in the next year to save the sports.

“I believe losing these sports is bad for the community as a whole,’’ he said. “And for soccer, I really appreciate that Adnan Abdelghani (president of the Danville Area Soccer Association) came here to lend us his support.

“It’s a two-way street between the DACC program and the DASA. They gave us a great deal of help and we try to help them with our kids working as referees during Saturday matches.’’

With Tuesday’s vote to allow one more season of the three sports, DACC will now begin searching for a new volleyball coach.