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Jax State prepares for the Rick Pietri era


First year head coach Rick Pietri has his work cut out for him as he leads his Gamecocks into the 2013-14 season. Last season JSU had a forgettable year at 1-27, but if there’s a silver lining, it would be that the lone win came in thrilling fashion in the last home game of the year.

The phrase ‘going into the offseason on a high note,’ has never rung more true.

The lackluster season led to the firing of former coach Anetta Watts, and gave way to the Rick Pietri era. Pietri spent the last 13 years at South Alabama where he transformed a Jaguar program that had endured 10 straight losing seasons prior to his arrival. Thirteen years later, a 220-167 record made Pietri the all-time winningest coach in Lady Jaguar history.

This is bound to be a tough season but following last season, along with being voted sixth in the OVC Preseason polls, there’s no place to go but up.

Pietri’s first JSU squad returns eight players from the previous year including Candace Morton and leading-scorer, Miranda Cantrell.

The schedule is an exciting one for players and fans featuring a variety of opponents with many of whom making trips to Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The Gamecocks will open their season Nov. 3 at home against Miles. The strength of schedule spikes following that matchup as Jax State then takes to the road for back-to-back games against SEC foes Ole Miss and Auburn. JSU will then play at soon-to-be-Sun Belt Georgia Southern.

The Gamecocks will play in the state of Georgia again in late November when they take part in the Georgia State Invitational. The Gamecocks will play the Panthers, and may also find themselves in a matchup against Georgia of the SEC.

Fans will be able to see great games as top opponents visit The Pete including Kennesaw State who just edged JSU 51-50 last season. A few days later on Nov. 26, the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears come to town. UCA finished just 15-14 last season, but opened the year on a strong 11-4 run through non-conference.

The game of the year may be on December 10 when the Chattanooga Mocs visit. UTC went 29-4 a year ago knocking off 20th ranked Tennessee on their way to a Southern Conference championship and berth into the NCAA Tournament. Following UTC, the Gamecocks have three more consecutive home games before they begin OVC action on December 28.  

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