Young players step into big roles
Oct06

Young players step into big roles

As the Crusader offense continues to improve, the defense already looks to be in championship form after putting in another dominating performance Sept. 19 with a 43-10 victory over Wisconsin-La Crosse at Crusader Stadium. UMHB didn’t find the endzone until early in the second quarter when junior quarterback Blake Jackson took it himself for a 16-yard scoring run to put the Cru up 10-3. That would open the floodgates. Duane Thompson sprinted for a 31-yard touchdown to cap off an 80-yard drive. On the next drive, Michael Carpenter scored from two yards out to extend the lead to 24-3. A Jacob O’Neill field goal made it 27-3 at halftime. Senior quarterback Zach Anderson scored on a three-yard run on the first drive of the second half. Malcolm Miller then added a two-yard score to make it 40-3. UWL got in the endzone with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback John Tackett hit junior receiver Joel Oxton for a 25-yard touchdown. The only scoring in the fourth quarter would be a 23-yard field goal from John Mowery to give the Cru the decisive 43-10 victory. The defense held UWL to just 75 rushing yards on 37 attempts. On the season, the Cru has held opposing rushers to just 1.6 yards-per-carry. Junior linebacker Matt Cody said the players do a good job of sticking to their individual assignments, which makes them more productive as a unit. “The big reason we have such a great run defense is our unselfishness,” Cody said. “In our defense everyone has a specific job and task they have to perform every play. Even if that means not making the tackle. We have 11 guys that are working together to be the best defense in the nation.” The team leads the American Southwest Conference in points allowed at 8.3 and is second in yards allowed at 189 per game. The Cru have had to rely on several young players on both sides of the ball this season, but sophomore safety Reggie Wilson said the players know their roles and aren’t afraid of the situation. “Our coaching staff does a really great job recruiting talented athletes which helps the older guys to be confident with the youth on the field,” Wilson said. “The older guys also make sure the younger guys know what’s going on, so they will be able to play fast and make plays.” The team may be inexperienced, but Cody doesn’t think youth will stop them from accomplishing their goals. “We are a young team but that takes nothing away from the success of the team,” he said. “In fact these young...

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Cru volleyball starts season strong in UMHB Invitational
Sep16

Cru volleyball starts season strong in UMHB Invitational

Young, powerful and determined. This is what sticks out when the 2015 Women’s Volleyball team comes to mind. Do not let this young team be underestimated. They went 3-1 at the 2015 UMHB Invitational. This team has proven that it can hold its own. Last year, the team was ranked 27th by the American Volleyball Coaches Association with a record of 25-6. But this year, the team hopes to go the distance. While Head Coach Rob Frost would not mind making it to the championship tournament, he said the main focus is making sure his team can work together and adjust to a college-level playing field. “I like what we are doing but it’s going to take some time. So we may be .500 this year,” Frost said. “We want to get to the national tournament, one way or another. So if it takes us a season to develop, it’s fine. There are no expectations other than to continue to grow and get better.” Frost said the biggest challenge the team faces is bringing the freshmen up to the speed of a college-paced game. While seniors Shelby Prather and Cheyenne Dowdey also agree the team is young, they recognize the strengths that the freshmen are bringing to the court. Dowdey believes the team has already improved from last season. “I think we are taller as a team and we jump higher as a team,” she said. “With our scrimmages I noticed we are blocking better, we are faster, we are hitting over and around people a lot better than we ever have.” Prather said that even though the team is inexperienced, the new players have stepped right in and are contributing. “Our girls are really focused. Our freshmen are ready to step up and play,” she said. “They know they are coming into a winning program and so I think they are going to do everything they can to help us win.” This team is bringing more power and higher jumps, and is determined not to go down without a fight. On Sept. 4, the Cru hosted the 2015 UMHB Invitational. The Cru Women’s Volleyball team went 3-1 in this tournament. Coach Frost, Dowdey and Prather all felt comfortable going into this tournament because the team has been able to keep up with Division II teams in scrimmage matches. The team is also feeling confident because of the work they’ve put in at the gym during the offseason. They may be young, but according to Prather, the goal is still the same. She said, “Overall I just want to win, win conference and go far and finish my senior...

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Sports Spotlight
Sep16

Sports Spotlight

Ben Hammonds is a senior business administration major from Flower Mound, Texas. Growing up, Hammonds participated in many sports, but favored baseball and soccer. Once he moved from St. Louis to Dallas, he decided to pursue his love for soccer. Hammonds is currently the team captain for the UMHB Men’s soccer team and plays the position of center forward. He has contributed to the team each season. His freshman year, he scored two goals. As a sophomore, he added another goal and earned All-ASC Honorable Mention. For his junior campaign, he was named to the All-ASC Second Team for scoring four more goals. This season, Hammonds and the Cru have begun this year with a road trip to the West Coast. Hammonds enjoys the freedom of the game. “My favorite thing about soccer is the freedom of it. Aside from free kicks there are no set plays, no timeouts or stoppages. Just 45-minute halves where players are free to do what they want to beat the opponent. I love my team. My favorite thing about the team is that we are truly brothers,” he said. Outside of soccer, Ben enjoys hanging out with his friends, taking in the Austin music scene and participating in student government. He is a representative for UMHB’s NCAA Student Athletic Advisory Committee and was once a member of the school’s Student Government Association (SGA) where he served as the athletics representative. Hammonds also enjoys watching soccer matches when he’s not playing in them. His favorite team is Chelsea FC, which competes in the Premier League. His favorite player is Frank Lampard, who is currently a member of the New York City FC. Because Hammonds has big aspirations for his career, he knew UMHB would be the right fit. “I had a few other offers from similar schools, but UMHB stood out to me. Coach Bankhead was a major factor in my decision. It was clear he cared about his players deeply and they respected him as well. I also had great interactions with the players on my visits and when I watched them play. UMHB is also beautiful. It was a really easy decision in the end,” he said. “One of the best decisions I have ever made.” Once Ben graduates this December, he plans to pursue a job in college athletics. However, he has not given up the option of playing professionally or being a member of a folk rock band. But before he graduates, Hammonds will be focusing on making an impact on his squad this season. “As a senior I hope to lead this year’s team to accomplish something special as...

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Cru defense stymies Millsaps
Sep16

Cru defense stymies Millsaps

The Crusaders got off to a slow start in their first game of the 2015 season, but they managed to shake off the rust and responded with a 65-12 thumping of Millsaps College Saturday night at Crusader stadium. After forcing a Millsaps three-and-out, the Cru got the scoring off early when senior quarterback Zach Anderson connected with junior Wykeyhe Walker for a 37-yard touchdown strike. After a 46-yard field goal from Jacob O’Neill, sophomore running back Duane Thompson ran around the right side and picked up a block from wide receiver Robbie Seybold to spring an 11-yard touchdown that put the Cru up 17-0. With 9:21 remaining in the second quarter, Anderson broke free for a 41-yard scramble to the eight yard line. Backup quarterback, Blake Jackson, entered the game and hit Walker on a fade in the endzone to extend the lead to 24-0. On the next drive, Jackson connected with junior wide receiver Lin Gillham for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 32-0. Anderson left the game in the second quarter with back tightness after completing five of nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, while adding 53 yards on the ground. Jackson was able to pick up the slack by going 10-for-15 with 116 yards and two scores through the air and another 46 yards rushing. Jackson admitted that the passing game wasn’t as efficient as it could have been in last week’s game, but a solid week of practice helped the offense get back on the right track. “We executed really well during practice and coach harped on me all week to strengthen that aspect of the game,” he said. “I worked my hardest to do that and got it done.” Senior running back Malcolm Miller scored the final touchdown of the half when he rumbled 20 yards up the middle to make it 39-0 at the break. The Cru racked up 375 yards rushing during the night and had six ballcarriers eclipse 40 yards. “We’re very talented, and there’s so many guys with the ball in their hands who can really do a lot of things. We just want to continue to give them the ball,” Head Coach Pete Fredenberg said. Millsaps attempted and recovered an onside kick to begin the second half. The Majors then mounted a 12-play drive that was capped off by a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chance Clowers to Beau Wells. A failed extra point would leave the score at 39-6. The Cru answered with a 10-play drive of their own that ended on a three-yard scoring scramble by Jackson to make it 46-6. After a pair of...

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Football poised for another conference title
Sep01

Football poised for another conference title

As the fall semester begins, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football team begins their quest of winning their first NCAA Division III National Championship. The Cru are coming off an 11-1 overall record last year and have won the American Southwest Conference championship. There are multiple new and returning faces to the UMHB football program including Coach Luke Howard and Jack Johnson. Junior exercise and sport science education major Baylor Mullins, who plays safety for the team, is ready for football to begin. “I am very excited to get this season started. Although we won the conference last year, we didn’t win the national championship which is what we are looking for around here,” he said. “We still have tons of improvement, but I feel like this could be the year.” Junior exercise and sport science major Matthew McVey is a tight end for the Cru and is ready to hit the field. “I’m definitely excited about what this year has in store for us and continuing the tradition of winning the ASC championship along with making a run for the national championship. We have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball; we also have a lot of returners coming back mixed in with some new faces,” he said. According to D3Football.com, the Cru are ranked fourth in the nation in their preseason poll. Other familiar football powerhouses at the top of the rankings includes: the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Mount Union, Linfield College and Wesley College. “Home games are so much better than away games. There’s nothing like coming out of the tunnel and seeing a sea of Cru purple and yellow,” said sophomore management major, Haston Adams. “Cru-Nation is definitely deep and they are always live. The team plays more relaxed and it seems like we are sharper when we play in Crusader Stadium.” The Cru are currently 14-2 since playing their home games in Crusader Stadium. This season will mark the third year the Cru will play truly at home. This season, the UMHB football program’s motto is “Earn It.” “After an upset last season, our coaches decided to rebuild the team from the ground up and if you wanted a spot on the team you had to ‘earn it,’ McVey said. “Everyone started from the bottom and had to work their way back to the top during a competitive offseason.” The team’s quarterback, senior marketing major Zach Anderson, trusts his teammates and believes everyone is committed. “Overall I feel that we have an extremely talented team this year that is very dedicated to getting better each and every day. I believe...

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Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch
Apr15

Softball seeks to finish strong on home stretch

By Michael Crosson   In Texas, spring means sunny skies and warmer weather.   But to local sports fans, spring means baseball and softball season for spirited Crusaders.   The Lady Cru started the season slow by losing seven of their first 13 contests, but then went on a streak to win 10 consecutive games the last month.   Tiffany Birdwell is a pitcher for the softball team. She said the team’s recent success is the result of good team chemistry.   “I feel we need to continue to bond as a team,” she said.   Third baseman Leah Brown said the team is pleased so far with its play, but knows there’s plenty of games left to be played in the season.   “I always feel like we can improve, but I feel we’re doing really well as a team,” Brown said.   Head coach Larry Hennig believes this year’s squad is special because of the good team work ethic on and off the field.   He said, “I guess that the fact that the girls came here and we’re on a mission and they understand that every day is important, teamwork is important.”   Julie Norris, the assistant softball coach, said the thing she loves most about this team is how the players genuinely care for one another.   “We have a really resilient team they’re never out of ball games and the team chemistry is really good this year, the girls get along and play hard for each other all the time,” Norris said.   Catcher Cori Drake said the players have had to rely on each other to get through the mental hurdles of the season.   Drake said, “I think we possess a lot of confidence because we’re really good about motivating our own teammates and keeping a positive attitude during the games, and that really contributes to our success.”   Drake added that as the team continues to improve, they could very well be a tough club to beat.   “I believe the more we play the better we get and the more we come together as a team, so I believe we have a very good shot at going to regionals this year,” she said.   Right fielder Karley Free said the team’s unity and hard work is what makes her most proud to be a part of the squad.   “The team chemistry and how well we can all get along when we’re out on the field, and encouraging others during the game,” Free said.   The team is currently sitting fourth in the American Southwest Conference standings and will host...

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