Volleyball wins big
Sep17

Volleyball wins big

The Crusader volleyball team put in the best season in school history last year on their way to a 29-8 record, and the program’s first berth in the NCAA national tournament. This year, the team has its sights set even higher. The Cru began the season receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll, but now find themselves ranked at No. 23 after a strong start.   The team kicked things off by sweeping all three matches of the U.T.-Dallas Labor Day Tournament Aug. 29-30. On the first day of the tournament, the Cru pulled off a tough 3-2 win against Southwestern University before sweeping three sets in a match against the University of Dallas. UMHB then earned an impressive 3-1 win the next day against No. 13 Trinity.   With one senior and five juniors, head coach Rob Frost believes the Cru has the experience and leadership it needs have a successful season.   “The team gets along so well and everyone is playing with a selfless attitude. It’s something we’ve worked on and they have really taken it and made it their own team dynamic,” he said. “Most of the time, we are smaller than the other ranked teams we compete against but we outwork them.”   The competition didn’t get any easier as UMHB traveled to Thousand Oaks, Calif. to participate in the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational Sept. 5-6. The Cru split the first day of the tournament with a 3-1 loss to No. 4 California Lutheran followed by a 3-1 win against Chapman. The next day, the team swept Occidental before falling 3-2 to No. 6 Emory.   While the veteran players are the heart of the team, Frost said he’s getting production from top to bottom.   “We are starting some younger players who are quickly catching on to our style of play,” he said. “The team has been doing very well sustaining our level of play and improving our consistency against very tough competition.”   During the tournament, junior hitter Cheyenne Dowdey broke the school career record for block assists.   “Breaking the block assist record feels amazing. I work really hard to bring a strong defensive presence to the net, and to control the offense of the other team the best I can,” Dowdey said.   Frost was pleased with the way his team competed in its first two tournaments against some of the top-ranked teams in the nation.   “Our returners know how to win and have done an excellent job going 5-2 with wins over Southwestern … Trinity with our only loses being close matches with the...

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Just another system quarterback

Johnny Manziel has taken the sports world by storm. The former Aggie quarterback defied the odds and became the first freshman in history to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. Manziel captivated fans with his athleticism, all-or-nothing style of play and his controversial antics— both off and on the field. However, by comparing Manziel to another recent controversial quarterback, Tim Tebow, a case can be made that “Johnny Football” may soon become “Johnny Unemployed.”   It may seem farfetched to draw similarities between Tim Tebow to Johnny Manziel — one spends his free time preaching the gospel while the other indulges in ways of the world — but their style of play combined with polarizing personalities makes it the perfect comparison. They each even have their own signature celebration with Manziel’s “money” sign and Tebow’s “Tebowing” pose.   The Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft and expect him to be their quarterback of the future. If his career becomes anything like the circus that was Tim Tebow’s, Manziel will be fighting an uphill battle.   Like Manziel, Tebow was a dynamic, mobile quarterback in college. He became the first college player ever to run and throw for at least 20 touchdowns, each en route to winning a Heisman of his own in 2007. He was a part of two National Championships at Florida and is considered by many to be one of the greatest college players of all time. However, Tebow’s success didn’t exactly translate to the National Football League.   After being drafted by the Denver Broncos, it soon became evident that Tebow didn’t fit the mold of a modern NFL quarterback. In an era where NFL offenses are focused on rhythmic passing, Tebow’s style of improvisation made it feel like he was always trying to keep his head above water.   In 2011, Tebow got his shot when the Broncos struggled early in the season going just 1-4. He would lead them to a 7-4 record the rest of the way and a thrilling overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. Tebow proved he could win, but his 46.5 completion percentage left much to be desired. That offseason, Denver signed veteran Peyton Manning and the Tebow experiment drew to a close.   There’s no reason to expect Johnny Manziel’s career to play out any differently. Defensive ends in the NFL are stronger and faster than in college and quarterbacks who can’t stand in the pocket and make strong throws get eaten alive.   Off the field, Tebow was always in the news. The outspoken Christian was often the topic...

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Ray Rice: The bigger issue
Sep17

Ray Rice: The bigger issue

  “Ray Rice is a heck of a guy that made a mistake…” a comment from Baltimore Ravens head football coach John Harbaugh shortly after the arrest of his star running back in late July.   Not only did the Ravens organization drop the ball on this incident, but so did the Atlantic City police department and the NFL.   Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, made the decision to suspend Ray Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season. This immediately raised eyebrows on the lack of repercussions for domestic violence cases within the league. Just as it seemed everything was going to blow over for Rice, the Ravens and the League, TMZ released the whole video of Rice punching his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer in an elevator at the Revel Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The video is hard to watch. Hours after the video was released, the Baltimore front office made the decision to terminate Rice’s contract and cut him from their roster. The NFL quickly followed suit and suspended him from the league indefinitely.   They washed their hands of Rice, trying to say that they hadn’t seen the video until it was released by TMZ.   This brings me to the major issue I have with the NFL. Athletes have been notorious for seeming to be above the law. Although the NFL has become more strict over the last five years, they have failed terribly with their domestic violence policy … or should I say, lack thereof.   Players are getting suspended for an entire season, for violating a very picky and particular substance policy, and then you have notable players getting arrested for domestic violence, only getting a two game suspension.   There is obviously something wrong with this equation.   As big as the NFL is in American culture, it has been a trailblazer when it comes to dealing with issues such as this. They have ultimately dropped the ball. They had a chance to prove to the world that football is more than just a game and how you perform in society means much more than the 60 minutes of play Sunday afternoons.   Since the video was made public, the league has made plans to revise its’ domestic violence policy.   They have already come out and said that a domestic violence infraction will result in a six-game suspension for first time offenders and a possible lifetime ban for repeat offenders.   A more detailed policy is a must for the league. If they want to save face, they need to make a conscious effort to rework...

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Crusaders take the field
Aug27

Crusaders take the field

Cru athletics take the field and court to prepare for their upcoming seasons as autumn‘s chill slowly starts to creep into the summer days.   Football, volleyball and soccer athletes beat the rush to campus in order to begin their fall camp practices. All of the programs were highly successful last year and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to see a drop in the 2014 campaigns.   Senior Cru football player and wide receiver Kamray Runnels said, “I can’t wait for the season to start. We have a lot of work to do, but everyone is excited about the talent we have on the field and the things that this team can accomplish this year.”   The Cru finished last year with a 14-1 record, losing in the semifinals to a talented Wisconsin Whitewater team. For many teams, a loss like that would tear a group apart, but it created an even deeper hunger within the Cru to advance and win a national championship.   “We understand that it’s a long season and its imperative that we take it one game at a time, but I’d be lying if I said we don’t have our eyes on a national championship.  We lost quite a few seniors off of last years team, so that just means other guys will have to work even harder to fill those positions,” senior slot receiver Stanton Holland said.   The Crusader volleyball team is also coming back to the fall season with a successful 2013 run under their belt. They finished with a season record of 29-8, which is the best in program history.   Coach Rob Frost is returning to coach the Cru and looking to take the team even further this year.   “I am excited about what we have accomplished during my time here and I look forward to building on that and growing the program. I feel like we are in the middle of some great things, and there is more that we can do,” Frost said.   The ladies are returning nine talented players from last year’s team. Junior outside hitter Lauren Powell and senior middle hitter Bianca Patterson will lead the attack for the Crusaders. Last year the two tallied up over 650 kills combined, and wrecked havoc on ASC defenses all season.   The men’s and women’s soccer teams have high hopes for their upcoming seasons as well. Both teams were successful last year, but hard work individually and as a team throughout the summer should propel the squads to even bigger things this year.   Coach Bankhead’s men’s team finished the season 5-9-2. Bankhead’s...

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World Cup Spurs summer sports excitment
Aug27

World Cup Spurs summer sports excitment

Who says summer is a bad time for sports? With an NBA Finals rematch, an unpredictable World Cup and a brewing rivalry between two Texas MLB teams, the summer of 2014 provided non-stop entertainment.   Last year’s NBA finals saw a heavy-weight bout between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat. After Miami won the seven game series to claim their second straight title, many thought the Spurs’ historic dynasty had come to an end. They were wrong.   While it’s true the likes of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are reaching the twilight of their careers, what most people don’t realize is that the Spurs aren’t built like other NBA teams. They don’t go after the big-name free agents who are only concerned with making money and posterizing the opposition. Instead, the Spurs search for players who can fill a particular role and who place winning above being the center of attention.   So when LeBron and his boys rolled into the Alamo City expecting to win another championship, the Spurs came at them with a clean, fundamental style of basketball that the Heat had no answer to. Kawhi Leonard emerged as a star, and San Antonio took the series four games to one en route to their fifth NBA championship.   As the eyes of America were on the hardwood, the eyes of the world were on Brazil for the FIFA World Cup. The U.S. Men’s National team seemed doomed from the start as they were placed in the “group of death,” consisting of world powerhouses Germany  and Portugal as well as Ghana, who knocked the Americans out of the tournament in 2010.   However, the team wasn’t going to go down without a fight. After losing star striker Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury in the opening minutes of the USMNT’s first game against Ghana, the resilient Americans fought back and managed to advance to the round-of-16, where they fell just short against Belgium, despite a heroic performance from goalkeeper Tim Howard.   Even though their run ended prematurely, the U.S. team made themselves known in a culture where they’ve long been considered outsiders. And, in a sport where flopping and faking injuries has become a strategic part of the game, the Americans got kicked in the mouth (literally) and had the fortitude to keep pushing forward. Soccer will never be as popular in the states as it is abroad, but this summer, the USMNT gained new fans throughout the country and a new respect throughout the world.   Back on the home front, things look bleak for the two Texas teams of Major...

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Johnny Football craze continues to NFL
May06

Johnny Football craze continues to NFL

THE BELLS — Love him or hate him, Johnny Manziel has proved over and over again that he has the skill set to elude collegiate defenses. But the question is, can he make that transition to the NFL, where the defensive ends are running faster 40-yard dash times than he is.   Everyone is looking for comparisons to the star quarterback coming out of Texas A&M, names such as Hall of Famer, Fran Tarkenton  Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson have been thrown around. But what it all boils down to is there really is not a  perfect comparison out there in leage right now or a player that has played in the past.   Manziel’s style of play is reminiscent of Tarkenton’s game and his stature matches up well with the Seahawks’ Wilson, but there hasn’t been a player in some time that carries the attention that Johnny Manziel does.  Ever since Manziel won the starting job in College Station, the spotlight has gotten brighter every day.   This reason alone is what makes numerous NFL general managers nervous about adding Manziel to their roster. Unnecessary publicity isn’t always a good thing, and although he has made an effort to shake the “Johnny Football” reputation and convince teams that he will put all of the other stuff aside when it’s time to go to work, the wild side of Manziel continues to be what is talked about.   Talks of Johnny Football staying in the state and playing for the Houston Texans were strong when he first announced he would be entering the draft, but as time has passed, his name has slowly  dropped off  of the draft boards. The Texans, who are, indeed, searching for a quarterback,  but Johnny Football is not the answer for the team.   Houston hired Bill O’Brien as their head coach in the offseason, and he has made it clear that he prefers a more traditional player calling the signals. A quarterback like Manziel doesn’t fit this description. So it is highly unlikely that you will see the Texas football hero continuing his play in the great state.   ESPN reporter Todd McShay said, “From talking to guys I trust, I just don’t think Manziel is the fit for the Texans.”   Although a highly talked about player like Manziel would sell a lot of merchandise and create a buzz not only in Texas but throughout the country, it wouldn’t be the exact type of buzz that the struggling Texans need. Coming off  a horrific 2-16 season the Texans need stability, even if that means starting recently acquired veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and...

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