Softball taking care of business in ASC play
Apr02

Softball taking care of business in ASC play

THE BELLS — The softball team completed a sweep of the University of Texas at Dallas over the weekend, winning the games 8-0, 4-3 and 7-5. The series improves the team’s record to 11-10 on the season and 9-9 in American Southwest Conference play.  The wins broke a five-game losing streak for the Cru and provided a surge of life to take the team into the back half of the season. “I think the ‘x-factor’ that we have as a team is that we never give up,” said senior education major Chandler Henson. “We are not giving up, and this second half of the schedule we plan to climb back up to the top one game at a time.” The team has experienced both victory and defeat in streaks this season. After starting off with losses in five of the first six games, the Cru bounced back with a seven-game winning streak before suffering five straight losses, which led into the weekend’s match-ups against UTD. The biggest adjustment for the Cru at this point is on offense, and players believe that the key to second-half success is to score more runs, especially in strategic situations. “A lot of times this year we have left runners in scoring positions,” Henson said. “If we were to string hits together at those crucial times, we could be scoring more runs.” Getting runs early in the game is another point of focus, said freshman pre-physical therapy major Emily Marrs. She is also quick to point out the deep talent on the roster and the pool of strong freshmen. “All the hard work we put in, in the fall season and the help of great coaches and teammates have prepared us to play.” Marrs said, “The x-factor that this team has is the deep talent that we have…. Any person can step up at any time and get the job done.” Much of the credit for the team’s work ethic and resilience is directed toward the upperclassmen on the squad, as well as the team’s solid chemistry. “The upperclassmen push us to work hard and make us better,” Marrs said. “We play really well together on the field, and everyone is supportive of each other. We have a lot of fun together on and off the field.” The team feels optimistic that the struggles of the early part of the season are passing and that the back half of the spring shows promise. “Whenever we play to the best of our ability, we have the potential to be … one of the best teams out there,” Henson said. “This team has overcome many things...

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Men’s volleyball set to attack
Apr02

Men’s volleyball set to attack

THE BELLS — Anyone who works out at Mayborn has heard the sound of loud music, shoes squeaking and volleyballs hitting the floor coming from the rec gym. What they may not know is those noises come from the men’s club volleyball team, which practices three times a week in preparation for future tournaments as an officially chartered squad. Aaron Jackson, Greg Applegate and TJ Greeson serve as captains. Jackson, a sophomore business major, has been playing the sport for four years. This school year, he has been working with the Student Organizations Office, fulfilling the necessary requirements and paperwork that clubs at UMHB must complete. Since the university doesn’t sponsor an official men’s team, they must compete as a club. “Volleyball in Central Texas is not a men’s sport,” Jackson said. “I felt like we really needed to get something started here…. It took a long time to get things going, but … it’s all happened fast.” The captains recruited a coach, several assistants and some players who know the sport. After try-outs, a team of 14 was selected. Most haven’t ever played volleyball at a high level, but they share an interest in the game. Clint Brown, a computer studies major and one of the seniors this semester, brings a powerful swing to the lineup, as well as some advice for new players. “I want to teach these guys to play in attack mode. They’re good athletes, but sometimes lack that ‘you’re not stopping me’ confidence. You can’t be timid on the court, especially when we match up against the 6’8 and 6’9 guys in tournaments,” he said. Tournaments are played all over Texas, but Jackson wants to cover all the basics before taking the team anywhere. Brown has seen vast improvements in the last few weeks. “We all came in awkward and quiet — no one really communicating, but the guys are starting to build some chemistry, and it makes the practices more enjoyable,” he said. Freshman exercise sport science major TJ Greeson knows the competition will be tough, so he wants to focus on the things that will better their chances. “We hope to create a team that works well with each other. Team chemistry is one of the most important parts of playing a sport. We also want to grow in the team’s skill and knowledge of volleyball,” he said. Though they’re all learning new positions, a few of the players have found their niche. Brown looks forward to hitting drills where he can demonstrate the skills he has developed. He said, “Without a doubt, it is my favorite aspect of the game. It’s...

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Crusader athletes return to coach
Mar27

Crusader athletes return to coach

THE BELLS — The 2013 senior football class was one of the most successful groups to ever come through the Crusader program. Finishing with an impressive 50-4 record, the tight knit crew battled injuries, tough season ending losses, and long, hot summer workouts. But now that their collegiate playing days are over, they refuse to step away from the game and school they love. “My time at UMHB as a player is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” former running back Elijah Hudson said. “No one can take those memories away from me, but now that I am done, all I could see myself doing was being right back out here on the practice fields.” Hudson, along with four other players from last year’s team have joined the Crusader coaching staff as graduate assistants. Hudson, Brian Gallagher, Cody Jones, Jake Sims and Montana Duncan will all be using the experience and knowledge they gained over their four years in the program to help develop players in the coming years in order to carry on the rich tradition that Cru football has come to enjoy. “There was no question in my mind that I would want to be a graduate assistant when I found out there would be some positions open,” former quarterback Brian Gallagher said. “If I can’t be out there playing, the next best thing is coaching because I have to be able to put my competitive nature towards something.” Making the transition from helmet to headset is always difficult, especially when it comes to coaching and giving advice to players who were friends and teammates for so long. “I have already noticed in the few weeks I have been helping out that it is going to be hard to not want to be out there.” Gallagher said. Looking at the game from a coaches prospective is a little different, but since we were all leaders on the team the past couple of years I think that will help us when we start coaching these guys instead of lining up next to them on the field.” Hudson said The Crusader coaching staff lost a few coaches that have been an instrumental part of the programs success, but don’t except the less “w’s” in the win column these talented 5 graduate assistant have to potential to step right in to fill those voids. “The coaching staff here is without a doubt one of the best not only in division III but in all divisions, so I feel lucky to be able to learn from Coach Fredenberg and the other coaches. I think I have...

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Tennis teams prepare for spring season
Feb25

Tennis teams prepare for spring season

THE BELLS — The men’s and women’s tennis teams are coming off one of the best seasons in school history last year. Both squads won the 2013 American Southwest Conference West Division Titles and earned the right to host the ASC Individual Tournament earlier this fall. Although they found success last year, they are not content. Both teams began their spring seasons this past weekend on the road in San Antonio. They started their schedule by taking on the national ranked Trinity University. The men and women fell 8-1 and 9-0 to the Tigers. This season, the men return six players and add five newcomers to their roster. The women bring back seven returners and welcome three freshmen to their team. Head men’s and women’s tennis coach James Cohagan talks about the expectations for his teams. “The goal is always to win enough conference matches to qualify for the (conference) tournament. That is the first step to the NCAA Playoffs and that is where we want to go,” he said. Also returning this year is junior business marketing major T.J. Kittrell who missed last season due to injury. He’s back and ready to hit the courts. “It is a good feeling, especially after coming back much sooner than expected. It’s been a struggle having my mind wanting me to do things, but my body not yet ready for it. Each day gets better, and soon I’ll be back to helping the team out the best way I can,” he said. Kittrell also thinks this crew has a great relationship with each other. “This year’s team has developed a quicker bond than previous years. The freshman class coming in has done an excellent job fitting into the program. We all enjoy hanging out on and off the court,” he said. Junior exercise sport science major Angelie Juaneza also added about the team’s bonding. “The girls and guys are working really hard to improve and be better than we were last year. The upperclassmen on both sides are doing the best they can to be at the top of their game as well as helping the underclassmen step up to the plate. Both teams are working on different aspects of the game to be at the top of the conference. Even though we don’t practice with each other, we are always there for each other emotionally and mentally,” she said. Freshman history major Jordan Jackson has enjoyed joining the team. “It’s been a dream come true to play college tennis, and a lot of fun and an honor to play with everybody on the team. I didn’t really know what to...

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Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr
Feb25

Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr

THE BELLS — Thomas Orr is a senior sport management major from Hutto, Texas, where he attended Hutto High School. Before joining the Cru, Orr attended Panola College in Texas and State Fair Community College in Missouri. He played two seasons for the Cru and helped lead his team to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship Game last season. He now serves as the student assistant basketball coach. Orr chose UMHB “for multiple reasons—basketball, the winning tradition is excellent here, it is also close to home so my parents can watch me play, and I just like the feel of the community walking around campus and the surrounding support that they have,” he said. He talks about the change of roles. “The transition was kind of hard, especially losing in the National Championship game. I kind of feel like I still have a little bit left to prove, but my time is up. It’s hard to say. Playing to now coaching… you are right there in a game. It’s like you’re injured and just waiting to get back on the court. But I have enjoyed the transition, and it feels good,” Orr said. Throughout his basketball career, he has collected many favorite memories. “My first one would be my senior year of high school when I scored a career high 41 points in a playoff game. My second one would be in the conference tournament against Hardin-Simmons where I scored 38 points, my career high at the college level. And then the national championship dunk of course,” he said. After college, Thomas hasn’t made a final decision on what he wants to do. But basketball will surely be involved. He said, “My dream job is to become a head basketball coach somewhere. I don’t know where. People always say they want to go to Duke or something like that, but I could go coach anywhere. As long as I am the head coach, I will be...

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Cru softball back in action
Feb25

Cru softball back in action

THE BELLS — by Emily Steppick Last weekend, the softball team traveled to Clinton, Miss. for a four- game series against Mississippi College. The team played a double-header  and lost the first game 3-4 along with the second 2-3. The Crusaders played a second double-header Feb. 16. The girls lost the first game 1-4 and the second 0-3. Last season the team placed third in the tournament and finished 29-16. The women ended with a 17-7 record in conference play. Sophomore Kourtney Bevers said the team prepared well for the season. “As far as pre-season/fall ball, we did a lot of different training as far as conditioning to get us in better shape. We did CrossFit and a lot of circuits work in the weight room.” The Lady Cru have full potential to dominate ASC play adding new talent to the experienced returners. “We have a lot of freshmen that came in, so I think just the competitive atmosphere of our team has heightened because nobody’s spot is set in stone.” After pitching every game in her high school career, Bevers was recruited as a pitcher for the Cru. However, last season she started as a center fielder. Bevers said she chose number 10 both this season and last season because she likes to wear the same number in softball as she wears in basketball. The atmosphere of the softball program is one that allows the players to have fun and be competitive at the same time. “Softball honestly feels like a family here. There’s not a person I don’t get along with, and the coaches make the competitive environment a fun place. Another big thing I like is that we pray before every game and strive to reflect God in the way we play.” Bevers is working on a major in art and visual communications along with a minor in marketing. After graduation, she can see herself pursuing a career in sports advertisement logos or in interior design. Junior left fielder Janie Neyland agrees with Bevers. “The team went through hardcore workouts in the fall to prepare for this season,” Neyland said.  “This year there are a lot of freshmen, creating a very young team.” Before playing for the Crusaders, Neyland played softball throughout high school and played for a select softball team. So she knows what it takes to be successful in the sport. “The key to winning games this year will be having high intensity throughout the whole game and trying to string all our hits together.” The chemistry between the players is one that is hard to describe because even though some of them have...

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