Cru volleyball starts 2017 season undefeated, 8-0
Sep14

Cru volleyball starts 2017 season undefeated, 8-0

Volleyball season is back in full swing and the Cru has already made their mark, sweeping away the competition. The Cru went 4-0 at the UMHB 2017 Invitational and now has a record of 8-0. After going an impressive 20-11 in the 2016 season, the Cru is ready to come back even stronger this year. “We are proud of how things went in our opening tournament, but we know we have a lot of work to do to reach our best play this season,” said head coach Rob Frost. “This group is very good and we are working hard to be our best.” Although it’s very early in the season, Frost and the rest of the team have set the bar high as to what they want to accomplish this season and are determined to make it happen. “Our focus is to be our best selves on and off the court,” Frost said. “Every year we want to win the ASC conference tournament or get a bid and be in the NCAA national tournament. Ultimately, we want to win a national championship.” In order to achieve their goals for the season, the girls have been pushing themselves on the court and beyond, even throughout the offseason. Frost and the team know there are many areas they will have to continue to work on, but they are prepared to do whatever it takes to get to the place they want to be. “We worked hard through our spring season. Over the summer they had certain goals and things to work on in the weight room and on the court,” Frost said. “It is a year round process.” The team voted senior Natasha Evans and junior Sarah Paolini as captains to lead them to what will hopefully be a successful season. “They are both skilled at their role on the court, and they are hard workers with great character,” Frost said. “We rely on every player doing her job well. It is a very selfless environment.” Although this season has just begun, Frost knows there is something special about this group of girls. “We have a young starting lineup learning a lot and growing in about every area of the game,” he said. “However, the group of young women we have this year are great people, a lot of fun to be around and hard workers. UMHB attracts great people across campus.” Frost isn’t the only one excited and optimistic about beginning a new season, the players also have high hopes about what is to come. “I expect great things for this season,” junior outside hitter Laryssa Wills said. “We are...

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Men’s soccer team prepared for conference play
Sep14

Men’s soccer team prepared for conference play

Men’s soccer kicks off their conference season Sept. 14 playing Le Tourneau in Lewisville, Texas. Brad Bankhead, head coach of men’s soccer, expressed high confidence in this season’s team. “We’re aged and seasoned and a little more experienced, so just from an experience standpoint, things should be better [this season].” With a whopping 11 seniors on a 51-person roster, nine of which are starters, the team is comparatively older and more experienced on the field than other teams, which facilitates their sense of community. “They are a special group of seniors and there’s good community in the group,” Bankhead said. “We’re very intentional about building team chemistry and making sure they love one another and enjoy what they’re doing.” Because the team is so focused on becoming a unit, the players are building a strong sense of camaraderie. “My favorite part about being on the team is definitely my teammates,” said reserve team sophomore Isaac Barcenas. “It’s great getting together knowing we’re all here for the same thing.” With a heavy focus on his seniors, Barcenas is preparing for the season as best as he can. “I’m looking forward to most enjoying games as much as possible, and making it the best experience for the seniors.” Barcenas also discussed the cathartic benefits of daily practice. “That’s what Bankhead tells us. With a lot of the players’ families in Houston, they played kind of distracted, so coach told us to use the two hours of practice as a pause from life and just focus on the sport.” Bankhead said that this season’s team is one of the better ones that he has coached in the 12 years that he’s been at the university. The coach hopes to inspire his players. “Our success relies on the players to make the goals. Players need to step up and have the mentality to score; that’s the biggest hurdle we have to overcome.” With tough practices, heavy filming sessions and raised expectations, losses are nothing to take lightly. “I think we can win every game,” said Bankhead. Following a 1-2 loss to Trinity University, he said Trinity university had a good team, but he doesn’t sleep well after any game the team loses. “Even though we don’t have punishments after we lose games, coach expects us to show it in the next practice. We better be working hard,” Barcenas said. With a perfect winning score as his goal, Bankhead speaks about a running theme that began from the team’s chaplain and continues throughout the season. “Our theme this year is ‘climbing the summit.’ And the summit for us is NCAA playoffs, making a deep...

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UMHB opens season with Sul Ross win
Sep14

UMHB opens season with Sul Ross win

Crusader Stadium was electric as the reigning national champions took the field Saturday evening. Fans packed the stands and the stadium rumbled with excitement at kickoff. Cru football looked solid during their 23-7 victory against the Sul Ross State Lobos. The Cru offense made a statement early, turning their first possession into a seemingly effortless three points. UMHB’s defensive unit kept the intensity high, forcing three straight 3-and-outs on successive Lobos possessions. Freshman safety number 43 Jefferson Fritz played a key role in one of these stops, anticipating the third down pass and stopping a Sul Ross receiver cold. “It was fun and really exciting getting to go out there and finally play,” Fritz said of his first collegiate game. “In college, the game is much faster-paced, and the guy are faster and bigger too.” Fritz seems to have made the transition from high school smoothly and is already contributing to the team. The Cru defense dominated the first half of the game, allowing no points. They gave up just one first down, and collected a turnover in the red zone, which the offense then converted into three points. Senior cornerback number 2 Kris Brown looked particularly comfortable on the field. “It felt good to be out there just flyin’ around,” Brown said. “I felt fast and healthy, and it was good to see the guys flyin’ out there too.” Brown helped spearhead an impressive defensive performance by the Cru, who allowed Sul Ross to score on only one of their 11 possessions. Crusader offense played a solid game, scoring a touchdown in each half after senior kicker number 13 John Mowery put UMHB up 9-0 with a flurry of field goals. Mowery was a perfect 3/3 on the night. Senior wide receiver number 1 Bryce Wilkerson made it look easy, expertly weaving his way through defensive traffic for a 25-yard touchdown reception with 3:54 left in the second quarter, increasing the Cru lead to 16-0 after the Mowery extra point. Freshman wide receiver number 19 Isaiah Townes dazzled onlookers with his debut score, a 9-yard touchdown grab, midway through the third quarter. Senior quarterback number 10 TJ Josey passed Townes a dime on a corner fade route, and Townes came down with the football in the end zone despite jarring contact with a defender. These were the final Cru points of the night, further increasing their lead to 23-0. “TJ told me in the huddle that I was getting the ball,” Townes said. “This opportunity was a long time coming, and when it was my time to do my job, I went up there and made the play.”...

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QB Josey: season-ready
Sep08

QB Josey: season-ready

A good quarterback is the glue that holds a football team together. He sets the tone of the entire game, orchestrating drives for the offense and giving the defense key minutes of rest between possessions. He is the face of his team, and despite his crucial role in gameplay, he is first and foremost a leader. To nobody is this more apparent than junior TJ Josey, who is starting his first year at quarterback for the Cru. “The most important thing to me is being the very best leader I can be,” Josey said. “It’s my job to put the team into a position where we can win. The goal is to be 1-0 every week.” For a player relatively new at the position – Josey was a quarterback in high school, but has predominately played wide receiver for UMHB – he is quickly developing the traits required to bring him and the team success. Head coach Pete Fredenburg feels confident in Josey, and expects excellence from him all season. “[Josey] really went to work on his leadership,” Fredenburg said. “He has really embraced his new role, and he gets a little better every day. I look forward to seeing him develop as the leader of our offense.” Josey’s ability to lead by example impresses his teammates daily, as does his energy and willingness to communicate. “He keeps everybody hyped and full of energy,” freshman offensive lineman Azaviar Carter said. “He values communication, and holds himself and his teammates to very high standards.” Freshman defensive end/tight end Jaeron Minnieweather echoes Carter’s sentiment. “When he gets going, it really motivates the whole team,” Minnieweather said. Not only is Josey a capable helmsman for the UMHB squad, but he is also a fantastic athlete. His natural athleticism, high football I.Q., and knack for seeing opportunities to scramble up-field all combine to make him a deadly dual-threat quarterback. “He’s very good at running the ball,” Coach Fredenburg said. “When he runs the option, he’s absolutely lethal.” Sophomore offensive lineman Noah Stebens admires Josey’s playmaking ability. “He’s very smart and can think on his feet,” Stebens said. “He communicates well in in-game situations, and when the time comes to make a choice, TJ is decisive and committed. He does an especially good job with calling audibles and keeping the offense moving.” So often, such talent comes packaged with arrogance, but despite his abundance of skill, Josey is humble and down-to-Earth. He is polite and soft-spoken, and according to Coach Fredenburg, a pleasure to coach. “He’s extremely coachable,” Fredenburg said. “He’s a great team player and is always ready to work.” Although Josey does...

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Natty champs return to the field
Aug23

Natty champs return to the field

It’s been a little over nine months since the Cru were crowned National Champions that chilly December night in Salem, Virginia and a new season is just around the corner. For head coach Pete Fredenburg and the rest of the program, it’s an exciting but pressuring time. “We have very high expectations and are excited to go into the season as the National Champions, but knowing we have to fill some big shoes and work extremely hard to create the same team chemistry it takes to win all your games,” Fredenburg said. With just a few weeks away from the first game of the 2017 season, the Cru is ready to focus on doing whatever it takes to make this year another successful one. “The first game is always a concern to get over the excitement and make sure we are doing the things we need to grow as a good team,” Fredenburg said. “We just need to continue to work on our tempo on offense and continue to strive to be balanced. We play Sul Ross and they are getting much better so we will work very hard to get prepared for that game.” The Cru will be facing some changes to the roster this season, but there are no shortages of players who aren’t willing to step up to lead this team into success this season. “The biggest change will be the players who are moving into the leadership roles of our team, Fredenburg said. “Among others, I believe Haston Adams is prepared to be a great player.” With a fresh set of faces joining the team this season, Fredenburg believes the guys will have to work very hard to build the bond that will lead them to a successful season. “These guys want to win the first game and continue the process to develop into a great team,” he said. “Our biggest challenge this year is just going to be developing the team chemistry needed to do so. It is important that we stay healthy as well.” Fredenburg has been a vital part of the program since it began 19 years ago, and it’s no secret that his passion for the game and coaching has made a huge impact on every team he has coached. “I love watching guys grow into new roles needed to make a team function and grow,” he said. “It is a process that evolves with maturity and dedication.” The Cru will face Sul Ross State University in their first game of the season at Crusader Stadium on Saturday, September 9 at 6...

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Leah Brown: the best player in UMHB softball history
Apr26

Leah Brown: the best player in UMHB softball history

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning of game two on Saturday, Leah Brown stepped up to the batter’s box. She spun her bat in her hands and then tapped it to both sides of the plate as she always does. She then proceeded to rip the 2-0 pitch through the hole into left field for her fourth hit of the day; seemingly just another day at the ballpark for Brown. But this one was special. She entered the day with 210 hits, three shy of tying the school record for hits in a career. She was now alone at the top of the list. Of course, this is nothing new for Brown. In the past few weeks, she has broken school records for runs (140), home runs (34), runs batted in (157) and total bases (380). She also has now ended the regular season with a .735 slugging percentage, which will be good for another school record if it holds up through the post-season. And it most likely will, as she has a 35 point lead in that category. “Rounding the bases was really emotional and it was just a cool feeling,” Brown said about her record-breaking home run. She also said the home run record is a memory that will stick with her beyond her time at UMHB. A lot of players have the ability to have a great season or two throughout their career. But the consistency that Brown has shown in her four years at UMHB has been the defining characteristic of her career. Her coaches and teammates alike count on her throughout the season and time and time again she is able to deliver. It has clearly been a remarkable four-year career for Brown and her coaches are going to miss having their All-American in the lineup every game. “The thing that’s impressive about her is that she’s been so consistent,” said Head Coach Larry Hennig. “She’s never slowed down in trying to get better; never slowed down working in practice. I don’t want to think about next year.” Assistant Coach Melissa Maler has only been coaching Brown for the past two seasons. But she was aware of Brown’s greatness before she even got to college. Maler was a coach at West High School before coming to UMHB. Her team played against Crawford High School, where Brown attended, every year. “We played her the whole time I was at West, her four years of high school ball. So I knew she was a great player,” Maler said. “She’s by far one of the best hitters that I’ve ever been able to...

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