Conference clinched: 8th consecutive season
Nov15

Conference clinched: 8th consecutive season

Cru football remains perfect in conference play as the team returned from a victory in Seguin to dive head-first into the American Southwest Conference playoffs with an overall record of 10-0. The Cru have been dubbed champions for the eighth consecutive season. The team seems to be gaining steam with each game; since their 28-27 close call with McMurry in week two of the season they averaged a margin of victory of 35.6 points. The keys to success include a productive offense, a great run defense and dynamic plays. UMHB has totaled 4,138 yards in total offense, 1,158 of which came from running back Darius Wilson. The junior mathematics major credits his team for his individual achievements. “My success is a direct correlation of my team’s work ethic and intensity at practice.” This career high for Wilson is more than the rushing yards allowed against opponents this season. The Crusaders have held their opponents to a mere 1,109 rushing yards and only six rushing touchdowns in the 2011 regular season, leading the ASC in rush defense. Interestingly enough UMHB had the smallest time of possession in the conference, yet they had both the highest scoring offense and defense in the American Southwest Conference. This is a direct result of game-changing plays that helped bring Cru football to its eighth straight playoff appearance. Head Coach Pete Fredenburg looks back on the season as “an extraordinary, extraordinary experience” and shares his plan of success for the playoffs. “We need to maintain good execution on offense as well as defense, and we need to stay healthy.” A healthy roster would be necessary, especially for the players who have stepped up this year, such as Wilson in the backfield, Rudy Nerio in the offensive line, defensive end Silvio Diaz and linebacker Ty Dooley to name a few. Diaz, a sophomore, said, “It’s very important (to stay healthy) we’ve got a lot of things to do in the playoffs.” If the Cru can execute on both sides of the ball while maintaining health, they are well on their way to go deep into the postseason. Last year’s playoff run was cut short by a 19-9 Wesley victory away in Dover, Del. in the semi-finals of the NCAA Division III playoffs. 2011 Stagg Bowl brackets were released by the NCAA just this past weekend, and UMHB will host The University of Redlands Lobos on Nov. 19 in Belton. Depending on the Cru’s success, they could also be up to replay their toughest game against McMurry University in the second round, or even Wesley University which knocked them out of the playoffs last year again in...

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Young and hungry roster will lead Lady Cru
Nov15

Young and hungry roster will lead Lady Cru

By Spencer Turner When the team takes to the court Nov. 18 for its opening contest of the 2011-12 campaign, it will boast a roster rich in talent and potential but short in collegiate experience.  A total of 11 freshmen join a squad that witnessed five of its members graduate last May. Amid this new infusion of youth, however, the Lady Cru remain confident as the new season approaches. “We believe we have a shot at the conference championship,” said seven-year Head Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thornton. “We realize they’re lofty, but we work towards the small goals first and build upward. The greatest goal is to learn to play to our potential all the time, no matter who we face.” Kirkpatrick-Thornton also stressed the team’s desire to earn a berth in the Division III championship tournament in March. Junior nursing major Brandy Dittert is one of seven starters returning from the previous year’s squad.  Sidelined by an injured anterior crucial ligament in the beginning weeks of last season, she is eager for the Lady Cru to put their first-round exit from the American Southwest Conference tournament behind them. “For the talent we had, it was not the finish we had in mind,” she said. “It wasn’t easy to sit through.” Dittert expressed the same eagerness to become a team leader. “I’m an upperclassman, and now it’s my turn to fill the leadership role,” she said. “It’s nerve racking, but I want to be in that position.” Senior interdisciplinary studies major Miranda Shorter, a four-year veteran of the program, voiced similar excitement in providing guidance to her younger teammates throughout the upcoming season. “I like being in that role,” she said.  “I’ve had good role models before me on the team to look up to.” Both returning starters understand from firsthand experience the steep learning curve younger members of the team must negotiate. “You can’t expect freshmen to know what it’s like to play college teams right away,” Shorter said. “They’ll get it, though. We’ve all been there, and we know what it’s like. The biggest key is working together as a team and getting them into our style (of basketball).” Despite the lineup’s shortage of collective playing time, Dittert and Shorter emphasized the competitiveness and versatility that define the group. “There’s such a variety of players; everyone can contribute in so many ways,” Dittert said. “Our team has people with the biggest heart for the game.” Shorter said, “The (freshmen) will be good. All the returners have such confidence in them.” Kirkpatrick-Thornton  praised the diligence, hustle and coachable demeanor exhibited by each player on and off the court. “This may...

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Men’s basketball has high hopes of another successful season

Coming off a 23-8 season last year and only one loss at home, the men’s basketball team is looking to go even further into playoffs this season. With such a winning record, not only last year but in previous years as well, fans hold the team to an even higher standard and expect it to do better than before. Head Coach Ken DeWeese said, “We have been fortunate to be successful for a dozen years. The desire to get better or advance further in the post season is always present. Otherwise, many teams will quickly pass us.” With a close loss of 78-82 in its first exhibition game against Saint Edward’s University, there are still some things that the team is working on improving before the first conference game Nov. 28 against East Texas Baptist University. DeWeese said, “We work on every facet of the game every day with the goal of improvement. Practice is crucial because the key to success is preparation.” In order to meet the goal of making it into the playoffs and further than they have previously, the team is aiming to accomplish several things along the way. DeWeese said the team wants “to compete, as a team, consistently well in the two key areas of defense and rebounding, and to continue to improve in those areas as the season goes on.” Another aspect that will help gain the wins the team is  looking for this season is coming together as one unit. “Teamwork is the most important ingredient to a successful team. … Everyone has to be on the same page,” senior shooting guard and exercise and sport science major Marlon Miller said. Sophomore point guard and business management major James Allen also knows the only way the Cru can have an outstanding season is by becoming a cohesive team and working together as one. “To have a successful season, you have to have teamwork. Without teamwork, you may win some games, but you won’t be successful,” he said. With a new season underway, Allen is confident in the players they have and the work they have been putting in during practices. He said,  “I think there are higher standards for the team being as good as we were last year. We shouldn’t lose to anyone in conference.” Not only is the offensive side of their game important, but so is the defensive. They are also working to keep the teams they play against to the lowest number of shots and baskets as possible. Miller said, “We are working on being defensively at our best and making it harder for our opponents to score.”...

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Game six proves turning point for Texas Rangers’ loss

By Brett Land Heartbreaking. After 162 games, an exciting postseason run and one of the most historic World Series in the life of baseball, the Texas Rangers could almost feel the weight of the championship trophy in their arms. However, they came home with nothing more than sore muscles and regrets. Going into the 2011 World Series, the Rangers and their loyal fans were ready to finish the job they left undone at last year’s fall classic when they lost to the San Francisco Giants in six games. It was time for redemption. “We were so excited last year and didn’t know what we were capable of doing in the Series,” Rangers president and owner Nolan Ryan said in an interview with ESPN. “This year we’re more focused and more determined because we came away a little disappointed.” The hard-hitting Rangers began the series splitting the opening two games in St. Louis. A slow start left the Rangers with a 3-2 loss in game one. A late rally capped off the 2-1 win in game two and tied the series at one game each. Texas Ranger fans everywhere will agree that the 16-7 loss in game three is nothing to be discussed. Albert Pujols crushed 3 homeruns and countless hearts that Saturday night. In both the fourth and fifth games, just four runs proved to be enough for the Rangers to get two victories and take the series lead. One more win and “We are the Champions” would be playing in Arlington. Players and fans alike dreamed of lifting up the trophy and bringing it back to Texas. Then game six happened. It proved to be the turning point of the World Series. With a combined five errors, the game started off sloppy but ended up being one of the most unbelievable and unfortunately, unforgettable games of all time. Texas went into the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-3 lead. With two runners on and two outs and a full count for Cardinals outfielder, David Freese, the Rangers were one strike, one fly ball or one ground ball and throw to first base away from the Championship. One out. That’s all. David Freese knocked in two RBIs with a triple to right field and tied the game. Extra innings, sports fans. The Rangers quickly bounced back when Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homerun in the top of the tenth. His first home run in almost 100 at-bats. This was the Rangers story book ending, right? Wrong. With two outs and a full count in the bottom of the tenth, Lance Berkman hit an RBI single to center...

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Most wins for volleyball in history
Nov01

Most wins for volleyball in history

The volleyball games were the place to be this season, considering the girls are 18-7 overall, the most wins for Cru volleyball since the program began. After being seeded in second place for the East in the American Southwestern Conference, things are looking up for team members as they will go on to tournament play in Richardson Nov. 3-5. If they manage to pull off a win during the tournament, they could advance to nationals. Volleyball Head Coach Rob Frost said, “I feel like it’s going great. We came in good shape. If we can hit 20 wins this season, that will be huge for a college volleyball team.” All of their off season work has helped them get to the spot where they are today. “The amount of wins that we’ve had this year was a result of last spring and all the way through the summer with a lot of conditioning and weight training and the girls playing pick-up. We’re seeing a lot of their effort unfold and come together here,” he said. With the players at the top of their game, they look forward to the conference and having the chance to go to regionals. With three weekends on the road for matches this season, at one point the team  spent 36 hours on the bus during a 10-day span. Frost said, “We’ve done a really good job of staying physically and mentally strong through all of that.” Another exciting landmark for the team was recently when one of the players was named offensive player of the week by the ASC. The Cru have had several players receive this special award. Sophomore accounting and economics major Kimberly Smidovec said, “It was really a blessing to get that. I’ve been working really hard all year, so I never really expected it, but it was such a big honor to get it. I was really happy.” Frost said, “She has been hitting close to 300 or above for most of the matches, which is really good for a hitter in our conference. She’s been consistent for us and doing a really good job.” Although the players want to win regionals, some want to do it for reasons other than just the title. Junior education major Tina Miller said, “The only thing I see us working on is getting a ring. I want to do it for myself and for the team, but I also want to do it for the seniors that have been here.” Miller explains that things started off rough for seniors who were on the team the past few years, with matches lost and poor...

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Teamwork drives successful season for Cru
Nov01

Teamwork drives successful season for Cru

With a perfect record for the season, both overall and in conference, the Cru football team has high hopes of making it far into playoffs. However, the men still have two more conference games to win before the regular season is over. One thing that has aided the season has been their strength in becoming a team and one collective group of athletes. Senior exercise and sport science major and wide receiver Tariekus Ellis said, “Teamwork plays a huge part in our success. We constantly stress to each other that we win by playing ‘together’ on all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams.” The goals of the team for the rest of the season are simple. Members want to improve their performance, win the next two games and secure a place for playoffs. Ellis said they want “to get better each week. I know that sounds typical, but that is actually one of our goals. The coaches always tell us we can only control what we do, so we go out every practice striving to improve on the little things and fundamentals.” In the Oct. 22 game against the East Texas Baptist University Tigers, Ellis returned the opening kickoff of the second half 98 yards for a touchdown. The kickoff tied for the second-longest in school history. With the play, Ellis was named American Southwest Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. He said, “It’s a huge honor. I’m just glad I could give the team the spark that we needed to get going. We started clicking after that. The blocking on that play was great and the perfect return call.” Head Coach Pete Fredenburg knows that a few key things about his team have led to the good season. “Number one, we have very dedicated players, and they are very committed to playing at a high level. There is a very high expectation here, not from the coaches, but from the players and that feeds off of itself, and it raises the play for everybody,” he said. Another important factor for the season success has been the coaches who have worked with the players since summer. Fredenburg said, “We are blessed with some outstanding coaches that get them in the right position and help them with their success.” Junior math major and running back Darius Wilson credits a perfect season with the amount of work the team put in at practice each week. “We have been able to win by being consistent with hard work during practice. We overwork our bodies for the upcoming game,” he said. “So when game time is upon...

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