Cru soccer survives despite loss
Nov12

Cru soccer survives despite loss

The men’s soccer team winds down its season with many historical firsts, including a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championships in Belton this weekend. Already this year, the Cru set school records for the most single-season victories and clenched its first ever American Southwest Conference Championship in regular season play. “The difference in why this year is so different than past years is in the team,” said head soccer Coach Brad Bankhead. “We have 28 young men believing in each other and the team and accepting whatever role … they might be given and are happy with it.” Last weekend, the Cru hosted its first ASC tournament at home in Belton walking away from the field with a 1-0 victory over Schreiner University on Saturday and a 4-2 loss to Hardin-Simmons University on Sunday after going into double overtime. Sophomore outside midfielder Kyle Dickey said the team performed well. “I think the guys played their hearts out, and that’s all anyone can do,” he said. “We played as a team, and it’s not over. Next year, we are going to win it.” Through the first 110 minutes of the game, both the Cowboys and the Cru remained scoreless. But after a match of penalty kicks, UMHB fell 4-2, finishing the team’s season with a record of 14-3-1 and placing second in the ASC tournament championship. Freshman striker Neiko Camp said it was a character-building experience. “Going through this season has taught me so much about myself and my teammates,” he said. “I’ve learned the true definition of overcoming and what it means to be able to call ourselves a team.” Category leaders for the Cru include Bo Baker, Trevor Shoppach, Kyle Dickey, Vincent Morales, Andrew Carrasco, Daniel Gable and Neiko Camp. Additionally, senior defender Daniel Green and junior goalkeeper Mark Miller were placed on the Academic All-District VI First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Coach Bankhead said the season was overall successful. “I wasn’t sure how this year would turn out. I knew we would be here someday. I just didn’t realize it would be this year. I am excited for those guys who have been here for four years and have seen the transformation of the program and be able to be...

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Basketball hopes to hoop in big season

Although the end of the semester is fast approaching, the men’s basketball season is just about to begin. The Cru plays their first game Nov. 18th at 7 p.m. against the Trinity Tigers in the indoor sports arena of Mayborn Campus Center. This year, the team is relatively young due to the loss of 10 seniors. There are a lot of fresh faces, but they’re up to the challenge. Head coach Ken DeWeese said, “With so many new guys on this year’s team, we honestly do not know what to expect. We will have to suffer through 6 to 8 games before we really know what we have.” According to the annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, the men are expected to win the American Southwest Conference West Division championship. Newly appointed assistant coach Jimmy Smith said, “We were quite shocked by that selection seeing that we lost 10 seniors from last year’s team,” he said. “But I think that it is a tremendous compliment to the success that this program has had, and shows the respect that the other teams in the division have for us.” This will be Smith’s first season as the assistant coach, but it’s not the first time he has worn the purple, white and gold. Smith played for the university and was a four year letter winner through the 2000-2004 seasons. DeWeese said, “He is familiar with the system and of course, as a four year former player, we are familiar with him. He is a great addition to our program.” Smith takes former assistant coach Kenny DeWeese’s position, after he received an assistant role with Utah Valley University. Smith said, “I am ecstatic to be back working at UMHB. I really enjoyed my time here as a student, but being back as an employee has given me a greater appreciation for how great of a university Mary Hardin-Baylor truly is.” As for the team, they have been working hard to prepare for the season. They practice five to six days a week from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., where they do anything from conditioning and weight training, to scrimmaging against each other. Sophomore forward Greg Wiernas said, “We have a completely different team from last year, and it will for sure be a change. However we are getting better every day, and are looking forward to being one of the top contenders in the conference.” Last year, the men had an overall record of 19-8, and they were 16-5 in conference. Some would say it was a successful season, however De- Weese would argue otherwise. “No one is happy at the end of...

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Football tackles important victory against Howard-Payne

Crusader football is still on the path to clinching the victory of the American Southwest Conference tournament, with a dominating win over Howard Payne University last weekend. The Cru beat the Yellow Jackets 45-7, improving their overall record to 8-1 and 6-1 for the ASC. With only one game left in regular season play next weekend against Sul Ross University, the players are beginning to think about post season. Receiver Pi’Dadro Davis understands at this point that the team has come together and really is a great team. “We will be a good contender,” he said. “Hopefully, we will win the whole thing. I truly think this is our year.” Davis caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Noack, taking the lead in the first quarter to 21-0. Noack is also someone who knows what the team is capable of. “Overall, we’ve had a good season. We lost which is unusual for us, but we have persevered and done good,” he said. “We just have to take care of what we can control right now. We have Sul Ross this upcoming game, then we can think about the ASC tournament.” Running back Bryson Tucker made the first two touchdowns for the Cru. Tucker finished the game running 119 yards and receiving three of the touchdowns. Along with the explosive plays from quarterbacks, receivers and running backs, the defense for the Cru contributed equally to the win this past weekend. They only allowed the Yellow Jackets to gain 206 yards, and they also forced three turnovers. Despite the fact that most members of the team don’t want to think about the ASC tournament right now, some are. Receiver Desmond Mays wants to see the Stagg Bowl. “I want to make it to Salem, Va.,” he said. “I’ve never been to the state of Virginia and would love (the Stagg Bowl) to be the reason why I’m there.” The Crusaders play their last home game Saturday Nov. 14 against Sul Ross University. With a win against The Lobos, the Cru will have a nearly perfect season of 9-1. With that statistic, the football team will be bound for the...

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From spiking the points to stocking a local food pantry

This season, the volleyball team is serving more than aces and points — it’s serving the community by volunteering at Helping Hands, a local ministry outreach. The Lady Cru has been serving once a week since August. “Student athletes need to find time to give back to the community,” volleyball head coach Kecia Davis said. It started as a recycling effort, and grew from there. Combining the volleyball and football teams, the Cru uses about 225 plastic bottles a day. “We started off taking our Gatorade and water bottles down to Helping Hands because they re-label them and fill them with laundry detergent,” Davis said. “Every Monday, two of the players go down and wash our bottles and the football team’s.” By the end of the semester, the teams are expected to donate more than 5,000 bottles to the ministry. But more than giving products, the volleyball team gets the chance to physically serve by sorting clothes, stocking shelves and bagging foods. “We go wherever we’re needed,” Davis said. “It’s unbelievable how much we can get done in just an hour.” The team is split into subgroups and visits the ministry at different times throughout the week. Davis said both Helping Hands and the volleyball team are encouraged by the projects. “It’s good to interact with people in the community and become more aware of what we have,” she said. “It’s been a bonding experience for us.” Sophomore biology major and team captain Sara Hayward said volunteering allows players to take the focus off of themselves. “Jesus has called us to take care of the homeless, the widows and the orphans, and this is a chance for us to do that,” Hayward said. “The community is a huge supporter of us and they come to our games, so this is a way for us to repay them for what they’ve given to us.” The team will continue to volunteer at the pantry through the semester, as well as into the spring. Hayward believes it’s been a learning experience. “For me personally, I’ve been blessed with a family who’s been able to give to me almost everything I’ve needed and wanted, so it’s a great opportunity to reach out and become aware of other circumstances,” Hayward said. “It’s a chance to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate.” Freshman nursing major Kaydie Cochran believes volunteering at the pantry gives players a glimpse of life outside of their own. “My heart goes out to those who are less fortunate than I am,” she said. “It’s really been good to open our eyes. We’re always together on and off the court,...

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Football patches link to grateful emotions
Oct27

Football patches link to grateful emotions

Two years ago the football team became involved with Ft. Hood and its soldiers in a way that would make a lasting impression. Gen. John Hammond came to campus and spoke to the team and a few days later was deployed to Iraq. With him, he took a UMHB football jersey the team had given him as a thank-you gift for speaking. While at the base in Iraq, he hung the jersey in a doorway as a symbol of freedom, letting the soldiers know what they were fighting for. When Hammond returned from war, he brought the jersey and gave it back to the Crusader football program as a thank you token. Coach Pete Fredenburg decided to dedicate the jersey in a similar way Hammond had done while overseas. “We have hung the jersey up as a memorial for the sacrifices the soldiers have made and what he did,” Fredenburg said. Along with the jersey hanging in Andersen Field House, the football team this season is wearing a patch on the back of their jerseys and their helmets signifying the 15th Brigade, which just deployed to Iraq from Ft. Hood. Junior wide receiver Brian Scott is honored that he was able to listen to the speech given two years ago and that he gets to play while wearing the patch. “Every time I look at the patch either on my jersey or helmet, that overseas someone is fighting for me. I hope that the team is just as honored as I am, and we really appreciate what Gen. Hammond has done for us and this country, and it will not go unrecognized,” Scott said. Another player who is grateful for wearing the patch is running back senior Bryson Tucker. He understands the dangers and hardships the soldiers face in war and is thankful for doing something to honor them. “It also gives motivation and wakes me up and makes me realize no matter how hard or tough it gets on my battlefield that there is someone on a real battle-field fighting for our lives so there is no giving in,” Tucker said. UMHB crushed the Southern Oregon Raiders this past weekend for the Homecoming game. One of the leading players of the game was Tucker who rushed his career high at 218 rushing yards. Tucker said,“It shows respect to the guys over there that sacrifice their lives so that we can live a normal...

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Women’s softball wins wearing pink, helps strike out breast cancer
Oct27

Women’s softball wins wearing pink, helps strike out breast cancer

Although the softball team’s regular season starts in the spring, the ladies took on a big opponent this fall. Since October is cancer awareness month, the Cru hosted the “Strike Out Breast Cancer” event during their doubleheader on the Oct. 17 against Our Lady of the Lake. The team took donations from the crowd for every strike out in the odd-numbered innings and appeared in pink T-shirts designed by the players. These were also available for sale during the game for $10 and $11.50 depending on the size. All of the proceeds went to the Cancer Research Center at Scott and White in Temple. The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by women’s head golf coach Darla Kirby, and by Donna Shipp, the wife of Vice President of Athletics Ben Shipp. Both of women are cancer survivors. Head coach Kasey Blomquist said, “We decided that since a lot of families are experiencing this, we wanted to give back. It turned out great, and I feel like we got the community involved, as well as the girls.” Off the field, the team split up and visited a few small businesses around town and asked for donations. When it was all said and done, the team raised $671.53. Junior catcher Lindsey Gordon said, “I really enjoyed playing in the game this year. It was for a great cause, and I hope we get to keep doing it in the future.” The first game went to 11 innings, but the Cru won 4-3. However, the Saints came back to win the second game 6-2. These were the only competitions of the semester, but they continue to condition and lift weights in preparation for the fast-approaching season. Last year the team broke even with an overall record of 20-20. However, they are looking to improve. Blomquist said “I am very pleased with the outcome of our fall season. I feel we are ahead of the game due to the maturity of the returners, and with the talent and experience of the newcomers.” The first game is February 20 in Georgetown against the Pirates of Southwestern University. The following weekend the ladies will play their home opener against the Louisiana College wildcats. Senior second basemen Erica Salazar said, “I’m pretty excited about this upcoming season. We have a bunch of newcomers, and we are clicking very well together. I also know for sure that this season is going to be a lot better than the last. We will be making it to the conference...

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