Lady Cru respond to close-call loss with wins

The Lady Cru sealed their fourth game of the season against the Ozarks 72 to 59. Coach Kim Kirkpatrick-Thorton, who is in her fourth season at the university, said the team still has potential, even with a 2-3 record. “I’ve seen some great things out of us, and we’ve just played really well at times,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said. “But we’ve just had a hard time finishing our game.” During the Texas-Dallas game, the Lady Cru had a 15-point lead in the second half, but were unable to hold the Comets, losing the game by a mere 8 points. These close losses served to motivate the team to come out stronger against the Lady Eagles of the University of the Ozarks. The Cru went on a 9-point run at the end of the fourth quarter, holding the Eagles on the ground until the last 30 seconds of the game. Junior Kallie White said, “We know we have potential … We made a huge step forward against the Ozarks, but are continuing to improve on really putting a team away.” Junior sport management major, Jessica Kelly, answered an Eagle’s turnover in the first half with a three-point jump shot. “We want to win the (American Southwest) Conference and then make it into the nationals,” Kelly said. In the second half, Kelly got a steal, was fouled on her rebound shot and scored on the free throw line, bringing her game total to eight points. Sometimes, players and referees don’t see eye to eye. To keep from losing their concentration, Kelly said team members try to focus on what is within their control. “Just knowing that there are going to be bad calls,” she said. “(We know) that we have to overcome it. Just do the next thing right.” There are five additions to the team of 16. Unifying the players is necessary for success on the court. “It’s a challenge, but we … (remind) them about how they felt when they came in and the importance of making a connection,” Kirkpatrick-Thorton said. She realizes that team harmony isn’t instant, but it comes with time and practice. “You have to let (it) progress a little bit naturally. You can’t really totally force it, but you can help create an environment to enhance it.” As for the veteran players, they’ve made the adjustment. “It doesn’t feel like we have new people on the team,” she said. “We know we have them, but it just doesn’t feel like it because we’re like a family.” Time together helps the players form relationships. The team typically practices six days a week for two hours. They often spend...

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Defense, lost or found: changes prove helpful
Dec09

Defense, lost or found: changes prove helpful

Every year, the men’s basketball team takes the court to begin a new season. However, this year is a little different. Last spring the Cru was crowned the American South-west Conference Champions for the first time in history. With an overall record of 24-4 last season, the team advanced to second round playoffs in the NCAA Division III National Championships, and at one point were ranked 4th in the nation. After such a successful season, players have a lot to live up to, and every team wants to dethrone them. The Cru is led by head coach Ken DeWeese, who has now been with the program for 11 seasons. When asked how they cope with the pressure of everyone trying to take their title, he responded, “We enjoy it. We are proud of our accomplishment and intend to work hard to repeat.” Even with the loss of a few key players, the team is still expected to be at the top of its game. Junior guard Zane Johnston said, “Our team is very athletic this year. We lost a lot in Ryan Burgart, Matt Dickey and Neiman Ford. Those guys brought great leadership and intensity to every game. This year’s team is very similar, and we hope to have the same success as last season.” However, the Cru has faced some early season hardships. The team began with a 0-3 stretch, falling to Southwestern University, Trinity University and UT Dallas. Senior wing David Ray said, “The last three games have been very uncharacteristic for us. We have not been playing team defense the way we usually do, and it is reflected by the amount of points we are giving up each game.” Although the start of the season has been a little rocky, the morale of the players remains high. They bounced back with a win over the University of the Ozarks Dec. 1. It was a commanding victory of 83-69. The Cru dedicated more than half their practice to team defense, which carried over to the conference game. The men are on the road for the next two matches against East Texas Baptist University and LeTourneau University. Neither game is more important than the other. “Our conference is tough,” Johnston said, “There really aren’t any easy games. Everyone comes ready to play; so we focus on one game at a time.” After clenching the first conference victory, the team plans to continue  its goal of winning the NCAA national championship. “Competitive, collegiate student-athletes must face adversity every day in practice, in every game and during the entire season,” DeWeese said. “How one deals with adversity is a true...

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Cru tackles vital victory
Dec09

Cru tackles vital victory

The only word to describe Cru football this season is dominating. The team has won every game but one, and now to top off an almost perfect season, the Cru will compete for the NCAA Division III Conference champion title. On average, the Cru put up 39 points while the opponent put up a mere 14. The rushing yardage almost flattens the passing yards by 3,137 rushing to 1,773 passing. With all of the amazing plays and statistics that come from the team, Coach Pete Fredenburg is happy about how the season has played out, especially with the win over our university’s arch rival. “We are excited to be in the play-offs and be one of the 16 best teams in America,” he said. “The hardest thing was facing a very tough rival who works very hard to beat us. We are very excited to prevail over Hardin-Simmons in a very hard battle. (We) look forward to our next opponent.” Each player has put every effort into  what they did this season thus far, but key players  stick out. Senior quarterback Josh Saenz attempted 118 passes and gained the Cru a total of 671 yards. He also had eight touchdown passes. Sophomore defensive end, Eric Forward, believes the team is great because of the group of guys that play. “I think the best part is just getting to know the teammates better,” Forward said. “We really have a great group of guys. We just have to take one step at a time and make sure we stay focused and keep getting better each time we step out onto the field.” Every time a game is played at Tiger Field, the home side and Couch Cru section of the stadium turns into a sea of purple and gold. The Crusader fans are a dedicated bunch who always hopes for the best of their team. “I go to every game that I possibly can because I love to support our boys,” sophomore nursing major Robyn Caldwell said. “I have to go to every game.” “Football is such a huge sport in Texas. It just makes it better that we go to a winning school,” she said. The Cru advanced to the NCAA semi-final round and will be battling the University of  Wisconsin-Whitewater, the same team who beat UMHB last season in the quarterfinal round. The winner of that game will  advance to the NCAA Championship game in the Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va. This upcoming Saturday, Dec. 13, UMHB will host the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawkls at Tiger Stadium. Kick-off will be at noon. Fredenburg’s goal of winning the Stagg Bowl...

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Crusaders one step closer to nationals
Dec09

Crusaders one step closer to nationals

Cru football proved a force to be reckoned with as the team conquered Washington & Jefferson College in an NCAA Division III National Championships Quarterfinals game Saturday afternoon in Belton, 63-7. The win brings UMHB’s standing to 12-1 and allows the Cru to proceed to the NCAA Division III National Semi-finals for the second straight season. The Cru’s powerhouse offense dominated the field with 545 total offensive game yardage, while its defense held the Presidents to 5 yards rushing and 222 yards of total offense. The Cru also forced the game’s only three turnovers. In the opening two minutes ,UMHB moved the ball 62 yards in five plays. The next two touchdowns were scored with the same vitality, bringing the score to 21-0. After the Presidents made their only touchdown, the Cru again brought their A game. By halftime, UMHB was up 49-7. The Cru returned to the field to collect two more touchdowns before time ran out. Players who helped the team to victory were Bryson Tucker with his 131 rushing yards and two touchdowns; Josh Saenz who ran for 125 yards making two touchdowns and completing 3-5 passes for 90 yards; Pi’Dadro Davis who had 121 receiving yards and two touchdowns; Lee Munn, who led the UMHB defense with eight total tackles; and Brenson Bristow, who added seven tackles and three sacks. UMHB hosts defending national champion, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in the National Semifinals at 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Tiger Field in Belton. The Warhawks have a 12-1 record, and in past run-ins with the Cru (0-3) have overtaken the...

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Crusader basketball begins play in Georgetown tonight
Nov18

Crusader basketball begins play in Georgetown tonight

Basketball season has returned, and fans should start yelling and getting out their keys to send the other team home. The men’s basketball season is beginning tonight against the Southwestern University Pirates in Georgetown with tip-off at 7 p.m. The team is returning from last year’s championship in the ASC division and the advancement in the NCAA Division III National Championship. The Crusaders are ranked 10th for the beginning of the 2008-09 season. The guys have some returning starters but also lost some at the end of last season. As a result, new freshmen are being trained so they know the expectations of the team. Entering his tenth year of being the head coach for the Cru basketball team, Ken DeWeese believes that it’s just a transitional stage for the new members of the team. “The adjustment does not happen immediately,” he said. “(It) happens gradually over the entire season and from game to game and practice to practice.  That is the way it is done every year.” Senior shooting guard, Tim Lytle, believes the incoming players will bring their own spark to the team this season. “I think the rookies have a pretty solid idea of what we’re striving for as a group,” he said. “They realize that they were brought here for a reason, and some of them are going to make an impact instantly. I’m really excited to see what they will bring to the squad.” The new players have to adjust from high school play to colligiate play. The fans get more into the game, coaches are harsher and practices are more rigorous. Senior post Michael Ivey spoke about what the workouts are really like. “Practices consist of a lot of post and guard work,” he said. “(We) work on our defense. We work on our offensive play and play up and down full court in game like situations.” Ivey wants to re-live what the team did last season, but with one thing different. “Our goal is to return where we got last year, only not to lose, but to win a national championship,” he said. With a slightly different goal in mind, Lytle would like to accomplish a personal hope. “My main goal for this year is to be consistent,” he said. “I really want to know how it feels to dunk the ball in a game, but if not, warm-ups will do.” Regardless, the players are ready for the upcoming season to get under way. The team’s first game against  Southwestern University is tonight in Georgetown with tip-off at 7 p.m.  The first home, which is over Thanksgiving break, is Nov. 29 against...

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Homecoming Football
Nov18

Homecoming Football

The Game Decked in purple and gold for the homecoming festivities, Cru supporters left Tiger Field Nov. 8 satisfied after a win against Howard-Payne University. Sophomore Ben Beckworth thought the atmosphere started out intensely because of the alumni and bigger attendance. “I think we played good,” he said. “We always want to play our hardest on homecoming.” He also said the team plays harder because fans include past football members. “I think we matched up pretty well,” Beckworth said. “We just come out and try to play our hardest each game and play like it’s our last.” The domination began with an interception and 52-yard return by freshman defensive back Chris Lambeth. It was followed by a 1-yard touchdown by senior running back Tommy Vadell to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead. Senior running back Bryson Tucker scored on the ensuing possession with a 13-yard run to give the Cru a 13-0 lead. On the next possession, sophomore quarterback Kyle Noack hit junior wide-receiver Pi’Dadro Davis with a 30-yard pass for a touchdown to end the first quarter. After that, the game became a nightmare for HPU. In each of the first three quarters, the Crusaders scored 20 points, along with seven points in the fourth. The final score of 67 points is a season-high for the team, beating its previous record of 63, which was against Texas Lutheran University. Despite only ten attempted passes, the offense managed to rack up 108 total yards and two touchdowns on six completions. Tucker and sophomore running backs Roger Sanchez and Matt Hurst earned 89, 82 and 59 rushing yards respectively, adding to the 479 offensive total yards. The win secured the team a spot in the NCAA division III playoffs, and at least a partial ASC championship. The prospect of a re-match against Hardin-Simmons in the conference championship game looks likely if each team wins out. Startling statistics UMHB received 7 punts for 167 yards while punting two times, each time not allowing a return by HPU. The Cru received only one kick from the opposite team, but kicked off to Howard Payne on 11 different occasions. The Yellowjackets were not allowed into the red zone a single time, as opposed to the Crusaders who made it eight times, succesfully scoring with each attempt. Sophomore kicker and punter Alan Muñoz went two for two on field goals, reaching the uprights from 42 yards and 31 yards. Reactions Freshman Amanda Enocksen attended the Homecoming game, but left at halftime saying, “After a while, it got boring because Howard Payne didn’t stand a chance.” Enocksen saw more people than usual at the game...

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