Fall Sports Preview 2011


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PRESS & DAKOTAN FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2011 PAGE 15 Lancers Ready To Put Disappointment Behind Them BY JEREMY HOECK jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net 2011 Schedule Eight wins over two seasons did not sit well with the Mount Marty College volleyball team. Especially disconcerting was the most telling number: Zero Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) victories since 2008. In an effort to prevent another subpar season, the nine returning MMC players from last season made it their off-season goal to improve in all facets of the game, according to second-year head coach Candice Climer. They all knew how it felt having two years of disappointment, said Climer, whose team opens its season Aug. 30 in Omaha, Neb. At some point, the upperclassmen said, That s it, we re tired of it. The Lancers, coming off a 4-26 (0-17 GPAC) record last fall, began their preparations for 2011, literally, right after their Aug. 27 Alumni Scrimmage, 3 p.m. Aug. 30 vs. Union, Grace at Omaha, 6/8 p.m. Sept. 2 vs. St. Francis (Ind.), Huntington at Milwaukee, 10 a.m./3:30 p.m. Sept. 3 vs. Aquinas, Cardinal Stritch at Milwaukee, 10 a.m./7 p.m. Sept. 7 At Dakota State, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 vs. Mayville State, UM-Morris at Morris, Minn., 6/7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 vs. Mayville State, Presentation at Aberdeen Sept. 13 At Briar Clfif, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 At York, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 At Doane, 10 a.m. Sept. 20 Dakota State, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 Dordt, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 Midland, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Dakota Wesleyan, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 At Nebraska Wesleyan, 3 p.m. Oct. 5 At Northwestern, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 Concordia, 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10 At Sioux Falls, 7 p.m. Oct. 12 Morningside, 7:30 p.m. season ended a year ago. In our final match last year (at Sioux Falls), I brought it up to them and said, This is where our season begins. Right now, through the off-season, Climer said. We took a week off, but came back and started working our butts off. Among the nine returning players are Kristen Grassa (Sr., DS), Carlie Lambert (Sr., OH), Jen Jerdee (Sr., DS/S), Tina Oct. 15 At Hastings, 3 p.m. Oct. 18 At Dordt, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 College of St. Mary s, 7 p.m. Oct. 22 Grace, 1 p.m. Oct. 25 Briar Cliff, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 At Midland, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1 Northwestern, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 At Dakota Wesleyan, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 Doane, 3 p.m. GPAC Tourney Quarterfinals, Nov. 8; Semifinals, Nov. 10; Final, Nov. 12 Rowbotham (Jr., S), Amanda Dirksen (Jr., OH), Kate Lingscheit (Jr., MH), Haley Logan (So., OH), Jena Peters (So., MH/RH) and Emily Schreur (So., MH). The hard work and slight modifications in position paid immediate dividends during spring scrimmages against conference foes, Climer said. We moved Carlie to the outside, and she has just grown leaps and bounds, Climer said. A couple GPAC coaches asked me over the spring if we got a new hitter. And the same is true with Kate. Her attacks have gotten so much stronger. I m excited for these girls who have been through a lot of downs in their career. With a veteran group back, there doesn t figure to be the same type of learning curve as last season, Climer said. There s definitely some leadership this year, she said. Last year everything took a while, because they had to get a feel for what I wanted. Now we re all on the same page, and they know what I expect. Everyone feels so much better this year. Adding to the mix are 11 freshmen to the program, including former Yankton LANCERS: Kate Lingscheit MMC VB | PAGE 20 Revamped Vikings Have Nowhere To Go But Up BY DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The repaired stadium has a new roof, and the old quarterback is gone. So is almost all of the drama, tension and dysfunction that framed the colossal collapse last year by the Minnesota Vikings. This season, their profile is considerably lower along with the expectations. We re positioning ourselves to sneak up on some people this year, linebacker Chad Greenway said. He added: That s OK. I think we ll be just fine. The Vikings were humbled as they stumbled to a 6-10 finish. That one-of-a-kind season featured, among other true stories, the firing of head coach Brad Childress, a trade for Randy Moss that imploded with his hasty release a month later, and a battering for Brett Favre in what the NFL s alltime leading passer has insisted was his last year. Oh, the ceiling at the Metrodome caved in during an epic HUSKERS: Nebraska Football Pregame snowstorm, too. But the stadium wasn t all that was rebuilt in Minnesota this summer. After guiding that shaky Viking ship for the final six games as an interim fill-in for Childress, new The offense, which underperare high on youngsters Stanley head coach Leslie Frazier has formed in the biggest games, is the Jean-Baptiste, Kenny Bell and con- helped foster an upbeat outlook for biggest question mark. Pelini fired verted quarterback Jamal Turner. a team that still has several stars Shawn Watson as offensive coordiCaputo and Sirles are the refrom the 2009 squad that missed nator and promoted Tim Beck from turning starters on the offensive the Super Bowl by four points. running backs coach. line, but there will be new starters Just the way the guys have reBeck and his charges have been at right tackle and both guard sponded here at the very start has vague about what the new offense spots. been so positive, Frazier said. will look like. To a man, the players The defense will have to con That just gives me the impression say the system is simpler than Wat- tend with more physical offenses that we ve moved on past 2010 and son s offense, which was an amalthan the spread systems common we have opened up a new era. gamation of the quarterback run in the Big 12. Many of the players were and short passing game with a hint The Huskers have plenty of heft pleased when Frazier was picked of the wildcat. up front. Jared Crick is a national as the replacement for Childress, The ability to go with no huddle honors candidate and on track to respectful of his own experience as figures to be a big part of the plan. become Nebraska s first three-time a player on the dominant defense We have a lot of different temall-conference pick since 1997-99. of the Chicago Bears in the 1980s. pos, center Mike Caputo said. Baker Steinkuhler and Cameron He hasn t been afraid to flex his au Being set and being ready to go, Meredith are back, and converted thoritative muscle, cutting mainwe might go like that, or we might linebacker Eric Martin is being stay left tackle Bryant McKinnie be sitting there checking. The decounted on to be a big playmaker after the 10-year veteran reported fense isn t going to know. at end. overweight. It s a little more cardio than The linebacker corps is led by He even scrapped the tradithe offensive line is used to. We did Lavonte David, who set a school tional rookie talent show at trainmore running in June than we used record with 152 tackles last seaing camp. Hazing doesn t have a to. I think we re prepared. son. Sean Fisher returns from a place on Frazier s team. Everything offensively depends broken leg, and Will Compton fig I just think it s better for our on second-year starting quarterures to get more playing time as football team as we try to develop back Taylor Martinez, who was one the Huskers return to using more chemistry, he said. of the nation s top freshmen before three-linebacker alignments. Frazier, a close friend of former leg and ankle injuries hampered Dennard, who intercepted four NFL coach Tony Dungy, carries him in November and December. passes and broke up another 15, himself with the same calm, careNow that two-year backup Cody steps out of the shadow of New fulness and class that Dungy is herGreen has transferred, the Huskers York Giants first-round pick Prince alded for. His fortitude and focus have no other quarterbacks who Amukamara. Ciante Evans probahave already been tested through have taken a snap in a college bly will take Amukamara s spot, dozens of off-field distractions. game. and the Huskers have three experi- Now his challenge will be getting Multitalented running back Rex enced safeties. Burkhead returns after running for Maybe the biggest hole is at 951 yards and seven touchdowns place-kicker. Alex Henery was Neand passing for three more TDs braska s all-time leading scorer Don t Gamble out of the wildcat formation. Prom- and the most accurate field-goal ising newcomers Aaron Green, kicker in NCAA history. He also Braylon Heard and Ameer Abdualwas one of the nation s top punters lah are in line to be Burkhead s the past two seasons. backup. Brett Maher looks to be the new Wideout Brandon Kinnie and punter, but he ll have to beat out tight end Kyler Reed are the top re- freshman Mauro Bondi for the kickturning receivers, but the Huskers ing job. th Huskers A Trendy Big Ten Pick In Inaugural Year BY ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska hasn t played a down of football in the Big Ten, yet the Cornhuskers are favored by many to win the championship in their first year in the conference. Nebraska offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles imagines that doesn t sit well in locker rooms around the league. If Sirles were on one of those other teams, he said, I d want to take em out. I d want to show them this is my conference, this is how we do things. Off the field, the Huskers have felt nothing but love from their 11 new conference mates and commissioner Jim Delany. With its five national championships and 837 all-time wins, Nebraska has been called a perfect fit in the traditionrich Big Ten. But on Saturdays starting in October, all the niceties go away. If the Huskers do, in fact, win the title, they ll have earned it against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Conference play begins with a night game at defending co-champion Wisconsin on Oct. 1 and a home date with Ohio State the next week. They re going to try to come after us, Sirles said, but we re going to come right after them, too. Fourth-year coach Bo Pelini has encouraged his players to embrace the challenge of taking on eight new conference opponents. It s going to be a hard schedule, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard said. But like coach Bo says, they have to play us, too. Nebraska has posted back-toback 10-win seasons and made it to the Big 12 championship game the last two years, losing both by a combined four points. The Huskers, however, lost three of four games to end last season, including an embarrassing Holiday Bowl loss to a Washington team they clobbered in the regular season. Sirles said last season including a Big 12 farewell tour and plenty of ill will from the fans prepared him and his teammates for what awaits in Nebraska s inaugural Big Ten campaign. Last year was an incredibly tough challenge in the Big 12, he said. You have the target on your back. A lot of people were saying we were ruining the conference, so everyone would give us their best shot. This year we re coming into a new conference and everyone s saying, Oh, you think you can come into a new conference (and dominate)? Defense has been, and remains, the Huskers strength. They ranked in the top 12 nationally in four major statistical categories last season, and they return all-conference performers on the line, at linebacker and in the secondary. We feel like we can line up and play against anybody in the country, Pelini said. We re going to do our thing. We re going to play our way. Obviously, you have to make some adjustments according to who you re playing in a particular week. But we feel like our style, the type of kids we recruit, the type of football team we put on the field can fit into any conference. COACH: Barb Bowers (1st year) LAST YEAR: The Warrior Girls Golf Team claimed the NENAC team title, but lose three of those golfers who will not return to the Crofton links this year. RETURNING LETTERWINNER: Gina Dendinger (Sr., Academic AllState, State Qualifier as an individual and with team, 2nd place finish at NENAC Meet, Member of 1st place team at NENAC Meet) TOP PROSPECTS: Breanna Loecker TONY ELLIS AUTO SALES Tony & Donna Ellis 605-665-3720 USED CARS & PICK-UPS 1 3/4 miles East on Hwy 50 1200 Ellis Rd. Yankton, SD Insure With M.T. & R.C. SMITH INSURANCE, INC. 203 W. 4 St., PO Box 1077 Yankton, SD 605-665-3611 Toll Free: 1-888-665-3611 Fax: 605-665-2560 NE GIRLS GOLF Crofton the most out of a team in an awkward transition from championship contender to afterthought in its own division. The Green Bay Packers are the reigning champions, and they didn t even win the NFC North last year. The Chicago Bears did, and even the normally low-end Detroit Lions improved. Finishing with a winning record, let alone reclaiming the division title they won in 2008 and 2009, will be difficult. The offensive line and defensive backfield are positions of concern, with key players such as right guard Anthony Herrera and cornerback Cedric Griffin coming back from reconstructive knee surgeries. Favre has been replaced, for at least this season, by Donovan McNabb, who was benched last year by the Washington Redskins and has played in all 16 games only once in the last seven seasons. He ll need protection to be productive at age 34, and running back Adrian Peterson will need some holes to show off his elite skills. Left guard Steve Hutchinson and defensive tackle Kevin Williams are a pair of former AllPros whose performance has been in decline. None of the candidates for the starting safety spots is proven after the jettisoning of veteran Madieu Williams, and the backups behind Griffin and stalwart Antoine Winfield haven t shown they re ready for roles in the nickel and dime defenses or as emergency injury replacements. But attitude can go a long way in this league. There are plenty of proud, proven players such as McNabb, Hutchinson, Williams, defensive end Jared Allen and wide receiver Bernard Berrian coming off down seasons who could have their production boosted by the proverbial chip on the shoulder. The zone blocking scheme used under Childress in the West Coast system has been phased out. New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has brought a simpler, manto-man blocking scheme and a fresh set of ideas and plans from his days on staff with Atlanta. Wide receiver Percy Harvin, if he can shake those debilitating migraine headaches, has Pro Bowl and game-changing potential. Greenway has blossomed. Peterson, just 26, is in a contract year. There aren t any rules against the Vikings returning to contention, just some big roadblocks for Frazier and his players to try to clear. This is an exciting year for me, McNabb said. I m looking forward to it, and good things will happen. (So.), Mariah Zavadil (Fr.), Kurtrina Parsons (Fr.) Hartington Cedar Catholic COACH: Sheila Jueden (2nd year) VITALS: Mid-State Conference RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Katlyn Arens (So.), Kelsey Christensen (Jr.), Maddie Schulte (Jr.) TOP PROSPECTS: Brittany Kramer (Jr.), Molly Berker (So.), Shayna Hoesing (So.) Harding Glass 907 Broadway Ave Yankton, SD 57078 Auto Doors Commercial Residential Windows Shower Doors Mirrors 605-665-3616 Scott Cutler, District Sales Manager Scott.Cutler@usfood.com www.omaha.usfoodservice.com 1501 Broadway, Yankton 665-1222 107 Poison Ivy Lane Yankton, SD 57078 (605) 660-9404 Let us Brighten your way! 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Lancers Ready To Put Disappointment Behind Them
Huskers A Trendy Big Ten Pick in Inaugural Year
Revamped Viking Have Nowhere To Go But Up
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