Sunday, August 23, 2009

LSC Roundup 8-23

Uh-oh: Top back hurt
Buffs' Flemming dislocates left elbow; status for opener with Grand Valley St. uncertain

The goals of preseason camp vary - from replacing graduated starters to fine-tuning the offense and defense to getting players in shape.

Included among these objectives is to wrap it up without any significant injuries.

Unfortunately, the West Texas A&M Buffs did not accomplish all their goals.

Starting running back Keithon Flemming, the Lone Star Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, according to, sustained a dislocated left elbow Saturday morning during the Buffs final preseason intrasquad scrimmage.

Flemming went down during the Buffs' fourth offensive series on a 6-yard run. The 6-0, 210-pounder from Mesquite had four carries for 17 yards and caught a one-yard touchdown pass before the injury.

Flemming was on his back for several minutes before being driven off the field in a pickup. His status will be determined next week, possibly by Monday.

"We don't know yet (the extent of Flemming's injury)," said WT head coach Don Carthel, whose team opens the regular season Saturday by hosting top-ranked Grand Valley State. "He is a tough kid and a big part of the offense. We will have to wait and see what the doctors say."

UIW's Nickerson makes push in final tuneup
Incarnate Word freshman quarterback Chase Nickerson's name didn't crack the two-deep depth chart the Cardinals unveiled Friday morning.

By that evening, the Central Catholic product had done his very best to change that in the coming weeks and months.

One of several standouts in UIW's final tuneup before next week's inaugural season opener against Monterrey Tech, Nickerson completed 8 of 11 passes for 67 yards in a two-quarter intrasquad scrimmage at Benson Stadium.

Defensive tackle Diego McClain also starred, recording three sacks and forcing two fumbles for the first team in a 20-3 victory over the Nickerson-led backups.

“This year, I'm just trying to make those guys in front of me work to know that I'm behind them just to make them better,” said Nickerson, who is probably a year away from fighting for significant playing time. “As long as I keep working, keep getting better, I can keep moving up that depth chart.”

Related: First Impressions: Four players and the tales of how they became Cardinals
Related: Three burning questions for UIW

High expectations
No. 5 Lady Buffs return 5 starters from 34-5 regional semifinalist

The overall goal for this season is no secret among team leaders of the West Texas A&M Lady Buffs volleyball team.

And it isn't their fourth consecutive Lone Star Conference title, though they are the overwhelming favorite to do that, too.

"The upper classmen realize that the biggest picture is winning a national championship," first-year WT coach Jason Skoch said. "They recognize that, yeah we won conference, but look where we are on the national scene. It's not the same."
The American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason top 25 poll picks the Lady Buffs as a big player on the national scene. WT begins the season ranked No. 5 when they play Texas-Permian Basin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the WT Fieldhouse.

A common way to deal with preseason hype is to try to ignore it. But AVCA All-Americans Laura Prinsen and Melissa Harper, two of the team's five returning starters, understand the hardware this team is capable of bringing back to Canyon, especially after going 34-5 overall last season and reaching the national regional semifinals.

"A national championship is our goal every year," Prinsen said. "We're really looking forward to the season. Having that target on our back is motivation to make sure we don't overlook anybody."

Copy 'Cats: ACU looks at Northwest Missouri St. as program to emulate
Since Mel Tjeerdsma took over as Northwest Missouri State’s head football coach in 1994, few teams have been as good as the Bearcats in Division II.

In fact, since 2000, only one team — Grand Valley State (Mich.) — has won more games in Division II.

After going 0-11 his first season in 1994, Tjeerdsma has never had a losing season — dropping only 29 games total since and winning back-to-back national titles in 1998 and 1999. And of late, his Bearcats have owned Super Region Four — winning the region four consecutive years en route to the national title game.

Lady Buffs want lengthy playoff run
After winning the Lone Star Conference championship two seasons in a row, the West Texas A&M women's soccer team is looking for more.

The Lady Buffs, the preseason favorites to win the LSC for a third season in a row, failed to advance past the first round of the NCAA tournament the last two years. WT coach Butch Lauffer has his mind set on making it into the second round this season.

"We have a chance to be really good," Lauffer said. "We have a lot of senior leadership. We expect to three-peat. We need to get past the first round. If you get out of the first round, I think you have a chance to go a long way."
Seniors Kayla Sisco, Adi Stein and Miriam Dominguez are the backbone of the team, Lauffer said.

"Kayla plays central defender while Adi and Miriam play in central midfield, the spine of the team," Lauffer said. "They have a lot of experience and leadership. We are going to rely a lot on those girls to get us going."

As a central defender and as a senior, Sisco must be prepared to lead the team in all aspects.

"I leave it all on the field," Sisco said. "I always have to be on top of my game and be able to lead people. I am in the back so I have to be able to see the whole field and do my part."

WT men seek national berth
Last season was filled with high expectations, even murmurs of a national championship.

Then those hopes were dashed when the West Texas A&M men's soccer team was not invited to the NCAA Division II tournament.

The Buffs went 12-5 last year and watched the national tournament from the sidelines.
"In retrospect, the team finished strong," WT coach Butch Lauffer said. "It was a big disappointment not getting into the tournament. I felt that we were worthy of that."

WT has moved into the Lone Star Conferernce after having been in the Southwest Soccer Conference. Other LSC teams are Midwestern State, Northeastern State and Eastern New Mexico.

The Buffs are ranked 25th in the national preseason poll, but players know they can't let that ranking distract them.

"We need to take it one game at a time this year," senior captain Nicki Nielsen said. "We lost some stupid games last season against teams that we should have beaten. When you have the attitude that you win before the game is actually played, then you aren't going to win. We need to take it one game at a time and we can go far.

"We need to improve the overall attitude on the team. It seems a lot better already. Everybody seems willing to work for the good of the team."

WT men's basketball team signs 13 players
West Texas A&M men's basketball coach Rick Cooper will bring in 13 new players to join his five returnees for the 2009-10 season.

The signing class consists of nine guards and four forwards. The signees include Division I transfer Jacquiese Holcombe (6-foot-6) from Mississippi State and two regional products in Jordan Ashmore, a freshman from Spearman, and sophomore Kendall Cogburn, who starred at Randall and transfers from Wayland Baptist.

"We are excited to have these young men join our basketball program," Cooper said. "Our staff has worked diligently ever since the 2009 season ended, and we feel that the student-athletes we have signed will help us in many areas."

Here is the list of signees with name, position, height, class and last school attended:
Jordan Ashmore, Guard, 6-4, Fr., Spearman High
Kendall Cogburn, Forward, 6-6, So., Wayland Baptist
Alex Davis, Forward, 6-7, Jr. Tennessee Tech
Alonzo Earle, Guard, 5-10, Jr., Cosumnes (S.C) River College
LaDarius Hall Guard, 6-2, Jr., South Plains College
Tyler Hull, Guard, 6-2, Jr., Weatherford College
Jacquise Holcombe, Forward, 6-6, Jr., Mississippi State
Donnie Kidd, Forward, 6-6, Jr., Feather Rivers (Calif.) JC
Joe Mincey, Guard, 6-3, Jr., Coastal Georgia Community College
Darren Sadler, Guard, 6-2, Jr., Bevil State (Ala.) Community College
Devaun Stewart, Guard, 6-2, Fr., Mansfield High,
Justin Tubb, Forward, 6-4, Fr., Midland College
Kolten Wilder, Guard, 5-10, Fr., Goodyear (Ariz.) Millenium High

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