Thursday, December 3, 2009

LSC Roundup 12-3

Oklahoma scene: Northwestern looking into move up to D-II
A task force at Northwestern Oklahoma State University has recommended the school move its athletic programs from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. University president Janet Cunningham said she will review the recommendation and determine where Northwestern would need to invest additional money to make the move work.

Athletic director Bob Battisti said Northwestern State’s facilities are similar to other Oklahoma schools in Division II, but the university would need to add additional scholarships and office personnel.

A move to Division II would put Northwestern in the same classification as Central Oklahoma, East Central, Panhandle State, Southeastern State, Southwestern State, Northeastern State and Cameron. All but Panhandle are members of the Lone Star Conference. Cameron is the only school that does not play football.

Football News
McElroy named AFCA Region Four Coach of the Year

WACO – Tarleton head football coach Sam McElroy has been named the American Football Coaches Association Region Four Coach of the Year. The head coach guided the Texans to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and a 10-3 overall record. Tarleton earned a share of the Lone Star Conference and LSC South Division titles as well.

“Sam is very deserving of this award,” said Tarleton athletics director Lonn Reisman. “This brings a high visibility to not only our football program, but to our athletics department and Tarleton State University."

McElroy was both surprised and humbled by the announcement.

“This is a good honor for our team, staff and school,” McElroy said. “This certainly a nice award, but it is a reflection of the way our players played this year, and our staff. We are fortunate to have a great coaching staff at Tarleton. This award is for everyone that is a part of the Texan football program. It is certainly nice for the program and the University.”

Kanza Bowl: After a slow start, WTAMU going bowling
RICHARDSON, Texas – Heading into the 2009 season, the West Texas A&M football team had lost just five games in the previous three years. By week six, the Buffaloes had lost five games and were sitting at 1-5 and any chance to extend the school’s five-year streak of post-season trips appeared all but over.

But aided by the return of senior tailback Keithon Flemming, and the strength of veteran teams who have won many big games down the stretch, WTAMU quickly righted the ship in Canyon. The Buffaloes won five straight games to finish the season 6-5 and earn a share of the LSC South title. However, while the early-season struggles kept WTAMU out of the NCAA Regional, the season was not over after they topped Tarleton State, 49-35 with a 600-yard offensive explosion.+

That’s because the Buffaloes was selected as the Lone Star Conference representative to play in the inaugural Lower Kanza Bowl. The game pits the teams with the best conference record from both the LSC and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) that were not selected for the playoffs. WTAMU will play Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 5 in Topeka, Kan., at the Hummer Sports Park at 1 p.m. (CST).

“There’s two bowl games in Division II and it’s the first year for this one,” WTAMU head coach Don Carthel said. “It’ll be fun to represent our conference against the MIAA. We need to see if we can represent the conference in a good fashion.”

Football: Defense faces test
What UNO has been to rushing offense in Division II, West Texas A&M has been more than its passing equivalent.

“They have a very dynamic passing game,” UNO cornerback Bruce Harris said. “Coach compared it to Texas Tech. We’ve been focusing on cutting down their passing yards, because the last couple games their quarterback has been averaging around 400.”

West Texas A&M, which plays UNO on Saturday in the Kanza Bowl in Topeka, Kan., has been averaging close to 400 yards passing in five seasons under coach Don Carthel. The Buffaloes led Division II in passing in 2005, 2007 and 2008, averaging 414.2 yards the final year. They rank fourth this season (360.8). UNO’s rushing rankings those five seasons have been 19, 1, 4, 4 and 32.

Sam McElroy to the Bearkats?
Sports Editor
According to the Houston Chronicle, Tarleton State head football coach Sam McElroy is a possible candidate for the same post at NCAA Division I-FCS Sam Houston State. Sam Houston is searching for a new coach after firing Todd Whitten last week. Whitten, who was 25-28 in five seasons at SHSU, had previously coached at Tarleton, going 40-18 from 2000-04. He also went 5-5 during a one-year stint at Tarleton in 1996.

McElroy has previous experience at Sam Houston, having served the Bearkats as defensive backs coachfrom 1993-99. He then came to Tarleton as defensive coordinator when Whitten, also a previous SHSU assistant, was picked to lead the Texans. McElroy left Tarleton to coach defensive backs at North Texas in 2003 and 2004 before returning to lead the Texans when Whitten left for SHSU in 2005.

McElroy directed the Texans to a share of the Lone Star Conference league-wide and South Division crowns this season and just the second Division II playoff win in school history. They also split the South title in 2006. He is currently 40-15 at Tarleton. McElroy, who is in the running for the 2009 Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year honor, is out of town recruiting this week and is not expected back until Friday.

Sam Houston athletic director Bobby Williams was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon, but SHSU assistant athletic director for media relations Paul Ridings said the university hopes to have a list of 3-5 finalists for the position as soon as this week, with interviews to begin shortly thereafter.

Others possible candidates listed by the Houston Chronicle include Louisiana-Lafayette defensive coordinator Kevin Fouquier, Central Missouri head coach Willie Fritz and Pittsburgh linebackers coach Joe Tumpkin.

Volleyball News
WTAMU makes 10th appearance at NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship
RICHARDSON, Texas – The postseason continues for West Texas A&M this week at the 2009 NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship in St. Paul, Minn. After winning both the Lone Star Conference and South Central Regional titles, WTAMU (37-3) plays California (Pa.) (35-4) at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, December 3, in the quarterfinals at the Gangeloff Center on the campus of Concordia-St. Paul.

It will be the first meeting between the Lady Buffs and Vulcans. Cal U captured its third-consecutive NCAA Atlantic Regional title and has won 29 of their last 30 matches. WTAMU is back at the championship for the 10th time in school history after making back-to-back appearances in 2006 and 2007. The Lady Buffs are aiming for a fourth national title and the first since 1997. The championship continues on Friday, Dec. 4 with semifinals and the championship game is set for Saturday, Dec. 5.

Click here for live video, audio and statistics of the match.

2009 NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship
Thursday, December 3 - Championship Quarterfinals
1 - Dowling (29-6) vs. Flagler (35-8), 12:00 pm
2 - West Texas A&M (34-3) vs. California (Pa.) (35-4), 2:30 pm
3 - Tampa (31-2) vs. Cal State San Bernardino (31-1), 5:00 pm
4 - Concordia (34-0) vs. Indianapolis (35-1), 7:30 pm

Friday, December 4 - Championship Semifinals
5 - Winner Quarterfinal 1 vs. Winner Quarterfinal 2, 5:00 pm
6 - Winner Quarterfinal 3 vs. Winner Quarterfinal 4, 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 5 - NCAA Championship Match
7 - Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2, 7:30 pm

Making hometown proud
Katie Rickwartz is somewhat of a celebrity in Canyon. When she's out shopping or eating, the West Texas A&M senior gets recognized by residents, and there's only one topic they want to discuss - volleyball. Rickwartz was a star for the Canyon Lady Eagles before taking her game across town to the WT Fieldhouse, where she is an All-American for the Lady Buffs. When it comes to volleyball in Canyon, Rickwartz is as homegrown as it gets.

"I wish I knew their names because it would be nice to have a conversation with them," Rickwartz said of fans who stop to talk with her. "In Wal-Mart, when I'm eating, it's great. People just want to tell you good luck and that they like watching you. That's the biggest compliment right there is that people actually enjoy what you do."

Soccer News
Herrera gains first-team Daktronics All-America honors
Midwestern State's Raul Herrera and Ryan Spence earned Daktronics All-America honors Wednesday as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of American.

Herrera, a junior goalkeeper from Dallas, gained first-team honors after leading NCAA Division II with a .304 goals against average and was fifth in the country with an 86.5 save percentage.
His efforts helped the Mustangs lead NCAA Division II in team goals against average and MSU posted 12 shutouts while advancing to the postseason for the fourth-straight season. Herrera posted a 12-1-3 mark in 15 starts between the posts while allowing five goals in 103 total shots faced.

Sophomore Ryan Spence, a Decatur native, garnered second-team honors after making 15 starts at the center back position this season.

(Other LSC players named
First Team - Nikki Nielsen WTAM, defender
Honorable Mention - Ben Everson WTAM, Forward, Jacob Jensen WTAM, Midfielder

M. Soccer. Trio of Buffs Named to Daktronics All-American Team
Three members of the West Texas A&M men's soccer team have been named to the Daktronics All-America Teams announced on Wednesday morning. Defender Nicki Nielsen was honored with a spot on the first team while teammates Ben Everson and Jacob Fynboe Jensen were named honorable mention.

W. Soccer. Pair of Lady Buffs Grab All-American Honors
A pair of Lady Buff soccer players have been honored with a spot on the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer All-America Team announced on Tuesday afternoon. Sophomore forward Lindsay McHorse was honored with a spot on the second team while teammate Kelly Skehan was named honorable mention.

Men's Basketball News
Buffs coming off tourney success
Of course, West Texas A&M men's basketball coach Rick Cooper enjoyed seeing his Buffs win their first two home games of the season in their Thanksgiving tournament.

"But right now, we aren't worrying about home-court advantage or anything like that," Cooper said. "With so many new players on this particular team, right now we are just focused on playing good basketball. And we know we are in for a real test (tonight)."

The Buffs' "real test" will be the East Central Tigers at 8 tonight in a Lone Star Conference crossover game at the First United Bank Center in Canyon.

Crossover appeal
The Angelo State University men’s and women’s basketball teams had tournament showings last weekend that they would rather forget. They will have to forget quickly as both teams begin Lone Star Conference crossover play tonight at home against Southwestern Oklahoma.

The Rambelles took a 3-1 record into the West Texas A&M Classic in Canyon and came home 3-3 after a 75-69 loss to Texas-Permian Basin and a 60-57 loss to St. Mary’s.

The Rams were 3-0 heading into the New Mexico Highlands Classic in Las Vegas, N.M., and returned with a 3-2 mark after a 95-92 overtime loss to Fort Lewis and a 109-100 loss to New Mexico Highlands.

Mustangs face Bronchos in a clash of champions
A win by Midwestern State tonight would tie the third best start in the 64-year history of the men’s basketball program.

But it won’t come easily. It will be defending champ vs. defending champ when the Mustangs tip off against Central Oklahoma at 8 p.m. in D.L Ligon Coliseum.

MSU won the Lone Star Conference South Division championship last season, and UCO was the champion of the North Division. The Bronchos defeated the Mustangs in crossover play, 92-78 in Edmond last December, but Midwestern ended up winning the LSC title in March.

Women's Basketball News
Message to LSC foes: Tarleton women are for real
E-T Sports Staff
Apparently the Tarleton TexAnns haven’t forgotten what happened on March 4. That is when the Central Oklahoma Lady Bronchos sent the TexAnns home from the Lone Star Conference Championship tournament with a 66-63 loss.

It may not mean as much this early in the season, but Tarleton (6-0) took another step in the right direction by knocking off the No. 19 Lady Bronchos (3-2) 85-55 to remain undefeated at Wisdom Gym Tuesday night.

“I really don’t know how we beat them that bad. They’re a well coached team and they’re the best team defensively we’ve played all season,” Tarleton coach Ronnie Hearne said. “Give our players credit, they wanted this game badly.”

Tarleton matched its best start under Hearne, equaling the 6-0 start to the 2007-08 campaign.

Javs top century mark for third straight game
For the third straight game, the high-scoring Texas A&M-Kingsville women’s basketball team surpassed 100 points as they cruised to an easy 106-40 win over visiting NCAA Division III foe Schreiner University on Wednesday night at Kingsville Hampton Inn Court.

In the first half the Javelinas (6-1) offense was solid, but it was on the defensive end where the team shined. They held the Mountaineers (0-5) to just eight points through the first 14 minutes of the game. The Javs led 39-17 at halftime with 21 of the points coming off turnovers while SU had zero points off turnovers. In the second half, the Javelinas caught fire as they drained 73.5 percent of their shots from the field, including 10 of 14 from 3-point range. They opened the half with a 27-0 run in the first 6:20 and never looked back.

Lady Buffs' foe plays up-tempo
Something has to give when West Texas A&M's Lady Buffs host the East Central Tigers at 6 tonight in a Lone Star Conference crossover basketball game at the First United Bank Center in Canyon. The Lady Buffs' goal defensively is to hold the opposition to 55 points or less. They have accomplished that three times in a 5-0 start to the season. East Central (3-1) has not been held below that total. It has scored 70 or more points three times, including a season-high of 96 on Saturday.

''They are a good shooting team that likes to play up-tempo,'' Lady Buffs head coach Krista Gerlich said. ''We will need a good effort defensively against them.''

Mustangs take aim at Lady Bronchos
If the Midwestern State women want to get a little payback for some of the losses they suffered last season, tonight might be a good place to start. That’s because the Central Oklahoma Lady Bronchos are coming to town, the team that handed the Mustangs their worst loss last season, a 106-57 setback on the road.

MSU comes into the contest with a 2-3 record after beating St. Edward’s 68-42 Tuesday night, while the Bronchos (3-2) were dominated by the Tarleton State TexAnns, 85-55. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in D.L. Ligon Coliseum as part of a Lone Star Conference crossover doubleheader. The men will tipoff at 8 p.m., or 25 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game.

“I expect a more aggressive game,” MSU coach Noel Johnson said of UCO. “We’ll see a lot more back screens and they’ll run a lot of different sets on offense. They have a very good team offensively. Defensively they’ll pressure us and we’ll have to do a good job handling the ball.”

Recruiting News
Klein, Barker sign NLI to play volleyball at Tarleton
Tarleton head volleyball coach Mary Schindler has announced Tuesday the signing of two players to national letters-of-intent for the 2010 season. Joining Tarleton next fall will be setter Danielle Barker and defensive specialist Emily Klein. Both players come from Amarillo High School, one of the most prominent volleyball teams in all of the nation, finishing the past two seasons ranked No. 4 in ESPN's RISE FAB 50. The Sandies ranked No. 7 in the nation according to the high school volleyball rankings.

"Coach Mariner and I are very pleased to bring in a pair of players with such a winning tradition in their backgrounds. They will bring in a mental toughness to the team and I expect both of them to make an immediate impact on the TexAnn volleyball program."

TWU softball signs six for 2011 season
Texas Woman’s University softball head coach Richie Bruister announced that six players have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.

The six members of the 2011 recruiting class includes Kaylee Davis (Carthage, TX/Carthage HS), Lindsay Fallen (Waxahachie, TX/Midlothian HS/Navarro College), Katie Hines (Beaumont, TX/West Brook HS), Kaylyn Vranich (Waco, TX/Lorena HS), Bailey Vrazel (Danbury, TX/Danbury HS), and Tiffany Weise (Village Mills, TX/Warren HS/Navarro College).

“I am extremely excited about this year’s signing class,” said Bruister. “We have six very talented student-athletes on the field and in the classroom coming to join the Pioneer softball family in the fall of 2010. I cannot wait to have all of them on campus and playing for us. They are all great people, come from wonderful families and I am proud to say they are joining the Pioneer team!”

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico