Monday, October 26, 2009

Bad sports weekend for me

This was a bad sports weekend for me. Sure there were some bright spots here and there, but mostly it was disappointing. Where to begin?

Mavs lose two in a row, fall to Central Missouri with bad second half

Thankfully, I attended this game instead of watching the Nebraska game (more on this later), but this one didn't turn out much better.

The Mavs played a great first half but stumbled after halftime, losing to the Mules 49-31 on Saturday at Caniglia Field.

UNO squandered an amazing performance from freshman running back Levi Terrell. The youngster rushed for a season- and career-high 218 yards, including a 64-yarder in the second quarter.

The score was 14-14 at halftime, but if you just watched the game itself you would have thought UNO would have a lead. The Mavs forced two turnovers and executed its offense well at times, but they also made some mental mistakes with penalties and turnovers.

Quarterback Greg Wunderlich completed 19 of 31 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown, but had a hand in one of the biggest turnovers of the game when he threw an interception at the end of the first quarter that was returned for a touchdown. The pick six tied the game at 14.

After halftime, the game was in control of the Mules. They amassed 270 yards of offense in the final two quarters and scored 35 points. UNO's offense still performed well, but they just couldn't get the ball in the end zone. The Mavs put up 515 yards of offense, their second-highest output of the season.

With the loss, the playoffs are all but gone for the Mavs. Still, even if there are no playoffs in sight, a winning record is still attainable. Players have said that its their goal to win out the rest of this season.

Huskers Iowa State? In Lincoln?

Yes, they did. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, what was once a prideful and tradition-rich football program, have fallen to a new low that even Bill Callahan managed to keep us out of: losing to Iowa State at home.

It's been 1977 since the Cyclones have walked out of Lincoln with a victory. Oh wait, no, it's actually been since Saturday. You see, the Huskers did something nobody thought they would ever do again: LOSE TO FRIGGIN IOWA STATE AT HOME.

You can blame Bo Pelini, Shawn Watson or the Hamburglar. It doesn't matter, this team stinks right now. I'm not sure who you can blame for 8 turnovers. Maybe it's a team mentality thing. But if it is, doesn't that fall under coach Watson and Pelini? Why is this team in a funk? Why does Niles Paul drop and fumble balls? Why does Zac Lee play every snap ?

Thankfully, the only silver lining from Saturday was that I missed watching the Nebraska game, so I was in a much better mental state than everyone else. But I still had to watch that trainwreck of a second half for UNO.

Nicole Baier is my hero

UNO's soccer team is having an extremely successful season so far, with a 12-4-1 overall record and record of 11-1 in the conference. Much of this success has to do with redshirt freshman Nicole Baier.

Baier has been in beast mode for the past, oh, eight weeks now. She has rebounded from her ACL injuries last year to have an unbelievable freshman campaign in 2009.

Through Oct. 19, Baier leads the conference in goals (12), goals per game, shots (66), shots per game, points (34), points per game, and assists (10). Although since then, Baier has scored 4 more goals and registered another assist to give her a conference-leading 16 goals and 11 assists.

The team is currently tied for first in the conference with Truman and are playing great futbol right now. Much of it has to do with the Mavs' impressive defense and the development of the other Mav forwards. There is, however, no denying the impact that Baier has already had in her first year. The future looks bright for this Maverick.

Volleyball team break out of 4-game slump

The Mavs finally woke up from their worst losing streak in the season. They lost 4 games in a row from Oct. 10 through the 23rd, three of those in five-game sets.

I went to the Truman State game on Oct. 10, and let me tell you: that heartbreaking loss really demoralized the team. Head coach Rose Shires had a long postgame talk with the team, but the team went on the road for their next game and lost in another 5-game set to Central Missouri.

The Mavs returned home on Oct. 21 to face Missouri Southern State, but the team lost in yet another 5-game set. This time, there was no speech on the court. The team went immediately to their locker.

Two days later, the Mavs lost in 4 sets to Pittsburg State. The Mavs finally rebounded on Oct. 24 to beat Southwest Baptist 3-0.

Let's see if this team is capable of regaining their compsure. They're still in good shape at 18-8 overall and 8-5 in the conference, and the team has plenty of talent to make a run in the playoffs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mavs football upsets No. 12 Washburn

The UNO football team defeated No. 12 Washburn 31-21 on Saturday in front of a Homecoming crowd at Caniglia Field.

Head coach Pat Behrns had a great quote after the game.

"One thing I wanted to make sure when they went out on that field was that they didn’t forget who we are,” he said. “We’re a good program and we’re a good team also.”

The game itself was a game of two halves - offensive fireworks in the first and stout defense in the second.

Washburn came into the game ranking first in the conference in three offensive categories, including total offense and points per game, and they sure played like it in the first half. QB Dane Simoneau made a lot of great throws and his receivers made some fantastic catches to move the ball at will on the Mavs' defense in the first two quarters. After each team had the ball, the score was 14-14.

“You kind of shake your head and wonder when [the scoring] is going to slow down a little bit,” Behrns said. “I thought we played the first half on defense to keep from getting beat instead of playing to win. You cannot play defense cautiously and that’s what we did.”

Eventually, UNO's defense made some stops and the Mavs got a 28-14 lead, thanks to two touchdown receptions by junior tight end Mike Higgins. But Washburn battled on their last offensive possession of the first half and scored a touchdown with less than a minute left in the half to cut UNO's lead to seven.

After the break, however, both teams made adjustments on defense and both offenses were incapable of scoring. The only score was a 29-yard field goal by junior Greg Zeurlein early in the third quarter to give UNO a 31-21 lead.

UNO made many defensive stops in the second half, including stopping Washburn on 4th-and-1 when the Ichabods were at UNO's 9-yard line.

Defensive tackle Nate Wissink talked about the defense's effort.

“I feel like we came out and did what we wanted to do, and that was stop the run,” junior defensive tackle Nate Wissink said. “I think we took a major step today.”

It was a great win for UNO, and it gives the Mavs three in a row in the conference. I expect a top 25 ranking rather soon, as this team seems to be taking shape into a playoff-caliber team right before our eyes.


The Mavs just keep on winning.

The UNO soccer team won two more games this week, defeating Emporia State 5-0 on Thursday and winning 1-0 against Washburn yesterday.

The offense exploded for four goals in the second half against Emporia State, including two goals by redshirt freshman Nicole Baier.

“It had been a while since I had scored, so that was exciting,” Baier said after the game.

Baier talked about how the team is coming together over the season.

“The whole team is playing as a whole, unlike we were at the beginning” she said. “It’s changed, black and white, from game one to game 13.”

On Sunday, the defense shined in the victory against Washburn. The Mavs allowed only three shots total for the game, including one in the first half.

“[The defense] has been amazing,” head coach Don Klosterman said. “[Lauren Fox] has been awesome, the fullbacks have been awesome. They’ve really come together.”

Lauren Fox recorded 1.5 shutouts in both games. She shared the shutout against Emporai State with senior Elizabeth Odorisio. Fox is now 7-1 on the year.

UNO is now 9-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference. However, the Mavs will play 6 of the next 7 games on the road. It will be interesting to see where this team is at when the regular season comes to an end.


The Mavs volleyball team suffered a devastating 3-2 loss to No. 21 Truman on Saturday afternoon in front of a shocked and quiet crowd at Sapp Fieldhouse.

UNO played sloppy in the first two sets and fell into an early 0-2 hole. Head coach Rose Shires was not happy with the play in the first two games.

“We played very poorly, very uninspired in games one and two,” Shires said. “We played very separated and isolated.”

After the intermission between sets 2 and 3, UNO came out looking like they were capable of playing. They took the next two sets in impressive fashion, evening the match at 2-2.

“We just said it’s enough,” senior hitter Kelli Goeser said. “We knew we couldn’t have the attitude we had in games one and two. We knew we had to play with heart instead of playing individually.”

With the match tied at 2-2 going into the pivotal fifth set, momentum was clearly on the side of the Mavs. The girls were fired up and the crowd was rowdy and cheering loudly.

UNO took a 12-9 lead (remember, the fifth set has match point of 15) and appeared on the verge of winning the match. Truman took a timeout, but came back and scored 6 straight points to take the set 15-12 and win the match. Shires talked about what happened at the end of the set.

“At the end we became more passive, and that allowed them to be back in the game,” Shires said. “It cost us.”

It certainly did. The Mavs are now 17-5 overall and 7-2 in the conference. Despite the setback, Rose was proud that her team battled back after a slow start to tie the match. It showed character, and while this is a loss that stings now, there is still plenty of season left in front of them.


UNO won the Mutual of Omaha Icebreaker Tournament held at the Qwest Center over the weekend, going 2-0 against Army and UMASS-Lowell.

The Mavs had to rally in both games after finding themselves facing early deficits.

On Friday against Army, UNO entered the third period down 4-3.

“We kind of lost our step a bit in the second period,” senior captain Jeric Agosta said. “But coming into the third, we did a great job coming back and didn't give them anything.”

In the third, UNO scored three goals to win the game 6-4. Head coach Dean Blais talked about the team's mentality going into the third period.

“We wanted to be in the championship game, not the consolation game,” Blais said. “We felt we were going to find a way to win one way or another.”

After the victory, UNO took on UMASS-Lowell on Saturday night for the championship game. The Mavs once again fell behind early, going down 2-1 at the end of the first period. But the Mavs responded in the second, scoring two goals to take the lead 3-2 before each team exchanged goals in the third.

UNO is 2-0 early, and despite the sluggish start, I don't think there's anything to worry about. The team is still learning to play with coach Blais and each other. Expect the team to get better as the season goes on.

Monday, October 5, 2009

UNO athletes performing well

The fall semester is well underway, which means UNO's fall sports are in season by now. Volleyball, football, soccer, golf, swimming and diving and others are almost at the mid-points of their seasons, but the early outlook is very positive for the Mavs.

Here's a recap of the happenings so far this season:


Head coach Rose Shires looks to have her team poised to make a serious run in the NCAA II tournament. The team is 15-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference. The Mavs are ranked #15 in Division II and are currently on top of the standings in the MIAA.

Shires' team had a nine-match winning streak before Sept. 26's loss at Emporia State, including victories over #6 Washburn and #22 Pittsburg State.

Shires won her 400th career game on Sept. 19 against Southwest Baptist.

Most Valuable Player (so far..)

Senior Ellen Thommes

Thommes has been an absolute beast for the Mavs. She leads the team in kills and blocks, with 3.39 and 1.03 per set, respectively. She has 244 kills on the season with 74 blocks.

She also became the 17th member of the 1,000-kill club in UNO's history on Sept. 11.


The Mavs are off to a good start to their season. An early-season loss to rival Nebraska-Kearney still lingers, but the team appears to be putting things together very nicely.

The team is 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference, with the only conference loss coming to Northwest Missouri State on Sept. 19.

One concern for head coach Pat Behrns is the running back position. Duane Bowen, Bryce Hawthorne and Robert Wesley are all banged up with injuries, which left Behrns to play freshman Levi Terrell. Terrell has been a pleasant surprise for the Mavs, however, as he has rushed for 192 yards in back-to-back games along with three touchdowns.

Most Valuable Player (so far..)

Senior Greg Wunderlich

Senior quarterback Greg Wunderlich has transformed the way the Mavs play ball. Gone are the days of option-runs. Wunderlich has a cannon, which I believe needs a license in this state.

Wunderlich has completed 102 of 163 passes for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns in six games. He has two of the highest passing yards performances in the Behrns era, with 369 yards against Missouri Southern and 332 yards against Northwest Missouri. He's also third in the MIAA in passing yards per game. He's filled in nicely for departed QB Zach Miller.


The women's soccer team had a rough opening schedule with two top-25 opponents in the first three games. But since conference play has started, the Mavs have turned really improved their play.

Since conference play began on Sept. 10 against Missouri Western, the Mavs have won six of the last seven games and have shut out three of their last five opponents.

As of today, they are 7-4 overall and 6-1 in the conference. One important stat is that the Mavs have been the first team to score in all of their conference wins.

Another positive for head coach Don Klosterman is the improvement of junior goalkeeper Lauren Fox. She's started in net for the Mavs since Sept. 12 against Truman State and has helped the Mavs with her 5-1 record. She has 36 saves and 2.8 shutouts, with the other .2 going to senior Elizabeth Odorisio.

Most Valuable Player (so far..)

R.Frsh. Nicole Baier

Redshirt freshman Nicole Baier has successfully recovered from her injuries. She leads the team in goals with 7, assists with 6, and points with 20. She also leads the team in shots on goal. She's been a beast since her coming out party on Sept. 4 against Central Oklahoma when she had three goals.

She's been the MIAA Offensive Player of the Week once, and is poised for more.


The golf team has performed extremely well this year. They've placed first in three of the five tournaments played so far, and the other two finishes were in second place.

Erin Ommen, Armana Christianson, Rebecca Pollock and Dani Suponchick have all been individual medalists for finishing first individually.