Monthly Archive for February, 2009

Time On My Hands

Tonight as John Slegers does the heavy lifting for the first half of the night with the play by play in Sioux City of Dordt versus Morningside women’s basketball. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to check what teams in the most recent NAIA Division II men’s and women’s basketball rankings have been eliminated from their conference tournaments.

Here we go—men, #7 Northwood, #14 Warner Pacific, #20 Grace all out. Many quarterfinals and semifinals done tonight and tomorrow and more are sure to follow.

Women-#20 Jamestown…..that’s it.

Last balloting takes place next Wednesday when the conference tournaments are complete.

Here We Go

How are you spending your Thursday night? Well, I’m watching Woonsocket and Hanson play a girls basketball game at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. It’s the first of three games at the Palace tonight and we’ll wrap things up with the men’s GPAC quarterfinal round game set to tip of at 8:30 (if we have any luck at all). I’m thinking it may be closer to 9:00.

John Slegers is in Sioux City calling the women’s game between Dordt and Morningside. Not a good start for DC. I am fortunate to have someone like John to fall back on for play by play of almost any game imaginable. DC is down 11-0 to start. Don’t want to dig out of a hole against Morningside. They don’t give up leads very easily. You don’t get to 30-0 for the season without doing a lot of things right and making life miserable. We’ll see if the Defenders can crawl back into it.

Roads weren’t bad coming down for the game for which I’m thankful. Wind was blowing but there isn’t much snow on the ground. The way it sounds either all the games were going to get played tonight or all of them were getting pushed to tomorrow night in the interest of competitive fairness. If it had come to that the semifinal round would have been played on Saturday night instead of afternoon and we would have been back on schedule. Fortunately it didn’t come to that.

Now, time for me to start paying attention to this Woonsocket-Hanson game. Woonsocket has made a comeback from 10 down to tie it with 4:00 left. Can you say overtime?? I hope not……………..

A Few Notes

Before I head out the door.

Women’s basketball won an odd game last night. Odd that the game was filled with several offensive runs. I don’t remember a similar game right off the top of my head. Dordt had runs of seven, eight and ten points in the first half and had a five point lead to show for it. Also gave up a ten point run in the first half after leading by 15. Closed the game with a 15 point run and held Dakota Wesleyan without a point in the final 9:02. The lid was on the bucket pretty tight for the Tigers at that point.

Men got some defensive stops in the second half and pulled away from a 43-42 halftime lead. I believe Midland Lutheran finally got tired from Dordt’s relentless push to the basket on each possession. Doesn’t hurt when Dustin Katje and Brandon Oldenkamp start hitting threes and lanes are opened up to the basket. 88-70 win for Dordt’s 15th win of the season. Also assures Dordt of another winning season. In my eight years hear they have won at least 14 games each year and have had just one non-winning season and that was a 14-14 record.

Women get another shot at #1 Morningside. Pin your ears back and go for it is how the women will approach it. If you’re timid against Morningside they will eat you up. That game is at 6:00 and will be on KDCR with John Slegers providing play by play. The men go to the Corn Palace for an 8:30 tip off. There are two games preceding the men’s game–both girls tournament games in South Dakota. I’ll be there for the call of the game and we’ll see if the Defenders can pull a road win out.

One of the higher seeds fell last night in a total of eight games–four women and four men. The upset was a mild one with Sioux Falls going to Dana for a win that was a match up of #9 at #8. Sioux Falls is hot now–winners over Dakota Wesleyan and now Dana. They go to Morningside on Thursday night.

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Received an e mail from Jesse Veenstra who is a former student manager for the men’s basketball team. Out in the working world now but he still keeps track of the Defenders. Wondered about the “extra” ranking that is in place for NAIA Division II basketball. For those who follow NAIA basketball you know how important the rankings are. Teams are slotted for at-large berths to the national tournament based on their ranking. A team that is #4 that doesn’t qualify through their conference automatic berths is slotted higher than a team at #6 in the same situation.

Anyhow, the final ranking used to come out right before the conference tournaments and you could track the available berths. Not the case this year. The final ranking will come out March 4. That’s the day after the conference tournaments are completed. So, that ranking will take into account the conference tournament games as well.

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Softball and baseball games are getting juggled with teams trying to get competitions in before the snow and rain tomorrow and Friday. Softball is playing Peru State today instead of Friday and the baseball team goes to Manhattan Christian on Thursday and Friday instead of Friday and Saturday. Gotta stay flexible with the “spring” sports…….ok late winter sports.

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Bad news for the track and field team. Hurdler Laurel Ochsner was injured in a practice mishap a week ago. Qualified for the nationals in the hurdles. Season’s over for her as she tore her ACL and has some other knee damage as well.

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Time to get the chains on my tires……sounds like a snowy one tomorrow!

Scenarios

Haven’t written about the scenarios as I had promised, so, here goes. Don’t know if anyone will have the chance to read this before the games. Shoot, I don’t know how many people bother to read this anyhow. But, for you faithful readers, this is what I see.

Men are locked in to the number 7 seed. Can’t move. At 8-9 entering the last day they can’t catch Hastings and Concordia who are both 10-7 and they can’t be passed by anyone. The best Dana can do is to tie them but Dordt holds the tie-breaker on the 7-10 Vikings. Dordt will host Midland Lutheran on Tuesday night. Midland is 6-12 in the league and are done for the regular season. Sioux Falls could fall into a tie with the Warriors with a loss to Dakota Wesleyan, but, they have the head to head on Midland with an 87-80 win in their only matchup this season.

The women? A little muddier.

Dordt is 7-10 and with an upset of Morningside could catch Doane and Sioux Falls if they lose. Doane is meeting Mount Marty and Sioux Falls will face Dakota Wesleyan. Briar Cliff and Dakota Wesleyan could catch Dordt with a Dordt loss and wins by both BC and DW drops Dordt to tenth. In fact there are scenarios where Dordt goes as high as six and as low as ten……too many to list. Here’s how I can state it best. Dordt wins, they have the tiebreaker on any team they are tied with. Dordt loses today they don’t have the tiebreaker on anyone they are tied with. Simple, well, sort of…..just listen and watch the website and we’ll clear it up around 4:00 or so.

The Winds of Change…………….

Calm. For now at least. Dana released the following press release on Wednesday, February 18….

The Dana College Board of Regents met on Friday, February 13 and voted to maintain Dana’s membership in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). The college had previously been exploring the possibility of joining the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC).

On Saturday, January 24, an athletics conference Task Force convened on Dana’s campus to give input and further study the impact the move would have on the college. Representation included alumni, current students, parents of current students, coaches, former coaches, faculty, staff and board members. Their input was presented to the Board of Regents and the decision to remain in the GPAC was determined.

So, that’s that it would seem. Still have York hanging out there looking for a home. We’ll see what the next few months bring.

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Good win for the Dordt women’s basketball team. Showed some heart and aggressiveness in the 17 point win over Briar Cliff. Played shut down defense against Briar Cliff for the win.

Tough loss for the men. Gave up too many points and couldn’t get a couple key shots to drop late in the game.

Scenarios for playoffs tomorrow, er, later today I guess since it’s after midnight…………….

ESPN

Dordt fans who managed to stay up till the end of SportsCenter on ESPN this past Saturday, February 14, were treated to a reference to Dordt College. Was told about it on Monday morning when I got to work and was emailed a clip of the program later in the day.

Near as I can tell Scott Van Pelt and John Anderson were the co-anchors. Keep in mind the clip was shot by a cell phone camera taking a picture of a tv screen. They close by saying “One more score from the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Dordt College 56. Concordia Nebraska 54. Go Defenders!”

Now the question I’ve been asked is how did this come about? No, I don’t have ESPN on my mail list for post-game results. Maybe I should. But after a little investigation here’s what I think happened. Keep in mind this is what I think happened. Not what I know happened.

Back during the football season Dordt College was mentioned in an ESPN column called Tuesday Morning Quarterback because of our unique name.

Monday I put out a plea to the Dordt campus for anyone who saw the clip on ESPN. Brady Fopma, Dordt webmaster, got back to me saying he didn’t have the clip, but he did look at a program we subscribe to that showed a query through Google from the ESPN domain for Dordt College on Saturday, February 14. So, the way it looks to me, someone took it upon themselves to look up how Dordt College was doing and reported it on ESPN.

I guess getting those scores and results posted soon after the completion of events paid off.

Finally, if someone happened to tape or tivo SportsCenter Saturday night, please forward the clip to me.

Crazy……………………………

Another Day in the Grinder

I’m wrapping things up after getting back from the last regular season road trip of the basketball season. Went to Seward, Nebraska in what is the last go around for the “Doghouse”. Caught a glimpse of the new facility under construction. Wow….it’s something. The gym is ready to go with bleachers arriving in the next few weeks. They’ll hold graduation in it this spring.

The Doghouse–where I’ve seen dreams die. The Defender men managed to squeak out a win while the women had a tough go of it all day long.

Women surrendered a run after getting up 17-15 and were never really in it the rest of the game, trailing by 18 at halftime 49-31. Did play better in the second half but by then it was too late.

The men earned a hard nosed win over the Bulldogs at 56-54. Got down 32-22 in the first half and then put the clamps on and scored the next 15 points of the game–first and second half combined. Led at one point 49-40 with about 6:30 left and allowed Concordia to tie the game with a nine point run. But you know what? They didn’t fade. Even when Concordia took the lead the Defenders dug in and when they needed a defensive stop they got one with the score tied and the clock winding down. Michael Eekhoff got to the baseline and held his ground and forced a poor decision by the Concordia ballhandler.

:10 left and Dordt calls a timeout. Spread the floor for Eekhoff? Nope, pass the ball in to Logan Kingma at the elbow. Did something similar to this in Des Moines a couple years ago against Grand View. Point guard rubs off him but isn’t open. Kingma goes to a spin move and knocks down as tough a ten footer as you’ll see with :01 left on the clock. After a Concordia timeout Justin Van Kooten knocked a pass away at the other end of the floor to preserve the win. You’d have been proud of the boys if you were there. Road wins like this in the conference against good teams don’t happen that often. Remember them.

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Around the GPAC things tossed and turned. Earlier in the day Briar Cliff beat Dakota WEsleyan in a women’s game to throw Dordt, Dakota Wesleyan and Briar Cliff into a tie at 6-10 with Sioux Falls at 8-8 occupying sixth place. Doane is seventh at 7-9. The fight for sixth, seventh and eighth place is important because those teams host a first round game while the 9-12 teams head on the road. Obviously there are important games left this week, namely a meeting between Dordt and Briar Cliff on Wednesday. I’ll lay out the scenarios as we go along this week.

Also of note on the women’s side Midland Lutheran hung with Mount Marty in Yankton and lost in overtime 78-71. I’ve given up on predicting the outcomes of games in this league.

Speaking of giving up on predicting the outcome of games. I received an email from one of my faithful scoreboard watchers on Saturday (my wife–how’s that for Valentine’s Day). Told me of an upset brewing in OC where Northwestern was locked in a battle with Doane. Yes, Doane. A team that had won their first game of the conference season the prior Wednesday. Well, last thing I heard was they were heading to overtime. Well, that’s that, I thought. Packed up my stuff, headed for the bus and my cell phone went nuts. Calls and texts from people asking if I’d heard the news from Orange City. Nope, hadn’t. Assumed Northwestern won seeing as they were at home. Turns out they didn’t. 86-84 in ot. Combine that with Morningside stealing a game from Dana, much like they did to Dordt by taking their first lead of the second half with :10 left to down the Vikings by a 65-64 margin. Oh, and across town the Briar Cliff Chargers were getting nine three-pointers from Kyle Semprini to be Dakota Wesleyan 79-64. Wesleyan and Morningside are now tied with three losses in the league. Briar Cliff has four losses and Northwestern has five. It will be an interesting final week of the regular season to say the least. Again, scenarios later in the week.

The grinder chewed up a few this weekend!!

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ACHA Hockey Pacific regionals were played this weekend in Sioux Center. Colorado University and the College of the Canyons each earned spots in the nationals in early March.

Hats off to JaredRempel and Jon Van Keulen who did the play by play of the eight games. Received over 200 emails from people across the country who were listening in via a webcast provided by Dordt College. Thanks to Brady Fopma with computer services and Dave Schenk for getting this pipedream off the ground this fall and winter.

By the way, the biggest news of the day was Calvin getting upset in their Regional hockey tournament. So, the Knights will not be returning to the nationals and there will be no rematch, at least this year, of Dordt and Calvin in hockey.
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Indoor track and field hosted their annual meet yesterday. Ran pretty well by all accounts. Highlighted by the 4 x 800 men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the national meet. The men’s quartet ran away from the field and got under the wire by nearly five seconds.

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Found myself out shooting baskets on Sunday afternoon in the 32 degree weather with my sons. I would have preferred staying inside, but how can you turn down a couple boys who didn’t see you much on Saturday.

February 14 is a different kind of day for me and no it’s not because of Valentines Day. Riding home in the dark on Saturday night I had the opportunity to reflect a bit on the last 19 years. You see, I’ve reached a tipping point of sorts. Nineteen years ago my dad passed away in an accident and I can’t help but look at some of the students at Dordt and see myself 19 years ago, when as a 19 year old sophomore I was called out of Political Science class and told there had been an accident and I was brought to the Hawarden Hospital where I was told of the events of the morning.

It amazes me how life can change in the twinkling of an eye. We don’t see the future–we don’t know it and yet we keep on going about the business of living.

In the 19 years I had my dad I learned some important things. The value of hard work. The meaning of honesty and what it means to be grounded with core beliefs that are unshakeable. Though I don’t know if he ever used the words “core beliefs” he knew what they were. He lived them. Something I can only hope my kids can say about me someday. That’s why I can find comfort in question and answer 1 of the Heidleberg Catechism. For those of you who don’t know it go ahead and look it up–it’s in earlier blogs.

Late Saturday when Dave Schenk and I crossed paths in the office–he wrapping up hockey stuff and me basketball we got into a conversation. After I made a comment I said, “When did I become my dad on some of my views?”

Dave replied, “That’s not such a bad thing.”

No. I guess it’s not.

And that my friend, is why you end up outside on a overcast, breezy and chilly day playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with your sons.

The Weekend Revisited

Laptop battery ran out right around Missouri Valley on Saturday night so I didn’t get a chance to write. Got caught up in taking care of some other things today so, here we are at closing time on Monday and I’m finally getting around to it.

Hockey–beat an overmatched Iowa team on Friday and Saturday night by 13-2 and 8-1 scores. Blades are off this weekend as the Vernon Arena plays host to the Pacific Regional. Dordt has a bye to the national tournament because they are the #2 ranked team in the region. More on the bracketing of the national tournament will be released in the coming weeks.

Basketball-women’s game was a street fight. Just a brawl with both teams trying to play physical hard nosed defense and neither team wanted to back down……in the end Dordt got in foul trouble and Hastings pulled away from a 52-51 advantage for eight points in a row and an eventual double digit win of 73-61. Men’s team ran into a buzz saw. Didn’t play the defense necessary for a league game and Hastings was lights out. Radio guy from Hastings leaned over at halftime and said, “You may have just witnessed the best 15 minutes of Hastings men’s basketball ever.” Thanks, thanks a lot. That’s comforting.

Baseball–close losses to Northwestern and Viterbo. Bright season ahead I think as some young players get aclimated to the college game. Softball split with William Penn. Good start for the Defenders in finding a way to win a close game at the UNI-Dome. Both teams are off for a while now–baseball till February 27 and softball till March 6.

Track got a national qualifying time from Laurel Ochsner in the 60 hurdles and the men’s 4 x 800 team just missed the automatic standard.

Out the door I go…………….

Lots of Happenings and Congrats to the Blades

Busy weekend ahead. Actually we’re into it already.

Hockey has their regular season finale tonight. Blades found out this week that they have qualified for the national tournament so they will be one of 16 ACHA Division III schools in the mix March 4-7 at Rochester, New York. Have done some investigating and we are not allowed to broadcast those games on KDCR, but, they will be available via webcast. When I have the address for that I will pass it along to you. Congrats to coach VN and the guys on another succesful season. We’ll see if they can close out the regular season with a pair of wins. The All Seasons Center will then be the site of the Pacific Regionals which Dordt won’t play in February 13 and 14. From there the Blades travel to Kearney, Nebraska for the NCCHA tournament on February 20 and 21. The Blades are scheduled to face Iowa State on Saturday, February 28 in Ames in their final tuneup before heading to New York the following week.
Baseball lost a pair to Viterbo (a school from Lacrosse, Wisconsin) at the Metrodome this morning. Lost 6-5 and 4-2. Don’t know the details but hopefully before my head hits the pillow tonight we’ll have more up on the athletics website. They’ll have the coffee perking tomorrow morning at the dome for doubleheader with conference rival Northwestern. Saw the team in the parking lot yesterday taking fly balls. Yes, you’ve got to get creative when you coach baseball in Iowa.

Track is at Vermillion for a meet tonight and tomorrow hosted by the University of South Dakota. Next week Dordt hosts their annual invite before turning full attention to the GPAC Championships in Lincoln on February 21.

Softball opens their season on Saturday night at the UNI-Dome against William Penn. Those results won’t be in until early Sunday morning.

Basketball-longest road trip of the GPAC season when they hop on the bus in the early morning hours Saturday for a 2:00 and 4:00 date at Hastings. Then, back on the bus and back home in the late night hours.

Finally, took advantage of the Wednesday night off to watch Law and Order. Needless to say, was a bit surprised when Dordt grad Luke Schelhaas’ name flashed across the bottom of the screen as a producer of some sort for the program. Seems he has a significant hand in several episodes this season in the long-running series.
Here’s an article from the USA Today in spring 2008 talking about the baseball madness at the Metrodome…..

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/baseball/2008-03-27-Metrodome_N.htm

Player of the Week and Taking a Hit

Congratulations to Kate Du Mez on earning the first ever women’s Great Plains Athletic Conference basketball player of the week honor for a Dordt College Defender. Du Mez put together the kind of week we’ve come to expect with more than solid numbers against Northwestern and Midland Lutheran. Du Mez was instrumental in Dordt’s upset bid that fell just short against Northwestern and she was solid in the win over Midland Lutheran that was closer than the final 18 point difference indicates.

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Saturday’s games included a much needed blowout win for the men’s team. Dominated the game with Midland Lutheran from start to finish and shut the Warriors down with their defense. Women’s team beat a team that had beaten Hastings in their most recent outing. Pretty youthful team for the Midland Lutheran Warriors–if they keep that core together they’ll continue to improve.

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GPAC has taken a hit in the men’s basketball rankings. Dakota Wesleyan moved up to #12 but everyone else dropped. Wesleyan is up two. Morningside dropped two spots to #17 and Briar Cliff tumbled five spots to #24. Concordia is still hanging around and drawing votes. Northwestern dropped out of sight with a loss to Dana. The teams will continue to beat up on each other…..expect the churning to continue over the next three weeks as the teams jockey for position in the race for at-large position to the national tournament.

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Biggest change on the women’s side happened towards the tail end of the rankings…..more on that in a bit. Morningside is still #1. Northwestern is still #3. Concordia moved up three spots to #8 and Mount Marty moved up five to #15. Hastings continues to hang around at #17. Here’s the change. Sioux Falls went in to the pollsters as the #6 team in the league, displacing Doane who had been receiving lots of votes–actually was 28th or 29th last week. Sioux Falls–one vote.

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A rare Wednesday night off tonight. I’m going home. See how the standings shake out tomorrow…………….