Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Just Your Average Guy

Just your average guy. At least that’s what he may have appeared to be to those who didn’t know him. To those who paid attention he was a caring husband, a loving father, and one of those people who simply showed up when he said he would and did what he said he would do.

He served on school boards and church councils. He farmed and worked hard. He served his country in the Korean War and upon his return from overseas  married his sweetheart almost immediately. He attended hundreds if not thousands of athletic events and supported his children and grand children in whatever they did. And this past Monday he passed away.

Got the word Monday night that Dordt baseball coach Jeff Schouten’s dad Pete had died unexpectedly. Now, you have to understand there’s more than a passing connection here. Pete and my dad are about the same age. Jeff and I grew up a few miles apart, Jeff a little to my junior, near Ireton. Any time someone I know from that area dies I pause and this one hit me squarely between the eyes.

This was a man who without fail could be found at almost every athletic event Dordt hosted over the course of the year. The man bundled up on the lawn chair on the outfield side of the third base dugout at Open Space Park when no one else was there—that was him. It’s a position I think he probably took up when Jeff was playing shortstop for the Defenders and a spot he resumed when Jeff became an assistant and eventually the head coach. While I think he enjoyed athletics, I’ve got to believe he would have been in the crowd if Jeff were conducting the orchestra or directing a theater production.

That’s the thing about parents and kids. No matter how old you get, they are still mom and dad and you’re still their child. They still love and support you and that chain continues when you have your own children.

And that’s what I’ll remember–his love and support of his family and those around him and the fact that he was solid. Too often we fall in love with those who have the flash and don’t see the substance. Pete showed up. He was solid. You could count on him.

I’ve got to think that when you get to a certain age you start asking yourself if what you’re doing really matters. Does anyone see what you do and why you do it? Does anyone care? I say this because it’s happened to me recently. I hope it’s reassuring to the Schoutens that I know the answer in Pete’s life was yes, someone did notice. I started this by saying ordinary, average guy. As you can see, I think he was anything but ordinary and average and we have men and women all around us who are like this. We just have to take the time to notice.

Not that the pain is any less today. No, I refuse to romanticize death, and I can say with almost absolute certainty that a day won’t go by where Jeff and Liza won’t miss the man. But at this time of the year when we talk about giving thanks the reality of living and dying really hits home and giving thanks can get tough. But, as Christians, even though we hurt, we can rest in this reality:    that not a hair can fall from my head   without the will of my Father in heaven

So, with that thought I leave you with this, the lyrics to one of the songs that has become a favorite to me and can bring tears to my eyes when I get to the final verse. Have a blessed holiday season.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Highlight reel

Have had several people ask about posting the video highlight of the gamewinner from last week over Dakota Wesleyan.  You can find it here…..

https://www.dordt.edu/athletics/basketball/men/

Thanks to  Michelle Nyhoff and crew of fellow students and webmaster Brady Fopma for getting this done.

I 80

Heading west on I 80.  Pair of wins in the pocket for the women’s and men’s basketball teams.

Women won a 72-66 decision over William Penn in Oskaloosa with Amber Soodsma scoring 23.  She got 12 points in the final ten minutes of play and was tough in the lane for the Defenders.  Kate Du Mez scored 17 and dished nine assists.  Great way to go into the Thanksgiving Break.  Every time Dordt threatened to pull away Penn had an answer.  Bailey Spencer played some great post defense minutes off the bench.

Defender men overcame an 11 point deficit near the end of the first half and scored 15 points in a row at one point in winning 102-92.  Trevor Wolterstrorff scored 24 in the game and had 20 in the second half in non-conference game that sure felt like it had more at stake then just bragging rights.  Brandon Oldenkamp presented a match up problem and had 17 points and nine rebounds.  Logan Kingma had 17 points as well and Dustin Katje torched the Statesmen for 15 points on 6-7 shooting and he had a 3-3 night at the three-point line.  Jordan Vogel also came through with a 10 point, four rebound effort in a reserve role.

Tight quarters with a sometime rowdy crowd….good wins for both teams.  Lots of Central Iowa folks in attendance……good to see some Pella faces from years past.

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Here’s your nugget for the day.  Reading Sports Illustrated this week and saw the side bar on Harry Statham, McKendree College’s men’s basketball coach who just won his 1000th’game.  Well, eagle eyed Corey Westra called to tell me he remembered Dordt facing the Bearcats in a classic in Minneapolis.  Turns out he was right and Dordt wsa not one of the 1000 victims.  In fact, the Defenders are 2-0 against the legendary coach……one win in the natioanal tournament in 1988 and the other the 2000 win in Minneapolis.

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Just passed mile marker 38.  We’re getting there, just slowly……………………

Grab Bag

We grab a lot of things off the shelf today.  Stay with me we’re going to move quickly.

Hat’s off to Michelle Steiger and Brent Van Schepen in running in the mud at the NAIA National Meet.  Steiger had a top-50 performance with a time of  19:20  and 48th place finish in her first National Meet run.  Van Schepen finished nine spots better than his 2008 finish with a time of 26:41 and 123rd place.  Talked with coach Van Dyke late Saturday night on the way home from the basketball games.  Commented on the fact that both runners ran as well as they could on a sloppy, muddy track.  That’s all you can ask for coach.  Well done by Michelle and Brent, who, as a part of a sport that doesn’t always get the notice of other sports, toiled and trained for a very succesful season.  Track season for many cross country runners isn’t that far away.  Hoping Brent can enjoy a Culver’s frozen custard that he’s been depriving himself of.  The training and discipline of distance runners is something I can hardly fathom!

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Tight game for the men’s basketball team yesterday.  Found a way to hold off #4 Dakota Wesleyan in a game where neither team led by more than six.  13 ties.  A great  college basketball game with the winner coming on a launch by Logan Kingma from about 30 feet that banked in.  Here’s the odd stat of the game: the two teams went from the 3:44 mark of the game to the :34 mark without scoring.

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Women’s team lost a close one and it hurt.  Had chances to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds and couldn’t get the shots to drop.  Loss overshadowed some milestones we’ll talk about in a moment.

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Hockey team went 1-2 over the weekend, but, it sounds like the team turned a corner of sorts midway through the game with Grand Valley State on Friday.  After getting beaten soundly by Wyoming on Thursday the Blades were down 3-0 to Grand Valley.  Found a way to fight back and make a game of it in the second and third periods in the loss  and carried that fighting spirit through in beating Colorado on Saturday.

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Kate Du Mez is the latest member of the 1000 point club in women’s basketball.  Du Mez scored 15 points in the loss to Dakota Wesleyan.  The competitor in Kate would trade points for a win but that’s not how it works.  Du Mez has 51 points this season, 310 last year, 337 as a sophomore and 309 points as a freshman.  All totaled it adds up to 1007 points.  Keep in mind she’s done that without the benefit of the pre-season because of her involvement in soccer.  She’s the first woman to get 1000 points in basketball at Dordt since Serena Van Beek had 1280 points from 1998-2002.  Kate stands 10th all-time at the moment.

McKinzie Schmidt joins even more elite company as she went over 700 career rebounds with 706 now.  The senior from Gordon, Nebraska has 65 rebounds this year, 248 last year, 238 as a sophomore and 155 as a freshman.  Lisa Wubben’s total of 708 is easily in reach and Faye Woudstra grabbed 727 in her career.  At number two all time is Anita Tinklenberg with 809 and Lisa Roos is on top of the heap with 918.  Schmidt also has 783 career points in three plus years that have an example in consistency.

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National tournament for soccer…..Midland and Dakota Wesleyan women lost as did Midland’s men.  Hastings squeaked out a 2-1 win on the men’s side to advance.

Volleyball had Doane advance to the national tournament final site with a 3-1 win over Black Hills State.

Sioux Falls hammered Minot State in football while I was surprised to see Morningside win as easly as they did over Missouri Valley.  Hastings let one slip away after leading 34-6.

Wild time of the year.

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Time to get mentally prepared for a mid-week road trip to Osky………..

Conference opener

The conference basketball openers are just around the corner, this Saturday in fact.  Both teams were in action this past Tuesday with the men traveling to Marshall, Minnesota to face the NCAA Division II Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs.  Knew going in that this was going to be tall task, Southwest had played in the Elite Eight last season with a team that caught lightning in a bottle with a very balanced squad last year while building a 28-7 record.  Defenders played tight with the hosts for about ten minutes and then Southwest went on a roll to put the game out of reach by halftime.  Defenders were never able to make a serious charge at the talented bunch and took the 120 mile trip back south with their first loss of the season.   Trevor Wolterstorff had 16 points on a night where Dordt struggled to shoot the ball well as a team.

Meanwhile, back in Sioux Center, the Defender women were putting a stop to a four game losing streak with a 91-70 win over Dakota State that wasn’t that close.  Defenders had  85 points with about six minutes left when they called off the dogs.  Amber Soodsma lit it up for 24 points and six three-pointers, one shy of the Dordt single game women’s record held by Serena Van Beek.  From what I was told Dakota State tried to pressure a little bit and Dordt put the foot on the gas and never let up, getting lots of open shots and making the most of them.

Hoping to see some milestones this weekend.  Kate Du Mez is poised to score her 1000th career point and has 992 at this point I believe (doing this from home and I don’t have all the stats in front of me).  McKinzie Schmidt is very close to joining the 700 rebound club which would put her in pretty elite company as the 5th player to get to that point.  We’ll see if it’s a historic weekend or not.

The opponent this weekend will be tough on both fronts.  The Wesleyan women and dordt have finished near each other in the final standingss the last several years.  If the Defenders want to make a move out of that pack this is the kind of game you need to win at home.  On the men’s side it’s the team that was picked first in the pre-season poll against the team that was picked fourth.  Looks like a great early season match up….hard to believe it’s time to get geared up for basketball conference play already.

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NAIA playoffs start this weekend for women’s and men’s soccer, football and volleyball. Hastings men’s soccer is the only soccer team to draw a first round game at home on Saturday.  Volleyball has Northwestern and Morningside already in the field of 24 at Sioux City in  a week and a half.  Doane hosts Black Hills State Saturday afternoon with the winner going to Sioux City.  Football has Morningside and Sioux Falls at home and Hastings is on the road to Kansas.

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Greg Van Dyke, Michelle Steiger and Brent Van Schepen are in Washington preparing for the NAIA National Meet on Saturday.  Keep in mind the time change between here and there as results will probably be available late Saturday afternoon.

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Tought night for the Blades hockey team tonight.  Down 9-3 at last check.  Hopefully better days ahead over the next two days.

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Football coaches have hit the road for recruiting trips before Thanksgiving rolls around.

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A little of everything tonight.

More Cross Country

Another feature, this one written by Dordt College student Ashlee Stallinga about Michelle Steiger’s upcoming race at nationals this Saturday.  For your reading pleasure on this Wednesday night…………………

When she runs the cross country National Championship meet on Nov. 21, Michelle Steiger will feel right at home.

Steiger, a sophomore at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, will be running the race in Vancouver, Wash., just a few hours from Lynden, her hometown.

Steiger finished in the top ten in every race this season; she won the Dordt College and Buena Vista (Storm Lake) Invitationals; and she ran a season-best 18:38 (over a 5,000 meter course) at Briar Cliff in Sioux City, Iowa.

“Michelle has had an outstanding season,” said Coach Greg Van Dyke. “She’s one of the most focused runners I’ve ever coached, and her hard work and dedication have paid off.”

This is Steiger’s first trip to the National cross country meet.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “It will be nice to have the whole family there.”

Steiger’s parents, Pete and Jennifer, will be making the drive down to Vancouver, along with her three siblings and two of her grandparents.

“We can’t wait to see Michelle race – and right in our own state,” Jennifer Steiger said.

Steiger qualified for Nationals with a time of 18:47 at the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championship meet in Fremont, Neb., on Nov. 7.

She was the only qualifier from Dordt’s women’s team; the top finisher from the men’s team, Brent Van Schepen, also qualified.

The first person she called after the race was her father.

“My dad been a second coach to me,” Steiger said. “He’s a motivator. I always look for him during my races, because I know he’ll have something useful to say.”

Pete Steiger was also a cross-country runner when he attended Dordt, and part of a National-qualifying team.

“I grew up watching him run,” Steiger said. “We run together, talking about anything and everything.”

Now that she attends college over 1600 miles away from her hometown, her father’s influence has taken on a different form.

“I call him every Friday night for my pre-race talk,” she said. “After the meet on Saturday he’s the first person I call, and we analyze the race.”

Steiger and her father will have plenty of time to analyze after the National race; she will be staying home until after the Thanksgiving weekend.

“This might be the only opportunity we have to see her run in this kind of race,” said Pete Steiger. “And having her home for Thanksgiving is an added bonus.”

As she prepares to run in the National meet, Michelle enjoys the accomplishment and keeps her season in perspective.

“Mostly, I’m just excited about the opportunity. I know I won’t place high; I just want to see what I can do,” she said. “Overall, I can’t wait to go home, compete, have fun, and then spend extra time with my family.”

Steiger, Van Schepen, and their coaches leave for Washington on Nov. 18; on the night of Nov. 20, they will attend the Nike-sponsored “Banquet of Champions,” at which New York marathon-winner Alberto Salazar is the speaker.

Steiger’s race will be at 11:45 the following morning.

Brent Van Schepen featured…..

Here’s an article that appeared in the Pipestone County Star today about Brent Van Schepen, a cross country runner for Dordt College who will be running in his final race this weekend……
Answering the call: Southwest Christian graduate Brent Van Schepen serving dual purpose at Dordt College
By Kevin Kyle (November 17, 2009)
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Many high school student/athletes are presented with a choice of colleges based upon their athletic prowess. They make decisions as to where they’ll attend college on factors such as enrollment, programs offered and coaches, but usually choose the college or university that will help further their athletic careers.
Edgerton’s Brent Van Schepen, a Dordt College senior, is an exception to that norm.
“The choice to go to Dordt really had nothing to do with the track and field program or the cross country program,” Van Schepen said Thursday morning. “I kind of felt God calling me to some job in the Ministry, and I thought Dordt would provide me with a good theological education.”
A well recognized cross country runner and track and field athlete at Southwest Christian in Edgerton, Van Schepen easily could have accepted offers to attend NCAA Division I schools following his career at SWC, but he saw his path as one that put his Christian education first and his athletic endeavors second.
“Sometimes, I think that our culture can put too much emphasis on sports,” Van Schepen, the son of Marlin and Karen Van Schepen of Edgerton said. “I believe that God created us as physical bodies, and he wants us to use them to enjoy things, such as work or recreation activities like sports. It’s hard to find the balance between doing a sport in college and not having it take up so much time that you neglect other things in life. It’s kind of a struggle, sometimes. I think if I focused solely on being a good athlete, I could have been much better, but I don’t think that’s necessarily what we’re called to do in life. I think there are other things that are more important than that. That’s really the aspect I love about athletics at Dordt, compared to a Division I program, where if you’re in a sport, that’s your life.”
Of course, Van Schepen’s focus will likely lean toward athletics this weekend, as he competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national cross country meet in Vancouver, Wash. Van Schepen, who began competing as a harrier for Dordt as a junior, will be making his second straight trip to the nationals following his 15th-place finish at the Great Plains Athletic Conference championships Nov. 7 in Fremont, Neb. – one of many accomplishments he’s achieved while attending the Sioux Center, Iowa institution.
“Brent has earned many honors since joining the team,” Dordt College head cross country coach Greg Van Dyke said. “Brent has had many top 10 finishes and a few individual titles (as a Defender), but the two that stand out to me are earning NAIA All-American Academic honors twice and running at the NAIA national meet twice. Brent also earned All-Conference honors this year, something that is very tough in the GPAC. Another big accomplishment Brent had this year was breaking the 26-minute barrier by running (8,000 meters) in 25:59.72 at the GPAC championships.”
The time Van Schepen posted at the GPAC meet was a personal best and helped him qualify for the nationals individually, but with his unselfish nature, he would gladly trade in the opportunity to compete in the meet as a team.
“I would have liked to compete as a team this year, but we didn’t get there,” Van Schepen said. “We had several team members come down with the H1N1 virus before the conference meet and missed out on qualifying as a group.”
Van Schepen is well versed in what it takes to excel in athletics both as an individual and with a team. He was a member of the Eagle soccer, basketball, cross country and track and field teams at SWC, earning all-conference honors for basketball and cross country his senior season as well as garnering an all-section selection as a harrier. In track and field, Van Schepen and his teammates qualified for the Minnesota state meet in the 4×400-meter relay as a junior and the 4×800-meter relay event as a senior. Van Schepen placed sixth individually in the 800 meters in 2005 and fourth in the event in 2006. And not to focus too much on the athletic side of life, Van Schepen balanced his senior year earning Academic All-State honors.
Not wanting to overexert himself during his freshman year at Dordt, Van Schepen opted to forego cross country and focus his energy on his studies in theology and prepare for the arduous spring track and field schedule.
“I just ran track my freshman and sophomore years,” Van Schepen explained. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to make that transition to college cross country because when you get to college, you’re running year round. You have summer cross-country training and the fall season. As soon as that’s over, the indoor track season starts, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to handle all of that. So I just did track at first two years.”
In those first two years, Van Schepen excelled with the track and field team and, as a sophomore, helped the Defender 4×800-meter relay team qualify for the NAIA nationals.
Following his sophomore season, Van Schepen was approached by Van Dyke and was coaxed into joining the cross country program.
“Brent had an outstanding cross country career in high school,” Van Dyke said. “However, Brent didn’t run cross country his first two years in college because he felt he needed a break from his year round athletic schedule. I think he enjoyed the break, but he also missed it a lot. I never stopped recruiting him for cross country, and I was excited when he decided to join the team. A lot of the friends he made in track were also on the cross country team, so I know that made a big difference, as well.”
Despite having more activities on his schedule, Van Schepen continued to impress. As a junior, he qualified for the national cross country meet and followed that performance by helping the Defenders finish 6th nationally in the 4×800-meter relay during the indoor season and place fourth in the nation in the same event outdoors. Not only did Van Schepen’s physical preparation play an important role in his success, but mental preparation was also a factor.
“When I prepare for a meet, I do all of the regular things, eat right, warm up and stretch well, and just having the right mindset about why I’m doing what I’m doing,” He said. “The reformed tradition that Dordt stands for is that we can glorify God in all things in life. It’s not just going to church, but it’s doing everyday activities. So, I try to think about how I can glorify God by running, and that’s kind of tough to think about. I can either glorify God or glorify myself. So I try to tell myself I’m not doing this because I’m so great. Anything I can do is a gift from God, and he’s given me this ability. If I win a race or if I run my fastest time, I try to give that glory back to God rather than focus it on myself. That’s the mindset I have before and after each race, and try to keep that perspective on it.”
That mindset has helped Van Schepen keep everything in tune, and Van Dyke sees him as an individual that young people will look up to and try to emulate.
“If I had to think of two words to explain Brent, I would say Christian Character,” Van Dyke said. “It is evident that everything Brent does is for his Lord and Savior. I have really enjoyed coaching Brent for the past four years in track and field and for two years in cross country. Brent is the type of individual that you hope your kids grow up to be someday.”
With such high praise, it’s not a fluke that Dordt regularly recruits student/athletes from Southwest Christian. For many years, there has been a steady flow of student/athletes traveling from Edgerton to Sioux Center.
“I think that Dordt is blessed to have so many athletes from Southwest on their athletic teams,” Van Dyke said. “The student/athletes from Southwest contribute not only on the playing field, but also in the Dordt community. The Southwest/Dordt pipeline is working out well! I know as coaches, we definitely want to continue to work with Southwest and their students, as they play a vital role on our campus.”
Van Schepen’s brother, Tyler, joined the Dordt community this fall, but is still deciding whether an athletic career with the Defenders is in his plans. However, another gifted athlete, Nicolas Pfeifle, is slated to participate in track and field this winter and spring.
“Nic will be a great addition to the team,” Van Schepen said. “He’s a Minnesota state champion, and he’ll give our relay teams a boost as well as earning some points for the team in individual events.”
Last year, individuality took more of a back seat in Van Schepen’s life as he wed high school sweetheart Rebecca Schelhaas. Both will graduate this spring, but have yet to decide what path to follow.
“I’ll finish up my degree in theology, and Rebecca will have her degree in education, but we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do after graduation,’ Van Schepen said. “We’re looking at different jobs, some kind of mission work probably, but we’ll have to see what opens up.”
Whatever the future holds for Van Schepen, there’s no doubt he will quickly rise to the top and become a leader in his chosen field. He’s been a leader academically, earning NAIA Scholar Athlete status the last two years, and athletically in high school and college.
“I believe that Brent leads best by the Christian example that he displays in his life every day,” Van Dyke said. “You never have to wonder if he is giving his all.”

It’s Official

No berth in the volleyball national tournament nor the women’s soccer tournament for the Dordt teams.  Kind of thought this is how it would play out, but, I try to hold off on definitive yes’s or no’s until it’s official–I’ve seen too many funny things happen on the last weekend of the year.

Thoughts on the volleyball finish….Played Northwestern on Wednesday night in Orange City.  Took a set off the Raiders and were poised to go up 2-1 in the match but couldn’t close the deal in set three, losing 29-27 after serving for the set on a couple different occasions.  Played as hard as I’ve seen the Defenders play this season and forced Northwestern to play out of system on several occasions–something that is a real key against this NW team if you want to have any success.

Dorinda Hibma was lights out at libero as she was most of the season and will finish in the top-ten in digs per set in the country. In my opinion she should be considered for first team all-conference honors and all american accolades.  Kendra Potgeter was solid and adjusted as the season went along to being the go to option for the Defenders.  Life is different when everyone knows you’re the top option.  Strong freshman class including Brittany Landegent and Jana Van Zanten will have to keep getting stronger, and I think they will.

Playing their last matches for the Defenders were Betsy Van’t Hul and Cassie Huizenga.  Van’t Hul sometimes got overlooked because she didn’t have the big numbers, but, she did a lot of things well and filled in as a utililty player, kind of a jack of all trades type.  Huizenga set at the junior varsity level for a couple seasons, bided her time and then slid into the setter spot the last two seasons and averaged over five assists per match.

National Tournament at-large qualifiers only went as deep as #15 nationally with Point Loma grabbing the last spot.  Six California schools, along with Bellevue, hogged the at-larges in a year where the Golden State Athletic Conference featured eight teams in the top-25 for much of the season.  Doane and Northwestern got the autos out of the GPAC and Morningside was awarded the host berth.

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The women’s soccer team had their season end on Tuesday afternoon in a double overtime loss to Midland Lutheran on the road.  That loss prevented Dordt from qualifying for the national tournament for the second straight season.  Tough way to have the season end.  Imagine the curtain coming down on the stage at a play in mid-sentence.  That’s the incomplete feeling I imagine having after a loss in sudden death.

Marks the end of the careers of Lindsay Baker, Kristi Ouwinga, Liz Brand  and Kate Du Mez.  Baker was second on the team in scoring this past season with nine goals while Ouwinga was the back bone of a defense that allowed just two goals in every three games played.  Brand saw action in 13 games and was a valuable member of the team in terms of helping teammates get ready for upcoming games.    Du Mez, well, she’ll probably deserve a column of her own when her basketball career is done.  Suffice it to say, at this point, that I believe she is a once in a decade type soccer player. She helped the Defender soccer team to 52 wins over the past four seasons, 34 of them in the last two seasons and is the second leading scorer in Dordt history.

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Last game of the football season on Saturday.  Defenders lost to Dakota Wesleyan 48-14 after having the game tied at half 14-14.  Defense blitzed repeatedly in the first half and DWU didn’t pick it up well.  Second half that changed and the Tigers got their offense going. Josh Van Kempen had a long run in the first half and had over 90 yards of rushing offense.  Now it’s time for the Defenders to hit the recruiting trail and prepare for 2010–year three of the building process.  Roller coaster ride for much of the season with highs and lows sometimes experienced within the same game.

Sioux Falls, Morningside and Hastings all qualify for the 16-team NAIA playoffs beginning next week.

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That’s all for now.  More on basketball, hockey and cross country in the coming week.

Run It Down

OK.  Here’s the weekend in a nutshell.  Women’s soccer had the weekend off.  Cross country qualified two runners, one man and one woman for the national meet in two weeks.  Football lost to the #1 team in the country.  Volleyball is still alive in the post-season GPAC playoffs.  Men’s basketball went 2-0 and women’s basketball went 1-1.  Hockey went 1-1.

That was the Reader’s Digest version.  Here’s the novel, or short story version.

Women’s soccer had practice on Saturday in preparing for their game on Tuesday against Midland Lutheran in Fremont, Nebraska in the GPAC semifinals.  A win by the Defenders coupled with a win by Dakota Wesleyan and the Defenders qualify for the post-season national tournament first round game.  A win by the Defenders and an upset by Hastings over Dakota Wesleyan allows Dordt to host the GPAC Championship on Saturday, November 14, where they’d need a win to qualify for the national tournament.  A loss on Tuesday, in all likelihood, ends the season for Dordt.

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Cross country qualified Brent Van Schepen for the national meet with his 15th place finish at the GPAC meet in a time of 25:59.  Michelle Steiger continued her fine season with here seventh top-10 finish in a row, taking eighth at the GPAC meet in Fremont, Nebraska with a time of 18:47.  For Van Schepen it’s the second year in a row he heads off to nationals while Steiger will be at the carnival for the first time.  The national meet is run at Vancouver, Washington.

The cross country meet also had its share of heartbreak for the Defenders with illness hitting some key competitors this past week.  David Christensen gave it a go, but from reports I’m hearing, he just didn’t have the gas in the tank to finish strong.  The mind and heart was there, the body disagreed.  Merissa Harkema, a freshman who had a solid season and probably would have had a shot at qualifying as well for the national meet, had to drop out after about 3200 meters in the 5000 meter race.  Examples of how fragile a successful season can be.

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Football traveled to Sioux Falls to face the #1 ranked Sioux Falls Cougars and lost a 58-0 decision.  An early fumble and a big play by the Cougars on offense and they were up 14-0. From what I was told the guys hung in and played hard, just overmatched by a team that is the class of the conference and nation.  Time to focus on the final game of the season with Dakota Wesleyan this Saturday.

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Volleyball was a 3-1 winner over Hastings on Saturday night.  The Defenders trailed late in sets one and two, winning set one 26-24 after trailing 24-21.  Dordt then won set two 28-26 after trailing 24-22.  Those kind of finishes are unheard of, and then to pull it off twice, well then you start to think it might just be your night.  Set three was all Hastings, but Dordt had two in the bank and jumped out to an early lead in set four.  The Broncos cut the difference to 15-12 near the midpoint and then imploded. Three hitting errors, a service error and a passing error cooked up a 20-12 lead for Dordt and they went on two win with Kendra Potgeter smoking three kills in the last four points for the win.  The junior had a team high 14 kills and Dorinda Hibma got to 35 digs in the win.  Next up?  Northwestern on Wednesday night at OC. The other semi has Doane facing Morningside in Sioux City.

Took a look at the at-large situation for the Defenders if they don’t get an automatic berth out of the playoffs—not promising.  Eight Golden State Athletic teams are hogging spots in front of them while two teams each out of the Frontier, Wolverine  Hoosier and Cascade conferences are taking up room.  We’ll see what the rankings on Tuesday look like before I start to map things out.

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Women’s basketball was 1-1 this weekend.  Dramatic 51-50 win in the Valley City State contest on Friday night.  Trailed 48-36 but ran off nine points in a row and then got an in the lane jumper from Amber Soodsma to take the lead at 51-50.  Julia DeKoekkoek got a steal on the inbounds play at mid-court after a Viking timeout and sealed the win.  Soodsma–16 points and eight rebounds.  McKinzie Schmidt a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Played a very good Jamestown team on Saturday and were right with the hosts until the mid point of the second half when the Jimmies blew a three point lead up to nine.  Playing on tired legs the Defenders just didn’t have a run in them and lost by a 65-52 margin.  Soodsma–21 points.  Jamestown, by the way, #6 in the country and will probably move up in the next poll.

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Men’s basketball got a pair of wins, outscoring Valley City State 94-87 in the Friday night game with Shawn Keizer erupting for 28 points including 4-4 on three’s.  Got out to a 23-4 lead in the opening minutes and then fought the Vikings off as they charged back to tie it with back to back three’s in the middle of the second half.  Showed some grit in maintaining the lead and got to the free throw line a lot, making most of them.

Day two, more of a grinder and what we can expect in the conference season.  68-65 win with Trevor Wolterstorff making two free throws for the margin of victory which held up after Jamestown had a shot to tie it at the end.  Brandon Oldenkamp went for 19 in the win and had a team high eight rebounds.  The boys also got 13 points from Michael Eekhoff and 17 from Wolterstorff.  Logan Kingma was in foul trouble most of the night and Jordan Vogel played about 22 minutes in a reserve role.  Two wins in North Dakota, that’s like getting two wins in the Black Hills.

Next up for the Defender teams a home doubleheader starting at 5:30 with Grand View.

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Hockey was able to get a pair of games in after having the previous weekends games whited out with Northern Colorado unable to leave the state with snow problems.  Got a win over Mesa State 7-3 with Nate Woudstra returning to play with a hat trick and an assist.  One night later the Blades faced the Air Force and lost 8-5.  Jordan Janz had two goals and three assists in the loss.  Blades return home to face Creighton on Friday and then travel to Omaha for a Saturday date with the Jays.

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Lots of miles this past week.  Thanks to John Slegers for covering the football game for KDCR and Alan Groenendyk for pulling a few extra hours on Saturday.  Thanks to my scoreboard watchers at home (wife and kids) who let me know how the basketball games were going when my internet connection started flaking out in the heart of Nebraska.  What  a long strange trip it was this weekend! Hope you enjoyed it.  Now, on to next week.

The Floodgates Opened

and five goals poured in.  Scoreless soccer for 55 minutes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference quarterfinal round of the playoffs turned into five goals scored between Dordt and Doane in the matter of ten minutes.  When the flurry, or should I say blizzard,  was done the Defenders had a 4-1 win and advanced to the semis with Midland Lutheran on Tuesday in Fremont, Nebraska.  Kate Du Mez scored a goal and moved into a tie with Nicki De Blaey for second all-time in the category with 46.  Lindsay Baker banged two in the net.

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Here’s an article from the Visalia, California newspaper that appeared in today’s issue:

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Now, off to North Dakota tomorrow.