All’s Quiet

What do I do on a night with no athletic events?

Supper is eaten, the dishes are done.  A couple kids are gone to a book fair and another is at open gym.

And I’m sitting in a quiet house.

I fire up the computer and check in with what else is happening in the conference.

I check to see if the Doane-Briar Cliff volleyball match has started in Crete.

Not yet.

I check how the state volleyball tournament is going.  Who has won and who’s done for the season.

After the storm we just got done with the past ten days with a quiet night at home feels a little odd.  Not bad, just out of the ordinary.

Mix in the emotions of seasons ending, others experiencing success and still others starting there is a ton to sort through.

Where to start?

Congratulations to coach Greg Van Dyke and the women’s cross country team.  Qualified for the NAIA National Championship Meet in ten days with a dominating performance last Saturday at the GPAC Championships.  Swept spots 3-8 for a low score of 25 points.  A top-10 finish at the national meet looks like a realistic goal for a team that has used its depth to make it through the season while fighting the normal trials of sickness and injury that go with putting on 30-40 miles of running per week.

The men’s team will send Ryan Tholen and Nathan Jackson to the nationals with both teams finishing in the top-10 at the GPAC meet.  Tholen was ten seconds off the leader’s pace and commented this week on how fast the field seemed and that this year’s Defender team might have been stronger than the team that qualified for the national meet last year.

National meet is Saturday, November 17 at Vancouver, Washington…for those  of you wondering about the geography it’s on the coast at the Washington-Oregon border.

Women’s soccer concluded a difficult season a couple weeks ago.  The story of this season…..injuries early depleted the goal scoring threats and the team and coaching staff was left with trying to find ways to have success. Watching the coaching staff work through the difficulties of the season reminded me of how fragile a successful season is–you need a lot of things to go right along the way.

Men’s soccer had success, finishing fourth and hosting a GPAC tournament match with Morningside.  Of the possible matchups this one did not play into the favor of the Defenders.  Morningside faced Dordt in its final game of the season just a week before and went toe to toe with the Defenders before falling.  This time the game went to Morningside and a good season with ten wins ended too soon by my estimation.  The Mustangs went on to lose to Hastings in the next round.

The volleyball had its season come to a close in the quarterfinal round as well with a loss to Briar Cliff.  The Defenders didn’t have momentum heading into the post-season with three losses the week before.  Dordt resorted to a 6-2 offense with an injury to Kayla Gesink.  Gesink was limited by a wrist injury suffered in a loss to Northwestern on Thursday of next week.  Any coach will tell you the end of the year isn’t when you want to be making significant changes and switch from a 5-1 to a 6-2 set isn’t easy to make in short order.

Now we wait on post-season honors to come in for the aforementioned teams and we’ll have some All-GPAC performers in all three sports.

So what have coach Schenk and Coach Hanson been doing since the season ended? They’ve hit the recruiting trail as there is no real time off in this business and replacement players need to be found to fill in some gaps.

Meanwhile football concludes its season this Saturday against a Northwestern team that is playing for a post-season berth.  Kickoff in Orange City is at 1:00.

Men’s basketball is off and running with four wins, two of them coming in front of energetic crowds at the De Witt last weekend.  The fan support so far has been tremendous.  Jordan Vogel is closing in on 1,000 points and a couple other players have outside shots at reaching the plateau this year if they stay healthy.

Women’s basketball has played two rated teams and another that is receiving votes in the poll.  0-3 to show for it at this point.  Hoping for a pair of wins at a tournament hosted by Moody Bible this weekend.  Departed for Chicago tonight and will stop in Des Moines before heading the rest of the way tomorrow.

Hockey is on the road as well this weekend.  The going has been rough in the early going.  Face Iowa tomorrow and Saturday before hosting a pair next weekend.

Now, I think I’m going to shut things down for the night.


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