Nebraska Danger set to face Iowa Barnstormers
The Nebraska Danger return to Grand Island for a home game against the Iowa Barnstormers on Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 PM at the Heartland Events Center, with the Danger currently leading the Intense Conference and rival Colorado in second place, at 1-1 on the season.
The Danger are off to their best start in franchise history after starting the season 3-0. Two weeks ago, the Danger traveled to Texas to take on the Wichita Falls Nighthawks and were able to escape with a 36-26 victory. It took a 30 point, second-half rally for the Danger to overcome trailing by two touchdowns going into halftime.
For a second straight week, penalties prevented the Danger from being able to gain momentum to start the game. After committing 11 penalties in the first half, the Danger made halftime adjustments and only were called for two penalties in the second half.
"I really challenged the guys at halftime and then heading into the bye week to make sure they played a clean game," Danger coach Mike Davis said. "They did exactly what they needed to do in the second half for us to get the win and that has been our focus all this week."
Quarterback Jameel Sewell threw for 117 yards and ran for another 73 while Waymon James got the start at running back and picked up 59 yards on 14 carries. The Danger receiving corps was led by Kayne Farquharson with 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Defensive lineman Jervonte Jackson even got in on the scoring with a fumble recovery that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown.
"We definitely have things to work on, but I believe we are on the right track. We have never been undefeated at this point in the season and we want to keep that streak going this week," Davis said. "Iowa can put up a lot of points, especially through the air. Our defense needs to keep on their toes and our offense needs to start fast so we can get the lead early."
Iowa is coming off a short week of practice after playing at Green Bay on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Robbie Nallenweg put up big numbers for the Barnstormers in the 47-46 loss to the Blizzard. Nallenweg threw for 256 yards and seven touchdowns.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm on Friday night at the Heartland Events Center. Doors open at 6:00 pm with pre-game activities beginning at 6:30 pm. It's Black Out Night 10% off select black apparel at the Danger gear store.
Tickets for Friday night are available at area Pump & Pantry stores, the Heartland Events Center Box Office, or via Ticketmaster.
MIAA Preseason Track Poll
The Pittsburg State men have been picked atop the MIAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Poll. The Centrla Missouri women have been picked atop their poll as they come of the 2015 Indoor National Track and Field Championship.
In the men's poll PSU took nine of the first place vote coming in ahead of Central Missouri who earned the other first place vote. MIssouri Southern comes in third overall in the vote by the coaches. Just four points behind MSSU is Nebraska-Kearney who is picked in fourth place with Emporia State picked in the fifth slot.
Picked to finish in a tie for sixth is Lincoln and Fort Hays State as both received 30 points in the poll. Just six points behind that is Northwest Missouri who is picked to finish eight. Coming in two points behind NWMSU is Lindenwood who is picked ninth and just three points behind that is Southwest Baptist picked to finish tenth in the poll.
In women's poll reigning Indoor National Champion UCM got nine first place vote while reigning National Outdoor Champion Lincoln got two first place votes to be picked second. Pittsburg State is picked to finish third just seven points ahead of Missouri Southern who is picked to finish fourth in the vote. Nebraska-Kearney is in the fifth slot just five points ahead of Emporia State who has been slected to finish sixth.
Seventh in the poll is Southwest Baptist, just one point behind Emporia State. Northwest Missouri is picked to finish in eighth just one point ahead of the ninth place Lindenwood. Seven points behind the Lions is Fort hays State who are picked tenth and Central Oklahoma has been picked in the eleventh slot.
The MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship is scheduled for May 1-3, 2015from the Lindenwood Track in St. Charles, Mo.
2015 MIAA Preseason Men's )TF Poll
1. Pittsburg State (9) 81
2. Central Missouri (1) 73
3. Missouri Southern 63
4. Nebraska-Kearney 59
5. Emporia State 49
T6. Lincoln 30
T6. Fort Hays State 30
8. Northwest Missouri 24
9. Lindenwood 22
10. Southwest Baptist 19
2015 MIAA Preseason Women's OTF Coaches Poll
1. Central Missouri (9) 99
2. Lincoln (2) 91
3. Pittsburg State 81
4. Missouri Southern 74
5. Nebraska-Kearney 58
6. Emporia State 53
7. Southwest Baptist 52
8. Northwest Missouri 31
9. Lindenwood 30
10. Fort Hays State 23
11. Central Oklahoma 13
Tennis Has Key Dual Friday Morning
The Nebraska-Kearney men's tennis team is up six spots to 27th in the latest ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) National Division II rankings.
The Lopers are off to a 12-1 (1-0) start, heading into Friday's showdown with 28th-ranked Southwest Baptist (7-2, 1-0). The Bearcats are a longtime MIAA and Division II power.
Individually, sophomore Lucas Garces (Spain) and freshman Joey Richards (Eden Prairie, Minn.) are ranked 14th nationally in doubles. The pair, who finished as ITA national runners up in the fall, are 8-3 to date at No. 1 doubles.
SBU is led by the nation's 36th-ranked singles player in Kristof Kinal. In the Central Region, UNK is the third-ranked team with the 'Cats fourth.
On the women's side, the Lopers (13-2, 3-1) will face SBU and the Lincoln Blue Tigers on Friday. UNK is ranked fifth in the Central with SBU (11-1, 2-1) the top team.
Southwest Baptist has the nation's fourth ranked doubles team in Fanni Varga and Christina Zentai with Varga ranked 20th in singles.
The Lopers counter with the Central's 16th-ranked singles player in Kristin Weems (Arlington, Texas) with Sthefani Rodriguez (Venezuela) and Emily Fink (Elkhorn South H.S.) the region's 5th-ranked pair.
The SBU dual begins at 10:00 a.m. with the match vs. LU slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. Both duals will be held at Harmon Park.
Husker Winning Streak Snapped at 11 Games
The Nebraska baseball team (18-7, 3-0 Big Ten) saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday afternoon at Hawks Field when it dropped its first home game of the season, a 4-3 defeat to the Cal State Fullerton Titans (12-12, 0-0 Big West). The Huskers hit in the bottom of the ninth at home for the first time all year and had the tying run on base, but Yutan, Neb., native Tyler Peitzmeier closed out the game for the Titans with his eighth save of the season.
The Huskers outhit the Titans, 9-8, on the afternoon and lost their second game of the year when outing their opponent. NU's pitching staff racked up 10 strikeouts on the day, but also issued a season-high tying six walks, including three from freshman starter Zack Engelken. The Titans notched five strikeouts, including four from Peitzmeier, and only issued one free pass.
After not allowing a first inning run over their first 11 home games of the year, the Huskers found themselves in a 2-0 deficit after the Titans scored a pair of runs on a two-RBI single by Scott Hurst in the first inning with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Huskers got Engelken off the hook in the second when they tied the game with a pair of runs on two hits and a two-out error by CSF second-baseman Josh Vargas. The Huskers gave back a costly unearned run in the fourth when No. 9 hitter Timmy Richards reached on a fielding error by Jake Placzek and David Olmedo-Barrera followed with a two-run home run over the right-field wall that put the Titans ahead 4-2.
Nebraska was in position to answer in the bottom of the fourth when they had runners on second and third with one out following back-to-back singles by Elijah Dilday and Taylor Fish, but Fullerton starter Miles Chambers got a pop out from Placzek and a fly out from Ryan Boldt to end the threat.
The Huskers put themselves in the same position in the fifth after Blake Headley singled with one out and Ben Miller followed with his third double of the series. Freshman Scott Schreiber stepped in an produced a RBI groundout that cut Fullerton's lead to 4-3. Nebraska mustered just two base runners over the final four innings and was never able to get the tying run in scoring position.
The Huskers continue their 16-game homestand on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. when they welcome the Texas Longhorns to Hawks Field for the first game of a three-game series. Friday's opener with be showed statewide on NET and will be streamed on BTN Plus.
The Nebraska baseball team saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end yesterday when they lost to Cal State Fullerton 4-3 at Hawks Field in Lincoln. It's the first loss of the season for the Huskers at home. Nebraska had the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Yutan, Nebraska native Tyler Peitzmeier closed out the game for the Titans with his eighth save of the season. Nebraska is now 18-7 on the season and will play Texas in a three game series this weekend.
The Nebraska softball team swept a doubleheader from Iowa yesterday, 12-2 and 16-7. The Huskers are now 17-12 on the season, 5-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Nebraska returns home this weekend for a three game series with 12th ranked Minnesota at Bowlin Stadium.
The Nebraska sand volleyball team beat Arizona State 3-2 last night in Tempe, Arizona. The Huskers are now 2-2 on the season and will play Grand Canyon tonight in Phoenix.
The Hastings College baseball team beat Kansas Wesleyan 12-8 yesterday in Salina. Andrew Kuta was the winning pitcher. He threw 1 1/3 innings of relief and gave up one run and two hits. Kuta struck out one and walked none. Four other pitchers saw time on the mound for the Broncos. Donato Santos had three hits and two RBI's. Hastings is now 11-8 on the season and will open the conference season this Saturday against Morningside. First pitch will be at 1:00pm. We'll have the doubleheader on 1230AM KHAS beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45pm.
The Colorado Christian softball team hit six home runs and got two complete games in the circle to sweep a doubleheader from Nebraska-Kearney 14-5 and 11-1 yesterday at Dryden Park. The Lopers are now 7-20 on the season and will face Central Oklahoma tomorrow and Northeastern State on Saturday.
Due to expected bad weather in Missouri this weekend, the UNK baseball team's four game series against the Lincoln Blue Tigers has been moved to Kearney. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1:00pm and another doubleheader on Sunday starting at noon.
Yordano Ventura has been picked to pitch on opening day for the AL champion Kansas City Royals against the Chicago White Sox. The 23-year-old right-hander went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA as a rookie last season and tossed seven scoreless innings to beat San Francisco in Game 6 of the World Series. James Shields, the team's No. 1 starter last year, signed with San Diego in the offseason.
Huskers Earn 12th Straight Bid to NCAA's
The NTCA top-ranked Nebraska bowling team earned the No. 1 overall seed for the 2015 National Collegiate Women's Bowling Championship next month. The championship tournament will be hosted at Tropicana Lanes in St. Louis, Mo., by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the University of Central Missouri. The tournament runs from April 9-11.
Nebraska bowling coach Bill Straub was happy with the selection of NU as the top seed this season, as the Huskers earned their 12th consecutive bid to the NCAA Championship. NU has won four NCAA titles (2004, 2005, 2009, 2013) since bowling became an NCAA sponsored sport in 2004.
"Certainly the team is thrilled to be a part of such a great event," Straub said. "The team did not expect anything different, but they are thrilled to receive the national recognition."
Other NCAA qualifiers include Fairleigh Dickinson, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Central Missouri, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and Wisconsin-Whitewater. Sam Houston State is the defending NCAA champion after topping the Huskers last April.
Competition begins with qualifying rounds on Thursday, April 9, in which each team bowls one five-person regular team game against each of the other seven qualifying teams. Bracket play beginsFriday morning, as teams will be seeded based on Thursday'srecord during team qualifying. Teams will then compete in best-of-seven-games Baker matches in a double-elimination tournament. In the Baker format, each of the five team members, in order, bowls a complete frame until a complete (10-frame) game is bowled. A Baker match tied 3½ games to 3½ games after seven games will be decided by a tiebreaker using the Modified Baker format.
The championship finals will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. (Central)Saturday, April 11. A tape-delayed broadcast of the championship finals will air on ESPN from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, April 12.
Tom Kropp announces retirement after 39thseason with UNK
Loper legend Tom Kropp announced his retirement today, and in typical fashion, did not want any attention.
No news conference, no party, no farewell videos set to music. Just a news release, that his last day as men's basketball co-head coach is June 30.
A Nebraska athletic legend, Kropp recently completed his 39th season with University of Nebraska at Kearney basketball and finishes his head coaching career with a 482-245 record, covering 25 seasons (1990-15).
He has been co-head coach with Kevin Lofton for the past decade after serving as the program's sole head coach from 1997-05. Between the 1990-96 seasons, Kropp was co-head coach with Jerry Hueser.
The Aurora native was an All-American basketball and football player at UNK and, after a professional basketball career, served as a graduate assistant and assistant coach under Hueser for 10 seasons.
Kropp sent this statement:
"At 62 years old, I am one of the older basketball coaches in the profession, and every year I like to re-evaluate my options. My retirement from coaching is a timely decision, because the basketball program is showing strong potential for continued success under the leadership of Kevin Lofton, whom I fully support. In addition, I always wanted to return to teaching full-time toward the end of my career.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to (A.D.) Dr. Plinske and the members in the Athletic Department, as well as the UNK and Kearney communities for their support."
UNK Athletic Director Paul Plinske said he was not surprised by coach Kropp's decision, nor the apparent abruptness of it, saying, "That's Tom."
"Tom Kropp is a legendary player and coach for UNK," said Plinske. "He is an even better person, so accepting his retirement as our head men's basketball coach makes this a bittersweet time in the history of our athletic department. He has served our department with integrity, passion for his job and care for others for nearly 40 years as a player, coach, mentor and leader."
Lofton, on the Loper coaching staff since 1995, will assume head coaching duties, Plinske said. The Arizona native has 156 wins since being elevated to co-head coach prior to the 2005-06 season. This summer, Lofton will name a full-time assistant coach, as well as a graduate assistant coach.
"Tom and Coach Lofton have worked together for 20 years. Kevin has outstanding relationships with our student-athletes, is a passionate recruiter, a great teacher of the game and knows how to inspire our team to attain championship-level performances," said Plinske. "Both Kevin and I know that there is a tremendous part of Coach Kropp in the foundation of this program. We are excited to build off the example Tom was and help this program reach its fullest potential."
Kropp is a tenured faculty member who holds a doctorate in education, and he will teach full-time in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences for the College of Education in fall 2015.
"It's truly been an honor to work beside Coach Kropp for the past 20 years. He's been like a father to me and I've learned so much from him. I know he's had a major impact on the Kearney Community and on the State of Nebraska. He'll be greatly missed on the sidelines," said Lofton. "I want to respect what he's built and continue to put quality kids on the floor. Kids that have good attitudes and that will do the right things on and off the floor. We hope to build on the momentum that we started over the last two years. It was great to see the seats full again and we want the community to embrace our program."
As head coach or co-head coach, Kropp saw 13 of his teams win 20 games with 11 reaching the NCAA Tournament. Winning three RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) regular season titles and two RMAC Tournament titles, he was head coach of the 2003 squad that won a school-record 30 games and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Individually, Kropp coached four All-Americans: Eric Strand, Nick Svehla, Nick Branting and Dusty Jura.
This past season, UNK went 18-10 and reached the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals for a second straight season. The Lopers had two first-team All-MIAA selections in juniors Conner Beranek and Ethan Brozek, with Beranek also earning all-region honors.
The 2014-15 Lopers had just two seniors in guard Davion Pearson and forward Ben Petersen. The next signing period for Division II men's basketball is in April.
"Tom leaves our program on the rise in the MIAA," Plinske said. "I will miss working alongside with him as he transitions off the basketball court and on to a full-time teaching role. He has been a tremendous leader and role model within UNK Athletics. We wish Tom and his family all the best in their future endeavors. Tom, his wife Sonja and daughter Dominique will always be a part of the Loper family."
Notable Kropp Honors
· His 482 coaching wins rank second in school history (519, Jerry Hueser)
· Twenty winning seasons as a head or co-head coach
· Coached all 11 of UNK's teams to reach the NCAA Division II Tournament
· Coached four players that earned a combined seven All-American honors
· Coached the 2004 Division II Player of the Year (Nick Branting)
· Sports Illustrated named him as one of Nebraska's 10 greatest sports celebrities and one of Nebraska's greatest athletes of the 20th Century
· The Omaha World Herald named him as one of Nebraska's 10 greatest athletes
· Became Nebraska's first inductee into the National High School Athletic Hall of Fame
· Grand Marshal of the 2004 Shrine Bowl Parade
· Drafted by the NFL, NBA and ABA (American Basketball Association)
· Played with Chicago and Washington in the NBA; averaged at least 30 points per game in the four season he spent in Belgium
· NAIA All-American in football (1974) and basketball (1975)
· Two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American
· Still holds the school record for points in a single game (51, at Central Missouri, 1974)
· Averaged a double double (20.7 points & 11.2 rebounds) for his career
· One of 15 Lopers to rush for 200 yards in a single game (202, vs. Colorado Mines, 1971)
· Two-time Nebraska State College Athlete of the Year
· Played in two NAIA National Tournaments as a player (1972 and 1975)
· Named the 1971 Nebraska State High School Athlete of the Year while playing for Aurora H.S.