Monday, September 22, 2008

Above .500!

Congrats to the Tiger football team for its 41-10 win at Dana on Saturday. I'm sure you know this fact by now, but this is the first time a DWU team has been over .500 (2-1) in the GPAC since the league was formed in 2000. It's another step in the right direction for Brad Pole's program, and there are a lot of positives the Tigers can take away from Saturday's victory as they prepare for a huge home game Saturday against Hastings College.

For the nuts and bolts of Saturday's win, click here for my release and here for Leah Rado's game story for The Daily Republic.

The dominance of the running game and the offensive line was a great subplot from the win. Now, in a pair of victories over Nebraska Wesleyan and Dana, DWU has proven it can win with the pass (291 yards vs. NWU) and the run (264 yards vs. Dana), and if it can put it all together, the Tigers will be tough for anyone to stop from here on out. The addition of Justin Guzman (107 yards on 15 carries) was big for the DWU running game, and the trio of Guzman, Boogie Blossom (102 yards and a score on 15 carries) and Jim Williams (43 yards and two TDs) gives the Tigers a deep and versatile running attack.

At the same time, plenty of praise needs to be heaped on the offensive line. Starters James Hansen, Zach Zephier, Dennis McDaniel, Cody Bier and Kirk Byrd and a few key backups did a great job run blocking one week after a spectacular pass-blocking performance. I'm sure the guys up front are happy about springing a pair of 100-yard rushers, especially in the fashion that it happened. DWU flat-out wore down Dana's defense and did a good job of putting the game far out of reach with its dominant running performance in the second half.

The defense also continues to show improvement and a flair for big plays. A week ago, Eric Adolph's 40-yard interception return for a TD put away the Prairie Wolves, and Saturday it was the defense that got the scoring started. Daniel Wysong scooped up a fumble, then during the return he flipped the ball back to Ryan Deibert who took it the rest of the way for an early Wesleyan lead. The Tigers did a good job of making life difficult for four-year starting QB Marcus Sladek and company, and for the third-straight game DWU didn't allow its opponent to rush for 100 yards as a team. In two games, the Tigers have allowed just two touchdowns and a field goal, and one of the touchdowns was aided by two 15-yard penalties and the other came in the final minute of Saturday's blowout. If the Tigers can keep holding teams to 7-10 points, the wins should keep coming.

Saturday's game against Hastings will be a huge test for the Tigers, and it's exciting to have such a big game on our home field. But we'll worry about looking ahead later in the week. For now, it's time to just enjoy being 2-1 and headed in the right direction.

Super Saturday

The footbal team wasn't the only Tiger team to earn a win Saturday. DWU volleyball got its first home win in a nonconference sweep of overmatched Presentation. Things were sort of sloppy in the first game (at the scorer's table as well as on the court), but it was fun to see the Tigers play really well in games two and three to win convincingly (25-14 and 25-11) to put away the Saints. Maria Wieneke had a great hitting performance -- it seemed like anytime she had a chance for a kill, she put it down. Also, DWU was able to use its bench and a lot of girls contributed to the win. Click here to read the recap.

Both soccer teams also played well Saturday. The men won a heated game against Midland Lutheran, 4-1, and one particular stretch in the second half stood out. Jordan Werner made a great diving save on a Warriors' penalty kick, and the Tiger defense survived another strong MLC rush in which it looked certain the Warriors would pull within 2-1. Instead, DWU kept them off the board, and followed with a goal from Matt Dutt just a few minutes later to really swing the momentum. Midland Lutheran eventually did score, but DWU answered right back again for a nice finishing touch to a solid home win. Read the recap here.

The women's team also played well in a 3-1 loss. DWU held a distinct advantage in most of the statistical categories, but the bounces didn't go their way. It's probably frustrating for the young Tigers to play so well and still come up short on the scoreboard, but they should take solace in the fact that they're clearly moving in the right direction, and with experience and improvement, those bounces will start going their way and the wins will start to come. It's all part of growing as a program. The recap from Saturday's game is here.

This week

It's actually kind of a light week for DWU sports in Mitchell. Men's golf is on the road today and tomorrow, volleyball travels to Morningside Wednesday, women's golf is at Hastings Thursday and volleyball is at York Friday. The only home events for the week are football and soccer on Saturday, and the cross country team returns to action Saturday at Dakota State.

There's also a pretty big baseball series going on at the Metrodome this week in case you haven't heard. I'll be glued to FSN Tuesday-Thursday while monitoring the Tigers on the road.


If you have a question about Tiger athletics or an idea for me to address in the blog, either write it in the "comments" section, or send me an e-mail at I'd be glad to answer or address any items that reach my inbox.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday night update

Just wanted to check in with two big items before a busy day on Saturday.

I didn't want you to think I was forgetting to preview this weekend's football game at Dana, but I was working on a new feature for the football Web site, so I wanted to wait until that was up and running before I plugged it.

Each week I put together a DWU Football Gameday preview for the media to use in preparation for each game, and I wanted to make those available to everyone on the Web site. Our Web guru, Dave VerSteeg, has put a new graphic on the Tiger Football home page, and if you click on it, it will bring up the most recent Gameday preview. Click here to see the new feature. The document includes a look ahead at Saturday's game, complete two-deep rosters for each team, complete DWU stats and both team and individual stat comparisons with the opponent, news and notes, GPAC schedules, standings and results, and a look at the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll (which notably features the Tigers this week under "Also Receiving Votes").

Also, Dave will be adding a link for each preview to the schedule page (click here) so you can go back and look at all of them at any point during the season.

So for my take on tomorrow's big game at Dana, check out the new Gameday preview feature on our site, or click here to read my official release on the game. I really don't have any additional analysis other than what's in those two pieces, other than the Tigers have to approach this game with the same gusto as their home opener a week ago. Dana is coming off a 70-0 thrashing from Sioux Falls, so if DWU can get them down early, they might go in the tank again. This will be a good test for the Tiger secondary. Dana's QB, four-year starter Marcus Sladek, is one of the GPAC's most experienced signal callers, so DWU will need to bring some heat and blanket the Vikings' wideouts. Also, if Tiger junior QB Jon Doom (three-year starter) outplays Sladek, it will really tip the scales in DWU's favor. Look for the Tigers to also try to establish the run more than they have in either game thus far, largely due to the fact that Dana gave up over 350 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground last week. A little balance will go a long way...

DWU, Baseley win again

The Tiger women are victorious again after obliterating the field at the Briar Cliff Invite this week. DWU beat the runner up -- NCAA D1 South Dakota -- by 44 shots (658-702) this time for another convincing win.

DWU junior Kelli Baseley won medalist honors for the fourth time this season with a 154, and teammates Danielle Bellet (2nd, 160) and Carly Hayes (4th, 167) joined her in the top five. Click here to read my release, and click here to see the complete results.

This blog is barely a week old, and I feel like I've already written this a million times, but it's really amazing what Adam Anderson's teams are accomplishing this season. And next week I'll be doing some research to see if any DWU golfer has put together the kind of season Kelli Baseley is having. She's the Tiger Woods of small-college women's golf in the tri-state area, except without the knee problems.


Thursday, the DWU men's golf team proved that their 12-shot conference lead couldn't be simply chalked up to home-course advantage at the first GPAC Men's Golf Qualifier. Instead, the Tigers actually increased their lead over the rest of the league with another great team performance in Lincoln, Neb.

The men shot a 297, with all five golfers in the 70s. Brett Abbots led the field with a 72, Nick Gates (the overall leader) tied for second with a 73, Andrew Farrand shot a 75, Chris Pritchard shot a 77 and Tyler Evenson carded a 79. For the complete results, click here to read the release, click here for the second-round scores and click here for the GPAC totals after 36 holes.

The Tigers now lead second-place Nebraska Wesleyan by 19 shots, and they're at least 36 shots ahead of anyone else. DWU is set up pretty nicely for a run at another league title.

Also in golf action Thursday, the DWU women ran out to a huge lead after the first 18 holes at the 36th Briar Cliff University Lila Frommelt Classic. The Tigers shot a 333, and are 19 shots ahead of second-place Baker University heading into today's final round.

It's no surprise that DWU junior Kelli Baseley has a 5-shot lead over the rest of the field after shooting a 76 Thursday. Baseley has played in four tournaments this year -- she's been the medalist three times and the runner-up once. Teammates Dani Bellet (3rd, 83) and Carly Hayes (4th, 84) join Baseley in the top five. Click here for results, and check the athletics home page tonight or tomorrow for the final results and a wrap-up.

Bittersweet opener

The Tiger volleyball team finally hosted a home match Wednesday against Mount Marty after playing 14 straight on the road to open the season. It was a festive night inside Fosness Arena, but the Lancers stole a 3-1 GPAC victory to put a bit of a damper on the whole evening. Click here to read the recap from the match, because I'd rather use this space to talk about the atmosphere.

As usual, the gym was completely packed for the Tigers' match. The volleyball team is one of only two teams (wrestling) that actually play their home events on campus, and that seems to really affect the student turnout at games. The DWU section was great in this one, complete with body-painted fans and plenty of cheers and chants.

Now, the only trick is figuring out the best way to mobilize this kind of fan support to the teams that play in off-campus venues in Mitchell. The crowd at the first football game was great, and a few basketball crowds were really impressive a year ago, but those sports just don't have the same consistent crowds the volleyball team does. Winning helps, but even that isn't the whole answer.

Busy weekend

Three Tiger teams host home games Saturday. The volleyball team is back on its home floor Saturday with a varsity-only, nonconference match against Presentation at 1 p.m., and the men's and women's soccer teams host Midland Lutheran College at Cadwell Park. The women's game is at 1 p.m. with the men to follow at 3 p.m.

DWU also goes for another football victory with a GPAC game at Dana Saturday. Catch Tim Smith's broadcast live on

Tigers in the news

DWU men's golf is prominently featured on the GPAC site today. Click here to read about Thursday's qualifier and click here to read about Abbots and Baseley earning Golfer-of-the-Week honors. Also, The Daily Republic's story about the Golfers-of-the-Week is here and click here to read the paper's story from Wednesday's volleyball home opener.

Just for the heck of it, here's one more story I found amusing as a Packer fan. My how things can change in a few weeks' time.

Good luck to all the Tiger teams this weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DWU Doubles up

More good news today for the Dakota Wesleyan University men's and women's golf teams. The GPAC announced this morning that Tiger senior Brett Abbotts is the GPAC Men's Golfer-of-the-Week and junior Kelli Baseley is the Women's Golfer-of-the-Week.

After doing some research on the GPAC site, a team has only swept men's and women's golfer-of-the-week honors three times since the weekly awards began, and all three times that school has been ... you guessed it ... Dakota Wesleyan. Also, the last time it happened, Abbotts was the men's winner.

Congrats to both golfers for their awards. If you want to read more click here for the men's golf page and here for the women's golf page. The stories should be on our site sometime this afternoon. Both had some great things to say about how they played so well last week to earn the GPAC awards.

Hemenway a Hall-of-Famer

More congratulations are in order for DWU head men's basketball coach John Hemenway. This weekend, Hemenway will be inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame for his outstanding basketball career at the University of South Dakota.

Hemenway was a two-time All-Conference performer and an All-Region selection for the Coyotes. A point guard, Hemenway is still fourth on the school's career assists list. For those of you who know what kind of coach Hemenway is, it probably doesn't surprise you at all that he was also proficient at running an offense on the floor at the college level as well.

Hemenway will be honored at a reception Saturday morning in Vermillion, and again during a halftime ceremony of the Coyotes' football game that afternoon. If you want to read more, click here for our press release and here for another story, complete with Hemenway quotes, from Leah Rado at The Daily Republic.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Following up...

Quick follow-up on my post from earlier today.

When I was typing about the Tigers' passing attack, I forgot to give a lot of credit to the immaculate pass protection from the offensive line. Cody Bier, Kirk Byrd, James Hansen, Dennis McDaniel, Zach Zephier and company gave Doom all the time he needed to pick apart the Prairie Wolves. Job well done by the guys up front.

Also...wanted to open your eyes to some other blogs about DWU sports:

Click here to read the Tiger Football Blog. Great insight from head coach Brad Pole, and it offers tons of resources for the players' parents to connect and stay in touch.

Click here to read the DWU Men's Golf Blog, maintained by senior captain Brett Abbotts. Definitely fun to read about the defending GPAC champs through the eyes of a player.

Have a great Tuesday, and hope to see you at the Wellness Center on Wednesday to finally cheer our volleyball team on at home after opening with 14 road games!

What a weekend

What a weekend it was (including Monday) for DWU athletics. The football team rolled in its home opener, the golf keeps keep dominating, the women's soccer team continues to make 2008 its best season ever and the men's soccer and volleyball teams went toe-to-toe with some of the top teams in the NAIA. It's been really fun to be a Tiger fan over the last week.
Saturday's football home opener was the most complete performance by Dakota Wesleyan in my one-plus seasons around the team. Nebraska Wesleyan was essentially ranked No. 26 in the preseason (the first team receiving votes) and the Tigers dismantled them. The game wasn't even as close as the 27-7 score, because DWU could have come up with points on a pair of first-quarter drives as well.
Junior QB Jon Doom looked every bit like a third-year starter Saturday. From my perspective, Doom did it all. He picked apart NWU's secondary all day and made pretty much all the throws you could ask a quarterback to make. He was razor-sharp in the short passing game, and the two times DWU took shots downfield, Doom lofted perfect spirals that hit junior WR Bubba Slaba in stride for a 56-yard gain and a 50-yard touchdown. Tiger fans are fortunate that high school teammates Doom and Slaba decided to bring their aerial attack to DWU.

The Tigers also learned their lesson about turnovers on both sides of the ball. The offense didn't give it to NWU even once, and the DWU defense came up with three big interceptions -- two by Mitchell native Ryan Wagner and one by senior CB Eric Adolph. Adolph's was the back breaker. He jumped a route on the NWU sideline, picked off the pass and raced 40 yards for the Tigers' final TD of the day. Adolph watches as much film as anyone, so I wasn't surprised to see him step in front of that pass like he knew what the play call was.
The TD was a fitting way for the defense to cap off a fine perfromance. They could have been looking at a shutout if it wasn't for a pair of 15-yard penalties, including a questionable, drive-changing facemask on a sack, on the Prairie Wolves' lone scoring drive. There is just so much improvement in the defense from a year ago. It was fun to watch the improvement -- especially in the tackling -- on Saturday.
Look for a better preview of this Saturday's game against Dana later in the week, but if DWU can win on the road this weekend, it will be the first time since the GPAC started that DWU would have a record above .500 in conference play.


After one GPAC Qualifier apeice, the Tiger men's and women's golf teams have a huge lead in the conference standings. The men will try to make a 12-shot advantage stand up over the final three qualifiers, and the women are 18 strokes ahead of the field following Monday's meet in Sioux City. Adam Anderson's program, both genders, are clearly becoming the class of the conference.

It's interesting, becuase golf isn't usually thought of as a team sport, but it's clear that at DWU the Tigers approach each season with a team-first attititude, and it's paying off.

However, that doesn't mean that the golfers aren't doing phenomenal as individuals as well. Mitchell native Nick Gates is tied for the GPAC lead in the men's standings, and the other four Tigers are all in the top 10. Freshman phenom Dani Bellet shot a 76 Monday to take a four-shot lead over the women's field. However, Bellet might have to hold off teammate Kelli Baseley, who is tied for second with an 80 and has already won medalist honors three times this fall. Another Tiger, Heather Love, is in fourth with an 82.

If DWU's teams continue to play to their potential, it might not be a question of whether they win the conference, but by how many strokes, and which Tiger comes out on top individually.


Congrats to Coach Dale Roden and the Tiger women's soccer team for tying the school record for wins in a season (3) and already scoring the most goals in a season in school history (16). The record-setting goal came in the form of a game-winner Monday afternoon in a 2-1 win at the University of Great Falls. Sophomore Ellie Peterson (MF) scored both goals in the victory and Danielle Richardson earned the win in goal.

While it might seem on the surface like these acheivements aren't that impressive, they really signify a huge leap forward for the program. In just six games the team has already won more games (3-2) and scored more goals (16-9) than it did in 18 games a year ago. It's not just improvement ... it's dramatic improvement, and it really seems like the fourth-year program is really taking flight.


Here are some links to DWU stories and news.

Click here to read Daily Republic sports editor Leah Rado's story from Saturday's football game, and click here to read her column about how an actual win was much better than a moral victory on Saturday.

Click here for the story on DWU's performance at the first GPAC Women's Golf Qualifier, and click here to read more about the women's soccer team's win on Monday. Good stuff from both coaches in each story.

Also, this is a must read for Tiger sports fans. Click here to read an opinion piece from The Daily Republic about DWU athletes making a difference in the community. It's great to see that people are taking notice of all the good things our teams are doing, on and off the field.


Volleyball, home vs. Mount Marty, varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Women's soccer at Dordt, 2:30 p.m.
Men's soccer at Dordt, 5 p.m.

Men's golf at Doane
Women's golf at Briar Cliff

Women's golf at Briar Cliff

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's finally kickoff...

Hello, Tiger fans. This is my first official blog post on DWU Tiger Talk, which will be my spot to write a little more creatively and in-depth about the world of Dakota Wesleyan University athletics. Check back often to see how our teams and individuals are doing in the GPAC and the NAIA.

It's been quite the week in the Dakota Wesleyan University athletics department. We hosted a home cross country meet last Friday, the first GPAC Men's Golf Qualifier last Saturday and a two-day women's golf meet Monday and Tuesday. However, it will really feel like fall season is in full swing tomorrow when the Tiger football team kicks off their first home game.

DWU hosts "Battle of the Wesleyans" tomorrow when Nebraska Wesleyan University rolls into Mitchell for a crucial GPAC game. It should be a big game in the standings as both teams will fight for position in the league's upper-middle class all season, but it's just as big for both teams' confidence. The Tigers opened last weekend with a 31-7 loss at No. 7 Morningside, and NWU had the good fortune of facing No. 2 Sioux Falls, one of the NAIA's powerhouse programs, in its home opener. The Cougars took down the Prairie Wolves, 35-0.

A few things to watch in tomorrow's game...

-The turnover battle. DWU was -4 against the Mustangs last Saturday, and the two clear differences in the loss were turnovers and Morningside's big plays in the passing game. Junior QB Jon Doom needs to do a better job taking care of the football (5 int last week), but he also won't be facing the Mustangs' stud secondary again. Look for Doom to bounce back and play with the confidence of a third-year starter tomorrow in front of the home fans, and look for the Tigers to try to force a few more takeaways on defense. They learned a valuable lesson about turnovers a week ago.

-Experience on defense. DWU is a relatively young team, but it has several key seniors and returners back on defense. Seniors Daniel Wysong (LB), Kyle Meier (DL), Ryan Deibert (S), Eric Adolph (CB) and Steve Viereck (CB) are all impact players in the Tigers' 3-3-5 defense, and if they play well tomorrow, look for the team's talented youngsters to follow their lead.

-Options in the backfield. Last week, sophomore RB Raymond "Boogie" Blossom was the workhorse in the backfield, with 22 carries for 90 yards and the Tigers' lone TD. This week, expect to see more of Boogie, but also look for more production out of USD transfer Jim Williams. The Alexandria native was eased into the game plan in Week 1, but its no secret that Williams can be a difference maker in the GPAC, and he and Blossom could become the exceptional "Thunder & Lightning" tandem that Tiki Barber and Ron Dayner never were.

Right now it feels like the calm before the storm. We've been prepping all week for tomorrow's big game and Football Alumni Reunion, and now all that's left is to watch the time tick by until kickoff. Hope to catch you at Quintal tomorrow, and if not, tune into KMIT, or catch The Daily Republic's Web cast.


-How 'bout that DWU men's golf team. In the history of the program, the best team score the Tigers have ever turned in is a 289, in 2006. In DWU's last two meets, the men equaled that score, and came close to going even lower. GPAC schools are going to have a tough time de-throning Adam Anderson's crew as the league champs. Upperclassmen Brett Abbotts and Nick Gates (the Co-GPAC Player of the week) have played great golf thus far, and Anderson is really pleased with the continual development of standout freshman Andrew Farrand. The team definitely misses graduated Tom Hoek, but Farrand has filled in just fine thus far. This weekend will be one of the team's biggest measuring sticks as it plays against an absolutely loaded field at the Mount Mercy tournament in Iowa.

-Speaking of golf, Kelli Baseley has been absolutely on fire for the women's team. The Tiger junior has been the individual medalist at all three tournaments the team has played in this fall. Her most impressive outing came this week, when she rallied from a shot back after 18 holes to cruise to victory at the Lady Tiger Fall Invite. In the process, she also led the DWU team past USD and USF for the team title. Winning is always fun, but it seems to be even better when DWU comes out on top against other teams from The Mount Rushmore State.

-The DWU volleyball team is on the road again to finish off a killer stretch away from home. The team will play four matches at a tournament in Hastings, Neb., this weekend to end its 14-game road trip to start the season. For you Minnesota baseball fans, that's the same amount of games as the Twins just played on the road when they had to leave town for the Republican National Convention (I would've left town, too...). The Tigers are FINALLY home Wednesday against Mount Marty College at 7:30 p.m., and it's possible that first-year coach Eric Viney and his team will take a cue from Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and open the game by yelling, "There's no place like home," in the pregame huddle. At least things will come full circle in October, when DWU plays nine games on its home court and 10 games in Mitchell.

-The Tiger soccer teams both head west this weekend for their final nonconference games before GPAC play begins. The DWU men lost a 5-0 game at Westminster College in Salt Lake City this afternoon, and it has another really tough game Sunday against Embry Riddle (Ariz.). The women's team, which has already equaled last year's win total, is at Rocky Mountain College on Saturday. both soccer teams have played well and been in some really exciting games in the season's opening weeks.

Good luck to all the Tiger teams this weekend, and let's all cheer for a victory against Alex Linden's alma mater and current employer tomorrow!