Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A month in to the winter season

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is in just a few days. Stranger yet -- the 2010-11 basketball season is a month old already! Only four more months to go!

The Tigers opened Great Plains Athletic Conference play Saturday against Dordt College, and they play another league game tonight when they host Morningside College. The men's game against the Defenders was much closer than DWU would have liked, I would imagine, although it was good to see us get a win considering we were down by nine in the first half.

DWU played well on Saturday, but was never able to make that one big play that it needed to pull away and really seal the game. The game wasn't necessarily as close as the final score (84-80) indicated, but it was definitely closer than it should have been. One thing I'm noticing: Brady Wiebe needs to get the ball more early in the game. He still manages a double-double on a regular basis, but he doesn't get as many touches as he should in the first half. Dordt did a great job defending him to start, though.

Something to watch for tonight: Chase Walder is nine points away from 1,000 for his career. He's scored at least 20 points for the past few games, so that shouldn't be a problem for him. That will be an exciting moment.

The women played well against Dordt, but they have so many injuries right now you can tell they get tired pretty easily. I think it could be a bit of a different game if everyone was healthy and coach Christensen could sub when he wanted to/needed to. They're going through some growing pains, but I think there's plenty of potential.

Off to the Palace to set up for the game. Who ya rootin for?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall season is officially over

Well, the all-conference teams are being announced, which means only one thing: the fall sports season must be over. I can't believe it's done already; it seems like it was just September and I was freaking out about getting everything going and figuring everything out! Now it's on to winter sports -- basketball and wrestling -- and, unfortunately, winter weather. Yuck.

This blog isn't about weather, though, and really -- I've lived in the Midwest my whole life, so nasty weather is nothing new to me.

Anyway... it was quite a fall sports season for several of our teams here at DWU. The football team wrapped up its season with a loss to No. 7 Morningside College Saturday afternoon. The Tigers finished 5-5, which is the second-best record in coach Brad Pole's six years at the helm. A few slight changes here and there and the Tigers could have been 7-3... but that's all in the past, and 5-5 is nothing to be ashamed of. DWU had some big wins, set a few records (Josh Endres for the most rushing yards in a game, Anthony Muilenburg for the most catches in a game) and learned a thing or two. It's sad to see all the seniors go, but exciting to think about what next year brings.

Both soccer teams made it deep into the GPAC playoffs. The men made it to the semifinals in their first-ever trip to the GPAC tournament, and lost in double overtime. It was an exciting game, and a hard way to end the season, but again -- nothing to be ashamed of. The women made it to the GPAC title game for the second straight year, but fell to Hastings, which seems to be a step ahead of everyone in the league this year. Goalie Dani Richardson is the league's co-Defensive Player-of-the-Year for the second straight year, and the Tigers had four girls (Richardson, Ellie Peterson, Kasha Roberts and Sarah Weidler) on the All-GPAC First Team.

Since fall sports are over, we've got to have something to fill our time here in the athletic department. Lucky for us, the basketball teams both have had a fairly full nonconference schedule for the past few weeks. The Tiger men are 5-1 with a few huge wins under their belts. Their only loss was to Southwest Minnesota State, a (very good) NCAA Division II school. DWU beat No. 6 Black Hills State in overtime, and most recently, beat in-state rival Dakota State by 14 points in overtime.

As expected, Brady Wiebe is having an excellent season, and senior Chase Walder is also having a fantastic year. He scored 28 points -- all in the second half and overtime -- against Dakota State, and his 3-point shots have kept the Tigers in games. Newcomers German Madueno and Kris Wilson have also played big roles for the Tigers.

The Tiger women are young this year, and are 0-5 as I write this with a game at York College tonight. DWU starts a freshman, two sophomores a junior and a senior, but is dealing with quite a few injuries and, of course, the learning curve that comes with having so many true freshmen on the roster.

The Tiger men and women open GPAC play Saturday (Nov. 20) when they host Dordt College. Should be a fun game. Who ya rootin for?