No BackYard Brawl, but still a lot of pride on the line for WVU.
The WV Mountaineers are in action Friday against the Cyclones of Iowa St. WV, being 5-5 on the season they are still 1 win away from being bowl eligible. After starting the season 5-0, the Mountaineers have lost 5 straight while giving up nearly 50 points per game during that stretch.
One bright spot has been SR tailback Tavon Austin who is coming off a remarkable game in which he had 344 yards rushing and 572 total all-purpose yards despite the teams’ loss.
Friday’s opponent, Iowa St, is already bowl eligible at 6-5, but it hasn’t been easy for 4th year head coach Paul Rhodes. Having a red-shirt freshman starting at QB has meant the offense has struggled at times this season.
Meanwhile head coach Dana Holgorsen for the Mountaineers, knows Iowa State will still give them problems, due in large part to their discipline.
It’s the first ever meeting between the schools, and with bowl eligibility on the line, WV and their 4th ranked nationally offense should be in high gear. Kick-off is set Friday afternoon at 2:30pm between WVU and Iowa St.
The Shepherd Rams are going back to the post season. After locking their spot as the WVIAC champs with a 49-23 win over Fairmont St last week. The Rams travel to play Indiana of Pa. in the first round on Saturday.
We all remember the Shepherd team in 2010 that took the playoffs by storm, winning the regional title and coming one play short for playing for a national championship. Last year, Shepherd at 9-2 missed the playoffs, but this year the Rams take one of the top defenses in the country into the post-season.
I got a chance to talk with head football coach Monte Cater for Shepherd, and he tells us the team is going to be tested.
Shepherd, ranked 25th, begins their run at a national title Saturday at noon against 13th ranked Indiana of Pa.
Its Hall Of Fame weekend in Shepherdstown and the University welcomes 4 more entries into the Rams HOF.
Football standout Joe Reel, class of ’72; Vic Holmes, class of ‘74 for men’s basketball and baseball; Greg Stup, class of 96 for football and former women’s basketball coach Jodie Runner are the 27th class to be inducted.
I was able to catch-up with Hall of Fame inductee Vic Holmes as we talked about his times at Shepherd, fellow inductees and of course the game this Saturday against Fairmont St.
This Saturday is also Senior Day at Shepherd, and this year’s team is in the hunt for an NCAA football championship run. You can see the new HOF class in a ceremony at halftime of Saturday’s game against Fairmont St, with the game set for a 1pm kick-off.
Earlier we looked at how the lady ballers of the WVIAC look going into this year. Now we look as the men are up next with a look at each team as they head into the regular season.
1. West Liberty returns the top eight scorers from the first WVIAC squad ever to win back-to-back regional titles. The Hilltoppers led the nation in scoring (102.4 ppg) for the sixth time in the last seven years last winter and head coach Jim Crutchfield now leads all NCAA men’s coaches in career winning percentage (207-43, .828). Two 1,000-point scorers – senior All-American Alex Falk (18.0 ppg) and junior all-WVIAC standout Cedric Harris (15.8 ppg, 191 assists) –have plenty of help as West Liberty returns six double-figure scorers. Sophomore CJ Hester (14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) is the reigning WVIAC Freshman of the Year.
2. Charleston finished second in the conference in 2012 and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament behind Player of the Year PJ Reyes. Although the Golden Eagles lost Reyes to graduation, the squad returns an abundance of experience. Evan Faulkner is the lone senior on the team. He poured in 11.5 points and was second on the team with 42 steals last season. Head coach Mark Downey also brought in a number of talented players.
3. Fairmont State is under the leadership of first-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun. He inherits a solid core and added several promising newcomers. Second-team all-conference performer Isaac Thornton (21.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) was one of the top scorers in the nation a season ago. The Falcons have an abundance of newcomers that will help the team make a push for a postseason bid.
4. West Virginia State head coach Bryan Poore looks to make another run at the top this season with the return of David Ford (15.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Howard Douglas, III (8.3 ppg). Ford was the team’s second-leading scorer a year ago while the versatile Douglas started 18 games, averaging 25 minutes a contest.
5. Alderson-Broaddus head coach Greg Zimmerman returns a standout group of players that narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament in 2012. First-team all-conference honoree Kurklin Bohanon (19.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg) returns after leading the Battlers in scoring and rebounding a year ago. Roy Brown (10.0 ppg) is another returning starter and a double-figure scorer while Casey Ainslie (9.1 ppg) and Adam Kline (4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) gained valuable experience last season.
6. Shepherd features one of the most dynamic players in the conference in first-team all-WVIAC standout Chad Moore. He poured in 20.8 points and grabbed 10 rebounds a night last year. Brantley Osborne (15.3 ppg) and Sidney McCray (12.8 ppg) are the top deep threats for Coach Justin Namolik, having combined for 129 3-point field goals last season.
7. Wheeling Jesuit is coming off a 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance following a standout season and looks to reach the postseason once again. Head coach Danny Sancomb returns second-team all-conference selection Ben Seifert (10.8 ppg), who ranked among NCAA Division II leaders with 224 assists.
8. Pitt-Johnstown boasts some potent offensive weapons, headed by first-team all-conference selection Nick Novak (19.5 ppg), who led the team in scoring and assists (114). Another scoring threat for head coach Bob Rukavina is Jordan Miller (15.3 ppg) while standout Bill Luther (7.6 ppg) shot nearly 50 percent from downtown.
9. West Virginia Wesleyan is led by first-year head coach Patrick Beilein and will look to make it three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Despite heavy graduation losses, Beilein inherited one of the league’s top players in Kelsey Williams (17.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg).
10. Concord lost a couple of its top scorers but returns a few that should help the team continue its progress from a season ago. Mike Boyd (7.9 ppg) is back at the point for the Mountain Lions after leading the team with 116 assists last year. Coach Kent McBride also welcomed back Damien Tunstalle (5.6 ppg), who shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, but will rely heavily on several new faces with just five upperclassmen on the roster.
11. Seton Hill’s backcourt tandem of David Windsor and Oliver McGlade should see their roles increase this season. Part-time starters for head coach Tony Morocco a season ago, McGlade (3.6 ppg) averaged more than 16 minutes a night while dishing out 44 assists and shooting 43.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Windsor (3.9 ppg) saw time in 26 games, averaging nearly 20 minutes a night while shooting 44 percent from the floor.
12. Glenville State head coach Stephen Dye has an abundance of weapons that he can use. Kevin Gray (16.6 ppg) and WVIAC all-freshman team standout Jamel Morris (14.7) lead the way for the Pioneers. Versatile student-athlete Andy Dollman (8.9 ppg) will also solidify the backcourt.
13. Davis & Elkins head coach Bruce Martin will rely on a trio of seniors to move the Senators up the WVIAC ranks. D’Quan Lynch (12.6 ppg) is the top returning scorer while Shane Brown and Paolo Ivis were key contributors a year ago.
14. Bluefield State boasts returners Vincent Rogers and Johnny Uhewu. Rogers played in 21 games while netting 14 points a night. He also grabbed 5.6 rebounds a contest. Uhegwu started 15 games and connected on 9.6 points a game.
15. Ohio Valley head coach Mike Snell is counting on returning lettermen Osvaldas Gaizauskas and Mustafa Helal. Gaizauskas saw time in 12 games, starting four while averaging 4.3 points. Helal (2.6 ppg) canned 44 percent of his shots from the floor a season ago.
Once again, thanks to Brent Hager, WVIAC Associate Commissioner.
Well it’s that time of year once again, the leaves change colors and the air gets nippy. I know football season is already underway; I’m talking about basketball season. That means that even if it will be the final year of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the teams do still have to play. This week its ladies first as we break down the preseason rankings as determined by the coaches for the upcoming season.
1. Fairmont State will be led by reigning WVIAC Player of the Year Kaitlin Snyder, a second-team NCAA Division II All-American who accounted for 21.5 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 steals a game a season ago. The experienced Falcons also return a trio of double-figure scorers in Hailey Garrett (14.3 ppg), Tiffany Nicholson (10.5 ppg) and Emily Lohr (10.3 ppg) along with returning starting guard Briana Welch (5.3 ppg). Head coach Steve McDonald’s five returning starters combined for 83.5 percent of the Falcons’ scoring last year.
2. Glenville State advanced to the WVIAC Finals for the second straight year and led the nation in scoring (94.3 ppg) under Bunky Harkleroad’s up-tempo style of play. Ginny Petties (11.8 ppg), Kenyell Goodson (9.6 ppg), and Jelena Elez (8.6 ppg) return to lead a balanced attack which should once again have the Pioneers pushing for success in the postseason.
3. West Liberty is on the rebound after dealing with an abundance of injuries last season. This season, the Hilltoppers return second-team all-WVIAC guard Hillary Southworth (16.1 ppg) and senior post player Emily Blevins (11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Head coach Lynn Ullom also welcomes back 2011 starters Meghan Wiseman and Jordan Stacey, who missed all of last season with medical redshirts.
4. Concord advanced to the WVIAC semifinals before dropping an overtime thriller to Glenville State. The Mountain Lions return second-team all-conference performer Andrea Bertrand (13 ppg, 7.2 rpg). Head coach Kenny Osborne’s line-up will also include returners Amanda Smith (9.3 ppg) and Tanisha Williams (4.0 ppg).
5. West Virginia Wesleyan won the regular-season title and the league tournament a season ago en route to its NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bobcats lost their top two scorers to graduation but return a core group for their title defense. Brittany Maxey garnered 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game while leading the team with 62 steals last year and is ready for the spotlight.
6. Shepherd made a nice postseason run a year ago before falling to the Bobcats in the WVIAC semifinals. The Rams return several key pieces from that squad, including leading scorer Emily Daniel (12.4 ppg), a second-team all-WVIAC selection.
7. Davis & Elkins won its first WVIAC Tournament game in a decade last March and head coach Jason Asbell is aiming for bigger and better things. The Senators will be led by second-team all-WVIAC standout Page Turner (12.4 ppg) and honorable mention all-WVIAC pick Jorden Lykes (12.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg).
8. Pitt-Johnstown sends a talented and experienced team into the 2012-13 campaign. Leading the way is first-team all-WVIAC guard Kaitlynn Fratz (17.2 ppg), the WVIAC Freshman of the Year. Backing the stellar sophomore are Nicole Carman (10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and perimeter sharp shooter Kelsey Sleighter (8.4 ppg), who drained nearly 40 percent of her three-point tries a year ago.
9. Seton Hill has four of its top five scorers back from a season ago. Leading the way is second-team all-conference selection Paige Alviani. A year ago, she poured in 15.5 points a night and dished out 110 assists. Katie Gattuso tallied 9.3 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds last year. Clare Berenato also returns, having started every game a season ago.
10. Charleston is under the direction of first-year head coach Adam Collins. The Golden Eagles advanced to the tournament quarterfinals in 2012 and return a core group ready to keep the team near the top of the league standings.
11. West Virginia State is led by first-year head coach David Smith, who has 575 victories under his belt for seventh place on the all-time NCAA Division II list. He inherits a team that returns three of its top five scorers.
12. Wheeling Jesuit returns a core group that gained valuable experience last year. All-freshman team performer Emily Robinson (13.1 ppg) should lead the Cardinals into the 2012-13 campaign.
13. Alderson-Broaddus has an experienced squad returning. The Battlers are led by honorable mention all-conference standout Amanda Peoples (12.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
14. Ohio Valley boasts a line-up that has seen a lot of playing time in the WVIAC. Junior Shelby Way’s 12.1 points and team-high 72 assists are back.
15. Bluefield State won six league games a year ago and will look to continue climbing in the WVIAC standings. Honorable mention all-conference selection Charlene Diggs (15.9 ppg) and Dragana Tomic (10.2 ppg, 1.9 spg) lead the way.
Special thanks to Brent Hager, WVIAC Associate Commissioner, for helping with information distribution.
This week, all nine WVIAC teams are in action Saturday and here is your slate of games this week.
It’s a battle for the top spot in the WVIAC as Shepherd hosts Glenville St. Both teams enter the contest with identical 5-1 league records. The Pioneers bring one of the nation’s top rushers in Rahmann Lee. The Rams, coming off a bye week, have the nation’s top rush defense. Shepherd won the contest a season ago in Glenville, but the Pioneers registered a win the last time the teams played in Shepherdstown. The game is slated for 12 p.m.
Seton Hill is looking for its first win of the season. The Griffins host St. Anslem at 12 p.m. SHU’s offense seems to be clicking, as Andrew Jackson threw for 439 yards and four touchdowns last week against one of the better defenses in the NCAA. The Griffins will look to throw the ball a lot this weekend while Tyler Zimmer, one of the nation’s top tacklers, heads the defense.
West Virginia State heads to Fairmont State for a 1 p.m. contest. The Yellow Jackets have dropped four straight while the Falcons are also coming off a loss. FSU has won two straight in the series, including a 25-point victory the last time the teams played in Fairmont. FSU will look for big things in the return game with Matt Wilmer. The Yellow Jackets have a versatile quarterback in Ricky Phillips. A threat to run or throw, his play will key the WVSU squad. Wenly Beliard will lead the defense as he is fifth in the nation in forced fumbles.
Charleston makes the trek to West Virginia Wesleyan in a contest between two teams that can light up the scoreboard. The game, set for a 1 p.m. start, pits a great rushing attack against a tremendous passing game. The Golden Eagles are guided by Jordan Roberts and his 134.44 rushing yards while Nate Montana throws for 284.86 yards a game for the Bobcats. Both defenses have playmakers as well. Jesse Robertson, Jonas Celian and Brian Vukela are all in the top 20 nationally in different defensive categories.
West Liberty travels to Athens to face Concord at 1 p.m. Both teams are coming of wins and carry identical 5-4 overall records into the game, and each squad put up 41 points a week ago in wins. The Hilltoppers’ L.D. Crow and Dylan Lagarde combined for 194 yards and two scores while Evin Dusold tossed for 212 yards and four touchdowns for the Mountain Lions. Defensively, WLU is third nationally in turnovers gained while Concord is in the top 25 for fewest points allowed. The last time the teams squared off in Athens, the Hilltoppers posted a 56-33 win.