Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NDSU Picked to Win Conference Football Title

ST. LOUIS - Three-time defending conference and national champion North Dakota State was picked to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference crown in 2014, according to a poll of the league's coaches, media and sports information directors announced Tuesday, July 29.

NDSU has won 24 straight games and 43 of its past 45 games (going 14-1, 14-1, and 15-0).  The Bison earned 24 of a possible 39 first-place votes and 370 total points ahead of second-place South Dakota State and third-place Northern Iowa.

North Dakota State had a league-high eight players on the preseason all-conference team including fullback Andrew Bonnet, wide receiver Zach Vraa, left guard Zack Johnson, defensive end Kyle Emanuel, linebacker Carlton Littlejohn, strong safety Colten Heagle and punter Ben LeCompte.  Free safety and punt returner Christian Dudzik was an honorable mention.

Youngstown State (240 points) and Southern Illinois (237) were a close choice for the fourth- and fifth-place positions. The teams tied with SDSU and Missouri State for second place in 2013.  Illinois State, Missouri State, South Dakota, Western Illinois and Indiana State took the final five spots, in order.

Including North Dakota State the last two seasons, the MVFC preseason favorite has claimed the league crown 16 times in 28 previous polls.  The Bison open at Iowa State on Saturday, Aug. 30, with an 11 a.m. kickoff televised live on FOX Sports 1.
2014 Valley Football Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes)       Pts.
 1. North Dakota State (24)    370
 2. South Dakota State (8)     330
 3. Northern Iowa (7)           324
 4. Youngstown State           240
 5. Southern Illinois          237
 6. Illinois State              197
 7. Missouri State             180
 8. South Dakota                121
 9. Western Illinois            96
10. Indiana State               50
2014 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team
QB-     Austin Sumner, SDSU    6-5     225     Sr.     Brandon (S.D.) Valley High
RB-     David Johnson, UNI     6-3     225     Sr.     Clinton (Iowa) High
        Zach Zenner, SDSU      6-0     220     Sr.     Eagan (Minn.) High
FB-     Andrew Bonnet, NDSU    6-3     245     Jr.     Council Bluffs (Iowa) Underwood High
WR-     Jason Schneider, SDSU  6-5     220     Sr.     Andover (Minn.) High
        Zach Vraa, NDSU         6-2    203     Sr.     Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Rosemount 
TE-     MyCole Pruitt, SIU     6-3     255     Sr.     St. Louis (Mo.) Kirkwood High
OL-     Robert Booker, MSU     6-3     320     Jr.     Ozark (Mo.) High
        Zack Cooley, MSU       6-5     301     Sr.     Lebanon (Mo.) High
        Richard Galbierz, MSU  6-3     306     Sr.     Fenton (Mo.) Fox High
        Trevor Greger, SDSU    6-5     305     Sr.     Wagner (S.D.) High
        %Zack Johnson, NDSU    6-4     317     Jr.     Apple Valley (Minn.) Eastview High
        Jack Rummells, UNI     6-5     301     Sr.     West Branch (Iowa) High
LS-     Chris Highland, ILS    6-2     225     Sr.     Normal (Ill.) Central Catholic High
PK-     Thomas Kinney, SIU     5-8     175     Sr.     McHenry (Ill.) Johnsburg / Winona State
DL-     Kyle Emanuel, NDSU     6-3     246     Sr.     Schuyler (Neb.) Central High
        Drew Iddings, USD      6-6     283     Jr.     Rapid City (S.D.) Stevens High
        Cole Langer, SDSU      6-2     255     So.     Dell Rapids (S.D.) High
        Xavier Williams, UNI   6-4     311     Sr.     Kansas City (Mo.) Grandview High
LB-     Andrew Beisel, MSU     6-2     238     Sr.     Fenton (Mo.) Rockwood Summit High
        Auston Johnson, USD    6-0     240     Sr.     Chino Hills (Calif.) El Camino College
        Carlton Littlejohn, NDSU 6-1   216     Sr.     Minneapolis (Minn.) North High
        Pat Meehan, ILS         6-1    230     Jr.     Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln-Way East
        *Connor Underwood, INS 6-3     230     Jr.     Washington (Ill.) Community High
DB-     Martinez Davis, WIU    5-10    180     Sr.     Madisonville (Ky.) Air Force Prep
        Makinton Dorleant, UNI 5-11    185     Jr.     Bradenton (Fla.) Lely / Maryland
        Colten Heagle, NDSU    5-11    202     Sr.     Appleton (Wis.) Kimberly High
        Caleb Schaffitzel, MSU 6-0     217     Sr.     Fair Grove (Mo.) High
P-      Ben LeCompte, NDSU     5-10    200     Jr.     Barrington (Ill.) High
RS-     Andre Stubbs, YSU      5-7     165     Jr.     Maple Heights (Ohio) High
Honorable Mention: QB Sawyer Kollmorgen (UNI); TB Martin Ruiz (YSU); FB Drew Potter (USD); WR Kevin Vereen Jr. (UNI); LS Nathan Gibbs (YSU); OL Jermaine Barton (ILS); LB Kevin Kintzel (WIU); LB T.J. Lally (SDSU); DB/RS Christian Dudzik (NDSU).

Every school with minimum of one first-team selection. NDSU represented with a league-high 8 total selections. Northern Iowa (6), South Dakota State (6) and Missouri State (5) were next best.

* Connor Underwood (INS) received votes for DL, but playing LB this year.
% Zack Johnson (NDSU) selected to team but out in 2014 with an injury.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lynx Maya Moore Named Western Conference Player of the Week

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The WNBA today named Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, July 21 through Sunday, July 27. The honor is Moore's third consecutive Player of the Week, fourth this season and ninth of her career.
Moore started off her week with a memorable performance, scoring a franchise-record 48 points in a 112-108 double-overtime victory over the East-leading Atlanta Dream at Target Center on July 22. The University of Connecticut product also tied club single-game records with 16 field goals and seven three-pointers made in the game. Her 48 points eclipsed Katie Smith's franchise record of 46 and are the second-highest total in WNBA history (Riquana Williams, 51). The 2013 WNBA Finals MVP also pulled down 10 rebounds in the game, her eighth double-double this season and 20th of her career. Moore's historic performance capped a four-game stretch that saw her total 139 points. She helped the Lynx win their ninth straight game at Target Center on July 25, an 88-78 victory over San Antonio, by tallying 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Moore closed out her week with a game-high 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists as Minnesota won their seventh straight game, defeating Connecticut 76-65.

This season Moore leads the league in scoring and minutes played, averaging 24.3 points and 35.3 minutes per game. She also ranks eighth in rebounds (8.3 rpg), fifth in steals (1.92 spg), 15th in field goal accuracy (48%) and seventh in free throw accuracy (87.2%).

Washington's Ivory Latta was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

The Lynx are now 20-6 on the season, including 12-1 at home, and have already secured homecourt advantage for the first round of the 2014 WNBA Playoffs.

Minnesota will be in action on Thursday, July 31 against the Phoenix Mercury in a matchup of the two best records in the WNBA. Phoenix comes in to the week with a 21-3 record and a 15-game win streak while the Lynx sit two games behind them in the standings. Tickets are still available by calling 612-673-8400 or by visiting lynxbasketball.com/lynxtix.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NDSU Baseball Set to Host Fall Prospect Camp Sept. 14

FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State University baseball will host a prospect camp on Sunday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field.

The camp will include hitting, defense, pitching and catching instruction with lunch included for $125.

For more information, please visit 
www.ndsubisonbaseballcamps.com or call NDSU associate head coach David Pearson at (701) 231-8739.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UMC Men’s Golf Officially Releases 2014 Fall Schedule

CROOKSTON, Minn.- The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team officially release the fall portion of their 2014-15 schedule Wed., July 23. The Golden Eagles will partake in five events during the fall season including the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Fall Men’s Golf Championship at the Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, Minn. Sept. 29-30.

UMC will officially open up their slate at the Bemidji State University Invite Sept. 7-8 at the Bemidji Town and Country Club in Bemidji, Minn. The Golden Eagles will then trek to Axtell, Neb. to take part in the University of Nebraska Kearney Invite at the Awarii Dunes Golf CourseSept. 14-16. Minnesota Crookston will then head to the St. Cloud State University Husky Classic Sept. 21-22 at the St. Cloud Country Club in St. Cloud, Minn. The Golden Eagles will trek to the NSIC Championship Sept. 29-30 before concluding the season with an important regional tournament as they take part in the Men’s Golf Central Region Invite Oct. 13-14 at the St. Joseph Country Club in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Golden Eagles return an experienced squad led by All-NSIC Performers Matt McClure, UMC’s 2013-14 Student-Athlete of the Year, and Jesse Roscoe. The Golden Eagles also return Senior Seth Heppner and Junior Michael Roedl who played integral roles in UMC’s success last season. UMC will again be led by Head Coach Jason Tangquist.

For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics website at www.goldeneaglesports.com.

Follow the Golden Eagles on Facebook at Golden Eagle Sports and on Twitter at @UMCAthletics.

The University of Minnesota Crookston is an NCAA Division II Institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The Golden Eagle Equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).

Men’s Golf Schedule
Sept. 7-8    Bemidji State University Invite    Bemidji, Minn.
Sept. 14-16    Nebraska Kearney Invite        Axtell, Minn.
Sept. 21-22    SCSU Husky Classic            St. Cloud, Minn.
Sept. 29-30    NSIC Fall Championship        Lake City, Minn.
Oct. 13-14    Central Region Invite            St. Joseph, Mo.

Lynx to Host Breast Health Awareness Night

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced it will host its annual Breast Health Awareness game on Friday, July 25 as the Lynx take on the San Antonio Stars at 7 p.m. Hope Chest for Breast Cancer is the presenting sponsor for the evening's game and Apple Autos and Fillies Race for Hope at Canterbury Park are also partnering with the Lynx for the game. The Lynx will be wearing commemorative pink uniforms on Friday night and auctioning them off to fans after the game.

Following the game, the entire team will head back out to the court and auction the game-worn jerseys off their backs, autographing the jerseys and posing for a picture with the winners. All proceeds from the night will go towards the Lynx Foundation, which supports breast cancer research and support programs throughout the state of Minnesota.

The Lynx' Breast Health Awareness Week will finish up on Tuesday, July 29 as the team partners with the Hope Chest to host the sixth annual Catwalk for a Cure. Held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Mall of America Rotunda, the Lynx will trade in their sneakers for stilettos and strut their stuff in a fashion show. The event begins at 5 p.m. at Sky Deck Sports Grille and Lanes, where attendees will receive free dinner and free bowling, with special appearances by Lynx players. A silent auction, featuring sports memorabilia and unique experiences from around the Twin Cities, will also be held during dinner at Sky Deck Sports Grille and Lanes until 7:00 p.m. The fashion show, which features the entire Lynx roster and coaching staff, will start in the Mall of America Rotunda at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds from the evening benefit the Lynx Foundation.

Friday's game against the San Antonio Stars falls in the middle of Minnesota's Breast Health Awareness Week (July 22-29) as part of WNBA's BHA platform. For 16 years, the program has focused on generating awareness and educating women about breast cancer in addition to raising funds for the initiative. The WNBA, its teams and players are supporting the effort to fight breast cancer during WNBA Breast Health Awareness Week, which have raised more than $2 million to aid the fight against breast cancer. The Lynx website and social media platforms are also going pink as part of the campaign. 

Minnesota enters Friday's game with the second-best record in the WNBA at 18-6. The Lynx are riding a five-game winning streak and are scoring 83.9 points per game (2nd in WNBA). Tickets are still available for Saturday's game, and the team's five remaining home games, by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or by visiting
www.lynxbasketball.com/lynxtix. Fans interested in attending or looking for more information on the sixth annual Catwalk for a Cure can contact Amanda Collins, Lynx CR Manager, at 612-673-1681 or collins@lynxbasketball.com.

Timberwolves Re-Sign Forward Robbie Hummel

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has re-signed forward Robbie Hummel. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"We are excited to have Robbie back with us this season," said Flip Saunders, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. "He proved that he can be a key contributor off the bench and finished the season strong. Robbie's ability to stretch the floor with his shooting range is a valuable asset for our team."

Hummel, 25, played in 53 games (five starts) in his rookie season for the Wolves last year, averaging 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per contest. The 6-8 forward shot 36.0 percent (36-for-89) from three-point range for the season, including connecting on 17 of his final 32 attempts (53.1%). Hummel scored in double-digits four times last year, netting a season-high 12 points at Orlando on April 5. He grabbed a season-high nine rebounds in the season finale vs. Utah on April 16.

Hummel was the 58th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves. He spent the 2012-13 season with Obradoiro CAB in the Spanish League where he averaged 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30 games. Hummel averaged 14.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in 127 games over his four-year collegiate career for the Purdue Boilermakers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NDSU Women's Basketball Finalizes 2014-15 Schedule

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota State University women's basketball team will face a minimum of five teams that advanced to postseason play last season in its 29-game regular season schedule released Tuesday, July 22, by new head coach Maren Walseth.

"We worked hard to get a good schedule for this season," Walseth said. "I have high expectations for this team, and feel this schedule is one that will challenge us while giving us opportunities to be successful, and prepare us for The Summit League. There are a lot of good teams in the Summit League, and we look forward to competing with them all."
NDSU will play 14 games at home with 11 being played at the historic Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse and three at Scheels Arena while the new Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex is being constructed.

"There will be a lot of firsts this season, and playing in the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse is a first in quite some time," Walseth said. "I am excited to play in a classic building this year. The fans will be close to the court; the band and cheerleaders will be close to the action. The BBF will provide us with a great home court advantage."

The Bison tip-off the season with three consecutive home games inside the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse beginning with an exhibition contest against Bemidji State Friday, Nov. 7. NDSU will host Kent State a week later on Friday, Nov. 14, before closing out the three-game home stand against Milwaukee Sunday, Nov. 16.

NDSU will take its first road trip of the season Nov. 19 when it travels to Western Michigan.

The Bison head southeast over Thanksgiving Break to take part in the Florida Atlantic Classic Nov. 28-29 in Boca Raton, Fla., before closing out the road trip Dec. 2 in Starkville, Miss., against SEC foe and 2014 WNIT participant Mississippi State.

NDSU returns home to face 2014 NCAA tournament qualifier North Dakota at Scheels Arena Saturday, Dec. 6, before welcoming Mayville State to the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse Monday, Dec. 8.

The Bison start a four-game road trip at Northern Iowa Dec. 11 before traveling to New Mexico State Dec. 14, Cal State Fullerton Dec. 19 and Grand Canyon Dec. 21. NDSU hosts Brandon University at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse Monday, Dec. 29, to close out its non-conference schedule.

NDSU will play back-to-back Summit League doubleheaders with the Bison men's basketball team at Scheels Arena Friday, Jan. 2, and Sunday, Jan. 4, to open the 2015 league slate. The Bison will face Oral Roberts on the second before battling league rival and 2014 WNIT qualifier South Dakota State on the fourth.
"Moving out to Scheels Arena for the UND, Oral Roberts and SDSU games makes perfect sense," Walseth said. "Providing a big time environment for those games provides the Fargo community the opportunity to support their Bison in another great facility."

With the return of Oral Roberts to the league, all league teams will now play 16 conference games.

The Summit League Women's Basketball Championship will run March 7-10 in Sioux Falls, S.D., and will be played in the brand new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

UMC Names Stopa Head Softball Coach

CROOKSTON, Minn.- University of Minnesota Crookston Director of Athletics Stephanie Helgeson announced the addition of Don Stopa as head softball coach for the Golden Eagles. Stopa comes to UMC after acquiring a myriad of experience coaching collegiate softball most recently at National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) affiliate Louisburg College in Louisburg, N.C. for the past three seasons.

“We are excited to add Don to the staff as head softball coach,” Helgeson said. “He is very highly respected and brings a great deal of experience coaching at a variety of levels. We believe Don will be a great addition to our staff.”

“I am honored to be a part of UMC as the head softball coach and I would like to thank Athletic Director Steph Helgeson for this opportunity,” Stopa said. “I am really excited about where this program could go and can’t wait to get to work. The university has so much to offer these student athletes and I hope to bring great success, on and off the field.”

During his time at Louisburg, Stopa led the Hurricanes to a 70-56 mark and helped to produce 14 All-Region players, two National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans and six NJCAA All-
Academic award winners. In addition to his duties as softball coach, Stopa was also the Sports Information Director for Louisburg.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Stopa spent three years at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz. working with both the baseball and softball teams, as well as serving as the Sports Information Director. In 2011, he helped the Aztecs to a 51-14 mark and No. 9 ranking in the NJCAA poll. He also helped the team compete for a regional championship, finishing just one game short of a trip to the National Tournament.

Prior to his move to Arizona, Stopa was the head softball coach at Graceland University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Lamoni, Iowa for three seasons helping to improve the Yellowjackets both on the field and in the classroom. Before his transition to softball, Stopa was an assistant baseball coach for two seasons at Graceland.

Before making the move to Graceland, Stopa spent time as the pitching coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M University.

Stopa earned his Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Mass Communication in 2002, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication in 2004 and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Sport Management in 2007. Don and his wife Ashley has two sons Austin and Jaxon.

For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics website at www.goldeneaglesports.com.