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Change is good for Cougars

When Columbia College volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington asked her middle hitters who wanted to handle Central Methodist’s Roselidah Obunaga, freshman Nancy Sikobe didn’t hesitate. She wanted the job.

Obunaga is CMU’s main offensive weapon, and Sikobe said she was confident she could handle her after playing with Obunaga on the Kenyan Olympic team this summer.

Not guarded about his emotions

When the third quarter ended, plenty of reasons existed to be discouraged.

Nebraska led 17-3. Missouri’s offense had sputtered in the red zone. A punting mishap had set up a Cornhuskers touchdown. Frustrations were high. Confidence was low.

Panicking punters

Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt doesn’t have any doubt when he talks about the importance of a blocked punt. “It’s the biggest play in football.” Nesbitt would know, too. His team has done it 11 times this season.

Paffrath a role model on offense

With the loss of All-Big 12 linemen Rob Droege and A.J. Ricker after the 2003 season, there were concerns heading into this season about the play of the offensive line.

Senior Scott Paffrath filled the leadership void among the linemen, however, and has molded the inexperienced group into a solid unit.

Top tackler team player

James Kinney will likely set the career tackles record for Missouri on Saturday against Kansas or the week after against Iowa State.

That, though, is not the record he cares about most.

Brothers, not rivals

As a quarterback at West Platte High School in Weston, Adam Barmann often looked for his younger brother, Brian, on pass patterns.

The Barmann tandem helped West Platte become one of the most successful programs in the state, winning a title in Missouri’s Class 1A division in 2001. If Adam connected on a pass to Brian on Saturday, however, his fans wouldn’t cheer.

KU’s Gordon has it both ways

When teams prepare to play Kansas, the preparation in all three aspects of the game begins and ends with No. 3.

Sophomore Charles Gordon, after setting school records for a freshman at wide receiver last season, is now making the majority of his plays on defense, leading the Big 12 Conference in interceptions with six. However, he still finds time to return kicks and to catch passes, something Gordon said is an honor.

Defense key for Missouri

Davidson begins its season against the Tigers tonight at the Paige Arena. Missouri will be the first in a list of tough competitors the Davidson Wildcats will be facing in the next few weeks. The Wildcats basketball team will be playing Duke, St. Joseph's, Massachussets and Georgetown. The game tonight is 7 p.m. at Paige Sports Arena.

Postseason hopes help Tigers focus on KU

Missouri's game against KU on Saturday now means much more than the regular Border Showdown this year. After a disappointing loss against Kansas State on Nov. 6, Missouri's hopes were rekindled after a series of games last Saturday that gave the Tigers one more chance to reach their goals.

Hard act to follow

Hickman girls' basketball team is going to have to compensate lack of experience with optimism and hard work this year. Hickman lost all five players that started last season in the the Class 5 state championship. The quest for another state championship experience began Thursday night with the Purple and Gold game.

Cougars aim to slow Lions

Lindenwood’s volleyball players have shown Columbia College one side this season. Their good side. In the Cougars’ season opener on Sept. 1, Lindenwood took Columbia College to four games before losing, and on Oct. 2, the Lions defeated the Cougars at the Lindenwood Invitational. The Cougars face the Lions at 7 tonight at The Arena of Southwell Complex in a semifinal match of the NAIA Region V Tournament.

Missouri to test youth in opener

The Missouri women's basketball season begins its 31st season today. The first game today is against Northern Illinois at the Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa today at 3 p.m. It is part of Hawkeye Challenge, a tournament that includes Iowa and Southern Illinois as well.

Kicker takes on new role

With less than three minutes left in the third quarter against Kansas State on Nov. 6, Adam Crossett, the Missouri football team’s third punter of the season, got off his best punt of the afternoon.

Crossett’s 58-yard, booming punt backed the Wildcats’ Yamon Figurs to his own 4-yard line to set up a return. However, despite Crossett’s big punt, Figurs weaved through the Tigers’ punt coverage unit, returning the ball 54 yards to the Missouri 42.

Intimidating Cornhuskers sweep Tigers

For the first 37 points of Wednesday night’s volleyball match, nothing was going according to plan. No. 3 Nebraska looked flustered, and No. 25 Missouri controlled play.

Exceeding expectations

Gray, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound sophomore surpassed those of his coach and himself when he led a young Rock Bridge team to a 6-4 record this year and completed 54 percent of his passes for 2,029 yards and 16 touchdowns. The numbers are staggering considering that when former Rock Bridge quarterback Chase Patton was the same age, he completed 42 percent of his passes for 949 yards and five touchdowns. Patton started the final eight games of his sophomore season after splitting time in the first two with senior Andrew St. John.

Tigers tame Cougars

Missouri coach Quin Snyder knows sophomore guard Thomas Gardner can score.

What he appreciated Tuesday were the things that can’t be found in a box score.

Young leads inside shift

So far, Missouri lived and died at the 3-point line, but the Tigers’ interior game is beginning to develop into a sort of life support.

The Tigers still attempted 23 3-pointers against Houston, but made a more concerted effort to work the ball under the basket and take high-percentage shots.

Tigers sign top recruit Criswell

The Tigers signed their third and final recruit for the 2005-06 class on Tuesday. Leo Criswell, a 6-9 native of Kansas City, signed with Missouri.

Criswell had already verbally committed to Kentucky before making his decision to join the Tigers. As a junior in high school, Criswell averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. He is rated as a top-50 recruit by several different recruiting sites. Rivalhoops.com ranks him the 26th-best forward in this year’s recruiting class.

Second-half slips leave Missouri floundering

Understand Kansas Jayhawks might not be concerned if they trail Missouri at halftime on Saturday.

Opponents have embarrassed the Tigers in the second half of games this past month. Since Missouri started its four-game losing streak Oct. 16 against Texas, the Tigers have seen leads slip away and deficits grow in miserable second-half performances.

Columbia College spruces up soccer stadium

Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium is only 13 years old, but it will get a face-lift before the 2005 season.

The home field for Columbia College soccer was closed in dramatic fashion Wednesday. But it wasn’t the ceremony fans and players were hoping for as William Jewell netted three straight penalty kicks after two overtimes and eliminated the top-seeded Cougars from the Region V tournament.

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