Focus on run defense

Everybody on the Missouri defense has spent the preseason working on run defense, even the unit that is chiefly responsible for stopping the pass.

The Tigers’ secondary hasn’t stood idle after the defense allowed a combined 667 yards rushing against Kansas State and Arkansas, the final two losses in 2003. To help improve the run defense, the secondary has focused on the concept of leverage.

Bruins upbeat after loss

JEFFERSON CITY — The Rock Bridge volleyball team could not deliver the perfect welcome gift to its new coach Beth Newton, but did manage the next best thing.

Although the Bruins fell 25-11, 25-23 in their season opener to Helias on Monday, Newton said the team’s play pleased her.

No question, footbag is sport for new generation

One thing every generation of young people has in common is their popular music’s ability to frighten and confuse the older generation.

Baby boomers lamented their parents’ denouncement of rock ‘n’ roll as noise and not music.

Minor foes worry Big 12 coaches

To some, it might appear Big 12 Conference schools have decided to ease into the new season. The Big 12’s coaches don’t think that is the case.

When Oklahoma State plays at UCLA this weekend, it is the only Big 12 team playing a major conference opponent. That doesn’t mean, though, the Big 12 teams will get a week off. Teams’ scheduling philosophies were topics of discussion during the first Big 12 coaches’ teleconference of the season.

Bruins’ softball team falls

The Rock Bridge softball team fell to Smith Cotton 5-3 on Monday night in Sedalia.

MU Athletics

Senior Kristen Heil and sophomore Brad Ekwerekwu were named Lathrop and Gage Student-Athletes of the Week.

MU Baseball

Sixteen members of the 1954 MU baseball team will be reuniting in Columbia this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its championship season.

High hopes for receivers

After running over its opponents last year for the sixth best rushing attack in the country, the Missouri football team is looking to go to the air.

The emphasis on improving the passing game has been evident in preseason scrimmages, with the offense running far more passing plays than rushing. The Tigers are relying on Sean Coffey, Brad Ekwerekwu and Thomson Omboga, three of the teams more experienced receivers, to produce for the first team offense.

Comeback Cardinal

His rise to the major leagues was as quick as his high-90s fastball, his fall more devastating than his disappearing curveball.

Rick Ankiel’s story was the mind-boggling sort; a rookie phenom with the talent to earn a start in Game 1 of the playoffs only to inexplicably split apart at the seams on one of baseball’s biggest stages.

Extra Points

The Missouri soccer team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Illinois, 4-1 on Sunday in Champaign, Ill.

The Illini started their season opener with three goals in the first half. The Tigers scored in the second half with Jennifer Nobis earning her second goal of the season. The Illini capitalized on a cornerkick for their final goal.

Rams awaken against ’Skins

Perhaps it took an embarrassing outing to get the St. Louis Rams’ attention. With one preseason game left for them, it couldn’t have come at a better time.Four days after a 24-7 loss at Kansas City, the Rams rolled out offensive firepower befitting the nickname “Greatest Show on Turf,” bowling past the Washington Redskins 28-3 on Friday night.

Three Tigers vie for return duties

Although a diminutive player, Marcus James has left a big void on the MU football team.

James, a 5-foot-8 wide receiver whose eligibility has expired, produced nearly every time he touched the ball as a punt returner last season. James finished the season sixth in the nation averaging 14.5 yards, and Missouri’s Special Teams Player of the Year award for the second straight season.

Paige gets 20-game schedule

Paige Sports Arena will see plenty of action during its inaugural season.

The Missouri men’s basketball team announced its 2004-2005 schedule Friday, and it includes 20 games at the new 15,000-seat, $75 million facility.

Seniors set to lead Kewps

There was something in the air Saturday outside the Hickman High School football office.

It wasn’t only the dreary skies and an off-and-on drizzle.

For the Hickman football team, there was a subdued eagerness to begin the season after two 7-7 ties Friday night at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

Bruins try to find new stars

When the Rock Bridge football team plays Friday in Marshall, it will officially begin defending its North Central Missouri Conference title. The team will have to adjust after losing two key stars from last year.

After leading the Bruins to an 8-2 record with 2,630 passing yards and 30 touchdowns in 2003, quarterback Chase Patton will no longer pull a green and yellow jersey over his shoulder pads. Instead, he will be competing for playing time with the Missouri Tigers, as will last year’s tailback Van Alexander, who rushed for 760 yards and 14 touchdowns during his senior season at Rock Bridge.

Rain caps dreary week for Kewpies

For Hickman softball coach Courtney Haskell, it’s been one of those weeks.

After going 0-3 and getting outscored 33-3 to start the season, the team was leading Hannibal 2-1 in the second inning Saturday at the 16th annual Columbia College High School Invitational. Thunderstorms forced tournament officials to stop the game, though, and eventually end it as a draw.

Missouri soccer team wins opener

Senior Karen Bauer converted a penalty kick less than three minutes into overtime to give Missouri a 2-1 win against host Northwestern on Friday in the Tigers’ season opener.

After Northwestern goalkeeper Whitney Jones stopped a run at the goal by Jennifer Nobis, Nobis collected the rebound and was fouled inside the box to set up Bauer’s winner.

Experienced Cougars aim for success

For the 14 returning Columbia College men’s soccer players, frustration will be motivation this season.

Last year, after earning a No. 16 ranking and a spot at the national tournament, the team lost in the first round to end its season at 16-4-1.

Missouri rolls out backup quarterbacks

The college football world knows who Brad Smith is and what he can do.

As a result, Smith spent most of Thursday’s scrimmage, the final one scheduled this preseason, watching from the sideline as the Missouri football team let Brandon Coleman and Chase Patton handle most of the snaps. Smith ran the team for one series.

Competition drives new Bruins coach

Everybody who knows Beth Newton agrees on one thing: She hates to lose.

“It’s hard for me to play in recreational situations,” said Newton. “When I’m playing, I want to win.”