In less than a week, the Missouri football team will begin its 2005 season with much to prove. After last season’s 5-6 disappointment, highlighted by a five-game losing streak late in the year, Missouri enters this season with a new offense, a new set of uniforms, and a new attitude. Here’s a game-by-game preview of the Tigers’ 2005 schedule. Complete with predictions and analysis, the Missourian takes an up-close look at each opponent, beginning with the opener Sept. 3.
The Missouri men’s basketball schedule, released Saturday by the university’s athletic department, has the Tigers slated to play 27 games in 2005 (with a possibility for as many as 30), including 10 games against teams that qualified for the postseason a year ago. The Tigers begin the regular season in the opening round of the Preseason NIT with a Nov. 14 game against Sam Houston State in Columbia, with the winner facing either Drexel or Princeton in the second round, and the winner of that game earning a trip to New York City for the semifinals and finals of the tournament, held Nov. 23 and Nov. 25, respectively.
Children ran around doing cartwheels on the floor of Hearnes Center while a few hundred people waited in line to get autographs from the Missouri volleyball team after its Black and Gold match on Friday. Allowing fans on the court and signing autographs isn’t a one-time deal for the Missouri volleyball players. They do it for every game. The team prides itself on being fan friendly and reaching out to the community as much as possible. The team and coaches know how much the fan support helps them throughout the season, so the Tigers do whatever it can to give back to the fans and share its passion for the sport.
No one stirred in the Mavericks’ bullpen as right-hander Brett Smith sputtered through a shaky three-run first inning Saturday night. His teammates didn’t appear uneasy, either. They were steeled with the knowledge that Wes Hutchinson, the River City Rascals’ regular third baseman, would be taking the mound against them.
Gary Pfau has played baseball, coached baseball, and now hosts baseball players. Pfau and his sons, Chris, 15, and Brandon, 4, host Mavericks pitcher Augie Rodriguez and pitching coach Quentin Jones in their home in Columbia.
The younger, less experienced Black team defeated Gold 2-0 (30-25, 30-25) in the Missouri volleyball team's Black and Gold game. The Black team had five freshmen, while the Gold team only had one. Juniors Nicole Wilson and Jessica Vander Kooi of the Black team led all players with 10 kills each.
The Missouri football team made four years’ worth of plans for Labor Day weekend on Thursday. The St. Louis Sports Commission announced that the Tigers signed a four-year contract, starting in 2007, to play Illinois at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The games will be played on the first weekend in September, meaning the rivalry game likely will be the season opener for each team through 2010.
Karla Kruse is used to pressure situations. Against St. Joseph’s Academy in the Final Four of last year’s Class 2 team competition, a berth for the Rock Bridge girl’s tennis team in the state championship came down to Kruse and her partner Kirsten Stople at No. 2 doubles. And while Kruse and Stople came up just short, Kruse is ready for another chance.
Ken Ash, Show-Me State Games executive director, is not shy about expressing his goals for participation in the event. “We’d like to get everyone in Missouri to participate,” he said.
Mavericks’ co-owner and president Gary Wendt is planning to cowboy up. He mailed letters to season-ticket holders earlier this week, giving them a choice in how they wanted half of their money refunded.
The horde of sorority co-eds wasn’t sure what to do. The Mavericks’ four-run, five-hit opening inning was unfolding before the girls as they took their seats Thursday night at Taylor Stadium.
Bryan Blitz isn’t short on praise for his team. But the Missouri women’s soccer coach found a reason to stop a rainy practice two days before the season opener against Arizona. The coach was dismayed because the entire Tiger defense was caught out of position on a ball controlled by a wide-open Erica Pusch. Pusch stood at midfield near the right sideline with no one around her for 10 yards. She had ample space and time to decide what to do with the ball while the other defenders were positioned either too far from Pusch or too close to the players on the left side of the field.
It’s the first week of classes, but Jenna Holdmeyer knows her team is acing chemistry. The Columbia College volleyball team, No. 3 in the NAIA poll, lost nine players, including three All-Americans, from last year’s 43-6 squad. But Holdmeyer, a senior, is already impressed with how quickly this year’s Cougars have bonded. She said she was initially nervous about how well this team would work together.
Derrick Ming could feel it. Missouri’s weakside linebacker knew Wednesday afternoon’s session at the football practice fields was dragging.
After stepping up unexpectedly in place of injured quarterback Blake Tekotte at the start of Hickman’s 2004 football season, senior Andrew Perkins is ready to go this year. “Last year was weird because he (Tekotte) went down,” Perkins said. “I focused on defense early in the season, so then I just tried to focus on executing the offense as best I could for the rest of the year. This year I’ve been the guy since Day 1, and my expectations for myself are much higher.”
Missouri golfer Shawn Jasper had two firsts Wednesday. Jasper advanced to the match play portion of his first U.S. Amateur Championship, and he made his first hole-in-one. The one first that he didn’t have was a victory in the first round. Gary Wolstenholme of England defeated Jasper 1-up at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Although All-American Lindsey Hunter says this year’s Missouri volleyball team could be the best in school history, she still enters her senior season with the same attitude as previous years. “Nothing’s really changed,” Hunter said. “I have high expectations for us, but I do every year.”
Leslie Fischer placed third in Rock Bridge’s first girls’ golf competition with an 85 at the Warrensburg Lady Tiger Invitational. Notre Dame de Sion’s Sally Meiners won with a 75. The Lady Bruins took second in the nine-team tournament with a 365, finishing behind Notre Dame de Sion (339).
Three doubleheaders will be included in the Mid-Missouri Mavericks’ final home games to make up rainouts. The Mavericks will play twinbills against the River City Rascals at 6:05 p.m. on today and Saturday. The third doubleheader takes place at 5:05 p.m. Sunday against the Rockford RiverHawks. The Mavericks three remaining home games will be played Friday, Monday, and Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. undefined
The hurt is still there. You can see it in the players’ eyes and uneasy body language as they answer questions day after day, week after week. Trying to figure out, trying to put into words what happened to their brother, their teammate, their friend.