Monthly Archives: November 2008

Rolling Mustangs season opener

Originally Published: November 19, 2008

The Southwest Minnesota State University Rolling Mustangs opened their 2008-2009 season at home with a doubleheader against the University of Wisc.-Whitewater. The Mustangs are coming off a successful season, finishing in fifth place at the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament last March.

However, the Mustangs struggled in the first two games of the season, dropping both to UWW. In the first game of the day, the Rolling Mustangs had a bad field goal percentage and struggled with foul trouble for the duration of the contest. SMSU lost the game by 15 points, 56-41. Southwest senior Evan Thorn fouled out after only playing 16 minutes in the loss, down from his average of 36 minutes per game last season. He finished the contest with only two points, seven rebounds and six assists.

When Thorn went out with foul trouble, fellow senior Nathaniel Carruth took over. Carruth finished the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds, playing all 40 minutes in the contest. Freshman newcomer Kyle Timmerman also chipped in, adding 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

An hour later, the two teams strapped in to play another game. In this matchup, the Rolling Mustangs continued to struggle from the field, only connecting on 31.9 percent of their shots. On the other side, UWW was executing their possessions. Southwest lost game two 73-46. Leading the way for the Mustangs was Thorn, who scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists in the loss. Carruth also added ten points, ten rebounds and eight assists for SMSU.

The Rolling Mustangs will travel over 1,000 miles this weekend to Edinboro, Penn. They will play two games Friday against the Edinboro University Fighting Scots.

Mustang men begin season with win

Originally Published: November 5, 2008

Mustang fans got their first chance to see their team in action Friday versus St. Olaf in exhibition play. Southwest Minnesota State University defeated the Oles 97-70 in front of an announced crowd of 512 people.

The game was tight for the first ten minutes of action. With just under nine minutes remaining in the half, the Mustangs scored ten unanswered points over the next three minutes to break the game wide open. The Mustangs went into the half with a 45-30 lead. In the first three minutes of the second half, the Mustangs extended their lead over 20 points and they never looked back to pick up the 27-point win.

Southwest had a balanced attack all night, with no one playing over 19 minutes in the game. All 13 Mustangs who entered the game scored at least four points. Junior Nick Dale and sophomore Taylor Huseby led the attack, each scoring ten points in the win.

This weekend, Southwest will travel to Anaheim, Calif., to take part in the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic from Nov. 7-9. While there, the Mustangs will officially open regular season play with three games against stiff competition. After opening up the tournament against the University of Alaska-Anchorage, they will play games against Humboldt State University and Fort Lewis College.

FLC is the 24th-ranked team in the NABC Division II Preseason Coaches’ Poll released on Oct. 30. All three opponents qualified for the NCAA tournament last year, with UAA advancing to the national semifinals.

Those games will all be at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Be sure to check http://www.SMSUMustangs.com for team updates, as well as for box scores and game summaries.

The Mustangs next home action will be Nov. 14 against Northwestern College (Minn.). It will be the final exhibition game before resuming nonconference play on the road.

Women’s basketball starts at Disney

Originally Published: November 5, 2008

The Southwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team got off to a hot start this weekend, as they went 2-1 at the Disney East Coast Tip-Off Classic.

The Mustangs were off and rolling after a stunning upset of Delta State, who was ranked 12th in the nation and was in last year’s Division II national semifinals. Southwest defeated the Lady Statemen 66-51. Senior center Heidi Kimmes led the Mustangs’ charge, scoring 12 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking two shots. Senior forward Sara Leidall also added 12 points and four rebounds in the win. Southwest played tough defense throughout, holding Delta State to just 34 percent shooting and forcing 18 turnovers.

In game two of the weekend, SMSU faced American International. Despite struggling on offense for much of the game, the Mustangs won 66-60. Leidall led the Mustangs with 20 points and seven rebounds. The Mustangs only shot 37.3 percent on field goals but a stellar defensive performance held the Yellow Jackets to 32.2 percent shooting. Southwest was ahead for the entire game.

The final game of the road trip was Sunday against South Carolina-Aiken. Unfortunately, the Mustangs were not able to come home with an undefeated record. SMSU lost to the Pacers 76-63.

Leidall again was the Mustangs’ leading scorer with 18 points. However, she struggled early on, only scoring four of her points in the first half. Leidall also led SMSU with five rebounds. Kimmes added 15 points in the loss but most of her points were in the first half.

The Mustangs are back in action on Sunday with an exhibition game in Brookings, S.D., against South Dakota State University. They will then return home for three non-conference games, beginning Nov. 15 versus Chadron State College. Game time is set for 2 p.m.

Are you ready for some basketball?

Originally Published: October 23, 2008

It is that time of year again. Leaves are turning colors, temperatures are dropping, people are putting their golf clubs into storage for the winter and basketballs are beginning to bounce on campuses all across the nation. The same is true here on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University, where the men’s basketball team has begun practice in preparation for their upcoming 2008-2009 basketball season.

Mustang practice actually began early this year, as they were granted ten extra days of practice in preparation for an exhibition game they played earlier this month. According to men’s associate head coach, Brad Bigler, the extra practice was beneficial because “it gave the team more team time on the court.”

This year’s edition of Mustang basketball will have a different feel, as the team graduated two players who both finished their respective careers ranked as one of the top ten scorers in program history, as well as finishing first and third all-time in three-point field goal percentage.

Matt Fletcher finished his career sixth on the all-time scoring list with 1,375 points, connected on a program best 44.8 percent of three-pointers. Travis Krenske scored 1,115 points in his three-year career at Southwest, good for tenth in school history. He also converted on 41.3 percent of his three-point field goal attempts, only trailing former Mustangs Brian Wiersma and Fletcher.

“It’s obviously tough to replace arguably the best two shooters in school history,” Bigler said. “Our emphasis this year will different from previous years when we took a high percentage of three-point shots.”

Key returners for the Mustangs include seniors Ryan Krome and Ross DeMasi, and juniors Kevin Andrews and Andrew Peschong. DeMasi comes in as the top returning scorer and rebounder on the team, scoring 9.6 points per game and averaging 6.8 rebounds in each contest a year ago for a Mustang team that finished with an overall record of 17-12, narrowly missing an NCAA Division II playoff berth.

“When you look at Krome, Beilke and DeMasi, they have a lot of minutes under their belt and have been a major part of building our team to where it is today,” said Bigler. “Their best attribute is how hard they work and how they carry themselves on a daily basis.”

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference underwent a makeover during the summer months when four members of the now-defunct North Central Conference were granted membership. Even though he says SMSU’s schedule will not change much with the additions, Bigler feels the two teams will make the NSIC “as good as any conference in the nation.”

The team will be playing with heavy hearts after the death of former Mustang Andy Wiersma, who died in a car accident over the summer. The team is wearing a patch with his initials “AW” on the back of each jersey.

“We all miss him very much,” said Bigler. “We know he is in a better place.”
The Mustangs will host their first game of the season Oct. 31 in an exhibition matchup against St. Olaf College. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m. in the R/A Facility.

Mustangs put on a show

Originally Published: October 23, 2008

All three basketball programs at Southwest Minnesota State University kicked off their seasons on Thursday at the annual Late Night Show, which gave fans an opportunity to get their first look at each team. The men’s, women’s and wheelchair basketball teams each held a scrimmage. Each team also had individuals who participated in various contests throughout the evening.

After the team introductions, the wheelchair basketball team held the first scrimmage of the night. The Rolling Mustangs are led by senior captains Evan Thorn and Nathan Carruth, and are coached by co-head coaches Lew Shaver and Paul Weiland. Their season begins Nov. 8 with two home games against Wisconsin-Whitewater. The first game starts at 10 a.m. with the second game at 1 p.m., both in the PE Gym. Over the course of the season, the Rolling Mustangs will travel over 7,500 miles to games in five different states.

Up next was the women’s basketball team. The Mustangs are coached by Mike Jewett, who is entering his third season as the head women’s basketball coach. The team finished at 12-16 overall and 7-11 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last year. Most of last year’s team is back, only losing Laura VanOverbeke to graduation. Their season begins Oct. 31 when they travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. for three games in three days at the Disney East Coast Tip-Off Classic.

The three-point contest was next. In the competition between wheelchair basketball seniors Carruth and Thorn, Carruth finally won in the second tiebreaker round. In the competition for bragging rights between the men’s and women’s basketball teams, senior Abby Oakland defeated senior Andy Beilke for her second win in as many years.

Speaking of Beilke, he is one of three seniors on this year’s edition of the men’s basketball team. Joining him are seniors Ross DeMasi and Ryan Krome. Last year, the Mustangs finished with a record of 17-12, narrowly missing a playoff berth. SMSU will open up the year in Anaheim, Calif. at the Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic Nov. 7-9. Before that, they will play a home exhibition game Oct. 31 against St. Olaf College and travel to face South Dakota State University Nov. 3 in Brookings, S.D.

The highlight of the evening was the dunk contest. The contestants were junior Kevin Andrews, redshirt freshman Kevin Smith, freshman Lavione West and DeMasi. Andrews was the winner in last year’s competition and the first dunk he attempted made him look like he practiced all offseason. He completed the dunk with the help of junior teammate Andrew Peschong, who “headed” the ball soccer-style off the backboard to Andrews for the assist. For his second dunk, Andrews attempted to dunk by going over 6’10” junior teammate Nick Dale, who lifted him towards the rim for the slam.

However, the spotlight during the contest was on West, who did not disappoint. He won the dunk contest with nothing lower than a perfect score of 30. Perhaps his most impressive dunk was when he jumped over teammates Krome and Beilke, who were standing in front of the rim.

For more information on the three basketball teams represented at the Late Night Show, go to http://www.SMSUMustangs.com.

Anything but normal: Mustangs win a thrilling victory over Winona Warriors

Originally Published: October 22, 2008

Since the beginning of this decade, games between Southwest Minnesota State University and Winona State University were somewhat predictable because. It was clear from the beginning that the matchup between these two teams was not like those of years past.

From 2001 through 2007, the Mustangs were not able to muster a win, with last year’s game as the only one within two touchdowns. That game was a thriller, with the Mustangs dropping the game 49-46 in double overtime. Last year, the Mustangs could not stop Warrior running back Alex Wiese, who has since graduated. Coming into Saturday’s game, Head Coach Eric Eidsness was without a win in his career versus WSU.

The two teams also came into the game on Saturday on opposite ends of the spectrum in statistical rankings in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Warriors were one of the top ranked rushing offenses with the Mustangs near the bottom of the rankings in defending the run. In addition, the Mustangs came in with one of the strongest passing attacks while the Warriors were near the bottom of the conference in pass defense.

Both teams used their strengths to exploit the other team’s weakness. It would come down to the final quarter to determine the outcome of the game. After senior kicker Scott Talcott converted on a 37-yard field goal, the Mustangs led 27-14 with 11:14 left in the game and appeared to have the game under control.

However, the Warriors would not give up, as they fought their way back into the game. In a span of several minutes, the Warriors scored two touchdowns on passes from Amir Ross to Tyrre Burks. The Warriors converted the extra point to recapture the lead 28-27.

Senior quarterback Josh Shudlick still had six minutes to work his magic. Five plays into the drive, the Mustangs had the ball at the 23-yard line. Shudlick dropped back to pass and found junior wide receiver Blake Wilson open in the end zone for the 23-yard touchdown strike. The two-point conversion was successful and the Mustangs were up by a score of 35-28.

The Warriors were not able to answer and the Mustangs picked up the thrilling victory. With the win, the Mustangs improved to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the NSIC. This week, the Mustangs will travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., to face the Vikings of Augustana College. Game time will be 1 p.m. on Saturday. You can watch the game live online at http://www.northernsun.tv or listen to the game on KARL 105.1 FM.

Disappointment strikes the REC with homecoming loss

Originally Published: October 22, 2008

The Mustang football team played a tough game but was defeated by the Wayne State Wildcats 34-28 to spoil the homecoming festivities. With the loss, the Mustangs dropped to 2-3 overall, including 2-2 in the NSIC.

The Wildcats pulled away in the second quarter to take a halftime lead 17-7. Coming out of the locker room, WSC continued to play well, scoring two more times in the third quarter. Without an interception by redshirt freshman Nate Finkney earlier in the quarter, the Mustangs would have been down by three possessions 40 minutes into the game. However, the Mustangs were able to connect on a pass from senior quarterback Josh Shudlick to cut the Wildcat lead to 31-21 with one quarter left to play.

After a Wildcat field goal, the Mustang offense went back to work. A 12-play, 73-yard drive brought the Mustangs down the field; it was capped-off by a Shudlick pass to sophomore wide receiver Bret Ballantine. However, the drive took too much time off the clock. With just one minute remaining, a failed onside kick attempt sealed the fate of the Mustangs, losing 34-28.

Shudlick completed 33 of 48 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. However, Shudlick got sacked three times and threw one interception. Junior runningback Zach Wysong had a busy day, as he was both the leading rusher and receiver for the Mustangs. Wysong carried the rock 14 times for 45 yards and caught ten passes for 74 yards in the game. Senior placekicker Scott Talcott struggled on Saturday, missing all three of his field goal attempts from distances of 38, 39 and 47 yards.

One for the ages

Originally Published: September 24, 2008

When you are on the losing sideline, last second defeats can be disheartening. Think about plays like “The Music City Miracle” (Tennessee Titans over Buffalo Bills), “The Play” (Stanford band charging the field), “The Pass” (Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan), “The Immaculate Reception” (Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris) and “The Drive” (John Elway in 1986 AFC Championship Game). These are all nationally well-known game-winning plays or drives that have catapulted a team into victory.

Last year, the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs were on the wrong end of one of these plays against the University of Mary Marauders. It happened when quarterback Blair Sandy threw a pass to receiver Mike Williams for an 85-yard game-winning touchdown with just 23 seconds remaining.

However, the Mustangs were able to taste victory in last-second fashion against Upper Iowa University on Saturday. After giving up a 24-yard field goal with just 21 seconds left in the game, junior Levi Bullerman returned the kickoff to the SMSU 46.

Now with just 20 seconds left in the game, the Mustang coaching staff put the game in the hands of senior quarterback Josh Shudlick. Shudlick didn’t disappoint them, as on the first play of the drive, he launched a 54-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sean Patrick O’Leary to take the lead. It was the Mustangs’ first lead since going ahead by a field goal on the first drive of the game.

On the game, Shudlick led the Mustangs’ passing attack by completing 23 of 35 passes for 332 yards and 3 TDs. He completed a pass to eight different SMSU receivers. Leading the team in receiving was junior Blake Wilson as he caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Mustang ground game was led by junior Zach Wysong, who carried the ball 21 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Wysong also caught five passes out of the backfield.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior Tyler Reed led the charge with ten tackles. Junior Aaron Diggs, senior Brad Wolf, and redshirt freshman Derek Klinkner all added 8 tackles while junior Bryce Haessley chipped in with seven.

The win for the Mustangs improved their record to 2-2 on the season, while Upper Iowa drops to 1-3. Next up for the Mustangs is a home game against Wayne State College on Sept. 27. This will be the annual SMSU Homecoming game. Opening kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

Volleyball continues record start

Originally Published: September 24, 2008

After Saturday’s victory over Minnesota State University, the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs volleyball team is off to its best start in program history at 13-1. The Mustangs have not lost a match since their second match, on Aug. 29 against Nova Southeastern. They were the No. 9-ranked team in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll released Sept. 15.

The Mustangs’ attack is led by senior middle blocker Kasey Loeslie, who, on Sept 15, was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Week. Loeslie had 58 kills (4.14/set) in four matches to lead SMSU to a 4-0 record at the Concordia-St. Paul Classic. The Mustangs faced some stiff competition at the CSP Classic, including matches versus No. 8 Augustana College and No. 5-ranked Truman State University. Southwest won the matches 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.

After a road trip to Wayne, Ne., sweeping the Wildcats 3-0, the Mustangs would return home to face the MSU Mavericks. The Mavericks came into town with a record of 5-7 after being swept the previous Tuesday by Augustana.

The Mustangs would start the first set of the match slow, as they were down 4-0 before Coach Terry Culhane called the team’s first timeout. Southwest came out with a vengeance after the time out, proceeding to score the next seven points of the set. After a back and forth battle, the Mustangs finally took control of the set late, winning 25-21.

It was a dominating performance by SMSU to win the second set 25-14 but the Mavericks came back to win set three by two – 25-23. In the fourth set, neither team wanted to lose. Mankato was trying their best to avoid defeat for at least one more set, while Southwest did not want this match to go to a fifth set. After Loeslie recorded a kill to tie the set at 29, the Mustangs forced two Maverick attack errors to win the set 31-29 and the match 3-1.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, the Mustangs faced the No. 2-ranked Concordia University, St. Paul Golden Bears. Check the next edition of The SMSU Spur for a complete recap of this match.
The next home action for the Mustangs will be Oct. 3 versus Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Opening serve is set for 7 p.m.

Last-second loss

Originally Published: Sptember 10, 2008

With just eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, it was receiver Jamie January pulling in a 20 yard reception that gave the Yellow Jackets from Black Hills State University the 21-14 lead and the win. The loss drops the Mustangs to 1-1 on the year, while the Yellow Jackets are 1-0.

The second annual Ag Bowl and the Grand Opening of the Regional Event Center was a wet and wild affair and the weather conditions affected the Mustangs’ passing attack. Senior quarterback Josh Shudlick struggled, only completing six of 22 passes for just 67 yards in the game.

The Mustangs were on the scoreboard first as they capped off a 41-yard, 11-play drive on a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Zach Wysong with 3:19 left in the first quarter. BHSU tied the score midway through the second quarter on a 12-yard passing play.

BHSU took advantage of a SMSU special teams mistake to take over the lead. On fourth and five from the BHSU 46-yard line, a Mustang was flagged for running into the kicker and the Yellow Jackets were awarded a first down on the SMSU 49-yard line. BHSU then proceeded to drive 49 yards, capping off the drive on a one yard run by their quarterback to take the lead.

Seven plays later, Wysong delivered again on a three yard run to tie the score at 14-14. That was the score until the final drive when January crossed the goal line for the win.

The Mustang offense finished the game with just 192 yards of total offense. This was the first game Southwest was held under 200 yards of total offense since Nov. 4, 2006, when Winona State held the Mustangs to just 169 total yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Mike Liggins led the Mustangs with a career high ten tackles and one forced fumble. Junior Bryce Haessley added seven tackles, while senior Tyler Reed tackled six Yellow Jackets.

The Mustangs will return to conference play on Thursday when they will face the Bulldogs of the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports Television and regionally on Fox Sports Net North.