Writer gives out grades for spring and fall teams

Nick Hartley

Nick Hartley

This spring has not been great for some teams on campus. Weather, injuries and coaching changes have inundated some teams, while others hold strong and work toward high expectations for next year. With spring only about a month old, some teams are waiting for it to end. However, with the beginning of spring also comes the end of the year. What does this spring hold in store for some teams busy on campus?

A look at the volleyball team shows a lot of question marks this spring. Injuries have hit Mackenzie Angner and Annie Adams, leaving coach Palileo short handed at times. Speaking of coach Palileo, his name surfaced last week as an applicant for a head coaching opening at Florida Gulf Coast University. Combined with the recent announcement by Drake University naming Phil McDaniel head coach, the Jacks could be in for a long year. One bright spot comes later this month when the Jacks will announce some late signings for the 2008 season.

Football has been a victim of the weather this spring as a few of the spring practice dates had to be postponed. Even though Coach Stig has his work cut out for him this spring, do not expect the football team to be lazy. The Gateway Football Conference, which soon could be called the Missouri Valley Conference, is the best conference in the Football Championship Series and produces some of the best games week in, week out. The Jacks lost many weapons but hope to plug those holes this spring and fall, as they are eligible for a National Championship.

Softball has also faced the wrath of spring; multiple games have been moved due to weather. Fortunately, coach Lane has had the team ready to play at a moment’s notice. They have responded by not missing a beat, going 5-1 in the six moved games and are currently in the hunt for a conference championship. Compared with last year, the Jacks softball team is en fuego with a new breath of life not seen in many years. The best news for the Jacks: eight of their last 16 games are supposed to be played on campus, giving the road-weary Jacks a chance to play in front of a home crowd to boost their energy.

The baseball team has been in the same boat as softball and has found themselves in Omaha for home games. Coach Christiansen and staff hope like heck they can get at least one home game in this year at the still unfinished Huether Field. Illnesses have also affected the team as the Jacks have been without key players this spring. With roughly half of their remaining games at home, the Jacks have hopes of moving above .500 on the season.

On the pitch, coach Wedemeyer and the soccer team come into spring with high expectations. After many predicted the Jacks to be cellar dwellers in the conference last year, the Jacks surprised many with a third-place finish in conference. As this spring progresses, the team will prepare themselves for next year against top teams in the region. The Jacks have a solid team coming back and already have five commitments for 2009. This could be a break out year for the Jacks as they hope to make a run to the NCAA tourney.

Finally, I want to pass on my congratulations to Phil McDaniel for being named the coach at Drake University. Those of us who know Phil, know how great he is and know that he will make an even greater head coach. Congrats Phil, you have earned this position; you will be greatly missed around here.