Monday, November 9, 2009

Wildcat Updates and Cat Chat’s Super Regional 3 preview

The women's soccer team ended their season in the GLIAC tournament as they won their first ever home postseason game over Findlay (overall record) 2-1. Johnson and Stephens scored for the ‘Cats to get a 2-0 lead, but a desperation setup by the Oilers allowed them to score on Senior Goalie Kara Music. The ‘Cats then lost to the eventual GLIAC champs, Grand Valley, 9-1. Senior Emily Lockery scored the only goal on a penalty kick. The soccer team had 7 seniors: Lockery, Music and fellow keeper Dana Bush, forward Ashley DeKeyser, defenders Joanna Kiilunen, Celia Sturos, and Kaelah Mizzi.

The cross country team ended their season as well last Saturday at the NCAA Midwest regionals, finishing 13th. Freshman Olivia Juntilla was the first Wildcat to finish with a 23:52. Jenny Wiedmeyer, Bibiane Mahy, Rita Woitas, and Kristin Schulz also scored for the ‘Cats. Grand Valley won the regional scoring only 23 points and Ferris State’s Christine Muir was the individual winner with a 21:34.

The Swimming & Diving team fought a tough rivalry meet against former NMU coach Jon Wilson and his new team in UW-Oshkosh, as the Wildcats fell to the Titans 117-120. The meet came to the very last event, as the 200 Free Relay team of Sawka, Klin, Backman, and Stedman was .18 seconds behind the host team. Next action is at the Calvin College Invite in Grand Rapids. Box score

Super Regional 3 Preview

3 GLIAC teams made the Super Regional 3 playoffs in football, bringing with it some much deserved respect for the conference. Grand Valley (10-1, L31-19 @ GV) gets the bye, while Saginaw Valley (9-2, W23-20 @ SV) is in the fifth seed and Hillsdale (9-2, L35-24 @NMU) gets the sixth and final spot.

#5 SVSU @ #4 Nebraska-Kearney (10-1 RMAC champs). SVSU has the advantage in terms of playoff experience as the Cardinals are 4-5 in the postseason, while the host Lopers are 2-6 all time and 0-4 at home in the playoffs. The home team will want the ball on the ground as the UNK led the RMAC in rushing offense (258.1 ypg) and rushing defense (76.3 ypg). However the rushing D of SVSU is nothing to laugh at either giving up only 88.1 ypg. Winner will play defending D2 champs UM-Duluth.

Key matchup: Dowdell vs UNK secondary: The Indiana State transfer has 11 TD’s and picks this season and is 10th in the GLIAC for passing efficiency while UNK gave up the least amount of passing TD’s in the RMAC this year. In the last 5 wins for the Cardinals, Dowdell was 53-92-3 with 6 TD’s, but the opponents’ combined overall record was 16-38 with 13 of those wins by Ashland and Findlay. UNK got 14 picks, and gave up 218.1 ypg this season.

Prediction: Saginaw Valley’s only shot to win is with a balanced offense and I just don’t think Dowdell can open up the passing game enough to do this. UNK wins their first home playoff game 17-10.

#6 Hillsdale @ #3 Minnesota State (10-1, NSIC south champs) This is the first home playoff game for the Mavericks, while the Chargers will play their first postseason game since the NAIA playoffs in ’88. MSU was the first seed in the regional until a last week loss at the hands of St. Cloud State sent them to the 3 seed. Hillsdale barely hung onto a playoff spot as their SOS fell like a rock the last weeks of the season, but had the huge win over Grand Valley at their homecoming earlier this season. Turnovers will be the big key for this game as MSU had a +14 TO ratio, but was -3 with 9 fumbles in their loss and 2 overtime games this year. Winner will play Grand Valley in Allendale.

Key Matchup: Hillsdale Passing vs. MSU defense: Troy Weatherhead is probably one of the most underlooked QB’s in the GLIAC with Iciek and Cundiff getting a lot of the fame, but Weatherhead leads in passing yards and is third in efficiency. He also has two of the top WR in the GLIAC with Kegg and Holmes (1&3 in GLIAC with receptions). MSU has given up over 200 ypg in the air this year and has only 9 picks.

Prediction: Hillsdale o-line can handle the Mavericks pressure and when the passing gets old, the power running backs of the Chargers will win it. Hillsdale 27- MSU 14

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