Archive for August 30, 2014

IU KOKOMO CLIPS MAPLE LEAFS FOR FIRST HOME WIN OF SEASON

Indiana University Kokomo Cougars

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – What a difference a week makes. After starting the season with five consecutive losses, the Indiana University Kokomo women’s volleyball squad is beginning to meet its lofty pre-season expectations. Two days after its first win of the season, the Cougars made it an official winning streak with a 25-14, 26-24, 25-23 victory over Goshen College.

“Each game, we get a little better. This was our best performance of the season so far,” said IUK head coach Heather Hayes. “They are a powerful offensive team, and we were able to pick up their shots. I think we got a glimpse of our potential tonight.”

The Cougars wasted little time in exerting its Cougar Gym home court advantage. After giving up the first point of the night, IU Kokomo soared to an 18-7 lead thanks to solid net play and a defense that Hayes said is quickly improving.

“I think we came out engaged for this game,” she said.

The Cougars looked to be on the way to an easy win in game two, leading 11-8 and continuing its strong defensive play. But Goshen showed some life and scored nine of 10 points to eventually lead 19-14. A kill from the strong arm of freshman Lexi Brickner (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) pointed Kokomo in the right direction, and back-to-back kills from Micayla Speidel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) pulled the Cougars to within one. Kokomo tied the contest three times down the stretch but found itself trailing 23-24 with Goshen serving. A strong play at the net by Kokomo’s Keeana Walton (Peru, Ind./Maconaquah) put the ball in the hands of server Casey Colgate (Indianapolis/Lutheran), who scored the final two points of the game thanks to a block from Walton and a soaring kill from Lindi Thomas (Parker City, Ind./Wapahani).

“I want to commend our team for being able to come back,” said Hayes. “That is something we haven’t been able to do in any match this year. So that is big. To do that against a good team shows how much we have come along in a short time.”

Kokomo again found itself with a quick 10-5 lead in the third game, only to allow Goshen to tie the contest at 18. The Maple Leafs (2-2) and Cougars would battle through four ties and three lead changes in the stretch run before Thomas sealed her second consecutive game with another kill – giving the Cougars its second win in three nights.

“I think we needed the win against Marian (University on Aug. 27) to gain some confidence,” said Hayes. “I knew we were capable. We showed more maturity tonight, especially since we are a still a young group; we only have one senior. We are only scratching the surface of our potential.”

Thomas led Kokomo with 14 kills (.233 hit percentage), 13 digs and a pair of aces. Speidel had eight kills and Elyse Younger (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) added seven. Setter Cortney Hanson (Logansport, Ind./Pioneer) ran the offense with a team-high 18 assists and an ace while libero Lael Larrick (Denver, Ind./North Miami) had 20 digs on defense. Kaleigh Ensley (Fort Wayne, Ind./Snider) finished with 14 digs and two aces. Colgate had a solid night with 12 assists and four digs.

The Cougars (2-5) hit the road for a three-game trip before returning to Cougar Gym on Sept. 11 for Military Appreciation Night. All veterans and active duty service personnel will be admitted free for the 7 p.m. contest against Indiana University East.

LEWIS CASS FOOTBALL: STACKED OFFENSIVE LINE SHOULD FREE KING RUNNERS

Football - Lewis Cass

BY DEREK SULLIVAN, Lewis Cass Student Contributor

WALTON, Ind. - As Lewis Cass students settle back into their class schedules this week, roughly 65 of the young men are spending their time after school wearing pads and helmets. The Lewis Cass Kings are looking to build on a mediocre 5-5 campaign from last season. Among those returning to their second year in the starting lineup are seniors Hunter Clark at linebacker, James Champ on the defensive line, Owen Ohman at quarterback and Leland Bowling at punter. Junior Conner Zeck, a defensive back, is moving from safety to cornerback.

While they have several key players back, younger players will need to step up to take the places of quality starters from last year. This seems to be the case every year in a high school system; seniors graduate and underclassmen come of age and take on bigger roles on the team.

Key projected starters on defense include Blaine Elliot, Shadd McLochlin and Cameron Rinehart on the defensive line. They join previous starter Champ to form a solid defensive front with a unique blend of size, strength and speed.

On offense, the Kings have a whole new set of weapons to replace the effective offense that Cass had last year. Jake Wilburn is the new starter at fullback while Bowling, Hunter Clark and Champ provide a great rotation of fresh legs at wing back. The offensive line is stacked with senior firepower with Seth Slusser, Rinehart, Noah Byers and Sam Martin.

This year the Kings have been chosen to play one of their conference games at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 23 at noon. This marks the third time the Kings have played in this stadium. The first game was a close loss to the Heritage Eagles in the 2008 2A state championship game.

Week one football preview

The Kings open up their season with a nonconference opponent, Pioneer. The Kings have played the Panthers to open the season for the past 10 years or so. Cass throttled the Panthers 29-0 last year and that was the biggest margin of victory by either team in the series between the county rivals. Pioneer, unlike Cass, returns most of their team from last year. Their starting lineup is dominated by juniors where as the majority of Cass’s starters are seniors.

This game will start a two-week home stand for the Kings before they head off the Lucas Oil to take on the Northwestern Tigers. Lewis Cass has high hopes this year; the senior class is very stout and when playing together as the highest ranking class, hasn’t lost a game since early their seventh grade year. The Kings’ are primed and ready for the season that lies ahead.

WESTERN FOOTBALL: NEW COACH WILL BRING NEW OFFENSIVE LOOK TO THE TRADITIONAL BLACK ATTACK

Football - Western

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. - In football, Western has a tradition of gritty, hard-nosed football. A blue collar style of the game. The program is known to stuff its opponents on defense and run the ball down their throats on offense. It has been that way for decades – the Black Attack. But Panther fans had better hold on because that is about to change.

“We are going to look different,” said first-year Western head coach Ron Jankovich. “We will throw the ball more. I think like a quarterback. It will be a little different than what they have seen for the last 49 years.”

Jankovich arrives to helm the black and white after a career as a quarterback at Lake Central High School and Bethel College in Tennessee. He served as Bethel’s quarterback’s coach and passing coordinator for the past two seasons. Jankovich takes over for Nate Andrews, who departed for his alma mater of NorthWood after two seasons and a 15-8 record.

“I spent time at Bethel as the (offensive coordinator), but thankfully I am able to come back up here to Indiana and coach,” he said. “Indiana is home, and I get to live out the dream as a head coach in my home state.”

Jankovich inherits a squad that was 9-2 last season and champions of the Mid-Indiana Conference at 6-1. But graduation losses will bite the Panthers, losing its top two rushers plus all-state offensive lineman Brett Boswell and all-state defensive lineman Russell McDorman. Like a lot of Howard County squads, the Panthers are young with just eight seniors on the varsity roster.

“It is a work in progress,” said Jankovich. “We are young, but that seems to be going around the conference. I really think we will grow quickly. We had a great off-season in the weight room, so I think we are more athletic than a year ago.”

With an offensive mindset, Jankovich will look to junior Jacob Douglass and freshman Tyler Knepley to fill the role of quarterback in his new passing scheme. A trio of juniors are slotted to run the ball in Cameron Dessing, Nolan Stout and Brooklyn Watters. Senior Quintin Fields, junior Min Park and freshman Ricky Bearden will compete for fullback responsibilities. Senior Kyle Vail will return to tight end, and senior Jake Stout and junior Tanner Heady are in line to catch passes.

“These kids are amazing,” said Jankovich. “When I got here we had 50-some kids in summer weights. They are excited to be here and they work hard. That is all I can ask for. I feel comfortable, and I think the kids do to.”

Jankovich plans to use a base 3-3 stack on defense, and will return the squads top two tacklers from a year ago. Filling the linebacker spots are senior Corey Hinkle, who had 72 tackles and earned junior all-state honors last season, and Fields, who had 76 tackles.

“Corey was an all-state wrestler too, and he can flat out play ball,” said Jankovich. “He is a game-changer. When Corey puts his head down and does what he is supposed to do, he is tough.

“And Fields, Jake Stout, Vail – these guys are all going to contribute in a big way on offense and defense. I like our senior class. We may not have 30 guys, but we have 80 football players, and I think that is what we need. I think people look too much into the numbers. We are in a good situation.”

Football season has returned to Russiaville, but not in the form Panther Nation is used to. What was once a controlled game now will see the pigskin fly though the air on a regular basis. And with this being the last year of the MIC, it should be an exciting year for the Western Panthers and its new coach.