Archive for October 28, 2015

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS TO PLAY OHIO UNIVERSITY IN BASEBALL AT KOKOMO MUNICIPAL STADIUM IN MARCH 2016

Purdue Baseball

Editor’s note: The Sports Journal (via Purdue University) was the first media outlet to report this story on October 20, but it only became official on October 28 after all parties signed contracts.

The Purdue University and the Ohio University baseball teams will take the field at Kokomo Municipal Stadium for a three-game set in March 2016. The Boilermakers and the Bobcats will play March 18, 19 and 20 at the stadium in non-conference action.

Purdue baseball coach Doug Schreiber said that Kokomo Municipal Stadium is a natural fit for the Boilers and it offers advantages for March baseball in Indiana.

“We are excited to be able to play so close to home early in the season,” Schreiber said. “Our season starts in February and we have to head south. This will be the first opportunity for us to play close to home.”

Schreiber also pointed to the turf at KMS as being a benefit.

“With the weather in Indiana, you never know what you are going to get,” Schreiber said. “So this state-of-the-art stadium is a great place to play for us.”

Mayor Greg Goodnight sees this as just another great use of the stadium.

“Since the stadium is used primarily for collegiate-level baseball, this is a perfect extension,” Goodnight said. “Our fans get to see top-level collegiate baseball up close with a Big Ten team. It shines a spotlight on a great facility and the outside visitors will have a positive economic impact.”

Kokomo Municipal Stadium, home of the Prospect League’s Kokomo Jackrabbits, was named best summer-collegiate ballpark in June by Ballparkdigest.com.

The Jackrabbits are thrilled to see other collegiate baseball at the stadium as well.

“It is always nice to see other events there,” said Kokomo Jackrabbits general manager John Perszyk. “It will bring more people from the surrounding area into the city, which is our goal. There are plenty of Purdue alumni in the area as well.”

Courtesy of the City of Kokomo

ON THE BRINK OF HISTORY: IU KOKOMO ONE WIN AWAY FROM SCHOOL’S FIRST-EVER CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

IU Kokomo junior libero Kaleigh Ensley. (SJ Photo/Slater Young)

IU Kokomo junior libero Kaleigh Ensley. (SJ Photo/Slater Young)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – One more win. Only one win separates the Indiana University Kokomo women’s volleyball team and the school’s first-ever berth in a national tournament. Last Saturday at the Cougar Gym, IUK knocked off two conference foes to improve to 10-0 in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, and in the process, moved to within one contest of clinching the regular season title – something no Cougar’s team has ever done.

IU Kokomo started the Saturday afternoon tri-match with a 3-1 victory (25-10, 25-15, 23-25, 25-8) over Rio Grande University and closed the day with a 3-0 win (25-9, 25-12, 25-18) over Carlow University to improve to 29-2 on the season. The 29 wins are a new school record, as is the current 19-match win streak. The Cougars can clinch the regular season title and an automatic berth in the 2015 NAIA Volleyball National Championships with a victory over IU East in Richmond on Thursday night.

“We had a great weekend,” said Cougars head coach Heather Hayes. “The Taylor match that we played (on October 23) took a lot out of us, so I was worried about our fatigue going into our two conference matches today. We came in ready to play and earned two more conference victories.”

KIAC Sports Information Director Kevin Taylor explained that the conference has two berths into the national tournament this year. The KIAC only had one last year.

“Since the KIAC added two schools and both play volleyball, it bumped the number of volleyball teams in the conference to 13,” said Taylor. “The NAIA awards automatic bids to the conferences for every six teams that you have in your conference. KIAC volleyball has two automatic bids to the NAIA national tournament this year; the first one will go to the regular season champion and the second will go to the KIAC Tournament champion.”

Against Rio Grande, Lexi Brickner led the Cougars attack with 13 kills while defending with four blocks. Lindi Thomas added 12 kills and 22 digs while serving up a trio of aces. Nicole Sandmann defended the net with six blocks and had nine kills on offense. Senior Rachel Allen and junior libero Kaleigh Ensley guarded the floor with 19 digs. Cortney Hanson led IU Kokomo with 24 assists, 17 digs and a pair of aces while Colgate added 18 assists.

Hanson, who serves as a team captain with Allen, joined the 800 Digs Club during the weekend games. She owns the school record in career assists with 2,791 and is third in career digs at 804. Ensley is second in career digs with 1,140.

“This team continues to be focused and driven towards reaching their team goals,” said Hayes, who now owns an 82-21 record in three season at IUK.

Thrilling comeback at Taylor

The night before the conference tri-match, the Cougars found themselves in a 2-0 hole before rallying for a 20-25, 23-25, 25-7, 25-21, 15-8 victory over Taylor University. The Trojan program is tough to beat – the squad is the second-winningest in NAIA history with 1,176 victories through the 2014 season.

“What a great win,” exclaimed Hayes. “I am so proud of our determination and heart. That was a huge team win to come from behind against a quality opponent. In my three years, I don’t think we have ever had a more complete team win.”

The Cougars are earning respect on the national level. Not only are they earning points in the national NAIA poll but they rank in the top 50 in the nation in several team categories: No. 25 in total service aces (190), No. 34 in total digs (1,763), No. 40 in digs per game (16.480), No. 41 in service aces per game (1.780) and No. 46 in total blocks (204). Individually, Sandmann is No. 25 in the NAIA with 1.110 blocks per game and No. 46 in hitting percentage (.303) while Thomas is No. 36 (45) and Hanson is No. 43 (43) in total service aces

After the IU East game, the Cougars travel to West Virginia Tech on October 30 to close out conference play. They return to the friendly confines of Cougar Gym on November 4 for a 7 p.m. match against Huntington University and end the season with a 1 p.m. home match against Calumet College of St. Joseph on November 7.

KIAC volleyball standings (through October 25)

1. IU Kokomo 10-0 (two conference games left)

2. Asbury 7-1

3. IU Southeast 8-2

4. IU East 7-2

5. Point Park 7-2

6. Rio Grande 5-4

7. Brescia 5-7

8. Ohio Christian 5-7

9. Carlow 3-6

10. Cincinnati Christian 2-4

11. Midway 1-9

12. Alice Lloyd 0-7

13. West Virginia Tech 0-9.

GRIDIRON FRIDAY NIGHT: TAYLOR LONE HOWARD COUNTY SCHOOL TO EARN OPENING NIGHT FOOTBALL SECTIONAL WIN

Western's Sam Touloukian. (SJ Photo/Randy Messner)

Western’s Sam Touloukian. (SJ Photo/Randy Messner)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Week one of the IHSAA football postseason is in the book and one team emerged with a huge victory – the Taylor Titans. Prior to the season, it was highly doubtful that anyone would have predicted that the only local football team to win in week one of sectionals week would be the Titans, but after ending its 38-game losing streak earlier last month, Taylor knocked off Blackford 38-7. Northwestern, Western and Eastern all lost in week one while Kokomo had a opening week bye.

The Titans started 2015 where it had left off in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 – with losses. For 38 straight games, dating to Sept. 16, 2011, Taylor walked off the gridiron with an L hanging over its head. Losses to North White and Tri-Central to start the season were misleading considering those two squads were 17-1 in the regular season. The losing streak ended with a 27-8 win over Frontier on September 4, and wins over Clinton Prairie and Eastern gave the Titans its most regular season wins since a 6-4 season in 2008.

Taylor then broke another losing streak last Friday when they earned the programs first sectional game victory since a 35-21 win over Alexandria in 2009 – ending a six game tournament losing streak. The Titans were on the road in the Class 2A Sectional 36 contest due to a new synthetic field being installed at Taylor High School.

Quarterback Darian Stone led the Titans with five touchdowns – three passing, one rushing and one receiving. Stone found Devin Schesser for a 10-yard pass to start the scoring in the first quarter. He then hit Eli Meadows for a pair of first half scoring strikes from 27 and 10 yards. Stone also had a 14-yard touchdown run as Taylor owned a 28-0 halftime lead. After a 36-yard field goal from Sammy Asami, Stone caught a 57-yard touchdown bomb from Stone Deckard to close out the scoring late in the third quarter. Deckard finished his sensational evening 13 of 18 for 224 yards.

Next up for Taylor (4-6) is a battle against No. 4 Eastbrook (10-0)

Northwestern 52 vs. No. 5 FW Bishop Luers 82

Wow! It is doubtful anyone would have predicted the shootout that occurred at Northwestern High School Friday night in Class 3A Sectional 27 action. Highly touted Fort Wayne Bishop Luers defeated the host Tigers 82-52 in what is now the highest combined score in the history of the IHSAA state tournament. The teams combined for 19 touchdowns in a shootout for the ages.

Ohio State recruit Austin Mack got the scoring started a mere 13 seconds into the game, taking the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Then, for more than three hours, the two teams tore up the field with one touchdown after another – averaging one score for every two-and-a-half minutes of the play clock.

Mack accounted for four first quarter touchdowns as Luers led 26-20. He scored on a three-yard run, a 36-yard pass from Jack Johnston and a 51-yard run. He added a fifth score with a 67-yard reception in the second quarter. The talented receiver finished with 100 yards on four catches.

But Northwestern posted its own impressive numbers and competed throughout the game. Following the opening kickoff return, the Tigers marched down the field and scored when Trey Richmond found Noah Dowden for a 20-yard strike. Richmond then ran the two-point conversion into the end zone to give NW an early 8-7 lead. Following Mack’s second score, Richmond hit Downden on a 34-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 just five minutes into the game. Mack scored twice more before Richmond found Tim Blankenberger in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown, bringing an end to an entertaining 26-20 first quarter.

The Knights owned the second quarter, taking a 54-20 lead into intermission. Northwestern battled but could never get over the hump in the second half, trailing 75-36 after three quarters. Richmond, a junior, finished the game with six touchdowns and 538-yards passing on 32 of 56 accuracy (offensive stats courtesy of Pedro Velazco of the Kokomo Tribune). In the end, the two teams combined for 134 points and 1,335 yards of total offense. Northwestern (4-6) added 106 yards rushing while Luers (7-3) had 506 rushing yards and 185 yards through the air.

Western 6 vs. Lebanon 40

Turnovers will doom a football team. And that is what happened to Western as the Panthers tossed four interceptions in its first five possessions in the opening round of the Class 4A Sectional 21. Western dug itself an early 13-0 deficit against Lebanon (3-7) and simply could not get back into the game as they fell behind 30-0. Brooklyn Watters had a seven-yard score for Western (2-8).

Eastern 6 vs. No. 15 Winchester 62

Eastern knew it would have its hands full with Winchester (8-2) and Michigan recruit Kiante Enis in round one of the Class 2A Sectional 36. When the game was over, fans understood why he was a Big Ten Conference-caliber player as he posted 358 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on only 14 carries against Eastern. The Comets (3-7) cause was also hurt with injuries – runner Spencer Day suffered an apparent concussion and did not play in the second half while quarterback Scott Mullenix injured an ankle and missed the entire fourth quarter. Mullenix had the Comets only score, a four-yard run in the second quarter.