Friday, March 4, 2011

Surviving the Sports Abyss (Mar. 4, 2011)

The winter sports season at CSS came to a screeching halt within the past few weeks, leaving us with a tremendously long wait between home contests, 37 days (or more, depending on the weather) between the hosting of the UMAC Championship and the home opener for baseball on April 4. Which leaves us in the sports abyss. How do we, the sports fans of CSS, survive the sports abyss? Well, I have a few ideas:

Forgo actual sports by playing Strat-o-Matic. I first heard of this a couple years ago when reading Tim Kirkjian’s book, Is This a Great Game, or What?. It seems slightly complicated to my pea brain, but if that is the case, you could easily spend the first half of March figuring out how to play the game, then you would only have to entertain yourself for about 20 or so days. Win, win? I think so.

Assemble an ideal line-up for CSS baseball and softball using sabermetrics. Or read this profile on the father of sabermetrics, Bill James. Once the ball season begins, look here for an in-depth look at the teams using some of James’ statistical formulas (if I can ever figure them all out).

Nervously refresh your browser waiting for updates on the NFL standoff. This could take one day or a long time, and I wouldn’t suggest it. But it’s an idea!

Watch the Food network. If you’ve never watched the Food network, you likely know that they have several shows that feature cooking-based competitions. That’s just like sports! Delicious sports!

Invent new sports. I tried to find some cool new sports on YouTube, but I got distracted by highlights [lowlights] of Charlie Sheen interviews.

Read about how great the Saints are. There are a lot of articles available on our site about that very subject.

Find the Macho Man Randy Savage. And I thought my blogging was pointless sometimes.

Shovel snow. It sounds like most of Minnesota will be doing this anyways, so why not have a little fun with it?

Follow the Saints around the country! Sunny Florida sure seems nice after that forecast. The Saints baseball, softball, and tennis teams will all be in the Sunshine state for the week of Apr. 13-19. If that seems too far, you could also catch the baseball team in Chicago on Apr. 14. The track team will be in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17) through the 19th for the Shamrock Invite.

Follow the Saints online! This really only applies to the baseball team, but select games will be available online, courtesy of Ustream. For instance, this weekend’s games will be available. Other teams will have live stats available, but you’ll have to keep an eye on for that.

That’s all for now. Hope you found some entertainment here. Enjoy the weekend, stay safe in the snow!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Points & Prattle: The Return (Feb. 4, 2011)

Settling in to a new semester and working extensively in the office these last few months of my collegiate career, I figured it might be time to get back in the saddle here on the Voice of the Saints. Fall 2010 was such a hectic semester for me; the site sort of got left in the dust, but I’m back and ready to make up for lost time, starting with the first Points & Prattle of the new year. I’ll try to roll out some more original content as it comes to me, but for now, this will suffice. On to the points:

  • This winter hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for a St. Scholastica sports fan, but there’s plenty of time left for our basketball and hockey teams to make up ground in the UMAC and NCHA, respectively.
  • At the same time, there’s plenty of success and excitement when it comes to the Saints Nordic ski and Track & Field teams lately. So, we can take solace in that.
  • Men’s hockey will be in action on the road this week. They’re in the cellar of the NCHA right now, but can make a move by defeating Wis.-Stevens Point and St. Norbert this weekend. The Saints had a rough time with the Pointers in the opening weekend, but revenge will be on their minds Friday night. As for St. Norbert, CSS split a weekend series with the Knights earlier this year, so winning the season series is a distinct possibility. (Preview now available)
  • The problem for men’s hockey this season, from a fan’s point of view, is certainly consistency. Friday night, the Saints put on one of their most impressive showings of the season in defeating Wis.-Stout, and then came back Saturday night and fell in a close game to a beatable Wis.-River Falls team. Consistency will be key as the Saints look to improve playoff positioning down the stretch.
  • On the same note, the Saints women’s hockey team is on the outside looking in at the NCHA O’Brien Cup tournament bracket with just a few weeks to go, sitting just two points out of eighth place. After a much deserved bye week to close out January, the Saints take on the sixth-ranked Wis.-Stevens Point Pointers at home this weekend. To say these are must-win games would be an understatement, but CSS will continue to take on the teams just ahead of them in the standings as they travel to St. Norbert and host Wis.-Eau Claire in the weeks to come.
  • Yours truly will continue to be the voice of Saints women’s hockey this weekend, available on the iFan Sports Network as well as on demand at Here’s the proper links: Live, On-Demand.
  • The Saints men’s basketball team seems to be heating up at the right time as winners of five of their past seven against conference opponents, including a home win on Tuesday against Northland. CSS is now fourth in the UMAC which sets them up for hosting a playoff game, but if I know Coach Staniger’s squad, they’re looking for more than that.
  • CSS takes on Northwestern and Crown this weekend, a pair of teams they split with earlier in the season (defeating Crown 83-67 while falling at Northwestern 64-79). It’s worth noting that 83 point vs. Crown is currently a season-high scoring output for the Saints.
  • On the women’s side, the Saints have won three of their last five, including a 66-56 defeat of the LumberJills on Tuesday night. CSS is sitting fifth in the UMAC currently, and continuing their current path should land them a playoff spot, but CSS will look to improve on their 4-4 record in their second trip through the conference schedule.
  • Of course, CSS will also take on Northwestern and Crown like their male counterparts. Just like the men, the Saints women split against the Storm (W 75-39) and the Eagles (L 54-69) and put out their season-high scoring output against Crown.
  • I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about Nordic skiing, but I do know how to read (thankfully). So, I know that Jeremy Hecker and Waylon Manske impressed for CSS over the weekend on the men’s side, while Julia Curry led the way on the women’s side. Keep up the good work, Saints!
  • Heading back indoors, CSS track & field athletes keep finding themselves on the list of weekly UMAC honors, this week led by Cyrus Beckwith and Alec Seeley. School records fell on Friday as Beckwith broke his own pole vault record and Justin Hanson finished second in the 55-meter hurdles.
  • On the women’s side, Maggie Bair matched Hanson’s feat of breaking the 55-meter hurdle record. Seeley earned her UMAC honors in winning the weight throw event on the evening.
  • The Track teams will both be traveling across the bridge this week to compete in Superior at the Border Battle. Preview Now Available!
  • I spend an obscene amount of time on Twitter and surfing the internet (never at work, of course), here’s some of the winning highlights of the past few weeks:
  • Did Peter, Bjorn and John ( rip off the Muppets ( I say yes.
  • A “comprehensive, totally understandable explanation of what’s happening in Egypt:” Mind you: this is a tad bit outdated now, but if you’re less in the know than me, it might help you catch up.
  • And finally: is Facebook making us sad? -- a very interesting read for the Facebook-obsessed.

That’s all for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed the return of P&P for the week. We’ll be back next week to take another look at the playoff picture for the Saints as well as (hopefully) some more intriguing non-CSS related fun. Thanks for reading!

EDIT: 2/4/11, 11:23 AM Added preview links for men's hockey and track & field.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Points & Prattle (Oct. 15, 2010)

Good morning sportsfans,

After a short hiatus for the sake of… being way too busy, Points & Prattle returns to the Voice of the Saints blog! My apologies to anyone who was looking forward to it (Mom?), and I’ll do my best to be more diligent about getting these blogs to you weekly. So, without further ado…

Cross Country
The Saints men and women both ran well in Iowa last week at the Wartburg Invite. This week, they’ll be competing at two meets – half of the team at the Brooks Invitational hosted by the University of Wis.-Oshkosh while the other goes to St. Bonifacius for the Crown Invitational. Now, the points:
  • While we were out, Jessie Lovering won the Northland Invite. We never got a chance to properly congratulate here, so congrats, Jessie! She also paced the Saints with a top-10 finish at last week’s Wartburg Invite.
  • On the men’s side, Nick Mangan has paced the men for two straight weeks, finishing third at Northland and 12th at Wartburg.
  • This week will be the first time that the Saints will score as a team at the Brooks Invitational. Last season, they had six runners run four personal bests and two season-bests at the race. All in a days work…

Saints football stumbled at home for the first time this season last week, but they were tripped up by a powerful Greenville squad, who remain undefeated in the UMAC with the victory. This week, the Saints are on a bye, so there’s not much to say, but let’s do a little house-cleaning from the past two weeks:

  • Defensive end Chas Lemon was named to the Team of the Week for Week 5, making five tackles including one TFL and a batted pass. He also made an athletic tip-ball interception which he returned for a program-record 55 yards.
  • Alex Thiry and Justin Trautmiller were named UMAC Players of the Week last week. Thiry was 20-26 for 265 yards while throwing four TDs while Trautmiller collected a program-record three interceptions against Crown.
  • Next week, the Saints return to action against Minn.-Morris in Cougar country. The Cougars stumbled against Martin Luther last week, but will get a chance to rebound before they face the Saints, taking on Northwestern this week.

Men’s Soccer
It was a roller coaster of emotions for the Saints’ men last weekend, beginning Friday with breaking six offensive program records and ending Sunday with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the nationally-ranked University of Wis.-Oshkosh. Here’s the points:

  • Cody Sveiven was named UMAC Player of the Week, and rightfully so. He scored 10 points last Friday against Northland, including four assists. Both are program records.
  • His accomplishments somehow overshadowed Jermaine Dacres’ five-minute, 57-second natural hat trick, the seventh-fastest in NCAA history, and (obviously) the fastest in program history.
  • Altogether, the Saints scored 13 goals in the win, as well as 20 assists, for 46 points. All of those statistics are also program records.
  • Sunday, the Saints were forced to play a man-down for 30 minutes after a pair of yellow cards sent a player to the showers early, but played outstanding against a nationally-ranked Wis.-Oshkosh team. I’d argue that the Saints are beyond moral victories at this point, but at the very least, they definitely gained the Titans’ respect in that game.

I had the opportunity to watch last Friday’s volleyball match with Northwestern as a fan, and I must say, the Burns Wellness Commons was pumped up to see the Saints down the dreaded Eagles, and in three sets! The Saints are still at home this weekend, so be sure to head out to the BWC for more action tonight and tomorrow.

  • After sweeping the UMAC awards for several straight weeks, the Saints volleyball team has gone a couple weeks without an honor from the conference, and I say: what gives? They just earned two sweeps last weekend, and they’re undefeated in the UMAC… But I’m just saying.
  • CSS has not been undefeated through seven conference games since the 1999 season, when they were 8-0. They will look to match that tonight and extend it on Saturday.
  • CSS will play Minn.-Morris this evening, and take on Presentation and Wis.-Oshkosh tomorrow afternoon. The CSS Saints are a combined 34-2 all-time against their conference opponents this weekend, including a perfect 19-0 against Presentation. It will be no cake walk, but the Saints definitely have a couple of victories within their grasp.

Women’s Hockey
We’re just 21 days from the start of the CSS women’s hockey season, and the Saints held their first tryout/practice this morning. You can see a photo gallery here.

Women’s Soccer
Since I didn’t link to it in the men’s section, the Saints men and women will both be on the road this weekend against Morris and Presentation (I’m noticing a theme here…), and may lock themselves into a high seed in the UMAC tournament with a pair of victories this weekend. It won’t be easy, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic.

  • The Saints goalkeepers Bailey Mahlum (four) and Molly Bergmann (two) have shutout opponents for six straight contests, including last week’s 3-0 defeat of Northland College.
  • The youth movement continues a-rolling as the Saints have eight first- or second-year players leading the team in scoring this season, none moreso than Shannon Carlson, who leads the team with 15 points via six goals and three assists. Right behind her are Rainee Eby (5 G, 3 A, 13 pts), and Taylor Cunningham (5 G, 1 A, 11 pts).
  • The Saints will return home on Tuesday for a game against Augsburg.

Well, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Points & Prattle (Sept. 24, 2010)

Good morning sportsfans,

Time for an abbreviated edition of Points & Prattle for this week. We'll be back with plenty for next week's Homecoming spectacular, but I've been out of the office so much this week that I should probably get down to business on some actual work around here. So, without further adu, the points:
  • Football will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season last week. The trip to Chicago was not as successful as hoped, but it’s a non-conference loss – since we’re heading into conference play this week, it’s time to look forward rather than back.
  • Cross Country returns to action this week, as they will run the Roy Griak Invitational. It’s probably the biggest race they’ll run of the year in terms of volume, and probably second in terms of importance to the Conference Championship. It even has its own Facebook page.
  • Men’s Soccer continues to roll, earning an overtime win off the foot of Jermaine Dacres on Tuesday afternoon over St. Thomas, their first victory over the Tommies since 1994. The Saints finally return to Saints Field for a six-game homestand starting this weekend.
  • Congrats to Rob Johnson for being named UMAC Player of the Week. He was also the St. Scholastica student newspaper’s (The Cable) Athlete of the Week. Congrats, Rob!
  • The Saints volleyball team is still off to their hot start, despite going 2-2 last weekend, and open UMAC play this week. The Saints start on the road, but they are road-tested, with no better proof than the fact that Paige Hardy, Nikki Hughes, and Sarah Kurtovich swept the UMAC Player of the Week honors this week.
  • Women’s Soccer remained undefeated in conference play last weekend, going 1-0-1 on the weekend. They, too, return home this weekend for an extended stay. While the Saints have lacked offensive firepower, they have still been able to stay off the losing end the past couple of weeks, so things are looking up for the young Saints. We’ll see if they can start a winning streak back home.
  • A reminder that I’ll be on the iFan Sports Network this weekend, lending my voice to the Saints soccer broadcasts, provided the weather holds up. You can listen/watch live here.

Well, that is it. I told you it would be abbreviated. I confined all my ramblings into a few short paragraphs. Good job, Joe! Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Points & Prattle (Sept. 17, 2010)

Good morning sportsfans,

Seems like this week just flew by, and I was barely in the office all week, but I’m here now, which means a delicious new serving of Points and Prattle.

I own a shirt from when football was first announced at CSS which reads “Undefeated since 1912.” Of course, we hadn’t played a game yet either, but as of this writing, they need to re-christen those shirts with “Undefeated in 2010.” That 2-0 record looks pretty good, but CSS has a pretty big test ahead of them. The points:

  • I said 2-0, but the Saints are actually 3-0 in 2010 including that victory in the Can-Am Bowl against the Canadian All Stars in May.
  • Defensive lineman Chas Lemon was named UMAC Player of the Week on Tuesday after a 2.5-sack performance on Saturday with a forced fumble. Congrats Chas!
  • CSS had to come from behind to beat Eureka last week, but they did so handily, scoring 28 unanswered points after being down 21-10. Jake Olson led the offense primarily, but Alex Thiry did get the Saints on the board first with a 31-yard-lob to Travis Nehowig.
  • The Concordia-Chicago Cougars are led by NAC co-offensive player of the year Mike Marotta, a senior who had 3,000 yards passing and 26 TDs last season. He already has 5 TDs this season.
  • Don’t forget that the Saints can be heard on ESPN Radio 560-WEBC with Charlie Johnson on the call.

Men’s Soccer
What to say about the Saints men? They finally broke through and got their goalie a cushioned lead on Tuesday night, but they continued with the nailbiters on the weekend. It will be interesting to see how the team reacts entering tough conference play this weekend. The points:

  • Last Saturday, the Saints held on for a road victory over Carleton, 1-0. Rob Johnson had the lone goal. On Tuesday, CSS fell behind early and then exploded for four goals by four different players to down Northland. Cody Sveiven, Greg Doornink, Jermaine Dacres, and Erik Trochimchuk had the honors.
  • Goalkeeper Sam Reed finally got a much-deserved break in the waning minutes of that victory over Northland, as freshman Bryan Nyberg saw his first action of the season. He saw no shots on goal in 20 minutes, but his GAA is a pristine 0.00 for his career now.
  • Doornink scored his goal on a penalty kick, so CSS is now 1-1 in that category after being simply diseased when it came to free kicks last season.
  • The next test for the Saints will be another road trip, taking on Martin Luther and Bethany Lutheran in conference action this week. The Vikings are off to a hot 3-1-0 start while the Knights are at .500 (1-1-0) so far this season.

It’s pretty easy to be a Saints volleyball fan early in this season, as they are off to a 9-2 start with a victory over the then-16th-ranked team in the country (Carleton, last weekend), but have a tough schedule ahead as they are set to face the new 16th-ranked team in St. Olaf tomorrow afternoon. The points:

  • With a four-match sweep, the Saints won the Gustavus Classic last week. Paige Hardy and Anna Zyvoloski were each named to the All-Tournament Team, the second time Hardy has earned that honor this season.
  • From SID extraordinaire Jesse Robinson, the Saints have not had nine victories in their first 11 games since 1999.
  • Along with being named to the all-tournament team, Hardy was named the UMAC Offensive Player of the Week last week. Her setter, Sarah Kurtovich, was also named Setter of the Week. Congrats, ladies!
  • Next stop for the Saints: the Holiday Inn-vitational (clever), hosted by St. Benedict. CSS takes on the Blazers, the Wildcats, the Oles, and the Cougars this weekend (that’s host-CSB, St. Catherine, St. Olaf, and Minn.-Morris). CSS is off to the hottest start at 9-2, but the Oles are the only ranked team in the bunch (Hmm…). The Saints will look to continue their hot streak this weekend.

Women’s Soccer
The Saints women finally got off the schneid on Tuesday night, and the offense appears to be rolling on all cylinders as conference play continues this weekend. Congrats to the women on their first victory of the season, and let’s hope there’s more upcoming in the next two days.

  • Taylor Cunningham sparked the Saints offense on Tuesday, scoring two goals in the victory to lead the Saints. A pair of Shannons, Carlson and Lee also netted their first collegiate goals in the victory.
  • Megan Marolt had her first collegiate goal taken away as it was later ruled an own-goal on Northland, but she’s still got that score in the minds of Saints fans. Hopefully, she can pick up another this weekend.
  • Saints goalkeeper Bailey Mahlum again saw her GAA creep lower with the victory, now at 1.50 on the season. If the Saints can keep on the offensive this weekend, perhaps we can see her first shutout of the season and it will take an even bigger drop.
  • Like the Saints men, the women’s team will take on Martin Luther and Bethany Lutheran this weekend. Bethany’s women are also off to a hot start at 4-1-0 while the lady Knights have started the season 1-2-0.

Well, that’s all I got for you on this homeless weekend (no home games, get it?). Follow the Saints on the web at tonight and tomorrow, and hopefully, we can have another successful weekend. Thanks for reading.