Winning vs losing…sometimes life isn’t fair –
While it is rare to have someone at the athletic department enjoy talking about last season (even when it was a “good season”) and I certainly understand the philosophy of moving on from the previous season or last week (as coach Matt Entz would say, “we’re focused on being 1-0 this week…”), last year’s poor season or last week’s poor performance is a fair subject to discuss. In addition, as Spectrum’s sports editor, it is my responsibility (and that of our writers) to ask tough or unpopular questions of coaches and players. No one likes losing and no one likes making mistakes. Such is life. The athletic department at North Dakota State has been producing champions since the 1960s. Yet, there have been bad teams and worse seasons in Bison history. It happens. Our coaches are human, our players are human, and our athletic administration is staffed by humans. While the details of this paragraph’s subject are not important, it is important to let everyone know that we will ask tough questions when the situation calls for it. It is what we do and what we should be doing. More importantly, we will always try our best to be respectful of our student-athletes and coaches. After all, we are only human…Go Bison!
Illinois State comes to the Fargodome –
This Saturday, the Bison are back at it with a home game against the Illinois State Redbirds. ISU comes to the dome with a similar 5 – 2 record (3-1 MVFC) and tied for third with the Bison in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Once again, it looks like the Bison defense will be facing a good rushing team in the Redbirds. Also, ISU quarterback Zack Annexstad (a Minnesota Gopher transfer), has decent numbers heading into this game. In his weekly presser, Matt Entz said of Annexstad, “he has some charisma to him, he has some ‘moxie’ in the pocket…” Two-thirds of their touchdowns and total yards come through the air. Should be a good match-up for the Bison defense, especially the ‘D ’ backs…another good game at Fargodome on Saturday. The schedule does not get any easier for the Herd.
Soccer faces Oral Roberts in Summit league playoffs –
One of the things I enjoy about this job is interviewing coaches and athletes before their schedule starts and hearing about their expectations for the upcoming season. How they will replace graduated players, expectations for incoming athletes, how good they look in practice thus far and the never-ending optimism for the new season. The Bison soccer team is an excellent example of this. I interviewed Coach Regan and three players, Payton Jo Armijo, Paige Goaley and Dani Stuber back in August. Their optimism for the upcoming season and their off-season preparation was inspirational. They were fired up for the season and ready to go. Well, it paid off for them Friday night at Dacotah Field. Bison soccer went from a 3-12-1 record last season to 8-8-3 this season and earned a spot in the Summit League playoffs with Friday night’s win over South Dakota. Good luck in Denver on Friday!
Speaking of turnarounds…
Volleyball sits in second place in a tough Summit League –
The North Dakota State volleyball team is now 8-2 in Summit League play and sits one win behind South Dakota in second place. The top five teams in the league are within two wins of each other. This is another program that has bounced back well from a tough 2021 campaign in which they finished 12-18. Coach Lopez’s squad is now 15-7 overall. They are also set up well with their remaining schedule in which they face all the teams in the top five of the league standings. Interviews held in August with Lopez and two of her players, Kelley Johnson and Ava Schmoll, showed their enthusiasm and confidence heading onto the 2022 season. Regarding the direction of the volleyball program, Coach Lopez said, “…and I do feel as a program, as a head coach and as a team, this program is headed in the right direction, and I feel really good about what it is we are trying to do. So, I’m excited to see it in action versus seeing all the behind-the-scenes details…” Well, coach, you’re seeing the great play from your Bison, and it is fun to watch while you pursue pre-season goals for this team. The squad will return to the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 1st against South Dakota State. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Student tickets are available at GoBison.com/Student.
Cross Country and golf wrap up the fall portion of their schedules –
One of my frustrations in my position as sports editor is not having enough labor to cover everything that is Bison sports. The cross-country program, unfortunately, is one of the programs that suffers. It certainly is not as popular as football and basketball, but it is just as certainly successful. The men and women who make up NDSU cross-country are as dedicated and committed to their sport as anyone who wears green and gold. This season, there have been many successes that we should have done a better job of covering. While their schedule is an issue, we need to continue to work on ways to get better coverage for those student-athletes. This weekend, both teams will compete in the Summit League Championships in Grand Forks, N.D. Best of luck to both teams and we’ll have space for you regardless.
The women’s and men’s golf schedule is done this week as well. Summit League golf hosts its conference tournament in the spring so the men will end their fall season in North Carolina and the women get a trip to Hawaii to wrap up the fall portion of their schedule. Golf is another sport that is tough to cover because there is rarely a ‘home’ contest. Nonetheless, both men’s head coach Steve Kennedy and women’s head coach Matt Johnson have been great to work with as have their student-athletes. As I write this, the men are completing their third win this fall in the ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Invitational in Powell’s Point, N.C. (see Andrew Haugland’s story in this issue).