Gene's Blog: 10 teams, 3 days, 3 time zones
November 16, 2012
A crazy, competitive, three-day weekend of sports involving Tommie teams began Thursday.
Athletes from 10 different St. Thomas squads are in action, in three different time zones. Two involve NCAA playoff action. Competition sites include Terre Haute, Ind., Holland, Mich., St. Peter, Minn., Decatur, Ill., and Walla Walla, Wash.
Seven of the competitions will feature head-to-head battles of nationally-ranked teams. It’s possible the Tommies will play two No. 1-ranked teams, from the same school.
--No. 8-ranked Tommie volleyball won 3-0 over unranked Clarkson (N.Y.) on Thursday in Holland, Mich., at the NCAA Championships. It next faces No. 9-ranked Elmhurst (Ill.) on Friday at 4 p.m. in the national semifinals, and that winner plays in Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship match.
--No. 3-ranked UST women’s basketball (31-2 last season) plays No. 1-ranked Calvin (Mich.) on Friday (5:30 p.m.) in the season-opening game for each team. A 6 p.m. Saturday game against Millikin caps off the trip to Illinois.
--No. 11-ranked Tommie men’s basketball (22-7 last season) plays twice this weekend on the road in Washington state. Thursday night against Whitman, an 18-8 finisher last season, UST posted a 104-81 win as it shot 65 percent from the floor. Saturday night the Toms play at No. 14-ranked Whitworth.
--No. 10-ranked Tommie women’s hockey team (3-1) plays No. 3-ranked Gustavus in two weekend games: Friday at 7:30 p.m. on home ice in Mendota Heights, and Saturday at 2 p.m. in St. Peter.
--A men’s hockey weekend series pits two teams that share No. 12 in the national poll, Gustavus and UST. Friday’s 7 p.m. game is in St. Peter, while the series wraps up Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Mendota Heights.
Note that most Tommie home hockey night games have been switched from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. starts this season.
--No. 3-ranked Tommie football (10-0) is home for Saturday’s noon NCAA playoff test against St. Norbert (8-2).
--Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving competes Saturday afternoon at the Macalester Invite. The women also host a four-team meet Friday at 6 p.m. at Anderson Pool with St. Catherine, Augsburg and Concordia-Moorhead.
--Three UST cross country runners will compete Saturday at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Sophomore Keaton Wendroth runs in the 10 a.m. men’s 8K race. Senior Taylor Berg and junior Erin Statz will race in the women’s 6K at 11 a.m. Minnesota time.
--Over the last five school years alone, St. Thomas teams have won 61 NCAA playoff games (football, 7; volleyball, 12; men’s basketball, 10; women’s basketball, 5; baseball, 20; softball, 7;)
--St. Thomas volleyball is assured of a top-three national finish. Thursday’s victory pushed the Toms' mark to 38-1 and tied a 16-year-old MIAC record for season victories.
--A win Friday would insure that the Tommies would be the first MIAC volleyball program to play in an NCAA championship match.
--Friday will be the 350th match for Thanh Pham in his 10th season as Tommie head coach. He has a 286-63 record, and he's led UST to eight conference titles or co-titles, eight NCAA playoff berths and three trips in a row to the eight-team national tournament.
--In the last nine seasons, seven different Tommie sports have played NCAA semifinal or championship games/matches: football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey, baseball (twice) and softball (twice).
--Tommie team opponents this weekend come from the states of New York, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin.
--The Gustie-Tommie women’s hockey series has featured several close, low-scoring contests. Over the last nine seasons, Gustavus is 15-6-3 vs. St. Thomas… and 149-5-4 against the other MIAC teams. Eighteen of the last 25 Tommie-Gustie meetings have been decided by one-goal or ended in a tie. The last eight games have yielded just 28 total goals.
--Tommie football is 4-0 all-time in first-round NCAA playoff games.
--Glenn Caruso (53-7) needs one win to tie for second place on the UST football coaching victory list.
--St. Thomas sits in first place on the men’s side and second place on the women’s side in the MIAC all-sport race through the fall season: http://miac-online.org/news/2012/11/15/ALLSPORTS_1115125938.aspx
Does He Have a Brother?
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has been the talk of the college football world this week after he guided the Aggies to an upset win over No. 1-ranked Alabama.
Part of his appeal is his old-school nickname: "Johnny Football." In fact, his family is taking steps to trademark that phrase so others don't profit off it with T-shirts and other items.
Let's hope Manziel doesn't have a younger brother named Tommie. Imagine the hassles of trying to talk about "Tommie football" and battling a lot of Texas trademark lawyers. I don't envy our friends in Collegeville in the meantime. Imagine their radio guy Mark Lewandowski going to commercial saying, "This is Johnnie football... spelled without the Y."