This Week in Warrior Athletics
Warriors open play at national basketball tourneys
Men’s and women’s golf – LCSC Invitational, 8 a.m. shot gun start, Tuesday, March 18, Clarkston Golf & Country Club.
Men’s and women’s tennis – At Azusa Pacific, 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 18, Azusa, Calif.; at Concordia,1 p.m., Wednesday March 19, Irvine, Calif.; at Point Loma Nazarene, 1 p.m., Thursday, March 20, Point Loma, Calif.; at Vanguard, 2 p.m., Friday, March 21, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Women’s basketball – NAIA national tournament vs. McKendree, 7:45 p.m.; Wednesday, March 19, Jackson, Tenn.
Men’s basketball – NAIA national tournament vs. Cumberlands, 4:15 p.m., Thursday, March 20, Kansas City, Mo.
LCSC Warrior Watch, 7 p.m., Thursday, March 20, KLEW-TV. This week's guests are baseball player Travis Georgius and basketball players Kenna Reiter and Justin Fraser.
Women’s track – at Willamette Open, 9 a.m., Friday, March 21, Salem, Ore.; at Oregon Preview, 9 a.m., Saturday, March 22, Eugene, Ore.
Baseball – vs. British Columbia, 6 p.m., Friday, March 21, LCSC’s Harris Field; vs. British Columbia (2), 1 p.m.; Saturday, March 22, LCSC’s Harris Field; vs. British Columbia, noon, Sunday, March 23, LCSC’s Harris Field.
The Warrior men’s and women’s tennis teams are on their annual Spring Break trip to California for their first outdoor meets of the season and easily their toughest NAIA matches.
The Warriors will play four matches in four days and all four men’s teams are ranked in the NAIA Top 25, while three of the four women’s teams are ranked.
The LCSC women take a 5-2 mark on the road, while the men are 9-2 overall. Both losses for the LCSC women have been against NCAA Division I teams, while the men’s team has four losses to NCAA Division I teams and the other loss to UC Santa Cruz, the defending NCAA Division II champion.
The Warriors open play on Tuesday against Azusa Pacific, which is ranked No. 2 in the men’s poll and No. 6 in the women’s poll. Next up is Concordia of Irvine, Calif., on Wednesday. Concordia is ranked No. 8 in the men’s poll. On Thursday, the Warriors face Point Loma Nazarene, which is No. 12 in the women’s poll and No. 13 on the men’s side. The trip concludes with matches against Vanguard, which is ranked No. 4 on the women’s side, and No. 16 with the men.
The matches will give LCSC a preview of what it should expect at the national tournaments, which will be held in Mobile, Ala., in May. Both Warriors teams should qualify for nationals based on being the highest-ranked teams in Region I.
The Warrior women are the No. 9 seed at the NAIA Division I Women’s National Championship, which runs March 19-25 at Oman Arena, and will open against the fourth hottest team in the country in McKendree University of Lebanon, Ill., on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m., in the 32-team tournament’s opening round.
After starting the season 0-3 and standing 6-7 on Jan. 3, McKendree responded by winning 18 of its final 19 games, including the last 13 straight, to stand 24-8 on the season. The Bearcats rolled through the Midwest Conference with a 13-1 mark and then won the conference tournament.
Those marks are practically identical to what LCSC did this season. Although the Warriors got off to a much better start and stood 9-3 on Dec. 7, LCSC also won 18 of its final 19 games, posted a 13-1 league record, and won three games to also claim the Frontier Conference tournament title.
At the national tournament, however, these two are very different. This is McKendree’s eighth trip to the national tournament and the Bearcats are looking for their first win. In the seven previous tournaments, the Bearcats haven’t made it out of the first round.
LCSC is 17-16 all-time in the tournament and is making its 12th trip to nationals in the last 13 years.
The Bearcats dominated the AMC awards. Coach Melissa Ringhausen was selected the conference’s Coach of the Year for the first time in her 11-year career at McKendree, and the Bearcats placed both senior forward Heather Elders and junior forward Emily Best on the all-conference team, while guard Ashley Agee was the Freshman of the Year.
Best, at 6-foot-1, leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game and in field goal percentage at 49.4 percent. Agee, at 5-6, averaged 12.2 points per game, while Elders, at 6-0, averaged 11.9 points. Elders became the ninth player in school history to score 1,000 points in her McKendree career this season.
The Bearcats, who had their seventh consecutive 20-plus win season, will have their hands full with LCSC’s defense. The Warriors rank second in the NAIA in turnover margin, forcing 9.2 more turnovers than they commit. LCSC also is third in the country in points allowed at 55.1, and sixth in both steals and assists/turnover ratio.
LCSC guard Jade Fulbright, who was named to the all-FC first team for the second straight season, needs two steals to surpass Amanda Campbell as the program’s all-time steals leader. Campbell has 345 and Fulbright has 344.
Sadie Short also was a first-team selection for the Warriors as well as being named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year.
The LCSC-McKendree winner will play on Friday, March, 21, at 6:45 p.m. against the winner of Lindsey Wilson (21-11) and No. 8 seed Oklahoma Baptist (29-4).
One of the hotter teams in the South awaits LCSC in the opening round of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championships as the Warriors will open against University of the Cumberlands at 3:15 p.m., PST, on Thursday at Kansas City, Mo.
The Warriors, 22-9 overall, wound up with the No. 15 seed, while University of the Cumberlands Patriots, from Williamsburg, Kent., is the No. 18 seed. The Patriots finished the season at 19-13, but won 11 of their final 16 games after being 8-8 at one point this season.
The winner of the first round matchup will face the winner of the game between No. 2 Lee University, 31-1, and Langston of Oklahoma, 15-12. Lee and Langston will play Thursday at 1:30 p.m., preceding the LCSC-Cumberlands matchup.
LCSC, like Cumberlands, also ended the season strong. The Warriors were 6-5 at one point, but won its next eight games and finished the season by winning 16 of their final 20 contests. The Warriors earned a four-way tie for the Frontier Conference title on the final day of the regular season with a win, combined with a Westminster loss. Because of the head-to-head tiebreakers, LCSC was awarded the top seed in the conference tournament and went on to win the tournament title last weekend in Butte, Mont.
Cumberlands is No. 6 in the NAIA in total defensive rebounds at 30.5 per game. That means opponents usually only get one shot attempt on each possession. On the other side, LCSC is No. 6 in the country in turnover margin, forcing six more than its commits in a game, and also is 10th in steals. Because of these stats, getting most out of each possession will be critical for both teams.
The two teams are fairly even in a number of statistical categories. LCSC is holding opponents to 66.5 points per game, while Cumberlands is at 67.5. Cumberlands is 16th in 3-point shooting at 38.5 percent, and No. 20 in 3-pointers made per game at 7.8. LCSC is shooting 37.4 percent at the 3-point line and is averaging 6.9 3-pointers a game.
Cumberland features a fairly balanced attack. Chad Byron, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, ranks No. 8 in the country in 3-point shooting at 45.1 percent and is 10th in free-throw shooting at 85.3 percent. Larry Fitzgerald, who earned a national Player of the Week honor during the season, is 14th in field goal percentage at 57.7 percent, and is 31st in rebounding at 7.8 per game.
Fitzgerald, a 6-6 junior forward, leads the team in scoring as well at 15.9 points per game, while Byron is at nearly 14.0 per outing. Mike Gibson, a 6-7 senior post is just less than 10 points per game, while 6-4 Matt Daniel, and 6-6 Josh Phillips round out the starting five. Gibson is hitting 42.9 percent of his shots from the 3-point area.
LCSC is making its eighth trip to nationals and fourth in the last five years. LCSC is 2-7 all-time in the tournament, winning first-round games in 2000 and 2004.
The Warrior women make their season and official program outdoor debut on Friday when they take part in the Charles Bowles Classic at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
Although LCSC women’s cross country runners have also participated in track, this is the first year the women’s track program has been sponsored by the LCSC athletic department and is considered an official school sport.
The Warriors will remain in Oregon for the following day when they head to Eugene, Ore., to take part in the Oregon Preview Meet, which will be hosted by the University of Oregon. Last year, a meet record crowd of 5,699 watched the event, which is the first home meet of the season for the Ducks.
The meet features junior colleges, NAIA, and NCAA athletes competing at the same level.
Riding a 15-game win streak and the No. 1 ranking the NAIA, the Warriors will begin a seven-game home stretch on Friday when it plays host to the University of British Columbia at 6 p.m.
The two teams will play a four-game series with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday and a single game at noon on Easter Sunday, all at LCSC’s Harris Field.
The Warriors will then begin a three-game homestand against Concordia University of Portland, Ore., on Tuesday, March 25. The two play at 6 p.m. that day, followed by a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday, March 26.
Although LCSC’s games against Region I teams don’t count in the Region I standings, LCSC is required to play a full league schedule. If the games counted, LCSC would be 6-0 at this point.
The Warriors are 21-2 overall and 11-1 against NAIA competition. One of those victories is a 3-1 decision over British Columbia at the Guardian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Tournament.
After going 0-4 and finishing last in that five team tournament at Lewiston, the Thunderbirds rattled off nine consecutive wins before falling to Oregon Tech in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday. That contest, however, was a nonleague game and the Thunderbirds currently lead the Region I standings with an 8-0 mark.
As a team, the Warriors are hitting .346 and have outscored opponents 210-80 this season. The Warriors also have 85 extra-base hits, compared to 38 for opponents.
Among the regulars, Sean Halton leads the way with a .417 average, while Kyle Green is at .414 and leads the team in doubles (13), home runs (4), RBI (23), and slugging percentage (.845).
On the mound, LCSC has a 3.01 earned run average and in 206 innings pitched, the LCSC staff has struck out 202 and walked 80.
Opponents have an 8.50 ERA against LCSC and have allowed 280 hits in 192.2 innings.
Michael Guerrero is 4-0 with a 0.84 EREA for the Warriors. He has struck out 20 batters and walked three in 21.1 innings. Justin Mace leads the team with eight appearances and has a 1.74 ERA.
The baseball team also will have two special events during the weekend. On Saturday will be Warrior Baseball Card Day, which will begin at noon. Baseball cards of the LCSC players and coaching staff will be available to Jr. Warrior Club members. On Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. at Harris Field, will be an Easter egg hunt for children.
Region I standings – British Columbia 8-0 and 13-8 overall, College of Idaho 4-2 and 9-11, Corban 2-3 and 5-11, Concordia 2-4 and 5-10, Oregon Tech 1-8 and 3-16.