CSB volleyball stays hot

CSB volleyball stays hot

By Matt Captain
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The St. Ben’s volleyball team has been on a tear lately by not just winning five straight matches, but also sweeping all five opponents.

Overall, the Bennies are 10-6 and 4-1 in the MIAC with the only loss coming at the hands of conference leading St. Thomas.

The CSB team consists of seven upperclassmen and twelve first-year players. In other words, this young team has room to grow. (more…)

SPORTS OPINION: Erdmann is more than a quarterback

By Elliot Olson
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“It’s not just what he does, it’s how he does it.”

Jackson Erdmann; devoted Lutheran, Mary 2 RA, Stranger Things enthusiast. In his free time he studies and plays big brother to 62 giddy, lost-in-the-sauce first-years. He is also the starting quarterback of the St. John’s football team.

The latter statement came as a surprise to me. He couldn’t be a football player. Too humble. Too nice. Too… into Harry Potter. Not who you would expect to be the engineer behind the imposing and versatile Johnnie offense.

Of course, I mean this in the best way possible, but he’s just different. Try making friends with the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Gophers. Or heck, the third-string quarterback of the St. Thomas football team.

Chances are, neither of them have much time for you. They’re too busy making cutoffs and mixing protein shakes (blatant stereotyping, I know). That simply isn’t Erdmann. He is deadly on the field, crazy efficient. Off of it, though, he is just as good.

The Johnnies are lucky to have a leader like Erdmann. But, as he would say, one player can’t shine alone. Our offense is deep and dynamic. Our defense is savage. There are a plethora of players that show up and work every day that may not even see the field come Saturday. All of the players that I have met have shared many of the qualities that make Erdmann so likable. They are simply good people. They don’t make statements with their talk, but with their work ethic. They are different.

Erdmann is different. His teammates are different. Our program is different.

Because of the different actions of these ordinary men, I’m proud to stand behind our football team.

Skol Johnnies.

This is the opinion of SJU first-year Elliot Olson

CSB golf headed to MIAC

By Megan Toninato
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The CSB golf team has been rolling through their fall season, but the best is yet to come.

This past weekend, the team competed at the College City Challenge hosted by Carleton College. Here, they faced off against the toughest MIAC golfers. On Saturday, CSB found themselves in sixth place out of 12.

But when championship Sunday came, they were ready.

The team shot their way up two spots, ending with a team finish of fourth place. Leading the way for CSB was junior Natalie Amundson. On Saturday, she shot an 80 and on Sunday she cut three strokes off her previous score, finishing with a 77 which was good enough for 8th individually.

“My teammates have really stepped up and lowered their individual scores and that then translates to our better team scores to bring us into the running for winning tournaments,” Amundson said.

“Finishing in the top 10 individually really helps reinforce the hard work that has been put in, but it also helps motivate myself further to keep working toward our MIAC tournament.”

This was not the first time CSB had found themselves fighting in the middle of the pack. The weekend before at the DIII Classic, CSB also finished fourth of 16 teams. At this tournament, senior Madeline Pagel shot a career low with a score of 77, finishing tied for ninth individually.

“I was very excited about my recent career low,” Pagel said. “I feel that our team’s depth in talent has driven all of us to work harder at practice and stimulate a competitive environment. Many of my teammates have also achieved personal goals in practice and I’m confident we can translate that to our tournaments.”

Like any other sports team, the CSB golf team has seen a road of hills and valleys throughout the fall. Their season started with a pretty average finish in their own tournament, placing sixth of 13 teams. But, as the team got first week nerves behind them, people started turning their heads, keeping an eye out for the St. Benedict golf team.

“One of our biggest challenges this year as it is most years is time,” Head Coach Daryl Schomer said. “Golf is such a high maintenance game that requires a lot of practice time just to keep your game status quo much less improve.” Schomer discussed what it is like to be a DIII golfer.

“I’d say on average my players get in six to eight hours per week,” Schomer said. “When you consider playing just one round of 18 holes takes four hours that doesn’t leave a lot of time left over to work on chipping, putting or long game.”

With the team now in a steady groove of their game, CSB golf has their sights set on the big MIAC tournament. This is three-day tournament against the most skilled competition in the conference. These rounds will be played at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, MN. Both the players and Schomer believe the course sets up in their favor.

“Pebble Creek is a great venue with large fairways and large greens. Most of our preparation going forward will be on iron play and putting,” Schomer said.

“Our team has a lot of length off the tee which will be advantageous at this course,” Pagel said.

The team has their eyes set on the top three teams in the MIAC, and they are ready to make a statement. Amundson was extremely close to being crowned MIAC champion placing 2nd individually in 2015. Schomer is confident in his team.

“I have a team full of players all capable of going low. If we prepare properly, relax and enjoy the experience good scores will follow,” Schomer said.

The MIAC Championship takes place Oct. 7-9 at Pebble Creek Golf Course.

SJU football falls to UST, 20-17

SJU football falls to UST, 20-17

By Brandon Spratt
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SJU went into last Saturday’s game averaging more than 67 points per game, but they managed just 17 in a loss to St. Thomas.

“We just didn’t execute on some plays and missed a few holes . . . they just played good defense,” SJU senior running back Dusty Krueger said.

SJU lost to St. Thomas 20-17 at Target Field in front of an NCAA Division III record crowd of 37,355. The Johnnies were outgained 386-151 in offensive yards, and managed just one rushing yard on 20 attempts.

SJU senior left tackle Noah Voigt missed the game with a concussion.

“It’s hard when you don’t have your starting line in there,” Krueger said, “They work as one unit so they need to be on the same page.”

The Johnnies did not convert a third down in the game, finishing 0-11.

“3rd downs were especially difficult because we put ourselves in long yardage situations, and it allowed them to dictate the defense,” SJU Head Coach Gary Fasching said via email.

Senior wide receiver Evan Clark racked up 59 total yards on three catches and one rush. He hauled in his first touchdown reception of the season, after a 13 TD season in 2016, on a 40-yard pass from Sophomore quarterback Jackson Erdmann in the fourth quarter.

“Our hope is that every game we can get Evan 10-15 touches,” Fasching said, “We have to get him the ball more, no question.”

Trailing 14-10 at halftime, the SJU offense was on the field for just over five minutes in the second half. The Johnnies ran 15 offensive plays compared to UST’s 46.

“The biggest thing we need to do is be able to make changes at halftime instead of just sticking with certain plays,” Krueger said.

As the SJU offense struggled to stay on the field, the defense needed to step up. They held UST to three points in the second half.

“They had a pretty long drive in that third quarter and we ended up intercepting a pass on our goal line which was a huge play,” SJU senior linebacker David Franta said.

Being on the field nearly 40 minutes during the game presented challenges for the defense.

“The heat definitely played a factor … you couldn’t drink enough water,” Franta said. “We had a few guys who were cramping up out there.”

The defense was stingy outside of two long UST touchdown passes.

“You certainly can’t put those pass plays on our defensive backs,” Franta said. “It’s a team dynamic. There were definitely mistakes we made as linebackers.”

SJU limited the Tommie running game to three yards per attempt, but UST found success with a fullback dive play.

“They typically run that play about 2 times a game. They had success, so they ran it a few more times,” Fasching said.

“We were maybe lined up incorrectly a few times … they found a weakness on us and hit it a few times,” Franta said.

The majority SJU crowd came to life late in the fourth quarter with the Johnnies trailing by three.

“We’re thankful for all the students and the rest of Johnnie nation who came out to support us like they always do,” Franta said.

“The fan noise was loud, we had to change our snap count,” Krueger said.

The Johnnies got a defensive stop with about four minutes to go, but were unable to gain a first down on offense. UST ran out the clock to finish the game.

SJU returns to Collegeville this week to host MIAC foe Bethel.

“We will have our hands full,” Fasching said. “We need to improve greatly from last week’s game.”

The Johnnies likely need to win their remaining six games to qualify for the Division III playoffs.

According to Franta, “Playoff time starts now.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF STAR TRIBUNE • Sophomore Tommie running back Josh Parks hurdles over junior Johnnie defensive back Max Jackson during SJU’s loss.

SJU golf rallies to win

ALEXUS JUNGLES • [email protected] • Senior Sam Olson reads the green carefully as he leads the pack during the round.

By Brandon Spratt
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SJU golf rallied from 10 shots back on day two to win their home meet, the St. John’s Fall Invitational.

The Johnnies were led on day one by senior Sam Olson who shot a two over par round of 74.

“After the first round, we basically looked at it and said we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot too badly,” Olson said.

The opening round on Saturday was at Blackberry Ridge Golf Club in Sartell. The Johnnies practice on this course nearly every day during the season.

“I think after that first round sometimes frankly it’s hard to play at your home course,” SJU Head Coach Bob Alpers said.

Alpers believes that his golfers may have put extra pressure on themselves to perform given their familiarity with the course.
Sophomore Matt Lutz was four over par after Saturday’s round.

“At Saturday’s course the last five holes can really get to you,” Lutz said.

The mood around the team was optimistic as darkness approached on Saturday evening.

“We’re gonna play great tomorrow, I know we are because we’ve been so very, very close,” Alpers said after Saturday’s round.

And play well they did. The Johnnies stormed back at Greystone Golf Club in Sauk Centre on Sunday.

After the opening nine holes, SJU had closed the gap to just a few shots behind the University of Manitoba.

“If you take care of beating the other three guys in your group…we can’t lose,” Olson said.

Heading into the final hole, SJU had surpassed UW-Eau Claire, the team they trailed by nine shots heading into the day.

However, Olson who had a bogey on the final hole to finish the tournament, tied for first with Manitoba. Manitoba is not an NCAA school because they are from Canada. Therefore, the Johnnies won in the eyes of the NCAA.

Lutz recorded a two under par round of 70 on Sunday, which included four birdies. His two over par total for the tournament tied him for second overall amongst 99 golfers.

Lutz was both SJU Athlete of the Week and MIAC Men’s Golf Athlete of the Week for his performance.

SJU golf will play in the three-day Twin Cities Classic starting on Saturday.

“We don’t look too far in advance, we definitely don’t look behind us.” Olson said. “You celebrate the win the night of and at that point you wake up the next morning [to focus on the next tournament].”

The tournament starts at Elk River Country Club on Saturday before moving to The Links at Northfork in Ramsey on Sunday. The tournament will conclude at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan on Monday.

“I actually really like Elk River Country Club…it’s a really short golf course, so I can take advantage of my length and kind of just overpower it,” Olson said.

“It’s a weird tournament because the host school (Gustavus) isn’t going to be there,” Alpers said.

Regardless of the host school, SJU will be aiming to build momentum toward the MIAC Championships at the end of September. They already took a big step toward that with their win last weekend.

A new home – CSB soccer fights on fresh turf

PHOTO COURTESY OF CSB ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS • Senior Jenna Kleason (center) handles the ball against a UW- River Falls defender in their 1-0 nonconference win.

By Megan Toninato

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The CSB soccer team is off to a hot start with an overall record of 5-1-1.

Last week, they were ranked No. 22 overall in the NCAA Division III Coaches’ Poll because of their big wins against nonconference teams Loras College and UW-Eau Claire. Both Loras and Eau Claire fell to CSB 3-2.

“Finding out that we were ranked in the top 25 was exciting news and gave us some momentum going forward.” first-year forward Megan Thompson said. “We also realized that we had to live up to the title, work hard and prove that we deserve to be ranked,”

 

After receiving these honors, CSB was coming into a tough part of their MIAC schedule against Concordia and St.Thomas. In Moorhead, CSB came away with a thrilling 1-0 win with the lone goal scored by Thompson.

CSB then returned home for the last game to be played at the old field on the south side of the CSB campus. Here, CSB found themselves on the pitch against rival St.Thomas. The Tommies took a lead only 10 minutes into the game. Later in the game, the Tommies added two more to hold on for a 3-0 win, giving CSB their first MIAC loss of the year.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CLAIRE BOATMAN • [email protected] • Fans enjoy a sunny day in St. Joseph as CSB takes on Augsburg for a heated MIAC matchup on the new turf.

After the tough loss, CSB needed to bounce back the very next day against UW-River Falls. This day was extra special, as the CSB soccer team found a new place to call home. Over the years, CSB soccer has claimed many different fields as their own. Between the old field at St. Ben’s and sharing with Johnnie soccer at SJU, CSB proved they could bring their game any time and any place. But, on Sept. 17th, their dream of having a state-of-the-art facility to call home was finally realized. The new stadium with a fully operational artificial turf field opened its doors to fans and players to enjoy an intense soccer game on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Here, CSB was in a grudge match against UW-River Falls in its final nonconference matchup. Both teams were scoreless at halftime, but in the 65th minute Thompson scored her sixth goal of the season, and the first goal ever scored on the new field. CSB held on for the win, improving their record to 5-1 overall.

“Obviously, no one on our team was happy with the loss on Saturday.” Thompson said “The seniors told us to hold on to our anger and use it as energy for our next game against River Falls, and that’s exactly what we did.”

CSB is now approaching the heart of their MIAC schedule, which is no easy task. This past Wednesday, CSB hosted Augsburg for a head-to-head match-up. After trailing 2-0, CSB fought their way back and tied the game 2-2 with just under a minute remaining, scored on a corner kick by junior Jane Koch. The game headed to overtime, but neither team found the back of the net. With a tie, CSB now holds a MIAC record of 1-1-1.

“After a tough weekend, our team was looking to recover and get our legs back underneath us,” Thompson said, “We know if we play our game and play for one another, we will be satisfied with this coming week’s results.”

CSB heads to St. Olaf Sept. 23 looking to get their 6th win of the season.