It seems that the Mavericks just get better and better every year–in every sport.
Take the men’s soccer team, for example. In only its seventh year of existence, Head Coach Jason Mims led his team to a Summit Championship–Omaha’s first in any team sport.
Of course, the hockey team always makes headlines. Last year, they were ranked nationally on several occasions. In 2015, they fought all the way to the Frozen Four.
How about track and field? Stephanie Ahrens, a senior high jumper, was the first Maverick in D-I history to compete for a national championship. She walked away with an 8th place finish, good for All-American status. She would be the first D-I, non-hockey All-American.
Don’t forget men’s basketball– in the spring of 2017, they were just one errant three-point shot away from making the big dance and winning the Summit League.
These teams face renewed challenges in the coming year. Five in particular could have significant postseason implications. Let’s take a look at those five.
- Volleyball vs. Denver, Oct. 16th at 7 p.m.
It’s the first of two match-ups, and it’s against the defending conference champions–the Denver Pioneers. It’s prime-time, with an Omaha squad led by the personable Rose Shires. What more do you want?
- Men’s Basketball vs. South Dakota State, Feb. 14th
There’s a man who could use your love on Valentine’s Day. That man is Derrin Hansen, the coach of a program that just experienced its worst season since the 2000-2001 campaign under Kevin McKenna.
Why the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State? Mike Daum. The star of the Jackrabbits team since day one, he enters his final season there. Thanks to Daum, the Jackrabbits have been the reigning Summit League champions for a while. Now, with a healthy lineup and an impressive offseason, Omaha can show that they are ready to brawl.
- Hockey vs. Notre Dame, Oct. 19th and 20th at 7:07 p.m.
It’s the 2018 home-opening series for the Mavericks, and a sweep of the former national runners-up would be quite a statement for a hockey team that hasn’t made the postseason NCAA tournament since their improbable run to the Frozen Four in 2015.
- Men’s Soccer vs. #19 Denver Pioneers, Sept. 22nd at 7 p.m.
It would seem that during the past couple of seasons, it’s always come down to these two teams. Since 2013, Denver had won both at least a share of the regular season league championship and the tournament championship. But in 2016, that regular-season ‘share’ meant something – Omaha got the chance to host the Summit League Championship tournament in 2017. This helped put the Mavericks into the NCAA tournament for the 2017 season.
In a league with only five conference matchups, every one matters – especially one with the perennial front-runner, now nationally ranked.
- Hockey vs. North Dakota, Jan. 18th and 19th at 7:07 p.m.
Nothing puts a fire into Baxter Arena like the North Dakota versus Omaha matchup. Unfortunately, it’s not a matchup that Omaha usually wins. In the past three seasons, Omaha has a record of 4-10 against the NCHC foe that put an end to Omaha’s conference playoff hopes last spring.
In reality, any NCHC matchup could be selected in the number one spot. There are the national champions from 2018, Minnesota Duluth. There are also the national champions from the year before, Denver. North Dakota won it all the year before that. Any team you pick, it’s of vital importance in arguably the toughest conference in college hockey.