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UNO SPORTS

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Photo by Omaha Athletics

Ray Koch
SPORTS EDITOR

For most people, going to college in a new city where you don’t know anyone can be a daunting thought, but for sophomore tennis athlete Rylee Tucker it was exactly what she wanted.

“My first year was a lot of fun. I liked being in a new place where I didn’t know anyone coming into it.”

As a freshman last year, Tucker was a key attribute to a young Maverick squad. Off the court, Tucker and seven other teammates earned ITA Scholar Athlete Awards for the year. The award requires one to letter in a collegiate sport for a year and maintain a GPA average of 3.5 or above.

“It takes a lot of commitment to stay on top of school and tennis at the same time,” says Tucker.

When she first arrived on campus, she learned that she would have to manage her time. “The first semester was a little difficult; I would only go to class and practice, and spend my free time studying,” she says. As a biology major with aspirations of being a pediatrician, Tucker says that this award was something for which she worked hard.

“It was a great accomplishment for me to be an ITA Scholar Athlete because I knew I had worked so hard for it.”

Despite her early accomplishments, Tucker has her aim set on improving the team’s 6-16 record. “This year I really want to improve my game and have a better record, and help my team get more wins this season,” she says.

We will have to wait until spring to see Tucker and the rest of the tennis team compete on the court, but make no mistake—they will be competing all fall in the classroom.

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Photo by Omaha Athletics

Ray Koch
SPORTS EDITOR

Nothing screams Maverick spirit quite like a brisk, dark fall night at Caniglia field— where, nestled in-between overlooking trees, one can cheer on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s soccer teams as they go head-to-head with their opponents.

The first chance Mav faithful will have a chance to see their 2017 UNO Men’s soccer team will be Aug. 9, in the red/ black scrimmage. However, on Aug. 13, the infamous South Omaha Classic will take place at Caniglia Field against the 2013 National Champions, Notre Dame.

Last year’s South Omaha Classic was a thriller when UNO beat Marquette in a shootout 2-1. Junior defender Zac Marquess knows the importance of the South Omaha Classic.

“It’s always a blast playing in the South O Classic because the community really
does come out and support. We’re lucky to be supported by such a great city with lots of Maverick pride,” he said.

Playing a former national champion can be a daunting challenge, but Marquess and the Mavs know what to expect from the task at hand.

“Against a former national champion in Notre Dame, we expect a very fun and competitive game. [This game] will set the tone for the rest of our games, especially at Caniglia field.”

The UNO Mavericks finished the season with a 10-5-4 record, before losing to Denver in the Summit League tournament to cut their season short. Notre Dame finished the season last year ranked 14th, which was one better than in-state for Creighton.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m., there is only one expectation for Maverick students and fellow fans—wear black, and get loud.

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Ray Koch
SPORTS EDITOR

Tickets to University of Nebraska at Omaha sporting events are free for students with the use of their MavCARD. So, why should freshmen attend the games?

 

“It’s a great atmosphere to make friends in because everyone is so upbeat and excited to be there. It’s also a good way to blow off steam or take a break from homework in a healthy and fun way.”
Ashley Ortmeier, sophomore education major

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I love the competitive nature of our teams. I usually go to basketball or soccer games, but when I have time, I go to hockey games. They are the rowdiest.”
Hilario Mendez, sophomore computer science major

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My favorite part of attending UNO hockey games is how pumped up and rowdy our student section gets to support our hockey team. In the back of the stu-dent section there are big makeshift drums that beat along with the chants we shout.”
Mikala Hunt, senior biology major

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s fun and empowering when you’re able to be in a group and you’re all cheering for the same thing. It’s more than just a person or an athlete that’s on the team. It’s for a symbol that the university stands for.”
Joe Hagerty, master’s degree student

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I like UNO games because they give me a chance to represent my school and a chance to cheer on the Mavs to victory.”
Jacob Marsh, junior architectural engineering major

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Nelson
CONTRIBUTOR

The Omaha baseball team was in Lawrence, Kansas last Wednesday night for a showdown with the Big 12’s Kansas Jayhawks (13-18). The Mavericks made the quick pit stop in Kansas on their way to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a weekend series with Summit League leaders Oral Roberts, which they eventually lost in a sweep of three games. Omaha fell to the Jayhawks 7-6 in 10 innings.

Wednesday night was a chance to get some momentum coming into the big weekend series between the top two teams in the Summit. Kansas got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, but Omaha answered quickly in the second and took the lead 2-1. Designated hitter Ryan Cate got on with a double, then second basemen Sam Palensky walked, and both runners were put in scoring position after a Jayhawk balk. Freshman first basemen Grant Suponchick hit a two-RBI single to right field to take the lead the following at-bat.

The Jayhawks scored one run in each of the next two innings, one on a wild pitch, to push their lead to 4-2 going into the top of the fifth. The fifth inning was scoreless for both teams, but once again Omaha struck for one more multi-run inning to take the lead.

Third-basemen Clayton Taylor walked, then catcher Adam Caniglia singled to put two on for the Mavs. Taylor advanced to third and then home on a pair of wild pitches that got Caniglia all the way to third. Palensky knocked in Caniglia to tie the game at 4, but Suponchick drove in his third RBI of the night to help his team take a 5-4 lead the next at-bat.

The Mavs would load the bases in the sixth inning with no outs, but could only muster a Taylor sac fly that brought home freshman left fielder Jack Kalina, and just like that the Mavs were up by two runs.

Kansas, which never scored more than one in an inning all night, but up one in the seventh after a two-out single, put the Jayhawks left fielder/catcher Michael Tinsley on. Next Colby Wright scored on a double to centerfield. In the eighth inning, the Jayhawks turned to some clutch pinch-hit at-bats to tie the game once more before heading to extra innings.

The Jayhawk’s Devin Foyle came in to pinch-hit and drove in a run on a double down the right field line to tie the game 6-6 heading into the ninth. Foyle entered the game as the left fielder, and would come up again in the bottom of the tenth. Foyle drew a leadoff walk then advanced to third on a sac-bunt, and wild pitch by Omaha’s Eric Moreno. Tinsley hit a single to right field, plating Foyle, and giving the Jayhawks the 7-6 win.

Moreno (0-1) was tagged with the loss, while Kansas pitcher Stephen Villines (4-1) earned the win tossing the final two innings in relief where he allowed just one hit, and four Mavs strikeouts. The Mavericks will face-off against the Kansas State Wildcats this Wednesday night at Werner Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

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Jackson Taylor
SPORTS EDITOR

The Omaha baseball team’s mid-season funk continued over the weekend, going 0-3 at Oral Roberts for their fifth straight loss. The Mavericks fell 6-4 on Friday, then 6-3 and 3-2 on Saturday. Omaha is now 17-19 (8-7 Summit League) on the season. Oral Roberts improved to 23-12 (12-3 Summit League).

Game 1: L 6-4

RHP Tyler Fox (6-2) made the start and took the loss for UNO, giving up six runs on 11 hits. The senior walked two batters and struck out four in his 7.0 innings of work. Fox was relieved by senior Brett Sasse who looked strong in his 1.0 inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Omaha was paced offensively by sophomore Ryan Cate who finished 3-for-5 from the plate with three singles and an RBI. Senior Clayton Taylor and freshman Riley Herold also chipped in multi-hit performances. As a team, the Mavericks tallied 10 hits but struck out 12 times and left 12 runners on base.

Omaha jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. Senior Alex Schultz reached on an error to start the game and moved to third after a sacrifice bunt and Taylor reaching on a wild pitch. Cate followed with an 2-RBI single to create the 2-0 start.

The Mavericks tacked on a third run in the fourth inning when Herold singled and scored on Schultz’ double down the right field line.

ORU attacked the Omaha lead in the fifth, as Chase Stafford sent a two-run shot over the wall making it 3-2. The score became 4-2 when freshman Jack Kalina singled to score freshman Grant Suponchick in the sixth inning.

The Golden Eagles rallied to take the lead with four runs over the next two innings off a homerun and a bases-loaded double, giving ORU the 6-4 advantage.

Game 2: L 6-3

Junior LHP Sam Murphy (2-2) was dealt the loss in the game, surrendering six runs on seven hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts over 7.0 innings.

Suponchick had another clutch game at the plate for UNO going 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Maverick offense. Omaha tallied seven hits, struck-out eight times and left eight runners on base as a team. The Maverick defense committed two errors on the day.

Oral Roberts struck quickly in the bottom of the first, recording three runs on two hits and an error. Omaha would retaliate with a three-sport of its own in the top of the third. After loading the bases with no outs, Taylor singled to short, sophomore Adam Caniglia reached on a fielder’s choice and Suponchick placed a single to make the score 3-3.

ORU broke out again in the fourth inning scoring two runs in a two-out rally and then tacked one more run on in the fifth creating the final mark of 6-3.

Game 3: L 3-2

Sophomore RHP Corey binger (4-3) made the start and took the loss in the finale, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 6.0 innings.

The lackluster Omaha offense was led by Caniglia and Herold who each went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Caniglia also tallied an RBI on the game. Omaha totalled seven hits, struck out nine times and left six runners on base.

ORU again struck in the first inning, using three hits to scratch across the first run of the contest. Omaha was kept silent for the early innings but came up with two runs in the fifth inning. Herold reached base on a walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Kalina groundout. Caniglia singled to bring in Herold and a pair of singles from Schultz and Gruber brought in the second run.

The Golden Eagles tied the game up in their half of the fifth and retook the lead in the seventh after stringing together three hits.

Omaha will look to rebound with a five-game homestand starting Wednesday, April 20 as they host Kansas State. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Werner Park.

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Jackson Taylor
SPORTS EDITOR

The Omaha softball team continued climbing the Summit over the weekend, taking two out of three games from conference foe Western Illinois. The Mavericks improved to 23-22 (9-2 Summit League), keeping them in second place behind North Dakota State.

Game 1: Omaha 7 Western Illinois 3

RHP Laura Roecker took the mound in Omaha’s first game against WIU. The freshman improved to 12-9 on the season with her complete game. Roecker gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits while walking three and striking out five.

The Omaha offense was paced by two 3-for-3 performances from senior catcher Campbell Ditto and junior centerfielder Lia Mancuso. The two combined for three home runs and four RBIs on the day. Junior shortstop Nicole Warren also chipped in with a two-run homer and freshman pinch hitter Alexis Parker added a solo shot.

As a team, Omaha tallied its seven runs on 10 hits and made three errors in the field.

Game 2: Omaha 2 Western Illinois 0

Junior pitcher Abbie Clanton (9-9) propelled the Mavericks to victory in the second game with her crafty pitching performance. Clanton went 7.0 complete innings allowing five hits and striking out two. Of her 114 pitches on the day, 60% went for strikes and she kept Western Illinois to only one runner to reach third base in the entire game.

Lizzie Noble led the limited UNO offense with a 1-for-3 day at the plate. Her two-out double in the top of the first knocked in the only two runs of the game. Senior right fielder Bailey Schulenberg had a solid performance going 2-for-3 with a double.

Omaha’s two runs came off six hits, while the defense made just one error.

Game 3: Omaha 8 Western Illinois 14

Roecker started on the mound in the finale for her second appearance over the weekend. The freshman went 4.1 innings, allowing eight runs (five earned) off nine hits and two walks.

Warren and Hames drove the Omaha offense. Warren went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and a home run. She scored two runs and tallied three RBIs. Hames went 2-for-4 with a double and home run while scoring and twice and driving in two.

Omaha’s eight runs came off 11 hits and the defense made four.

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Gabriel Christensen
CONTRIBUTOR

The desire for change combined with a strong passion for baseball led University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) men’s baseball pitcher Sam Murphy to the Mavericks.

A Florida native, Murphy has been playing baseball for nearly 12 years now. He chose UNO for baseball, but also largely for educational purposes.

“I knew I didn’t want to go to school in Florida— I wanted a change.” Murphy said, “Omaha was a better school for my broadcasting major, so I chose UNO.”

Despite the distance, Murphy remains close to his family in Florida by visiting at least twice a year.

“We stay in touch and when I go home I always make it count,” Murphy said, “But they understand that it’s just one of those things— I’m doing my thing and this is how it is.”

Murphy is a senior this year and graduates in May. However, because Murphy suffered from an injury his junior year, during which he sat out the season, he’s continuing his education and playing ball next year at UNO.

“It feels like I’ve been here for so many years,” Murphy said, “But it’s really been such a great experience.”

Murphy is majoring in News Broadcasting and hopes to work in the radio industry.

“At first, I thought I wanted to work in TV,” Murphy said, “But getting the experience with UNO’s Men’s Basketball really opened my eyes to radio— now play by play is the dream.”

Murphy spends much of his time interning at UNO’s Athletic Department, handling the journalism side of sports by delivering news and press releases.

“Working in the sports information office has been very time consuming the past three years,” Murphy said, “But it’s given me real life experience and has really enhanced my writing skills.”

Along with interning, Murphy produces a blog titled Bullpen Banter for UNO’s Sports website, OMavs. Murphy said he tries to post every two weeks.

“When the idea was first brought to my attention, I was skeptical,” Murphy said, “But I’ve gotten really great responses.”

Murphy said he aims to deliver a behind the scenes look into the life of a student athlete from a baseball perspective.

“I try to recap what’s going on in the sport and I also attempt to do a Q&A with a player in each post,” Murphy said, “I do this so the audience can get to know the team.”

For Murphy this semester is drastically different than last spring, as he was challenged by an
arm injury.

“The injury threw me through a whirlwind,” Murphy said, “But the trainers were great to me— it was difficult— but I recovered.”

Murphy pointed out that having a strong work ethic is what got him through those difficult times.

“Luckily, I had a good mindset, went to rehab, and put in a lot of hours in the training room, Murphy said, “It all worked out.”

Although Murphy is open to the possibility of a future with baseball, he said he’s not dependent on that outcome.

“If it happens, great,” Murphy said, “If not, I’ve gotten so much out of baseball already— it’s truly been a dream.”

Murphy said the hardest aspect to being a student athlete is that the title is used regularly, however, many don’t necessarily understand the term.

“Sometimes, people don’t understand that being a student comes first,” Murphy said, “Student athletes are held to a high standard and must maintain a certain GPA and keep their academics as a first priority.”

In order to do this, Murphy said that students and student athletes alike should create a game plan right off the bat and stick to it.

“Get your academics squared away and come in strong,” Murphy said “It’s all about trying hard and staying on track.”

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Andrew Nelson
CONTRIBUTOR

The Omaha baseball team traveled south to Papillion last Wednesday night for a game with the instate rival Nebraska Cornhuskers at Werner Park.

The park, home to the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers, is proving to be a “second home” to the Mavericks when hosting larger out-of-town opponents. And usually, it goes the out-of-town’s team way, which is exactly how Wednesday night’s game played out, in an 11-6 Omaha loss.

The Mavericks however, just like past performances at Werner Park, showed they could compete with the Huskers early taking a 1-0 lead in the first on a Cole Gruber home run.

Junior Shane Meltz started for Omaha on Wednesday against Nebraska-Lincoln.

Two innings later, the flood of mistakes came for the Mavericks. Omaha starter Shane Meltz tossed a wild pitch past back-up catcher Josh Scribner, starting in place of the injured Colin Leif, putting two Huskers into scoring position. The first Husker would score on a passed ball, while the second was knocked in by a single to take a 2-1 lead.

Clayton Taylor, who is second in the NCAA in RBIs on the season, tallied another one hitting in Alex Schultz to tie the game in the bottom of the third. The Huskers would add two more the next half-inning to stall any Maverick momentum.

Omaha would answer scoring a run in four of the last six innings, but Nebraska also scored in every remaining inning, including two runs in the fifth and ninth innings which didn’t stop the bleeding.
The Omaha bullpen’s control was the catalyst allowing runs throughout the night. However, freshmen back-up Josh Scribner was thrusted into the starting lineup rather unexpectedly after an injury last weekend to regular starting catcher Colin Leif.

A fielding error in the fourth allowed a Husker run, the Omaha bullpen walked in a run in the fifth and then a passed ball allowed another Husker to score for the second time in the night. A Maverick wild pitch scored a Husker run in the sixth, and a passed ball in the seventh pushed the Husker lead to 8-4.

Omaha would still fight back to within three after Clayton Taylor scored a run after a Sam Palensky ground out to make it 8-5. The Huskers would once again slowly fill the bases then push a couple singles through to score two more runs in the eighth. Nebraska added their final run in the ninth after Omaha’s Ryan Sweeney hit a batter with the bases loaded.

Omaha will get another chance at Nebraska later this season at Haymarket Park in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:35 p.m.

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