Tag Archives: Bryan Blitz

Tiger fall teams show encouraging signs in early action

Mizzou football, volleyball and soccer all start with winning records

Missouri's Aarion Penton, left, celebrates with teammate Anthony Sherrils after Penton scored a touchdown during the third quarter of Saturday's game against Southeast Missouri State. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Missouri’s Aarion Penton, left, celebrates with teammate Anthony Sherrils after Penton scored a touchdown during the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Southeast Missouri State. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

A few notes as Mizzou sports begin in earnest for the 2015-2016 season.

Missouri football started with a solid if not spectacular win over Southeast Missouri State. Yes, Missouri should be expected to dominate SEMO, but I was actually pretty impressed with what I saw. The offense sputtered at times, but some of the reason for that lies in injuries.  Ask me to name the most irreplaceable players on this team, and I’d have named two: Evan Boehm and Russell Hansbrough, both of whom missed significant time against the Redhawks. Missouri’s offense depends on these two senior captains and hopefully their ankle injuries won’t prove to be serious.

The Tigers receivers had a couple of drops but also made some fine catches. Rather than having one great WR, the team can put three or four capable guys on the field at one time and this part of the game will continue to improve. The more this team plays the better communication and telepathy between quarterback Maty Mauk and his young batch of receivers will trend upward.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks for a receiver during the second quarter. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks for a receiver during the second quarter. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

I fully expect to start hearing the drumbeat for more of freshman QB Drew Lock, but that’s way premature. Mauk is 15-4 as a starter and has been through the gauntlet of SEC play. Until we’ve seen how Lock responds to receiving a Malachi Crunch between two sides of beef from the Georgia defensive line, or from hearing boos when he throws a pick in the fourth quarter of a tight game, we still don’t know how he’ll handle the responsibility. But we’ve seen enough in scrimmages and the SEMO game to be very excited about the future and to understand how it is Lock jumped more experienced QBs to earn the No. 2 spot in Gary Pinkel’s depth chart. The day will come, gentle reader, when Lock is this team’s quarterback. Patience.

While the offense will be under construction for a bit, the defense can be described as very good, on the pathway to stellar. The key here is the secondary. You’ll not find a better set of corners in the SEC than Mizzou has with Kenya Dennis and Aarion Penton. Experienced safeties who can cover receivers and come up and deliver a hard tackle in the run game, and plenty of quality depth at all four spots make this the strongest area of the team. That secondary and talented group of linebackers means less pressure on the defensive line. That front has to recover from losing Marcus Golden and Shane Ray to the NFL, Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent to graduation, Marcus Loud to discipline problems and Harold Brantley to an ugly car crash on Father’s Day. What’s left is testament to how well this position has been recruited, as the guys who step in like Charles Harris and Rickey Hatley continue to play very well. But one of this year’s biggest stories will be to watch Terry Beckner, Jr., the biggest recruiting “get” in Boone County since Dorial Green-Beckham came to town. Beckner’s already showing flashes of brilliance, and I suspect it’s just a matter of time before he’s part of the starting team.

Special teams were also a real strength for this team—mostly. Freshman punter Corey Fatony is the real deal, with excellent punting and (with one exception) kickoffs. Andrew Baggett was steady, making all six attempts, and the coverage units did a fine job of preventing big plays. The concern? The return game. You’ll never replace Marcus Murphy, but there were some awkward moments catching the ball (or not) for Penton, and Anthony Sherrils ran a kickoff out of the end zone which he probably should have just downed for a touchback. But these are minor and correctable concerns.

There were some very bright spots—the biggest of course being the excellent play of senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers. The most underrated defender in the SEC carried a bit of a chip on his shoulder into this season because of a lack of recognition and Tiger opponents will pay the price. After 16 tackles and a blocked punt, it’ll be a sham if he’s not named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week. But even if he doesn’t get the personal recognition he’s earned, one thing’s clear. Brothers will continue to contribute to Tiger victories. My guess is that’s a trade-off Brothers will accept.

There were several other bright spots, but perhaps the brightest is just the overall preparedness of this team. I watched a lot of football this weekend and saw some teams that didn’t look ready to play. There was some real sloppiness in South Carolina’s offensive scheme, Vanderbilt looked very shaky, and Texas A&M had to play some quarterback bingo before finally getting their offense going against Arizona State.

Mizzou, on the other hand, looked like they knew this game was for real. There was a time-out called when personnel problems blew up a punt early. There was a truly dumb unsportsmanlike conduct call after Nate Brown’s touchdown. Mauk threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage off his back foot that was, of course, intercepted. But there were a lot fewer of these type of mistakes than from most of the teams I watched in Week One.  Looking at the stat sheet, the number that impressed me the most was 6-54. Six penalties for 54 yards.  Most of those came from two plays, the unsportsmanlike conduct call and a 15-yard facemask flagged against Sherrils. There was only one false start all day and only one holding call. In spite of losing Boehm for the second half, the Tigers’ O-Line showed a lot of discipline and only gave up three sacks to a SEMO team that lead their conference in sacks last year.

In spite of there being a lot of young players, this is a sign that this team has come into the 2015 season prepared to play. Yes, the schedule gets tougher from here. Of course, the running game must improve. And the guys who have to catch punts need to, you know, actually catch them.

But overall, just a week into this season I see a lot of reasons for optimism among Missouri football fans. I’ll be in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Saturday, we’ll see if there’s continued progress for this Tiger team.

 MU Volleyball

Elsewhere in Missouri sports, I’ve used the same line over and over regarding this 2015 MU volleyball team, “They’ll improve quickly as the year goes along.” They have three transfers starting and are giving substantial playing time to new freshman Alyssa Munlyn. One could reasonably expect some early bumps while the newbies learn Wayne Kreklow’s system and adjust to new teammates, and in Munlyn’s case, to the college game as a whole.

Instead, the team has started with six straight wins. All three transfers are looking sharp but special notice goes to Kira Larson. A North Dakota kid who played for the tradition-laden Nebraska program (as did new defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge) Larson’s been a quick study to pick up the “Mizzou Way” and promises to be a big part of this team.

Returning All-American Carly Kan continues to be outstanding, and in the last few matches there’s been a big jump in the play of senior Regan Peltier and junior Julia Towler. Kan, Larson and Towler all made the All-Tournament team last weekend at the South Florida Invitational. With freshman middle blocker Hao Jin getting more playing time, and Sydney Deeken (hopefully) returning from injury soon, there’s a lot of depth on the front line, and Ethridge is settling into the libero position nicely.

We won’t see the Tigers play in Hearnes until SEC play starts on September 30, but keep an eye on this team, which could be on the way to a fine run in the conference.

MU Soccer

Meanwhile, Bryan Blitz’s soccer club has been through a bit of a scoring drought. Since beating TCU 2-0 in their opener, the team scored more than one goal just once in five matches and has since played to consecutive 0-0 ties. Mizzou may well have the best back line in the SEC, and freshman Kelsey Dossey is doing a terrific job at goalkeeper. Missouri’s getting chances to score off the traditional Blitz attacking style, but the finishes aren’t coming.

It doesn’t make for a pretty game to watch, but packing the defense and hoping for a 1-0 win is smart tactics against this Missouri team. Until they can break out and score some goals early, forcing opponents to open up and attack more, we may see a lot of very low scoring soccer from the Tigers. Getting Allie Hess back from injury would be a major addition for Mizzou, meanwhile freshmen Amanda Shaw and Bethany Coons are getting significant minutes up front. The Tigers will be home for the first SEC event of the school year, taking on Auburn at Walton Stadium. Auburn and Missouri were both picked around the middle of the pack in preseason SEC polling, so this will be a biggie for both sets of Tigers. If Mizzou can get a goal or two early and force opponents’ tactics to change, this team’s capable of making a real run in conference play.

Because nobody’s going to score a lot against this Tiger team.

~•~

Shop talk —Thanks to Karen Mitchell and Nathan Lawrence, the KBIA Sports website should be back to fully operational soon. Believe me, when that happens, you’ll hear about it. You can continue to follow @kbiahellwege on Twitter for my thoughts, and again, I will be in Jonesboro on Saturday for Mizzou football. I’ll also be in Memphis Friday evening for ribs. Watch this space for my reporting on both these vital subjects.

 

 

Herrman’s first goal keys Mizzou win over Kentucky

Missouri goalie McKenzie Sauerwein kicks the ball into play during the Tigers’ 1-0 win over Tennessee-Martin on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, at Walton Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Greg Dailey)

Missouri goalie McKenzie Sauerwein kicks the ball into play during the Tigers’ 1-0 win over Tennessee-Martin on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, at Walton Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Greg Dailey)

By Greg Dailey, KBIA Sports

Emotions ran high as Jessica Herrman threw her arms in the air.

After two ACL surgeries and fighting through a hamstring injury, Hermann scored the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute, giving Missouri a 2-1 victory Read more of this post

Mizzou get Blitz his 200th win in comeback fashion

By Greg Dailey, KBIA Sports

Focus.

That was the key word from Missouri players and coaches. The Tigers roared to a 4-3 win double overtime win over Montana after trailing by two goals late in the second half Friday night.

“We were focused,” said junior defender Candace Johnson. “We’ve been working together. We knew that we could do Read more of this post

Saturday Sports: Missouri soccer expects good year

Darren Hellwege logoDarren Hellwege talks with Missouri soccer’s associate coach Brian Dooley, who expects the Tigers to be a much better team this year, coming off a 8-9-3 year. The freshman class is expected to be strong, lead by Jessica Johnson and Alli Magaletta. Missouri beat No. 4 North Carolina 2-1 in an exhibition game last week. The Tigers played to a scoreless tie with Syracuse on Friday and faces West Virginia Sunday morning in the Penn State Invitational.


Length: 11:01

Listen to Darren’s interview with senior Kaysie Clark from earlier this week.

New assault complaints against ex-Mizzou RB emerge

By The Associated Press

Derrick Washington

Derrick Washington

ST. LOUIS — Two more former University of Missouri students have gone public with assault allegations against ex-running back Derrick Washington, including a women’s soccer player who said her coach suggested she could lose her scholarship if she pursued her complaint that Washington punched her in a 2010 bar fight.

The second woman accuses Washington of raping her in a dorm room as a sophomore in 2008. Local prosecutors in that case declined to file criminal charges, despite a request to do so by campus police. Washington instead agreed to not contact the woman and to complete a rape awareness class under a deferred prosecution agreement.

The women made the statements to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” for a report published Thursday.

The report did not name either woman. Police reports and university documents connected to the two incidents also don’t identify the complainants.

University Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who came to the Columbia campus in February, said Thursday that the school Read more of this post

Mizzou women’s soccer easily defeats SEMO, 4-0

Story by Romain Cluzel
Photos by Brendan Bilbo

SEMO goalie Ashton Aubuchon makes a save on a shot by Missouri's Candace Johnson in the first half.

SEMO goalie Ashton Aubuchon makes a save on a shot by Missouri’s Candace Johnson in the first half.

Alyssa Diggs (14) dribbles past a SEMO defender in Friday's game.

Alyssa Diggs (14) dribbles past a SEMO defender in Friday’s game.

Kaysie Clark (9) sweeps past a SEMO defender Erin Shulman (3) as Dominique Richardson watches.

Kaysie Clark (9) sweeps past a SEMO defender Erin Shulman (3) as Dominique Richardson watches.

With a shot from outside the box 25 minutes into the game, Dominique Richardson was the first to score in Missouri’s dominating 4-0 win over Southeast Missouri State Friday at Walton Stadium. It was the senior’s first goal of the season.

But it was freshman Lauren Selaiden who had the biggest impact, scoring twice for the Tigers, once in each half.

Read more of this post

Missouri soccer team opens season with win over Pacific

Missouri's Reagan Russell (6) jumps over Pacific goalie Tashia Long as Long grabs the ball. Russell scored twice in the 5-1 win Friday night. Photo by Karen Mitchell.

Missouri’s Reagan Russell (6) jumps over Pacific goalie Tashia Long as Long grabs the ball. Russell scored twice in the 5-1 win Friday night. Photo by Karen Mitchell.

The Missouri Tigers soccer team easily defeated the Pacific Tigers 5-1 to open the season Friday night at Walton Stadium.

Missouri was lead by two goals each from junior Taylor Grant and sophomore Reagan Russell. Senior Danielle Nottingham scored the fifth goal and added two assists.

Goalie McKenzie Sauerwein played the full 90 minutes, allowing one goal and making two saves.

Missouri (1-0) is scheduled to play at Memphis on Sunday.

 

Thinking Out Loud, Saturday Sports: Molly Kreklow at the mic

Darren Hellwege logoAug. 24, 2013

Darren’s long form interview this week is 15 minutes with Molly Kreklow about her senior year with Mizzou volleyball. You’ll also get his weekly football update and the latest from the soccer pitch.


Length: 58:11

Darren Hellwege is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Fall sports at Mizzou share disappointing 2012 seasons, potential for future

Midfielder Haley Krentz (4), shown here against Arizona State on Aug. 31, 2012, is one of the seniors Missouri loses this year.

Midfielder Haley Krentz (4), shown here against Arizona State on Aug. 31, 2012, is one of the seniors Missouri loses this year.

As the year 2012 winds down, fall sports have come to an end, and basketball and the rest of the winter sports take the week off for finals. It seemed a good time to look back over some of the fall sports at Mizzou and look forward to next season.

darren hellwege logo

Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

Of the major fall sports at MU similarities can be seen as the teams, all coached by long-time successes, saw disappointing seasons. But the teams, the MU football program under Gary Pinkel, Bryan Blitz’s soccer team and the volleyball team of Wayne Kreklow, have a lot of talent returning after recent recruiting successes. Reasons exist for fans of all these Tiger teams to optimistically look forward to 2013.

Football

It was one of the more disappointing seasons of recent memory for Missouri football, as the Tigers’ first year in the Southeastern Conference ended with a 5-7 record. But the record only tells part of the story, as the Tigers suffered through a remarkable string of injuries, particularly to offensive linemen, and many weekends without a healthy James Franklin. They did not play to their potential but it’s hard to blame the players or coaches for the rough season when so much goes wrong that is out of anyone’s control.

The Tigers should have a stronger offense in 2013 with Franklin returning and hopefully healthy again. Missouri loses some real talent on the offensive line but a healthier line should be a plus and, because of the injuries this year, a lot of younger guys got more experience than they would have otherwise.

Missouri loses the most consistent offensive player in RB Kendial Lawrence, but look forward to the return of Henry Josey, and will have several good ends, lead by Dorial Green-Beckham, who really started to shine late in 2012. The one real loss for the offense is the resignation of offensive coordinator David Yost.

On the other hand, there are losses on the defensive side of the ball that will be more difficult to address. There are some good defensive linemen on the team, but none to match Sheldon Richardson, who announced recently he’s leaving early to play in the NFL.

The linebacker position loses two great ones in Zavier Gooden and Will Ebner, but Andrew Wilson returns and with Darvin Ruise and Kentrell Brothers coming up, there are adequate replacements. Replacing E.J. Gaines may be more difficult, as Randy Ponder showed an ability to be a big hitter but was inconsistent in coverage. The graduation of Kenronte Walker costs Missouri a talented safety and leadership in the secondary.

The schedule should be a little easier to navigate, as well. Yeah, they still face the monsters of the SEC East in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida but their schedule out of the West gets much easier, with Alabama replaced by Ole Miss. The Tigers get Florida, USC, and Texas A&M at home next year.

With an easier schedule and barring another disaster (or, rather, series of disasters) on the line, the Tigers should be much more successful in 2013. Looking back, this team was far closer to being 9-3 than anyone in black and gold wants to think about. A healthy line, a healthy Franklin, and this year could have been very, very different.

Season highlight: The four-overtime win at Tennessee. James Franklin at his best down the stretch, and a couple of big catches that made Tiger fans realize what they had in D.G.B.

Season low: There were several, let’s call the worst a tie between the blowout loss at South Carolina in which the Tigers never looked competitive and a loss at home to a team they should have beaten, Vanderbilt.

Soccer

Also a frustrating season. For the second year in a row the Tigers started strong but faded badly down the stretch. Once ranked in the top 10 nationally, Missouri lost four of their last five in the regular season. After playing Florida to a tight 2-1 loss, the Tigers were clobbered by the Gators 3-0 in the SEC tourney, and made little of hosting an NCAA tournament game, losing in penalty kicks to Illinois.

The team loses some talented seniors, with the back line particularly hard hit with solid defenders Allison Hu and Kelsey Mulcahy done. But overall the team returns a good deal of talent and strong recruiting means the team should be at least as strong in 2013. Now, the team just has to learn how to win in October and November.

Season highlight: Possibly the opener, a 5-1 win over highly ranked Memphis. But the first weekend in October had two impressive SEC victories at home with good fan support. Sadly, they were the last home victories of the season.

Season low: Losing to two .500 teams in the final weekend of the season. Arkansas’ record was somewhat misleading; they were a talented but inconsistent team. But there’s no way Missouri should have lost on Senior Day to LSU. The team just seemed to run out of gas. Only a win over Kentucky in the SEC tourney kept the last month of the year from being a total wash.

Volleyball

For some time now, it’s appeared that the two anchors of this team reaching their senior year and the development of a couple of strong recent recruiting classes meant 2013 was the year to look forward to. But, for a while this year, there were appearances that they might mature early and 2012 would yield a very good team. Unfortunately, depth became a major problem when Taylor Simpson walked off the team just as she was starting to really look like a major contributor and Niki Collier took a personal leave that ended up lasting the rest of the season. Coach Wayne Kreklow spent the rest of the season playing freshmen more than he wanted and just trying to keep six healthy bodies on the floor.

Now comes the year for which we’ve been waiting. Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning will be seniors, Katie O’Brien should return after losing the entire 2012 season to injury, and a maturing supporting cast with excellent players like Emily Wilson and Sarah Meister should make this one of the teams to beat in the SEC.

Season highlight: No question, beating Tennessee in five sets at home was one of the most thrilling moments for any MU sports team this fall.

Season low: Like soccer, it has to be the final weekend. Kentucky exploited the Tigers’ weaknesses and made them look bad in a sweep, then the Tigers finished with a loss to an Alabama team they really should have beaten.

 

 

Missouri keeps rolling, shuts out Mississippi State

Story and photos by Kaysie Moore

The No. 16 Missouri soccer team shut out Mississippi State 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Walton Stadium, improving their record to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in SEC play. The Bulldogs fell to 7-7-1 and 0-7-1 (SEC).

Sophomore Abi Raymer and senior Taiwo Adeshigbin scored goals in the game. Raymer put the Tigers up in the 33rd minute, with junior Dominique Richardson assisting, her first on the year.  Adeshigbin scored in the 65th minute to wrap up the game.

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“We thought Mississippi State really challenged us today from a physical standpoint,” Missouri Coach Bryan Blitz said. “We felt our group responded well and we are happy to earn a Sunday win.”

Missouri had a 36-11 overall shots advantage and a 13-6 advantage in shots on goal.

Mizzou goalie McKenzie Sauerwein earned her sixth shutout of the season.

The Tigers travel to Florida next weekend to face the No. 17 Gators on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be televised live on Sun Sports. Missouri then plays at Alabama on Sunday, Oct. 14 at noon.