B Page -- Aug. 31, 2010

Toledo

Rockets MAC Preview 

Continued from A Page

"I'm a coach's son, so I tell everybody I've got 45 years of coaching experience because I've been around the game so long," he said.


Still, the first season as a head coach had its ups and downs.

"It was a new thing every day -- 365 days of new stuff," Beckman said. "It was very rewarding, and of course there's things you pick up and want to do again, and there's things that you might want to change a little bit. And we learn from those things and try to make this program as best as we can make it as one of the top programs in the country."

He'll turn to a young quarterback and a strong corps of running backs to get that accomplished.

There's also wide receiver Eric Page, a freshman All-American last season, returning to add an explosive element to the Rockets' offense.

But across the board this is a young football team playing a daunting early-season schedule, so patience might be necessary.

"We hope our youth is a good thing, there's no question, but its going to take some maturity and some game experience to make us good," Beckman said. "I see it as they're all very capable and very willing, but they haven't had a lot of starts underneath their belts. To open up against Arizona, a bowl team last year -- coach [Mike] Stoops did a great job with them -- it will be a challenge and something we're looking forward to."

QUARTERBACKS
Coming out of spring practice, sophomore Austin Dantin (6-2, 189) was penciled in as the starter, but the competition will extend into preseason camp with sophomore David Pasquale (6-2, 230), senior Alex Pettee (6-2, 203) and redshirt freshman Terrence Owens (6-3, 175) also battling for the job.

"It was a very, very competitive spring. All four quarterbacks showed spurts of being capable of being the starter for that first game," Beckman said. "This summer and two-a-days will be very crucial. Right now Austin Dantin is penciled in as our No. 1 guy, with David Pasquale, Alex Pettee and Terrence Owens with him. It'll be a great two-a-days to determine who will be that guy against Arizona.

Dantin has the most experience as a starter, having filled in last season when Opelt went down with a shoulder injury.

Dantin played in seven games and started three last season. He completed 79-of-199 passes for 962 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

"Austin was the one who had to come in and play for us when Opelt got hurt after the fifth game, so he has a little more experience in the starting role," Beckman said. "He's a scrambling guy and a very, very good leader. He can use his feet to get himself out of trouble."

Pasquale served as the Rockets' Wildcat quarterback in 2009, but he could be asked to do more this season. He's yet to attempt a pass in college, but he ran for 78 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries last year.

"Dave's a big guy. He's a 232-pound quarterback who runs the football, and you definitely know where he's at because he has great speed and can punish you as a runner," Beckman said. "He got better at his throwing capabilities over spring ball. He did not throw a pass for us all season, but he did improve in that category, and he's a guy who can definitely be a starter also."

Pettee played in four games and started against Temple last season. He threw for 380 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

Owens sat out last season, but his athleticism puts him in the mix.

Glenville product Terrence Owens

"Terrence Owens had two great scrimmages at the end of the spring, so [the starting QB job] really is up in the air," Beckman said. "It's about how well they do this summer, and how well they do for two-a-days."

RUNNING BACKS
If Toledo is having trouble getting the ball down the field in the passing game, Beckman will have all the confidence in the world he can get something going with his running game.

Toledo lost DaJuane Collins, who ran for 991 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, but the Rockets have four runners the coach thinks are capable of carrying the load and he won't hesitate to line up with more than one back on the field if necessary.

"It's probably our strongest position depth-wise," Beckman said.

The starter coming out of the spring is junior Morgan Williams (5-11, 195). Williams played in 10 games last season, scored two touchdowns and finished second on the team with 444 yards and a team-best 6.0 yards per carry. In 2008, he ran for 1,010 yards and six touchdowns.

"Morgan Williams is No. 1 and proved after spring ball that he's still No. 1," Beckman said.

Williams will be pushed by junior Adonis Thomas (5-10, 175). Thomas has taken some reps at wide receiver throughout his career and ran for 151 yards on 21 carries last season.

"Adonis Thomas, who we dabbled with at wide receiver, moved him back and now he's solely a running back," Beckman said. "He has great burst and he's a different type of back than Morgan. Morgan will run over you. Adonis uses his moves."

Filling out the running back group is sophomore Jake Walker (5-11, 198) and redshirt freshman Darius Reeves (6-1, 192).

Walker ran 16 times for 68 yards as a freshman in 2008.

"Jake Walker, was redshirted last year because we had everyone the same age," Beckman said. "He's out of Florida and had a great spring for us and so did Darius Reeves. It's probably as strong a position as we have.

"You'll see us in some two-back stuff. You just have to put your 11 best players on the football field, and if it happens to be two running backs, then that's exactly what we'll do."

RECEIVERS
Probably the most dynamic talent on the Toledo offense is sophomore receiver Eric Page (5-10, 165). The Toledo native was a second-team All-MAC pick and a first-team freshman All-American after leading all freshmen in the country with 82 receptions and 1,159 yards. Page went over 100 yards receiving six times and became the fifth Toledo player to have a 1,000-yard receiving season.

"Eric Page was an All-American for us as a freshman, but he's still only a sophomore and people forget about that," Beckman said. "He was a true freshman last year. He's definitely a difference maker as a wide receiver."

Joining Page in the Rockets' three-receiver base set will be junior Kenny Stafford (6-4, 195). Stafford caught 14 passes for 22 yards and two scores last season. As a freshman Stafford grabbed six passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

"Kenny Stafford is a guy who's going to have to step up for us," Beckman said. "Julian Bellinger [6-1, 170] will have to step up for us. Ed Williams [6-2, 188] was the MVP of our spring game offensively, and he's a redshirt freshman, so we're very young at those positions."

Bellinger is a junior who caught just one pass for two yards last season.

"We also brought in James Green [6-3, 200], who was a January enrollee, and he ended up being our starting X receiver," Beckman said.

At tight end, the Rockets will turn to junior Danny Noble (6-5, 233).

In his first year as a starter last season, Noble caught 26 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown. Junior Jerome Jones (6-7, 229) will be the backup.

Elyria native Danny Noble

"Danny Noble, he's a very athletic guy and does a great job with us," Beckman said. "He's more athletic than Jones. Jones is going to be more of a smasher-type tight end for us. Our tight end, it's kind of what we did at Oklahoma State when I was down there, he's a guy that's got to be flexed out and be attached, and we try to utilize him quite a bit."

OFFENSIVE LINE
A lot of experience returns with this unit, but beyond the starters, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Junior left tackle Mike VanDerMuelen (6-7, 304), senior center Kevin Kowalski (6-4, 299), senior right guard Nate Cole (6-2, 306) and junior right tackle John Morookian (6-5, 301) are all returning starters. They'll be joined by junior left guard Phillip Manley (6-5, 309).

Nordonia alumnus, Rocket strongman Kevin Kowalski

"I think it's a strong unit, we just don't have depth," Beckman said. "Nate Cole, Kevin Kowalski, Mike VanDerMeulen and John Morookian are all guys that played quite a bit."

VanDerMeulen has started in all 23 games he's played. Kowalski has played in 33 games, Cole has started 19 games the last two seasons and Morookian has seen action in 23 games. They'll help make the transition for Manley a smooth one.

"Phillip Manley had a good spring; I think he'll be all right out there," Beckman said.

Zac Kerin (6-5, 294) and sophomore A.J. Lindeman (6-6, 300) will be counted on to add depth.

"Zac Kerin will be a redshirt freshman and we put A.J. Lindeman on scholarship. He was a walk-on that did a great job for us," Beckman said. "We've got a good group there, but we've got to get a little more experience."

DEFENSIVE LINE
Toledo ranked eighth in the MAC last year with 20 sacks, and getting pressure on the quarterback will again be a point of emphasis.

Spearheading the defensive front is senior defensive end Alex Johnson (6-2, 260). Johnson is a three-year starter who has piled up 81 career tackles, including 8.5 for loss and four sacks.

He suffered a knee injury in the season finale against Bowling Green but is expected to be healthy for the opener against Arizona.

"We kept Alex out of spring ball, didn't work him at all," Beckman said. "It was nothing serious like an ACL or anything. We know what Alex can do, and he's been a starter here for some time. We just wanted to get some of these younger players reps."

In Johnson's absence from spring drills, senior returning starter Doug Westbrook (6-3, 233) and sophomore T.J. Fatunikun (6-2, 245) shined.

Last season Westbrook made 24 tackles, including eight for loss and two sacks.

"Those two had just a great spring for us," Beckman said. "They're great pass-rushing guys that can make things happen. I definitely see those two being on the field quite a bit."

On the interior, junior Jonathan Lamb (6-4, 272), junior Malcolm Riley (6-3, 281), junior Johnie Roberts (6-3, 278) and sophomore Danny Farr (6-5, 308) a converted offensive lineman, are all expected to contribute.

"We moved Danny Farr over there, he's a big-body guy playing tackle for us. We just needed to get some more beef there inside," Beckman said. "Malcolm Riley had a great spring for us, and all four of our inside guys -- Lamb, Riley, Roberts and Farr -- I really felt were guys that did a good job for us. Right now Riley and Lamb are the projected starters, but all four will play."

Padua alumnus and Royalton native Danny Molls

LINEBACKERS
The Rockets have a star in the linebacking corps in senior Archie Donald (6-2, 244). The third-team All-MAC pick as a junior, Donald finished third in the conference and 21st in the country with 116 tackles, averaging 9.7 per game.

Donald reached double figures in tackles seven times and brought down a career-best 18 ball carriers at FIU and had 16 against Ohio State.

In 2008, Donald racked up a career-high 119 tackles and picked off two passes. For his career, Donald has 278 tackles, including 13.5 for loss and four sacks.

"Archie Donald had a good spring for us and next to him is Danny Molls [6-1, 222], who's a sophomore," Beckman said. "It's probably one of the areas that really has to have good two-a-days for us, because we have to make sure we have enough depth there."

Molls played in all 12 games as a true freshman. He didn't start but finished sixth on the team with 43 tackles. Others vying for playing time are senior Drey'lon Pree (6-2, 205) -- who Beckman says is the No. 3 guy at the position -- and juniors Isaiah Ballard (5-11, 210) and Charles Rancifer (6-3, 217).

St. Ed alum, former Hawkeye Diuantae Morrow now a Rocket

DEFENSIVE BACKS
The Rockets had some work to do in the defensive backfield, having finished last in the MAC in pass defense, allowing 241 yards per game and 26 touchdowns. Their 12 interceptions did tie for the fifth-best total in the league.

Beckman will turn to some new faces to help the unit crawl from the bottom of the league.

Senior Desmond Marrow (6-3, 204) is back after missing last season with a torn ACL he suffered covering a kickoff against Northern Illinois in 2008. He was cleared to play by doctors, but Beckman held him out as a precaution, and Marrow was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Marrow is a big, physical corner who has yet to pick off a pass in his career. He did register 30 tackles in 2008, when he started four of the seven games in which he appeared.

"Des is going to be our boundary corner," Beckman said. "It's unfortunate he didn't get to play a snap for us last season, but we're looking forward to getting him out there."

Starting opposite Marrow at the other cornerback position will be junior Taikwon Paige (5-11, 175). Paige originally signed with Auburn out of Georgia Military College but never enrolled at the SEC power, instead heading last January to Toledo, where he immediately impressed the coaching staff.

Beckman recruited Paige out of high school when he was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

"He signed at Auburn and had to take another math class to get in the SEC, so he wasn't able to go to Auburn and he came here and will be a starter right away," Beckman said. "He had an outstanding spring."

Adding depth at corner will be sophomore Byron Best (5-9, 197) who started eight games last season and senior Myshan Veasley-Pettis (6-0, 164), a former walk-on who started 11 games as a freshman but none since.

At safety, sophomore Diauntae Morrow (6-0, 205), a transfer from Iowa, is expected to have an impact at strong safety along with returning starter Jermaine Robinson (6-3, 188) a sophomore. Robinson was fifth on the team with 58 tackles, including six for loss last season. Freshman Ross Madison (6-1, 193) is the free safety.

Lutheran West grad Colin McHugh back for third year as long snapper

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Rockets have a dangerous return man in Eric Page. He led the team with 97 yards in punt returns and 457 yards in kickoff returns (25.4 yard average).

Julian Bellinger is also a threat in the return game, so long as he can take care of the football.

"We've got Eric Page and Julian Bellinger started out the season for us, then he got fumble-itis against Colorado and he got put on the back burner," Beckman said. "But as he matures through that position, he's got great speed -- he was second in the state of Georgia in the 100 meters and the 200 -- and he can be an asset to us.

KICKERS
Handling the kicking duties for the Rockets will be junior Ryan Casano (5-10, 178).

Casano missed most of last season with an injury, leaving Alex Stiegerwald as the main guy. Stiegerwald made 12-of-16 field goals and 40-of-41 extra points.

Casano played his freshman season at Orange Coast Community College in California, where he made 12-of-20 field goals and averaged 56.5 yards per kickoff.

"Ryan had a broken collarbone during two-a-days, so he wasn't able to participate," Beckman said. "It happens to be that shoulder that's really involved in the kicking, so we did not get to use him as much as we would have liked to last year. He proved to have a very explosive leg this spring, so we look forward to those guys and our long snapper, Colin McHugh [5-11, 211] being back."

PUNTERS
Toledo finished 120th in net punting last season with an average net punt of 28.7 yards. That's dead last in the FBS.

Junior Bill Claus (5-10, 189) handled the bulk of the duties last season, and he's back for another try. He averaged 37.4 yards on 34 kicks.

"Bill Claus proved to us this spring that he's capable of being a Division I punter," Beckman said. "We put Bill on scholarship, so he'll be our punter at this time. We know we have to be better in that category."

NEWCOMERS
Eight newcomers enrolled in January and took part in spring practice.

"That's even more than I had when I was at Oklahoma State," Beckman said.

Receiver James Green signed to play at Tennessee but the Volunteers over-signed, so he enrolled at Toledo.

"He had an outstanding spring for us, and he's a true freshman penciled in as a starter after spring ball," Beckman said. "He immediately made an im-pact."

Tight end Gerard Atkins (6-5, 252) had signed with USF, but the Bulls had extended too many scholarships, so he ended up with Toledo.

"He's a big tight end out of Tampa that can really help us," Beckman said. "He's a good-looking player."

Other new faces expected to contribute in 2010 are offensive lineman Robert Lisowski (6-3, 305), safety Ross Madison (6-0, 198) cornerback Taik-won Paige and linebacker Charles Rancifer.

"A lot of those guys you'll see playing at Arizona for that first game," Beckman said.


Yeomen honored  academically 

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“I am proud of this honor as it is a true reflection of the type of Student/Athletes we recruit here at Oberlin,” Head Coach Adam Shoemaker.
Coach Shoemaker

The Yeomen will begin their 2010-11 season September 24 at the ITA Regionals in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


The Viking Report 

Continued from A Page


The men's golf team will also open its season, traveling to Verona, NY for the Missouri Invitational.  The 54-hole tourney will be played on Sunday-Monday, Sept. 5-6.

Volleyball To Play Three Matches At Marshall's Thunder Invitational
Vikings Are 3-0 After Winning East Carolina Classic Title Last Week

The Cleveland State volleyball team continues its early season tournament slate when the Vikings travel to Huntington, W. Va., for three matches at the Thunder Invitational Tourney on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 3-4). The Vikings will play High Point at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Hofstra (10:30 a.m.) and Marshall (7:30 p.m.) on Saturday.

"We are going to have three tough matches away from home this week," head coach Chuck Voss said.  "It was exciting to get the season off to such a great start with three wins over the weekend.  I thought we improved with each match and hopefully will be able to play with more and more confidence moving forward."

CSU opened the season by claiming the East Carolina Classic title with three wins. The Vikings earned a 3-2 win over Liberty on Friday (Aug. 27) before picking up 3-0 sweeps against East Carolina and Charlotte on Saturday.

Sophomore outside hitter Kara Koch paced the Viking offense with 44 kills in the three matches to earn tournament MVP honors.  She notched her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs in the win over ECU.  Junior Jordan Goad averaged 10.64 assists per set, recording a double-double against Liberty, while junior libero Amy Grabiec made at least 16 digs in all three matches, including 26 versus Liberty.  She averaged 5.73 digs per set.

Women's Soccer To Host UMKC & Canisius
2-0-1 Vikings Close Their School-Record Five-Match Home Stand

With two wins and a tie to open the 2010 season, the Viking women's soccer team will put its unbeaten record on the line this week when they host a pair of matches at Krenzler Field.  CSU will face Missouri-Kansas City on Friday, Sept. 3 beginning at 7:00 p.m. and then closes out the longest home stand in school history when it faces Canisius on Sunday, Sept. 5 at 12:00 noon.

"We need to continue doing what we are doing and go out this week and keep the momentum that we have built up going," CSU head coach Derrek Falor said.  "We have played well together to open up the season and even though I think we should have come away with a win against Kent State, the tie still shows how ready we came to play.  Even though they had the advantage of having not played all week, we still battled them for 110 minutes and refused to back down.  That is a great sign."

After opening the season with a 3-2 win over Marshall on Aug. 22, CSU came back last week to record a 3-0 shutout of Gannon on Friday (Aug. 28) and a 2-2 double overtime tie vs. Kent State on Sunday (Aug. 30).  The 2-0-1 record marks the longest unbeaten streak to open a season in school history.

Midfielder Natalie Daniels scored three of CSU's five goals last week to earn Horizon League Co-Player of the Week honors.  The junior from Olympia, Wash. has scored in all three matches this year, ranking fourth in school history with four goals this year.  With 11 career markers, she needs just one more to tie the school record of 12, which is shared by Shayna Back and Jennifer Wieand.

Men's Soccer Opens 2010 Season With A Pair Of Matches
Vikings Host Niagara On Sunday At Krenzler Field

The men's soccer will team will kick off the 2010 season with a pair of matches this week. The Vikings will open the year on Wednesday (Sept. 1) at St. Bonaventure. They will then return home to take on Niagara on Sunday (Sept. 5) for a 3:00 p.m. contest.

Both games are rematches of last season, as the Vikings beat both squads in 2009. CSU defeated St. Bonaventure, 3-0, in its home opener last year. The Vikings later topped Niagara, 2-1, on the road.

"We're excited for the season," head coach Ali Kazemaini said. "(Last season) we had to transition the younger players, and I think we did that.  Now, everyone is on the same page.  Our style has been implemented, and I think we can have a successful season with this group of players.  We're going to have a good group of kids playing at a good level."

After two challenging exhibition matches against Ohio State and Cincinnati last week, the team is ready for the regular season. Kazemaini expects his squad to return to the Horizon League championship, but says that a conference championship is the ultimate goal.

Men's Golf Opens Year At Missouri's Turning Stone Invite

The men's golf team will open the 2010 fall season when Cleveland State competes at the 54 hole Turning Stone Invitational at the par-72, 7,100 yard Turning Stone Resort (Kaluhyat Course) in Verona, NY. The University of Missouri is serving as the host school for the event.

CSU placed ninth of 13 teams at the event last year.

"This is a great tournament for us to start the year at," head coach Steve Weir said. "The field is deep and talented and will give us a chance to see how we stand right off the bat. I think this is one of the deepest teams that we have had during my time so if someone is struggling, we will have someone to pick up the slack."

Weir, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the program, returns a solid nucleus from last year's team that placed sixth at the Horizon League Championship. Sophomore Michael Klaric, who placed sixth at the league championship, headlines the list of returners. Senior Patrick Elber is also back after missing last year with a wrist injury, but is likely a few weeks away from competition.

The Flyer 5K Challenge to Serve As First Race For Cross Country

The cross country team opens the 2010 season on Saturday (Sept. 4) when the Vikings travel to Kettering, Ohio, to compete in the Flyer 5K Challenge. The race will begin at 11:15 a.m.

"We are excited to get out on the course and compete against other schools," head coach Joe Jaketic said. "The team has been training really hard and has bonded well during the preseason. We have four girls running together at most training sessions and I feel that we can really improve upon our finishes from last season."

Juniors Andria Bazilevich, Allison Craine, Brittany Elmlinger and Kelly Zaleski, as well as senior Jordan Hoile are all back after finishing among CSU's top five runners all of last season. Sophomores Rachel Niemi and Melissa Boyes also return with junior Kari Haywood, a transfer, and freshman Ashley Berlin rounding out the squad.

Viking High Fives

Christy Hopkins:  The third-year CSU assistant athletic trainer sprung to life last Wednesday night when the Vikings, who were on their way back from an exhibition match at Ohio State, witnessed a motorcyclist get hit by an SUV in Medina.  Hopkins helped keep the badly injured rider calm and stable until medical and emergency crews arrived on the scene. 

Jackie Dabbelt:  The redshirt freshman hammered out 17 kills in her first career collegiate match, helping CSU to a 3-2 win over Liberty.
Kelly Zinkiewich:  The senior goalie recorded her school record ninth career shutout in the women's soccer 3-0 win over Gannon last week and then came back to almost single-handedly preserve a tie match with Kent State by making a season-high 10 saves, several of which were of the remarkable variety.
The Schedule Ahead For The Vikings
Sept. 1 (Wednesday)
Men's Soccer at St. Bonaventure
Olean, NY, 5:00 p.m.

Sept. 3 (Friday)
Volleyball vs. High Point (Marshall Tournament)
Huntington, WV, 4:30 p.m.

Women's Soccer hosts Missouri-Kansas City
Krenzler Field, 7:00 p.m.

Sept. 4 Saturday
Volleyball vs. Hofstra (Marshall Tournament)
Huntington, WV, 10:30 a.m.

Cross Country at Flyer 5K Challenge
Dayton, OH, 11:15 a.m.

Volleyball at Marshall (Marshall Tournament)
Huntington, WV, 7:30 p.m.

Men's Golf at Missouri Invitational
Verona, NY

Sept. 5 (Sunday)
Women's Soccer hosts Canisius
Krenzler Field, 12:00 noon

Men's Soccer hosts Niagara
Krenzler Field, 3:00 p.m.

Men's Golf at Missouri Invitational
Verona, NY

CRUSHERS WALK PAST WILD THINGS



AVON, Ohio - The Lake Erie Crushers opened the final homestand of 2010 with a 2-1 win over the Washington Wild Things in walk-off fashion before a crowd of 3,649. 



Lake Erie opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Raphael Turner led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice, and crossed the plate when Casey McGrew deposited a basehit into center to put the Crushers ahead 1-0. 



Washington evened the score in the top of the fourth. Jon Kourie tripled into the right-center gap with one away and scored as Wilson Matos doubled into the left field corner over the drawn in infield. Josh Roberts pitched seven innings for the Crushers, allowing just the fourth-inning run. He did not factor in the decision.



Billy Muldowney worked into the ninth inning for Washington. Lee Huggins singled on the first pitch of his at bat with one out and Joel Collins followed with a four-pitch walk. Muldowney jumped ahead of Lake Erie designated hitter Matt Sutton 0-2 before Sutton laced a 2-2 offering up the middle to score Huggins from second with the game-winning run.



Ronnie Morales earned his second win with two innings of relief in place of Roberts. Lee Huggins recorded two hits in the game for Lake Erie. 



The series continues tomorrow night as RHP Matt Smith (9-7, 4.00) takes to the mound for Lake Erie against Washington's RHP Zach Rosenbaum (1-9, 4.72).



EXTRA SWINGS

Ø       The victory marked the fifth walk-off win of the year for the Crushers

Ø       Lake Erie has scored first in each of the last six games and is 5-1 during that span

Ø       Trae Gore entered as a pinch runner for Joel Collins in the ninth
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