November 24, 2014

My Championship Experience – 2014 Volleyball Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships.

Fort Wayne red-shirt junior Hailie Ripley writes about her experience at the 2014 Summit League Volleyball Championship:

The Summit League Tournament is what I have lived for throughout my career at IPFW.  Once one season came to a close whether the victory was sweet or the loss was upsetting, I was already focusing on what it was going to take to get back to the tournament the following season.  Every grueling practice, ache, and pain from spring to the start of season was dulled by my motivation to succeed. The Summit League Championship was always first on my list of goals.

Going into my senior year, this Summit League Tournament had a whole new meaning to me.  Not only because my collegiate career was coming to an end, but that this season had been a true test for me.  A week before league play, I got really sick and felt that I lost everything I had trained for over the past couple years.  I ended up having to get a major surgery, and the doctor was skeptical about my return and questioned if I would even be able to play at all this season.  I had my doubts as well.  The first few days after surgery were horrible.  I could barely get myself out of bed without being in unbearable pain.  However as the days went on, I slowly improved.  Once I came back to IPFW and saw my team, I knew that I owed it to them to try my hardest to return.  It was hard.  I was in pain, but I believed that I could do it.  Most importantly, they believed that I could do it too.  I was able to play a few points here and there, and I started to feel like myself again. By the time the tournament rolled around, I finally felt like everything I fought for was beginning to pay off. 

Thursday, Nov. 20th

The banquet marks the start of what we have all been waiting for.  Everyone was dolled up, excited, and ready to celebrate our individual and team accomplishments so far this season. Even with the competitive nature of the tournament, the banquet always seems to have a sense of unity.   We all made it to the tournament.  It is something we should all be proud of!  Anything could happen at this point, but only one team will win and advance to the NCAA Tournament.  As much as we all hate to lose, we set aside our rivalries and cheer that team on, because we want to make a name for The Summit League.  We may not be the biggest league, but we have strong players and the will to win.  We [IPFW] took Iowa State to five sets my sophomore year, and I cannot wait to see a Summit League team win in the first round.  Let’s make this year the year to win! 

Friday, Nov. 21st

I woke up Friday morning ready to go.  It was game day, and we knew South Dakota would be a battle.  They have a solid team with great players, but so do we.  Nonetheless, we were the underdogs.  Being the last seed, we had nothing to lose. We spent the week telling underdog success stories to instill belief and confidence.  A quote we kept saying was, “we don’t need easy. We just need possible.”  If we put ourselves in a position to win, we could do it!  

South Dakota took the first two sets 25-23.  Each team was fighting hard, and even though we were down 2-0, we were still optimistic.  We just needed to make a few adjustments and play our game.  In the beginning of the third set, I landed wrong and hurt my knee.  I gave it my all to be able to return to the court, but I faced setback after setback.  It was enough for me to stop playing, but it also gave my teammates something to fight for.  We won that third set!  It was one step closer to our goal, and a special moment happened that none of you would have seen.  Emily Spencer told me that the team won that set for me.  My dreams of playing were over, but the team kept my dreams of winning the tournament alive just a little bit longer.   Each team kept battling, but South Dakota ended up on top.

I hate losing, but losing in a game like that makes it more manageable.  This season did not go how we all wanted it to, but we learned a lot about ourselves. We will all face adversity and times of hardship, but sticking together and believing in one another makes things easier to face.  I would not be where I am if I did not have my team by my side through all of it.   We are all lucky enough to have such a strong support system, and hopefully our team and friendships will last a lifetime.

Good luck Denver in the NCAA Tournament! Make The Summit League proud!  We are all rooting for you!

Hailie Ripley

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, Feb. 18-21 and throughout the 2014-15 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.

November 11, 2014

My Championship Experience - 2014 Women's Soccer Edition

My Championship Experience is a diary blog written by Summit League student-athletes detailing their experiences at each of the 19 Championships.

Hello and welcome to the 2014 Summit League Women’s Soccer Championships! My name is Samantha Harder and I have the pleasure of recording my experiences throughout the duration of this year’s tournament.  I am a senior defender and I have to honor of playing for the University of Denver.  This is my fourth conference tournament, my second Summit League Tournament.

This year at the tournament my team will be joined by South Dakota State, North Dakota State, and IUPUI.

Today was our last prep day before the tournament begins and we are all very excited.  This morning we trained at our normal time making some final preparations and working out some kinks before the tournament begins tomorrow.  Training was good and the energy was high, as the team is getting very excited for the chance to defend the title that we won last year.  In addition to training and classes, we had the conference banquet this evening in which they announced the awards for the year and we enjoyed each other’s company and a delicious dinner of pasta, salad, and chicken, the perfect pregame meal!  After the awards were announced and the speeches were given we all went our separate ways and began physically and mentally preparing for the games ahead, starting with getting a good night’s sleep.  Congratulations to South Dakota State on winning the regular season championship, as well as a big congrats to all the players and coaches who received awards.  Good night and good luck to all!

Waking up knowing it’s game day is quite possibly the best feeling in the world.  This morning we had team breakfast in the locker room and sat around and chatted for a while about the excitement of the game before people headed off to their first and only classes of the day.  Because we are at home our preparations are a little bit different than they would be on the road.  When classes were finished at noon we had a cardio spike, just a way for us to get our legs moving and our hearts pumping to help prepare our bodies for the big game.  Following the cardio spike, we enjoyed a wonderful team lunch at Mod Market just down the road from campus and then we all went on our way to get some pregame naps in.  Upon arriving to the locker room for pregame routines and prep, we all changed into our warm up gear and began listening to music to get us pumped up. We engaged in our traditional pregame dance party and before we knew it, it was ready to head out to the field and begin warming up.  Excited to play, we all were anxious to hear the starting lineups.  The game began and was a battle from the very first whistle; neither team was able to find the breakthrough and we went into the locker room 0-0 at halftime.  We heard from our coaches on what we needed to fix and headed back out excited to find a way to win the game.  The game continued and we ended up winning 1-0 off a goal from one of the sophomores on our team.  We were going to the championship!! 

Additionally today, North Dakota State and South Dakota State battled hard and South Dakota State ended up coming out on top with a 2-1 win.  I didn’t get to see the game but from what I heard it was a great game to watch! 

The day after a game is never easy to wake up on.  But feeling fatigued and sore didn’t bother us much because we were still very excited to be moving on to the championship game.  We all enjoyed some down time on our own and had to report to training at 1:45 p.m.  Training was light as it was focused on regeneration and just staying mentally sharp for the game tomorrow.  Following our afternoon practice we had a wonderful team dinner at the great restaurant called Steakhouse 10 in Denver.  It was delicious and great spending time with the team.  After dinner, it was time to head home and get some sleep.  After all, we have a rather big game to play tomorrow!

Championship Game Day!

The excitement on a day like this is incredible.  We all had breakfast on our own and spent some time getting our minds right and focused for the war ahead.  As we reported to the Ritchie Center at school to begin our pregame prep including rolling out and getting treatment the nerves began to set in, as we all knew what was at stake today.  We were playing for the right to play again.  The game began and our energy was flying.  Both teams came out strong but we were able to find the back of the net about halfway through the first half off a corner kick and header from the same teammate who scored in the first game of the weekend!  She was on fire and we were all excited!  We went into the locker room at half time and again heard from our coaches.  They were very pleased with how we were playing and we all agreed our focus needed to be on defense from this point on; if we didn’t give up a goal we would win the game.  We thought we were on our way to being crowned back-to-back Summit League Champions as the clock was winding down but with 31 seconds remaining South Dakota State tied it up and the game changed.  We went into overtime and double overtime and neither team could find the breakthrough, so the game would be decided by a penalty shootout.  Unfortunately for us, SDSU’s goalkeeper saved our first PK while they scored theirs.  We went back and forth until our goalie came up with a huge save in the third round and we were tied back up.  It went into sudden death; the first team to miss would lose.  Again SDSU’s goalie made a save on the sixth round and then they scored their 6th round shot.  That was it, the game was over and we had lost.  With our hearts broken and our season over we had to congratulate SDSU on a good game and battling until the very last whistle. 

Coming away from this bittersweet weekend it was a great experience and we are so thankful to have had to opportunity to get to play two more home games this year.  On behalf of my whole team and the University of Denver we would like to thank all of the teams for coming out and helping make this tournament so successful.  Best of luck to South Dakota State as they represent The Summit League in the NCAA Tournament. 

Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows the Men’s Soccer Championship, Nov. 13/15 and throughout the 2014-15 season for coverage at each of The Summit League Championships.

#SummitWBB Scoreboard (Nov. 10)

IUPUI 109, Oakland City 65
All 14 players scored, led by Shawnece Teague's 21 points, leading the IUPUI women's basketball team to a 109-65 exhibition win over Oakland City Monday evening at The Jungle.

Joining Teague in double-figures was Martha Burse with 15, Jenna Gunn with 13, Danielle Lawrence with 12 and Akilah Sims with 10.

November 09, 2014

Fort Wayne Cruises to Win on Final Day of #SummitMBB Exhibition Schedule

Fort Wayne's Mo Evans (

Fort Wayne 110, Olivet 79 (Exhibition) | Box Score

FORT WAYNE, Ill. – The Fort Wayne Mastodons, the final Summit League team to play a preseason contest, cruised to a 110-79 victory Sunday afternoon. The preseason league favorite Mastodons also closed out the exhibition portion of the league schedule.

Six IPFW players scored in double figures, led by a 20-point performance from Mo Evans. Joe Edwards and Steve Forbes each scored 14 while Jure Gunjina added 12 and Kevin Harden and Gage Davis each had 11.

Isaiah McCray had a game-high 10 rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double with his nine-point effort.

The Mastodons open the regular season Nov. 14 against Manchester.

#SummitWBB Exhibition Scoreboard (Nov. 8)

Oral Roberts 62, East Central 46
Vicky McIntyre notched another double-double in the final exhibition game for the Oral Roberts University women’s basketball team as the Golden Eagles took a 62-46 win over East Central Saturday afternoon.
McIntyre scored 18 points and pulled in 24 rebounds in the exhibition contest which would have tied the ORU single-game record. The redshirt-senior helped the Golden Eagles in a game where the offense struggled to get going in the first half.

South Dakota State 80, Northern State 64
Senior Megan Waytashek led five South Dakota State women’s basketball players in double-digit scoring as the Jackrabbits defeated Northern State, 80-64, Saturday afternoon in front of 1,469 fans in Frost Arena.
Waytashek was 6 of 10 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line to score a game-high 19 points. Freshman Macy Miller recorded 13 points, sophomore Kerri Young 12 points, senior Mariah Clarin 11 points and freshman Ellie Thompson 10 points and a team-best six rebounds.

November 08, 2014

#SummitMBB Exhibition Scoreboard (Nov. 8)

Oral Roberts 78, Rogers State 60 (Exhibition) | Box Score
TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts concluded its exhibition schedule with its second victory, a 73-60 win over Rogers State Saturday night. The Golden Eagles open the regular season Nov. 15 with a date against crosstown rival Tulsa.

Korey Billbury led all scorers with 18 points and tied with teammate Denell Henderson for a game-high seven rebounds. Obi Emegano scored 13 second half points for 15 total in the contest.

The Golden Eagles held a 43-30 advantage on the glass.
Western Illinois 82, Cornell College 48 (Exhibition)
MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois never trailed and cruised to an 82-48 victory over Cornell College in its exhibition contest Saturday. The Leathernecks raced to a 32-6 lead and never looked back.

Mike Miklusak led WIU with 14 points while Garret Covington (12) and J.C. Fuller (10) also scored in double figures. A total of 11 different players scored for the Leathernecks.

WIU outrebounded its opponent 46-28 as Miklusak and Tyson Reynold led the way with eight apiece.

The Leathernecks open the season Nov. 14 at home against Pacific.