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In August, the Great Lakes Valley Conference announced the addition of wrestling as a championship sport beginning in 2016-17. That brought all 20 Truman intercollegiate teams under the same conference banner for the first time in the modern era. The Bulldogs will compete in duals against the six other GLVC schools to determine a conference champion.
Bulldog football letter-winner and current pro scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs, Randy Ball, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in October. Ball was an all-conference offensive lineman in 1971 and 1972 and was a tri-captain for the Bulldogs. He coached football at Western Illinois University and Missouri State University before moving to the pro ranks.
Junior goalkeeper Katie Mattingly of the women’s soccer team was selected as an Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Mattingly is the 111th student-athlete and fourth women’s soccer player to earn the award.
The National College Athlete Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma, designated a chapter of their fraternity at Truman. The Bulldogs are the fifth Missouri school to be accepted into Chi Alpha Sigma, whose mission is to honor collegiate student-athletes who excel in both the classroom and athletic competition. They recognize students who receive a varsity letter while maintaining a 3.4 or higher grade point average throughout their junior and/or senior years.
The Bulldogs welcomed three new members into leadership roles within the department: Michael Bazemore was hired as the associate athletics director for compliance and eligibility; Jeri Speak was promoted to senior women’s administrator and ticket manager; and Cooper Weidenthaler was hired as the athletics media relations coordinator.
Last fall, Truman Athletics inducted Roy Neff (baseball), Pete Kendall (tennis), Quinn Ross (men’s soccer) and announcers Brad Boyer and Hank Janssen into the Hall of Fame.
Neff was a pitcher for the Bulldogs in the early 1900s and a key component of the 1916 state championship team.
Kendall coached the Bulldog tennis teams for 20 years (1992-2012). He won 476 dual matches and made 13 NCAA tournament appearances.
Ross was the second All-American for the Bulldog soccer program and earned the award twice in his career. He broke or tied 12 school records as a member of the team and was the first player to play professionally after graduation.
Boyer and Janssen have been on the call for Truman football and basketball games for more than 20 years on 104.7 FM KRES. They are familiar voices of the Bulldog nation and have earned countless awards from the Missouri Broadcasters Association. Boyer has been a part of the broadcast since 1994 while Janssen has been covering the Bulldogs since the mid ’70s.
The Truman women’s golf team participated in five tournaments for the first half of the 2016-17 season and its fall portion. The Bulldogs took third out of five at William Jewell, seventh out of 15 at Central Missouri, fifth out of eight at UMSL, third out of 14 at William Penn and 13th out of 13 at Trevecca Nazarene.
So far, Nicolle Barmettler has set the pace with two finishes in the top five, four in the top 20 and five rounds under 80. Now in her career, she has placed in the top five 11 times and the top 20, 22 times with 24 combined rounds with a score under 80. Her top finish of the young season was second at the William Jewell Fall Tune Up in the first event of the year when she came in second.
For all five events, Truman used the same five players to score including Barmettler (79.4 average), Stephanie Hulett (84), Lindsey Repp (86.3), Brooke Kelley (87.5) and Amanda Ressel (88.9). Two have played a couple rounds each as individuals and they are Peyton Sandfort (92) and Clare Munie (89).
Despite just three wins in their first 14 matches, the Truman volleyball team didn’t let that start ruin what they set out to accomplish before the 2016 campaign started. The Bulldogs got hot at just the right time, were winners in seven of their final nine regular season matches and entered the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed out of the West Division. Truman then proceeded to dispatch Drury (3-1), upset No. 15 Lewis (3-2) and sweep McKendree in the finals for the program’s second GLVC title in three years.
Overall, the purple and white turned in a final record of 18-17 including a mark of 12-6 in conference play. Those 35 matches included 10 against teams ranked in the top 25 and four against teams who received votes according to the weekly American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II coaches poll. That includes a season opener against this year’s national champion, Concordia-St. Paul.
Even though Truman won just one of those 10 matches against a top-25 opponent, it may have been the most important win of the season. Entering the GLVC tournament semifinal match against then-No. 15 Lewis, the Flyers had won nine in a row, which included a sweep against Truman, Nov. 4, in Illinois. However, as head coach, Ben Briney preaches to his players, there are no big moments, and the match against Lewis just over two weeks later was just another match for the Bulldogs.
After the 3-0 stretch of the GLVC tournament, Truman was given the No. 8 seed in the Midwest regional and matched up against host and top-seeded Ferris State, ranked No. 15 at the time. Ferris State’s win over the Bulldogs in that match was its 25th in a row before its run ended in the Midwest region championship against Lewis (3-0).
At the conclusion of the regular season, Kayla Bastian and fellow outside hitter Jasmine Brown were named to the All-GLVC second team. For the year, Bastian notched 13 double-doubles to put her career total at 42, and she sent home her 1,000th career kill, Oct. 28, against the University of Indianapolis. That successful attack made her the 17th player to reach the 1,000-kill mark in program history. Meanwhile, Brown finished her junior season with some of the best play of her career. In the team’s last nine matches, the striker had 108 kills (15 more than the next-closest Bulldog) to just 26 errors on 284 swings for a red-hot hitting percentage of .289.
The most successful, consistent program over the past 20 years at Truman has to be Mike Cannon’s soccer team. For the 10th time, they won a conference regular season championship, made their 12th NCAA postseason tournament and, in typical Truman soccer style, were one of the nation’s stingiest teams in goals allowed and shutouts posted.
Truman opened the season with a 1-1 draw at home to Ashland (Ohio) but then reeled off 11 straight wins, 10 by shutout, to take control of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. A hiccup in the middle of the season with a pair of ties and a road loss allowed Rockhurst (Mo.) to tie Truman for the regular season title with a 12-1-2 conference record.
After failing to advance in the GLVC tournament semifinals due to a loss in penalty kicks, Truman earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region for the NCAA tournament and had a rematch with McKendree from that GLVC semifinal.
Freshman Hanna Burke scored three minutes into the match and junior keeper Katie Mattingly recorded her record-setting 15.5 shutout of
the year in the 1-0 win over the Bearcats.
Truman moved into the regional championship game against No. 1 Grand Valley (Mich.) State, but the Bulldogs were dealt a 2-0 loss from the three-time defending national champions.
Mattingly had a slew of postseason honors thrown her way. She was named: an All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association; an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA); the GLVC Defensive Player of the Year; and she was a four-time GLVC Defender of the Week winner. She finished with a school record 0.32 goals against average and was among the national leaders in goals against and save percentage.
The postseason honor roll also included all-region selections of seniors Megan Whitehead, Allison Lockett, Stephanie Williams, junior Caity Schmitt and sophomore Laura Ney. Cannon was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Midwest Region Coach of the Year and the GLVC Coach of the Year.
The Truman men’s soccer team finished year number 12 under head coach Duke Cochran with an overall record of 6-7-4, which included a Great Lakes Valley Conference mark of 4-7-3. The Bulldogs longest winning streak of the year was two, Sept. 13 and 16, against Southwest Baptist (3-2) and Bellarmine (1-0) in the home opener. Their longest streak without losing lasted from Oct. 7-14 with contests against Saint Joseph’s (1-0), Indianapolis (1-1) and Wisconsin-Parkside (1-1).
Three of Truman’s 17 matches came against ranked foes, the first two of which were against then-No. 16 Drury (2-3) and then-No. 1 Rockhurst (0-2). The third time was the charm for the Bulldogs as they sent their seniors out on Senior Day with a 2-1 win over then-No. 18 Missouri-St. Louis. In that match, Craig McLaurine put the home team up 1-0 and senior Tyler Luebbert sealed it in the 74th minute with his first goal of the year.
McLaurine was tied for the team lead in goals with four next to a standout freshman in Matt Yankowitz. McLaurine also led the squad in assists with five, three more than the next-closest Bulldog. His 13 total points were also first among the Bulldogs while Yankowitz was able to put more than 38 percent of his shots on goal (5 of 13). In goal, Zac Suazo started 15 matches and Jory Knernschield was the starter in the other two.
For the first time since 1988, the Bulldog football team can call themselves “conference champions.” Truman won its first Great Lakes Valley Conference football title and the 27th overall conference title this past season.
The Bulldogs were in contention for an NCAA playoff berth until the final week of the regular season when McKendree University spoiled the party with a 41-14 loss to the Bearcats in Lebanon, Ill. That loss to McKendree dropped the ’Dogs out of the playoffs and into a share of the GLVC championship with Southwest Baptist University. The Bulldogs earlier defeated SBU 26-16 in Bolivar, Mo., Oct. 8.
Truman lost the season opener at home to Midwestern (Texas) State, ranked No. 17 in the preseason poll, 31-19, but then reeled off five straight wins ending with that victory over the Bearcats in Bolivar. The Bulldogs stumbled in a non-conference game against No. 2 Grand Valley (Mich.) State, Oct. 15, but rebounded with three straight conference wins, including a 23-3 win at Saint Joseph’s to capture a share of the league title.
Youth was served on the Truman team this year as eight true freshman earned significant playing time and 60 percent of the players that took the field were either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jaden Barr was named the GLVC Freshman of the Year and was a second-team All-GLVC performer. Barr was responsible for 27 touchdowns this season with 17 through the air and 10 rushing. He completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,905 yards and rushed for 339 yards.
A total of 15 Bulldogs were named to the All-GLVC team, the most since the 1990 squad. On the first team were senior defensive back Austin Zoda, junior linebacker Ben Wellman, senior center Brad Wellman and freshman defensive end Sam Reeves. On the second team were Barr, freshman running back Jordan Salima, senior wide receiver Joey Schenck, sophomore offensive lineman Nick Verbeck, senior defensive lineman Kyle Leckrone, junior defensive back Jordan Brown and redshirt freshman linebacker Bryan Edwards. Freshman receiver Drew Slager, junior defensive end Isaiah Hinton, junior defensive back D’Anthony Knight and sophomore punter Brock Rohler were honorable mention.
Seniors Brice Pavey and Laura Tarantino will probably have to expand their trophy cases following their season.
Tarantino was the individual race winner in the four regular season meets the Bulldogs competed in this fall. She was fifth at the GLVC championships to become the first Truman runner on the women’s side to earn All-GLVC honors and just missed a national championship spot when she finished 18th at the NCAA Midwest regional. She was named to the all-region team.
Behind Tarantino’s finishes at conference and regionals, the Truman women finished fifth in the conference team standings and 15th in regional team standings.
Pavey was first individually in the first two meets of the year and was third at the Division II showcase meet in Nashville, Tenn., hosted by Trevecca Nazarene.
The men earned an eighth place finish at the conference meet with senior Andrew Gordon leading the way for the Bulldogs in 39th position. At regionals, Truman was 18th with Pavey crossing the line first for Truman in 89th position.