Saturday, April 13, 2024

Olivia Hess leads Prosper Eagles to first UIL 6A soccer title

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2024
All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

GEORGETOWN, TEXAS (April 13, 2024) In a thrilling showdown at Birkelbach Field on Saturday, Olivia Hess (shown right) became the hero for Prosper High School, securing the school's first-ever UIL 6A state title in girls' soccer. Hess, a talented player who has committed to Baylor, delivered the game-winning goal off a free kick with just over 26 minutes left on the clock. The Dallas-area team, with a stellar performance from goalie Maggie Manning, held on to a slim 1-0 lead against Austin Westlake.

It was a historic moment for Prosper, as they made their debut appearance in the state tournament. Their journey culminated in a championship victory, marking a significant milestone for the program. The win also extended the Dallas-area's dominance in UIL girls' soccer, with all state titles in all three classifications claimed by local teams for the third consecutive year.

Throughout the match, Prosper's defense stood strong, anchored by standout players like Beya Rosales, Rhiannon Mahon, and freshman Trinity Morrow. Their collective effort, coupled with Manning's crucial saves, kept Westlake at bay, denying them any opportunity to equalize.

Despite facing strong opposition, Prosper showcased their resilience and determination. Although they were unlucky to hit the crossbar twice in the first half, including a powerful strike from Hess, they remained focused and composed.

Westlake, despite their best efforts, fell short in their quest for a state title, extending their drought to four state-tournament appearances without a championship win. Despite a valiant effort, they couldn't break through Prosper's formidable defense.

As the final whistle blew, jubilation swept through the Prosper camp, celebrating a historic triumph. For Hess and her teammates, their hard work and dedication had paid off, etching their names into the annals of their school's history with a memorable victory.

Midlothian Panthers make history with first-ever UIL state soccer championship

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography, Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

GEORGETOWN, TEXAS (April 13, 2024) The Midlothian High School Panthers boys soccer team achieved a remarkable feat on Saturday, securing its first-ever state UIL Division 5A state title in program history in a thrilling 3-1 victory over Frisco Wakeland at Birkelbach Field. 

The win marked the culmination of a remarkable journey for the team, which advanced to its first state tournament appearance and then swiftly progressed to the title game within a span of just 48 hours. Senior forward Landon Exley became the hero of the day with a crucial goal in the 79th minute, assisted by Ayden Hildreth, sealing the victory for Midlothian. Head coach Austin Guest attributed the team’s success to their collective effort and hard work throughout the playoffs, highlighting the players' commitment to working together as a unit.

The championship match saw a dramatic turn of events, with Wakeland taking an early lead courtesy of senior midfielder Thomas Hayes. However, Midlothian quickly responded, with senior midfielder Caden Naizer leveling the score with a penalty kick just a minute later. The teams remained deadlocked at one goal apiece heading into halftime.

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved
Midlothian came out strong in the second half, with Hildreth’s header off a corner kick by Naizer in the 46th minute giving them the lead. Hildreth (shown left), who finished the regular season as one of the top scorers in the Dallas area, earned the game's MVP honors for his outstanding performance.

The victory over Wakeland, a perennial soccer powerhouse, marks a significant milestone for Midlothian, which demonstrated resilience and determination throughout the tournament. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Allen played a crucial role in securing the win, making eight saves in the title game.

For the Panthers, the road to the championship was paved with challenges, including a tough semifinal match against Baytown Goose Creek Memorial, which they won 3-0. Junior midfielder Marcus Manu, Naizer, and Hildreth each contributed a goal in the semifinal victory.

The triumph over Wakeland also carries historical significance for the Dallas-area soccer scene, marking the first time since 2021 that a Frisco ISD school did not claim the boys soccer state title. Wakeland, a nine-time state finalist, has been a dominant force in Texas high school soccer, but Midlothian's victory underscores the team's determination and resilience.

Frisco Wakeland claims another girl's state title

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography, Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

GEORGETOWN, TEXAS (April 13, 2024) The Frisco Wakeland girls soccer team (shown left) clinched another state championship in a thrilling showdown against Colleyville Heritage. The UIL Division 5A game, held at Birkelbach Field, saw Wakeland secure a 3-2 victory, marking their fourth state title since 2018.

The magic started in the 47th minute when sophomore forward Audrey Gilbert scored a header, assisted by sophomore defender Sophie Altieri. Gilbert, who was named the match's MVP, wasn't done yet, adding another goal in the 63rd minute off a pass from sophomore midfielder Finley McKnight. Though Colleyville Heritage fought back with two late goals, Wakeland's Anna Carrera sealed the win in the 68th minute.

Wakeland's journey to the championship was marked by dominant performances. They shut out all five playoff opponents leading up to the final, showcasing their defensive prowess. Goalkeeper Claire Manis came up big in the penalty shootout against Leander Rouse, making two crucial saves to secure their spot in the title game.

With only five seniors on the roster, Wakeland's success speaks to the depth and talent of their team. They maintained an impressive average of 4.5 goals per game during the regular season while allowing just 0.6 goals on average from opponents.

The championship match highlighted the strength of girls soccer in the Dallas area, with Wakeland and Colleyville Heritage continuing the tradition of competitive matchups. This year's final marked the third consecutive year that Dallas-area teams faced off for the 5A title.

For Colleyville Heritage, despite a valiant effort, it wasn't their year to reclaim the championship. However, their journey to the final showcased their offensive prowess and marked their first appearance in the title game since 2011.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Shelton secures second career title in thrilling US Clay Court Champs

Photo by si.robi via Wikipedia and Flicka
Used with Permission
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 7, 2024) In a gripping showdown at the River Oaks Country Club on Sunday, Ben Shelton emerged victorious over Frances Tiafoe to claim his second career title at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston. The 21-year-old American sensation displayed remarkable skill and determination, defeating the defending champion in a hard-fought three-set battle.

Shelton's victory marks a significant milestone in his young career, making him the youngest US Clay champion since Andy Roddick in 2002. With this win, he joins an esteemed list of American champions, becoming the seventh in the last decade to hoist the prestigious trophy.

Adding to the family legacy, Shelton follows in the footsteps of his father and coach, Bryan Shelton, who clinched the singles title at River Oaks in 1992. This familial connection adds an extra layer of significance to Ben's triumph, underscoring the depth of talent within the Shelton tennis dynasty.

The final match showcased the resilience and skill of both players, with Tiafoe putting up a valiant fight in his quest to become the first repeat US Clay champion since Steve Johnson's back-to-back wins in 2017-18. Despite Tiafoe's formidable efforts, Shelton's unwavering determination and composure ultimately secured the victory.

Shelton's ascent to the top of the ATP Rankings is now all but assured, with his projected career-high ranking of No. 14 set to be confirmed in Monday's update. This achievement cements his status as one of the rising stars of American tennis and sets the stage for further success in the future.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Duke Blue Devils upset No. 1 seed Houston in Sweet 16 matchup

Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 29, 2024) In a stunning showdown at the American Airlines Center, the Duke Blue Devils secured a thrilling victory over the Houston Cougars, 54-51, propelling them into the Elite Eight of the NCAA men's tournament. The game, however, was clouded by an unfortunate injury to Jamal Shead, the standout player for Houston.

Despite being the No. 4 seed, Duke faced off against top-seeded Houston, a formidable opponent with a 32-5 overall record. Shead's injury early in the first half changed the course of the game, giving Duke an opportunity to showcase their offensive prowess.

Led by coach Jon Scheyer, Duke's young team rose to the occasion. Kyle Filipowski, a sophomore 7-footer, delivered a standout performance with 16 points, while senior point guard Jeremy Roach added 14 points, including several crucial shots in the second half.

Although Duke managed to maintain a lead throughout the game, Houston remained within striking distance. With just over a minute remaining, Duke's defense stepped up, securing steals and crucial baskets to maintain their lead.

Despite Houston's valiant efforts, Duke's sharpshooting from beyond the arc ultimately made the difference. Duke's 3-point shooting, going 6-of-17, outpaced Houston's 2-of-8, securing their victory and advancing them to the next round.

Now, Duke prepares to face familiar foes in NC State in the Elite Eight. Having split their previous matchups this season, the Blue Devils are gearing up for a showdown against the resilient NC State team, who is enjoying their first Final Four appearance since 1983.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Houston Dash kick off home schedule with scoreless draw against Racing Louisville FC

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 23, 2924) The Houston Dash kicked off their home season with a bang, drawing a record-breaking crowd of 8,600 fans at Shell Energy Stadium. In a thrilling match against Racing Louisville FC, the teams battled it out to a 0-0 draw.

Goalkeeper Jane Campbell was the star of the night, making a whopping 10 saves, including eight in the first half alone. Campbell's stellar performance not only secured Houston's first shutout of the season but also etched her name in the history books as the first goalkeeper to make 150 starts for a single team across all competitions.

The Dash defense was solid throughout the game, with defender Sarah Puntigam pulling off a crucial goal-line save in stoppage time to preserve the point. Houston defender Sarah Puntigam's quick reflexes and determination ensured that the ball stayed out of the net, earning cheers from the home crowd.

The match also saw several debuts for the Dash, with forward Yuki Nagasato, rookie Amanda West, and Swedish international Elin Rubensson all making their first appearances in orange. Despite the new faces, Houston's attack was relentless, recording a season-high 12 shots on goal.

While Louisville thought they had scored early in the game, a disallowed goal due to offside spared the Dash from conceding. Houston had their own chances, with forward Diana Ordonez leading the charge with three shots on target.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

UAB Blazers win American Athletic Conference title

Photo credit: American Athletic Conference, Used with permission

By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (March 17, 2024) In a thrilling showdown at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, the No. 4 UAB Blazers clinched their first-ever American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship with an impressive 85-69 victory over the No. 11 Temple Owls.

The Blazers' Alejandro Vasquez lit up the court with an astounding 29 points, 21 of which he scored in a jaw-dropping first half performance. Vasquez's hot hand included sinking five remarkable 3-pointers, matching the championship record for most 3's in a single half. Meanwhile, Yaxel Lendeborg's stellar play throughout the tournament earned him the title of Most Outstanding Player, sealing the deal with his third double-double, racking up 14 points and an incredible 16 rebounds in the championship game. Lendeborg's dominance on the boards set a new championship record, surpassing the previous mark set in 2018.

Despite Temple's Hysier Miller's valiant effort, pouring in an impressive 32 points, it wasn't enough to overcome UAB's commanding lead. Miller's remarkable tournament performance saw him break records left and right, amassing 96 points over five games, as well as dishing out a record-breaking six assists in the championship game.

From the opening tip-off, UAB seized control of the game, storming to a 22-12 lead and maintaining their dominance to enter halftime with a commanding 43-27 advantage. Although Temple fought back to narrow the gap in the second half, UAB's lead proved insurmountable, securing their historic victory.

With the championship celebrations still echoing, attention swiftly turned to the 2024 NCAA Tournament. UAB earned a No. 12 seed and will clash with the No. 5 seed San Diego State in Spokane, Wash., while Florida Atlantic secured a No. 8 seed and will face off against No. 9 seed Northwestern in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Houston Dash fall to NC Courage 5-1 to start 2024 season

Photo credit: Houston Dash, Used with permission
By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA (March 16, 2024) The Houston Dash kicked off their 2024 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) campaign with a challenging road fixture against the North Carolina Courage, ending in a 5-1 loss for Houston.

The Courage seized an early advantage in the 19th minute after a video assistant referee intervention led to a handball call against a Dash defender. Malia Berkley calmly converted the resulting penalty to give North Carolina the lead.

Despite the Dash's efforts to mount a comeback, North Carolina extended their lead in the 55th minute through forward Haley Hopkins, who capitalized on a defensive lapse to find the back of the net.

Houston found a glimmer of hope in the 65th minute when a cross from forward Maria Sanchez (shown above) inadvertently deflected off North Carolina's Kaleigh Kurtz and into the goal, marking the Dash's lone score of the match.

However, the Courage proved relentless, adding to their lead with goals from Bianca St-Georges and Dani Weatherholt in the 77th minute and second-half stoppage time, respectively.

Houston Dynamo FC earn first MLS win of 2024 season

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vida Loca Photography
Copyright 2024, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 16, 2024) Houston Dynamo FC clinched their first win of the 2024 Major League Soccer season in a thrilling match against the Portland Timbers, securing a 1-0 victory at Shell Energy Stadium. This win marked their third consecutive triumph over the Timbers, who had previously stood undefeated and perched at the top of the Western Conference.

The decisive moment arrived in the 43rd minute when midfielder Coco Carrasquilla orchestrated a magnificent cross with the outside of his foot, which a Portland defender attempted to clear but inadvertently redirected towards the goal. Seizing the opportunity, forward Ibrahim Aliyu swooped in to slot home his second goal of the season, sending the Dynamo faithful into raptures.

Goalkeeper Steve Clark proved to be a solid presence for the Dynamo, making crucial saves throughout the match, including a spectacular double save early on to deny Portland's Santiago Moreno and Cristhian Paredes.

Ibrahim continued to impress, forcing Timbers goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau into action with a potent effort in the 10th minute. The dynamic forward has already notched up two goals and two assists across all competitions this season for the Dynamo.

Defender Franco Escobar and forward Gabe Segal came close to extending the Dynamo's lead in the latter stages of the match, but Crepeau blocked both attempts.

Looking ahead, the Dynamo will embark on their first road test of the MLS season as they face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 23. before returning to Shell Energy Stadium to host the San Jose Earthquakes on March 30.

Houston Dash to begin season against North Carolina Courage

By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 16, 2024) The Houston Dash are set to kick off their 10th NWSL season with an exciting showdown against the North Carolina Courage this Saturday in Cary, North Carolina. With new faces and familiar stars, the Dash are looking to make their mark in the league once again.

Leading the charge for the Dash is head coach Fran Alonso, who brings a wealth of experience from his successful stint with Celtic Women’s FC. Alonso’s energy and passion are sure to inspire the team as they gear up for their first match under his leadership.

To bolster their attack, General Manager Alex Singer has brought in forwards Yuki Nagasato and Cece Kizer. Kizer, returning for her second stint with the club, showed her scoring prowess last season with 7 goals for the Kansas City Current. Meanwhile, Nagasato, a seasoned veteran, joins the Dash after five strong seasons with the Chicago Red Stars.

Excitingly, Mexican international María Sánchez has also re-signed with the Dash, solidifying their attacking force. Sánchez, a key player for Houston since 2022, led the team in assists last season and remains a crucial part of their strategy moving forward.

In goal, the Dash boast the reigning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Jane Campbell. Campbell’s stellar performance helped Houston achieve one of the league’s lowest goals against average in 2023. Despite her recent success with the United States Women’s National Team, Campbell is ready to defend her title with the Dash.

Houston Dash sign Kiki Van Zanten to one-year contract

Credit: Notre Dame Athletic Communications
By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 17, 2024) The Houston Dash have announced. the signing of rookie midfielder Kiki Van Zanten (shown left). The Norte Dame alumni brings a burst of energy and skill to the Dash lineup. With a one-year contract in hand, Van Zanten is poised to make her mark in the 2024 NWSL season, with the possibility of extending her stay into 2025.

General Manager Alex Singer expressed her delight, highlighting Van Zanten's versatility and pace, which are set to enhance the team's midfield. Her creative flair and deceptive ball control promise to add depth to the Dash's playing style, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.

Van Zanten's journey to the professional arena has been nothing short of impressive. Drafted 21st overall by Houston, she showcased her talent during the preseason, even finding the back of the net in a friendly against the Washington Spirit. This achievement underscores her potential to shine on the field.

Reflecting on her college experience, Van Zanten expressed gratitude for her time at Norte Dame, where she honed her skills and thrived in a supportive environment. Her stellar record of 27 goals and nine assists in 95 appearances for the Fighting Irish speaks volumes about her prowess on the field.

Notably, Van Zanten's international experience further elevates her profile. Representing Jamaica at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Concacaf Women’s Championship in 2022, she has already proven her mettle on the global stage. Her contributions were pivotal in securing a spot for Jamaica in the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Houston Dynamo FC to clash with Portland Timbers

Photo courtesy of Houston Dynamo FC, Used with Permission

By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 16, 2024)The excitement is growing as the Houston Dynamo FC gear up to face off against the Western Conference leaders, Portland Timbers, in a regular season match at Shell Energy Stadium on Saturday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

After a thrilling run in the Concacaf Champions Cup, where they showcased their prowess, the Dynamo are raring to make their mark in the MLS once again. Despite a valiant effort in the recent Champions Cup, the team bowed out in the Round of 16 after a close encounter with the Columbus Crew. However, they remain determined to reclaim their winning form in the league.

The Dynamo's journey this season has been nothing short of remarkable. Notably, they are the only team in the U.S. competing for an impressive four trophies: MLS Cup, Champions Cup, Leagues Cup, and U.S. Open Cup. This ambitious pursuit underscores their commitment to excellence and their hunger for success.

Adding to the anticipation is the recent acquisition of midfielder Latif Blessing, a seasoned MLS veteran with a stellar track record. Blessing's arrival injects further talent and depth into an already formidable Dynamo lineup.

As the Dynamo prepare to take on the Portland Timbers, they'll be looking to continue their dominance over their rivals. Last season, Houston secured emphatic victories over Portland, including a resounding 5-0 win at Shell Energy Stadium. With the home advantage on their side, the Dynamo aim to replicate their past success and secure another crucial victory.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Houston Cougars softball falls to Iowa State 9-4

Photo courtesy of Houston Athletics

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

AMES, IOWA (March 15, 2024) In an exciting doubleheader, the University of Houston softball team faced off against the Iowa State Cyclones, but unfortunately, the Cougars fell short in the finale by the score of 9-4, allowing Iowa State to claim victory and sweep Friday's matchups.

Houston started strong, taking an early lead with a fiery performance in the first inning.  Jazmyn Rollin showcased her prowess with a powerful two-run homer, setting the tone for the Cougars. Kennedy Thomas also contributed with an RBI-double, propelling Houston to a promising start.

However, Iowa State rallied back with a vengeance, seizing control of the game with a five-run surge in the third inning. Despite Houston's efforts, the Cyclones proved to be a formidable opponent, showcasing their resilience and offensive prowess throughout the matchup.

While the Cougars displayed notable performances from Rollin, Thomas, and Bree Cantu, they struggled to contain Iowa State's relentless offense. Iowa State's Aziza Rodriguez and Jaiden Ralston delivered solid pitching performances, limiting Houston's scoring opportunities and securing the win for the Cyclones.

HCU names Craig Doty as men's head basketball coach

Photo courtesy of HCU Media Relations Department 

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 15, 2024) Craig Doty (shown above), a highly accomplished coach with a history of success, has been appointed as the new head coach for the men's basketball program at Houston Christian University. Doty's hiring was announced by HCU President Dr. Robert B. Sloan and Director of Athletics Steve Moniaci, who expressed their enthusiasm for the new addition to the coaching staff.

Doty brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record to the role, having previously coached at Emporia State, where he achieved remarkable results. Under his leadership, the Emporia State Hornets experienced their best season in program history, boasting a 23-9 record. Doty's coaching prowess was evident as he guided the team to back-to-back 20+ win seasons, securing their first-ever NCAA Tournament win along the way.

Not only did Doty prioritize success on the court, but he also emphasized the importance of academic achievement and community involvement. During his tenure at Emporia State, the team's GPA improved significantly, with players consistently achieving above a 3.0 GPA. Additionally, the team ranked first in NCAA Division II men's basketball for service hours, highlighting their commitment to making a positive impact beyond the court.

In his previous coaching stints at Graceland University and Rock Valley College, Doty also left an indelible mark, leading both teams to national championships and earning numerous coaching accolades along the way.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Houston Dynamo FC add midfielder Latif Blessing to 2024 roster

Photo courtesy of  Houston Dynamo FC, Used with permission.

Story by Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 14, 2024) Houston Dynamo FC made a significant move in the MLS transfer market, acquiring midfielder Latif Blessing from Toronto FC. The deal, announced today, sees the Dynamo sending $75,000 in 2025 General Allocation Money (GAM) to Toronto FC in exchange for the 27-year-old winger. Additionally, Toronto could receive up to an extra $200,000 in 2025 GAM depending on performance-based incentives.

Blessing, an MLS veteran with eight seasons under his belt, brings a wealth of experience to his new club. The Ghanaian midfielder has made 190 regular-season appearances, with 137 starts, along with five postseason matches. Throughout his MLS career, Blessing has showcased his versatility, contributing 17 goals and 25 assists.

Previously, Blessing played for Sporting Kansas City, LAFC, the New England Revolution, and most recently, Toronto FC. He enjoyed a successful stint with LAFC, winning the Supporters' Shield in 2019 and 2022, as well as the MLS Cup in 2022. Before his MLS journey, Blessing began his professional career in his native Ghana with Liberty Professionals, where he earned accolades such as the Ghana Premier League Player of the Year.

Commenting on the acquisition, Dynamo General Manager Pat Onstad expressed excitement about Blessing's addition to the team. He highlighted Blessing's winning mentality and positional flexibility, emphasizing his potential contribution as the club navigates a busy competition calendar.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Nicholls men's basketball moves on in SLC Tournament win over TAMU-Commence

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (March 10, 2024) Nicholls State University's men's basketball team showed true grit and determination in their dominant 72-51 victory over No. 7 Texas A&M-Commerce in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Southland Conference Tournament. With this impressive win, Nicholls (19-13) now sets its sights on the semifinals where they'll square off against No. 2 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The Colonels' defense was the star of the show once again, holding the Lions (13-20) to a mere 32 percent shooting. This stellar defensive effort limited A&M-Commerce to just 51 points, matching their lowest scoring output against a league opponent all season.

On the offensive end, Nicholls was firing on all cylinders, shooting an impressive 56 percent from the field. Leading the charge was Robert Brown III, who lit up the scoreboard with 18 points, including 5 of 6 from three-point range. Diante Smith also made his mark, contributing 14 points while shooting 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Not to be outdone, Quinn Strander had a career night with 11 points on a perfect 4 of 4 shooting, along with five assists and two steals.

Nicholls set the tone early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and never looking back. They maintained a double-digit lead for much of the game, thanks to their efficient offense and suffocating defense.
In addition to their offensive prowess, the Colonels dominated the boards, outrebounding the Lions by 12. 

Oklahoma regains No. 1 spot on Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

Photo credit: Morgan Givens/University of Oklahoma

By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 12, 2024) In the latest Week 5 Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, the Oklahoma Sooners have climbed back to the No. 1 spot after a fantastic week. They dominated with a big win mid-week and then swept Iowa State in their Big 12 conference opener. The Sooners were on fire, outscoring their opponents 29-3 in the series.

The LSU Tigers are also making waves, staying undefeated with a 22-0 record and moving up one spot in the rankings. Meanwhile, Texas slips down three spots after a mixed performance against Houston, managing to win the series but suffering a tough loss in the process.

Duke holds strong in the No. 4 spot after securing wins against Elon and South Dakota State, while Georgia rounds out the Top 5 after a successful weekend at the Bulldog Classic, including wins against Miami-OH.

Here's how the Top 10 looks:

1. Oklahoma
2. LSU
3. Texas
4. Duke
5. Georgia
6. Stanford
7. Oklahoma State
8. Washington
9. Tennessee
10. Florida

The rankings show that the competition is heating up as teams battle it out on the field. With each week, we're seeing some exciting matchups and impressive performances from these top college softball teams. Stay tuned for more action-packed games ahead!

Monday, March 11, 2024

Lamar downs New Orleans 71-57 in SLC Tournament

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (March 11, 2024) In an electrifying quarterfinal showdown at the Legacy Center, Lamar University's basketball team emerged victorious, defeating the New Orleans Privateers with a final score of 71-57 at the Southland Conference Championship.

Junior standout Terry Anderson shone bright on the court, leading the charge with an impressive 20-point performance, showcasing his prowess as a key player for the Cardinals.

Throughout the game, Anderson found ample support from his teammates, notably sophomore Cody Pennebaker, who added 13 points to Lamar's tally. Together, they propelled the Cardinals to victory, shooting at a commendable 43 percent from the field.

One of the decisive factors in Lamar's triumph was their exceptional performance at the free throw line, where they converted an impressive 20 out of 21 attempts, demonstrating their precision and composure under pressure. Moreover, the Cardinals capitalized on their rebounding prowess, securing a five-rebound advantage over the Privateers, with 14 crucial offensive rebounds leading to 18 valuable second-chance points.

Despite a strong start from the New Orleans side, Lamar demonstrated resilience and determination, clawing their way back into the game after an initial deficit. The Cardinals' tenacious defense and strategic turnovers ultimately shifted the momentum in their favor, allowing them to seize control and build a substantial lead by halftime.

In the second half, although the Privateers attempted to mount a comeback on several occasions, Lamar's relentless offense and staunch defense proved too formidable to overcome. With less than 16 minutes remaining on the clock, UNO managed to narrow the gap, but Lamar responded swiftly, embarking on a decisive 14-8 run to secure a comfortable lead and clinch the victory.

McNeese State kicks off 2024 SLC Men's Basketball Championship on Tuesday

By Chris Price
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (March 11, 2024) The No. 1 ranked McNeese State Cowboys kick off their journey in the 2024 Southland Conference Men's Basketball Championship this Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The Cowboys will face off against No. 4 Lamar Cardinals, who downed No. 8 New Orleans 71-57 on Monday afternoon.

Having clinched the 2024 SLC regular-season championship, McNeese is on a mission to secure its first tournament title in over two decades. This would mark the third overall tournament victory for the team and earn them their third bid to the NCAA Tournament in school history.

The Cowboys have been on fire this season, boasting an impressive 28-3 record, setting a new school record for wins in a single season. Their dominance places them with the second-most regular-season victories in Southland Conference history, just trailing behind Stephen F. Austin's 29 wins in 2013-14.

Within the conference, McNeese has been a force to reckon with, tallying a remarkable 17-1 record. This achievement ties the school record for most league wins in a season, matching their performance from 2000-01 and 2001-02. Furthermore, this places them tied as the second-most in league history, alongside Stephen F. Austin's 18 wins in 2013-14.

Heading into Tuesday's game, McNeese carries a nine-game winning streak, marking the second time this season they have achieved such a feat. This places them among the top teams in the NCAA, with only a select few managing to achieve this level of consistency throughout the season.

Nicholls State overcomes New Orleans in close battle at SLC Championsip

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (March 11, 2024) In a thrilling showdown at the Southland Conference Tournament, the Nicholls State University women's basketball team showcased their prowess with a solid 73-66 triumph over New Orleans. The game was a rollercoaster ride, with the Colonels trailing at halftime but bouncing back with a vengeance in the second half.

Led by senior guard Kyla Hamilton (Sam Houston HS, Moss Bluff, LA), the Colonels turned up the heat when it mattered most. Hamilton's clutch performance included 18 points, with seven of those crucial points coming in the fourth quarter. She also played a pivotal role on defense, tallying four steals alongside her seven assists and six rebounds.

Mikayla Etienne (Ouachita Parish HS, Monroe, LA) proved to be a game-changer off the bench, lighting up the court with 19 points, including some impressive three-pointers. Lexi Alexander, an All-Southland second team member, delivered a stellar performance with 13 points and 10 rebounds, marking her seventh double-double of the season.

Deonna Brister also made her presence felt with 12 points in the second half, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field. Her contributions on both ends of the court, including five rebounds and three steals, were instrumental in securing the victory for the Colonels.

Despite a valiant effort from New Orleans, led by Nora Francois and DeArica Pryor, who combined for 41 points, the Privateers couldn't withstand Nicholls State's relentless defense and efficient offense.

This win not only breaks a five-game losing streak against New Orleans but also marks Nicholls State's first postseason victory since 2021.