Cardinal basketball earns high preseason ranks

Lamar women’s basketball

The start of college basketball is right around the corner, and if the Southland Conference preseason polls are any indication, both the Lamar women’s and men’s teams will have plenty of success in the 2017-18 season.

The women’s team is picked to finish first in the league while the men are predicted to finish second behind Stephen F. Austin.

“We now have to live up to our expectations,” said women’s head coach Robin Harmony. “I think this team can be something special.”

The Cardinals, who return all five starters from last season’s squad that went 22-8 overall and 15-3 in conference play, received 18 of a potential 24 first-place votes.

LU had three first-team selections on the preseason All-Southland Conference squad announced last week. Representing the Cardinals are guards Chastadie Barrs and Moe Kinard along with post player Kiandra Bowers. All three players were second-team all-conference choices last season, with Barrs being named the conference’s defensive player of the year for the second straight season, while Kinard was tabbed as the newcomer of the year.

“This sets the tone for the season,” Harmony said. “All three deserved to be named first team based on last season, but now they have to perform.”

Defending regular-season and conference tournament champion Central Arkansas was selected second, while Stephen F. Austin was picked to finish third in the 13-team league.

The Cardinals open their season at perennial national power Baylor on Nov. 10 and the home opener is slated for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. against Louisiana College.

The second-place finish for the men is the highest preseason pick for the Cardinals since the 2007 season when Big Red was selected to win the SLC East division.

Lamar received five first-place votes and 234 points to finish second behind Stephen F. Austin (268 points), and 25 points ahead of Southeastern Louisiana.

“I think every coach here will tell you they don’t put too much stock in preseason polls,” said head coach Tic Price. “Whether we’re picked first or last, it won’t change how we approach each game. These polls are largely based off the players each team has returning and the success you had last season. Nothing in this league will be given to you. Our guys understand that they have to go out and earn it in every practice and every game.”

Lamar will return four starters from last season’s 19-win team, including preseason first-team All-Southland Conference selection Colton Weisbrod. In addition, LU returns its top five scorers, including one of the top three-point threats in the SLC – Nick Garth. A junior from Houston, Garth averaged just under 12 points per game last season while shooting 42.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Fans who want a glimpse of the teams can attend the annual Red vs. White Scrimmage on Tuesday, Oct. 24, with the women starting at 5 p.m. The men will follow.

Soccer

Marie Lund couldn’t remember ever jumping higher or scoring a bigger goal in her life than what she did Oct. 15 to lift Lamar to a 3-2 win over the visiting Abilene Christian Wildcats at the LU Soccer Complex.

The senior defender outleaped the opposition to score on a header with 2:17 remaining in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and give the Cardinals their school-record 12th win of the season.

“I just wanted it more,” Lund said of her game-winning goal. “It was a great feeling when the ball went in.”

“It looked like Marie was on a trampoline,” LU coach Steve Holeman said. “That was a great effort on her part.

The play started when freshman Lucy Ashworth launched a corner kick from the right side into the box. Lund managed to get higher than the ACU defenders and headed it past ACU goalkeeper Erin Smith.

“Lucy had a great kick,” Lund said. “It was right where I wanted it.”

With the win, the Cardinals (12-3-1 overall, 7-1-0 Southland Conference) remained tied with McNeese for first place in the conference standings with three games remaining. LU’s seven conference wins this season is also a school record.

“This is a very special group,” Holeman said. “Every game we play we have some special motivation. It’s great to set the record, but we’re motivated to win the conference.”

Goalie Lauren Lovejoy made nine saves as she picked up her school-record 12th win of the campaign.

Having already clinched a berth in next month’s Southland Conference Tournament, the Cardinals now have their sights set on the first regular-season conference title in program history. LU is at Houston Baptist on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. and at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m.

Football

The Cardinals fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and were never able to fully recover dropping a 33-24 decision at Incarnate Word on Oct. 14 at Benson Stadium in San Antonio. The loss is the fourth straight for the Cardinals, who fall to 1-5 on the year, and 0-4 Southland Conference play.

Junior Darrel Colbert got the start and completed seven passes for 75 yards. He also carried the ball 15 times for 37 yards and a score. Senior Andrew Allen came subbed after a Colbert injury in the third quarter and provided a spark for the LU offense completing 13-of-21 passes for 200 yards and rushed for a touchdown.

“We talked about fighting hard, playing with courage and staying in this game,” said head coach Mike Schultz. “I felt like our kids came out in the second half and did just that. I know I keep saying it, but if we continue to play with that type of heart eventually this thing is going to turn around.”

The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Oct. 21, when they travel to Huntsville, Texas to take on No. 7 Sam Houston State (5-1) at 3 p.m. from Bowers Stadium.

Softball

Not content with just being successful on the field, the Lamar University softball team continues to be productive off the field, as evidenced by the team winning LU’s Red Cup for the fourth straight year. The Red Cup goes to the program with the most community-service hours,.

The LU softball team accumulated 842.25 hours of community service in the 2016-17 academic year, helping boost the total number of community service hours by the LU teams to more than 2,000 for the academic year.

“I think it’s important to give back to the community,” said coach Holly Bruder. “I think it’s important for the student-athletes to be productive members of society.”

Members of the softball team were involved at events with organizations such as The Arc of Beaumont, the American Cancer Society, Anayat House, the Humane Society of Southeast Texas, Some Other Place and Buckner Children’s Village. In addition, the Cardinals raised money for breast cancer research with their annual Strikeout Cancer game against Lamar State College Port Arthur.

“We get so much back by doing this every year,” Bruder said. “Seeing the smiles and hearing so many people say thank you is so rewarding. I’m very proud of proud of what all of these student-athletes do.”

The softball team received the award during LU’s recent football game vs. Nicholls at Provost Umphrey Stadium.

Volleyball

Tomar Thomas had a career-high 21 kills, but the Cardinals dropped a five-set heartbreaker to visiting New Orleans in a Southland Conference women’s volleyball match at McDonald Gym on Oct. 17.

LU (3-15, 1-7) will next host Nicholls on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. and McNeese on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. inside McDonald Gym.

Women’s golf

Sophomore Elodie Chapelet cruised to the medalist title at the Fred Marx Invitational, outdistancing the field by seven strokes in the 54-hole event that concluded Oct. 17.

Chapelet fired a 1-over-par 73 on Tuesday on the 6,172-yard, par-72 layout of the Bayou DeSiard Country Club to finish at 4-over 220. Linette Holmslykke of Murray State and Scarlet Eaton of host Louisiana-Monroe tied for second at 227 in the 70-player field.

It was the first medalist honor this season for Chapelet and the fifth of her LU career. Chapelet was 2-over on the front nine on Tuesday before posting a 1-under 35 on the final nine holes.

“I’m happy to see Elodie earn another win. It’s been a little while,” said coach Jessica Steward. “What’s even more impressive is that she did it after taking this past week off because of an injury. These greens were tough, but she stayed patient.”

As a team, the Cardinals finished fourth out of 12 teams at 76-over 940, 26 strokes behind the Murray State Racers, who won the team title

The Cardinals close out the fall season when they compete at the USF Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of South Florida, set for Oct. 30-31 in Lutz, Florida.

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