Lamar Loop: Cardinal football hosts SFA on Saturday

Andrew Allen totaled 282 yards and two scores against Sam Houston State

It’s been nearly a month since Lamar football has played a home game at Provost Umphrey Stadium, but that changes this week as the Cardinals look to get their first Southland Conference win of the season on Saturday, Oct. 28, when they host Stephen F. Austin (3-5, 3-3) at 6 p.m.

The Cards (1-6, 0-5) went toe-to-toe with No. 6 ranked Sam Houston State last weekend and found themselves down 33-20 late in the second quarter, but a few miscues quickly turned into a 63-27 loss.

“We continue to play hard, but we had some special team errors, penalties and two turnovers, and you can’t have that and win against someone like Sam Houston State,” said first year coach Mike Schultz.

Lamar finished with 527 yards of total offense behind senior quarterback Andrew Allen who recorded his first start of the season in placed of injured Darrell Colbert.

Allen, who was coming off an impressive second half at Incarnate Word, continued his impressive play completing 17 passes for 228 yards. He also carried the ball 12 times for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Allen connected with eight different Cardinals on the afternoon. Sophomore and 2016 quarterback Case Robinson hauled in four passes for a career-high 72 yards. Freshman Kirkland Banks led the Red and White with six receptions for 37 yards, and also carried the ball seven times for a team-high 73 yards. The Cardinals finished the day with 286 yards on the ground.

“Our offense was able to control the tempo at times,” added Schultz. “Our offensive line is the most improved group on the field.”

Sophomore Tariq Gordon led the defense with 10 tackles, while junior Nate Jones picked off two passes. 

Lamar is 15-11 all-time against SFA, which includes a 9-5 record against the Lumberjacks in Beaumont.

“SFA took No. 4 Central Arkansas to the limit,” said Schultz. “They have a very good competitive quarterback and their defensive line is good. They don’t make many mistakes.”

Soccer

After a 1-0 win over Houston Baptist on Oct. 20, the Cards improved to 14-3-1 overall and 9-1-0 in Southland play by blanking Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3-0 on the road Oct. 22. The win combined with McNeese’s loss at Houston Baptist put the Cards in first place.

Lamar has one regular season game left on the schedule, and it’s with McNeese at home on Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.

The Cardinals would clinch the title outright with a win or a tie. A McNeese win would leave the Cardinals and Cowgirls as co-champions, while McNeese would earn the No. 1 seed for next month’s Southland Conference Tournament in Corpus Christi.

“What a great day for Lamar University soccer,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “Winning a conference title is always special, even when you are picked to win. But to finish last year and be picked to finish eighth this season makes this even more special. We’re going to enjoy this on the bus ride home, but we know our work isn’t done yet. We know what we have to do to be the No. 1 seed.”

Maria Lund scored two goals in the game and Juli Rocha closed out the scoring with 5:44 remaining on a feed from Kelso Peskin, who picked up her school-record 10th assist of the season.

Lauren Lovejoy, who made three saves to register her eighth shutout of the season, extended her school record as LU won its eighth straight game.

For the second time this season, senior Marie Lund was named the Southland Conference Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week. Lund helped anchor a defense that registered its seventh and eighth shutouts of the season, setting a school record. Offensively, she scored two goals in the 3-0 win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Basketball

Senior Moe Kinard scored a game-high 32 points to lead the LU Black squad to a 81-56 victory over the Red squad in the first annual LU women’s basketball Red vs. Black scrimmage at the Montagne Center on Oct. 24.

The scrimmage was part of Big Red Madness which consisted of intrasquad scrimmages for both the LU men’s and women’s teams, a three-point contest and a dunk contest.

“I’m happy with what we saw tonight,” said coach Robin Harmony. “We put up a lot of points and shot the ball well from long range. We knew coming into the season that we had a lot of talent and depth, and tonight our fans got a chance to see what I’ve been talking about this whole time. I wasn’t happy with the fact that we didn’t talk much on defense, and we didn’t box out. Those are things we have been doing really well, but tonight they got in front of the bright lights and reverted back to some old ways. That is something we can tweak when we get back on the practice floor.”

The Cardinals open the 2017-18 season on the road Friday, Nov. 10 at Baylor.

New Mexico transfer Jordan Hunter scored a game-high 18 points to lead the White team to a 61-48 victory over the Red team in the men’s annual Red vs. White scrimmage.

Hunter was one of four Cardinals to finish the night in double figures – two for each team – as the White squad shot 50 percent from the field. Hunter was joined in double figures by teammate Torey Noel who scored 11 points and dished out a game-high eight assists. Junior Josh Nzeakor just missed a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.

LU will open the season on Nov. 10 at Tulsa.

Baseball

Lamar has released its 2018 schedule, which is highlighted by 29 games at Vincent-Beck Stadium and includes the Cardinal Classic to open the season, announced head coach Will Davis. The schedule includes dates against 10 teams who advanced to the NCAA Championships last season.

Thirteen different schools will visit Beaumont in 2018, including eight teams before the Cardinals open Southland conference play Friday, March 9, against Sam Houston State. LU will have the benefit of being home for 18 of its first 21 games to start the season.

“I’m really excited about our schedule,” said Davis. “With 18 games against NCAA tournament teams, I love the way that our team will be tested. Our non-conference schedule will be pretty rugged with Illinois, Missouri State, Tulane, Rice, Houston, LSU, Texas, Baylor and a three-game set at TCU, but I think that the benefit will be twofold. It will prepare us for the rigors of Southland Conference play and it will allow us to receive an at-large NCAA Tournament berth if we are fortunate to win enough games.”

The Cardinals will kick off the year Friday, Feb. 16, with the annual Cardinal Classic in Beaumont hosting Texas Southern, Missouri State and Illinois in the season-opening tournament. LU will next travel to Austin to play Texas on Feb. 21.

LU will be back in the Golden Triangle Friday, Feb. 23, to open a four-game homestand against Hofstra. The two schools will play a doubleheader Saturday, Feb. 24, before closing out the series Sunday. The Cardinals will then travel to New Orleans for a two-game midweek series against Tulane (Feb. 27 and 28).

Following the series against the Green Wave, the Cardinals return home to open an 11-game homestand that will carry LU into the start of Southland Conference play. The Cardinals will kick off a three-game series against UT Rio Grande Valley on Friday, March 2, before playing nine straight against 2017 NCAA Championship participants. The Cardinals will host Rice (March 7) before starting Southland play against Sam Houston State Friday, March 9. The homestand will also see the return of Texas Southern (Mar. 13) before closing things out against conference foe Southeastern Louisiana.

The rest of the non-conference schedule includes games at Houston (March 20), three games against Northwestern State (two in Beaumont and one in Natchitoches, La.), Baylor (April 4), LSU (April 24), Southern (April 25), Rice (May 2) and a series at TCU (May 4-6).

The Cardinals close out the 2018 season against rivals McNeese and Stephen F. Austin. The Cowboys will make their way across the border Friday, May 11 through Sunday, May 13. The Cardinals will travel to SFA the following weekend to close out the regular season.

The Southland Conference Championship tournament will once again be held at Constellation Field in Sugarland, Texas. The dates of the tournament are May 23-27.

Women’s golf

Lamar women’s golf coach Jessica Steward was named the Central Section Coach of the Year by the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals. Steward is now up for national coach of the year accolades.

Steward, who is in her third year at LU, was chosen based upon her accomplishments with the Cardinals, her teaching, her involvement with the LPGA and her involvement with the local golf community.

“I was surprised and honored,” said Steward, the 2016 Southland Conference women’s golf coach of the year. “There are some really big names who won the award in other sections. To be included on that list is quite special.”

The LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals selected coaches of the year from five sections in the United States along with one international selection. The winners are chosen by the section officers and the section nominating committee chair. Steward was nominated for the award in 2016 as well.

Volleyball

The Cards (3-17, 1-9) dropped a 3-1 home match against McNeese (15-11, 6-5) on Oct. 21. Murielle Hlavac registered a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs. Iyaria Walker finished with 11 kills for the Cardinals. Zahria Scott had a team-high 21 digs for LU, while Haley Morton had 39 assists and nine digs.

Lamar will play at Southeastern Louisiana on Oct. 26 and at New Orleans on Oct. 28 before playing in their home finale on Tuesday, Oct. 31, against Incarnate Word at 7 p.m.

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