Season Outlook: Men's Basketball
Last season, the Cornerstone University men's basketball team finished their season 19-13 with another trip to the NAIA national tournament. Although they fell short of a national championship, the Cornerstone men had another successful season under the tutelage of head coach Kim Elders. Coach Elders, who has a career record of 478-191, is entering his 20th season as the varsity head coach and is expecting big things from this year's team: "I expect our team to compete for the WHAC (Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) title and be ranked in the Top 20. I expect this team to make it back to Branson [the site of the NAIA national tournament]."
In order to compete for a conference championship and make a run at the national tourney, the men's basketball team will lean heavily on some key returners. Wes Hudson, an honorable mention All-American who averaged over 16 points per game last year, returns to lead the Golden Eagles. He is joined by co-captain Derek Kingshott (pictured), a significant force in the post, and forward Jake Plite, both of whom averaged eight points and six rebounds per game last season.
Coach Elders has added some very talented recruits to complement his veterans. Transfers DeOndra Callahan, Shane Moreland, Alex Archambeau, and Alex Lyle come in with proven ability to score, as each averaged at least 13 points per game at their respective last schools.
The WHAC men's basketball coaches have voted and Cornerstone was picked to finish in second place behind Davenport in the WHAC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll. Coach Elders will try to capture his sixth regular season conference championship and seventh WHAC Championship playoff title. Elders and his squad have appeared in the NAIA National Tournament 10 times and look to make another trip in hopes of adding a third National Championship.
Practice has already started, following the Midnight Madness event on Oct. 4-5. Cornerstone begins their season Nov. 9 as they host the WHAC/Crossroads League Challenge. Other key games include a trip to Davenport on Nov. 20, the Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 23-24, and home against Aquinas on Jan. 2.
Coach Elders stated that the WHAC this year will be an extremely tough and balanced conference, adding, "[It] may be the best the WHAC has ever been from top to bottom." He will be leading a team that includes five transfer students that must blend well in order to be successful out of the gate. When asked about what he looks forward to most in the 2012-13 season, Coach Elders said, "Taking a new team with a lot of new pieces to the highest level possible." It should be another exciting season of men's basketball at Cornerstone.
Golf's Fall Season Comes to a Close
The Cornerstone University men's golf team ended the fall regular season on Friday, Oct. 5, at Sylvania Country Club (Sylvania, Ohio). That day marked the fourth and final WHAC Jamboree for the men's fall golf season. The Golden Eagles finished fourth on the day with a team score of 319. Drew DeMarti and Bailey Mathieson both shot a pair of 78's at the Sylvania Country Club. They tied for eighth in the player standings.
Cornerstone's men finished the WHAC fall season in sixth place with a team score of 1557. Bailey Mathieson (pictured) finished first team All-Conference with a 76.8 average. The Golden Eagles will participate in the spring conference tournament hosted by Davenport. The winner of the spring event will determine the league's automatic bid to the NAIA Men's Golf National Championships.
The Cornerstone University women's golf team ended the fall regular season Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the Coyote Creek Golf Club (Fort Wayne, Ind.), also the fourth and final WHAC Jamboree for the women's fall season. The Golden Eagles shot a 394, finishing in eighth place. Cornerstone was led by Allison Hall with a score of 94, placing her tied for 31st in the player standings.
The Cornerstone women finished seventh overall in the WHAC. The Golden Eagles will look toward the spring when they compete in the spring conference tournament. The date for the tournament, which will determine the automatic qualifier for the NAIA National Championship, will be announced later.
Season Outlook: Women's Basketball
The Cornerstone University women's basketball team heads into the 2012-13 season with many changes and new faces, and the hope to continue in the great tradition that has gone before them. After the retirement of Carla Fles earlier this year, a national search for a new coach commenced. While it is extremely difficult to replace a coach of Fles' abilities, the Cornerstone athletic department believes they have found another outstanding basketball coach in Katie Mattera. She has been hard at work preparing her team for the new season.
Coach Mattera has many things to look forward to this season. Five freshmen-Tanner Hostetler, Kelsey Adamski, Jill Steenwyk, Kirsten Kamphuis, and Teigan Mitcham-embark on their first season of college basketball under the leadership of three returning seniors: Robyn Veltkamp, Kathy DeYoung (pictured), and Kayleigh Hammond. Mattera has high expectations for her team, and hopes that with the help of veteran players, the freshmen will be ready for the highly competitive Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).
It will not be easy to replace last year's senior captains Melissa Veltkamp and Samantha Flietstra. Melissa was a first team NAIA All-American and first team all-conference player, while Flietstra was a third-team all-conference player. The young Golden Eagles will have to learn a new offensive and defensive system and execute it well in order to replace two top-tier players.
According to Coach Mattera, "With all the new changes we are excited to have a familiar face, Robyn Veltkamp, back this season. Our team has been working very hard in their conditioning and weight training programs this preseason in order to meet personal and team goals they have set for themselves."
Last year's Cornerstone University women's basketball team finished 18-13 overall and 11-7 in the WHAC. Three WHAC teams were ranked in the NAIA top 25 polls for much of last year, making for a very competitive conference. Expect the same for this season.
Coach Mattera said, "The WHAC conference is going to be competitive this year, as we added some great schools to our conference. But I believe in my team, and they believe in each other. We work extremely well together, and are working hard to be at the top of the conference."
When Coach Mattera was asked about what she is most looking forward to in her first season at Cornerstone, she said, "I LOVE my girls, we have come so far from day one of me being on campus and not knowing any of their names. They are so much fun to work with. I am looking forward to finally being on the court with my whole team. These girls have worked so hard this summer and pre-season, so I am looking forward to seeing where all their hard work will take them."
Mark your calendars for Jan. 5, the conference home opener against Concordia, and Jan. 26, the second of two "Cross-Town Showdown" games against conference rival Davenport (at CU). Coach Mattera knows how important it is to have a great, energetic crowd at the games and encourages all Cornerstone students and fans to attend: "We need huge crowds at every home game. We take each game one at a time, and we need the support of our fans to cheer us on."
Tennis Finishes First Half of Season Strong, Looks Forward to Conference Play in the Spring
The men's and women's tennis teams of Cornerstone University have made much progress in their second seasons under head coach Dan Erickson. The men's team is 6-3 this fall and has been competitive in every match. That is quite a difference from last season when the men finished the year at 2-24-2. While the women finished the fall 1-8-1, they are winning more matches and playing at a higher level than last year.
Coach Erickson can see what a big difference a year makes, commenting, "Both teams were substantially stronger this fall. This showed up not just in our results, but in our ability to continue to push one another to get better."
A lot of hard work on the recruiting trail has paid big dividends for the tennis programs and will continue to do so. Being such a new program, the tennis teams have had to blend many new student-athletes.
Coach Erickson is happy with his teams' ability to do that as well, saying, "So far we have had very good team chemistry, with no problem integrating the new players with the existing players."
The WHAC conference is one of the most difficult in the county for women's and men's tennis. Both teams play their conference schedule in the spring and hope to build on some of the early success of the fall.
Continue to look for big things from the Cornerstone University men's and women's tennis teams as Coach Dan Erickson has them heading in the right direction. They will both be very competitive in the spring and will continue to get better over the course of the next few years.
Spiking It with Larissa Deshetsky
Cornerstone Athletics continues its player interviews with senior captain of the volleyball team, Larissa Deshetsky.
Deshetsky, a North Branch native, tallied two assists in Cornerstone's win against Aquinas on Wednesday. The defensive specialist brings leadership and depth for head coach Ryan Campbell in the 2012 volleyball campaign.
The best part about being on the Golden Eagle's Volleyball team is... That I get to see my best friends every day!
My earliest volleyball memory is ... My very first Christmas my grandma bought me a volleyball! It was the only toy that could make me stop crying.
Other than volleyball, my favorite sport to play is ... Football
When I have an hour of free time, I like to ... Bale hay.
If I won a million dollars, I would ... Invest the money.
If someone looked at the songs on my iPod, I would be embarrassed for them to see I have ... Kenny Chesney
A place I would like to visit one day is ... I love the mid-west so I would say, here.
If I could eat dinner with three other people (living or dead), they would be... My best friends.
My favorite Bible character and why is... Joseph because I want a colorful coat.
When surfing the Internet, the web site I visit most frequently is... [CU's internal student web site] Eagle's Nest so I can always check meals for the next day.
Something about me that other people don't know is... I'm allergic to dairy.
I am most like the cartoon character... Wonder Woman
After graduation, I would like to ... Release my inner fashion sense and open up my own clothing line.
CU Golden Eagles: Upcoming Home Games
Women's Soccer vs. Siena Heights, 6 p.m.
Women's Soccer vs. Marygrove College, 4:30 p.m.
Men's Soccer vs. Davenport, 7 p.m.
Volleyball vs. Siena Heights, 7 p.m.
Volleyball Double-header vs. Mount Mercy University, 2 p.m. (Cornerstone Classic)
Volleyball Double-header vs. Shawnee State University, 8 p.m. (Cornerstone Classic)
Volleyball Double-header vs. Rochester College, 9 a.m. (Cornerstone Classic)
Women's Soccer vs. Madonna University, Noon (Senior Day)
Volleyball Double-header vs. Bethel College, 3 p.m. (Cornerstone Classic)
Volleyball vs. Davenport, 7 p.m.
Women's Basketball vs. Rochester College, 7 p.m.
Men's Basketball vs. Spring Arbor University (WHAC/CL Challenge), 8 p.m.
Men's Basketball vs. Indiana Wesleyan (WHAC/CL Challenge), 3 p.m.
All schedules are subject to change, so be sure to visit cugoldeneagles.com for full schedules and updates.