|Last year, the Trinity Tigers made their 13th straight trip to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.|
According to the Trinity University athletic department, defense will most likely be key for the Tigers during the 2006 season. Seven of their returning starters were part of last year’s defensive unit — the Black Flag. Ranked fourth in Division III in points allowed per game, Trinity gave up just under 12 points per contest last year, and only 4.4 in SCACC play. They allowed only two touchdowns in their final six regular-season games, notching a 9-0 regular-season mark, 5-0 in conference.
In addition to these accomplishments, the Tigers have been ranked in the top 25 D-III teams in three independently released pre-season polls. Street & Smith had the Tigers ranked highest at 16th. Lindy’s Football Magazine put them at 20th, while USA Today Sports Weekly held them at 23rd.
Trinity opens its season at home on September 2 against East Texas Baptist at 6 p.m., then travels to Seguin to take on Texas Lutheran University on September 9.
Take a drive down Hildebrand and you’ll find football of a different sort. The University of the Incarnate Word is notorious for its exceptional men’s and women’s soccer programs. Last year, both teams were invited to the National Championship Tournament. Though each team has competed in the tournament before, last year was the first time in the school’s six-year NCAA history that they achieved the feat simultaneously.
Finishing their season at 14-4-3, the Lady Cardinals ended up losing 2-0 to the number-one team in the nation, Metro State. UIW dominated All-Heartland Conference honors, as five Cardinals were voted onto the team and two of three major individual awards were presented to Incarnate Word. Returning for the 2006 season, junior Barbara Butts led the conference in scoring last year, both in goals and total points, and was voted most valuable player. She will be joined this year by senior mid-fielder Amber Cole who was also a 2005-06 all-conference selection.
Head Coach Tina Patterson was awarded the conference’s top coaching award for the fourth time in her team’s six years of conference play. Patterson has led the women’s program for 12 years, and has a winning percentage among the top 15 of all NCAA Division II coaches that have a minimum of five years at an NCAA institution.
The Lady Cardinals next match takes place at noon on September 2 against Regis University at Cardinal Field.
Another local team to keep an eye on is St. Mary’s University’s women’s basketball squad. Last season, St. Mary’s won the Heartland Conference Championship Tournament, earning an automatic regional bid. The Lady Rattlers ended their season 17-12, bowing out to number-one ranked Washburn University, which set a Division II record with 50 consecutive victories. St. Mary’s will retain the core of their team this year, having lost only two seniors to graduation. Head Coach Paige Clawson, however, left her position this summer to join the United States Secret Service. (We can print that, right Coach?) During Clawson’s five-year tenure at STMU, the Lady Rattlers earned three HLC titles and made two NCAA National Tournament appearances. Former assistant coach Jason Martens has been named head coach of the program for the 2006-07 season.
The Lady Rattlers season will kick off at home on November 17 against Central Missouri State at 7:30 p.m.
For complete team schedules, visit the university websites: Trinity.edu, Uiw.edu, and Stmarytx.edu.