Posts by Stile Smith

My name is Stile Smith. I am an 18 year old freshman at the University of Southern Illinois Carbondale and I major in journalism. I am a sports reporter for the Daily Egyptian which is the student run newspaper here at SIUC.

A look forward: SIU women’s basketball

by: Stile T. Smith

With the forthcoming Christmas vacation, there will be no editions of the Daily Egyptian to report on the next seven SIU women’s basketball games.

With that, I will give a preview of each of the next seven opponents the Salukis will face.

at Chicago State, Dec. 14, 2:00 p.m.

The Lady Cougars are currently 4-4 on the season with a win over Northwestern of the Big Ten. Senior guard Jasmin Dixon is leading the team with 18.8 points per game and 31 assists. Junior guard Alyssa Waldon, meanwhile, has averaged 10.8 points per game and is shooting 39 percent from 3-point range.

at Central Arkansas, Dec. 16, 7:00 p.m.

The Sugar Bears are currently 2-4 on the season including a 19-point loss to Southeast Missouri State. Junior forward Meaghen Kelleybrew is the only player averaging double figure points with 11.3 points per contest. Sophomore forward/center Jamye Adair is just off the double figure plateau, averaging 9.2 points per game.

vs Tennessee Tech, Dec. 21, 2:05 p.m.

The Golden Eagles are currently 2-6 on the season with a loss to SIU rival Drake by 11 points. Senior guard/forward Blair Bowens is leading the team in scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game while shooting 30 percent from 3-point range. Freshman forward Krystal Stirrup, meanwhile, is averaging 9.4 points per game while leading the team shooting 52 percent from the field.

vs Northern Illinois, Dec. 28, 2:05 p.m.

The Huskies are currently 3-5 on the season with an eight point victory over Northern Iowa and a 15 point loss to Bradley. Sophomore center Ebony Ellis leads the team with 11.8 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game. Junior guard Marke Freeman is averaging just under double figure points with 9.9 points per game while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.

at Evansville, Jan. 2, 7:00 p.m.

The Salukis begin their Missouri Valley Conference schedule against the 4-3 Aces of Evansville. The Aces have four players averaging double digit points, led by YEAR Robyn Jennings with 14.6 points per game including 58 percent from 3-point range. 

at Bradley, Jan. 9, 7:00 p.m.

The Braves are currently 6-1 on the season with a win over the University of Illinois of the Big Ten by 18 points. Senior forward Monica Rogers is averaging a double-double with 13.7 points and 10 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Michelle Lund, meanwhile, is averaging 13 points per game while shooting 48 percent from 3-point range.

at Northern Iowa, Jan. 11, 3:00 p.m.

The Panthers are currently 2-5 on the season with a 15-point victory over Western Illinois. YEAR guard Nicole Clausen leads the team with 12.9 points per game while shooting 49 percent from 3-point range. YEAR guard K.K. Armstrong is averaging just under double figure points with 9.9 points per game.

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Schirmer receives all-American status

by: Stile T. Smith

Jeff Schirmer finished in 25th place in the NCAA Championships Nov. 24 to become the first SIU cross country to receive all-American status since 1984 when Chris Bunyon finished in 21st place.

The scariest part about it is the fact that Schirmer is only a junior. With a good offseason, Schirmer has the opportunity to finish in the top five next season in his last year with SIU.

Despite that fact, Schirmer’s biggest concern isn’t about himself, his goal is to get the entire Saluki team there.

“I think more than anything I’m looking forward to getting the whole team there next year,” Schirmer said. “The bigger picture is trying to get the whole team there.”

And with the reemergence of Mohamed Mohamed next season, that goal looks like it will be very attainable.

The Salukis will now have two runners who were Missouri Valley Conference runners of the year in Schirmer and Mohamed, while the only runner they will lose is Mark Bowman.

Behind the leadership of Schirmer and Mohamed, the Salukis should be able to win another Missouri Valley Conference Championship and qualify for Nationals as a team.

Lennon: “I’m glad we can move on”

by: Stile T. Smith

Following the defeat of the school he coached at for the last nine years, coach Dale Lennon was emotionally drained.

“It’s something I don’t think many people have gone through to this extent,” Lennons said. “I’m glad the game is over and I’m glad that we can move on.”

In his nine years at the helm of the Fighting Sioux, Lennon led the team to a 90-24 record including seven playoff appearances, five North Central Conference Championships and one National Championship.

While he kept his emotions in check for most of the game, Lennon said it really hit him when the clock ran out.

“There was a wave of emotions that ran over me at the very end of the game,” Lennon said. “That’s where I probably got a little more emotional. It was good to see them all, but it’s different.”

But he didn’t allow his players to see his emotion.

Running back Larry Warner said Lennon was the same guy the entire week leading up to the game.

“You can’t read him,” Warner said. “He’s a guy that’s laid back and always focused. We didn’t see nothing different. He wanted this win just as bad as us.”

The game was just as difficult for North Dakota coach Chris Mussman.

Mussman had spent the last nine years under Lennon as an assistant. During the last four years as offensive coordinator, he made UND into one of the most prolific offenses in their conference.

Last season, Mussman directed an offense that set school records in total yards (5,924), touchdowns (60) and regular season scoring average (40.7 points per game).

Following the game, Mussman said going up against Lennon was one of the toughest things he’s ever had to do.

“You want to beat him, but he’s your friend,” Mussman said. “I spent nine years with him and I’m in this position because of him. It’s difficult and I’m glad it’s over.”

Lennon praised Mussman following the game, saying the program was in good hands. He said their kids should hold their heads high and they will be a competitive team for years to come.

SIU/Schirmer take home MVC titles

by: Stile T. Smith

For the second year in a row, both the SIU men’s cross country team and their top runner junior Jeff Schirmer have brought Missouri Valley Conference championships to Carbondale.

The Salukis edged Illinois State by just three points to give SIU its first back-to-back championships since 1994-95. Illinois State ran arguably its best race of the season, but it wasn’t enough to defeat SIU.

Meanwhile, Schirmer continued to dominate week after week. He has finished in the top three of every meet he has been in this season and he should be a serious contender to be an all-American.

While this is a great accomplishment for the Salukis, they still have more work to do. This is just the beginning of the post season for cross country.

In two weeks, the Salukis will travel to Stillwater, Okla. to compete in the NCAA Regional Championship.

Last season, SIU finished seventh in the meet, so this will be a true test to how far the Salukis have come since one year ago.

If the Salukis can continue their dominance at the national, they will forever etch their names in the SIU history books.

Running for history

by: Stile T. Smith

This Saturday, the SIU men’s cross country team has a chance to be back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference champions for the first time since 1994-95.

Junior Jeff Schirmer should dominate this race. He is the best runner in the MVC and will most likely prove it in Springfield, Mo.

Sophomore Dan Dunbar is favored to finish second for the Salukis. Dunbar has consistently been the No. 2 runner this season and I don’t expect that to change this weekend.

Head coach Matt Sparks said if the Salukis get three runners in the top six and two more in the top 15, which is very possible, they will be very hard to beat.

That’s where things get critical for the Salukis. Their next three runners; junior Jason Ordway, senior Mark Bowman and sophomore Kyle Kirchner could finish in any order for the Salukis. They have all ran well so far this season and they will have to run well in this meet for the Salukis to take first.

The women’s meet could be a little more interesting.

SIU, Illinois State, Wichita State and Missouri State all have a chance to come out with the win.

WSU and MSU both have the strong front-runner who can dominate the race, but don’t a lot of depth. SIU and Illinois State, meanwhile, have very good depth but lack the front-runner to dominate the race.

It wouldn’t be a surprise for any of those teams to finish first or fourth.

The Salukis will need the trio of junior A’Seret Dokubo and sophomores Emily Toennies and Megan Hoelscher to step up and finish in the top 10.

They will also need freshman Jamie Pfister and sophomore Ryan Eichelberger to finish in the top 20.

If the men’s and women’s teams do that, they will bring home two team MVC titles and an individual MVC title.

Transcending sports

by: Stile T. Smith

Sometimes in sports, the competition takes a back seat to an issue that’s more important.

That holds true when Evansville visits Davies Gym to take on the Salukis.

The game has been dubbed “Dig for the Cure” night to raise awareness for breast cancer.

This is an issue that has directly affected two Saluki players.

Junior outside hitter Kelsie Laughlin’s said her mother, Chris, told Laughlin she was diagnosed with breast cancer when Laughlin went home for Christmas vacation last year.

Sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Conner said she has lost two aunts in the last three years.

Breast cancer is a serious disease for American women. More U.S. women have lung cancer than any other cancer and it is the second leading cause of cancer related death for women according to the American Cancer Society.

SIU will be raising money for the Breast Center, a division of Southern Illinois Healthcare.

Fans can donate $1 for every dig recorded in the game.

Every fan who wears a pink shirt to the match will be able to get in the game for a $1 admission fee. In addition, the first 50 fans at the match will receive a free pink t-shirt.

This is a great opportunity to raise money for a great cause. I hope they continue to do this every year.

Hopefully there will be a great turnout for this game and a lot of money will be made for breast cancer research.

Huge weekend for the Salukis

by: Stile Smith

As we enter the second half of the volleyball season, the Salukis face two of their most important matches of the season.

They currently stand at 2-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference, tied with tonight’s opponent, Drake, for seventh place. They follow the Drake game with a match against Creighton, who is 8-7 overall and 2-5 in the conference.

If SIU is to make the MVC tournament, it is crucial for them to win both of these games. If they play like they can, SIU should be able to take down Drake fairly easily.

But the Creighton match will bring a tougher test.

SIU and Creighton is a fairly even match. This week, head coach Brenda Winkeler emphasized offense and she is absolutely right. For the Salukis to beat the Bluejays, they have to go on the offensive.

The Salukis have played very well defensively this season, ranking 15th in the nation in digs per set, but have not been so dominant on the offensive side of the ball. They are currently in the middle of the pack in both kills per set and hitting percentage

If SIU is to beat Creighton, they have to go on the attack.

They also need to go to their middles more. Lately, they have been forgetting about junior middle blocker Chandra Roberson and been going to the outside hitters too much. They have been very predictable for their opponents.

Chandra Roberson is one of the best players on the team. She is too good to not get a steady does of kill attempts and she is one of the keys to beating Creighton Saturday.

If the Salukis can get their offense going, they will be looking at a 4-5 conference record and will be right back on pace for the conference tournament.