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Tuesday Tidbits: CMU Week

September 14, 2010

There’s been a lot of activity in EMU athletics this week, so we’ll start off with the positive news and a giveaway.

Tailgate Tuesday is today! Speed Bump cartoonist and EMU alumnus David Coverly will be at the Student Center from noon to 1 pm today giving away and signing 850 t-shirts featuring his “Chips Are Down” cartoon (right). Cheerleaders, the dance team, and football players will also be there, and there will be free food.

I don’t find it at all surprising that EMU’s sophomore punter Jay Karutz won the Week 2 “Hustle Belt” Belt for Special Teams.

According to EMU:

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Karutz racked up four punts for 198 yards for a 49.5 yard average against the RedHawks with three of the four inside the 20-yard line, including two that were downed inside the one-yard line. His fourth punt was a 56-yard effort that went out of bounds. That 49.5 yard average is a school record, shattering the previous single-game mark of 49.0 set by Jerry Wedge versus Eastern Illinois University, Oct. 27, 1956.

That’s right, he broke a school record that stood for 54 years.

Oh, and Karutz was also named the MAC West Division Special Teams Player of the Week (MACWDSTPotW). And he was an honorable mention choice as the national Division I punter of the week.

In other news of awesomeness, the EMU volleyball team continues to dominate their competition. With a three set sweep over Oakland University last Tuesday, the volleyball team improved to 8-0, their second best start in school history. Only the 1990 squad, which started 20-0, was better.

At the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing, the Eagles swept Eastern Illinois in three sets, then lost their first game of the season, falling 3-1 to Clemson, before rallying to defeat Michigan State 3-2 and take the tournament title. EMU’s last volleyball win over the Spartans came in 1992, when most of the current athletes were still in diapers. For their efforts, sophomore Rachel Iaquaniello and junior Haley Stein were named the MAC West Division Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, and Iaquaniello was named tournament MVP, while Stein and Ashley Mason made the All-Tournament Team.

This weekend, the volleyball team will head to their fourth and final regular season tournament, the Davidson Invitational in North Carolina, where they will face Davidson, Boise State, and High Point.

I guess this is not strictly athletics news, but the members of the EMU Marching Band, “The Pride of the Penninsula”, were selected to play the “Hawaii Five-O”  theme for regional promotions of the new show. The ad is airing on CBS now through late September, and of course, you can also find it on YouTube.

Kickoff for the EMU game at Ohio State has been set for 3:30 p.m. No one thinks EMU has any chance in this game, but it will be a “win” for the Eagles not to totally embarrass themselves in this one. It’s also an informal Big (11) Ten-MAC Challenge, with 8 games pitting a MAC team against a Big (11) Ten foe. But the other seven MAC teams are relegated to the Big Ten Network, and the like, while the EMU game will be on ABC. So if the Eagles do embarrass themselves, everyone will see it.

The EMU women’s soccer team dropped their home opener Tuesday to Detroit-Mercy, falling 1-0 in the 95th minute. On Friday, they eked out a 3-2 win at Valparaiso with a goal in the 103rd minute, and on Sunday they fell 3-1 at Northwestern. The team is now 3-3-1 on the season, having gone 1-3 in their last four games. Ignoring the own goal early on against Northwestern, which is embarrassing but does happen from time to time, the most concerning thing is the Eagles’ continued lack of offense; they were outshot 64 to 18 in those three losing games. This week, the women’s soccer team heads to Reno, Nevada, for the Wolfpack Invitational, where they will face San Jose State on Thursday and Nevada on Saturday.

There were some odd goings-on this week with the women’s basketball team.

First, LaTonya Tate was promoted from assistant coach to associate coach. This will be Tate’s fourth season at EMU; prior to coming to Ypsilanti she was at Detroit Mercy, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Syracuse, and Kansas State.

Then, EMU announced that  Anthony Smith, the head girls basketball coach at Bolingbrook High School in Illinois for the past nine years, and a former EMU football player (defensive back, 1996-98), had been hired as an assistant coach, with responsibility for scouting, recruiting and coaching post players. Smith has been Illinois’ most successful girls basketball coach since he started in 2001. His teams have piled up a 247-26 record, reached the state semifinals each of the past six years, finishing as runners-up in 2007 and 2008, and as state champions in 2006, 2009, and 2010.

However, the Chicago Tribune reported that Smith might not be coming to EMU after all.

Smith declined comment Friday and multiple times this week when asked about his departure from Bolingbrook. He indicated Friday that he was not ready for Eastern Michigan to make the announcement and that he may still be weighing his options.

Since then, EMU appears to have pulled the announcement of his hiring off its web site, and there’s not been any further press coverage.

EMU’s men’s cross country team, which won four consecutive MAC championships before falling just short in 2009, has started off the season with a bang. The Eagles, who were picked to win the MAC in the preseason coaches poll, took five of the top fifteen spots at their first race of the season, including #9 (freshman Cody Chabola), #5 (junior Andrew Pfeiffer), and Titan Invitational race winner James Hughes, a sophomore from Manchester, Michigan. Next up, the team travels to London, Ontario, for the Western Ontario Invite on September 25.

EMU women’s golf started their season this weekend with the Wolverine Invitational, where the Eagles finished 14th out of 17 teams. The top individuals for the Eagles were redshirt freshman Alyssa Kwon, who finished 27th, and senior Darby Peters, who finished 32nd. The next women’s golf competition is the Mary Fossum Invitational in East Lansing, September 25-26.

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