Tuesday Tidbits return for the fall with a ticket promotion
With the start of the fall sports season, we welcome back Tuesday Tidbits as a regular feature. If you’re new to Eagle Totem, Tuesday Tidbits is basically my chance to clear out all the stuff in my RSS feed that I want to share but that doesn’t merit it’s own post. It’s also where we try to keep tabs on all the “other” sports EMU offers; in the fall this includes women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball, plus occasionally club sports like muggle quidditch (really). Since this is the first Tidbits of the fall, a few of these items are older than usual.
A few weeks ago we got a tip about a forthcoming ticket deal, and now we have the details. Buy your tickets online at emutix.com and enter the promo code “WINCAR”. Tickets will be discounted to $5 each — the same price as group tickets or the voucher 10-pack — and each ticket counts as an entry into a drawing for a new 2011 GMC Terrain. This deal applies to tickets for home football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball games. The giveaway will occur at the February 23 men’s basketball game (apparently there will be a men’s basketball home game on February 23), and unlike past giveaways, this is not a lease; the winner will own the car outright. There is no limit on the number of entries you can purchase, and only purchased tickets count, not free student admissions. Here’s the fine print, such as it is. According to NCAA rules, “[o]nce every two years, the institution shall average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football games”, and this year is EMU’s year to hit that number. Two years ago there was a massive giveaway of tickets, purchased by Pepsi as a condition of their campus vending contract, through public schools. With the expectation that the team will at least be in contention for the MAC West Division championship, actual attendance should be better this year than it’s been in a while, but if things don’t go well early on, keep an eye out for more ticket deals and promotions.
It took about a year longer than expected, but we now know the whereabouts of Devontae Payne. Heading into the 2010 season, he competed with Alex Gillett to be the starting quarterback, and it was so close that Ron English didn’t announce a decision until just days before the season opener. Despite sometimes struggling in the passing game, however, Gillett played almost every offensive down for the year. Payne left the team some time in the week before the final game (if I recall correctly, senior tight end Josh LeDuc was the backup quarterback for that game, which was enough of a fiasco that they could have put me in and it wouldn’t have made a difference). After the game, Ron English acknowledged that Payne was gone, and said he’d have more to say about the situation at a later date.
That later date never came, and for more than a year, fans have been left wondering what happened to Payne and where he ended up. Last year I got a tip that he was at a junior college out west, but I was never able to find any confirmation. Finally, this month he’s turned up. He’s listed as a sophomore on the football roster at the University of Findlay.
EMU golfer Brian Churchill-Smith, a junior from Oakville, Ontario, won the Toronto Star Men’s Amateur tournament this summer. The men’s golf team will begin their season September 15 at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in Zionsville, Indiana, hosted by Indiana University.
Since we just discussed EMU’s current defensive line, it seems appropriate to link to this (weeks old) interview the Tacoma News Tribune did with Jason Jones, who, after four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, has signed a one-year $4.5 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
Just in case you weren’t paying attention this summer, EMU sent two alumni to the Olympics. Eric Alejandro, competing for Puerto Rico in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, made it out of the preliminary round but finished seventh in his semifinal heat — twelfth overall — registering a new personal best time. Alejandro was among the younger semifinalists, so he may be back in four years. At the other end of his professional career, Jamie Nieto made his second Olympic appearance as a high jumper for the US, having finished fourth in 2004. Competing against athletes who were mostly 10 years younger than him, Nieto made the finals but finished a disappointing sixth.
The EMU volleyball team began their season over the weekend, competing in the Memphis Invitational. They swept the competition, defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 3-1, Southern Illinois 3-1, Austin Peay 3-0, and Memphis 3-0. Kristen Baker (43 kills) was named to the All-Tournament team, while Rachel Iaquaniello (55 kills) was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Iaquaniello, who was named to the West Division Preseason All-MAC Team, was also named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week (MACWDOPotW).
The volleyball team continues their season with the home opener tonight at 7 pm at the Convocation Center against the Cleveland State Vikings. The Vikings are 3-0, having won the IPFW Invitational over Kent State 3-0, IPFW 3-0, and Murray State 3-1. This weekend the Eagles will be back on the road for the Illinois-Chicago Tournament, where they’ll face IPFW, Texas-Arlington, and Illinois-Chicago.
The women’s soccer season is underway, with three home games already in the books. The Eagles opened with a 1-2 loss to Pittsburgh, followed up with a 3-3 tie against Oakland University, and Sunday they defeated Butler, 1-0. So far the offensive production has come from sophomores Angela Vultaggio and Bianca Rossi with two goals each, and freshman Sarah Deakin with the goal against Butler. When you mix in redshirt freshan Jenna O’Dell as the goalie, this is a young team that holds a lot of promise for the future. This weekend they’ll travel to San Antonio for a Friday night game at Texas-San Antonio and a Sunday game, also hosted by UTSA, against Lamar.
After eight years as an assistant coach at UTEP, former EMU head football coach Jeff Woodruff is back in charge…of a high school team. In his four years at EMU (2000-2003), Woodruff posted a 9-34 record, and his first season (3-8 overall, 2-5 in the MAC) was his best. In firing Woodruff, then-EMU athletic director David Diles said, “Jeff Woodruff has helped develop our program with quality young men, but the team is not on the competitive level we felt we should be after four years…There is always a point in the rebuilding of a football program that you believe things are moving in a positive direction competitively, and I just don’t have a strong feeling that we are improving.” Woodruff takes over the Oaks Christian High School Lions football team, near Los Angeles.
Fans who listen to EMU football games on the radio will hear a new voice this fall. Matt Shepard will be back for his 12th season, but color commentary this year will be provided by former Detroit Lion Herman Moore.
EMU football picked up another verbal commitment recently, from wide receiver Austin Stone, who chose the Eagles over offers from VMI, Richmond, and Ohio.
EMU has yet to announce the 2012-13 men’s basketball schedule, but bits and pieces of the non-conference portion are dribbling out through other schools. From November 16 through November 18, the Eagles will host the Eastern Michigan Tournament, competing against Eastern Illinois, IPFW, and Texas Pan American. On December 3, EMU will again face Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. They’ll open the new year on January 2, facing Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
In the soccer season preview, we mentioned EMU’s ongoing “construction and facilities upgrades for the 2013 campaign” that limit access to Scicluna Field. At least a part of that is the construction of a new campus tennis center, the Claudia Wasik Tennis Complex. Wasik was the lead donor in the project, with a supporting gift from Lucy Parker. Both played tennis at EMU in the 1960s, subsequently coached at EMU, and fondly recalled EMU’s on-campus courts, which were demolished to create parking lots. Wasik was a two-time MAC Coach of the Year, while Parker went on to become EMU’s associate athletic director for women’s athletics from 1977 until 1991. The tennis team currently plays their home matches at the Chippewa Club, and will continue to use the club when the weather is bad, but the new courts are expected to be open for the team’s fall practices.