By Trevor McClain
tmcclain@my.madonna.edu

The Madonna University men’s basketball team secured its first-ever appearance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament with a 72-58 victory over Davenport University.

The team was also making its first appearance in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship game.

“It is a special moment to know that we have qualified for the NAIA National Tournament,” said Noel Emenhiser, Madonna basketball head coach. “All of our sports at Madonna have a great tradition and national standing and we are glad to elevate the men’s basketball team closer to that level.”

Emenhiser, in his fourth season as head coach of the Crusaders, starting his coaching career with a 7-win season and has improved his team each year since.

“The team and program has come a long way since my first year as coach,” said Emenhiser. “I have learned a tremendous amount from all the mistakes that I have made and our players have worked to improve day in and day out.”

The Crusaders progressed well through the 2012-13 season, posting a 17-5 record in conference play and going undefeated in the conference tournament. MU took the opening quarterfinal game with a 70-59 victory over the University of Northwestern Ohio, followed by a 56-50 win over Lourdes in the semifinal.

MU was led by junior guard Travis Schuba with 22 points in the championship game against Davenport. Schuba was followed by juniors Derek Lennen, Bobby Naubert, and Fred Williams with nine points each.

“I really couldn’t believe that we did it,” said Schuba, about the final few seconds of the game. “So many things were running through my head at once, I couldn’t even control my dribbling.”

MU will have to celebrate quickly as the NAIA National Tournament will run March 6-13 in Point Lookout, Mo. Madonna will enter the tournament as the No. 14 seed and face Southern Oregon in the opening round of 32 teams.

“We need to avoid the distractions and stay focused on our goal ahead,” said Naubert. “We know that we want to accomplish more this season, but we cannot rely on past performance and we just need to continue to play as a team.”

Following the NAIA National Tournament, MU will bid goodbye to its lone senior Eoghann Stephens.

“Eoghann has been an incredible leader for the team all season. He is extremely unselfish and cares only about the success of the team and his teammates,” said Emenhiser.

Madonna’s game against Southern Oregon is scheduled for Wednesday March 6 at 5 p.m. (EST) at Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.

Women lose in WHAC Tourney

On the women’s side of the basketballball, the Madonna University women’s team saw its season come to a close with a 94-75 loss to No. 6 Davenport University in the WHAC Women’s Basketball Tournament semi-finals.  The team saw its season come to a close with a record of 20-11.

The MU women’s team will graduate five seniors, Shantelle Herring, Michelle Lindsey, Kaylee McGrath, Kristie Porada and Heather Pratt.

MU had seven players also recognized by the WHAC this season, McGrath was an All-WHAC first team selection, Herring and sophomore Rachel Melcher was named to the All-WHAC honorable mention team. Six players were honored to the Academic All-WHAC team – Herring, McGrath, Melcher, Porada and Pratt. Sophomore Yazmeen Hamid wrapped up the awards being named to the WHAC’s Champions of Character team.

To follow the men’s basketball team as they progress through the national tournament log onto madonnacrusaders.com for links to live stats, audio and video as well as post game stories and statistics.

 

Sports

Madonna men make 1st national basketball tournament

Stephens sets record for blocked shots during his senior season

By Miles Macdonald

Mmacdonald@my.madonna.edu

Eoghann Stephens recently celebrated his collegiate athletic career on senior day
when the Madonna University Crusaders played the Wolves of University of Michigan-Dearborn. Before the game, Stephens was introduced and brought to center court where he was met by his coaches, including men’s head coach Noel Emenhiser. At center court, Stephens was given a framed edition of his jersey.

Stephens is from Liss, England and before Madonna, he attended Albion High School and for two years, Jackson Community College. At Albion, Stephens played both basketball and soccer and led the basketball team to district and conference championships. As a senior at Albion, Stephens averaged eight points, eight rebounds, and about 2.5 blocks per game. Stephens was named defensive player of the year in basketball and most valuable player during his junior year.

At Jackson Community College, Stephens led the team in blocks and as a sophomore, tied the record for blocks per game with 2.6

During the game against UMD, Stephens scored nine points, captured six rebounds—three offensive and three defensive—and he also had five blocks.

After this game, the Crusaders still had another game to play in the regular season, at Aquinas. After the game against the Saints, the Crusaders would begin their postseason, which included the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) championship tournament and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championship tournament if they qualify.

During their game against the Saints of Aquinas, the Crusaders won 76-67. In this game, Stephens scored four points, and earned one assist, one block and one steal. For the Crusaders, winning this game secured a No. 2 seed in the WHAC tournament and the highest league finish in school history.

Throughout this season, Stephens eclipsed some milestones. For example, during a game against Concordia, Stephens tied the single-game record for blocks, seven, previously held by Geoff Gaylor. During a Jan. 29 game, a loss to Northwestern Ohio, Stephens broke the record for blocks in a single season when he rejected his 73rd shot of the season. Again, he broke the record of Geoff Gaylor. Stephens would make two more blocks that game.  Stephens ended the season with a total of 91 blocks.

Without practice, Stephens would not be able to set these records and etch his name into the Madonna record books. During practice, the team starts by stretching, then gets into positional groups and practice in their group. Next, they practice running plays and get a refresher on the fundamentals. Finally, the team runs game scenarios, such as, practicing as if, there’s only two minutes left in the game.

“It was sad to know that my career is coming to end, but at the same time, it feels good and nice to know that everyone is there to support me and the team,” said Stephens, the sole senior on the team, expressing his emotion about senior day.

Academically, Stephens is majoring in social studies and minoring in education.

“Eoghann is one of the hardest working guys on our team and such a great leader, on and off the court,” said fellow teammate Zach Wedesky, a junior studying business administration. “Most people see Eoghann as a quiet guy, but on the court, he makes sure everyone knows what they’re doing in every situation”

Stephens finished the regular season with 208 points, 27 steals, 24 assists, 178 rebounds and a field goal percentage of 59.7 percent. The Crusaders ended their regular season with a record of 22-8 and a conference record of 17-5.