NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A fan who might have taken a casual look at the scoreboard following the annual in-state non-conference NCAA Division III clash between Manchester University and Trine University wouldn’t have gotten the whole story.
While the Thunder claimed their second straight win in the series by a 23-9 count in front of a loud crowd of better than 2,000 at Carl W. Burt Memorial Field, head coach Nate Jensen won’t soon forget his first game on the sidelines with the Spartans.
“We competed the whole game,” he said at a post-game press conference following the season opener. “The difference was pretty much that from last year to this. We had the entire team in the game from beginning to end due to a great group of fans and some good days of practice leading up.
Looking ahead to next week (against Alma College Sept. 10) we need to correct the little things,” he added. “I saw eight penalties tonight, as an example, that are fixable. I’m proud of our team … the guys worked hard and had a great week of practice coming in … we just fell a little short.”
Defensive was the story early on as the two sides combined for just 10 points in the first 30 minutes. After TU marched down the field early in the second half for a field goal to make it 10-3, junior running back Hunter Hardee (Fishers, Ind.), as he has done throughout his MU career, broke loose. Taking the hand-off from sophomore quarterback Tristan Chester (Charlestown, Ind.), he bolted right and made a nifty quick cut left and was off the races 60 yards for a touchdown. Trailing 10-9, the Black and Gold coaching staff dipped into its bag of tricks with a two-point try that narrowly missed and would have the home side a lead.
“We were looking to really change momentum there,” Jensen noted. “(The play) just didn’t get executed.”
The visitors took a page out of their hosts’ playbook to finish out the evening, going often to sophomore running back Lamar Carswell in the final quarter and a half. The move paid dividends, as he racked up 150 yards and scored twice in the last eight minutes.
Other big numbers for the Black and Gold came from sophomore wide receiver Louis Medina (Frankfort, Ind.) and senior tight end Brandon Webb (Fort Wayne, Ind.) who each caught four passes from Chester and the linebacking tandem of senior Nathan Birk (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.). Birk finished with 14 tackles, a fumble recovery and forced fumble, while Kay added 10.
The Spartans continue their pre-conference slate against the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, hosting Alma College Saturday, Sept. 10. Kickoff is 6 p.m.
NOTES: Hardee’s rushing effort of 174 yards on 27 carries marked his 10th 100-yard-plus game of his collegiate career … Trine’s victory moved the all-time series to 9-2 in their favor.
Lambert pleased with Black and Gold opener
Men’s results – http://www.muspartans.com/sports/mxc/2016-17/files/HokumKaremmen2016.pdf
Women’s results – http://www.muspartans.com/sports/wxc/2016-17/files/HokumKaremwomen2016.pdf
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Putting two men’s pairings in the top five and three of the same in the women’s event left Manchester University head coach Geoff Lambert smiling Thursday, Sept. 1.
“It was a great meet with great weather … the way you want to start (a season),” he said. “We’re very happy to be able to kick off the athletics calendar for the year, too.
“We’re still focusing on our identity for both teams and working to get better every day,” he added. “It seems as if we came out of this healthy, and now it’s time to get back to work.”
The Spartans’ men’s senior class picked up where it left off in 2015. Thomas Dean (Bremen, Ind.) and Alex Gudeman (Rochester, Ind.) teamed up for the men’s individual title, finishing nearly five full seconds in front of Trine University’s top pairing. Connor Bresnahan (Portage, Mich.) and Blake Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) were the next in line for MU, taking third.
On the women’s side of the ledger, the freshman duo of Emily Ewen (Wolcott, Ind.) and Hannah Wappes (Columbia City, Ind.) placed second. Senior Mariah Jordan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore Samina Qureshi (Columbia City, Ind.) wound up third, and seniors Tiffany Harber (Columbia City, Ind.) and Ruth Ritchey-Moore (Bryan, Ohio) took fifth.
The Spartans continue the 2016 season Saturday, Sept. 10, competing in the Hanover College Invitational.