Archive | August, 2009

Idaho women’s tennis releases 2009-10 schedule

31 Aug

The Idaho Vandals women’s tennis team will take on teams from across the nation in a grueling three-tournament, 22-match 2009-10 season.

On tap for Idaho, in a schedule released today, are non-conference matches against Georgetown, Washington State, Temple and Gonzaga, to name a few, along with a full Western Athletic Conference slate.

“I am excited about the schedule for this season,” women’s tennis coach Tyler Neill said. “We have a lot of matches that give us a chance to prove ourselves.  We have returned all of our starters from last year and this is our year to really come together and have our best results yet.”

Nine matches — including two of the team’s three tournaments — will be played within a short drive of Moscow.

A complete schedule can be found below the fold.

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ESPN: “Idaho aims high in 2009″

31 Aug

Graham Watson of ESPN.com previews the 2009 Vandal football season and finds that coach Robb Akey is thinking bowling for his squad, which went 2-10 last year.

When Idaho opened camp earlier this month, coach Robb Akey and his staff treated the Vandals to steaks to celebrate the start of a new year.

But as the players looked for plates for their steaks, all they found were bowls.

“It’s a little thing, but I want bowls in their heads,” Akey said. “And make that be a goal.”

Since Akey arrived in 2007, the Vandals have posted a 3-21 record and they’ve won one conference game. Idaho hasn’t had a winning season since 1999 and hasn’t been to a bowl since 1998.

But Akey has confidence in this year’s squad. For the first time since he arrived, he feels like his players are strong enough and fast enough to compete with the other teams in the WAC. He now also has an experienced team that knows what he and his staff expect.

“I think realistically this is where you’re going to be when you’re looking at building a program,” Akey said. “It takes a period of time, especially in football with the numbers that are involved, and you take into consideration when we first came in here there were some issues.”

A good read, if a little too quick to buy into Akey’s optimistic outlook. I think four wins would be cause for celebration — there are no gimme games on the Vandals’ 2009 schedule. While all four out-of-conference games are winnable, the roadtrip to Seattle could make or break the year. With a very winnable matchup against New Mexico State to open the season, Idaho will next face the 0-12 Washington Huskies – who will be out for blood after a near-certain blowout loss to LSU.

If the Vandals can fight off UW and open the season 2-0, things will be looking very bright indeed for Akey’s Army.

Read the rest of the ESPN article here.

Vandal soccer dominates Utah Valley, 3-1, in home opener

30 Aug
Courtesy UI Athletics

Courtesy UI Athletics

A strong defensive effort and a dominating, blitzing offense helped the Idaho Vandals defeat the Utah Valley Wolverines by a 3-1 margin today, in the first home game for the Vandals this season.

After failing to convert on their few scoring chances in their first two games, the Vandals’ (1-2) offensive prowess was on full display with crisp, clean passes and strong shots. The Vandals fired off 23 shots, while yet another strong defensive effort from their back line held the Wolverines (0-3) to only 12.

“We played with a lot of composure and speed,” coach Peter Showler said. “We wanted to take what we learned from the first two games and build on it.”

And build they did. Unlike previous games, the Vandals came out ready to play from the start. From the drop of the ball, the Vandal offense put the pressure on the Wolverines, repeatedly driving deep into the Wolverines’ zone and picking their defense apart with phenomenal passing plays.

Idaho’s effort was rewarded early when junior Jennifer Hull dove into the zone and fired a shot wide. Instead of giving up on the play, Ashley Perez beat out her defender for the rebound and fired a shot past Wolverines goaltender Tasha Bell to give the Vandals the early lead.

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Split decision: Vandal volleyball beats Lamar, falls to CSU Fullerton

29 Aug

The Idaho Vandals volleyball squad finished off their season-opening visit to Southern California with a 1-1 split of the day’s matches, bringing the team to 2-1 on the year.

In the early matchup, the Vandals dominated Lamar for their second consecutive straight-sets victory, 25-20, 25-15, 25-13.

In the nightcap tournament title game against tournament host Cal State Fullerton, Idaho fought hard and took the Titans to five sets, but were unable to stretch their win streak.

Kelsey Taylor and Anna McKinney were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Vandal spikers slam Appalachian State

28 Aug

The Idaho Vandals volleyball squad got the season off to a great start today, slamming the Appalachian State Mountaineers in straight sets to open the Crowne Plaza Titan Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

Idaho (1-0) never lost control of the match, opening up a bigger margin of victory with each passing game – 25-20, 25-19 and 25-16.

It’s Vandal Spirit Friday!

28 Aug

Remember, today and every Friday is Vandal Spirit Friday – show off your Idaho Vandals gear on campus, off campus or wherever you are, and show your Vandal pride.

President Duane Nellis will be hosting a kickoff celebration at the Bookstore beginning at 4 p.m. – select Vandal gear will be 20% off!

Akey’s Army: A Video Tribute

27 Aug

Football season is just a week away, and to whet your appetite for what should be a much-improved 2009 Idaho Vandals season, we’ve got an awesome YouTube highlight video from 2008 (yes, the Vandals had highlights in 2008!)

Credit to VandalsInternational over on GoVandals.net for putting it together!

ESPN: “Expect to see a more competitive Idaho team”

27 Aug

In a rare bit of national props for Robb Akey’s Vandal football rebuilding project, ESPN.com writer Graham Watson has tagged the Idaho Vandals as a program that should show improvement from last year.

Five things to watch in the WAC
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

3. Bringing up the rear: New Mexico State, Utah State and Idaho have been at the bottom of the league for as long as most people can remember, but that might change this year with new coaches and some better players. Expect to see more competitive Utah State and Idaho teams. New Mexico State might need a couple more years.

The Vandals kick off the season next Saturday with an eminently winnable game against those equally-woeful New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces. The results of that game should tell Vandal fans – and WAC watchers – if Akey’s Army has truly made significant strides toward respectability.

On the Record with Don Verlin: “We want to win this league”

26 Aug
Courtesy UI Athletics

Courtesy UI Athletics

Hard to believe, but Idaho Vandals hoops will kick off in just over two months. We sat down with men’s coach Don Verlin to talk summer workouts, scheduling and his goals for the season ahead.

Vandal Nation: Talk about the Vandals’ progress over the summer.

Don Verlin: I evaluate the summer based on how we did in the weight room and how we did in the classroom.

Our guys did a great job in the classroom, they passed all of their summer classes and are moving toward graduation. We have no eligibility problems and everyone made academic progress.

Now, we also made tremendous strides in the weight room, Nate Barry, our new weight coach, he did most of the work. I thought one of our weaknesses last year was our physical strength and quickness, and I thought we improved tremendously there. That’s why we like bringing in new guys over the summer, like Joe Kammerer and Shawn Henderson, so they can learn how to lift weights properly, and not get hurt.

Our guys and Washington State had open gym together as well, just 5-on-5 pickup games. That gave the guys a chance to play together and play hard against good competition.

Contrary to what one might expect from a pair of hotshot point guards, Steffan Johnson and Mac Hopson seem to have a real good rapport on the court. Was that something you worked on building during Steffan’s redshirt year?

No, that was more up to them – they both have great mutual respect for each other’s game. They know that for our team to reach our potential, there’s going to be, a lot of times, I think, they have to be on the court together. They will be on the floor a lot together this year. As a coach, it’s a great luxury to have them. Both of them can play the point, both can play the off, either way. I’m going to rely heavily on Mac, Steffan and all our seniors to be team leaders this year. How well we do is going to depend on how much responsibility they take for the team.

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