Vandal Roundup: Sept. 1, 2009

1 Sep

With this post, Vandal Nation restarts the Vandal Roundup – your one-post home for the best coverage of Idaho Vandals and WAC sports.

Football

Jennifer Schlake previews the Vandals’ season opener at New Mexico State for The Argonaut:

One thing coach Robb Akey wants for the Vandals more than anything Saturday, is to remember the way it felt when they beat New Mexico State last season.

“The last time the two of us got together in a stadium, we won the game and I want that in those kids’ heads,” Akey said. “That should bring a little extra confidence going into the game.”

As part of GoVandals.net‘s gridiron preview, Pat Hauge has an excellent story on the Vandals’ receiving corps:

The wide receiver unit has taken their lumps in recent years, both in the press and on the field. In the last five years Idaho has operated under three different offensive coordinators, and this unit has suffered its share of attrition over the years. But this season, led by senior slot receiver Max Komar and an experienced depth chart, the Vandals are poised to make the passing game a weapon.

Josh Wright previews the Vandals’ season for the Spokane Spokesman-Review:

MOSCOW, Idaho — In five days, Idaho football coach Robb Akey will unveil an on-the-field product that figures to be the most polished since his arrival three years ago. The defense has never been so rangy and athletic. A stocked supply of skill players is starting to come of age. The defensive line finally has more than a smattering of able (and thick) bodies.

Yes, everything points to a much healthier program than the one Akey inherited after Dennis Erickson’s swift departure in 2006. Nevertheless this fact remains: All the anecdotal progress means nothing unless the Vandals start churning out wins.
“I do like the direction we’re going,” athletic director Rob Spear said last week. “… But nobody’s more anxious than me to get the (program) turned.”

Chiming in with a football preview for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News is Sandra Kelly, who focuses on what the coaching change at NMSU might mean for the Vandals’ season opener: (subscription required)

Akey’s Army is ready to focus on New Mexico State. Exactly what that means is a bit of a mystery. The Aggies have a new coach, and former quarterback Chase Holbrook, who ran a pass-happy offense, was a senior last year.

“There’s a league rule in there somewhere that says you have to run it,” (Robb) Akey joked. “They will run it. That will be more like playing against our offense.”

Writing for NMSU’s hometown Las Cruces Sun-News, Teddy Feinberg takes a look at the WAC’s power-packed Week One schedule:

LAS CRUCES — A handful of Western Athletic Conference teams will play in high-profile games this weekend in their college football season openers.

The headliner will be the University of Nevada, which will travel to face Notre Dame in South Bend. The Wolf Pack enter the season as one of the WAC’s stronger teams, and will get to prove it on a nationally-televised stage against one of the country’s most storied programs. The contest will be shown at 1:30 p.m., Saturday on NBC.

Read on for more sports…

Volleyball

Lisa Short reports in The Argonaut on the volleyball squad’s successful season-opening tournament in Southern California:

The volleyball team is returning from the Crowne Plaza Titan Classic Tournament in Fullerton, Calif. with great success.
The team opened its season with two victories over Appalachian State and Lamar University before a loss to Cal State Fullerton.

“It was nice to come out and be focused and strong in our first match,” said coach Debbie Buchanan in a press release after their first match against Appalachian State. “The players kept their composure throughout the entire match and I saw some really promising things.”

The Arg’s Jennifer Schlake has a nice commentary on the new faces of Vandal volleyball who are picking up the torch from a stellar senior class:

Statistically, it looks as if the volleyball team might have some catching up to do to fill the shoes of such great seniors.
But after the weekend of their first competitive play in California, the team proved it wasn’t just the seniors who earned the third finish last season—it was also the players who are still here and the seven new freshmen.

Women’s soccer

The Vandal women’s soccer team grabbed their first win of the season in front of a large home crowd. Ilya Pinchuk of The Argonaut has the details:

A strong defensive effort and a dominating, blitzing offense helped the Vandals defeat the Utah Valley Wolverines by a 3-1 margin on Sunday, the first home game of the season.

After failing to convert on far and few chances in their first two games, the Vandals’ 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 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.”

Men’s and women’s golf

Over on the UI Golf blog, coach Jon Reehorn reports on the beginning of practice for the Vandal duffers:

Today marks the end of the first week of class at the University of Idaho for the 09-10 season. To date we have held three practices, with yesterday being the first time we have played 18 holes as a team. It was a scorcher yesterday as the temperature reached 100 degrees, but Brad Tensen was just as hot as he led the team with a 65.

The golf yesterday served two purposes, one full practice round on the course for our two freshman (Damian Telles, Matt Rawitzer) prior to the beginning of qualifying next week, and two the first head-to-head Potato Cup matches of the season.

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