A year of greatness for Norse sports programs

It’s nearly finals week and the end of the semester ‘- the end of my first year as a sports editor here at The Northerner ‘- is just around the corner.

But of course that’s problem not particularly ‘news’ to any of you. Well, except for the part about it being my first semester as a sports editor perhaps.

And now I’m sitting in the newsroom, slumped in front of a computer with an empty Word document staring back at me, and recalling all the exciting NKU sports news we’ve had to write about this year.

Turns out ‘- there really has been quite a bit of athletic buzz to write about this year.

All the recent NKU sport successes, including baseball, softball, golf, and tennis,, were preceded with a year of achievements from the other programs.

The athletics program got a running start ‘- literally ‘- with an impressive season from the Cross Country teams. The men (92-29) finished as runner-ups in the GLVC tournament and concluded their season with a seventh place finish in the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament. Meanwhile, their women counterparts’ (56-62) finished third in the conference championships and 13th in the NCAA Midwest Regional.

The Norse volleyball team, joined by former standout player and current assistant coach Liz Holmes, served up a 28-8 overall record (16-2 GLVC) and made its way all the way to the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament. The team won a convincing 3-0 battle against Lewis University Nov. 21 but lost 3-2 to Saginaw Valley the ensuing night.

Before bidding farewell to their Cinderella story, the men’s soccer team collected their third consecutive NCAA Midwest Regional Championship and made an appearance in the semifinal round of the tournament after advancing on penalty kicks in a 4-3 thriller against Lewis in the quarterfinal round.

After a 16-4 (9-2 GLVC) season, the women’s soccer team also earned a NCAA Midwest Regional tournament berth but fell to Wisconsin-Parkside 1-0 after downing Rockhurst by an identical margin in the first round game.

Then came basketball season and of course the debut of the university’s built-for-a-king, or queen, basketball palace, the Bank of Kentucky Center.

Both, the men and women’s, basketball programs tabbed a GLVC championships, while the then-defending national champion women’s hoops squad earned the top seed in the NCAA Midwest region and brought some of the March Madness home to officially top a great first season in BOKC.

The women, who stared the season with 16 straight wins and only dropped three contests all season, finishing the season with a 29-3 overall mark (16-2 GLVC), didn’t see a repeat national title. They did, however, help Head Coach Nancy Winstel tab her 600th career win with a 75-31 triumph over UM-St. Louis on Jan. 10.

Men’s head coach Dave Bezold realized a career milestone of his own, collecting his 100th career win when the Norse defeated Bellarmine 69-47 in the GLVC championship game March 8.

It’s been quite the year for NKU sports indeed. Only time will tell how 2009-10 will treat the Norse fans.