The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 8, 2012

Courrier column: It is indeed a great time to be a Mavericks

Any time you exchange a text message, leave a voicemail or receive an email from someone in the athletic department at Minnesota State, you’re sure to get some form of the reply, “It’s great to be a Maverick.”

A corny sentiment for sure, but there are also times when it’s true.

These are such times.

On Saturday, the Minnesota State football team will try to complete its first undefeated season by taking down the scrappy Peacocks of Upper Iowa.

It’s almost certain that the Mavericks have already done enough to qualify for the Super Region 3 tournament and maybe secure a home game, but a victory could give Minnesota State the No. 1 seed and the Blakeslee Stadium advantage for as many regional games as they play.

The women’s soccer team has already gained homefield advantage for its first national-tournament match, which will be at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Mavericks, who were rated No. 1 in Division II for two weeks this season, haven’t lost at home in the last 24 matches.

The volleyball team has been ranked in the top 25 in Division II all season, climbing as high as No. 10 for two weeks, and the squad finishes the regular season this weekend. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament will be held next weekend as the Mavericks make a push to get into the national tournament.

The men’s cross country team earned a berth in the national tournament for the first time since 2008, while the women’s cross country team moved up six places from last season’s regional meet, though missing out on a trip to the national event.

The men’s and women’s hockey teams are off to good starts, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the wrestlers should all be pretty good.

Over the last half-decade, the Mavericks have become a regional threat in just about every sport. The women’s basketball team won the national championship in 2009, and the men’s basketball team made it to the national semifinals in 2011. The baseball team placed third at the Division II World Series last spring, and the wrestling program has had five top-5 finishes at the national tournament in the last eight seasons.

It seems like deep runs into the national tournament are possible for a few teams this season, and things are going pretty well already this fall.

“It’s great to be a Maverick” isn’t just a corny response on campus right now. There’s something to it.

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, email ccourrier@mankatofreepress.com, = or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.

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