The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 6, 2014

Courrier: MSU teams rarely disappoint ... again

When some athletic programs post their schedule, at the end there’s always a list of postseason games, from conference and national tournament dates and locations that seem very optimistic.

At Minnesota State, almost across the board, those national tournament schedules are realistic, almost expected. With many of the Mavericks’ teams, you can make plans for postseason when practice begins.

This season, Minnesota State had 10 teams that made it to national tournament, and the Mavericks ended up 15th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, which is a measure of department-wide athletic success of 290 Division II programs. Only Augustana had a better finish in the Cup standings from Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference universities, though the Mavericks did much better in the more visible sports.

The Mavericks had five programs place in the top 10 of Division II: baseball (third), men’s indoor track & field (fourth), men’s outdoor track & field (eighth), men’s hockey (ninth) and football (ninth). Women’s soccer and men’s basketball both ended up 17th

Minnesota State also had a nation champion when senior Chris Reed won the shot put at the outdoor national championships.

Take in a Minnesota State basketball or hockey game, and the home team usually wins. Football? The Mavericks have won 24 of 26 games over the last two seasons, despite some pretty unusual circumstances.

Men’s basketball has returned to its annual trip to the regional, and men’s hockey is pretty well set up for future success. After three straight top-3 finishes at the national tournament, the baseball team seems the most likely to bring back the next national-championship banner. The softball and soccer teams are the ones to beat in the region every year.

Women’s basketball seemed to have a national-tournament berth locked up til the Mavericks lost in the conference tournament, where everything else fell perfectly against them.

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