One more important thing before we get to the main attraction: I have just put up a page that keeps track of all the potentially DIII teams decisions as to what route they will be taking. Check it out here.
Truman State University JujiTSU from Kirksville, Missouri is another DIII program that had success at 2011 DIII nationals. They got into quarters, lost to Grinnell, and then beat Georgia College & State to take 5th. When Claremont played them, I remember they had a few really athletic players, but not as much depth as some of the more successful programs. If they can replace their only loss, Dennis Tarasi, and get a bit more depth, this is a team to watch out for. Here is an interview with sophomore captain Tim Fergus:
Notable Roster turnover, young team? Veteran team?
Tim: We lost only one player, 1st team All-Region player and former captain, Dennis Tarasi. Dennis was a huge part of our team, and he will definitely be hard to replace. We will be without sophomore Sean Hellebusch this spring, who is studying abroad.
This year we have a bigger rookie class than we have had in quite some time, in addition to having a very talented sophomore class. However, our upperclassmen will definitely still be making a huge impact on the field for us.
Up and Coming players, guys on your team that are going to be making plays come the season.
Tim: Tom “Tiki” Crockett is sophomore who was thrust into the role of handler this fall and has quickly become a high percentage, possession oriented handler, with the ability to be a dangerous cutter as well (15 goals at D-III nationals last year). Another sophomore, Edwin Jerome Kadlec III, had the opposite experience and was moved to a cutter to utilize his 6’4″ frame. Watch for him to take the under and get the offense flowing. Though not really up and coming, senior Bucket “Patrick” Lansdon will be breaking people often and getting a lot of touches. Grad student, Matt “Swoopy” Soule will run, and then run, and then run some more.
Star Players, who would be your callahan nominee? Who are the big playmakers and leaders?
Tim: If we were to choose a nominee, it would definitely be one of our two captains, senior Alex McClure or sophomore Tim “Fergie” Fergus. Alex brings a huge amount of athleticism to the team and leads our team in d’s at every tournament. He gained some great club experience this summer playing with Sentinel (STL), which has improved his field awareness and game IQ drastically from last season. Last years SC 2nd team FOTY, Fergie spent his summer in Chicago practicing with and learning from Machine and will likely be the main handler for us all season long.
What tournaments are you planning on going to in the spring?
Free State Classic
Who are the big DIII teams and players to look out for, both in your region, and in the entire division?
Tim: Our region is definitely a tough one (3 teams in quarterfinals last year in Buffalo) and we will definitely have to play very well to make it back to the show. We lost to Harding this fall at MLC, and if we play each other later in the season, it’ll definitely be a dog fight. Taren Goins will definitely be a tough player to defend for them. I believe Missouri S&T lost some players, but I expect them to put in the work to be competitive again come April. I do not know what route Air Force or Colorado College are planning to take this season, but if either of them decide to go DIII, regionals will be quite interesting.
Is this your first time competing DIII? If so, what made you change your mind from last year? If not, how did you do last year?
Tim: We competed at the DIII level last year and ended up qualifying for nationals. In Buffalo, we lost to Grinnell in quarters but then beat Georgia College & State to tie for 5th place.