Monday Musings - The Post Mizzou Christmas Edition

Well folks, sorry for the lateness here, but I have been off of the grid pretty much since Thursday afternoon for my annual pilgramage back to Columbia for Mizzou Christmas.  Add to that my folks who returned to St. Louis with us yesterday and here you have the lateness for which I have apologized.

Anyway, as The Boy alluded to, not the best weekend for Mizzou sports, though the beginning of the week was not so terrible.  I'll give them all the patented once-over you have come to expect.  However, since we are a little behind the 8-ball for time, I probably wont go too far in depth.  So sue me, I am still basking in the afterglow of Christmas.

Football:

Once again the Podcast has robbed me of most of the thoughts I would typically write here.  I thought the offense did a nice job of taking what the CU defense was giving it.  Props to D. Wash for getting back to a workman-like performance carrying the ball and nice to see the excitement Devion Moore can bring with just a few touches.  Will be interesting to see what those two morph into next season, as they along with four starters returning on the line turn very much into the strength of the offense.  As for the defense...a spirited effort to be sure.  I will be very curious to see the stats breakdown for the front seven, though Hood and Chavis were not called barely at all.  Nice to see Sulak return.  For the record, I was fine with the 1st string defense coming back into the game to preserve the shutout, but not as fine with Chase going back in there in the 4th to (I assume) try to break the TD passing record with his 6th.  It is what it is.

Moving on to the next game, good tackling is my key against Baylor.  With Griffith running around like he just got out of an outdoor hot tub in the winter, Mizzou will need to WRAP him up each time they get the chance.  And let's face it, that has not been a strength of this unit at time this season.  But hopefully the mantra for this week will be 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and the team will just about their business.  Senior Day is looming large and a pre-game ceremony unlike I will probably ever experience.  Maybe THAT will be what brings Spoon back next season...seeing the love :-)

Soccer:

Quickly on the week for soccer (since I want to look at the standings of the Big XII), Mizzou won on Friday night at home against Baylor 2-0.  The most interesting thing about that game was that Tasha Dittamore recorded the shutout without recording a save.  Baylor took one shot, it was not on goal.  Goals by Candace Ruff (with another assist from Ashley Hamblin) early and Meghan Pfeiffer late paced the Tigers.  On Sunday in a HUGE matchup against UT, we had the aforementioned 1-0 lead before blowing it and falling 2-1.  Had we won, we would have controlled our own fate to win the Big XII Championship....

....which brings us to the conference standings.  Top 8 make the playoffs, so we are very much there already.  However, we can finish anywhere between 2nd and 6th.  We face kU (4-4-1 in conference and in the playoffs in either 6th or 7th) on Friday for BORDER SKIRMISH POINTS to close the season.  Some teams are already done.  aTm is in first with 22 points (3 for a win), but is done.  Okie State and CU are at 20 points each, but CU is done.  Okie State takes on a weak OU team.  Texas is behind us with 17 points and with one game left against a weak Baylor.  NU is at 15 points and takes on a weak ISU team, and also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.  If FORM holds, we should end up with 21 points and a 3rd place finish, which would give us a likely rematch against NU (who we lost to in OT on the road) before a 2nd round match with probably Okie State...who we lost to in OT on the road).

Volleyball:

Good start to the week as Mizzou took on a decent CU team at home and showed them the door in 3 sets.  For a sweep where only one of the sets was close, we did not hit tremendously well, but...oh well.  As for this past weekend, we hit even worse in our game against Iowa State and were shown the door in the same three sets.  Mizzou hit terribly for the match, and allowed two Cyclones to reach double figures in kills on over .310 hittng each. 

The team now sits back at 10-11 overall, and 4-7 in conference.  There is no post-season tournament in the Big XII, and the team is currently 8th (of 11).  This will there are BORDER SKIRMISH POINTS on the line in the middle of the week against 3-8 kU before we travel home to take on an 0-12 Tech squad.  The Cyclone game really was important for being able to build a winning streak as we follow Tech at home with OU at home.  Here's hoping the team can still get a little hot and at least finish above the .500 mark

Men's Golf:

I guess it is entirely possible the men's golf team just spent the entire week in the state of Tennessee, as they participated in two tournaments within the week with mixed results.  They began the week at the Austin Peay tournament, and took 2nd place (behind the host school), falling by nine shots.  Senior Peter Malnati continued his torrid play with a 2nd place finish, and William Harrold got into the mix with a 3rd place finish.  Ryne Fisher and Will Hogan each carded top-20 finishes for the week against a mid-major field.

This past weekend, the men completed their fall schedule right back in Tenn at the Bank of Tennessee-East Tennessee Intercollegiate (perhaps the most e's and s's in a title ever) and finished 7th against more of a major program field.  Senior Ryne Fisher took up the reigns for Malnati (who finished outside the top 5 for perhaps the first time all fall back in 18th) by carding a 6th place finish.  The sophomores of Hogan and Harrold finished 53rd and 57th respectively and freshman Chris Johnson brought up the rear in 62nd spot.

The next action for the team will come March 6th down at the University of South Florida.

Men's Swimming:

A very positive weekend for the #21 rated Men's Swimming team, as they took down the #18 ranked Aggies....no....sorry....pretty much DESTROYED the #18 Aggies 143.5-90.5.  The men then went on to finish 2nd in the Big XII Relays, winning some events against national power UT.  Freshmen Jan Konarzewski has been impressive already this season, winning in both relay and individual formats already this year.  Other youngsters winning events were sophomores Cameron Sellers, Spencer Lauver and Jordan Hawley, while senior Gilad Kaufman took another win for the Tigers.  In the diving well, junior Greg DeStephen and sophomore Dante Jones both dove well all weekend. 

I would tell you more about the Relays, but it is a strange and unique format.  Just know that Konarzewski was a part of one of the winning relay teams while the men also won in some of the breast stroke competitions...yeah...will leave that one alone.

Anyway, next up for the men will be a little layoff before their next dual at SIU-E in two weeks.

Women's Swimming:

A tougher weekend for the ladies, as they fell to #9  (and defending conference champion) aTm earlier in the weekend 134-104 before tying for 3rd in the Big XII Relays (behind UT and aTm and with kU).  The lone winner for the Tigers against aTm was sophomore Francie Szostak in the 500 free.  However, with their only losing by 30 points, it would appear the Tigers took a number of 2nd and 3rd place finishes.  Freshman Jordan Morcom took double gold in the diving well in her first ever meet in the 1-meter and 3-meter.

As for the relays, with such strength at the top, the Tigers were only able to muster one 2nd place finish on the day (with the team of seniors Jill Granger and Carly Sullivan with junior Colleen Gordon) in the 1500 free.  The Tigers did have six other top-3 finishes.

The ladies will return home to take on kU for BORDER SKIRMISH POINTS this coming weekend.

Baseball:

The squad is two games into the Fall World series, and I am basically going to pass the buck here to sometimes-contributor trripleplay and tell you to read his stuff here care of Tigerboard and here, though I guess not for much longer.  The only thing I can say from this is that our starting pitching played well in the first game and our bullpen has yet to play particularly well.

Random Thoughts:

  • Carl Edwards with another win yesterday, but did not probably make up nearly enough ground.  Just shows that two bad showings and Johnson's ability to go from 30th to 2nd may be what keeps him from a title...this year.
  • The J-E-T-S.....ugh.  You kind of need to beat a 3rd string QB and 2nd string RB of KC at home by more than a few points.
  • Was really hoping for at least a game 6 of the World Series...does not look like we will get one.
  • Penn State cleared their last major hurdle with what had to be an ugly win over Ohio State.  One last road game at Iowa, followed by home dates against Indiana and Michigan State.  I would have never guessed they might feel good about missing perenial door mats Minnesota and Northwestern.
  • Rough finish to the week for New Jersey and Broduer, as they lost back to back games to a crappy Philly team.  Nice to see Zach Parise scoring well out of the gate.  They will need a further upgrade of his offense to help this season.
  • Interesting debut for Mike Singletary...will be interesting to see if this style works or not.
  • And for my one reader out there, the glass is broken at a Jewish wedding to symbolize and remember the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
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