Friday, October 9, 2015

Preview: UTRGV Men's Soccer Hosts Utah Valley Wolverines (October 9, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Fresh off of a season defining 1-0 defeat of the UNLV Rebes, a team that has been Top 25 votes, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Men's Soccer program will face another major test on Friday when the host the #23 Utah Valley Wolverines on Friday from the UTRGV Soccer and Track an Field Complex.

The Vaqueros (4-5-1, 1-1 in WAC) are in the midst of their first season since reestablishing a program that was closed following the 1997 season. That long hideous doesn't seem to have hurt them very much, however, as head coach Paul Leese's squad has been extremely competitive in their season of WAC play.

UTRGV is lead by a two headed offensive monster of Isidro Martinez and Carlos Acevedo. Martinez is tied for the team lead in goals at two, while leading the team with three assists. Acevedo is also tied for the team lead with two goals and is tied for second in assists with two.

Defensively, everything the Vaqueros do runs through 6'2" junior goal keeper Leo Castillo, who has been nothing short of remarkable while allowing just 1.29 goals per contest.

The Wolverines (9-2-0, 2-0 in WAC) have a very balanced the effective attack, lead by Karson Payton and Austin Buxton with four goals each. UVU also has three additional player with multiple goals on the season, Aaron Meyer, Skyler Miline, and Paul Hoffmeister, who each have three. From a ball distribution standpoint Meyer is the team lead by a wide margin with six assists.

Friday's matchup with be the 1st between UTRGV and UVU, and is also the first time the program will host a Top 25 opponent. In their prior existence as the UTPA Broncs, the Men's Soccer program did play a ranked program twice, losing to SMU twice in 1987 and 1997.

You can check the live stats here, or join myself and the Voice of the Vaqueros, Jonah Goldberg, on the live broadcast by following the link here.

Make sure to check back after for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Preview: UTRGV Vacqueros Volleyball vs. Chicago State Cougars (October 3, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to build upon their momentum from the positive momentum they developed in their last match, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Volleyball program will look to snap a two game losing skid when they host The Chicago State Cougars on Saturday from the UTRGV Fieldhouse.

The Vaqueros (7-9, 0-2 in WAC) have already matched their win total from last season despite returning only three starters, and introducing and entirely new scheme under first year coach Todd Lowery.

UTRGV is lead by veteran outside hitter Bojana Mitrovic who averages 3.9 kills, 2.5 Digs, and .55 blocks per set, placing her among the top three in all three categories. They also benefit from a serious inside presence with senior middle blocker Haley Durahm who averages nearly a block per set, while contributing 1.5 kills on average.

Durham continues her assent on the program record books in 2015. She is poised potential break the program record for block assists, sitting just four behind Danielle Holthe at the top. Durham is also just eight total blocks away from third all-time total block at 310. Both records could be within her reach with a strong performance on Saturday.

The Cougars (1-15, 0-3 in WAC) are paced by German native Merian Oberschule who lead the team in both kills at 2.96 per set and service aces at .27 per set. Defensively, Chicago State is captained by a quality libero transfer student Shontanae Addison who is averaging 3.28 digs per set from the back line.

Fan will want to keep an eye on the new look defense for UTRGV, which featured converted outside hitter Kasey Sanchez at the libero position, a move which had an immediate effect on the UTRGV attach with her added size.

Saturday's matchup with be the 19th between UTRGV and Chicago State, with the Vaqueros holding a dominate 17-1 lead in the series.

You can check the live stats here, or join myself and the Voice of the Vaqueros, Jonah Goldberg, on the live broadcast by following the link here.

Make sure to check back after for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Preview: UTRGV Women's Soccer vs. Grand Canyon (October 2, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to snap a three game losing skid, and open their Western Athletic Conference home schedule in favorable fashion, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Women's Soccer will play host to The Grand Canyon University Antelopes at 7:00 pm. from the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

The Vaqueros (2-5-3, 0-1 in WAC) have struggled to find their offense in 2015, averaging just 1.2 goals per contest. The defense on the other hand has been surprisingly good, allowing just 1.4 goals per game. They will look to foster that same level of defensive efficiency as they welcome one of the most potent WAC offenses in GCU.

Look for UTRGV to rely heavily upon their stellar pair of goal keepers, especially Maria Eriksen who is allowing just .5 goals per match on the year. Offensively UTRGV will look to keep the ball near the feet of their two leading scorers Elisa Espino and Andreya Barrera who have two goals each.

The Antelopes, (3-5-2, 0-1 in WAC) are in a similar predicament, themselves allowing 1.8 goals per match in contrast to their respectable 1.5 goals per game average.

GCU is lead offensively by sophomore forward Milla Benedetti, who paces the team with four goals and two assists for 10 total points, and Kathryn Yancone who lead the team with three assists on the year.

The Antelopes are coached by former Canadian National Team member Stevie Gill, who is a member of the GCU Hall of Fame after leading the 1996 Men's Antelopes Squad to the NCAA Division II National Championship.

Friday's matchup will be the second all-time between the Vaqueros and Antelopes with GCU hold a 1-0 advantage following a 4-1 victory in their inaugural match last season.

You can check the live stats here, or join myself and the Voice of the Vaqueros, Jonah Goldberg, on the live broadcast by following the link here.

Make sure to check back after for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

UTRGV Volleyball Drops WAC Home Opener to UMKC 3-1 (October 1, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - The UTRGV faithful got their first look at their favorite volleyball program in almost a month, as the Vaqueros (7-9, 0-2 in WAC) played host to the UMKC Kangroos (9-6, 2-1 in WAC) on Thursday to open their home portion of the WAC Schedule with a 3-1 loss.

In a game filled with intrigue and a litany of strategic questions, UTRGV used one of their strongest comeback performances of the year to pick up their first WAC set win against the defending regular season champions.

The Vaqueros opened the match with strong 2-0 and 5-3 leads behind a promising early showing from Freshman Alexandria Eckler and Junior Kasey Sanchez, who donned the contrasting libero color for the first time in entire career.

Both squads where without major components on Thursday, as UMKC was without head coach Christi Posey for an undisclosed reason and UTRGV rested their normal starting setter Tina Sekulic following a nagging injury suffered during practice.

UTRGV would hold that early lead all the way to 11-9 in the first set, before UMKC responded with the defense prowess that they are know so much for. The Roos would pull away for good on a combination block by Madison Mosier and Taylor Buhrow in route to the 25-21 set victory.

The second set would be all UMKC from the opening serve, as the Kangaroos dominated in almost every facet of competition. UTRGV struggled to get their offense going against a gritty and tenacious UMKC back row, lead by Taryn Miller who collected 15 digs and 3 assists from the libero spot.

On the verge of a second three set loss to open WAC play, the Vaqueros again came out sluggish to open the third set. Down 19-11, UTRGV sprang to life going on an improbable 14-3 run to pick up their first set victory in WAC play. That offensive explosion was capped by an feverish 7-0 outburst that included kills by Megan Dempsey, Haley Durham and Bojana Mitrovic.

In what appeared like a case of dejavu, UTRGV found themselves in the exact same position to start the fourth set, however, they were unable to catch a second bolt of lightening in a bottle, as UMKC weathered a small rally in route to their second 25-17 set victory and a (3-1) final.

Offensively, UTRGV was paced by Mitrovic who amassed her fifth double-double of the year with 18 kills and 16 digs. Sanchez was also a big contributor for the Vaqueros, collecting a career high 30 digs in her first career experience at Libero.

On the other side of the net, UMKC received a quality performance from all everything Skyler Crimins who collected a double-double of her own with 12 kills and 13 digs.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

UTRGV Vaqueros WSOC drops a tight match to UIW Cardinals 1-0 (August 21, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - The opening game of a collegiate soccer season is the first opportunity that a coach has to see how his player will respond to the rigors of completion against similar competition. In a best case scenario,  a team will mesh together well and execute their game plan from the opening whistle.

That is exactly what The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Women's Soccer program appeared to due for most of Friday night, before falling to the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals 1-0 in double overtime.

The Vaqueros (0-1) were a much different team then the one that was last seen when,  the then UTPA Broncs dropped a 2-1 heart breaker in overtime to the UVU Wolverines to open the 2014 WAC tournament.

The Cardinals (1-0) who were fresh off of an electrifying 2-1 friendly win over the UT-San Antonio Roadrunners last week carried that momentum right onto the pitch on Friday.

One UTRGV's major focuses was to limit the offensive touches by UIW speedster Emani Steward who counters her somewhat diminutive frame with a blistering 12.0 second one hundred meter speed on the pitch.

UTRGV's plethora of new student athletes showed their prowess early as they held a skilled Cardinal offensive attack at bay for over 100 minutes of game time before a high traffic goals from Abigail Keonigs sent the Cardinals flying away with the 1-0 win.

The win puts Incarnate Word in excellent position to surpass their win total from last season, which stalled at just two victories.

The Vaqueros will look to bounce back on Sunday when the wrap their season opening tournament with a bout against the Southern University Jaguars.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Preview: UTRGV Athletics Women's Soccer Debuts Against Incarnet Word (August 21, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - As the sun sets gently across the western sky, a new light will be dawning on the campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with the historical launch of UTRGV Vaquero Women's Soccer. The Women's Soccer team will be the first of 14 NCAA Division I sports to open their inaugural seasons at UTRGV in the 2015-2016 when they host the Incarnate Word Cardinals at 7:00 p.m. to open the UTRGV Tournament.

Led by second year head coach Glad Bugariu, the Vaqueros have the odd distinction of opening their second consecutive inaugural campaign, after breaking ground as the first women's soccer program at The University of Texas-Pan American in 2014-2015.

The Vaqueros return twelve players from a squad that had one of the best years for a rookie program in Texas history (8-9-4 and 2-7-1 in WAC)  having only one loss in their first eleven matches.

Among the returning starters are the super sophomore's Andreya Barrera, who lead the team in games played, goals, and assists and Hannah Spets who will spend her second consecutive season as a team captain.

UTRGV will have several meaningful differences from last season's UTPA team, including it's first two upperclassman in senior Ferndanda Baena and graduate student Anna Felixson. The Vaqueros will also have a considerable amount more depth with the roster size having expanded to 27 student athletes.

This was a point of pride in Bugariu's pre-season press release where he highlighted, "We bring people along to compete and try to earn playing time. That's exactly what they're doing. They're trying to fit into our lineup. We just need to discover which players fit into which formations."

That doesn't mean it will all be an easy transition, however, since the added talent can also affect the teams flow and chemistry. ""It's very challenging for the coaches, but the players are making it challenging," said Bugariu, "and that's a good thing because they're all competing and they're trying to make it difficult for us to come up with our best 11."

The opponents from the greater San Antonio area, The Incarnate Word Cardinals, enter Friday soaring from a 2-0 exhibition victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

Incarnate Word returns several key figures from a team that finished (2-13-3) in 2014. Cardinal among these will be Alexis Santos who was second on the team scoring with two goals and one assist.

Friday will be the second meeting between these two programs, with UTRGV holding a 1-0 advantage, dating back to last year when the upstart Broncs defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in San Antonio.

You can catch all the live video with the voice of the Vaqueros, Jonah Goldberg, here and make sure to check back for a full recap of the action right here on the Box Score Report.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Dawn on UTRGV Closes The Book UTPA Baseball

Edinburg, TX - On August 31, 2015, The University of Texas Rio-Grande Valley (UTRGV) will open the doors for it's first day of classes. The dawning of this new institution and it new mascot the Vaquero brings a flood of hope and excitement for fans, but also a measure of nostalgic grief.

"It's little sad," says former Bronc Logan Landon, "being a Bronc was a like a dream from me. When I was recruited to come here I was looking for a place that I could call home. I found that with this team. These guys are like brothers to me."

As UTRGV and it's 14 NCAA Division I sports prep for what many hope will be a season filled with memorable victories, it's important for many that the success of UTPA Athletics aren't lost in the shuffle. This is especially true for the former student athletes in the Baseball Program, arguably the most decorated sport in school history.

The dawn of UTPA Broncs Baseball came in the Spring of 1955 when, Athletic Director Jim Brooks, lead then Pan American College,to a respectable (5-10) record against St. Edwards, St. Mary's, Southwestern, and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.

From that point on, the accolades and records began to pour in. The 1958 Broncs would secure the programs first winning season going (17-2) under second year coach John Donnelly. Their first taste of post-season play came in 1964 when the Broncs advanced past Dallas before losing 2-0 to Sam Houston State in the NAIA Texas Championship.

While still Pan American College, the program took another large leap with the hiring to future Hall of Fame coach Al Ogletree. In just his third year with the program the Broncs reach unimaginable heights by advancing to the 1971 College World Series. That 1971 team finished 44-9 and reached that now famous College World Series by defeating the mighty Texas Longhorns for the District VI title. They would go on to defeat the both Seaton Hall and Harvard in route to a fourth place finish.

From their the hits would just keep on coming, as Coach Ogletree lead the team to a record 23 winning seasons. In total Bronc Baseball made 15 appearances in postseason tournaments across 60 seasons of competition.

But that only tells part of the story. It's the hundreds of player to proudly wore the green and white that tell the true story of UTPA Broncs Baseball. It's the 12 pitchers to throw no-hitters, 18 All-Americans, and 34 MLB draft picks that tell the true story of UTPA Baseball. It's men who would leave the field and go on to become husbands, fathers, and corporate leaders that form the lasting legacy.

"That is what we strive to due," said current Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "we take pride in teaching our player that it's what happens on the field that matters in life, but its what you do as sons, husbands, and father that really matters."

Olgetree kept a similar goal for his former players. A fact which has brought him considerable pride over the years as he continue to relish how their lives have changed, their own children now becoming local businessmen and community leaders.

As the new era begin to rise above the horizon for UTRGV, many question remain, however the foundation for UTRGV athletics is firmly established on the lasting legacy of UTPA Broncs Baseball.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

UTPA Broncs Put On One Final Offensive Show in 11-3 defeat of UVU Wolverines in Game Two of DH (May 16, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - As the sunset on Edinburg Baseball Stadium, the figurate sun was setting in a figurate sense on the illustrious history of Broncs Baseball. In what was an emotionally bitter sweat moment in the history of The University of Texas-Pan American, the Broncs baseball team defeated the Utah Valley University Wolverines 11-3 in their final game before becoming The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros.

"Every year is tough with the exit of our seniors," said Broncs Coach Manny Mantrana, "it's bitter sweet, they end their careers and start with a totally different phase in their lives. It's also so the end of an era with us no longer being Broncs. From now one where the Vaqueros, but it's been a great ride.

After 88 years of existence, and multiple institutional name changes, UTPA will retire their name and the legacy of Broncs Baseball over the summer in preparation for a new beginning as the UTRGV Vaqueros beginning with the 2016 season.

"I have a lot of great memories," said Broncs senior Lee Rios, "I've been here for five years. This is closure and when I look back on today it's going to be a good memory."

The Broncs (21-30-1, 6-20-1 in WAC) seemed to save their best performance of the season for their historic final game.

There were high hopes for 2015, especially with the high number of retuning upper classman patrolling the dugout. However, those dreams seemed to fade like a mid-morning fog as injuries, defensive mishaps, and general misfortune seemed to pound them in waves for the entire conference season.

The Wolverines (18-33, 14-13 in WAC) entered the weekend series as one of the last few teams still in the running for a trip to the WAC Conference Tournament in Mesa, AZ.

UTPA's offense would explode in the second inning, plating five runs on six hits, for an early 5-0 lead.

The Broncs would extend that lead in the fourth, plating an additional five runs on four hits, including three RBI bases clearing triple by Victor Garcia Jr., to push their lead to 10-0.

UVU broke their scoreless slump in the top of the 5th, cutting the Broncs lead to 10-1 on a rocket over the left field wall by Greyson Bogden.

UTPA would respond in the home half of the inning, using a Lee Rios single to score Isaac Gonzalez from second, extending their lead to 11-1.

On the verge of being defeated via run rule, the Wolverines would once again benefit from a second home run by Greyson Bogden, this time of the two run variety, to cut the UTPA lead to 11-3.

With their collegiate careers coming to an end, two Bronc seniors had career days, as Logan Landon and Lee Rios would combine to go 8-10 with two runs and three RBI's.

Talking about his senior, Mantrana praised their dedication and drive across their time with the program saying, "I really like this group, they really give you everything they have. It's always nice for the seniors, especially in their last game in this uniform to do what they did."

Senior Logan Landon echoed his coaches sentiments about how special his final year as a Bronc had effected him saying, "It's a blessing, obviously every senior wants to go out and have a good day in your last game. Helping my team to come out a win last game it means a lot me. Knowing that I'll never come out and wear this uniform again, I'll never come out and play with these guys it big."

In a moment of amazing clarity, Landon summed up how the ability to play collegiate baseball has changed his life saying, "Baseball shaped everything that I am, everybody I've met, every place that I've gone, it's all from has shaped everything about me."

One bad inning plagues UTPA Broncs in 5-2 loss vs. Utah Valley Wolverines (May 16, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking for their first conference win of 2015, the University in of Texas-Pan American Broncs were plagues by one bad inning in a 5-2 loss against the Utah Valley University in game one of their season ending double header on Saturday.
The Broncs (20-30-1, 5-20-1) entered Saturday in the best possible position, having capitalized on a stellar performance from senior LHP Alex Hensen to take the first game of the series 5-4. They would hand the ball to another senior, RHP Blake English on Saturday in hopes building toward a series sweep.
The Wolverines (18-32, 14-12) were looking to keep their conference tournament hopes alive, by maintaning their slight one game lead over the sixth and final qualifying spot.
UTPA would open the scoring in the home half of the first, capitalizing on a Victor Garcia Jr. single to score Scott Mercer from third.
English would hold UVU at bay for the first two innings, however, the Wolvines offense would come to life in a big way, plating four runs on three, hits and two errors to take the lead at 4-1.

That would end English's night early, however, the well rested Broncs bullpen would do an excellent job in relief holding the Wolverines scoreless for the next five innings.
UTPA would cut into that lead in the fifth, behind an RBI double by Scott Mercer which scored Clayton Haltom from second, cutting the UVU lead to just 4-2.

UVU would tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth, riding a Jordan Schlehuber double to the left field corner to break the scoring drought in their final half inning and push the Wolverines ahead 5-2.

The Broncs would mount a small rally in the home half of the ninth, but they would fail to push across any runs in route to the 5-2 final.

Game 2 is scheduled to follow at about 3:45 p.m..

For updates on Game 2 you can follow my tweets as @smith_kb and make sure to check back for a game two recap and quotes right here on the Box Score Report.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Pitching comes up big as UTPA Broncs defeat vs.Utah Valley Wolverines 5-4 (May 14, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - In what will be their final series opener as Broncs, The University of Texas-Pan American Baseball team received a career defining final performance from senior Alex Hensen to defeat the Utah Valley Wolverines 5-4 on Friday.

"Everything starts with pitching," said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "and today were able to pitch well and be played good defense... Today we had some competitive at bats, really good job with two strikes, their really making good adjustments."

The 2015 season has been a trying one for the Broncs as they have struggled through a litany of injuries and general misfortune in their final season before becoming the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for the 2016 season.

Their have been some shining lights in the dark season, as converted pitcher-turned LF Logan Landon emerged as a stellar offensive presence, hitting above .350 with 8 homeruns and 45 RBI's headed into the final series.

The Broncs (20-29-1, 5-19-1 in WAC) though mathematically eliminated from the WAC tournament, which starts next week, are playing for pride now as they hope to cap their illustrious history with one final series victory.

The Wolverines (17-32, 13-12 in WAC) are still very much in the hunt for a WAC title, currently sitting in sixth place with the ability to move up as high as third with a strong showing in their final series of the regular season.

Top six seeds all advance to the WAC tournament in Arizona the week of May 20-23.

UVU opened the scoring in the top of the 1st plating two runs on two hits to open up the games first lead.

UTPA would respond in the home half of the 2nd, capitalizing on a rough patch by Wolverine starter Danny Beddes to score two of their own and pull even at 2-2.

The Broncs took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the fourth, capitalizing on a deep SAC fly by Cole Loncar to score Isaac Gonzalez from third for a 3-2 lead.

UTPA added two more runs on the fifth on a sac bunt by Scott Mercer and a single to left field by Logan Landon to extend their lead to 5-2.

The Wolverines would come battling back in the top of the seventh, behind an RBI sinble by Mark Krueger to cut the deficit to 5-3.

That would end the ninth for Hensen who made the most of his final start overcoming the rough start to, hold the wolverines to just one run and three hits over the next 4.1 innings, putting his team in a position to win.

"I was happy for him, his last outing was a good one," said Mantrana, "I think he can pitch at the next level. It's a good feeling to see him go out on top."

UVU would continue to make the game interesting tacking on an additional run on the top of the 8th on a Jake Marvos single to cut the Broncs lead to just 5-4.

Their rally would end their however, as Mantrana would turn to freshman Johnny Gonzalez who would throw an inspired ninth inning to close out the win.

Hensen would end the night with a career high nine strikeouts, while picking up his third win of the season, which tied for his career best total at UTPA.

"The defense played great behind me," said Hensen, "I love this team, I love this school, whatever I can to help bring a win to team and for this program I'm gonna do it."

The Broncs will close their series on Sunday with a double header beginning at 12:00 from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.