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The Antelope

Lopers hit the hardwood


Basketball teams return leadership, committed to excellence in 2017-2018

Lindsey Smith

Antelope Staff

It’s that time of year again!  The coming of fall weather means the start of basketball season as both the men and women’s Loper teams started practices last week. MIAA preseason rankings were released Thursday, Oct. 19, with the men coming in at 4th and the women ranked 10th.

Coach Carrie Eighmey and the UNK women’s basketball team will have seven returners this season, losing three seniors from last years’ squad. “All seven of our returners have really stepped up to a challenge in taking ownership of our program and settings standards of excellence that are necessary to build a successful program,” Eighmey said. “We have several people on this team who we feel we can rely on to be defensive stoppers which will be a huge element of our defense. We will also need our point guards to step up and bring a level of leadership and direction to our offense,”.

The men’s team will see the return of all five starters with the addition of two freshmen, just losing one senior (Kevin Dineen) from the squad last year. Lofton complimented Kevin’s work ethic, “Kevin did a great job being a vocal leader. He worked hard every day, was competitive from the defensive side and was a great teammate. We will miss his competitive spirit this year.” Fortunately, the team will have four seniors this year to take on that leadership role.

Both teams have been training hard in the off-season between lifting, workouts and open gyms. Women’s senior guard, Michaela Barry, an elementary education major from Battle Creek, said the team has been working extremely hard on the court and in the weight room. “What I love about this team is we challenge and push each other to work hard and be the best we can be every single day.”

Both UNK basketball teams have similar goals for this upcoming season: to have a successful year and become a better team.

For the men’s team, Lofton looks at the season as a process, “In order to have a successful year, we have to focus on the day to day and getting better one practice at a time. If we come into everyday with the intent of going hard and being energetic, our end result is we will be a better team by the end of the season.”

For the women’s team, Eighmey’s most important goal for the program is to become the best team this particular group can be. “Our team this year is very focused on achieving goals we haven’t been able to accomplish yet in our time as a member of the MIAA. Since we compete in the best conference in the country from top to bottom, being able to accomplish that goal will require a great deal of consistency in the way we compete and perform in every practice and every game. It will require each of the women on our team to maintain a mindset to settle for nothing less than getting better than we were the day before,” Eighmey said.

For some players, this is their last season as a Loper student-athlete. Barry is prepared to take on her role as a senior, “I will have to step up in my role as a leader by leading vocally and by example. Every girl on our team brings a specific role that is important, and for us to be successful, I will have to be sure to fulfill my role on this team.”

Lane Rohrich, an exercise science major from Pierce and senior guard for the men’s team, recollects his experiences as a UNK student-athlete, “When it is all said and done, the one thing that I will take away from being a student-athlete at UNK is the relationships that I have made. In my four years here at UNK, I have had terrific opportunities that have opened many different doors in my life. Along the way, I have met some of the most genuine people. Whether they were UNK faculty and staff or my fellow students, I know that the relationships that I have made here will last a lifetime.”

Catch the Lopers first home games of the season with the UNK Men’s Basketball team facing Wayne State Friday, Nov.10 at 7 p.m. at the Health and Sports Center and the UNK Women’s Basketball team facing Wayne State Saturday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m.

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