New football talent
NEW IS THE operative word for this season's football team. More than half the players are new recruits and of these, two-thirds are freshmen.
In his second season as head coach, Jerry Glanville, and his assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator, Mouse Davis, looked at hundreds of prospects in Oregon, Washington, California, Texas, and Hawaii.
"Coach Glanville has a lot of contacts in Texas, so we had three coaches there this year for the first time," says Jim Craft, recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach. "I think you could add Arizona and even Georgia to that list because we kept finding kids who'd like to play for him."
However, Sisters, Oregon, is the hometown of one of the team's most promising freshmen. Wide receiver Cory McCaffrey is simply the most prolific runner in Oregon high school football history. In three years, he gained 8,460 yards, which ranks him 16th nationally and 3,000 yards better than the next best total in Oregon high school history. As a senior he rushed for a state record of 2,925 years, 46 touchdowns, and his team made the Oregon 4A state championship game.
"We are really excited about Cory," says wide receiver coach Kevin Strasser. "He has a lot of talent and is hard-working. Can he help us this year? Come to a game and find out."
Last year, the Vikings finished sixth in the Big Sky race, 3-5, and 3-8 for the season. They were exciting games with 416 points scored in the five home competitions for an average of 83.2 combined points per game.
See the Vikings play at PGE Park Saturday, Oct. 4, at 1 p.m. in the Big Sky Conference home opener against Eastern Washington.
Winning volleyball women return
IN HIS FIRST SEASON as volleyball head coach, Michael Seemann took the team to new Big Sky heights when it won a first-ever regular season title.
The Vikings advanced to the conference tournament championship game for the first time in history, before losing to Sacramento State and falling one victory shy of making the NCAA Tournament.
This year the winning team is almost intact, having lost only one starter, Michelle Segun, who graduated. Its other six starters have returned along with Lindsey Steele, who suffered an injury at the end of last season.
Leading the way are junior setter Nique Fradella, who was a second team All-Big Sky pick last year; senior defensive specialist Jalen Pendon; junior outside hitters Jennifer Oney, Marija Vojnovic and Lindsey Steele; junior middle blocker Erica Jepsen; and sophomore outside hitter Christie Hamilton. The Vikings also welcomed sophomore middle blocker Lana Zielke, who transferred from University of Oregon.
The Vikings are expected to contend once again for the conference title. Seemann says that Eastern Washington, Sacramento State, and Weber State are also in the mix for first place.
Already four games into conference play, the team's next home match is Friday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. in the PSU Stott Center against Sacramento State.