Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Annual Titan Track & Field Handicap Races

The Handicap Races took place on March 22 at Titan Field. They are one-on-one races set up by the track & field coaching staff in which athletes are paired up with the faster runner being given a handicap (added distance to run) based on their speed.  Each athlete was tested over an 80m sprint the previous week and the distances were calculated based on those performances.  The top ten men and women were chosen to compete in the Handicap Challenge, with each pairing in the first round involving a woman v. man, with the winners advancing to the second and third rounds.  Jasmine Greene was the eventual winner in the final round with a time of 10.42 seconds for the 80m sprint, narrowly beating Joe Raffin who also ran 10.42 but had to cover 89.9m, Taylor Hennrick 10.57 covering 90.8m, Vince Lefler 10.59 covering 91.6m, and Ja’Quan Patterson 10.86 covering 91.5m.

Greene edged Raffin in the top left corner

By Jasmine Greene  - Women's Track and Field
Freshman
Coming into the handicap races I didn’t know what to expect, so I wasn’t that nervous, but as I walked onto the track that all changed.  I saw the coaches had brought the starting blocks, starting gun and automatic timing camera, that made my heart start racing and I started feeling the butterflies.  The pairings were announced and the smack talking from the guys made my nerves kick in, adding to the intensity.  Warming up I was getting more anxious to race.  Finally the prelims began, I had to run 80m and the man I was paired up with had to run 90.8m.  The first race was pure fun, I was able to win my race which was a relief, especially because my competitor was telling me he was going to smoke me! 
 
In the semifinal race I was strictly thinking about making it to the finals, this time I was matched up against another female. I had to overcome a handicap of 2.0m meaning I ran 82m and the person I raced against ran 80m.  I was able to overcome the distance and was the only female in the finals.  Even though the guys had an 8-11 meter disadvantage I was still worried.  Before I got in the starting blocks I listened to all of my teammates cheering me on, which made me pumped!  The gun went off for the finals and I just took off without thinking, all I wanted to do was get to the finish line first.  When I finally reached the line Joe Raffin was right beside me, and the others were closing quickly, it was such a tight race they had to go to the photo finish.  Finally coach announced that I was the champion, my time 10.416 seconds to Joe’s 10.417 seconds, I was ecstatic.  Overall the whole handicap race experience was fun and exciting and I can’t wait until next year to defend my title!

MAC Bites - #6


Senior captain Jason McDonald will part of a number of collegiate laxers to blog all season for LacrossePlayground.com. Here is his sixth blog.


Jason McDonald - Sr. - #33 - Defense

Lacrosse Blog #6

And we’re rolling…

It has been an exciting last three weeks. It began with the win over Quinnipiac, which propelled us into the first game of conference play at Canisius. The one aspect of NCAA athletics that has stood out to me the most is momentum, which happens to currently be on our side and unless the world ends tomorrow, I don’t see it leaving the Detroit Titans.

We arrived in Connecticut that Friday morning before the game for our practice time on their field, which happens to be Astro-Turf. This is a crucial element to the game because it changes the style of play entirely. Every ground ball roles that much faster and further making ground balls rather difficult to those who are not ready. Even with the notable advantage, we exploded in the first half scoring ten goals and allowing four. Unfortunately we faltered in the second half and allowed Quinnipiac to try and get back in the game. With that said, we outworked them in almost every statistical category and were really confident throughout the entire sixty minutes winning 13-10.

The following week, the emphasis was put on our play in the second half. Entering the MAAC schedule, we could not afford to stumble or let the foot off the pedal in the second half if we want to be successful. Consistency was another key aspect of our game, which we relentlessly drill into practice each day. We left Friday morning and crossed the border to Canada, which cut off several hours of the trip due to the proximity of Detroit and Canisius College to the border in upstate New York.

The short drive was nice, but following our ride it was all business and we all knew what was at stake and what we must do. From the start of the week, I mentioned I wanted to send a message to the conference and show everyone that receiving the preseason vote was no hoax. Turns out, we really followed up on that message netting 17 goals and exploding in the fourth quarter for five goals. It seems as though our second half troubles and consistency issues had been erased considering we scored four goals in every quarter except the fourth.

As mentioned before, we received a huge momentum swing after beating a non-conference opponent and an even bigger one handling Canisius and starting our conference play 1-0. Last week however was of utmost importance. We couldn’t waiver and our hunger grew even stronger. The 1-0 start was nothing and we faced our biggest opponent yet in Marist, which is always a chippy game because of how heated the rivalry has become.

We split games with Marist last year, losing in the regular season, but winning in the playoffs to send them home and propel us to the MAAC Championship. The stakes were high coming into Saturday. We knew they would be looking for redemption after their season had ended in the MAAC semifinals. The entire game was a battle and the offense came up big when we needed them and the same went for the defense. The intensity of the game was unlike anything I’ve been a part of. It felt like a playoff battle and we came out on top once again in the end in an overtime thriller.

We are extremely excited as we head into our Saturday game at Manhattan. We are 2-0 and back on top in the conference and we have no time to look back. The boys are at an all-time high and we have no plans of stopping. If the MAAC has proven anything, it’s that each game will be a dogfight. Not one game is guaranteed and we fully understand this. Every week, we work even harder. The title may not be ours, but we fight like it will be.

DetroitTitans.com

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hitting The Links - Simon Reyers


Every year we look forward to kicking off the spring season with a trip down south and this year we began our trip in Port St. Lucie, Florida. We arrived on the first Sunday of spring break late in the afternoon and headed straight to the driving range at the PGA Village Learning Center. After an early morning jog on Monday morning we headed back to the Learning Center for a morning practice and played PGA Country Club in the afternoon.

On Tuesday we again practiced in the morning and after a quick stop for lunch we headed over to play the PGA Wannamaker Course for a match against Morningside College. We played well and were able to win all five matches. On Wednesday we headed south to play at The Fox Club, which is a very exclusive and challenging golf course. On Thursday we played a Disney course in Orlando called Osprey Ridge and on Friday we concluded the trip with a round at Grand Cypress with former Titan and winner of “The Big Break”, David Byrne.

This trip down south is very important for us to get the spring season off to a good start. We put in a lot of hours on the driving range and on the golf course so that we will be ready to take on the challenge of winning a Horizon League championship. With the guys that we have on our roster this year we are certainly capable of winning a championship and making another run at NCAA Regional’s. I am really excited about this spring season because I know we have the tools to win.

For our next two events we will travel to the state of Indiana. Next week we are playing in Butler’s invitational and the following week we play at Indiana University. After that we will host the Detroit Titans Invitational for our final regular season event, which is at Prestwick Village GC in Highland, Michigan. The Horizon League Championship will be held at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida at the end of April.

Be sure to follow our spring season on http://www.detroititans.com/.

Go Titans!

Simon Reyers
Jr. - Detroit Golf
Kingston, ON/Holy Cross

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Putting This Program On The Map – Megan Callahan


The women’s lacrosse team has been fighting the same problems since day one. We don’t have a big team, we don’t capitalize on our opponent’s mistakes, and we rely too much on one person to get the job done. This season has been different and we have played together as a unit unlike the past three years. Even though the outcomes have not been in our favor, we know hard work and dedication will put this program on the map.

We also know that to build a program, you have to take to baby steps and this year is the first step in the right direction. The past three years have indeed been some rough ones; we lost our previous coaching staff and some valuable team members. Everyone that has stuck through these rough times knew that this year was the year that we needed to prove ourselves and to others that nothing can knock us down. We have a new coaching staff that has the same goals we do with the main one being “Putting This Program On The Map”, and they have given us the tools we need to succeed with these goals

We have five talented freshmen this year and some of them have stepped up on the field and have become a threat, while others are just getting their time now and no other teams know about. The returners have seen the potential in this young team and are raising the bar higher and higher, making sure that everyone is on the same page and what this program’s expectations are for the future.

There is still work do be done with this program, but that is what we are working on every day on and off the field.

The women’s lacrosse team “Back and Better Than Ever”.

#23 - Junior - MF
Megan Callahan

http://www.detroittitans.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=1367&path=wlax

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Softball Played 10 Games in Kissimmee, FL March 4-10

by Hannah Klenk and Karyn McCarty - Softball
March 18, 2012

Hannah Klenk and the Titans played 10 games in Florida


Florida. Where foul balls hit palm trees and you can get a sun tan line from eye black, where memories were made and softball was played. At the beginning of our season, Coach Jones told us not to be so much result-oriented, but instead focus on the progress. Although we ended up with the same record in the Rebel Games as we did last year in Florida (4-6), there was a completely different atmosphere. After a tough loss, we were told that we were more competitive than in past years. Although we did play better, it was an understatement; we did not play to our potential consistently. When we were consistent with hitting, fielding and pitching, we beat Holy Cross, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Fairleigh Dickinson. 

There was complete team effort throughout the week. Everyone contributed and stepped up when it was their turn. Each of our pitchers took home a win including Kat Hoffman’s first collegiate win. Other high points included Alyssa Schaub taking home her first home run ball of the season, sweet plays made by our defense, and Sam Henderson hit two consecutive doubles.

Despite the fact that we went to Florida to win ball games, we did not fail to have fun along the way. A forgotten I.D. was a rough start, but everyone made it on the plane and we arrived safely. Starting the trip off right we enjoyed a team midnight breakfast upon arrival at IHOP. The following day led us to the tedious task of condo grocery shopping. We filled six carts with groceries and delightfully picked the slowest checkout line. Later that night we went on to have our late night team practice under the lights. 

For the first day we brought the cold wind with us, but still managed to win the game and Karyn McCarty got our first victory of the Rebel Games. On Monday we had team surprise activity fun day which included The Lorax, shopping, and a mystery dinner show. Making a pit stop at CVS for snacks, the team was ready to go on a 3D adventure with the Lorax!  Following our 3D fun, coach took us to our part 2 surprise at the Nike outlets.  As a team full of girls, safe to say we were overjoyed with that part and we got in some retail therapy. The last stop of the day was the biggest mystery of all, literally. Finishing an amazing team day off with some family fun trying to solve a murder mystery! Putting all of our minds together trying to figure out who the real murderer was (Nigel), and we found out that for looking the way we did, we ask pretty intelligent questions. 

It was back to work for the Titans the next day having some tough games against Lehigh and Penn. We fought hard and competed, but couldn’t string our hits together and get our runs across. Both Julia Maksym and Karyn pitched great games and our defense made some amazing plays, but our bats were just left on the vans.

The following day was family day where all the girls got to spend the day with their family. Some went to the beach, others went “gator hunting”, and naturally almost all of us went shopping. It was a great day to relax and unwind, and just enjoy the amazing Florida atmosphere.

After family day it was all business for us. Playing some great ball games we had fun in the sun, made some great memories, and ultimately played some great ball. We are looking forward to an amazing season and after a great week in Florida we know how much potential this Titan Softball team truly has!

10 Fencers Represented Detroit at NCAA Midwest Regionals on March 10-11

By Eva Berndt - Women's Fencing - Sabre
March 18, 2012
Eva Berndt (left) was one of 10 Titan fencers to go the NCAA Regionals
The NCAA Midwest Regionals this year were on March 10-11 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ten of our fencers qualified this year, four men and six women (including myself)! We left Friday afternoon and stayed in a hotel over the weekend. Us girls fenced on Saturday and the men fenced Sunday.

The competition was fierce! Many Olympic class fencers duked it out on the strip. Being able to fence such skilled opponents is an honor that I will treasure for a long time. Our freshman sabreist, Katie Lang fenced excellently, winning three bouts and scoring touches on Notre Dame and Ohio State fencing giants.

After one last team meal, we packed onto the bus and returned to campus on Sunday. The season is over and we have a small break before conditioning starts back up again. In the meantime, I'll be reviewing my bouts and figuring out how to improve for next year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Titans in Omaha - Day Two

The second day from Omaha brought Friday evening's match-up with Kansas that much closer. With the first day of games on all day and into the evening, the Madness of March is now in full swing.

Today the team had its first practice since arriving in Omaha. It was closed to the public and was held at nearby Creighton University giving Coach McCallum and his staff a chance to further prepare the team for Kansas and the team an opportunity to keep loose.

The second practice of the day came later in the afternoon. At about 5:15 local time, the team left the hotel with a police escort. The 15 or so minute drive from the hotel to CenturyLink Center had the Titan bus completely surrounded by police cars and motorcycles. More of the same is scheduled for the commute when game day arrives. At the arena, the team was able to find its locker room, get somewhat acclimated to the (very large) lay of the land and a few athletes were also asked to speak at a press conference on the big NCAA stage.

Chase Simon, Ray McCallum and Eli Holman

After the press conference, the team had a chance to hit the floor. It was largely an opportunity to play on the floor and take in the new environment as best possible, but it was also a chance for local and national media to watch the Titans. The spirit groups were on hand and welcomed the Titans to the floor and even brought a little Calihan cheer while the team was shooting free throws as P-U-T-I-T-I-N could be heard from the stands. The TV talent for the game, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager were all on hand as they were trying to get their tidbits on all the Titans.

The end of practice came and Doug Anderson threw down a vicious, acrobat 360' dunk to the delight of everyone in the arena. Some individuals seeing Anderson for the first time, were definitely able to enjoy a little bit of what the University of Detroit Mercy basketball fans have experienced all year. Anderson actually dunked it so hard a few bolts came off the backboard and arena maintenance had to be called in to fix it. See video below for a video recap of the day and also check out the photo gallery.




Be sure to tune into Friday night's game at 9:57 Eastern on truTV. The Titans will practice tomorrow morning as game day will have officially arrived.

Titans Make Trip To Historic Lambeau Field



Photo Gallery

A lot of players, coaches and teams draw inspiration from different things. Some have a lucky pillow, blanket, dare I saw underwear?

For the Titans, the day before they played in the Horizon League Championship, it was a fun trip to Lambeau Field as the Detroit student-athletes took in the sights of one of America’s greatest sports venues.

The women’s basketball squad got a private tour of the facility, in the locker rooms and even got on the field itself.

When standing on greatness and seeing all the trophies and championships that the Packers had in their history, it only made the dream of capturing a HL championship, that much closer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Titans Are In Omaha

The Detroit Titans men's basketball team has landed in Omaha, Nebraska in preparation for their NCAA Tournament match-up Friday evening with Kansas. Joining the team on this journey was the spirit groups as the pep band, dance team and cheer team members were also on the Charter flight to Omaha Wednesday afternoon.

video


Detroit landed after leaving the UDM campus around 12:30 Eastern as media and the men's lacrosse team gave the team a "proper" send off. The lacrosse team took a break from practice on Titan Field to run over to the fence where the bus was and the team started crawling up the fence and hooted and hollered as the Titans headed to the Metro Airport. The men's lacrosse team was a big part of cheering section at Valparaiso and they did their best to make sure the basketball team knows that lacrosse is right with them all the way to Nebraska.

Eli Holman had an opportunity to take a few videos from the people on the trip and as you can see below, the sun was shining bright and the whole group was more than happy about it. Of course, having someone 6-10 walking around with a video camera is bound to bring a smile to any basketball fan, especially if he's on your team. 



The team has settled into the hotel and everyone is preparing for tomorrow's meetings, for practice, and general NCAA Tournament 101 sessions. Stay tuned to the Detroit Titans blog for more videos, updates and pictures on the team and the group as Friday's game draws closer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MAC Bites - #5


Senior captain Jason McDonald will part of a number of collegiate laxers to blog all season for LacrossePlayground.com. Here is his fifth blog.


Jason McDonald - Sr. - #33 - Defense

Lacrosse Blog #5

I’d like to begin by congratulating our men’s basketball team for winning the Horizon League Championship against Valparaiso on Tuesday night. It was great to be a part of the win and was quite the team bonding experience. The bus left Detroit at 3 p.m., in which the entire team received a separate bus. It was an interesting experience because it seemed like we were hitting the road for a game, but the mood was much different. Everyone was excited to be able to invade Valpo and support our team. Overall, it was a great time and was much needed to get us back on the same page.

Not be forgotten however is our game on Saturday against Quinnipiac who always proves to be a tough non-conference opponent. We’ve been preparing heavily all week and have had some great practices. The offense and defense have been getting extremely chippy and it’s nice to see the fire back in the squad. I think we have started to realize that Canisius is in just two weeks, which marks the start of our conference play.

We’ve changed our travel schedule, which makes the ride much easier. Leaving each game at midnight the night before allows for everyone to sleep and wake up rested for a pregame practice.

Overcoming adversity has been one of our best attributes as a team and we continue to work our hardest. We’ve been struggling on both sides of the ball, but every week we work on the issue necessary for winning the next week. Come conference play, we will be more than ready for an exciting road back to the MAAC Tournament.

No one has forgotten about the let down last year.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coach McCallum Shows Them How It's Done

You've heard the old adage "Those who can't, teach".  While it may be a misnomer at any level, it's especially untrue in collegiate athletics.  Take Detroit Head Coach Ray McCallum, for example, who teaches by doing as I've witnessed through a charity free throw contest.

The Titans' fourth-year head man was one of the most prolific scorers in his playing days, chalking-up 2,109 career points at Ball State University.  He did it with a smooth shooting touch that helped overcome any deficiencies that his five-foot-nine frame may have hindered.

"I tell the guys it's all about repetition and trusting your routine," Coach McCallum said in a recent interview regarding free throw shooting technique.

To say that Coach is a perfectionist when it comes to shooting free throws may be a bit of an understatement.  Through four rounds of shooting freebies against other NCAA Division I head coaches as part of the "Shots from the Heart" promotion to benefit the Skip Prosser Foundation, McCallum hasn't missed.  Not once.

And he's gone longer in a few sessions, beyond the 25 shots that each round requires.  In round two-- simply at the request of those watching-- McCallum continued to ripple the net with that same familiar sound.  And he kept going.  Until he reached 62 straight and fell victim to a peanut gallery of players and on-lookers taking him out of rhythm.
 
Each session starts the same each time.  A few side-to-side twists of the mid-section followed by a warm-up of several shots from inside the 15-foot free throw line.  It doesn't take long to gain a rhythm before he steps back behind the line and begins the methodical underbed of the ball effortlessly grazing the back of the rim and falling through with ease with the same pace each time.
 
While it's impressive that a man nearly 51-years old can still outshoot young men more than half his age, it's the message that when he offers a player tips about shooting-- said player should take note.  His team has taken his message and translated it into vastly improved numbers this season, especially at the free throw line.

Last year, the Titans-- and in particular then-freshman Ray McCallum-- started slowly and left empty opportunities at the free-throw line.  Take a Dec. 11 game at Eastern Michigan, for example.  McCallum, who would score a career-high 31 points in leading Detroit to an overtime win, made just 11 of a school-record 22 free throw attempts.  The younger McCallum made 44-of-71 (.620) in his first 11 games as a collegian.  But, following that EMU performance, McCallum would make 97-of-133 (.727) the rest of the way.
 
The game following that 11-for-22 was at Central Michigan University exactly a week later. 

Little did I know that a nonchalant conversation between father and son, player and coach, would still be remembered more than a year later. 

 

Detroit had just defeated the Chippewas in resounding fashion, 75-49, behind the strength of McCallum's first career double-double (23 pts, 11 rbs).  It wasn't until after the freshman and winning coach addressed the media and were dismissed back to the locker room that I heard some simple words that may have changed the mindset of the young freshman as he gained confidence playing in one of the top mid-major conferences in NCAA Division I.
 
"I made my free throws," the younger McCallum simply stated about his game that night.

Nevermind the highlight-reel steal and fast-break dunk with defenders in his wake, it was the unguarded 15-footer that McCallum smiled about in the glow of a win.  And not just any win, one in front of a national audience on ESPNU, on the opponent's floor and against fellow friends and father-son combo Coach Ernie and freshman Trey Zeigler.
 
Widely-regarded as one of the best talents to land at the University of Detroit Mercy, the former McDonald's High School All-American has showcased his athletic ability, court awareness and knowledge of the game from day one.  But, his improved touch from the free throw line has paid immediate dividends.

The Titans are shooting a league-best 73.4 percent from the line heading into Saturday's Horizon League semifinal game vs. Cleveland State.  Included in that total are four players that are in the top 10 in the league in free throw percentage, led by junior Doug Anderson's 80.4 percent clip.  McCallum has increased his proficiency since year one, making 75.9 percent while senior Chase Simon is at 76.3 percent and junior sharp-shooter Jason Calliste is right behind at 76.0 percent.
 
Look no further than Calliste for a lesson in repetition and rhythm.  It's not conventional-- but it just works.  With a good 12-18 inches between his right foot and the black stripe, Calliste goes through the pre-shot ritual the same each time.  Four rotations of the ball around his waist, a tribute to his family with four fingers on his chest and the same number of dribbles each time.  Then he'll unbend his knees and straighten out with pure shooter's form that produces positive results consistently.
 
If routines become habits and learning comes from doing, then Detroit-- who has won 11 of its last 13 games-- is poised to continue its winning ways for a fun run in the tournaments of March.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thank You Seniors



Prior to last Saturday’s home game against Youngstown State, Detroit honored its two seniors in Lauren Allen and Jalesa Jones, both of whom have been a major part of the Titans revival since they came to campus.

They came to Detroit in the spring of 2008 and were among head coach Autumn Rademacher’s first recruits. Prior to their arrival, the Titans were 5-26 in 2006-07 and 6-24 during the 2007-08 season, but they quickly helped turn that around with 12 wins during their freshmen season and a win over #23 Georgia at home, 70-66, on Nov. 22, 2008. At that time, it was the Titans first win over a ranked team since 1981. In that game as a true freshman, Allen had her only collegiate double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Jones had five points, four rebounds and a team-high six assists.

As sophomores, they helped the Titans to a 17-14 record and a 14-4 mark in the Horizon League, where they tied for second place and advanced to the semifinals of the HL Championships. It was the most wins UDM recorded since 2004 and during that season, Detroit defeated another ranked team in #23/22 Green Bay, 71-55, on Feb. 4, 2010. That win ended a 15-game slide to the HL powerhouse Phoenix.

As juniors, they were at it again helping the squad to a 67-48 victory at Michigan. It was the Titans first win against Michigan since 1994 and the first in Ann Arbor since 1993.

Now as seniors, they have Detroit on a roll as the Titans have rebounded from an 0-6 start. Both were key contributors in the historic win at #9/9 Green Bay two weeks ago and both have etched their names in the school record books. UDM is currently tied for second place in the Horizon League, but owns a tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed with just two games remaining. The Titans are 16-12 on the year, 12-4 in the HL, only the second time in the last 10 years they have posted 16 or more wins.

Allen is ninth in school history with 326 assists. A consistent all-around player, Allen has 42 career games with five or more rebounds, 31 double digit scoring efforts as well as 26 games with five or more assists.

She has played in 116 games with 87 starts and is averaging 6.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She has twice scored 19 points against Milwaukee as a sophomore and junior for her career high. Her 11 boards against the nationally-ranked Georgia Bulldogs as a freshman is still her career best, while she has tallied eight assists three times in her career. Defensively, she came away with six steals at Green Bay last season.

Jones currently leads the conference in assists at 4.9 per night and just broke the school’s all-time assist record with 487 – a number that stood for 30 years. She has started 95-straight games and 115 for her career, which is tied for the third-most in school history. Those numbers also rank in the top 15 in the nation among current players.

She is averaging 7.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. She has a pair of 20-point games with a career-high of 21 against St. Joseph’s as a junior. She handed out a career-best 10 assists in a double overtime win over Eastern Michigan as a sophomore and earlier this year, pulled down a career-high nine boards on the road at Western Michigan. She also posted six steals for her high watermark against Valparaiso as a sophomore.

The program will continue to build and maybe postseason play will arrive at Detroit for the first time since 1997. In any case, these seniors gave it their all and when the Titans rise to the top, no one can forget the class that came in to originally get them there.