With the Seattle University athletic teams about to begin play within their new conference, starting with the volleyball team hosting New Mexico State Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Connolly Center, GoSeattleU.com is featuring a series of 10 articles introducing Redhawk fans to the 2012-13 membership of the Western Athletic Conference. This is the second in the series of stories about the current WAC schools.
Louisiana Tech University, known as Louisiana Tech or LA Tech, is a public research university in Ruston, La., founded in 1894. Part of the University of Louisiana system, Louisiana Tech has an enrollment of over 11,000 students and offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in over 80 different fields. Famous alumnae of Louisiana Tech include country singer Trace Adkins, former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, former NBA star Karl Malone, and WNBA stars Betty Lennox and Teresa Weatherspoon.
Louisiana Tech supports 14 varsity sports, 12 of which Seattle U squads will face throughout the school year. The school offers eight women's sports, all known as the Lady Techsters, and six men's sports, all nicknamed the Bulldogs. The school's teams have played in the Western Athletic Conference since 2001.
In 2011, the Lady Techsters finished with an overall record of 10-22, 0-14 within the WAC. The squad is led by first-year head coach Adriano de Souza. Outside hitter Marcella Braz led the team in kills last year with 216, while middle blocker Caitlin Germany tallied 59 total blocks. Braz did not return to the team, but Germany will help lead a young team-only two seniors are on the roster-in the 2012 season. As of August 28, the Lady Techsters are 0-3 in the new season, losing all three matches in the Sam Houston Invitational. The Lady Techsters will be the first Louisiana Tech squad to compete against Seattle U as conference foes when they host the Redhawks Thursday, Oct. 11. The Lady Techsters will be the Redhawks' opponent on Senior Night at the Connolly Center Saturday, Nov. 10.
The Louisiana Tech women's soccer team is coming off an 8-8-4 campaign in 2011, going 1-6 in WAC play. Graduated seniors Olivia Lukasewich and Scotti Culton led the squad in goals and assists, respectively, while then-sophomore Caitlin Updyke started all but one game at keeper and allowed just 17 goals. As of August 29, the Lady Techsters are 4-0 in 2012, scoring 20 goals while allowing just one. Kevin Sherry will serve as head coach again in 2012, his sixth year at Louisiana Tech. The Redhawks will take on Louisiana Tech Friday, Oct. 19, in Ruston.
Louisiana Tech head coach Gary Stanley has been a mainstay atop the cross country program, having coached the Bulldogs for 28 years. The Louisiana Tech men are coming off a fifth-place showing in the WAC Championship, but will have to replace their fastest runner, Josh Slocum, who graduated last year. The women's team finished eighth in the WAC and was led by then-freshman Mary Kate Hays. The Redhawks will first race against runners from Louisiana Tech Saturday, Oct. 27, at the WAC Championship held in Ruston.
The Louisiana Tech women's basketball program is one of the most successful programs at the school. The Lady Techsters have won the NCAA title three times and have made eight trips to the national championship game. They've also made 27 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2011. Last year, the Lady Techsters went 17-15 overall and 8-6 in WAC contests. Despite finishing third in the conference in the regular season, Louisiana Tech went to the finals of the conference tournament, falling to Fresno State in the title game, 89-61. Shantale Bramble-Donaldson led the team with 11.1 points a game, but has since graduated. Jasmine Bendolph, who also graduated after the 2011-12 school year, led the team in steals and assists and was second behind Bramble-Donaldson in points per game with 10.6 ppg. Former Lady Techster and WNBA star Theresa Weatherspoon enters her fourth season as coach at her alma mater. The Redhawks will host the Lady Techsters Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Connolly Center and will play them again in Ruston on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The Louisiana Tech men's basketball program, like the women's team, also has a few bright spots in its history. The team has made five NCAA tournament appearances, won six conference championship tournaments, and has put two players into the Basketball Hall of Fame: Leon Barmore and Karl Malone. In the 2011-12 season, the Bulldogs went 18-16 overall with a 6-8 record in WAC play. They were led by a trio of freshmen last year, as guard Raheem Appleby led the team in scoring last year, averaging 13.9 points per game, Kenneth Smith led in steals with 42, and Michale Kyser was the team's leading blocker with 60 blocked shots. Louisiana Tech is led by first-year head coach Michael White. The SU men's basketball team takes on Louisiana Tech Saturday, Jan. 19, in Ruston and plays host to the Bulldogs Thursday, Feb. 14, at KeyArena.
The Lady Techsters tennis team went 14-8 last season with a 0-3 record in the WAC. They were eliminated in the first round of the conference tournament by eventual conference finalist Fresno State. Laura Fernandez, a freshman last year, played all but two matches at the top of the singles lineup, gathering a 7-13 record in the spot. Then-junior Alena Erofeyeva put together the best singles record for Louisiana Tech, going 19-2 in the Nos. 4, 5, and 6 spots in the lineup. The best doubles pair Louisiana Tech had was Maartje de Wit and Vivian ten Dolle who went 13-5 together, although de Wit has since graduated. The Lady Techsters, coached by sixth-year head coach Quintin Yray, will square off against the Redhawks Friday, March 22, in a neutral-site match in San Jose, Calif.
The Bulldogs baseball team went 27-28 last season, reaching a 7-11 record in conference play. The Bulldogs were one game away from the WAC tournament championship game, but were eliminated by Fresno State in the semifinals. Infielder Ryan Gebhardt led the team in batting average (.341), runs scored (44), and hits (76), while fellow infielder Alex Williams topped the team in RBIs (46) and home runs (12). Right-hander Phil Maton was the Bulldogs' top pitcher, tallying an 8-5 record with a 2.93 ERA in 89 innings of work. Caleb Dudley made the most relief appearances for the Bulldogs with 29, while Jamie Gilley led the squad in strikeouts with 82. The Bulldogs are coached by Wade Simoneaux, who's entering his 10th season in the dugout for Louisiana Tech. The Redhawks will travel to Ruston for a three-game series with the Bulldogs once the conference season begins in the spring.
The Louisiana Tech softball team finished the 2012 season with a 25-33 overall record, 8-12 in the WAC, and won two games in the conference tournament last season. Pitcher/infielder Melanie Goff led the team with 47 hits and a batting average of .409. Second baseman Amanda Krueger totaled 44 runs, while outfielder Dacia Hale knocked in 29 RBIs and hit eight home runs, both team highs. In the circle for the Lady Techsters, Michelle Jones threw 200 2/3 innings, earning an ERA of 2.83 and a 15-16 record. At the helm is head coach Sarah Dawson, who entering her 10th season at Louisiana Tech. The Redhawks will host the Lady Techsters for a three-game series at the newly-renovated Logan Field in the spring.
The Bulldogs men's golf team took fifth in the WAC championship tournament last year, just one spot behind their best-ever performance at the conference tournament. They took second place twice in other tournaments, and notched three other top-five finishes. LA tech was led by Sam Forgan, who averaged 73.7 strokes per round and finished in the top 10 four times throughout the year, including a fifth-place performance at the conference tournament. Jeff Parks returns for his third year as head coach of the Bulldogs' golf team, which will go toe-to-toe with Seattle U golfers during the WAC Championship Monday, April 29-Wednesday, May 1 at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev.
Track and Field
The Louisiana Tech track and field program has seen some recent successes, sending three alumnae to the recent 2012 Olympic Games held in London. The team also grabbed seven indoor and nine outdoor conference titles in 2012. Sprinter and jumper Chelsea Hayes led the way for the women, taking part in seven of those 2012 conference championships. Hurdler Kim Francis also claimed two conference titles last year, the only Lady Techster other than Hayes to win multiple titles. On the men's side, sprinters Dennis Richardson and Trey Hadnot both had standout performances in 2012, winning titles in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Gary Stanley heads up the track and field program, returning for his 24th season at the top of Bulldog track and field. The Seattle University track and field teams will meet the Louisiana Tech squads at the WAC Championship Wednesday May 8 - Saturday May 11 in Arlington, Texas.
The Louisiana Tech athletic department also sponsors football and women's bowling, two sports Seattle U does not offer. Louisiana Tech does not, however, sponsor men's tennis, women's golf, and women's Swimming, sports that both Seattle U and the WAC do. Additionally, Seattle University offers men's swimming and women's rowing, sports not sponsored by the WAC. After the 2012-13 academic year, Louisiana Tech will move on to Conference USA.
2012 marks Seattle University's first year in the Western Athletic Conference and first year as a full NCAA Division I member since 1980. For current information on these events and other Seattle University athletics news, visit GoSeattleU.com.