MVNU Baseball Team Off and Swinging
The MVNU baseball team has a lot to look forward to for their 2022 season. The team that made the national tournament last year can look to build and grow around a solid base of returners like outfielder Toby Walker, who received crossroads league honors Last season. And Jake Glover, a first baseman and pitcher, who made both all-league honors in the Crossroads League as well as Academic All-American Honors for the Cougars.
MVNU baseball came into school poised for another good year. A tight-knit group with many being sophomores and juniors players have said “[they] feel like this year [they] have an unmatched chemistry.” But with such a young team, how is MVNU baseball trying to stay on path for another winning season? “Of course, we have the leadership from our seniors and upperclassmen; but look around, the team doesn’t have many seniors, so leadership needs to come from anyone -- junior, sophomore, freshman or coach.
“And that’s what we’ve been seeing,” said head Coach Keith Veale about his team’s leadership. This message was reiterated later in the week by new pitching coach Tucker Waddups.
Coach Waddups took his pitchers aside to speak to them about accountability. “If the guy next to you isn’t doing what he is supposed to, hold him accountable,” said Waddups. “As teammates, you owe it to the guy next to you to come every day with your best no matter what you are doing”. Waddups, a former pitcher for Taylor University, has brought a whole new philosophy and routine to the pitching staff for MVNU.
“A lot goes into finding and hiring new coaches, it’s always good to get another perspective on the team,” Coach Veale said about hiring coach Waddups, and many pitchers have really taken a liking to their new program and coach. Aaron Saal, Crossroads League Player of the Year and All-American as a third baseman, also returns to the team, this time as a coach. Saal, batted .414 with 66 RBIs to go along with 12 home runs.
“[Saal] is a big loss on the field, but to be able to keep him around as a leader is big for the team,” said Veale. And with the hole from Saal to fill, the team will look for someone to step into the spotlight at the hot corner.
MVNU baseball has one thing left on their mind looking ahead -- another run at nationals. With 2021 behind them, the Cougars will look ahead too 2022 and beyond to find leadership and continue their success.
September 26, 2021 Ricky Geyer
Men’s Soccer: On a Quest to Reach their Potential
September 19, 2021 Mike Basko
The MVNU men’s soccer team has shot off to a strong season this year. Beginning the season with four straight wins, the team is pleased, but coach Zach Ganzberg knows that they have not yet reached their full potential. He said, “We are an aspiring championship team, just as someone would say they are an aspiring physician or an aspiring attorney. We have something off in the distance that we’re pursuing but being fully present, giving 100 percent effort, and relentlessly pursuing a competitive edge each and every moment is how we measure our progress. It’s an aspirational process.”
He continued, “I don’t want to make it seem like a finished product, because we are nowhere near reaching our potential.” Although he applauds the team's work ethic so far this season, he always keeps the next step in perspective.
Senior Gabri Burgos added, “We’re a pretty good team, and we’re very hopeful for what’s to come, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Senior goalkeeper Joshua Dunn also stated, “We don’t really like setting expectations and such; it’s more of that’s our goal, but we have these small steps to the goal first.”
The team culture is a large part of what defines the MVNU soccer team. Both Ganzberg and Burgos are also encouraged by the way the freshmen have burst onto the scene this year. Ganzberg said of them, “They’ve been incredibly productive, but also they bring a lot of energy and life to the team.”
Another major factor for the team is their diversity, as the players have come from many different backgrounds to MVNU. Ganzberg said of the team, “That’s part of who we are as a program, is being incredibly diverse and having common goals. One, [we have] an openness to spiritual growth, and two we love to play the game. That’s who we are.”
Dunn, who hails from Scotland, said of the team culture, “The team really has this bond that I’ve never been a part of before; in past years we’ve had that bond, but it really feels like a family now.”
Not only has the team gotten off to a strong start, but their gritty attitude of constant improvement and their bond on and off the field has created a buzz around the school. However, Ganzeberg noted that this team is not exclusively about playing soccer but also about the players’ growth as well. He said, “Soccer is not the end goal in and of itself. It’s the means of character development for our players.” He continued, “There’s no better anecdote than being part of a team and having some sort of team objectives and working day in and day out to meet it and then giving everything to accomplish it at the end.” He also stated that he is excited for the process with the players and to do everything he can do to get them to succeed.
The team is also thankful for the support of their fans, as Dunn said, “Come out and support us at home games. We really appreciate it!”