The Peru State football, volleyball and cross country teams are getting set to begin their seasons.
Read complete releases regarding the football team, volleyball team and the cross country team as well as the complete release announcing the hiring of Nebraska City alum and University of Nebraska grad Monte Ritchie as a gradate assistant for the PSC men's basketball team.
The Peru State football team will have 70 returning lettermen, 50 newcomers, and a new head coach as they prepare for their second year in Heart of America Athletic Conference play.
The HAAC features schools from Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. Peru State finished last year 2-7 in the conference with wins over Culver-Stockton College and Evangel University. The Bobcats dropped their only non-conference game to finish 2-8.
Coach Steve Schneider will lead the Bobcat program this year. He is the 24th head coach in school history.
Terry Clark, the head coach of the team last year, returns to the sideline this season in the role of defensive coordinator. Schneider will serve as the offensive coordinator and Lou Varley, former long-time head coach of the Nebraska City High School program, will serve as passing game coordinator. Varley is entering his fifth year as an assistant with the Bobcats.
For the first time since 2009, the team will be starting their season on the road against a non-conference opponent at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. They will be matched against the Trojans of Dakota State in Madison, S.D.
The Bobcats will open their home slate with a 1 p.m. kick off against Baker University on Sept. 1 at the Oak Bowl.
Schneider said he is cautiously optimistic going into the fall, but knows that the competition in the HAAC will be tough, especially since four of the teams are ranked in the first preseason poll.
“As a team as a whole, our main goals going into spring ball and winter conditioning were to become more physical and to enhance our unity,” Schneider said. “The team worked to improve each week and tried to take care of little things to become more fundamentally sound.”
Like the football team, the volleyball squad will begin its second year in the Heart of America Athletic Conference being led by a brand new coach.
Melvin Balogh came to Peru with seven years of NAIA experience, plus several more years of experience in club coaching and at the NCAA Division I level. Balogh is the fourteenth head coach in Bobcat volleyball history which began in the fall of 1971 under the direction of Bonnie Rutz.
This fall, four recruits have been transitioning into Balogh’s coaching system, joining eight returners, and one recruit who joined the squad last spring.
Last season, PSC finished in the middle of the pack at sixth with a 4-5 conference mark. The ‘Cats had to travel to Evangel to play in the quarterfinals and almost pulled off an upset, losing to the Crusaders in five sets.
Overall, the Bobcats finished with an 11-18 mark.
Balogh said he expects the HAAC to be tough.
“As a coach I am excited about competing in the HAAC,” Balogh said. “It is a very competitive conference. Not only do the teams compete at a high level, no matter the gym or night, any HAAC team can be the victor.”
The Peru State volleyball team will next be in action at home for a triangular against Central Christian and Grace College at 3 p.m. on Sept. 19.
Prospects for the Peru State College Bobcat women’s cross country team look brighter this year, despite having a smaller squad than in previous seasons.
Four of this year’s runners are returners with one or more years of experience. One new recruit will join the four with previous experience to make up this year’s 2012 team.
Johann Murray starts his eighth season as Head Coach for Women’s Cross Country.
Peru State will open its season on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. at the Tarkio Time Trial.