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Falcon winter sports enjoying early success

December 9, 2011

The Falcon basketball and hockey teams are starting the 2011-12 season strong with few losses and being ranked nationally.

As of Dec. 6, men’s hockey and women’s basketball are undefeated, while women’s hockey has eight wins and one loss, and men’s basketball has five wins and two losses.

UW-River Falls winter sports haven’t started a season with such great success since the 2002-03 season, said Sports Information Director Jim Thies.

“This is a great excitement to the campus, it’s a lot more fun, they feed off each other, the fans get excited and the players get excited and want to play better,” Thies said.

As of Dec. 6, the men’s basketball team has a 5-2 record and beat the defending national champions at the Falcon’s home opener against St. Thomas.

Women’s basketball continues to stay undefeated and play strong and is tied with UW-Stevens Point for first in the WIAC standings. They are currently ranked No. 18 in the nation.

Thies said the rest of the winter season looks promising but there are still aspects that you can’t control. “You look at the teams, and you have to stay healthy and eligible, those are things you can’t predict,” Thies said.

The men’s hockey team is also undefeated as of Dec. 6 and overcame St. Norbert twice, which is the team that was victorious over the Falcons in the semifinals of the Peters Cup Playoffs last season and are the defending national champions. In the 2002-03 season, the last game the Falcons lost was to St. Norbert, according to the UWRF website. The Falcons are ranked No. 3 in the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll behind Norwich and Oswego, as of Dec. 5.

Women’s hockey has succeeded with an 8-1 record. Their loss against UW-Superior in overtime was rebutted with a win the next night against Superior. The Falcons are ranked No. 7 in the USCHO poll as of Dec. 5, while UW-Superior is ranked No 9.

The women’s hockey team has been solid for quite a while, Thies said, they’re a really strong team.

Athletic Director Roger Ternes said intercollegiate athletics can stimulate the spirit on a college campus and having successful sports teams can be the catalyst to ignite that special school spirit.

“Providing students and student-athletes with a quality experience is one of the goals of a competitive athletic program,” Ternes said.

Traditionally, the athletics program is a strong program, Thies said, there are a lot of young athletes to look forward to in later seasons.

“It’s going to be a great winter,” Thies said.