Black and Gold to Indy for exhibition contest

Black and Gold to Indy for exhibition contest

Manchester University continues preparations for the 2013-14 season tonight with an exhibition game at Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis.

Game specifics: Tipoff is 7:00 p.m. at The Jungle on IUPUI's campus … Live statistics and audio can be accessed at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.

Spartan Season Glance:The pieces are on the board for a successful Manchester University season.

Now, it's up to Coach Josh Dzurick and his staff to put them together.

The Spartans, picked fifth on the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference preseason poll, have ingredients to climb even higher. With the three top scorers and two of the top three rebounders back from 2012-13, fans of the Spartans eagerly await the new year.

"I like the chemistry we have so far," Dzurick said. "There's positives from the veterans and newcomers.

"We have some good leadership with senior forward Erynn Meiklejohn and junior forward Abby Lang," he added. "The freshmen have come in and worked very hard as well. It all comes down to how well we work together and gel as a team."

The main part of the Black and Gold picture is built around Meiklejohn. A three-time all-HCAC honoree, the Fort Wayne native averaged just under double figures in points a year ago (9.2) and grabbed 4.6 boards per game. She was also the leading shot blocker (20) and was among the top four in steals (24) last winter.

"It's great having someone like Erynn from a leadership perspective," Dzurick said. "She understands our goals and wants to have the team reach them."

Lang, a native of Indianapolis, got involved in many areas in 2012-13. She ranked third in scoring (5.8 ppg) and rebounding (4.0 rpg) while accumulating double digits in blocked shots (13), steals (18) and assists (21)..

"Abby is a true measure of a team captain," Dzurick said. "She's always willing to ask what else needs to be done and wants to go the extra mile to make herself and the team better."

The duo's presence aids MU's inside game opportunities. Junior Alyssa Hammond (Osgood, Ind.) and sophomore Stephanie Barmes (Greenwood, Ind.) provide depth in that area, too. Hammond averaged 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while blocking 17 shots in 27 games played, while Barmes is in her first year after transferring from Parkland Community College.

"Alyssa really made strong strides late last season, so I'm expecting her to provide strong numbers this year," Dzurick said. "She'll have to work through some early-season injuries. Stephanie is a nice addition height-wise (at six feet, two inches)."

On the outside, MU has more impressive numbers. The guard area features junior Jocelyn Hamilton (Columbus, Ind.), sophomores Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.), Kelcey Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.), Alyssa Smith (Bluffton, Ind.) and Katie Arterburn (Indianapolis, Ind.). Hamilton joined Lang as one of two Spartans to play and start in all 27 games last season. She topped the squad in assists (60). Kruger and Smith also earned valuable court time during their freshman seasons, appearing in 19 (Kruger) and 24 (Smith) games. Arterburn, averaging 8.8 points per contest, showed strong scoring upside, ranking in the league's top five throughout her freshman campaign, due in large part to a keen eye from outside the arc where she hit 37 of 120 attempts en route to honorable mention and all-HCAC freshman team awards. MU's head coach has been impressed with Daugherty's strong preseason, too.

"Jocelyn will be a good leader for the guards," Dzurick said. "Her experiences in Brazil have already shown themselves in the preseason. Kruger, Daugherty, Smith and Arterburn each add the opportunity for our offense to get up and down the floor along with some point production.

2013-14 Opener: MU hosts the Main View Tipoff Tournament Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16. Joining the Spartans at the annual event are Kalamazoo College of Michigan, Ohio Northern University and Carthage College ofWisconsin.