Sports Editor’s note: This is the third part of a three-part series highlight Belton sports and teams from 2014. The Best of Moments ran in the December 25, 2014’s sports page and The Best of Teams Part I ran in January 1, 2015’s sports page.
There were many teams in Belton and in the area that had standout seasons and some that are in the improvement stage.
With Belton High School, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton Youth Baseball Association, Belton Youth Softball Association and CenTex Rollergirls having teams that have done well in 2014, we have divided the year into two separate team features over two weeks.
In the Dec. 25 issue, we featured Moments of 2014. There were many, but the selected were quite a few. In the January 1 issue, we featured the first part of the Teams of 2014. .
Without further adieu, here is the second part of the two-part series featuring the Teams of 2014:
Belton High School Soccer (Boys: Bi-District finalists, Girls: Bi-District Champions, Area Finalists)
Belton Soccer continues to flourish as one of the area’s top programs. Both the Tigers and Lady Tigers excelled in District 8-5A play, qualifying for the Bi-District Playoff rounds.
The girls blitzed Mansfield Timberview 4-1 in Waco in the Bi-District round and faced Flower Mound Marcus in a physically-demanding contest.
In a game that involved a takedown of Aubrey Martinez in the goal box by a Marcus 8:30 that was not called and caught on photo, a 70-minute lightning delay and furious charge from the Tigers.
The no-call affected the Lady Tigers, as a goal by Marcus with 10:25 to go in second half to down Belton 1-0 and end the Lady Tigers season at 17-2-3.
The Tigers were involved in a battle of epic proportions in their Bi-District tilt with District 7-5 Mansfield. The two teams played hard, especially with Mansfield bringing chippy and hard-nosed play that forced officials to card several players. The winds blowing south added a whole new dimension, with Belton nearly scoring on four kicks from midfield. Mansfield had leads of 1-0 and 2-1. Brandan Coulter’s 55-yard blast at the 21:08 left tied the score at 1-1 and Ryan Parker tied the score at 2-2 with 2:35 left. The late goal forced an overtime session, which proved fruitless on both sides. Mansfield won the match 3-2 on penalty kicks, ending Belton’s season in heartbreaking fashion. Both teams graduated key players, but have many returning players.
UMHB Football (11-1 overall, fifth consecutive 10-0 regular season, 5-0 ASC Champions, NCAA Division III Second Round)
There is a lot to be said about a team that has made it to the NCAA Division III Playoffs at least two rounds deep each of the last 10 years.
UMHB has not lost a regular season game since Oct. 17, 2010, has not lost a game in Belton since Oct. 28, 2006 and lost just one home game since Oct. 23, 2004.
They have only lost six American Southwest games in 15 seasons.
The Crusaders had another unbelievable offensive season, gaining 5,649 yards and scoring 629 points. The 629 points included five games over 50 points. And another American Southwest Conference title.
In the opening round of the playoffs, the game with Texas Lutheran was held over two days due to a lightning storm. The Cru hung on to win 27-20 to advance to the second round to take on Linfield College in Belton.
The Cru led early, but could not put Linfield away and trailed by 10 points in the third quarter. UMHB scored towards the end of the quarter, but couldn’t get the tying score.
UMHB returns a tough team for 2015 and will be vying for another conference title and challenge for a national championship.
UMHB Baseball (26-17 overall, 19-14 conference, fourth place)
Crusader Baseball experienced another successful year under Ben Shipp.
The Cru finished fourth in the tough American Southwest Conference with a 19-14 record.
Led by the bats of Will Stafford, Chase Burrow, KJ Stark, Dakota Parsons and Rob Loewe, the team batted .290 with 241 runs batted in, 417 hits and 75 doubles.
Ian Ekery and Jordan Mattke led the starting pitching. Danny Horstman and Seth Barrow were solid middle-men and Aaron Barteau (6-1, 7 saves, 0.95 ERA) was one of the best closers in the conference.
UMHB started the season 15-3 before meeting some great teams and breaking even the rest of the way.
The 2015 Crusaders are brimming with talent and are poised for a solid year.
UMHB Softball (30-14 overall, 23-10 conference, fourth place)
The Lady Crusaders recovered from an 0-4 start to get to 14-12, playing some of the best teams in the American Southwest Conference.
In April 2014, the UMHB Lady Crusaders were one of the most dominant teams in the country.
During their 16-game winning streak, they had eight shutouts (two four-shutout streaks), allowed just 14 runs runs while scoring 122.
Rebekah Ragsdale won 20 games for UMHB, while Haley Phillips and Halle Sabo had solid years in the circle for the Cru.
Leah Brown, Tori Gomez, Kourney Bevers, Janie Neyland, Miranda Hinojosa and Dayton Kunz had great offensive years for the Crusaders.
The core of the 2014 squad returns for the 2015 season.
CenTex Rollergirls (Division III World Flat Track Derby, WFTDA rank No. 166, 8-5 on year. All losses to Division I teams at Dust Devil National Tournament in Arizona and Stars and Stripes Tournament in Dallas)
From the concrete pads of Chisholm Trail Park to the competition track of the Mayborn Civic Center in Temple, CTRG spent their first calendar year in WFTDA playing sanctioned matches, non-sanctioned matches and house matches building towards 2015.
Starting the year at No. 131 in the world upon the January 2014 WFTDA poll, the team traveled to Dallas for Stars and Stripes Roller Derby Tournament and the prestigious Dust Devil Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
Learning more by playing Division I WFTDA teams, CTRG sustained their five losses of the year in tournament play. But the competition helped CenTex build confidence and reeled off eight straight wins over the final eight months of the season.
Although they finished the year as the No. 166 team in the world, CenTex is still on the upswing.
“The goal for 2015 is to play one sanctioned game a month,” CTRG head coach/jammer Zee Kelly said. “We want to have a good season, go up in the rankings and move up to Division II in WFTDA.”
Two bouts that were the highlight of the CTRG season were not in the win/loss column, but were two house bouts between the Sirens and the Brutal Betties in the middle of the season.
The Sirens was CenTex’s long-standing house team, while the Brutal Betties were the brand new team under CTRG. Both bouts were ultra competitive and ended with each team capturing one point victories, with the first game going to a sudden-death jam.
CTRG is also looking for skaters in 2015. Visit centexrollergirls.com or like them on their Facebook at CenTex Rollergirls.
UMHB Soccer (Men: 8-7-3, 4-2-3 ASC, ASC Semifinals. Women: 9-5-2, 6-1-2 ASC, ASC Quarterfinals)
The UMHB Soccer Program experienced a great season in 2014, with the teams combining for a 17-12-5 record and an ASC record of 10-3-5.
The mens’ team scored 28 goals in 18 games, with Case Carnes leading the way with five goals. Ben Hammonds, Julio Mar and John Williams each had four goals for the Cru.
The Cru outscored teams in conference play 18-13, as they bring much of the core back for Fall 2015.
The womens’ team outscored opponents 37-15 in 16 games. Kat Parker, the former Belton Lady Tiger, led the Lady Cru in scoring with nine goals and 10 assists for 28 points. Cameron Shivers had seven goals and Kristen Hoelscher added six for UMHB.
The Lady Cru outscored conference foes 31-6, as Courtney Craig and Morgan Prentice played lights out goal.
UMHB returns many of the starters in 2015, putting the Lady Crusaders in good position for Fall soccer.