MCC athletics set for the busiest spring ever
The college volleyball and basketball seasons have finally arrived at McCook Community College and after COVID-19 sidelined all fall sports, the college is gearing up for one of the busiest springs ever. That means between Friday and May 3, MCC’s 100 student athletes will be involved in 193 regular-season, single-day sporting contests in 101 days.
All games at the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center, the Jaycees Sports Complex, and Heritage Hills Golf Course will operate under protocols set by Mid-Plains Community College administration and in accordance with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Directed Health Measures and the local health departments regarding number of fans and heightened disinfection practices. College officials will continue to monitor the most up-to-date information prior to making a decision on public attendance for the first scheduled home games on Jan. 29-30. A decision to allow spectators may change at any time during the athletic season. All college events will require those in attendance to wear masks. Further protocols will be announced prior to the start of the home schedule.
While it is pretty much business as usual for the college’s three spring sports – baseball, softball and men’s golf -- the schedules will be a lot different this year for volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball. All three of those sports will play entirely in the spring and games will be played mostly against Region IX and Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference opponents.
After 12 MCC games in January (men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball), the sports schedule heats up when the softball and baseball teams begin play to bring the total of 54 games in February. Then in March the busiest schedule in MCC history happens with all six sports overlapping and the six teams scheduled to play a total of 74 athletic contests (31 at home).
When the regular season for the basketball and volleyball teams wind down in late March and early April, baseball, softball and golf play 42 games in April and six more regular season games in May.
For a look at the complete schedules for all six MCC athletic teams, rosters, statistics, photos and more, please visit the official website of McCook Community College Indian Athletics at: mccindians.com
Here is a capsule of the 2021 spring schedules for each of the sports:
VOLLEYBALL: For the first time ever the Lady Indians will switch from a fall schedule to the spring.
Last season the Lady Indians played 33 regular season games including 16 non-conference opponents to start the season and one to finish out the regular season. Overall, there were nine home contests. The 2021 schedule calls for 25 games overall and just one opponent outside the region or the conference.
The season begins Friday in Scottsbluff at the Western Nebraska Crossover Classic with MCC playing four games. Two weeks later, MCC will host its own invite Feb. 5-6, with four games slated. Because of the large number of athletes involved, no fans will be allowed for this tournament. All tournament games and home games during the season will be live-streamed with a link available through “Tribe Watch” accessed through Fanzone on the MCC Athletics website at: https://mccindians.com/sports/2016/11/10/tw.aspx?tab=tribewatch
After the two tournaments, all but one of the matches on the schedule between Feb. 12 and March 18 are home-and-home games with the five other Region IX South Division opponents (Western Nebraska, Northeastern Junior College, Trinidad State, Otero and Lamar) and home-and-home games with the three other teams in the NCCAC (North Platte, Southeast Community College and Central Community College-Columbus.)
The Region IX tournament is set for March 31-April 3 at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gymnasium in Casper, Wyo.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Last season the Indians played 30 regular-season games including 11 opponents outside Region IX South and the NCCAC. This year’s slate calls for 22 games and six nonconference and all but one of those are against Region IX north opponents.
The Indians, under first-year coach Jacob Brandl, will start the season Friday and Saturday in Wyoming against Laramie County Community College and Eastern Wyoming and will be home six straight times between Jan. 29 and Feb. 16. MCC will play home-and-home games against the six other teams in the Region IX South Division (Northeastern JC, Otero, Western Nebraska, Lamar, North Platte and Trinidad State) as well as home-and-home series with the three teams in the NCCAC.
The men’s Region IX tournament is set for April 3-10.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Last season the Lady Indians played 30 regular-season games including 14 outside Region IX South and the NCCAC. This year there are 22 games on the schedule and only two outside the region or the conference.
The MCC women, under Coach Brandon Pritchett, will open the season this weekend at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo. and Eastern Wyoming in Torrington, Wyo. The Lady Indians will open at home Jan. 29 against Southeast Community College, the first of six straight home games running through Feb. 16.
MCC will play the five other Region IX South opponents both home and away as well as the three opponents in the NCCAC. The first round of the women’s Region IX tournament begins April 3, with the semi-finals and finals on April 8-10.
BASEBALL: The Indians will make their annual season-opening trip to Texas Feb. 5-6 to take on TCS Baseball and Cisco Junior College and a week later Clarendon College in a pair of double-headers.
The home-opener is set for Feb. 16 against Garden City Community College.
MCC plays 56 games including 22 at home with the biggest change in the being that Luna Community College (Las Vegas, N.M.) has joined Region IX which will now be split into north and south divisions.
MCC was placed in the north division with Northeastern Junior College, Southeast Community College, and Nebraska Western. The Indians will play everyone in the north division six times (two home-and-home, three-game series) and play the south division teams (Trinidad, Otero, Luna and Lamar) four times each at alternating sites each year. This year MCC will have home series with Lamar and Otero with road series at Trinidad, Colo., and Las Vegas, N.M. where the Rough Riders went 7-18 in the spring of 2020.
MCC Coach Jon Olsen said the post-season format has changed as well with all teams making the Region IX playoffs May 7-9. The first round will be a best-of-three series followed by a four-team double-elimination tournament.
SOFTBALL: The Lady Indians have a 56-game slate this year starting Feb. 6 at the Southeastern Community College Turf Tournament in West Burlington, Iowa.
Second-year coach Kevin Kaalberg and his squad will play 12 home doubleheaders starting Feb. 26 against Iowa Western. The Lady Indians will play 12 games against NCCAC foes including a home doubleheader March 31 against North Platte and a road twinbill April 28 at North Platte.
Like baseball, Luna Community College has been added to the region so MCC adds a March 20 road trip to Las Vegas, N.M. to take on the Lady Rough Riders. Luna was 4-7 a season ago before the season ended because of COVID-19.
In addition to playing doubleheaders at home and away against each of the six other Region IX opponents, all the teams will gather March 5-7 in Lamar, Colo., and play each other one time.
MEN’S GOLF: While the season was cut in half by the postponement of the fall portion of the schedule, the MCC golfers will have just six weeks – six two-day tournaments -- to try and make a third-straight appearance at the national championship tournament, under Coach Tyler Loop. In most years, the fall schedule is combined with the spring schedule for year-long point standings, but this year it all comes down to the six spring dates.
The season begins March 25 at La Junta, Colo. with stops at Lamar, Sterling, Colo., Torrington, Wyo., and Riverton, Wyo. MCC will be home to host the MCC Invite April 8-9 at Heritage Hills Golf Course.
The National Tournament is set for May 10-13 at the Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas.