WMU News

Football and volleyball Broncos card big Homecoming wins

October 18, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University football and volleyball teams carded dramatic come-from-behind victories on Homecoming Saturday (Oct. 17) at WMU.


The Bronco football team put up enormous offensive numbers in a 45-35 win over Eastern Michigan with 659 yards in total offense. That erased a school record for total offense dating back to 1916.

Tim Lester completed 32 of 52 passes for a career-best 432 yards with three touchdowns. His 432 yards passing was also an all-time individual and team record for WMU. Steve Neal continued an awesome season with 184 receiving yards on nine catches. Mike Hutchings had 10 catches, a career high, good for 161 yards. Darnell Fields gained a career-best 179 yards on 28 carries.

The Broncos are 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Their next opponent is arch-rival Central Michigan. That game takes place in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 1 p.m. It is a must win for both teams if they wish to stay in the MAC West Division championship picture. CMU suffered its first MAC loss of the season this weekend, to previously winless Northern Illinois. Defending division champion Toledo also has only one MAC loss.


The Western Michigan University volleyball team recorded its third straight victory with a 3-2 win (10-15, 16-18, 15-2, 16-14, 15-12) over Bowling Green on Saturday (Oct. 17) at University Arena.

With the win, WMU improved to 13-7 overall, 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Western matched its 1997 win total by defeating the Falcons. WMU also won for the first time in more than a year when it had lost the first game of a match.

Earlier in the week, the Broncos lost sophomore defensive specialist and team co-captain Kelly Kuharski for the season, when she injured her left knee in Wednesday's practice. Kuharski had played in all 48 matches and all 173 games since the start of the 1997 season.

"We really stepped up to make up for the loss of Kelly (Kuharski)," head coach Cathy George said. "They played hard and pulled together."

Similar to Friday's (Oct. 16) 3-1 win over Akron, there were several heroes for WMU. Stefanie Rotunno and Mandy Whitfield recorded 21 and 20 kills, respectively. Rotunno had 13 digs for the double-double while Whitfield notched the double-double with 10 digs. Traci Morin hit .367 with 15 kills and eight blocks. Jen Nowak also turned in a strong night with 66 assists, 12 digs and five kills. Andrea Cole continued her solid play with seven kills and eight blocks. Monyka Paul hit .350 with nine kills and 12 digs.

"Our offense and blocking has been strong," George said. "We have to play to our strengths and do well at the things we're good at."

The Broncos play a key MAC match on Wednesday, Oct. 21, when they travel to Muncie, Ind., to take on the Ball State Cardinals. Western is home for a Friday, Oct. 23, match against Buffalo and a Saturday, Oct . 24, contest against league-leading Miami (Ohio). Both matches start at 7 p.m. at University Arena.

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