10 Memorable Fall 2021 NCAA DII Sports Moments
We created it. The year 2021 started off with a slightly different look in the spring. After watching abbreviated tournament grounds and the first DII spring football played, fall 2021 returned with a sense of normalcy.
If there is such a thing as normal in the world of sports.
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Fortunately for us, sport is anything but normal – a space where the unimaginable becomes reality. Back on the first semester of this year 2021-22 in DII sports. While we’d love to include every game that made national headlines and every team that excelled, here are a few moments that stood out from the rest.
10 memorable moments of fall 2021
Welcome to DII football, Jared Bernhardt
Ferris State hadn’t played football for almost two years. When the DII football semifinals opened the season, they had a new quarterback under center – former Maryland Division I lacrosse star and National Player of the Year Jared Bernhardt.
The ‘rookie’ quarterback used his eligibility to pursue his dreams of becoming a college football quarterback. In his debut against Findlay, he led the Bulldogs to a 54-14 victory. His numbers? Bernhardt threw for 218 yards, rushed for 120 more and totaled seven – SEVEN – touchdowns. A side note: that same Findlay team competed in the 2021 DII football championship tournament. It was not an inferior team that Bernhardt took advantage of and the rest, as they say, is history.
Cal State LA Gets Redemption at DII Men’s Soccer Field
The last time we saw official DII men’s football played, Charleston (WV) topped Cal State LA 2-0 in Pittsburgh, Pa. For their second national championship in three years. Fast forward to 2021, and we had all Golden Eagles’ second final in as many tries.
This time around, Cal State LA made program history, avenging its loss in 2019 and winning the program’s first national championship. Head coach Chris Chamides leaves the Golden Eagles as the school’s all-time leader in men’s and women’s soccer – which he coached from 2003 to 2012.
Descent to No. 1 in men’s and women’s basketball at the DII
November 13th will be an odd day when we look back and discuss the 2021-22 DII college basketball season. Northwestern Missouri State’s No.1 men’s preseason and women’s No.1 Lubbock Christian preseason were rocked by teams that weren’t even mentioned in national pre-season polls. season. To make the night even more bizarre, Drury – DII women’s basketball preseason # 2 – got rocked by the unranked Kentucky Wesleyan. Don’t worry, Flagler, the No. 2 in the DII men’s basketball preseason, took home a win on this crazy day. Unfortunately, the Saints were upset the day before.
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Right the Shipp: Raiders back on top of the DII field hockey world
Shippensburg’s quest to tie DII field hockey history with its fourth straight championship was thwarted in 2019, as West Chester won their third national title of the decade. What better way to start a new streak than to defeat the reigning national champions?
Four times to be precise. Shippensburg has beaten West Chester twice in the regular season, once in the PSAC Championship game and then again to win the National Championship. It was the Raiders’ fifth title in program history, but the first time they’ve done so with an undefeated mark, ending 2021 at 20-0. It was the first unbeaten DII field hockey season since 2010.
Once again it’s déjà vu: Tyson Bagent’s back-to-back Hail Marys
Winning a DII football playoff game in the dying seconds with a masterfully placed pitch is about as exciting as it gets. Well, at least until you do it again next week.
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That’s exactly what 2021 Harlon Hill Trophy winner Tyson Bagent did in Shepherd’s run to the DII football semifinals. First, Bagent connected with Josh Gontarek with a second left to defeat Notre Dame (OH) 38-34 before knocking down No.1 Kutztown 30-28 in the quarterfinals with no more left. of time on the counter.
DII Women’s Basketball DI Killers Strike Again
We don’t talk enough about Texas A & M-International in the DII women’s basketball landscape. For the third time in the past two seasons, the Dust Devils have beaten a Division I opponent and none of the games have been particularly close. The last casualty this season was Florida A&M, a DI team the Dust Devils beat 68-55.
Last season, the Dust Devils easily knocked out Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Weber State and the momentum has continued this season. Not only do they have another DI win on their CV, but the Dust Devils are also off to a 9-1 start, marking the best start in program history.
We are # 1 – for the very first time
A few programs have claimed first place in their respective polls this season. The UIndy men’s soccer program made its second consecutive trip to the national semifinals, but on September 21, the Greyhounds were named the No. 1 team for the first time in the program’s history. He was the first GLVC member to reach number 1 since 2016.
The Washburn women’s volleyball team has had a year of historic proportions. The Ichabods reached their first domestic championship game, but on September 20, after a 10-1 start, Washburn was named the No.1 team in the AVCA poll. They held the place for four straight weeks until MSU Denver took the lead. It was also the Roadrunners’ first time to reach the pinnacle of DII women’s volleyball, and they’ve held their own for five straight weeks.
Grand Valley State repeats… again… again
Well done to Ferris State. In a season dominated by Grand Valley State, the highest-winning program in DII women’s football history, the Bulldogs upset the Lakers in the GLIAC Championship game to claim their first-ever conference title. But that was the only mistake in the seventh round of the Lakers’ championship.
It was quite shocking to see the defending Lakers champions enter the season No. 9 in the preseason poll, especially since they had repeated the previous two times they had won a championship, even ” three times “from 2013 to 2015.” We don’t pay too much attention to the rankings, we take it one day at a time, “Lakers forward Kennedy Bearden said earlier in the season. “But we felt a bit salty, and I think it shows. We have a little chip on our shoulder.
When all is said and done, Grand Valley State rebounded from the loss to Ferris State, going 6-0 in the NCAA tournament, edging its opponents 16-3 and reverting to champions. Bearden, who assisted in the 2019 Championship gold goal, scored the winner of the game this year, forever marking his name in Lakers lore.
Seven DII Power 10 football teams fall on the same day
It was perhaps the most unpredictable DII football season ever, and Saturday, October 17 showed why. The West Florida No.1 was one of seven DII Power 10 football teams to lose, falling to West Georgia and blowing up the nationwide standings. It didn’t end there: Northwestern Missouri State No. 2 lost one to Washburn.
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No. 3 Ferris State resisted then-No. 7 Grand Valley State in an exciting Anchor-Bone Classic and jumped to first place. It was a place the Bulldogs weren’t going to give up, ending the season with a perfect 14-0 and winning their first DII football title in program history.
Damon Martin Rises to Most Successful NCAA Coaches List
The Adams State Grizzlies’ women’s cross-country team once again won the 2021 national championship. It was the 19th national championship in the program, all led by Hall of Fame head coach Damon Martin.
Martin dominated for long stretches, winning national championships each year from 1992 to 1999 and then again from 2003 to 2009. This title breaks a tie for sixth place and propels Martin to the top of the list for most titles by one. coach in one sport, tied for fourth all-time at 19. In cross country annals, men’s or women’s at any level, no one has done better.
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The win broke a tie with Al Carius of DIII North Central, Illinois to become the most successful cross-country head coach. Next on the list is Kenyon’s Jim Steen, who holds the top two spots with 29 titles in men’s swimming and diving DIII and another 21 on the women’s side (note: Anson Dorrance on UNC women’s football is tied at 21).