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Bob Nichols Court in Savage Arena to Feature New Design

The University of Toledo’s Savage Arena will feature a new design on Bob Nichols Court for the upcoming men’s basketball, women’s basketball and women’s volleyball seasons.

The design change to the court is the first since a slight modification in 2013 from the original surface when the new Savage Arena debuted in 2008. The entire process took approximately two weeks and was performed by a Toledo-area business, Robert’s Floors.

Originally known as Centennial Hall when it was built in 1976, the arena was renamed Savage Hall in 1988 and then became Savage Arena in 2008 as part of a $30 million renovation project. With that project, the facility was expanded to include the adjoining Sullivan Athletic Complex.

“I think the court looks phenomenal. It looks clean. It looks bright. It looks fresh,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “I know our players are really excited about it, and I think the community will absolutely love it.”

“I love the new, clean and sleek look of the floor,” Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop said. “I appreciate the fact our administration is always looking for ways to enhance and improve our already first-class facility.”

“Everything Toledo does is top-notch, and the new court design is no different. I think it looks terrific,” Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Jason Oliver said. “Savage Arena is an amazing venue, and the new court design will be a great focal point for both spectators and recruits.”

The women’s volleyball program will open its 2019 season in Savage Arena when it holds the Blue & Gold Tournament Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30 and 31. The Rockets also will host the University of Indianapolis in an exhibition match Saturday, Aug. 24.

To purchase tickets for volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball, visit the Rocket Athletic Ticket Office at the Sullivan Athletic Complex in Savage Arena, contact the Rocket Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653), or go online to the Toledo ticket central website

UToledo employees can purchase tickets at half price; and UToledo students are admitted free with ID.

Downtown Coaches Association Luncheons to Kick Off Aug. 26

The Downtown Coaches Association of The University of Toledo will hold its first luncheon for the 2019-20 athletic year Monday, Aug. 26, in the Savage Arena Grogan Room.

A buffet lunch is available beginning at 11:30 a.m. for $15. The program featuring Head Football Coach Jason Candle will start at noon.

Football Coach Jason Candle will be the guest speaker at the Downtown Coaches Association luncheon Monday, Aug. 26.

Anyone interested in Rocket athletics is encouraged to attend. Annual membership dues are $40, and a joint membership for couples is available for $50.

Each week, members will hear from Rocket coaches, student-athletes and other special guests.

Due to Labor Day, the second meeting of the Downtown Coaches Association will be held Tuesday, Sept. 3, and then will meet every Monday after that.

Fans can join at the first meeting, online at the Downtown Coaches Association website, or by calling 419.530.5087.

Coach’s Radio Show Moves to Stubborn Brother Pizza Bar

The University of Toledo Coach’s Show will kick off the 2019 season at a new home — The Stubborn Brother Pizza Bar, 3115 W. Bancroft St., on Main Campus.

The live radio show features Toledo coaches and student-athletes, and is carried on the Rocket Sports Radio Network (WSPD AM 1370 in Toledo) every Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. The show features interviews, highlights, previews, and a chance for Rocket fans to ask the featured coach questions in person or by phone.

The show will make its 2019 debut Monday, Aug. 26, with host Brent Balbinot and Head Football Coach Jason Candle.

“The Stubborn Brother Pizza Bar owners and staff are thrilled to be connected to The University of Toledo through the Coach’s Show,” said Stubborn Brother owner Gabrielle Mancy. “Each day, as our business has grown, our location has proven to be a great spot for us to connect to the neighborhoods around us, as well as the University community. We are grateful for their continued support.”

The Stubborn Brother’s location on campus and across from the Old Orchard neighborhood is easy to access for UToledo students, faculty, staff and community members. Ample parking is located in the rear of the building.

The pizza bar is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Former Soccer Player Signs to Play With Sevilla in Spain

Former University of Toledo women’s soccer player Isa Echeverri has signed to play for Sevilla FC in Spain.

Echeverri previously played for the Greek club Elpides Karditsas FC and the Columbian national team. Echeverri will join Natalia Gaitan, former Rocket and fellow Columbian native, in the Primera Division. Gaitan plays for Valencia CF Femenino.

“It’s no surprise that Isa is getting this opportunity in Spain. She was an unbelievable player during her time with the Rockets,” said Head Coach TJ Buchholz. “She is very deserving of getting to play with one of the best teams in the world. This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for her. Sevilla is getting an exceptional player and fantastic leader. We are looking forward to watching her do great things in Spain this season.”

A 2017 graduate, Echeverri built an impressive resumé as a Rocket that includes multiple conference and regional recognitions. Leading the offense during the 2017 season, Echeverri scored six goals, including three game-winners, helping the Rockets to their fifth Mid-American Conference Tournament title. Echeverri’s efforts earned her a spot on the All-MAC Tournament Team, All-MAC First Team, and All-Region Great Lakes Third Team.

The Medellin, Columbia, native was named to the All-MAC First and Second Team twice during her career, as well as two All-Region Great Lakes Third Team accolades. In 2014, Echeverri scored four goals and earned a spot on the All-MAC Freshmen Team. She was named the Rockets’ Offensive Most Valuable Player her sophomore year, finishing fourth in the MAC in scoring. She also earned the team’s MVP in her final season in the Glass City. Echeverri finished her Rocket career with 14 goals, including seven game-winners, and five assists.

Echeverri was successful off the field as well, earning Academic All-MAC and Distinguished Scholar Athlete honors during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Professionally, Echeverri competed for the Columbian national team at the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. She also competed at the 2014 Copa America Femenina Tournament and the 2015 Pan-American Games. As a member of the Houston Aces, the 2018 United Women’s Soccer National Champions, Echeverri scored three goals in seven games.

UToledo Schedules Three-Game Football Series With Kentucky

The University of Toledo football team will play a three-game series with the University of Kentucky beginning in 2025.

The Rockets will host the Wildcats in 2027 and will travel to Lexington in 2025 and 2028.

The Rockets will open their 2019 season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31.

The three-game series is in addition to a game already scheduled between the two schools this year. Toledo plays at Kentucky in the 2019 season opener Saturday, Aug. 31, the first ever meeting between the Rockets and Wildcats. Kickoff is set for noon on the SEC Network.

Kentucky will be the second SEC school to visit the Glass Bowl. Missouri played at Toledo in 2014.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

Following the Kentucky game Aug. 31, the Rockets will host Murray State Saturday, Sept. 14.

UToledo students are admitted free with their Rocket ID; faculty and staff can buy tickets half price with ID.

For season tickets or single-game tickets, go to the Toledo Football Central website or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Former Rockets to Tee Off Aug. 22 in California

Former Rockets Pimchanok Kawil and Pinyada Kuvanun are set to embark on their path to becoming professional golfers. The duo will participate in the first stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament this week at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif.

The 72-hole, four-day tournament will begin Thursday, Aug. 22, with a cut after 54 holes. The top 60 finishers will advance to Stage II, which will be held Oct. 12-17 in Venice, Fla.

Pimchanok Kawil, left, and Pinyada Kuvanun will play in the LPGA Q School Qualifying Tournament this weekend.

Live scoring for the Q school qualifying can be found on the LPGA and Symetra Tour website.

“The opportunity for Pim (Pimchanok) and Bright (Pinyada) is incredible for them and our program,” Head Coach Jenny Coluccio said. “The time and dedication these two have invested in themselves and their games is a key reason why they have reached this level. We enjoyed every minute of their senior years and worked from the very beginning to prepare them for the start of their professional careers.”

Coluccio said that an objective she has for the Rockets’ program going forward is providing graduates the opportunity to play at a professional level if they desire.

“One goal we have for each player to enter our program is to love the game even more than when they leave our program, even if it doesn’t become their profession,” Coluccio said. “I’m thrilled these two have a continued passion for it, and we are here to support them along the way.”

Kuvanun already has been playing some professional events this summer, highlighted by a fifth-place tie at a Cactus Tour event in Rancho Mirage, Calif. July 30-Aug. 1. The Khonkean, Thailand, native carded a three-under 213 (73-70-70) on one of the courses that will be utilized in the qualifier.

“I have tried to gain information from playing at the courses that are used in the qualifier,” said Kuvanun, who holds school records for season (72.9) and career (73.7) stroke average. “I played them in tournament mode, and I imagined how I was going to play during Q-School. Playing well at the Cactus Tour event helps me feel more confident with my shot and my course management overall.

“The key for me at the qualifier is to remind myself of my goal and to never give up,” Kuvanun continued. “I know that it is going to be challenging, and I believe coming to The University of Toledo has helped me prepare me for this great opportunity.”

Kawil also played the Cactus Tour event in Rancho Mirage and tied for 36th place with a seven-over par 223 (75-73-75). The Chiang Mai, Thailand, native holds the Rockets’ school records for lowest 18-hole (65) and 54-hole (208) rounds.

“I am excited and looking forward to play in the Q-School, and I want to thank The University of Toledo for giving me the opportunity to come and experience college golf in the United States,” Kawil said. “Having a chance to play a tournament on the Cactus Tour helps me with my confidence and helps me get to know what I need to practice in order to be ready.

“It is going to be one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve played, but I have put all the work in and did everything that I need to do in order to feel prepared” Kawil said. “I am going to just do my best, play easy golf, have fun and enjoy my game.”

Men’s Basketball Places MAC-High Four Honorees in National Honors Court

University of Toledo men’s basketball players James Gordon IV, Luke Knapke, Spencer Littleson and Matt Schaffer have been named to the 2018-19 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court.

To be eligible, a student-athlete has to be a member of the varsity squad with junior or senior status and hold a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher at the conclusion of the academic year.

Knapke and Gordon each earned their bachelor’s degrees this past spring with grade-point averages of 3.409 and 3.208, respectively. Littleson possesses a 3.455 GPA, while Schaffer holds a 3.417 mark.

Toledo was one of three Mid-American Conference programs recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court, joining Central Michigan and Western Michigan. The Rockets led the way with four representatives with the Broncos ranking second with three and the Chippewas third with two.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches also honored the Toledo men’s basketball program recently with the Team Academic Excellence Award, an honor for programs that post a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better for an entire academic year.

The Rockets have received the award in four of the last six seasons and were one of two Mid-American Conference schools to be honored this year. Toledo also was one of 40 NCAA Division I-affiliated programs to notch a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Men’s Tennis Named All-Academic Team

The University of Toledo men’s tennis team earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team honors and tallied seven All-Academic Scholar-Athletes.

“To have seven of our student-athletes named as Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Scholar-Athletes is truly phenomenal,” said Head Coach Al Wermer. “I’m in awe of what our players are doing in the classroom and grateful for our academic support on our campus.”

Seniors Vince Anzalone, Omar Espinosa, Serjen Olmedo and Luka Vitosevic, juniors Thawin Suksathaporn and Danilo Vukotic, and freshman Cole Shoults earned individual scholar-athlete honors after maintaining GPAs of 3.50 for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team award is open to any association program that has a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.20 or above.

In order for student-athletes to earn Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete honors, a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of 3.50 or higher for the current academic year, and have been enrolled at their current institution for at least two semesters.

Women’s Basketball Team Visits Vatican City on Final Day of Italy Trip

The Toledo women’s basketball team wrapped up its last day in Italy Monday with a visit to Vatican City.

“This whole trip was very, very special to me,” said senior Mariella Santucci, a native of Bologna. “It meant a lot to have my teammates, coaches and quite a few fans make the trip to my home country. I loved showing off my culture and way of life to them, and I think they loved it back.”

Toledo put the finishing touches on its Italy trip Monday with a tour of Vatican City,
including a stop at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Toledo received a more than three-hour guided tour of the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. They had a chance to walk through the home of the pope and see iconic art and architecture.

Within the city-state surrounded by Rome, the Rockets toured the Vatican Museum, which houses ancient Roman sculptures such as the famed “Laocoön and His Sons,” the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling, and St. Peter’s Basilica, designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. St. Peter’s Basilica also is the largest church in the world.

“Today’s tour was very cool,” junior Mariah Copeland said. “Going to Notre Dame Academy, we talked a lot about Vatican City, but it doesn’t fully register unless you’ve actually been there before. Getting the opportunity to tour it and see all of those beautiful sites and artworks was pretty special.”

The Rockets then put the finishing touches of the trip this evening with a farewell dinner with the entire travel party at Tanagra Caffé Concerto.

The team is slated to fly out of Leonardo da Vinci International Airport Tuesday morning and make the 10-hour return trip to Detroit Metro Airport.

UToledo Swimmer Finishes Sixth in Two Events at Pan-Am Games

Incoming freshman Madison Broad of The University of Toledo swimming and diving team represented her home country, Canada, in the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 Pan-American Games last week in Lima, Peru.

“This meet was a great stepping stone in Madison’s international and upcoming NCAA career,” said Head Coach Jonas Persson, . “She raced some really fast swimmers, which helped her gain experience and will make the transition to competing in big collegiate meets easier. Two sixth-place finishes at a meet like this is a big deal, and it was great to see her have so much success.”

On Aug. 7, Broad competed in the preliminary round of the 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 2:14.25 and securing a place in the A-finals. Swimming in lane seven, Broad was able to drop nearly two seconds off her time to finish sixth. The Wallaceburg, Ontario, native clocked a 2:12.82 in the final round, finishing nearly four seconds ahead of Florencia Perotti from Argentina who took seventh.

Finishing up at the Pan-Am Games Aug. 8, Broad saw herself in the A-finals of the 100 backstroke, after clocking in at 1:02.99 during the third heat of the preliminary round. Competing in lane one of the A-finals, Broad posted a time of 1:02.44 to finish in sixth place, less than a second behind Fernanda De Goeij from Brazil.

Broad’s personal best time of 2:09.45 in the 200 backstroke is ranked 18th in the world and is the 88th-fastest time in history.

She will be joining the Rockets this fall, looking to make an immediate impact in the backstroke events.