While they are only exhibition games on the St. Catharine schedule, J.T. Burton’s Patriots will have two contests this week that will go a long way to indicate where the team stands as the season’s second half gets underway.
Wednesday at 4:30 (EST) Burton’s bunch will play the Bellarmine Knights, a team currently ranked # 1 in NCAA D-II. Then Thursday the Patriots will play Southern Indiana University that is ranked #15 among NCAA D-II schools. St. Catharine will take a 9-2 record and a #15 NAIA ranking into the two games. Bellarmine is 7-0 and SIU is 7-1. Both games will be played at Southern Indiana University in Evansville.
“They obviously are two very good teams,” said Burton whose team’s two losses have both been to Georgetown this season. “Hopefully we can play well and get some momentum for the upcoming conference schedule.”
While the Patriot men are making the relatively short trek to southern Indiana, Lena Bramblett’s St. Catharine women’s team will be in southern Florida for two games. On Wednesday the Patriots, 6-7, will be playing Ave Maria University in Naples. On Thursday they will be playing a Kentucky neighbor as they will take on Brescia University. Ave Maria is an NAIA team like St. Catharine but is also affiliated with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) in which they were ranked #1 nationally in the latest polls. Ave Maria currently is 5-4 overall. Brescia is currently 9-2 and ranked 16th nationally in the latest NAIA D-II poll.
“This is a good trip for our players who have worked very hard to earn the money for it,” said Bramblett. “It will also be a good test for us before we get back to conference games.” The Patriot women will be back at home Monday for a 6:00 game against Mid-Continent University.