Briley shines in first season with Division II Wilmington
At the beginning of the college volleyball season in August, Allie Briley was given the opportunity to make an impact with the women's squad at Wilmington University, an NCAA Division II school in Newark, Del.
The 2013 Gateway graduate has taken advantage of that opportunity and has carved her niche into the starting lineup for one of the top Division II programs in the region.
“In the beginning, I was a little nervous, and I felt pressure because it was a new environment going into a college-level sport,” Briley said.
“But my teammates and coaches have been so supportive and helpful. In the end, it made my transition a lot easier. Once I found my place, it really boosted my confidence.”
She has helped Wilmington to a 21-9 overall record and a 16-2 mark in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
“Allie has been a tremendous addition to our program,” head coach Kim Huggins-Habbert said.
“She gives you 100 percent every time she's on the court. She brings a lot of energy and heart. She is one of our top five recruits we've found in the last decade.”
Briley's play in October gained the attention of the CACC last week, as she was named the conference's Rookie of the Week on Oct. 28.
“I am doing everything I can to get better, and the fact that other people see that and recognize that is a great honor,” Briley said.
“It just makes me want to work even harder.”
She helped the Wildcats to a 2-1 week from Oct. 23-26 and had 42 kills in 11 sets over the three matches.
Briley committed only seven errors on 111 total swings from her outside hitter position.
“I will be completely honest, she should've gotten that honor more than just last week,” Huggins-Habbert said.
“The players that had been beating her out for the award are players who are the be all and end all for their teams. We have a pretty balanced team, and Allie is a big part of that. We don't put pressure on just one person.”
The Wilmington athletic department added another honor to Briley's freshman portfolio last Friday by naming her the Female Athlete of the Month for October.
An outside hitter position opened up through graduation, and, Huggins-Habbert said, Briley stepped right in. In the 2013 season outlook, Huggins-Habbert said Briley “brings height and blocking ability to the net that wasn't there in years past.”
“She moved in with starters returning around her and really flourished with her hitting percentage and her speed,” she said.
“When the upperclassmen and setters aren't afraid to give Allie the ball to get a kill or get our serve back, that speaks volumes for the type of player Allie is.”
Briley also was voted to the 2013 Wildcat Regional Invitational All-Tournament Team after helping Wilmington capture the six-team event.
In four matches, she led the Wildcats with 34 kills, 30 digs, three blocks and two aces.
“I am never satisfied with where I am,” Briley said.
“My passing, my defense and my blocking are things that can get better.”
Wilmington finishes conference play on Saturday and then opens the CACC Tournament in the quarterfinals Tuesday evening.
The Wildcats' magical run last season ended with a loss in the CACC championship match.
“I am confident the team can go very far because we have a very talented group,” Briley said.
“We have great team chemistry and have been able to work through some injuries.”
Gateway graduate Mike Kromka, a senior forward on the Clarion University men's basketball team, was named a PSAC West Preseason All-Conference player last week.
He was the Golden Eagles men's team's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
A strong student as well, Kromka was named a second team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2013. He enters his senior season with 649 points and 509 rebounds.
Kromka scored a team-high 22 points and added 13 rebounds for Clarion, an NCAA Division II program, in a 103-88 exhibition loss at Division I Duquesne on Saturday.
He was one of four Eagles players to score in double figures.
Clarion trailed 55-35 at halftime but outscored Duquesne, 53-48, in the second half.
Kromka added four assists, two steals and a block to his point and rebound totals. He reached the 22 total points by going 10 of 14 from the field, including one 3-pointer, and he sank his one free throw.
Clarion starts its regular season at 1 p.m. Nov. 16 when it hosts Penn State-DuBois.
Amanda Turi, Kerri Inzinga
Gateway graduates Amanda Turi and Kerri Inzinga have helped the Westminster College women's soccer team build an 11-6-2 overall record and a 6-1-2 mark in the Presidents Athletic Conference.
The Lady Titans closed out PAC play on Saturday with a 1-0 conference win at Chatham College.
Turi, a senior, scored the game's lone goal. It was her team-leading sixth of the season.
With the win, Westminster secured the No. 3 seed for the upcoming PAC tournament. The Lady Titans were scheduled to play at No. 2 seed Grove City on Tuesday, and the game was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.
Inzinga and Turi were key contributors in a 3-1 victory over Grove City on Oct. 26.
It was the Lady Wolverines first PAC loss of the season after six victories.
Turi scored the first of Westminster's three goals that day, and Inzinga tallied the eventual game-winner off a corner-kick pass.
Inzinga earned Titan Athlete of the Week honors for Oct. 9 after she tallied the only goal in a 1-0 win at Washington & Jefferson on Oct. 5.
Inzinga entered the playoffs with four goals and one assist, and her nine points tied her for second on the team in that category.
Turi has two assists to go with her six goals for a team-leading 14 points.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.