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Penn State prepares to defend volleyball title

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
 

Spring sports, especially in cold-weather regions, receive little attention, yet some district teams manage to produce stellar results.

This year is no different.

Defending champion Penn State earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA men's volleyball tournament and will face third-seeded Southern California in the semifinals Thursday night in Provo, Utah.

Penn State (27-3) won its 11th consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship Saturday by beating Juniata, 3-0 (30-25, 30-19, 30-21) to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Penn State and Southern California (20-1) will meet at 9 p.m. in the first semifinal match. Top-seeded California-Irvine (25-5), ranked No. 1 in Division I, faces fourth-seeded Ohio State (16-10) at 11 p.m. in the second match.

The winners will meet in the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday.

A flurry of other postseason tournament fields have been set in recent days, including Monday's announcement that top-seeded Lock Haven will serve as one of two hosts for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region softball tournament Friday through Sunday.

Lock Haven (40-6), fourth-seeded California (Pa.) (33-8) and fifth-seeded Shippensburg (22-17) have qualified for the tournament. Lock Haven will face Bowie State (26-6) and California will play Shippensburg in the opening round.

Second-seeded Kutztown (42-9-1) also will serve as a host school.

Four teams will participate at each of 16 regional sites in double-elimination tournaments. Winners will advance to the super regionals May 15-16.

Also, Juniata was installed as the top-seeded host of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Region Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The Eagles will meet either fourth-seeded Misericordia or fifth-seeded Frostburg State in the first round.

Bethany (W.Va.), the other district team in the field, is seeded third and will play second-seeded Centenary (N.J.).

In women's tennis, California (Pa.) was selected as a preliminary-round host for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament on Thursday through Saturday. The Vulcans are making their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Slippery Rock also qualified for the field from the district and will travel to Kutztown on Friday for a first-round match.

In men's golf, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State-Altoona and Washington & Jefferson are among the teams in the NCAA Division III tournament beginning May 13 at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

In women's lacrosse, Lock Haven was seeded second in the NCAA Division II Tournament and will take on third-seeded Mercyhurst in the first round. The winner will advance to play top-seeded Limestone (S.C.) on May in the semifinals May 16 in Salem, Va.

Javelin champ

Geneva senior Tiffany Bear won the javelin championship at the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association track and field meet in Marion, Ind.

Bear, slowed by a sore back, was unable to compete in the heptathlon, but her ailment didn't hinder her in the javelin, where she produced a winning throw of 140 feet, 4 inches.

Her next-closest competitor's throw was nearly 8 feet shorter.

Coaching carousel

When Heather Kearney resigned as women's basketball coach at California (Pa.) after only one season to accept a position as associate head coach at Appalachian State, it was a surprise to many.

California athletic director Tom Pucci said he wasn't aware of the proposed move before Kearney notified school officials of her decision to reunite with former California coach Darcie Vincent, who just completed her first season as coach at Appalachian State.

"I heard rumors about this, but I'm very surprised," Pucci told the Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa. "Heather did a tremendous job. We couldn't have asked any more from her."

Kearney, a former assistant under Vincent at California and Slippery Rock, her alma mater, guided California to a 29-5 record and a second consecutive appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II tournament.

Alumni relations

Slippery Rock announced the selection of seven members for its Athletic Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will be held Sept. 26 for the class of 2009, which consists of Garry Benford, Roger Flynn, Laurel Heilman, Duane Kirklin, Robert Ogoreuc Charles Vietmeier and William Rometo, who will be honored posthumously.

Under construction

Ground has been broken for a new softball complex at West Liberty. The proposed facility is being constructed on the site of the NCAA Division II school's former football practice field, adjacent to Russek Field, West Liberty's football facility. School officials have said the softball complex will be completed by the start of the 2009-10 season.

Elsewhere

• Duquesne junior Meghan Frederick, who set an Atlantic 10 Conference single-season record for assists (44), was named conference women's lacrosse oo-offensive player of the year in voting by conference coaches. Senior Ashley Wood, who had career-highs in goals (52) and points (54), was selected as midfielder of the year.

• West Virginia's recruiting class in men's soccer was ranked 12th nationally by Soccer America. The California-based publication listed Akron as the top-ranked recruiting class. West Virginia's incoming class features nine freshmen.

• Lock Haven will host the 2010 NCAA Division II swimming and diving championships March 10-13 at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio.

 

 
 


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