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Juniata's Dale named AVCA player of the year

| Saturday, Nov. 27, 2004

Juniata College senior setter Carli Dale was chosen as the American Volleyball Coaches' Association Division III player of the year. She is the first player from the school to be honored for the award. Dale ranks second in school history and among the top five all-time in NCAA Division III in assists (6,296). Her assist-per-game total (13.4) is the highest Division III history, and she is a three-time All-American, including a first-team selection as a junior and senior. Juniata is in Rochester, Minn., this weekend to compete in the Division III semifinals

College football

Twenty-eight Florida Atlantic players, including 14 starters, won't start against Edward Waters on Saturday after skipping a day of practice in what was described as an "ill-conceived practical joke."

Coach Howard Schnellenberger handed down the punishment Thanksgiving morning during a meeting with the offending players, all seniors, who skipped practice Wednesday. The mass boycott was meant as a prank, the players said, and was not meant to express a grievance with the coaches.

"Obviously they are players and I am a coach, and they have a long way to go before they know how coaches think and feel," Schnellenberger said.

Schnellenberger accepted the players' explanation.

"We didn't want to upset anybody; we probably didn't think it all the way through," said Jared Allen, the Owls starting quarterback and one of the players who will sit at the beginning of Saturday's game.

College Athletics

The University of Missouri renamed its new sports arena Friday after the original namesake, a 22-year-old Wal-Mart heiress, was accused of cheating her way through another college.

The university's governing Board of Curators voted without dissent to use the name Mizzou Arena instead of Paige Sports Arena during a three-minute conference call.

"All of us are happy with Mizzou," Elson Floyd, president of the four-campus university system, said of the common nickname for the school. "How can you go wrong when you talk about Mizzou?"

Elizabeth Paige Laurie's billionaire parents agreed earlier this week to give up their naming rights to the $75 million basketball venue, which was built with a $25 million donation from the Lauries and opened three weeks ago.

Speedskating

Olympic bronze medalist speedskater Rusty Smith injured his back and neck Friday when he slammed into a wall during a qualifying heat for a short-track World Cup race.

Smith, who finished third at 500 meters at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, was taken to a hospital, but organizers said he was able to walk out of the hospital after being checked.

Smith was trying to pass another skater during a heat for Friday night's 1,500-meter race. When the blade of another racer's skate hit his, he slipped and slid into the wall surrounding the rink, which is usually used for hockey.

Tennis

The Fed Cup will switch to the Davis Cup's format next year in an attempt to generate more interest in the top team event in women's tennis while shortening the season.

The draw for 2005 was held Friday, a day before Russia plays defending champion France in the Fed Cup title.

The Fed Cup will no longer play the semifinals and finals at a single venue in one week. Instead, it will employ the Davis Cup format used by the men in which the semifinals and finals are held separately and all matches are played on a home-and-away system.

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