Finley finale secures league title
Also: USC's Vavic tallies nine goals; Gale throws for 408 yards
In Sunday’s Big East Conference championship game, Ryan Finley showed why he’s been voted the Player of the Year in two different conferences in the last three years.
The Notre Dame senior garnered Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors last week and then sparked the Fighting Irish to a 3-2 double-overtime victory against No. 6 Georgetown for the program’s first league title since 2003.
|*through Nov. 12|
Finley netted his first goal against the Hoyas in the 50th minute and then scored with a minute remaining in the second overtime to lead the Irish to their third tournament title. He earned tournament most valuable player honors for his efforts, while the Irish secured an automatic berth in the 48-team field of the NCAA championship.
Three years ago, the transfer from Duke was selected Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year after topping the nation with 0.94 goals per game, and scoring or assisting on 20 of the Blue Devils’ 34 goals during the 2010 season.
After transferring to Notre Dame last season, Finley led the Irish in goals scored, but did not come close to his previous yearly total, tallying just seven on the season.
This year has been a different story as he has exploded for the Irish, netting the most goals by a Notre Dame player since 2006. A native of Lumberton, N.J., Finley has scored 20 goals on the season, which ranks second in the Division I statistics.
Notre Dame improved to 16-3-1 – the program’s most wins since the 2003 season.
• After finishing 2-9 in each of the last two seasons, Eastern Illinois (7-3) clinched at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference crown with a 39-20 win against Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The Panthers improved to 6-1 in the league standings as first-year head coach Dino Babers became only the fourth coach in league history to win the OVC title in his first season as a collegiate head coach. Eastern Illinois also secured an automatic berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Wide receiver Erik Lora caught 15 passes for 178 yards, bettering his total to 1,479 receiving yards to become the OVC single-season record-holder for receiving yards. He also moved up to 14th on the FCS single-season list.
• Colgate also nabbed an automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs, upending previously unbeaten Lehigh 35-24 on Saturday. The win extended the Raiders’ winning streak to six games and gave the program their sixth Patriot League title. Colgate rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit and shut out the Mountain Hawks in the second half.
The Raiders also snapped Lehigh’s FCS-best 18-game regular season winning streak as well as the Mountain Hawks 18-game league winning streak.
• In Division II football, No. 11 Missouri Western knocked off perennial national contender No. 4 Northwest Missouri State 21-20 as the Griffons claimed their first outright Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association title in program history. The Griffons came back from a 17-point halftime deficit and were lifted to victory by a Travis Partridge two-yard TD run with 1:07 remaining in the contest. Missouri Western finished the regular season with a 10-1 mark – posting 10 victories in a season for the first time. The Griffons will make their third consecutive and fourth overall NCAA playoff appearance when they host Minnesota-Duluth on Nov. 17.
• The No. 2 Maryland men’s soccer team won its third ACC title in the last five seasons, edging No. 3 North Carolina 2-1 at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Sunday. Playing in front of 9,341 fans, it was the first time the Terrapins won a league championship in their home state. A pair of freshmen – Dakota Edwards and Schillo Tshuma – each netted goals for the Terps.
• The No. 25 Creighton women’s volleyball team clinched at least a share of its first Missouri Valley Conference title in program history with a 3-1 victory against Illinois State on Saturday. The Bluejays bettered their school record for wins in a season with 24, and stretched their winning streak to a record 12 consecutive matches. Creighton also earned a bye and the No. 1 seed in the MVC tournament quarterfinals beginning Nov. 22.
• The No. 13 Indiana (Pa.) football team posted a convincing 41-10 victory against No. 7 Shippensburg in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Football Championship game on Saturday. The Crimson Hawks held the nation’s top offense to just 271 yards in the contest. The Raiders had entered the game averaging 566 yards per game.
• USC men’s water polo player Nikola Vavic tallied nine goals in the Trojans’ 19-4 victory against Concordia on Saturday as they stretched their winning streak to 22 matches. It was the most goals by a Trojan since 1999, which was the last year collegiate water polo scoring included two-point goals. Vavic followed up the performance with a hat trick in the Trojans’ 16-5 win against No. 4 Pepperdine on Sunday. No. 1 USC finishes the regular season with a home match against No. 2 UCLA next Saturday.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
||Old Dominion senior field hockey player Maartje van Rijswijk tied an NCAA record for most goals scored in an NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship game on Saturday as the Lady Monarchs topped Michigan 6-1 on Saturday. The victory was ODU head coach Beth Anders’ 50th of her 30-year career. Anders, who retired at the end of the season, concluded her career with a 3-1 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday.|
|10||In a battle of the top-two NCAA Division II volleyball teams in the nation, No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul swept No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday as the Golden Bears earned their 10th consecutive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference regular season title. CU shared the title with SMSU and Minnesota-Duluth as all three teams went 18-2 in NSIC regular season play.|
|10-0||The No. 3 St. Thomas (Minn.) football team notched its third consecutive 10-0 regular season with a 35-21 victory against St. Olaf on Saturday. The Tommies have won 34 consecutive regular season games en route to earning a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. St. Thomas will host St. Norbert in a first round game on Nov. 17.|
|19:16||Oregon senior Jordan Hasay helped the Ducks’ women’s cross country team to their first NCAA West Region title since 1995 by winning her third consecutive individual West Regional crown with a time of 19:16 on the 6,000-meter course on Friday. She broke her own course record of 19:45 on Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course.|
|12,109||Abilene Christian senior quarterback Mitchell Gale threw for 408 yards in a 24-12 victory against Incarnate Word on Saturday, becoming the school’s and the Lone Star Conference’s all-time leading passer with 12,109 yards in the final game of his career.|
• The post-Pat Summitt era for Tennessee women’s basketball began with a loss on Friday as Chattanooga upended the No. 20 Lady Vols 80-71 on Friday. It was the first time the Lady Mocs defeated Tennessee since 1973. The Lady Vols quickly rebounded with a 71-54 victory against Georgia Tech on Sunday.
• The 2012 Carrier Classic on the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C., was cancelled on Friday due to condensation on the court. The men’s basketball game between Ohio State and Marquette will not be rescheduled after determining the court conditions were unsafe. The Buckeyes returned to action on Sunday, downing Albany 82-60 in a delayed season opener. Meanwhile, Marquette began the season with an 84-63 victory against Colgate.
• The Northeastern men’s soccer team earned a hard-fought 1-0 double-overtime victory against Hofstra on Sunday as the Huskies won their first Colonial Athletic Conference championship on Sunday. The Huskies also tied the program record for victories in a season with 13, and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the win.
• The No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney women’s volleyball team claimed their first Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title since joining the league with a 3-2 defeat of Washburn on Saturday. The Lopers came back to win three consecutive sets after losing the first two of the match as they earned the top seed of the league tournament. UNK’s win against Washburn ended the Lady Blues’ 51-match home court winning streak, which dated back to September 2009. It was the seventh-longest streak in Division II history.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy