D-I Notebook: A Wild Ride
Nov. 17, 2008
By Amy Farnum Novin
A WILD RIDE: No. 22 Kentucky ended a 38-match losing streak to 17-time Southeastern Conference champion Florida as the Wildcats came back to defeat the Gators, 3-2, in front of the fifth largest crowd in Memorial Colisium history on Nov. 16. With the victory, UK took over first place in the SEC standings with two regular season matches remaining.
Junior setter Sarah Rumely notched 46 assists, nine digs and four blocks against the Gators, and added seven kills and 29 assists in a victory over South Carolina earlier in the week. Rumely led the Wildcats with 1.25 blocks per set for the week, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
"This is one of those great moments that you will never forget," Rumely said about the Florida win. "You will never be able to replay everything that happened back in your mind. But, it will stick with us forever. This is such an exciting time for Kentucky volleyball and for the state of Kentucky."
Rumely's teammate Becky Pavan also garnered recognition from the conference after tallying a career-high 14 kills and a .481 hitting percentage against UF. The reigning SEC Freshman of the Week averaged 2.62 kills per game and a .422 hitting percentage on the week.
BE ALL YOU CAN BE: Army was the spoiler of American University's chance of a flawless record in Patriot League play as the Black Knights downed the Eagles, 3-1, on Nov. 15 to share the league's regular season title with American.
Seniors Elizabeth Lazzari, Rachael Breinling, Jamie Clark and Briana Stremick made their final match at Gillis Field House truly special as they combined for 45 of Army's 51 kills and 11.5 of the squad's 12.0 total blocks.
Army is the only Patriot League team to have defeated the Eagles since American joined the league in 2001, accomplishing the feat three times in the last four years. The Black Knights' 25 wins this season are the most since the 1993 squad posted a 29-12 record. Army will be the second seed in the Patriot League Tournament, while American won the right to host the championship for the seventh consecutive year.
FITTING THE BILL: No. 21 Saint Louis wrapped up the Atlantic 10 Conference West Division regular season crown with a 3-0 win at Xavier to become the first team to go undefeated in league play since 1997.
The Billikens posted a 13-0 mark in league play, winning their second regular season title since joining the conference in 2005. Top-seeded Saint Louis will host the A-10 Championship beginning Nov. 21 in which six teams will compete for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
With 24 victories this season, SLU has collected the program's most wins since 1996.
NOTABLE: Tennessee Tech clinched a share of its first Ohio Valley Conference championship in 25 years despite ending the regular season with a loss to Murray State on Nov. 15. No. 1-seeded Tech will host the OVC Tournament beginning Nov. 20 ... New Mexico State claimed its first Western Athletic Conference title since joining the league in 2005 with a sweep of San Jose State on Nov. 15. The Aggies share the regular season title with Hawaii - the first time the Rainbow Wahine has not won an outright championship since 1998. Libero Krystal Torres averaged 4.50 digs and 1.17 assists per set on the weekend, earning her first career WAC Player of the Week award ... No. 1 Penn State remained untouchable as the Nittany Lions downed No. 17 Illinois and No. 18 Purdue to stretch their NCAA record for consecutive matches won to 54. PSU is 28-0 on the season and has not lost a set this year (84-0). The Nittany Lions clinched their sixth straight Big Ten title with the two wins over the weekend.