Oct. 7, 2009

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

ON THE MOVE: St. Olaf College’s 11-match winning streak has garnered the Oles some national attention this week as they broke into the latest AVCA Division III Top 25 at No. 25 on the merits of the program’s longest winning stretch since 2001.

Junior outside hitter Kim Smisek also claimed a pair of individual honors, earning Sports Imports/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for her contributions in the Oles’ 5-0 week.  The native of Northfield, Minn., tallied 20 kills in each of the team’s first three matches, highlighted by a career-best 31 kills against Luther.  For the week, she averaged 5.79 kills and 2.16 digs per set with a .366 hitting percentage.  Smisek paces the MIAC with 4.93 kills.

The Oles are now 19-2 on the season, the school’s best start to a season since the 2001 squad posted the same record.  They look to extend their winning streak in a home MIAC match versus Bethel on Oct. 7.

STORM BREWING:  Simpson College knocked off two nationally-ranked opponents at the IIAC-MIAC Border Battle last weekend led by seniors Whitney Oviatt and Brittany Friesth, who swept the Iowa Conference weekly awards.

Oviatt, a senior middle hitter, was named IIAC Hitter of the Week after she earned all-tournament honors at the Border Battle. The native of Carnations, Wash., led the team with 60 kills while compiling a .261 attack percentage during the weekend in which the Storm went 3-1, including victories over then-No. 6 St. Thomas and then-No. 17 Concordia-Moorhead.

Friesth, a senior from Adel, Iowa, was tabbed the Libero of the Week after pacing the Storm with 89 digs for an average 4.94 digs per set.

Simpson, which is receiving votes in the latest AVCA Division III Top 25, returns to IIAC action on Oct. 7 when it hosts Central.

UPSET IN OHIO: 
No. 23 Heidelberg University remained on top of the Ohio Athletic Conference standings as the Berg stunned fourth-ranked Ohio Northern in a five-set victory on Oct. 6.  It was ONU’s first league loss since 2006, and only the Polar Bears’ second setback of the season.

The win was just the second time the Berg has beaten the Polar Bears in series history.  The last time Heidelberg defeated ONU was in 1986, the same year the Berg claimed its only OAC regular season title.  With the victory, Heidelberg stretched its home court winning streak to 20 matches dating back to the 2006 season.

“This was an excellent win for our program,” said head coach Jason Miller. “We got down early, but battled back and did not quit. Everyone on this team is a fighter and we proved how tough we are and what a challenge it is to play on our home court.”

KNOCK DOWNS: 
No. 17 Pacific Lutheran is riding a six-match winning streak, all of which have been sweeps, as the Lutes extended their Northwest Conference winning streak to 19 matches with a victory at Whitman last weekend … Top-ranked UW-Oshkosh can guarantee itself at least a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with a victory at UW-La Crosse on Oct. 7.  The Titans are 22-0 on the season … Wittenberg improved its North Coast Athletic Conference regular season winning streak to 57 matches with a sweep of rival Wooster over the weekend.  It was the Tigers’ 18th consecutive victory over the Scots, dating back to 1994.