Sept. 9, 2009

By Amy Farnum

GOLDEN MARK: Top-ranked and defending national champion Concordia University, St. Paul is on a mission this weekend to break the NCAA Division II mark for consecutive matches won when the Golden Bears host their own tournament beginning with a match versus Bemidji State on Sept. 11.

The Golden Bears have won 45 straight matches dating back to Aug. 29, 2008.  The current record of 46 was set by Ferris State in 1984.  During the streak, 30 of 45 matches have been in three sets, and 23 have been against ranked opponents.  Concordia’s last loss was in the 2008 season opener at Cal State Bernardino, but the Golden Bears avenged the setback in last year’s NCAA Championship match.

UP AND UP: Eckerd College claimed its first-ever ranking in AVCA Division II Top 25 at No. 22 after upending then-No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth and then-No. 6 Grand Valley State during the Florida Southern/Eckerd Tournament last weekend.

The Tritons went 4-0 on the week behind the stellar play of senior outside hitter Lydee Benoit, who averaged 4.3 kills and 3.2 digs per set while hitting .313 for the tournament.  The native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., recorded double-double performances in both victories against nationally-ranked foes, and was selected Sunshine Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her contributions.

The Tritons will test their new national ranking and a four-match winning streak as they host Palm Beach Atlantic on Sept. 12.

PERFECT START: Sonoma State tied a school record with its eighth consecutive victory to start the season as the Seawolves dropped then-No. 21 Western Washington, 3-1, on Sept. 4 as they continued their flawless start.

The perfect beginning has vaulted the Seawolves to their highest-ever national ranking at No. 15.  Their previous high was No. 19 in 1993.  Senior setter Lindsay Brown garnered tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight week for posting 10.92 assists per set and leading her team to a .311 hitting percentage for the weekend.

The Seawolves will now move on to California Collegiate Athletic Association action when they host Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 10.  Sonoma State is one of three unbeaten CCAA squads.  No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino is 7-0, while UC San Diego (8-0) is ranked No. 4.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH:  Metro State is enjoying its highest national ranking since 2003 as the Roadrunners climbed up to the No. 14 spot following a 3-1 weekend at the Colorado Premier Challenge that included a 3-2 upset of then-No. 3 West Texas A&M on Sept. 5.

Gabe Curtis of Arvada, Colo., picked up all-tournament team honors, as well as Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Setter of the Week, after averaging 11.64 assists per set, while helping the Roadrunners to a .200 hitting percentage in four matches. 
The Roadrunners, who captured the Silver Division championship at the tournament, open RMAC play at Colorado Mines and Chadron State on Sept. 11-12.

GOING GREY:  The University of Indianapolis tied a program record for consecutive victories at the start of the season after sweeping Indiana Tech in a win on Sept. 8 to improve to 10-0.

The Greyhounds, who are No. 13 in the latest AVCA Division II Top 25, have lost just four of 34 games played this season.