Oct. 13, 2009

By Amy Farnum

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’:  One of the most anticipated rematches of the season is on the slate for this week as undefeated and second-ranked Cal State San Bernardino travels to No. 3 UC San Diego in a California Collegiate Athletic Association battle on Oct. 17.  The last time the two teams met on the Tritons’ home court in 2008, UCSD won 3-2.

The Tritons enter the match on a nine-game winning streak since suffering their only loss of the season to CSSB earlier this year.  Senior outside hitter Sylvia Schmidt, the reigning CCAA Player of the Week, notched a school record 31 kills in come-from-behind five-set win over No. 17 Sonoma State last week as UCSD stretched its winning streak and remained in contention for the league title. 

Cal State San Bernardino paces the league in almost every statistical category as Samantha Middleborn tops the CCAA with a .394 hitting percentage and Jane Chafeh leads the league with 4.75 kills per set. 

STILL GOLDEN:  Concordia University, St. Paul’s Mary Slinger garnered Sports Imports/AVCA Division II National Player of the Week after stellar defensive performances in a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference wins as the Golden Bears remained flawless on the season at 21-0.

The senior libero posted 31 digs versus Bemidji State, and followed it up with 20 digs in a sweep of then-No. 10 Minnesota Duluth for a 7.29 average on the week. The native of Faribault, Minn., moved up to second on the school’s all-time dig list with 2,117. 

Slinger’s teammate Maggie McNamara also continued her outstanding play as she combined for 96 assists on the weekend to remain the Division II leader in assists with 13.71 per set.  The senior setter from Zumbrota, Minn., needs just 18 assists to become the school’s all-time leader.

The Golden Bears have won 58 straight matches dating back to the second match of the 2008 season.  With a 10-0 mark against NSIC teams this season, they have also won 42 consecutive matches against league foes.  CSP travels to No. 10 Minnesota State on Oct. 16 and No. 15 Southwest Minnesota State on Oct. 17.

CROWDER AT THE TOP:  Hillsdale College remained in first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division thanks to the contributions of sophomore Ashlee Crowder, who led the Chargers to a pair of road wins last weekend.

Crowder knocked down 14 kills in a sweep at Saginaw Valley State and then added 12 kills against Lake Superior State as she continued to pace the GLIAC with 4.53 kills per set.  No other player in the league is averaging more than four kills per set. 

The outside hitter was named GLIAC South Division Player of the Week for the third time this season for her efforts. Crowder has tallied double-digit kills in 18 of the Chargers’ 19 matches this season.

No. 23 Hillsdale enters this weekend's GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed from the GLIAC. The Chargers will take on three top contenders from the GLVC -- St. Joseph's, Indianapolis and Northern Kentucky -- in the two-day event held at Aim High in Lansing.

ROAD WARRIORS:  Mesa State took to the road and came home with a three victories, including a sweep of then-No. 18 Metro State, as the Mavericks strengthened their position as the first place team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division standings.

Sophomore middle hitter Antoinette McCormick and junior libero Whitney Howard were named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for their play during the perfect week.
McCormick recorded double digit kills in each match, including a season-high 14 at Metro State. Her 14.5 points and 25 attack attempts against Metro are the second highest marks this season. Howard led the team in digs (4.78) this weekend.
The Mavericks now have four consecutive 3-0 match sweep victories. They are 7-0 on the road in conference play and 7-2 overall on the road. MSC has won 12 of their last 13 matches and have nine sweep (3-0) wins.  The Mavericks return home for a match with the RMAC East’s Nebraska-Kearney on Oct. 16.  UNK is ranked fifth nationally and boasts a perfect 11-0 mark in RMAC East play.