Oct. 21, 2009

By Amy Farnum

STRENGHTHING POSITION: UW-Oshkosh continued its perfect run through the regular season with a 4-0 mark at the Titan Tussle last weekend, including two victories over nationally-ranked squads to improve its record to 27-0.

Senior setter Katelyn Vara garnered the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award as she posted 149 assists and 35 digs while hitting .476 in the four matches.  She was also named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for her performance, which included a pair of five-set victories over then-No. 24 Eastern University and then-No. 9 St. Thomas (Minn.).  The flawless weekend extended the Titans’ home match winning streak to 29. 

UW-Oshkosh travels to the UW-Whitewater Invitational on Oct. 23-24.  The Titans have already claimed their fourth WIAC title in the last five years, earning the No. 1 seed and hosting rights of the WIAC Tournament on Nov. 6-7.

BLAZING HOT: The College of Saint Benedict moved up to No. 16 in the latest AVCA Division III Top 25 after a pair of key Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference wins that put the Blazers into a three-way tie for first place in the league.

Junior right side hitter Kayli Schumacher knocked down 15 kills while hitting .481 in a 3-1 upset of then-No. 9 St. Thomas as the Blazers beat the Tommies for the first time since 2004.  She followed it up with 10 kills and a .412 hitting percentage in a sweep of Macalester.  For her efforts, Schumacher became the first player from CSB to earn the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week award.  For the week, the native of East Grand Forks, Minn., averaged 3.57 kills and 4.72 points per set with a .455 hitting percentage.

Saint Benedict is tied with St. Thomas and St. Olaf at 6-1 in the MIAC standings.  The Blazers tangle with St. Olaf in a key league match-up on Oct. 23.

BUCKEYE STATE BUSINESS: No. 17 Heidelberg University improved its winning streak to eight matches as it handed John Carroll University its first Ohio Athletic Conference loss of the season on Oct. 20.  The Berg remained perfect in OAC play at 7-0.
Heidelberg is the only unbeaten team in the OAC, but Mount Union is fresh of a sweep of Muskingum on Oct. 20 that moved them to 5-1 in league play -- good for second place.  MUC senior Melissa Mahnke became the school’s all-time kill leader during the match, and now has 1,523 career kills over the last four seasons. 

It was Mount Union’s 23rd straight home win – a streak that will be tested as the Purple Raiders host No. 5 Ohio Northern on Oct. 24.  ONU also has a 5-1 mark in OAC play.

BEAR MAXIMUM:  Washington University completed University Athletic Association regular season play with a 7-0 mark following a round robin tournament against league opponents last weekend.

Senior middle hitter Erin Albers propelled the Bears to a 4-0 mark over the weekend with a team-high 58 kills and a .407 hitting percentage.  In the Bears’ sweep of then-No. 3 Emory, the native of Belleville, Ill., registered 10 kills and three blocks.  She also set a career-high with 24 kills in a five-set victory over Carnegie Mellon.  Albers was named UAA Athlete of the Week for her outstanding play.

The Bears, who moved up to No. 3 in the latest national poll, return to action on Oct. 30 as they host the Bears Classic II.   Washington will also be the No. 1 seed in the UAA Championship Tournament on Nov. 6-7 in Chicago, Ill.  The Bears defeated Emory, 3-2, in last year’s championship match.