Nov. 4, 2010

COMETS SOAR: The University of Texas-Dallas finished off the regular season with three straight American Southwest Conference victories as the Comets claimed their fifth consecutive title and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament.

Sophomore outside hitter Dana Hilzendager averaged 4.89 kills, 4.56 digs, 1.33 blocks and 6.17 points per set while hitting .308 in wins over Texas-Tyler, East Texas Baptist and Mississippi College last week. She was selected Sports Imports/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week for her contributions in the Comets successful week.

The No. 24 Comets received a first round bye in the ASC Tournament, and will play the winner of Hardin-Simmons and Texas-Tyler in the semifinals on Nov. 5. HSU was the lone league team to defeat UTD this season.

TOUGH AS IT GETS: The University Athletic Association Championship should be one of the most hotly contested tournaments this weekend with three AVCA Division III Top 25 teams competing for the title at Case Western Reserve University.

Top-seeded Emory University enters the tournament on a 10-match winning streak, which includes non-conference victories over then-No. 1 Juniata and then-No. 5 Eastern (Pa.), as the Eagles look to defend their league title. No. 15 NYU completed regular season play with a 32-4 mark and 6-1 record in UAA action, including a victory over defending NCAA champion Washington (Mo.). The Violets are seeded second, while the top-ranked Bears are seeded third in the tournament.

Pool play will be conducted on Nov. 5, while crossover and championship action will be held on Nov. 6. Emory and Washington have meet in the championship match in each of the last six seasons.

CAPTAINS IN CONTROL: Fifth-ranked Christopher Newport University began USA South action with a 3-0 quarterfinal victory on Tuesday night, advancing to the league semifinals against Methodist on Nov. 5. CNU earned the right to host the remainder of the tournament. The Captains enter the weekend on a seven-match winning streak.

Two Captains garnered major conference awards on Wednesday as junior setter Jessie Heavenrich was named USA South Player of the Year and sophomore Abby Hogge was voted Libero of the Year. Heavenrich led the league with 10.43 assists per set while Hogge helped the Captains hold USA South foes to a 0.24 hitting percentage while averaging 4.44 digs per set.

GOTTA HAVE HOPE: No. 6 Hope College stretched its winning streak to 17 with the Flying Dutchs with a sweep of Saint Marys in the quarterfinals of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament on Tuesday. Fifteen of the Flying Dutchs 17 wins have been in three sets.

Hope earned hosting rights with the victory. The Flying Dutch advance to the MIAA semifinals against Kalamazoo on Nov. 5. They are vying for their third consecutive league championship.

FOR ALL THE MARBLES: Four nationally-ranked teams will compete for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in Eau Claire, Wis., on Nov. 5-6. No. 16 UW-Eau Claire earned the top seed in the tournament after posting a 7-1 record in league play. The Blugolds will take on fourth-seeded and No. 14 UW-Whitewater in the semifinals on Nov. 5. The Warhawks handed UW-Eau Claire their lone conference loss earlier this season. No. 21 UW-Oshkosh also compiled a 7-1 league mark, but is the second seed by virtue of a head-to-head loss to Eau Claire. The Titans will face No. 19 UW-Platteville in the other semifinal.