A Page -- Nov. 7, 2011 -- AM Edition

VASJ grad Ali Insana (L), Fairless alumna Kristen Gromes (R)

Mount Union knocks off No. 9 Heidelberg to 

win the school's first-ever OAC volleyball title

TIFFIN, Ohio—History was made as the Mount Union volleyball team defeated No. 9 Heidelberg in a thrilling five-set match to claim the program's first Ohio Athletic Conference title. The Purple Raiders (24-7) and head coach Leigh Ann Swartz put an exclamation point on their NCAA Tournament résumé, but now must wait to learn their fate during the selection show at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Having already clinched the OAC's automatic bid by advancing to the finals, Heidelberg (31-6) was playing to extend its 23-match winning streak over conference foes. In a match that was back and forth throughout, it was only fitting that it would take extra points in the final set for the Purple Raiders to triumph with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 17-15 victory.

Mount Union led the opening set, 12-11, before the Berg took five straight points for a 16-12 lead. A kill by freshman Maya Brown (Tiffin/Tiffin Columbian) following a Purple Raider timeout cut the deficit to 16-13. That is the closest they would get, however, losing 25-19 on a kill by junior Marian Bevington.

Tied 8-8 in the second set, Mount Union won nine of the next 12 points to take a 17-11 lead. Heidelberg rallied to make it 22-20, but a service error on the ensuing serve made it 23-30 Purple Raiders. A kill by sophomoreTaylor Webb (Geneva/Geneva) put the Raiders within a point of taking the set, but sophomore Amber Welfle countered with a kill of her own to keep the Berg alive. Heidelberg was unable to handle an attack by Webb and the ball sailed back over the net to junior Deanna Glass (medina/Median), who smashed the it onto the Heidelberg side of the court for her fourth kill of the set.

Outstanding serving from freshman Allison Insana (Cleveland/Villa Angela-Saint Joseph) helped turn an 8-5 deficit to an 11-8 lead for the Raiders in the third set. After going ahead 24-17, the Raiders served the ball into the net. A bad set by the Raiders was followed by a Bevingon kill to make it 24-19. A Purple Raider timeout helped alleviate some of Heidelberg's momentum and a kill by Brown ended the set to put the Raiders a step close to the OAC crown.

Looking to close out the match, senior Julie Radigan (Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Falls) and Webb each had a pair of kills to give the Purple Raiders a 7-5 lead to start the fourth set. Heidelberg won nine of the next twelve points to take a 14-10 lead, forcing a Mount Union timeout. A rally by the Raiders would close the gap to 19-17, but they could not get any closer. Playing for match point, Heidelberg had attack errors on back-to-back points before a kill by senior Jackie Reinhart to take the set, 25-22, and send the match to a fifth and final set to 15.

Heidelberg served first and took an early 2-1 lead, but that would be the final time the Purple Raiders would trail for the duration of the match. The teams traded points with neither team able to gain more than a one-point advantage until an attack error by the Berg gave Mount Union an 8-6 edge.

Trailing 13-12, Reinhart served into the net. Following a Heidelberg timeout, freshman libero Lauren Mastroine (Orrville/Orrville) served for match point, but an attack error kept the Berg alive. Glass and freshmanNicole Snyder (Mentor/Lake Catholic) combined for what appeared to be a match-ending block, but a Heidelberg player was able to keep it alive and freshman Stephanie Romie placed the ball where no Purple Raider could get to it for the kill. A kill by Snyder gave Mount Union a 15-14, but an error on the ensuing serve knotted it up again.

The Raiders took the lead for the final time when Radigan set up Webb for a kill. Snyder's serve for match point was handled by the Berg and the ensuing attack by junior Jacki Street was dug by junior Kristen Gromes(Navarre/Fairless), who sent the ball back over the net. Senior Venessa Haase met the ball as it sailed over the net, but her attack was kept alive by Mastroine. The ball found its way to Webb, who tried to end the match, but Reinhart was there to dig the ball back over the net to Webb. Normally a power hitter, Webb was able to finesse the ball over the defense, where it fell to the floor for her fourth kill of the set, beginning the Purple Raider celebration.

Mount Union recorded a season-high 73 kills and had a .268 hitting percentage in the victory. Contributing double-digit kills for the Raiders were Webb, Snyder, and Brown. Webb surpassed her career-high with 23 kills, including four in the final set, to go with a .352 hitting percentage. Snyder also had four kills in the final set and ended the match with 18 kills. Brown had a team-best .417 hitting percentage and 13 kills. Radigan had a season-high 58 assists while adding five kills and nine digs.

The Purple Raider defense entered the match averaging a conference-best 2.35 blocks per set, but was only able to make five blocks against Heidelberg. As a result, the back line was kept busy and responded to the challenge. Mastroine tallied a career-high 36 digs, followed by Gromes with 20 digs. Insana (16) and Snyder (11) also had double-digit digs.

Bevington led Heidelberg with 15 kills. Welfle, Reinhart, and Haase contributed 11 kills each. Junior Rachel Ferguson had a team-best 29 assists while Romie and sophomore Alexa Frank both added 12 assists.

Freshman Tessa Benanzer led the Berg with 23 digs with Reinhart and Haase having 22 digs apiece. Heidelberg's defense made 11 blocks and was led by Welfle, who had seven total blocks.

Mount Union entered the weekend as the No. 6-ranked team in the Great Lakes Region. Three schools (Calvin, Wittenberg, Heidelberg) ranked ahead of them received the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for their respective conference. Four schools in the region, including two OAC schools (Ohio Northern, Otterbein), received at-large bids last season. 

Ending the season with wins over two schools ranked ahead of them in the region will likely put the Purple Raiders in consideration for one of 20 at-large spots this year. For more information on the NCAA Tournament selection show, visit http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2011-10-22/fall-championships-selections.

  Mount Union def. Heidelberg 19-25,25-21,25-19,22-25,17-15

  Mount Union (24-7 (7-2 OAC)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Taylor Webb 23-0-1;
  Nicole Snyder 18-0-0; Maya Brown 13-0-3; Melanie Patterson 8-0-2;
  Deanna Glass 5-1-0; Julie Radigan 5-0-1; Lauren Mastroine 1-0-0;
  Allison Insana 0-1-0; Totals 73-2-5.0. (Assists) - Julie Radigan 58.
  (Dig leaders) - Lauren Mastroine 36; Kristen Gromes 20; Allison Insana
  16; Nicole Snyder 11; Julie Radigan 9 

  Heidelberg (31-6 (9-0 OAC)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Marian Bevington
  15-0-3; Amber Welfle 11-0-7; Venessa Haase 11-2-0; Jackie Reinhart
  11-0-5; Jacki Street 7-0-3; Melissa Eck 4-0-0; Stephanie Romie 2-0-1;
  Rachel Ferguson 1-3-0; Tessa Benanzer 0-1-0; Totals 62-6-11.0.
  (Assists) - Rachel Ferguson 29; Stephanie Romie 12; Alexa Frank 12.
  (Dig leaders) - Tessa Benanzer 23; Venessa Haase 22; Jackie Reinhart 22

  Site: Tiffin, Ohio (Seiberling Gymnasium)
  Date: 11/5/11        Attend: 523   Time: 1:58   
  Referees: Bob Baxter, Al Herbert, Masin, Allison
  #3 Mount Union wins 2011 OAC Volleyball Tournament championship.
  Heidelberg earns OAC automatic qualifying bid to NCAA tournament.

Miami Finishes Sweep of UAF with 2-1 Win

Cook scores first-career game-winning goal in third period

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Sophomore forward Max Cook broke a 1-1 deadlock in the third period to lead the Miami University hockey team to a second straight 2-1 win over Alaska Saturday night at the Carlson Center, giving the RedHawks their first sweep of the season. With the victory, Miami (4-6-0, 2-4-0-0 CCHA) improved to 5-0-1 in its last three meetings with the Nanooks (3-5-2, 0-4-2-0 CCHA) in Alaska while winning back-to-back games for just the second time this year.

Strong goaltending and a gritty penalty kill again proved key for the RedHawks, as Miami went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill Saturday after going 7-for-7 Friday. The ‘Hawks have now killed 16 straight penalties dating back to Oct. 28. Senior goalie Cody Reichard got the start in net for the second consecutive night, again allowing just one goal, which ties Miami’s season low, as he made 24 saves in the game for his third win of 2011.

The squads played a scoreless first period but both sides had opportunities on the power play. Miami earned an early power play and created good chances, but couldn’t poke it in. The Nanooks then had their turn and while on their first power play, freshman Austin Czarnik was called for a five-minute major for checking from behind and given a game disqualification. The RedHawk penalty kill held strong on both the 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 advantages and as the Alaska power play was ending, UAF’s Andy Taranto was given a five-minute major and a disqualification for contact to the head on senior Patrick Tiesling. Miami, however, continued its struggles on the man advantage as the opening period ended scoreless.

The second period saw fast-paced action and strong goaltending. The RedHawks finally broke the 0-0 deadlock 6:25 into the middle frame when junior forward Curtis McKenzie scored his second goal of the year. While on the power play, junior defenseman Steven Spinell fired a blast from the blue line that McKenzie redirected out of the air in front of the net to put Miami ahead, 1-0. Freshman forward Tyler Biggs picked up the second assist, extending his point streak to a career-long four games. The power play goal was Miami’s first since Oct. 14.

The Nanooks nearly drew level less than a minute later when Jarrett Granberg hit the pipe despite having a yawning cage. UAF then went on the power play but Reichard came up large with several big saves to keep them off the board. As the Alaska man advantage was nearing an end, Biggs almost tallied a short-handed goal on a rebound but UAF netminder Scott Greenham made a sprawling leg save. Greenham again denied the ‘Hawks with under two minutes to go in the second stanza as McKenzie got his stick on a 2-on-1 break but another sprawling pad save kept it a 1-0 contest.

With just over a minute left in the middle 20 minutes, UAF’s Cody Kunyk fired wide on a breakaway. However, Alaska did level the contest with just 7.4 seconds left in the period on a rebound. The Nanooks stole the puck at Miami’s attacking blue line and skated the other way. Reichard made the initial stop on Scott Enders but Nik Yaremchuk back-handed the rebound past Reichard, who was on the ground, to even the game at 1-1.

The RedHawks regained the lead 8:32 into the third period when Cook scored his second career goal and first of the year, which turned out to be his first-career game-winning goal. Tiesling left the puck in the corner for freshman forward Jimmy Mullin, who worked his way behind the net, where he centered to Cook, who was camped in front of the net. Cook quickly fired top shelf to beat Greenham and give Miami the 2-1 advantage.

Alaska pulled Greenham with 1:24 left in the contest in favor of the extra attacker, following a UAF timeout, but the RedHawk defense held strong to secure the win and complete the weekend sweep.

The Nanooks finished with a 25-23 edge in shots, outshooting Miami for the second straight night, while Greenham ended with 21 stops in defeat. The RedHawks finished 1-for-5 on the power play, scoring their first man-advantage goal in their last 27 power play chances.

The RedHawks look to keep their momentum rolling when they return home next weekend to host No. 3/3 Michigan Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12 at Steve Cady Arena. Puck drop Friday is set for 7:35 p.m. while Saturday’s game is slated for 7:05 p.m.

No. 18 Spartan Women Play to Seniors’ Night Tie versus Rochester; Await NCAA Tournament Selection

CLEVELAND (University Circle) – The No. 18 nationally-ranked Case Western Reserve University women's soccer team closed out the regular season with a 2-2 double-overtime tie with visiting University of Rochester (N.Y.) on Seniors' Night at Case Field. The Spartans remain in strong contention to land an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

The Spartans, ranked first in the NCAA Great Lakes Region heading into the match, close out the regular season at 12-3-3 overall and 4-2-1 (third place) in the University Athletic Association. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for this Monday, November 7 at 1:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Rochester ends its season at 8-7-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the UAA.

Prior to the match, CWRU honored it seven women's soccer senior student-athletes.

The Spartans got on the board first in the 13th minute when senior forward Ana Arruda (Ann Arbor, Mich./Ann Arbor Pioneer) scored on a penalty kick – her third goal of the season and 21st career.

Arruda (L), Simmons (R)

The Yellowjackets evened the score in the 36th minute as Ellen Coleman scored a penalty kick of her own to bring the score to 1-1.

After the intermission, Coleman struck again on a header via an assist from Hayley Engel at the 53:53 mark of the contest to make the score 2-1.

Undaunted, Case picked up another penalty kick in the 76th minute – this one from junior midfielder Kendra Simmons (Medina, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) to tie the score at two apiece. The goal was Simmons' team-best seventh of the season.

In the overtime periods, Case controlled the action and had several scoring threats, but could not cash in.

For the match, the Spartans outshot Rochester, 25-11, and held a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Case's 12 victories and 10 shutouts this season each tie school single-season records.

Wright State Women Fall to Milwaukee in Horizon League Finals

The women's soccer team opened the scoring, but could not maintain the momentum as host Milwaukee went on to a 5-1 win in the Horizon League finals Sunday.

Senior forward Brittany Persaud gave the Raiders a 1-0 advantage at the 12:11 mark of the first half as she scored her fifth goal of the season on an assist by senior defender I'esha King, her third.

#15 Milwaukee (18-2), however, tied it at the 23-minute mark and led 2-1 at the half on another score at the 42:49 mark.  Tournament MVP Keara Thompson made it 3-1 early in the second half and Horizon League Player of the Year Sarah Hagen added two goals to round out the scoring.

The Panthers outshot WSU 25-13 overall, including a 17-7 differential in the second half.

Wright State (10-8-3) had three seniors named to the All-Tournament Team in Jen Agueci, Bekah Bonny and Persaud.

Mount Union's Anthony Grenga named 

Academic All District 

DELAWARE, Ohio—Mount Union senior Anthony Grenga (Boardman/Canfield) was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District VII Men's Soccer First Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Grenga has a 3.91 grade point average as a computer science major at Mount Union. On the field, Grenga captained a team that reached the semifinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in program team. He also scored one goal in 16 games while anchoring a defense that allowed just 1.32 goals per game.

The Capital One Academic All-District Teams recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. In order to be eligible for selection, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve and maintain at least a 3.30 grade point average.

As a first team selection, Grenga advances to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, which will be released later this month.

Sports Information Directors within a district vote for the Academic All-District teams with members of the CoSIDA Academic All-American committee voting on the national ballot. District VII includes every NCAA Division III institution in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

Wright State Men's Soccer Wins at Butler; could face CSU next

The men's soccer team clinched the #2 seed for next week's Horizon League Tournament with a 1-0 win at Butler in the regular-season finale Saturday.

The lone goal of the contest came at the 23:50 mark of the first half when Will McAteer headed in a corner kick by Gustav Svensson.  It was McAteer's third goal of the season and the first assist for Svensson.

The WSU defense took over from there as goalkeeper Craig Feehan picked up his fourth shutout of the season, recording eight saves in the process.

"Tonight was a great win for this program," said head coach Bryan Davis.  "Butler has a very talented group and really were dangerous.  There was a reason they were preseason ranked #1 in the Horizon League and they gave us all we could handle."

"I can't say enough about our effort," added Davis.  "They were up to the challenge and found a way to win.  I'm very pleased for these guys.  We didn't play our best game, though, and we certainly have a lot to improve on heading into the tournament next week."

With the win, Wright State (10-6-2, 5-2-1 Horizon) reached the 10-win plateau for the first time since finishing 10-10 in 2005.  The Raiders are also guaranteed of closing the year above the .500 mark since going 12-7-1 in 2001.

WSU finished in a tie for second with Cleveland State in the standings, but won the tiebreaker with its 2-1 overtime win over the Vikings at Alumni Field on September 27.  It marks the first time Wright State has placed second in the standings since going 5-1-1 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1998, a year that saw the Raiders advance to the conference championship match.

The Raiders will play in the first semifinal on Friday, November 11, at Brown Field on the Valparaiso campus and face the higher remaining seed out of the quarterfinals (either Cleveland State, Green Bay or UIC).