FORT WAYNE – Now comes the moment of reckoning for the IPFW womens volleyball team.
After a September loss in Michigan and an October loss at home, the Mastodons get a November shot at beating Oakland when they face the troublesome Grizzlies in the first round of the Summit League Championships today in Fargo, N.D.
Second-seeded IPFW (23-6) will face No. 3 Oakland (16-12) in the 6 p.m. semifinal, before No. 1 seed IUPUI (21-9) plays No. 4 UMKC (17-12) at 8:30. The winners will return at 8 p.m. Saturday for the title match that will send the champion to the NCAA tournament.
For the Mastodons, who won the tournament championship in 2009, this is their sixth consecutive Summit League appearance. And to avoid being knocked from the first round for a second straight season, theyll have to find a way past Oakland.
Theyve got our number lately, IPFW coach Kelley Hartley Hutton said. Theyve won the last three – two this past season and once last year.
In the first meeting this season, Oakland won 3-2. IPFW responded by rattling off eight consecutive wins, until losing to Oakland 3-1.
Sophomore hitter Emily Spencer, who leads IPFW in kills with 468 but is second in the conference behind the 473 of Oaklands Meghan Bray, says the best way to deal with the Grizzlies is to concentrate on IPFW.
As long as we stay true to how we play and we dont try to play like them, I think well be good, Spencer said. We have to stay confident and stick to what we know and not get aggravated and not feel pressure.
Off the court, three Mastodons earned individual honors as the Summit League announced its volleyball awards Thursday.
Spencer was named the player of the year, Tessa McGill earned defensive player of the year and Megan Steenhuysen collected setter of the year.
Spencer, McGill and Steenhuysen were also all-league selections.
The NAIA named Indiana Tech as a Champions of Character Five Star recipient.
The award recognizes institutions and conferences that are active in the NAIAs Champions of Character program, which emphasizes the five core values – integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Tech has earned the award every year since the programs inception in 2000.
Trine senior wide receiver and return specialist JaVontae Hence was named the MIAAs offensive most valuable player. Hence had 865 yards on 64 receptions and four touchdowns.
Also, senior receiver Mario Brown received the Pete Schmidt Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award.
Trine players named first-team All-MIAA were Hence, quarterback Ryan Hargraves, tackle Taylor Sprague, guard Andrew Webster, defensive end Louis Danesi, linebacker Caleb Nitz, cornerback Myron Puryear and kicker Tyler Keck.
Athletes of note
Saint Francis running back Antoin Campbell was named Mid-States Football Association Mideast League offensive player of the week after his season-high 143 yards and two touchdowns in the Cougars 44-7 victory at Lindenwood-Belleville on Saturday. Samantha
Parrish (Angola) set the career kills record at Newberry College. In addition to her one-season record of 426 kills, she has 1,197 career kills. Eastern Illinois freshman Abby Saalf
rank (Heritage) was named Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and Marah Bradbury (Concordia) joined her classmate on the All-Newcomer Team. Saalfrank has five triple-doubles this season, and Bradbury, a setter, has 987 assists.