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On Campus

‘Blue collar’ IPFW seeks NCAA upset

Hartley Hutton

– The IPFW women’s volleyball team is well aware that it isn’t supposed to win tonight when it plays at Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. And that’s OK.

After all, the Mastodons were underdogs against Georgia this year and won 3-1. They were expected to fold to Michigan State but took the Spartans to five sets before finally falling. Even in the first round of the Summit League tournament in Fargo, N.D., nemesis Oakland had IPFW on the brink of elimination, two sets to none. But then the Mastodons rallied to win three in a row, then swept IUPUI the next night for the Summit League championship and a berth into tonight’s NCAA first round.

Underdogs? IPFW (25-6) loves the sound of it.

“This is a team that truly has a blue-collar mentality,” IPFW’s 14th-year coach Kelley Hartley Hutton says. “They don’t mind being the underdog. I think we even play better in that situation. Most of the time in the Summit League, we were the first-place team in the standings, and I’m not sure we responded great with that target on our back. The personality of this team is, ‘Hey, let’s do it when we’re not supposed to; let’s come from behind.’ That’s happened a few times this season. It’s given me a heart attack. But this team has really showed never to throw in the towel.”

This is IPFW’s second trip to the NCAA tournament in four years. When seniors Haley Emenhiser, Jessie Manwaring, Tessa McGill and Megan Steenhuysen were freshmen, they lost to Illinois 3-0 in the first round.

At 8:30 p.m. comes 18th-ranked Iowa State (20-7), which finished second in the Big 12 standings behind Texas and is 12-1 when playing on its home floor in Ames, Iowa.

“The last time (in the NCAA tournament) was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we made it,” said Steenhuysen, who was the MVP of the Summit League tournament. “It’s going to be a great experience again, but I feel we’re going out there with more of a purpose and like a real belief we have a chance.

“It’s not going to be as overwhelming because we’ve already done it. This year, I think we’re more prepared in the fact that in the beginning of the year we played some really good schools. We went to five with Michigan State; we were right there with them. We beat Georgia. That has given us confidence; that if we can play with them, why not play with this team?

“This year we’ve really proven to ourselves that they might be bigger than us, they might be stronger than us, but we’re going to get in there and we’re going to play with them.

“Whoever is across the net from us, we’re going to play pretty fearless and not be intimidated.”

Athletes of note

Saint Francis junior forward Scott Kohne (Bishop Dwenger) was named the Crossroads League men’s basketball player of the week. In two games that resulted in a win and a loss, Kohne averaged 22.5 points, 14 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. … Trine senior forward Scott Rogers was named co-MIAA men’s basketball player of the week. In two victories, Rogers averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots. He shared the award with Garner Small of Olivet. … Indiana Tech soccer players, junior Morgan Delagrange (New Haven) and senior Justine Jost (Homestead), received All-WHAC academic honors. Players must carry at least a 3.25 grade-point average to qualify. Tech senior Darcie

Faylor (Carroll) received a similar academic honor and was named All-WHAC honorable mention in volleyball. … Newberry College junior outside hitter Samantha Parrish, an Angola native, was named to the Daktronics All-Southeast Region second team.

Steve Warden covers area colleges for The Journal Gazette. He can be reached by email at stwarden@jg.net, by phone at 461-8477, or by fax at 461-8648.

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