Friday, October 2, 2009

A-Sun What to Watch For - Oct. 02, 2009

Cross Country:
• Three of the top for Atlantic Sun men’s cross country teams, based on Wednesday’s coaches’ poll, head to Louisville for the Greater Louisville XC Classic. Belmont and ETSU, tied for first in the poll, along with fourth-place Lipscomb as well as Mercer take part in the meet. When ETSU and Belmont last both competed at the same race, the Bruins placed two spots higher than the reigning champions at the Crimson Classic. At last year’s Greater Louisville XC Classic, ETSU’s Kenneth Rotich led the 20 competing A-Sun runners, taking sixth.
• Elsewhere on the men’s side, FGCU and Stetson head to Titusville, Fla., for the Invitational; USC Upstate runs at the Charlotte Invite and Campbell competes in the Great American XC Festival in Cary, N.C.
• The conference’s three regionally-ranked teams all race this weekend, however, the three - Jacksonville (11th, South Region), Belmont (15th, South Region) and USC Upstate (12th, Southeast Region) all head to different events. The Dolphins, along with FGCU and Stetson partake in the Invitational. The Spartans join the men at the Charlotte Invite and the Bruins run in Louisville along with ETSU, Lipscomb and Mercer.

Men’s Golf:
• Two of the Atlantic Sun’s pre-eminent golf programs, UNF and ETSU, meet in Tampa, Fla. as part of 15-team The Gary Koch Intercollegiate. The Ospreys enter the tournament ranked No. 11 in the nation and sophomore, Sean Dale will tee off on Saturday as the nation’s No. 1 golfer. Eight other top-35 teams, No. 7 Florida State, No. 8 Florida, No. 10 North Carolina, No. 21 Auburn, No. 27 Augusta State, No. 31 Virginia, No. 34 LSU, No. 35 Texas Tech as well as Georgia Southern, UAB, Kentucky, Ole Miss and USF make up the field.
• In other men’s action, FGCU and Stetson head to the Mission Inn Intercollegiate from Howie-In-The-Hills, Fla., and on Monday, Lipscomb and Belmont battle at the Murray State Invitational with Kennesaw State, Jacksonville and Mercer tee it up at the Rees Jones Intercollegiate from the Haig Point Signature Course in Daufuskie Island, S.C.

Women’s Golf:
• Mercer hosts nine top-100 teams, including No. 67 Kennesaw State at the Eat A Peach golf tournament from at Idle Hour Country Club, beginning on Sunday. Augusta State won the 2008 event. On Monday, three schools, Campbell, FGCU and Stetson travel to Bradenton, Fla. for the USF Waterlefe Invitational. The Camels enter hot after winning the UNCG Starmount Fall Classic, led by Mary Mattson, the Medalist at the event. The Camels (No. 43) and the Hatters (No. 51) enter as the conference’s top ranked teams, according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Men's Soccer
• Freshman Brandon Tarr leads Belmont as he has scored four goals so far this year. Tarr’s goals tie for the most scored by an A-Sun athlete. He also leads teh league in points per game with 1.6, and is tied for second in total points with eight.
• FGCU goal keeper Matthew Smith is third in the A-Sun with 30 saves through seven games. Smith is also second in the conference in goals against average (1.21) with a save percentage of .769 in 668 minutes played.
• Lipscomb suffered a major blow defensively as senior defender Kezi Lara, an All A-Sun Preseason selection, sidelined indefinitely. He left Friday’s loss at Furman and did not play against Wofford Sunday. The Bisons lost 3-0 at Furman and 4-1 at Wofford in the South Carolina-Tennessee Soccer Challenge.

Women's Soccer:
• Campbell's Olga Ekblom scored just 33 seconds into last Thursday’s 3-2 win over Lipscomb, marking the second-fastest goal scored by the Camels this year (Hanna Salmen scored at 0:14 in the opener vs. Francis Marion) and third-fastest to start a game in the program’s history (Ellen Price scored 26 seconds into a 1995 A-Sun semifinal win against FIU).
• FGCU's Amber McCall earned Player of the Week laurels by netting two game-winning goals for the Eagles while teammate Stephanie Powers allowed only one goal in two matches to earn conference defensive honors. McCall shares the league lead with three game winners, while Powers leads the A-Sun in goals against average (0.78), save percentage (.830) and shutouts (5). • Stetson have spread out the scoring this season with eight different
players scoring at least one goal and 12 players registering one point or more.

• With 17 digs at Belmont, Jacksnville’s senior libero Shelley Walroth, surpassed 2,000 in her career and her next targets are family bragging rights and the NCAA Top 25. Walroth’s sister, Julie, tallied 2,095 career digs to set the program record at Evansville (2004-07). The younger Walroth already holds the family single-season record, and surpassed her elder sibling with 12 digs against Stetson, to become the undisputed head of the family. In the NCAA career standings, Walroth needs 100 digs to crack the top 25 all-time and has a chance to etch her name in the record books for some time. The Division I record for career digs is 3,176 by Lara Newberry of Chattanooga from 2005-08. Walroth currently leads the A-Sun with an average of 5.23 digs per set. She has also found her way into the national rankings by sitting 19th with her digs per set average.
• After a five-ace effort against Wofford, Spartan junior Megan Healey needs two service aces to become the 19th player in school history and the first in the D-I era to record 100 career aces. The St Louis, Mo. native became the 12th player in school history to reach 900 career digs with her fourth of 12 against Presbyterian. Healey is currently ninth in school history with 935 career digs, just 65 digs from becoming the eighth in school history to reach 1,000. Senior setter Morgan Bucciferro needs just 14 assists to become the first player in the D-I era to reach 1,250.
• The Bruins extend their season-best winning streak to five matches, improving to 9-8 on the season. After starting the 2009 campaign with a 2-7 record against a competitive schedule, the Bruins now own a winning record for the first time. Belmont ends a three-match homestand as they prepare to face Campbell and East Tennessee State on the road this weekend.
• The Atlantic Sun Conference Volleyball Match of the Week features Campbell and Lipscomb, a pair of teams currently placed first and second in the standings, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday in Buies Creek, N.C. Campbell currently holds a 5-1 A-Sun tally for only the third time in program history. With their win on Saturday against ETSU, the Camels picked up their first-ever victory against ETSU in seven tries. The Lipscomb Lady Bisons have backed up preseason expectations as the conference favorites, winning all seven of their league contests in straight sets. The Lady Bisons won their seventh straight Atlantic Sun match Saturday afternoon against Kennesaw State at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons swept the match 3-0, extending their streak of set wins to 21. Last season the Lady Bisons swept both matches with the Camels after Lipscomb won the lone contest between the two in 2007.

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