The NCAA announces its 64-team field for the women’s volleyball national championships on Sunday, and the Miami Hurricanes, who finished their regular season 21-9 overall and 14-6 in the ACC, are a solid choice to earn a bid for the seventh straight year.
The Canes, who finished tied for fourth in the ACC, are hoping to get one of 32 at-large bids.
Meanwhile, of the five Canes players to start more than 20 matches this year, four made the All-ACC second team: senior middle blocker Alexis Mourning, senior outside hitter Taylor Scott, sophomore setter Haley Templeton and sophomore outside hitter Olga Strantzali.
Mourning led in blocks and kill percentage, Scott led in kills per set, Templeton led in assists, and Strantzali led in service aces.
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Kalysta White, a senior defensive specialist, led the team in digs.
Three other players contributed heavily: junior outside hitter Kelsie Groot, freshman outside hitter Lucia Pampana and sophomore middle blocker Sakile Simmons. Groot was a full-time starter, and the other two started about half the matches.
BENDER LOSES DEBUT AS STARTER
Former Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Peyton Bender, now a redshirt freshman at Washington State, made his first start Friday and lost 45-10 at rival Washington.
It was the most lopsided Apple Cup — the nickname for the annual game — since Washington won 51-3 in 2000.
On Friday, Washington led 17-3 at halftime, and things only got worse for Bender, who threw two interceptions returned for touchdowns — one in the third quarter and one in the fourth.
Bender, playing for injured starter Luke Falk, finished with some strong overall numbers, completing 36 of 58 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown.
Prior to Friday, Bender had gotten some playing time due to other Falk injuries, tossing his first collegiate touchdown pass Nov. 14 in a 31-27 win over UCLA.
Bender’s maternal grandmother, Kathy Bronnum, battling ovarian cancer, watched that TD on television and was overjoyed.
Three days later, she passed away.
NOVA SOUTHEASTERN FALLS
The Sharks women’s basketball team, ranked third in the nation in NCAA Division II, fell to 5-1 after a 70-60 home loss to unranked Washburn.
NSU had overcome eight-point-plus deficits in its previous two games but that was not the case against Washburn.
In other NSU news, men’s soccer coach Guiseppe “Joe” DePalo resigned after 17 years, leaving the school as its all-time leader in wins.