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3 posts from November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012

Volleyball gets Western

In Sun Belt volleyball's version of "last hired, first fired," FIU fought gallantly to get into the tournament as a No. 8 seed so must face No. 1 seed Western Kentucky Thursday at 6 p.m.

That's "29-3 Western Kentucky." That's "15-0 in the Sun Belt this season" Western Kentucky. That's "on a 21-match winning streak" Western Kentucky (heck, FIU's only played 28 matches). That's also "hosting the tournament" Western Kentucky.

Oh, well. Maybe there's a good place in Bowling Green for chitterlings (or "chitlins" or "Kentucky oysters" as my family used to call them).

As expected in Boston, The Branch

On FIU's first basketball Sunday it was men down, women up, Coley cool.

FIU's women dusted North Florida, 63-44 at The Branch. Junior guard Jerica Coley put up 19 points, nine rebounds, an FIU-record nine blocks, five assists, four steals and only one turnover in 40 minutes. Marita Davydova put up 14 points and Zsofia Labady had 11. 

Earlier Sunday, FIU put the pressure on Boston College with a second-half run to tie the game 65-65 with more than eight minutes left. But BC kicked it home to win 84-70. Freshman Jerome Frink, playing undersized and inside, had 22 points and 10 rebounds. He was nine of nine from the free throw line and the team shot 15 of 19. Four of Malik Smith's five field goals were three-pointers.

 

Basketball season begins today; volleyball season keeps going

The basetball season opens today with sort of an FIU doubleheader except the games are in different cities.

Of course new FIU men's coach Richard Pitino begins his college coaching career with a game at Boston College. It follows Pitino's life pattern that's seen New England be a place of beginnings and transitions. He was born there while his dad was Boston University head coach. He went to Saint Sebastian's School, then Providence College. His first true assistant's job was at Northeastern.

Then, at 6 p.m. at The Branch, FIU's women host North Florida in what should be the first victory of another 20-win season. What FIU's athletic department would love to see, in addition to the win, would be a stellar statistical game by guard Jerica Coley. They're all set to campaign for Coley to get full All-America recognition after she was an Honorable Mention last year. When FIU says "posterize" with Coley, it means putting the junior on posters as a shining symbol of FIU's athletics.

VOLLEYBALL

A week and a half ago, if Nick Silver had been asked about the probability math on FIU's chances of getting into the Sun Belt Conference tournament, his summary likely would've been "Worse than Romney."

The plane crash sequence of events necessary involved 8-18 FIU beating FAU; Troy, which was 9-4 in the Belt and 19-10 overall; and completing a series of South Alabama losses by beating the Jaguars Saturday night at The Branch.

Friday, FIU beat Troy 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 14-25, 25-21) as junior Kimberly Smith, freshman Lucia Castro and senior Marija Prsa ran up 40 kills. Smith also had six blocks, second for FIU behind sophomore Silvia Carli's seven. Senior Ryanne Milligan had 18 digs.

The day before FIU trounced FAU, South Alabama lost to middling Middle Tennessee (7-8, 10-22). USA followed with the predictable 3-0 loss to 29-3 Western Kentucky. Friday night, USA lost to FAU 3-2.

But, Saturday night, USA took a 2-0 lead on FIU. One set from extinction, the Panthers took the third 25-19, the fourth 25-20 and got hte last two points from 13-13 to clinch a spot in the Sun Belt tournament. Marija Prsa had 19 kills and 10 digs. Smith added 16 kills. Castro had 13 kills and 112 digs, freshman Ashlee Hodgskin had 38 assists, 10 digs and three service aces. Levorin had six blocks and Milligan had 29 digs.

 

Yeah, sure, it'll be the Western Kentucky Beatdown Invitational but getting in the tournament's an achievement for a team that's crashed through the season after losing its best player, Jovana Bjelica, in warmups before the season opener.


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