Morgan, UMBC favored to win volleyball tourneys Bears, Retrievers expected to advance to NCAAs



November 13, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Two area women's volleyball teams are favored to win their conference tournaments this weekend and advance to the NCAA Division I tournament.

Morgan State is the host and top seed in the MEAC tournament, beginning today and continuing through tomorrow. The Bears (15-14) will play at 3 p.m. against the winner of the match between Maryland-Eastern Shore and Norfolk State.

Morgan -- led by all-conference selections Dorothy Buford and Monica Scott -- won the bid to host the tournament for the next three years, but its Hill Fieldhouse is being renovated, so the matches will be at Coppin State.

Meanwhile, UMBC is the top seed in the Northeast Conference tournament, which it will host at UMBC Fieldhouse tomorrow and Sunday. The Retrievers will open tomorrow at 7 p.m. against the winner of Quinnipiac-Central Connecticut State.

After finishing in the Big South as runner-up to Liberty in its last two years before moving to the NEC, UMBC (20-6, 8-0) has been dominant against its new foes.

The Retrievers have been led by a trio of seniors. Lisa Cline was named the conference's Player of the Year earlier this week, after a season in which she has logged 437 kills and has been named the player of the week four times. Megan McNamara has 315 kills this season, while LaNae Baker has 1,179 assists for the year, both making the conference's first team.

The three played as freshmen in 1995 in an NCAA play-in game, losing in three games to Central Florida. Now, according to UMBC coach Catherine Lavery, they are "three times as good" and anchoring what she believes to be her best team ever.

"Usually, we have four great athletes and two OK athletes," Lavery said. "Now, we have six great athletes and we don't have any weak links."

The Retrievers have punished the two teams closest to them in the NEC standings, St. Francis (Pa.) and Fairleigh Dickinson. In the closest game against either, FDU played UMBC to 15-8 in the second game of a 3-0 loss.

The Bears won their tournament last season, and became the first historically-black college to make the NCAA tournament in Division I before losing in the first round to Southern California. With the aim of better preparation for the postseason, Morgan State coach Ramona Riley-Bozier gave her team a tougher schedule, headlined by national power Penn State.

Though the initial result was a 3-12 start, Riley's team has won 12 of its last 14 matches. That includes a 10-0 record in the MEAC's Northern Division that continued a string of 32 straight conference wins.

"That's not enough for us," said Riley-Bozier, who was named the MEAC Coach of the Year. "If we're in a position where we dominate the northern half for three years, then we want to play the southern schools and dominate them. Then we want to want to beat our non-conference opponents."

Salisbury volleyball

Salisbury State's volleyball team (25-14) was ousted by No. 3 seed Gettysburg, 16-14, 15-9, 15-10, last night in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament's Mid-Atlantic regional in Huntingdon, Pa. The Capital Athletic Conference-champion Sea Gulls, seeded sixth in the regional, were led by Jen O'Neill with 18 kills and 20 digs.

Terps field hockey

The rough period experienced by the Maryland field hockey team early last month -- with four losses in five games -- seems like a distant memory. The Terps will be hosting the first two rounds of this year's NCAA tournament beginning tomorrow, after defeating fourth-ranked North Carolina and second-ranked Virginia in the ACC tournament last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

For its efforts, Maryland gets a bye in the first round, which pits the ACC champion Cavaliers against Kent State at noon tomorrow. The Terps will meet the winner of that game Sunday at 2 p.m., hoping to make their first national semifinal appearance since 1995.

Soccer playoffs

Johns Hopkins' men's soccer team, ranked 11th in Division III, plays Bethany (W. Va.) tonight in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. The Blue Jays (17-1-1) have won their last seven games on the way to the tournament.

The Essex Community College men's soccer team (16-2) hosts Mercer County (N.J.) at 1 p.m. tomorrow for the NJCAA Region 20 championship.

W.Md. inducts six

Western Maryland College will induct six athletes into its Sports Hall of Fame tomorrow. Sally Stanfield, basketball; Philip Uhrig, soccer coach; and football players Ricci Bonaccorsy, Robert Butler, Howard Linton and Fred Dilkes will be honored at 6 p.m. at the school's Decker College Center Forum.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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