Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crown preseason No. 1 in wrestling

Even though the first action of the 2011-12 wrestling season is still more than a month away, junior Alex Crown is already getting attention.
Crown, who finished fourth at the NCAA Division III National Championships last March, was ranked No. 1 in the country at 125 pounds by It is believed to be the first time a Waynesburg wrestler was given the top spot by the national website.
As a sophomore last season, Crown not only won his second-straight Presidents’ Athletic Conference title, but finished in the top two at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Championships for the second-straight season after winning the event for the first time.
After losing his opening match at nationals, Crown bounced back to win four-straight bouts, including a thrilling pin of Mt. Union’s Riki Reynolds, who opens the 2011-12 season ranked second in the country.
Crown has a career record of 62-17 and 26-3 in dual matches.
The Yellow Jackets, who placed 20th as a team at the national championships, will open the season Nov 5 at the Messiah Invitational.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cal's Fromknecht gets West's top weekly honor

For her play in the season-opening Ferris State (Mich.) Invitational, California University junior volleyball player Kelly Fromknecht earned PSAC West Athlete of the Week honors.

Fromknecht, an Erie McDowell graduate, helped the Vulcans post a 3-1 record at the two-day tournament in the debut of first-year head coach Peter Letourneau. Cal opened the weekend with sweeps of Southern Indiana, Urbana (Ohio) and Wisconsin-Parkside before suffering a loss to the host Bulldogs.

An All-PSAC West second-team selection last year, Fromknecht posted 109 assists last week and led the Vulcans with 10 blocks and seven service aces. She also finished with 17 kills and 21 digs.

The 6-0 junior opened the year on Friday by establishing a career high with 36 assists and adding three kills, six digs and four blocks in the win over Southern Indiana.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Abel is able

James Madison University redshirt junior volleyball outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington/Trinity High School) was named the Colonial Athletic Association co-Offensive Player of the Week after helping JMU to a 3-0 record at the Days Inn Invitational last weekend.

Abel was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after collecting 41 kills on .398 hitting while adding 31 digs, four blocks, four assists and two service aces. She committed only four errors in 11 sets, and averaged 3.73 kills per set. In James Madison's three-set win over Robert Morris to close out the tournament, Abel had 16 kills against one error in 28 attempts.

Through six matches this season, Abel leads the Dukes in kills (67), kills per set (2.79), aces (seven) and digs (72). She was a preseason All-CAA honorable mention after collecting third team recognitions a year ago.

Nothing gets past Hoffman

Freshman goalkeeper Brittany Hoffman (McMurray/Peters Township) had a spectacular collegiate debut, recording consecutive shutout victories and a 3-0-0 record while leading the defensive effort that helped New Jersey City University win the championship of the Michelle Robin-Vargas Memorial Tournament at SUNY-New Paltz. For her efforts, Hoffman was selected as the season's first New Jersey Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Rookie of the Week.

Hoffman, the first goalkeeper in school history to be selected as the NJAC Rookie of the Week, made 12 saves while facing 32 shots and registered a .923 save percentage.

Hoffman, who is attending NJCU on a full Presidential academic scholarship and studying Fire Science, extended her current shutout streak to 259:46. That represents the third-longest scoreless minutes streak in school history and stands just 8:45 of eclipsing the school record set in 1995.

On Sept. 1 in a 6-1 win over King's to open the season, Hoffman made five saves to register her first NCAA victory.

In an 8-0 romp of SUNY Canton Sept. 3 in the tournament's opening round, Hoffman made four saves for her first shutout.

In a 1-0 overtime victory at SUNY New Paltz in the championship game, Hoffman made three saves while leading NJCU to its first road overtime victory in the 19-year history of the program.

Sixth-year head coach Robert Bielan had high praise for his rookie netminder. “Brittany Hoffman is the best keeper I have had in my six years as head coach, hands down," he said. "She has all the attributes of a good keeper and the potential to be even better. She absorbs everything Leah Tepperman [assistant coach/goalkeepers coach] tells her and executes it perfectly.”