ULV stakes claim on championship

Freshman Alex Lienert and seniors Joel Harworth and Ryan Allen share a winning moment in the Supertents. ULV will try to celebrate a national title Saturday. / photo by Summer Herndon
Freshman Alex Lienert and seniors Joel Harworth and Ryan Allen share a winning moment in the Supertents. ULV will try to celebrate a national title Saturday. / photo by Summer Herndon

by J.R. Gonsalves
Assistant Sports Editor

As a men’s volleyball player at the Division III level, there has been little incentive to go beyond the regular season. That is, until now. The University of La Verne, in the second year of Division III playoffs, has qualified for the four-team championships.

The men’s volleyball team will take on defending national champion and second ranked Springfield College (Mass.) tonight at 5 p.m.

“The biggest concern in my mind at the beginning of the season was how to bring this team together as a team,” head coach Jack Coberly said.

What the Leopards will face against Springfield is an All-American candidate in junior opposite hitter Peter Murray.

The Leopards are challenged by Murray, who also leads the nation with 5.32 kills a game.

The Leopards will face a former teammate, sophomore middle blocker James Klimkoski. Klimkoski is fifth in the nation in hitting percentage, .388.

He will likely be across the net from senior middle blocker Jason Flick, who leads the Leopards and is fourth in the nation with 1.55 blocks per game.

“It should be fun because he is my ex-teammate,” said Flick, who is poised to be successful in this year’s playoffs.

Klimkoski played at the ULV for one season.

Other strong players for Springfield include senior setter Bret Stothart, who leads the team in assists with 15 assists per match and junior middle blocker Tim O’Brien who is second on the team in kills with 3.29 a game.

Springfield had a 15-10 record this season and their schedule had a few similarities to La Verne’s.

Springfield played Princeton and Harvard. They beat Harvard, 15-9, 16-14 and 17-15. Princeton beat Springfield twice in two meetings this season. Both matches were won in three games.

Princeton won the first match 15-6, 15-6 and 15-10 and won the second match, 15-7, 15-13 and 15-5.

The Leopards have also played Harvard and Princeton. La Verne beat Harvard handily in three games, 15-11, 15-7 and 15-5, but the Leopards lost to Princeton in three games, 15-6, 15-6 and 15-13.

If this is a sign of the two teams’ tendencies against common opponents, the first round contest between Springfield and La Verne should be a good one.

The other first round match-up puts two teams from the East together. Juniata, the No. 1 ranked team in Division III goes against Eastern Mennonite University today.

The winners of today’s semifinal matches will play for the national championship tomorrow.

Juniata played against Penn State University for a chance at a Division I playoff spot. Penn State won the match in four games, but the match was close, 15-6, 15-11, 10-15 and 15-7.

Juniata won both meetings this season against Eastern Mennonite. One match took four games and another took three games for Juniata.

If the Leopards beat Springfield, their opponent in the finals will likely be Juniata. The only common opponent between La Verne and Juniata is George Mason. La Verne beat George Mason in four games and Juniata lost to GM in four games. The two teams’ only comparison shed a positive light on the Leopards chances.

Team Rosters

University of La Verne

No. — Pos. — Player — Year
1 — S — Morgan Coberly — Sr.
4 — MB — Jason Flick — Sr.
5 — OH — Jeff Pang — Sr.
7 — Opp/MB — Ryan Orr — So.
8 — OH — Thomas Moese — Fr.
10 — OH/S — Agke Grow — Fr.
11 — OH — Chris Peterson — Jr.
12 — MB — Joel Harworth — Jr.
13 — OH — Sean Douglas — Jr.
14 — OH — Alex Lienert — Fr.
15 — OH — Jason Kolodge — Fr.
17 — OH/Opp — Ryan Allen — Sr.
Head Coach: Jack Coberly

Springfield College

No. — Pos. — Player — Year
1 — S — Bret Stothart — Sr.
2 — Sw — Josh Farb — So.
4 — Sw — Charlie Haer — So.
6 — Ds — Scott Nichols — So.
7 — S/Sw — Eric Chase — Jr.
8 — Sw/Opp — Brad Skarupa — Sr.
9 — Sw — Corey Romanak — Sr.
10 — Q — Tim O’Brien — Jr.
11 — Q — Adam Thorenz — So.
12 Sw/Opp — Peter Murray — Jr.
13 — S — Kevin O’Dell — Fr.
14 — Q — James Klimkoski — So.
Head Coach: Sean Byron

Juniata College

No. — Pos. — Player — Year
2 — OH — Rob Kirby — So.
3 — S — Kevin Moore — Fr.
4 — MH — Todd Greathouse — Jr.
5 — OH — Eben Meyer — Jr.
6 — Opp — Derek Haughney — Sr.
7 — OH — Ryan Celesnik — Jr.
8 — S — Mike Sceaffer — So.
9 — MH — Bruce Ketrick — Sr.
10 — MH — Jason Michael — Fr.
11 — Opp — Ryan Goodwin — Jr.
12 — OH — Jason Moore — So.
13 — DS — Chris Dinkle — Jr.
14 — MH — Andy Kurl — Sr.
15 — MH — G.W. Hall — So.
16 — OH — Bill Todd — Fr.
17 — Opp — Tim Shawaryn — Sr.
Head Coach: Ryan Patton

Eastern Mennonite University

No. — Pos. — Player — Year
3 — S — Shaun Hackman — Jr.
5 — H — Todd Shenk — So.
7 — S — Seth Rice — Fr.
8 — Opp — Alan Schroeder — Sr.
9 — MB — Darien Covelens — Fr.
10 — H — Kevin Nafziger — So.
12 — H — Chad Hackman — Sr.
16 — MB — Ryan Shetler — Fr.
17 — MB — Jason Axford — MB
21 — MB — Curt Conser — Sr.
22 — H — Eric Gehman — Sr.
Head Coach: Sandra L. Brownscombe

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