Behind a four-set win over fourth-seeded Defiance College of Ohio in the 2016 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinals, Manchester University advances to its first semifinal round appearance since 2008 Saturday, Nov. 5.
Match details: First serve is 2 p.m. at Hanover College's Collier Arena against the top-seed and conference regular season champion Panthers. The second semifinal, set for a 5 p.m. start, pits third-seeded Rose-Hulman and second-seeded Bluffton University of Ohio. The two semifinal winners advance to the tourney championship, set for Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m., at Collier Arena with the top squad earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships … Live audio, statistics and video for Saturday's Black and Gold semifinal round match-up can be accessed via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: Coach Bryndon Paulsen's crew equaled the 2008 team's feat of reaching the loop final four with their 18th victory Nov. 2 at DC's Karl H. Weaner Center. "(It was) definitely exciting," Paulsen said of the 23-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 decision. "We felt like we had a chance to be in this situation … it all came down to execution. We've been talking in practices and so forth that we know we're ready to make (a tourney run). It's time for us to show everyone else that." … The Spartans' positive quarterfinal results dealt with balance. A quartet of players registered double-digit kills with a sophomore tandem of right side hitter Haley Duncan (Albion, Ind.) and middle hitter Hannah Tevis (Royal Center, Ind.) each striking the ball at .275 accuracy rate or higher to go with kill and dig doubles from sophomore outside hitter Farren Miller (Lebanon, Ind.) (10 kills, 17 digs) and senior outside hitter Courtney Chowning (Yorktown, Ind.) (15 kills – 17 digs) … Chowning goes into the weekend just six kills shy of becoming the first Spartans' player to reach 350 in a season since Amy Carnahan did so in 2005. Ranking second in career kills (1,148), the Yorktown native is the program's leader in career kills per set (3.23) and is among the top four in total attempts (3,433). She's also one of two current Spartans to rank among the HCAC's statistical top five, sitting third in kills (344) and kills per set (3.51) … Chowning isn't the only individual rising up Manchester University's career ranks. Sophomore setter Dakota Stanichuk (Athens, Mich.), who tops the loop in assists (10.23 per set) and service aces (.41 per set), is already fourth in career assists (1,755). She's less than 50 (951) assists short of becoming the first Spartans' setter to tally 1,000 kills in a season since 2008. Stanichuk's sophomore year numbers are attracting national attention, as her 10.23-per set average is ranked No. 24 in NCAA Division III … Sophomore middle hitter Emma Voelker (North Bend, Ohio) joins Chowning and Stanichuk in the conference statistical top five. Her .78 blocks per set are fifth-highest.