Monthly Archives: November 2015

PAC Women’s Volleyball Championships Preview

By Justin Zackal

Only three schools have won the last 10 Presidents’ Athletics Conference volleyball championships. They will all play this weekend, along with a team seeking its first-ever PAC title, as Thomas More hosts the semifinals and finals of the 2015 PAC Volleyball Championship Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Connor Convocation Center Crestview Hills, Ky.

#5 WESTMINSTER (13-23, 9-9 PAC)
PAC TITLES: 2008, 2007, 2002

They may be the only losing team in the semifinals, but the Titans have come on strong in the last three weeks, winning six of their last eight matches, including a pair of 3-0 wins over Washington & Jefferson and Grove City and another victory at fourth-seeded Grove City in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, 3-1.

Sophomore middle hitter Lexie Yoho has averaged 4.1 kills per set in the last three matches, while her 3.04 average for the season ranks fourth in the league.

#3 BETHANY (28-8, 15-3 PAC)

Bethany VB Team

2015 Bethany Bison.

Bethany has won 13 of its last 14 matches to secure its fifth straight 25-win season. The Bison defeated their semifinal opponent, Geneva, 3-1, at home last week. Bethany is a veteran team, having lost just two players from last year’s team that went 16-2 in the PAC before losing to Geneva in the semifinals. The teams split their two matches this season.

Junior twins Dylana McKenzie and Dakota McKenzie have nearly identical statistics, ranking fifth and sixth in the PAC with 2.97 and 2.92 kills per set, respectively.

#2 GENEVA (26-7, 15-3 PAC)

The Golden Tornadoes get it done on defense, as their team 18.95 digs per set, including 5.18 from junior Gabrielle Dickson, and .077 opponent hitting percentage are the best in the PAC.

Geneva was the only PAC team to come close to beating Thomas More in the regular season. The GTs led 2-1 in a home match on Oct. 10 before dropping the final two sets 25-20 and 15-7. Thomas More won the rematch at home, 3-0, on Oct. 21. Geneva also lost to Thomas More in last year’s finals, 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-21).

#1 THOMAS MORE (24-4, 18-0 PAC)
PAC TITLES: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006

TMC Front Row

Thomas More’s Jessica Knaley, Jenna Fessler and Stacy Howell.

There’s a reason why set wins are noteworthy against Thomas More. The Saints are that dominant. They have surrendered just three sets to PAC teams this season, all on the road, two at Geneva and one at Bethany. The last set they lost to a PAC team at home was in last year’s semifinals.

Thomas More is seeking its seventh PAC title, including its sixth in the last seven years.

Look for sophomore setter Jenna Fessler to keep feeding senior outside hitter Stacy Howell. Fessler is fourth in the nation with 11.46 assists per set and Howell ranks 10th in the country with 4.35 kills per set.

Thomas More plays Westminster Friday at 6 p.m., followed by Geneva vs. Bethany at 8 p.m. The winners will play for the title on Saturday at 4 p.m.


PAC Women’s Soccer Championship Preview: Thomas More vs. Grove City

By Justin Zackal

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Grove City will play Thomas More in the PAC women’s soccer championship game this Saturday. This will be the fourth straight year each team will play in the finals.

Stop everything. That’s what Thomas More has virtually done to get here again.

Thomas More (16-0-2), the tournament’s top seed and 10th-ranked team in the nation, has allowed just two goals all season to lead the country in scoring defense (.114 GAA).

The Saints will host third-seeded Grove City (11-5-2) in Saturday’s championship game at BB&T Field in Crestview Hills, Ky. (game time to be determined).

Thomas More beat Grove City in each of the last three PAC title games, as the Saints have won four straight PAC crowns and five overall. Grove City hasn’t won a PAC title since 2001.

Here are three reasons why each team will win:


  1. Grove City is one of two teams (Case Western Reserve) NOT to lose to Thomas More this year. The Wolverines played the Saints to a scoreless tie in Grove City on Oct. 21 behind senior goalkeeper Nicole Lapia’s seven saves.
  2. If Saturday is a repeat of the Oct. 21 match, a penalty-kick shootout will determine the champion. Grove City has the experience in shootouts having just defeated second-seeded Washington & Jefferson in PKs, 6-5, after 110 scoreless minutes. Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Hutton scored the decisive shootout goal vs. W&J.
  3. Grove City is prepared because it plays a tough nonconference schedule. The Wolverines lost to No. 7 Carnegie Mellon, 1-0, this year and last year they had a losing overall record (9-10-2) despite going 8-1 in the PAC.



  1. Teams just don’t score on them. The Saints have 16 shutouts this year and the only goals they gave up were in wins over Hanover, 2-1, and DePauw, 3-1. Junior goalkeeper Megan Barton has a school- and PAC-record 12 shutouts this season (she also holds the career records with 26).
  2. The PAC team that would most likely score against Thomas More was W&J, which ranked eighth in the nation with 4.0 goals per game, but the Presidents were ousted by Grove City in the semifinals.
  3. Thomas More just has too much firepower. Senior forward Olivia Huber has 24 goals this year, which ranks eighth in the nation, and her 97 career goals broke a 14-year-old PAC record. Sophomore forward Julia Flagge-Echols has 22 goals on 88 shots and her 12 assists ranks ninth in the country. Compare those numbers with Grove City’s leading scorer, senior Kristin Thomas, who has eight goals, seven assists and 49 shots.