Penn Staters help US volleyball team

College digest

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Former Penn State men’s volleyball student-athletes Matt Anderson, Max Holt Aaron Russell and the U.S. men’s national team qualified for the 2020 Toyko Olympic Games after winning three-straight matches in the FIVB qualification tournament this past weekend.

After taking down Belgium in four sets Friday and sweeping Korea Saturday, the U.S. faced the host, Netherlands, in a showdown of two 2-0 teams. The Americans won the battle in four sets, 25-18, 25-20, 17-25, and 25-21.

Flash make Australia debut

Melbourne, Australia — The Saint Francis women’s basketball had the first game of its foreign tour in Australia on Saturday with the Red Flash taking on the Southern Peninsula Sharks.

SFU got off to a hot start, but the Sharks came alive in the second half to pull out an 87-68 victory over the Red Flash.

SFU was led by Haley Thomas with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Karson Swogger added 11 points and five boards. SFU freshmen Sam Miller and Katie Dettwiller made impressive debuts in their first game action for the Red Flash as Miller recorded 11 points and six rebounds, while Dettwiller had 10 points.

Saint Francis stormed out of the gates to take a 12-5 lead in the first five minutes of play before holding a 20-14 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Southern Peninsula gained a 30-29 lead towards the midpoint of the second period, but the Red Flash responded to go ahead 41-37 at halftime.

The Sharks came out strong in the third quarter, using a 14-6 run to take a 51-47 lead five minutes into the frame. The teams went back-and-forth for the rest of the period as Southern Peninsula led 64-61 at the end of the third stanza.

SFU was unable to overcome the deficit in the fourth quarter as the Sharks held a 75-66 advantage halfway through the final period and closed the game on a 12-2 run. Saint Francis will look to bounce back in its next contest against the Ringwood Hawks today in Melbourne.

Donley on top academic team

ATLANTA — The ODAC champion Shenandoah University women’s basketball team has the nation’s highest team GPA in results announced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Altoona’s Sarah Donley is a member of the team.

The Hornets, who won their first-ever ODAC championship in February, posted a 3.764 GPA for the 2018-19 academic year to top Vassar College by .001.

Sixteen of the 18 women on the squad had at least a 3.42 GPA for the spring semester with McKenzie Mathis, Brooke Riley, Sarah Sondrol and Madison Stone all posting perfect 4.0 GPAs.

In the fall semester, Riley, Donley, Ashley Stone and Olivia Weinel turned the same trick.

“I am so incredibly proud of these women for accomplishing this feat,” head coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft said.

“After the fall semester, I felt we had a chance to lead the nation if we continued to do the work in the classroom. To have as strong a semester as we did, and win a championship, is truly remarkable. They deserve all of the credit in the world for working so hard in the classroom and on the court.”

Shenandoah was one of two ODAC schools in the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. Washington & Lee, the Hornets opponent in the ODAC championship, finished 19th at 3.579.

PSU’s Castano gets bronze

LIMA, PERU — Penn State men’s swimmer Gabe Castano of Mexico won bronze in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and placed fourth individually in the 50-meter free, while women’s swimming alumna Alyson Ackman won four medals (two silver, two bronze) at the 2019 Pan American Games.

Castano’s bronze was earned Wednesday night when he and his teammates touched third in 3:17.70. He then neared his own Mexican national record in the 50 freestyle Friday night, touching fourth in 20.23 seconds, .13 seconds shy of the Olympic A standard.