West Virginia’s Briana Lynch tips at the net

After helping the Mountaineers extend their undefeated streak to 8-0, fifth-year middle blocker Briana Lynch of the West Virginia University volleyball team has been named the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week, presented by University Apartments.

Lynch, the Mountaineers’ lone selection on the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, was named to the WNY All-Tournament Team following her performance at the WNY Invitational in Buffalo, New York, from Sept. 10-11.

Turning in a team-high .443 hitting efficiency, Lynch averaged 3.20 kills per set for a total of 32 on the weekend. She led the team with 18 blocks and a season-high eight blocks in a win over Buffalo.

Overall, Lynch averaged 1.80 blocks per set in the three-match series at the WNY Invitational. She tallied 67 attacks in the squads’ three wins.

The Johns Creek, Georgia, native currently ranks first in the Big 12 in blocks with an average of 1.65 per set, and she ranks second with a hitting efficiency of .467.

This Week in Volleyball: The Mountaineers (8-0) return to Morgantown for a three-match tournament, from Sept. 16-17, at the WVU Coliseum … West Virginia welcomes George Washington, UMBC, RMU and No. 18 Penn State to the Mountaineer Invitational, as the squad squares off with George Washington on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 12:30 p.m. ET, before facing UMBC on Thursday at 5 p.m. … Friday’s finale will be a showdown between WVU and No. 18 Penn State at 7 p.m.

Last Week in Volleyball: The Mountaineers took home a trio of wins at the WNY Invitational … WVU opened the weekend with a double header on Friday, Sept. 10, in Buffalo, New York … the squad closed the tournament with a 3-0 tournament record … WVU swept American in the first match at Alumni Arena in set scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-19 … following the win, West Virginia saw action at Koessler Athletic Center, with a match against co-host Canisius … the Mountaineers beat the Golden Griffins in set scores of 25-23, 25-17 and 25-14 … redshirt senior setter Adrian Ell led the Mountaineers in the match against American after recording a season-high 12 digs, along with six kills and one assist in the match … she was followed by senior outside hitter Natali Petrova, who recorded a team-best 11 kills, two service aces, two assists and nine digs against American … of note, Petrova tied her dig season-best against American … fifth-year middle blocker Briana Lynch recorded nine kills and five blocks, while senior setter Lacey Zerwas recorded 33 total assists and four blocks against American … with 16 digs in the match, senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting led the match against American, and sophomore outside hitter Skye Stokes led the match with three service aces … overall, the Mountaineers posted 40 kills for a .202 hitting efficiency, along with nine team blocks in the win over American … up next WVU faced host, Canisius … Petrova matched her career-high with four service aces, along with tallying 14 kills and eight digs … she was followed by senior outside hitter Kristin Lux, who recorded 11 kills in the match … Zerwas led the team with 35 assists, along with eight digs and Lynch recorded a team-best five blocks and eight kills … the Mountaineers posted 43 kills for a .265 hitting efficiency, along with 10 team blocks in the win … WVU closed out competition with a win over Buffalo at Alumni Arena … the Mountaineers secured the match, 3-1, in set scores of 25-23, 25-15, 22-25 and 25-21 … four Mountaineers tallied double-digit scores against Buffalo … Lynch recorded 15 kills and a season-high of eight blocks … she was followed by Lux who matched her season-high with 12 digs … Ell had 11 kills and matched her season-high of six blocks and recorded a season-high of five assists … with a season-high of 22 digs in the match, Hasting also recorded a season-high of six assists … overall, the Mountaineers posted 61 kills for a .258 hitting efficiency, along with 13 team blocks in the win over Buffalo.

Notes: West Virginia leads the Big 12 in kills, with an average of 14.04 per set … the squad also ranks first in five categories; assists (12.96), digs (15.35), opponent hitting percentage (.108), opponent assists (8.38) and opponent kills (9.35) … the Mountaineers rank second in the Big 12 in five categories, including hitting percentage per set (.274), blocks (2.96), service aces (2.31), opponent service aces (.88) and opponent digs (12.23) … four Mountaineers rank first in the following categories, assists per set, service aces per set, blocks per set and digs per set … Lynch ranks first in blocks (1.65 b/s) and second in hitting percentage (.467) in the Big 12 … Zerwas ranks first in assists (10.92 a/s) in the league … Stokes ranks first in service aces (.06 per set) and Hasting ranks first in the conference in digs (4.85 d/s) … the Mountaineers earned two double-doubles in the win over Buffalo … Petrova secured her eighth career double-double, and first of the season after recording 14 kills and a season-high 15 digs … she also led the squad with two service aces … she was followed by Zerwas who recorded her 23rd career double-double and third of the season … Zerwas earned 43 assists and ten digs … WVU last played GW on Oct. 9, 2018, and beat the Colonials, 3-0. GW holds the series record, 8-22 … in the last meeting, West Virginia beat UMBC, 3-1, on Sept. 22, 2013 … WVU holds the series record, 8-1 … West Virginia will square up with seven-time National Champions, No. 18-ranked Penn State … in their last meeting on Aug. 26, 2017, the Nittany Lions beat the Mountaineers 0-3 … PSU holds a 0-28 series record over WVU.

This Week in Men’s Soccer: The No. 5-ranked Mountaineers (4-0-1) hit the road for an in-state showdown against No. 10 Marshall on Friday, Sept. 17, in Huntington, West Virginia … kickoff at Hoops Family Field is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Last Week in Men’s Soccer: After settling for a 0-0, double-overtime draw against Loyola (Maryland) on Sept. 6, WVU earned a 1-0 win over Ohio State on Sept. 10, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown … fifth-year senior defender Kevin Morris scored the game-winning goal in the third minute with a header off a WVU corner kick … freshman defender Frederik Jorgensen was credited with the assist on the tally … West Virginia went on to hold a 8-4 advantage in shots, as well as an 8-4 edge in corner kicks … in goal, fifth-year senior goalkeeper Steven Tekesky earned the clean sheet, the 23rd of his career … a crowd of 2,443 fans attended the matchup against the Buckeyes, good for the second-largest in men’s soccer history at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

West Virginia goalkeeper Steven Tekesky

Notes: With the win over the Buckeyes, WVU is now 12-6-4 all-time against Ohio State, including 8-0-1 at home … of note, last week’s fixture marked OSU’s first trip to Morgantown since 2008 … the match also was the fifth time the WVU men’s team played in front of more than 2,000 fans at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium … WVU improved to 11-3 in front of home crowds of 1,500 or more since the facility opened in 2004 … Morris’ game-winner was the third of his career … WVU checked in at No. 5 in last week’s United Soccer Coaches Division I Men’s National Poll … it marked the first time the program appeared in the weekly poll since Oct. 1, 2019 … it also was the Mountaineers’ highest ranking since being voted No. 5 on Sept. 18, 2007 … junior midfielder Luke McCormick earned plenty of recognition last week, as he was named the United Soccer Coaches Men’s Division I Player of the Week, TopDrawerSoccer Player of the Week and MAC Player of the Week … the Mountaineers are 16-6-1 all-time against Marshall … last season, WVU topped the Thundering Herd, 1-0, on March 24, in Morgantown … West Virginia is set to play its first regular-season contest in Huntington since 2003 … WVU is 2-0 against ranked opponents this season.

This Week in Women’s Soccer: West Virginia prepares to travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia, for its second road contest of the season … the team squares off against James Madison on Thursday, Sept. 16 … kickoff against the Dukes is tabbed for 7 p.m. ET, at Sentara Park … the Mountaineers then return home to host Kent State at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 1 p.m.

Last Week in Women’s Soccer: The Mountaineers (4-2-1) played a pair of matches last week, first competing to a 0-0, double overtime draw against No. 24 Georgetown on Sept. 9 … playing in its first overtime match of the season, WVU created eight corner kick opportunities, all coming in the second half, but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net for the second consecutive match … Georgetown fought off the Mountaineers attack for much of the contest, as West Virginia outshot the Hoyas 10-5, including 9-1 in the final 65 minutes of the 110-minute match … junior goalkeeper Kayza Massey came up with a pair of key saves to keep the clean sheet, her third of the season … West Virginia then concluded its four-game homestand hosting Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 12 … the Mountaineers (4-2-1) found the back of the net four times in the first half before putting the icing on the cake with one tally in the second … Junior forward/defender Julianne Vallerand buried the game-winning header at the 22:27 mark off a corner kick from senior defender Jordan Brewster. From there, WVU added on goals from senior forward Lauren Segalla, senior midfielder Isabella Sibley, freshman midfielder Leah Sparacio and freshman forward Dilary Heredia-Beltran.

West Virginia’s Julianne Vallerand battles for possession (David Pennock photo)

Notes: WVU’s overtime match against Georgetown marked the Mountaineers first overtime contest of the season, as well as its first since tallying a 1-1 draw at No. 12 Virginia on April 10, 2021 … WVU is 30-20-57 all-time in overtime games … the West Virginia defense didn’t allow Saint Francis to tally a single shot, shot on goal or corner kick, recording the first time the squad has held a team to no shots since August 23, 2019, against Duquesne … the Mountaineers also notched its fourth clean sheet of the season … Vallerand led the offense with nine shots against SFU, the most for a WVU player in a single game since Michaela Abam also recorded nine shots against Texas Tech on October 19, 2017 … as a team, WVU recorded 30 or more shots for the first time since September 20, 2019, tallying 32 against Fairleigh Dickinson … additionally, the Mountaineers’ five goals on Sunday marked the most scored in a single game since the team notched six goals against Stony Brook on Sept. 13, 2019 … Vallerand’s two game-winning goals in 2021 ranks No. 33 nationally and No. 3 in the Big 12 Conference … the Terrebonne, Quebec, native leads WVU with 25 shots and three goals on the season.

This Week in Cross Country: The Mountaineers are off this week … after a two week hiatus, the Mountaineers will visit Lock Haven, Pennsylvania for the LHU Invitational, on Saturday, Sept. 25th.

Last Week in Cross Country: The Mountaineers were off.

Notes: WVU will travel to four total meets this season … 13 Mountaineers will be returning , while a total of six new faces will join the team … The team placed third at the 2021 Big 12 Cross Country Championship and were selected for the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships as a team for the first time since 2014. The Mountaineers finished 29th overall … Friday’s race marked WVU’s sixth visit to Lehigh since 2009, having competed in the Paul Short Invitational and the Lehigh Invitational … the team has competed in the Lehigh Invitational four times, including season-opening victories in 2014 and 2017 … the Mountaineers last saw action at the Lehigh Invitational on Aug. 30, 2019, and finished in third place overall … Sept. 25 will mark West Virginia’s third time competing at Lock Haven … WVU won the annual event in both 2018 and 2019.

This Week in Golf: WVU wraps up play at The Gopher Invitational on Monday … from there WVU is idle until the Mountaineer Invitational on Monday, Oct. 4 at Pete Dye Golf Club.

Last Week in Golf: Fifth-year senior Mark Goetz eagled the 36th hole to shoot 3-under-par on Sunday at The Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota … after 36 holes, Goetz is tied for sixth place, two shots off the lead, heading into Monday’s final round … Goetz shot a 70 during the first 18 holes, followed by a 69 in the final 18 … as a team, West Virginia sits in fifth place in the 14-team field, finishing the day at 2-over-par with rounds of 285-285=570 … the Mountaineers trail Kansas, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Kent State in the team standings … WVU is ahead of Minnesota, Arkansas State, Iowa State, Miami University, Marquette, Rutgers, Georgia Southern, Furman and Iowa … senior Kurtis Grant is tied for 21st after shooting even par with rounds of 72-70=142 … junior Trent Tipton is tied for 31st at 2-over-par with rounds of 75-69=144 … fifth-year senior Logan Perkins is tied for 43rd at 5-over-par with rounds of 70-77=147 … sophomore Jackson Davenport sits at 12-over-par with rounds of 73-81=154 … at the Minnesota Golf Classic at Pioneer Creek Golf Course, sophomore Olivier Ménard finished the tournament in third place at 8-under-par with rounds of 72-66-70=208 … fellow sophomore Will Stakel finished tied for 10th place at 3-under-par with rounds of 72-73-68=213 … freshman Max Green shot 1-over-par and placed tied for 21st with rounds of 71-71-75=217 … freshman Todd Duncan shot 9-over-par with rounds of 76-70-79=225.

Quote: “I’m proud of the guys. There is a lot of golf left but certainly pleased with the fight the guys showed. The individuals got some great experience this weekend. Max and Todd got some tournament experience under their belts as true freshmen. Olivier and Will played great today. That’s awesome to see for the future of our team.” – Golf coach Sean Covich