Bettencourt, Daly chase national titles |

Bettencourt, Daly chase national titles

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Many fall college athletic seasons are coming to an end, but Seattle Pacific volleyball player Jessica Bettencourt and North Carolina freshman soccer goalkeeper Hannah Daly are in the running for national championships.

Bettencourt and the Falcons received a NCAA Division II tournament berth for the first time since the South Lake Tahoe senior was a freshman in 2006. Seattle Pacific (17-11) will play West Regional top-seeded Cal State San Bernardino (28-1) – last year’s national runner-up – on Thursday in San Bernardino.

Meanwhile, Daly and the third-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels take on Maryland in an NCAA women’s soccer tournament sweet 16 matchup on Saturday.

Bettencourt overcame offseason shoulder surgery to become a key part of the Falcons’ run to second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. In Bettencourt’s final home match against Central Washington on Nov. 9, she delivered eight blocks and seven kills. In her previous home match, which honored the team’s seniors, Bettencourt surpassed 400 kills for her four-year career.

Daly, an 18-year-old true freshman goalkeeper from Stateline, played the final 6 minutes, 12 seconds in North Carolina’s ACC tournament championship win over Florida State on Nov. 8 and the final 6:27 in the Tar Heels’ 4-0 rout of Georgia in the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

In other feats by local high school grads playing college sports:

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• Senior inside linebacker Bryan Finkel delivered his first career tackle for San Diego State against the fourth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs on Nov. 7.

Finkel, who starred for the South Tahoe High football team, has played in nine games for the Aztecs, who take a 4-6 season record into a road game Saturday at Utah. Finkel plays his last college football regular-season game on Nov. 28 when San Diego State travels to UNLV.

• USC linebacker Nick Garratt continues to see playing time for the nationally ranked Trojans’ football team. The senior from South Lake Tahoe played in a 14-9 victory over Arizona State on Nov. 7 and a 55-21 loss to Stanford on Saturday. In five games this season, Garratt, a regular on special teams, has two tackles.

• Former South Tahoe High soccer player Corey Volkmar contributed to Cal Lutheran’s 2-1 men’s soccer upset of 19th-ranked UC Santa Cruz on Nov. 1 in Thousand Oaks.

Volkmar, a sophomore, scored his first career college goal in his team’s 3-1 win against Caltech on Oct. 15. Volkmar attempted three shots in the win. In 11 games this season for the Kingsmen, Volkmar fired six shots and collected a goal and an assist. The Kingsmen finished with a 9-10-1 record.

• Allison Kern, a defender from South Lake Tahoe, finished her sophomore season with the Sonoma State women’s soccer team with two goals and two assists on six shots. She played in 19 of her team’s 20 games. The Seawolves completed the season at 8-9-3.

• Swarthmore College of Swarthmore, Pa., concluded the most successful volleyball season in program history on Nov. 11. South Tahoe High product Hillary Santana, a sophomore, contributed eight digs and a kill, but Swarthmore lost to Widener in four games in an Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament. Swarthmore finished with a 19-11 record.

• Jordan Reeder and the Cornell Big Red nearly pulled off the upset of the Ivy League volleyball season on Nov. 7 in Ithaca, N.Y. Reeder, a former Whittell High volleyball player, made a career-high 55 assists and 21 digs in Cornell’s five-game loss to unbeaten Pennsylvania. The Big Red was one win away from the upset after winning the first two games, but the Quakers rallied to win three closely contested games, 25-23, 25-21 and 15-12.

Cornell wrapped up its 2009 season on Saturday by losing in three games to Yale. In the final match of her sophomore season, Reeder delivered 17 assists, nine digs and two block assists.

Cornell wound up with a 6-19 record, including 3-11 in the Ivy League.

• Jessica Woods and her Wright State volleyball team won two of their final three matches, but it wasn’t enough to extended their season.

Woods, a junior, helped the seniors to victory on Saturday by smacking 14 kills as Wright State downed Youngstown State 19-25, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-22.

In a match played Nov. 7, Woods had 16 kills and 18 digs in the Raiders’ 25-20, 19-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-9 win over Green Bay.

The Raiders ended the season with a 12-20 overall mark and a 4-12 Horizon League record.

• Former Reno standout cross country runner Mel Lawrence finished third in the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Springfield, Ore. Lawrence, who won three Nevada state cross country titles while attending Reno, ran the 6K race in 20:58, leaving her 6 seconds behind runner-up Jordan Hasay of Oregon and 17 seconds behind teammate Kendra Schaaf, who won in 20:41.

The defending national champion Huskies, who ran away with the regional title by placing five runners in the top 10, will attempt to defend their title on Monday.