Brandywine’s Fall Conference Champions Set For USCAA Championships

PSUAC champions
PSUAC champions

MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine will be represented by its three fall Penn State University Athletic Conference championship-winning teams at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Fall Championships when they begin on Thursday in Virginia Beach, Va. The Lions' volleyball, men's soccer and women's soccer teams all earned bids to the USCAA Tournaments, while three Brandywine cross country runners will also compete at the USCAA Championships after posting national qualifying times.

Brandywine volleyball (18-0), men's soccer (11-0) and women's soccer (7-0) combined to win all 36 games against PSUAC opponents this fall, while winning all three league crowns. Brandywine will be one of five schools sending all three teams to Virginia Beach.

VOLLEYBALL

The Lions won their second PSUAC championship during the last three years, sweeping Penn State Fayette in the title match on Oct. 31. Brandywine rallied from a 12-point deficit by scoring the final 14 points of the third set to claim the 3-0 triumph.

Led by two-time PSUAC Player of the Year Nikki Poissant, Brandywine brings a record of 25-2, the second-highest win total in the nation, into the USCAA Tournament. The Lions, under the direction of first-year Head Coach Fabiana Scavicchio-Fields, own the longest active winning streak in the USCAA at 19 matches.

Brandywine is seeded eighth in the 10-team national tournament. The Lions are members of Pool A, along with No. 1 Florida National, No. 4 Illinois Tech, No. 5 Carlow and No. 9 Maine-Fort Kent. Brandywine will play each team in the pool with the top four advancing to the national quarterfinals on Friday evening.

The Lions open play Thursday morning against Florida National at 9:30 am and then face Illinois Tech at 2:00 pm. Brandywine closes out pool play on Friday versus Maine-Fort Kent (9:30 am) and Carlow (2:00 pm). During Brandywine's 2015 appearance at the USCAA Tournament, the Lions recorded the final nine points of the third set to rally past Maine-Fort Kent for a 2-1 victory. Brandywine will be meeting its additional three opponents for the first time.

WOMEN'S SOCCER

Brandywine, which completed its second-straight undefeated run through the PSUAC this fall, lost just once in 12 matches overall (10-1-1) entering the USCAA Tournament. Brandywine bested Penn State Schuylkill 5-0 on Nov. 1 to earn its second consecutive PSUAC title in the team's third season as a varsity program. The Lions feature seven first team all-conference standouts, including two-time PSUAC Player of the Year Brianna Banks.

Seeded ninth in the 12-team field, PSUAC Coach of the Year Michelle Jacquette's team will be aiming for its first-ever win at the national tournament. The Lions dropped both matches during pool play last season as the No. 9 seed despite taking first-half leads in both matches.

Brandywine's tournament run begins on Friday morning at 10:00 am against No. 4 Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The Lions, members of Pool D, will also face No. 5 Johnson & Wales (N.C.) on Saturday at 10:00 am. Brandywine will be facing both of its opponents for the first time and does not have any common opponents with either team this fall. The top team from Pool D advances to the national semifinals on Sunday morning.

MEN'S SOCCER

Brandywine makes its fourth trip to the USCAA Tournament this week after winning four of the last five PSUAC championships. In a rematch of last year's title game, top-seeded Brandywine ousted No. 3 Penn State Hazleton 3-1 on Nov. 1 to clinch its second-straight conference crown.

Entering the USCAA Tournament, Brandywine owns a 16-3 overall record under the direction of second-year Head Coach Jesse Zafiratos, who was named PSUAC Coach of the Year for the first time last week. The Lions' current 12-game winning streak is tied for the longest in the USCAA with fellow national tournament qualifier Florida College.

Brandywine is the No. 10 seed and will be a member of Pool B along with No. 3 Florida National and No. 6 Johnson & Wales (N.C.). The Lions open the tournament Friday at 2:30 pm against Florida National and then battle Johnson & Wales at the same time the following day. While Brandywine will be facing Florida National for the first time, it has already seen Johnson & Wales this season. The Lions dropped a 4-0 decision on their home field to the Wildcats in September during the teams' first meeting. Brandywine and Florida National both faced Penn State Beaver this fall with Brandywine posting a 6-1 triumph over Beaver, while the Conquistadors rolled 11-0 at Beaver.

CROSS COUNTRY

Brandywine will be sending three student-athletes to compete at the USCAA National Championships on Friday morning.

Junior John Li earned his third all-conference award following an eighth-place finish at the PSUAC Championship on Oct. 28 and will be making his third appearance at the national level. Li, who owns seven of the top 10 8K times in program history, finished 82nd at last year's national championship, improving on his freshman time by 1:47.

Freshman A'Nasia Love will represent the Brandywine women's team as she also finished eighth at the PSUAC Championship to earn her spot in Virginia Beach. Love will be the first woman from Brandywine to compete at the USCAA Championship since 2015 when the Lions won the PSUAC title for the first time and qualified to run as a team. Love's top 6K time this fall came at the PSUAC Championship as she clocked in at 33:40.

Freshman Brendan Cleary also qualified to run at nationals after posting the top 8K time in school history during the Lions' home meet on Oct. 7. Cleary's time of 28:58 was the second sub-30-minute 8K time run by a Brandywine student-athlete since 2011.

The women's national championship will be run at 9:30 am on Friday, while the men's will follow at 10:30 am.

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