WHEELING - Since Courtney Kline took over as head coach of Bethany College's volleyball program in 2007, the Bison have steadily been on the rise.
Last season, Bethany won a school-best 31 matches, advanced to its first PAC Tournament title match, and captured its second consecutive ECAC South Region crown.
That set the bar pretty high for this season. And, so far, the Bison haven't disappointed.
Heading into tonight's road tilt at Thiel, the Bison stand at 20-5 overall and 9-2 in PAC play. And with nine regular-season matches remaining, surpassing last fall's victory total isn't out of the question.
The Tomcats are one game ahead of the Bison in the PAC standings (8-1). And with a home date against league-leading Thomas More (9-0) set for Saturday afternoon at the Thomas P. Johnson Health and Recreation Center's Hummel Field House, the Bison could make big strides toward a regular-season title.
The 20 victories mark the third straight season of reaching the plateau for the Bison, who have turned the trick seven times in school history.
The Bison have five seniors, led by captains Jessica Zavatchen and Taylor Cassidy.
Cassidy collected 22 kills during last week's 3-1 victory against Westminster. She went over 1,000 kills for her career and became the fifth player in school history to surpass the milestone.
The Ohio Valley is represented on the team by Indian Creek graduate Megan Beebe. The sophomore is second on the team with 76 blocks.
WJU Still Cruising
The Wheeling Jesuit University volleyball team continues to stay strong in the West Virginia Conference, standing at 19-2 overall and 7-0 heading into last night's match against Glenville State.
The Cardinals finished last week with two straight victories, but their loss against California (Pa.) likely helped drop them from 14th to 17th in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Poll.
Parker's Fab Five
Jabari Parker will have a big decision to make soon.
Parker, the reigning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year who led Simeon to it's third straight Illinois state championship last season, has narrowed his potential college choice down to five schools.
Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Stanford and Brigham Young are the only schools in the running, Parker's father, Sonny, told The Associated Press last week. DePaul, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina were also vying for Parker's talents.
Sonny Parker said his son will visit Duke at the end of October and Florida during the first week of November.
So, it's possible Jabari Parker will still be in the process of deciding when he leads the Chicago-based school into Wheeling Jesuit University's McDonough Center for January's Cancer Research Classic.
This will mark Simeon's second straight appearance in the CRC. Last season, the 6-foot-8 senior helped lead the Wolverines to a 59-56 triumph against Miller Grove in a contest that was televised nationally on ESPN 2.
The 2013 CRC is slated for Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5. Wheeling Park, Wheeling Central and Linsly are slated to participate.
Rick Thorp can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org