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May 15, 2014

Multiple Wayne State University athletic teams earn NCAA Tournament spots

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Multiple Wayne State University athletic teams earn NCAA Tournament spots
Pictured is Wayne State University’s softball team. The softball program, along with the women’s tennis team, won a regional title.

It has been a busy time of year for Wayne State University athletics, with multiple teams earning spots in postseason tournaments.

Wayne State athletics compete at the NCAA Division II level.

Regional champs
After winning its third consecutive GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Tournament title May 4, Wayne State University’s softball team went on to win an NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament title, via a 7-0 victory against the University of Indianapolis May 11 at the WSU Softball Stadium in the championship game.

The victory gave Wayne State its 19th consecutive victory, which is a school record.

The Warriors went 3-0 in the tournament and did not give up a run.

The win allowed Wayne State to advance to the NCAA Midwest Super Regionals. The Warriors were scheduled to travel to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to compete for a Midwest Super Regional title May 16-17.

It is the 19th time during the tenure of head coach Gary Bryce that the Warriors have gone to the NCAA tournament. Earlier in the season, Bryce became the 17th NCAA softball coach (in any of the three divisions) to reach 1,100 wins.

“I think it means a lot to the kids,” Bryce said. “They earned it — played some good competition and played well.”

Serving up aces
Wayne State’s women’s tennis team, which finished in second place at the GLIAC Tournament and in the conference regular-season standings, won an NCAA regional title after defeating Northwood University 5-3 May 6 at the Midland Community Tennis Center. It was Wayne State’s first victory against Northwood since 1995.

The win allowed Wayne State to advance to the NCAA round of 16, where it lost to two-time defending champion Armstrong Atlantic State University 5-0 May 14 in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Although their final match of the season may not have gone the way they preferred, the Warriors (25-5) were able to make program history after breaking a school record for wins in a season, reaching the finals of the GLIAC tournament for the first time, and winning the program’s first-ever NCAA Midwest Regional title

“It’s exciting,” head coach Sheila Snyder said of the regional title, prior to playing Armstrong Atlantic. “It’s the first time in history, and that’s including the men and women’s program. What makes it so special is we have such a great group of girls that work really hard and get along really well. It’s just a fabulous experience for them. We’ve had very good success the last two seasons but couldn’t get over the hump. Now, we finally did it after a couple years.”

It was Wayne State’s second consecutive appearance at the NCAA tournament and eighth time in the last decade.

In the regional championship match, Wayne State got wins from the doubles teams of Andreea Mitrache (Warren Cousino High School) and Alex Poissant, as well as Julia Kamenko and Jessica Kruczek.

The Warriors got singles wins from Anne Li Briand, Poissant and Mitrache.

Wayne State defeated the University of Missouri-St. Louis 5-2 in the first round of the regional tournament May 5 at the Midland Community Tennis Center.

The doubles team of Yasha Moore (West Bloomfield) and Briand had 24 victories on the season.

The men’s tennis team, which is coached by Bryan Morrow, made it to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in six seasons. Southern Indiana defeated Wayne State 5-3 in a first-round match May 3 in Springfield, Missouri.

Wayne State (11-10) got a doubles victory from Melvin Joseph and Mohamed Fazyl Kechai, and singles wins from Trey Keating (Troy) and Michael FitzGerald.

On the links
Wayne State’s men’s golf team earned a spot at the NCAA Midwest/Central Super Regional in Eureka, Missouri, where it finished in 17th place.

Only the top four teams and the top two players from a nonadvancing team qualify for the NCAA Championships, scheduled for later this month.

Tyler LaSerra shot a 54-hole total of 228. Jordan Andrus (230), Alex LaSerra (231), Austin Hill (237) and Robert Favaro (252) also took to the links for Wayne State.

Hill attended Auburn Hills Avondale. Mike Horn is Wayne State’s head coach.

On the diamond
The Warriors’ baseball team lost to Saginaw Valley State University 15-13 in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament May 8 in Xenia, Ohio. Despite that loss, Wayne State qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional, where it was scheduled to open against GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference) champion Drury University May 15 in Evansville, Indiana.

The Warriors have made it to the NCAA tournament four times in the past five seasons.

Ryan Kelley is Wayne State’s head coach.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.