Photo by Kaan Demiroz || Daily TrojanThe 10th-seeded Women of Troy advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament after a win over San Diego on Saturday.San Diego edged out the Louisiana State Tigers in a 3-1 win at Galen Center to advance to the second round and recorded their 25th win in the process. The Toreros are 25-4 on the season including an impressive 17-1 in the West Coast Conference play and was ranked No. 9 on the AVCA coaches rankings. The Trojans were No. 14 on the latest AVCA rankings.In the first set, the Trojans jumped out and continually maintained a small lead over the Toreros for most of the game. While the Toreros kept close with the Trojans, the Toreros could never take the lead against the Trojans. The Toreros committed several mishaps that contributed to a 4-1 Trojans run to take a 18-15 lead, forcing a timeout. The Toreros would storm back to tie it at 22-22 behind Addie Picha’s scoring efforts but Niki Withers would help the Trojans close out the Toreros in the 1st set 25-22. The Toreros recorded nine errors in the first set alone which helped the Trojans tremendously in taking the 1st set.The second set began with another fiercely competitive start as both teams fought to an 8-8 tie early on. The Trojans would however, take a 5-point lead on a 10-5 run which put the Trojans ahead 18-13 and seemingly in control of the second set. However, the Trojans committed consecutive errors which helped the Toreros tie the game at 18-all. The Trojans and the Toreros would trade point for point until they were tied at 24-24. The Toreros quickly seized advantage with a Roxie Wiblin kill to lead 25-24 before Trojans net error lifted the Toreros to a 26-24 set win. The Toreros only hit .108 in the 2nd set and had eight errors while the Trojans hit .103 and recorded nine errors.In the crucial third set, the Toreros came out on fire as they took control with a 9-3 early lead which was later extended to 11-3, forcing a USC timeout. The Trojans responded with a 7-3 run of their own to cut into the deficit and force a San Diego timeout. The Trojans kept close with the Toreros throughout the rest of the set as they trailed 20-22 at one point before tying it up at 22 apiece on a Brittany Abercrombie kill. Both teams would later fight to a 24-24 tie but Jayden Kennedy of the Toreros broke the tie with a kill to help the Toreros take a 25-24 advantage. On the next possession, the Trojans commit a service error which gave the Toreros a 26-24 3rd set win and a 2-1 lead, putting the Trojans on the brink of elimination. The Toreros opened the fourth set carrying the game momentum and surged to an early 5-2 lead but the Trojans tied it up at 8. The fourth set remained heavily contested with neither team gaining control but the Toreros would hold a small 12-10 lead. The Trojans would go on a 7-3 run to take the lead over the Toreros 17-15 behind a balanced effort but the Toreros would answer with a quick 4-1 run to retake the lead at 19-18 and force a USC timeout. However the Trojans would grind out a 6-2 run to take a convincing 24-21 lead on consecutive kills and 2 crucial Toreros errors. While the Toreros cut it to 22-24, an attacking error by the Toreros gave the Trojans a 25-22 4th set win, tying the game up at two sets apiece. In the fifth and final set, the teams opened with a 2-2 tie but the Toreros would take a brief 5-3 lead. Lanier and Withers helped the Trojans tie it at 5-5 behind a kill and a successful defensive stop. The Trojans would later tie the game again at 7 before Reni Meyer-Whalley helped guide the Trojans to a 9-7 lead with a service ace and assist. The Toreros would storm back to take a 10-9 lead on a short 3-0 run, forcing another USC timeout. Down one and close to elimination, the Trojans sprung to life as Jordan Dunn and Brittany Abercrombie both spiked it home for 2 kills and a Dunn block leads to an attack error, giving the Trojans a 12-10 lead and forcing a San Diego timeout. The Toreros would cut into the lead with a kill but with firm momentum on the Trojans side, the Toreros were unable to defend against a Lanier kill and an Abercrombie kill, giving the Trojans a 14-11 lead and putting the Toreros on the brink of elimination. In the final possession, the Toreros spiked it out of bounds, giving the Trojans a 15-11 5th set victory and a 3-2 game win to advance to the regional semifinals.“This is a great win for us because we’re continuing to grow and get better,” head coach Mick Haley said. “All the things that we’ve had happen to us during the season happened to us again during set two and three. No one knew who would win set four until right at the end and we started making the right decisions down the stretch and executed the right way. I was really impressed in set five. We had 11 kills on 18 attempts with only two errors. Even though we had some errors, we still came out on top. This is one that can really spring us for the regionals. We really need to know that we can do this and come back from deficits under pressure. It was nice doing it at home. Now, we’ll see if we can do it on the road.”In the hard-fought win, the Trojans were once again led by Khalia Lanier with 23 kills on .259 hitting percentage, Niki Withers with 14 kills on .194 hitting percentage and Brittany Abercrombie on .194 hitting percentage. Jordan Dunn lifted the team on both the offensive and the defensive side, contributing 7 kills on .583 and recorded two block solos and eight block assists. Reni Meyer-Whalley recorded another double double with 32 assists and 14 digs while Cindy Marina recorded 19 assists and nine digs. Victoria Garrick had nine assists and 14 digs and was very effective all night on defense. The Trojans as a team had 65 kills on .218, 28 errors, 62 assists, 62 digs, 22 block assists and two block solos. The Trojans were extremely impressive in the fifth set, going for 11 kills on 18 attempts while committing two errors for a .500 hitting percentage.The Toreros were led by Jayden Kennedy with 16 kills on .204 hitting percentage while Addie Picha, Lauren Fuller, Kaity Edwards each recorded 12 kills. Kristen Gengenbacher had a double double of 51 assists and 19 digs, both of which were the game-highs. As a team, the Toreros had 61 kills on .136, 60 assists, 66 digs, 24 block assists and 2 block solos. However, the team committed 37 errors, including 11 alone in the 4th set, which helped the Trojans. “[Jayden Kennedy] on the right side is a really fine player,” Haley said. “We were finally able to close her down after a very effective first and second sets. Then, they started going to their middles and the left side, and we had to figure out how to get that under control. Throughout the whole match, I felt our serving was consistently strong and aggressive. I think that’s what eventually wore down [Central Arkansas] yesterday and helped us wear down USD today. I was glad that the committee recognized us with the 10th seed, which I think we were both pretty equal coming in. You look at today’s match and you can see just how back-and-forth it was. Their setter was really good and they certainly did a lot of really nice things, but all-in-all, I think we had more firepower.”With a hard-fought win over San Diego, who are now eliminated, the 24-9 Women of Troy will now move on to the regional semifinals to play the 7th-seeded (No. 8 on AVCA rankings) Minnesota Golden Gophers (28-5, 15-5 Big Ten Conference) in Gainesville, Florida on Friday. Minnesota overwhelmed North Dakota 3-0 in the first round before taking down Northern Iowa 3-1 to advance to the regional semifinals.
Qualifying draw for U-21 European Championship which will be played in the Czech Republic in 2015 was held in Nyon.BiH U-21 football team is in a group with Spain, which was the last year’s champion, Austria, Hungary and Albania.Group stage matches can get under way from 22 March, as the contestants bid to join hosts the Czech Republic in the finals. The ten group winners and the four best runners-up will advance to the play-offs to determine the seven sides destined for the showpiece event.
In April, it was reported that Gov. Sean Parnell’s top staffer used his personal e-mail account to communicate with Alaska National Guard whistleblowers about sexual assault response. In an interview with APRN that month, the governor said Chief of Staff Mike Nizich’s correspondence on the National Guard should be a matter of public record.PARNELL: I spoke with Mr. Nizich and understand that was at the request of the chaplains who wanted to go outside the official channels. However, I’ve asked Mr. Nizich to check his personal e-mail for that and his recollection is that it’s one email, but again that was four years ago, five years ago. I’ve asked him to check for that and move it to the state account, which is protocol to follow. And that will be a part of the public record at that point.Shortly after that interview, APRN filed a records request to learn how the Office of the Governor handled complaints about the Guard. Four months later, that request has been denied. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez has more.Download Audio:Alaska regulations give government bodies 10 working days to fulfill a records request, plus another 10 if they need an extension. It took Parnell’s office 86 full working days just to deny one.The request asked for any e-mails Parnell Chief of Staff Mike Nizich sent to National Guardsmen using his personal account from 2010 on. It also sought interdepartmental correspondence between the governor’s office and the top two officials at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs: Adjutant General Thomas Katkus and Deputy Commissioner McHugh Pierre. The governor asked both of those men to resign this September, after a scathing federal report concluded the Alaska National Guard mishandled sexual assault reports and was plagued by a lack of trust in leadership.APRN asked for these documents to find out how the Governor’s Office responded to complaints about the National Guard from its own members: Did they respond efficiently, and did they take complaints seriously?Since the request was filed in May, APRN put in more than two dozen calls to the governor’s office to find out when the request would be satisfied, many of which went unreturned. The response finally came in as a three-page letter that arrived on Friday, September 26, at 6p.m.The denial letter, sent by Policy Director Randy Ruaro, brings up three major reasons for rejecting the request. It cites the legal right to privacy, and it makes reference to a recent attack ad by Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign that upset the family members of sexual assault victims. It mentions not wanting to identify victims, even though two victims have already publicly come forward. It also suggests the documents fall under privileges protecting personnel and the communications of clergymen.The letter notes that a “significant amount of information on the subject of alleged misconduct in the National Guard has already been made public.” To that end, the Governor’s Office also included a 56-page enclosure of news stories on the matter, including some done by APRN, instead of any actual documents.Gov. Parnell was aware of the request, but not of its denial. After a Monday debate in Juneau, Parnell did not say if he believed records related to the National Guard should be made public, and instead repeatedly referred questions to his policy director before telling a reporter she was not “serious” in her questions.PARNELL: I’ve known about the request, but I have not reviewed any records. I don’t know what he has done.CANFIELD: Do you want to release the records?PARNELL: We will comply with the statute to the best of our abilities and that’s why I suggest you go see and ask Randy Ruaro.So, that’s what we did. First, Ruaro apologized for the slow response.“That is a long period, I agree,” Ruaro said in a phone interview.Ruaro said they were “swamped” with requests and lacked manpower to deal with them. He said there was no political calculation behind the delay, and that there was no effort to avoid potential litigation over the request being processed before Election Day.As far as the denial itself, Ruaro said he took a “broad view” when he opted to reject the request wholesale instead of partially fulfilling it or releasing redacted documents.“There’s no exceptions for partial releases of records when it’s coming to identities of victims, their circumstances, personnel records,” said Ruaro. “The statutes don’t just say in those instances that you can release part of a record but not all of it. As I read it, they’re more of a blanket prohibition.”Parnell’s political rival disagrees with that legal interpretation. Bill Walker, an attorney who is running as an independent candidate for governor, questioned some of the reasons for the denial, specifically the argument that the correspondence with National Guard chaplains who raised concerns about leadership should be excluded.“They’re trying to apply a privilege that doesn’t apply to them,” said Walker. “Those chaplains are not the clergy for Mike Nizich and Sean Parnell.”Walker said if he were governor, his interpretation of the public records statute would make transparency a higher priority.“Certainly the victims’ names would be redacted out, but not necessarily the process would be redacted out,” said Walker of the policy he believes should have been followed.Walker also suggested the governor is stonewalling, and the point of the delay is “to keep the issue out of the public eye — to not expose the governor’s wrongdoing until after the election.”The chaplains who notified the Governor’s Office of wrongdoing within the National Guard declined interview requests or did not respond to messages. But their attorney, Wayne Ross is disappointed Parnell is not providing more information about his office’s response to the allegations.“I think you ought to hold his feet to the fire and get them,” said Ross. “Obviously he said if it would be released and it’s not being released, somebody’s not following his orders — or he’s not being truthful. I would like to believe that somebody is not following his orders.”While the Governor’s Office did not provide any records, APRN was separately able to obtain three e-mails sent by a National Guard chaplain along with one response sent by Nizich from his personal account.The e-mails were sent at the beginning of 2012, and the chaplain’s correspondence refers to the sexual assault crisis only broadly. The chaplain does not identify victims, but he does name specific Alaska National Guard leaders and proceeds to excoriate them. The chaplain mentions the “misuse of a government credit card to the tune of over $200,000” and the promotion of a senior officer who ignored the problem of sexual assault in his command. On a third message sent February 3, the chaplain expresses concern that he’s “cluttering up” Nizich’s inbox.Nizich did not respond until more than two weeks after the chaplain’s third message. The e-mail, sent from Nizich’s personal e-mail account, reads “just so you know I am receiving your messages. I got a call … wanting to me [sic] to send an acknowledgement.”KTOO’s Jennifer Canfield contributed reporting to this story.