- By David Jablonski Staff Writer
Coach Tim Horsmon doesn’t know if the difficult schedule his Dayton Flyers volleyball program has played will prove to be a good thing in the end.
“Talk to me in a couple months,” Horsmon said Tuesday. “You never know if that builds confidence or breaks it down.”
Dayton (6-4) has lost to three teams — No. 9 Pittsburgh, No. 13 Washington and No. 20 Kentucky — ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll. The Flyers won three sets in those three matches but had a chance to upset Washington on Sept. 7 in the Pittsburgh Panther tournament, losing the fifth set 17-15.
“I think they were pretty disappointed,” Horsmon said. “You don’t get a lot of chances to play a Pac-12 team that has been traditionally a top-10 program and won a national championship (in 2005). We were right there. They saw we could play with that team and had a chance to beat them.”
A victory over Washington would have improved Dayton’s chances of earning an at-large NCAA tournament berth. It has another opportunity to better its resume at 7 p.m. Friday when it plays Tennessee, which is receiving votes in the top-25 poll, in the second match of the Flyer Invitational at the Frericks Center.
Ohio State plays Evansville at 3 p.m. Friday in the opening match of the event. The Flyers play the Buckeyes at 7 p.m. Saturday. The program encourages fans to wear white and white out the Frericks Center for the match against Ohio State.
Overall, Horsmon likes how his team has performed in the first month as it prepares for conference play. Dayton plays at George Mason on Sept. 21 in its first A-10 match.
“They’re getting better and learning how to play together,” Horsmon said. “The freshmen are having to grow up, and the upperclassmen are doing a really good job of keeping us afloat in some of those big matches.”
League honor: Senior Lauren Bruns was named the A-10 Player of the Week on Monday. She averaged 4.56 kills per set in four matches the previous week and ranks 41st in the country with a 4.19 average.
“She’s playing at a level I’m not sure I’ve had an outside hitter play,” Horsmon said. “How she’s scoring and against the teams she’s playing against has been phenomenal. She’s just really put us on her back in a lot of situations. It’s really cool to see how she’s progressed over her four years here. Teams are game planning against her, and it’s not slowing her down.”
Women’s basketball: Coach Shauna Green and her staff received a verbal commitment Monday from Mariah Perez, a 6-foot-3 senior forward from Newark Tech High School (N.J.). She’s the second 2019 recruit to pick the Flyers.
Perez ranks 85th in the 2019 class, according to ProspectNation.com. She also had scholarship offers from St. John’s, Louisiana State and West Virginia among others. Dayton offered her a scholarship last January.
Perez announced her decision on Instagram.
“I first wanted to start off by saying thank you to all of the coaches that took their time to recruit me,” she wrote. “I truly appreciate it. I also wanted to thank my coaches, family and friends who have been there for me & believed in me through this process. With that being said, I would like to announce that I have chosen to further me academic and athletic career at University of Dayton.”
Dayton received its first 2019 commitment last fall from Destiny Bohanon, a guard at Wayne High School.
Men’s tennis: Jordan Benjamin, who became the first Dayton athlete to play in the NCAA tennis championships in May, rose to No. 77 in the International Tennis Association preseason singles rankings this week. It’s the highest ranking a Dayton player has achieved.