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Mountaineer Round-up: Championship runs and inside fastballs

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, WV – FEBRUARY 10: Jevon Carter #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers lays one in against Kendall Smith #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the WVU Coliseum on February 10, 2018 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Morgantown may be quiet, but the Mountaineers are hustling and bustling across the sporting world. Between hopeful title runs and bench-clearing brawls, WVU stars have had lots of eyes on them across the last week.

Here’s what you may have missed, and what to watch out for:

Volleyball

The 2021-22 season is starting to take shape.

Briana Lynch started the preseason hype train on Tuesday by earning her second straight nomination to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team, earning a unanimous selection after a strong fourth season with the Mountaineers. The middle blocker from Georgia was an All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2020-21, receiving the nod after finishing the season with a .363 hitting efficiency (52nd in the nation) while also leading the Mountaineer defense.

On Wednesday, the conference announced that Reed Sunahara’s squad was voted to finish sixth in the Big 12 in the preseason poll. The Mountaineers obviously hope to prove the voters wrong after finishing fourth in the league with an 8-8 record last season.

WVU’s conference schedule begins in Morgantown on Sept. 24 when they host Oklahoma.

Elsewhere around Mountaineer Nation

On the court

West Virginia has as many hands on top-level pro hoops as it has in a long time. Jevon Carter’s Suns have continued their march to the NBA Finals, leading the Los Angele Clippers 2-0 after a dramatic finish in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Carter has yet to play in the series — but if he does, he will be the first Mountaineer since Lowes Moore to log minutes in the Western Conference Finals.

While this is going down, Miles McBride has had NBA eyes on him at the NBA Combine, making his first appearance at the event. So far, he has had his physical measurements and unofficial strength and agility measurements taken, and he is stacking up against the top guards in his class. Now, he is slated to be selected in either the late first or early second round.

In the women’s game, Bria Holmes has seen her role on the Los Angeles Sparks increase in recent games, logging a season-high 35 minutes in her team’s loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Friday. She has scored double digits in the last week, getting her averages up to 5.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game as her Sparks sit 5-7 on the season.

Kysre Gondrezick has hit a rough patch for the Fever, though. Although her minutes haven’t changed much, she has scored just one field goal in the month of June, totaling just two points over the last 23 days.

On the diamond

Toronto Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah’s latest appearance got off to a rough start and ended with cleared benches after he hit Baltimore Orioles third baseman Maikel Franco with a 94 MPH pitch in the fourth inning. The pitch in question came on the heels of back-to-back Oriole homers and prompted Franco to stare Manoah down, prompting both clubs to run onto the field before the umpires ejected Manoah.

On Tuesday, MLB announced that Manoah received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for the incident, in which MLB says Manoah “intentionally” hit Franco. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo also received a suspension of one game, which he served on Tuesday. Manoah is appealing his suspension, so he will serve his after the process is complete.

On the pitch

Two Mountaineers are headed to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics — and it won’t be their first time competing in the games.

Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence, two WVU women’s soccer alumnae, were named to Canada’s squad for the Olympics on Wednesday. They hope to earn their second career medal at the Olympics after helping Canada to a bronze medal in Rio’s 2016 games.

The duo have emerged as leaders for their country as they combine for 198 caps since 2013.

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