The daily collegian. (University Park, Pa.) 1940-current, December 10, 2010, Image 12

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    12 I Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
From Page 9.
While the Lions defeated
Niagara and Virginia Tech in
straight sets at Rec Hall last
weekend, the Sooners are com
ing off a first-round sweep of
Wichita State
and a second
round upset of
No. 22 Tulsa in
five sets last
Rose said ear
lier this week
that Oklahoma
is a unique team Rose
in that its roster
includes multiple left-handed
hitters who he described as “ter
rific attackers.” He added the
Sooners setter, junior Brianne
Barker, "might be one of the
most competitive kids that we’ve
Penn State’s senior libero
Alvssa D’Errico said Oklahoma’s
speed is somewhat similar to
Virginia Tech, which Penn State
beat Saturday night and not
many Big Ten offenses are as
fast as the Sooners.
"Their setter is a great player
that has the capability to run a
fast offense even when they're
somewhat out of system,”
D’Errico said.
"So that's something we re
going to have to prepare for and
hope that our block is set up in
the right place. ”
"They're just a very fast-ori
ented team. They have fast arm
swings, fast sets, so we have to
control our side of the court and
try not to plav at their speed,
play our tempo instead of
From Page 9.
"I think [Coach Russ Rose I
knew what he was doing, and I
was nowhere near ready to be on
the court," Brown said.
"I needed that year to get better
as a player, definitely, and get
more mentally prepared for the
Now as a redshirt senior. Brown
is showing the benefits of an extra
season, as she was named the
2010 Big Ten Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-5 opposite hitter has a
team-high 451 kills on .318 hitting
this season.
The same couldn't be said four
years ago, when she was limited to
the bench during the 2006 season.
Though she wanted the chance to
play. Brown had to instead
become a cheerleader some
thing she dabbled in during her
early years, so she had some expe
It took some growing up over
the vears and even this season
From Page 9.
Luckily. Billy, his mom and Penn
State can breathe a sigh of relief
as it appears Oliver will be OK
after a week of tests that came
back negative.
Though he rested the forward
against Mount St. Mary's on
Tuesday, coach Ed DeChellis said
Saturday's headache was nothing
like the ones Oliver experienced in
the past.
"They were completely differ
ent," DeChellis said. "He just got
hit in the head, but it was a com
pletely different feeling from what
the other things were and that's a
pretty good thing."
After hitting the floor. Oliver
said he felt a little dazed.
“I checked myself. I was all
there and I knew my name."
Oliver said.
"When I had my first two con
cussions I couldn't say the months
or I don’t think I could say my
With her son on the floor. Mrs.
Oliver watched from the opposite
end of the court with her "heart in
her mouth."
Another setback to Billy was the
last thing she wanted to see after
traveling more than 250 miles
from New Jersey to watch her son
play in his third year with the
Long road back
For the Oliver family, it's been a
rare occurrence to watch Billy
play in a meaningful game.
A successful player out of
Chatham, N.J., Oliver came to
Penn State with high hopes after
averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds
and six blocks per game his senior
year at Chatham High School.
But then came the first concus
sion at the very beginning of
preseason workouts his freshman
Though he doesn't remember
the actual moment it happened,
Oliver remembers giggling for no
reason, and being unable to ver
balize to the doctors what day it
was even though he said he
knew the answer in his head.
i've seen it on film," Oliver
"I was pivoting one way and
[Penn State forward 1 Drew Jones
was sprinting the other. His shoul-
“We’re trying to
climb Mt. Everest.”
Santiago Restrepo
Oklahoma coach
Barker said she thinks the fact
her team has played tough
teams on the road will help the
Sooners when the play in front of
the Rec Hall crowd tonight.
Another aspect of Oklahoma’s
team that is unique is its animat
ed coach, Santiago Restrepo,
who Rose described as “worth
the price of admission.” Lions
senior middle hitter Arielle
Wilson said her team hasn’t
faced anyone with quite the
enthusiasm on the sideline as
“There’s four teams that are
playing in this regional and all of
them are teams that have terrif
ic players and great coaches,"
Rose said. "Everybody cares,
everybody wants to win. There’s
nothing unique about what we’re
"Some of [the Penn State play
ers] might have a history of
some things, but having won the
championship in the past doesn’t
start them with any sort of point
advantage over the other team."
But Restrepo knows the
Sooners will have their work cut
out for them against Penn State,
the three-time defending nation
al champions who have won 92
straight matches at home.
"They are physical, they are
strong, and they are tall and
powerful," Restrepo said. “We’re
trying to climb Mount Everest.
We are going to see if we can do
it [tonight. 1”
To e-mail reporter:
for Brown to get to the point
she’s at today.
Senior libero Alvssa D’Errico
stayed with Brown during her
recruiting visit when Brown was
redshirting. D'Errieo said she
actually knew Brown before that,
as they both attended a holiday
camp together.
"You think she's skinny now, she
was a twig in club.” D’Errieo said
of a younger Brown. "Like no mus
cle on her. just tiny. So, physically,
she’s obviously had to grow to
catch up with the college-level
game. ”
When she got to Penn State,
that growing certainly didn’t entail
getting taller. The Purcellville. Va.
native said her entire family is tall,
with her mother, Jaima, being the
diminutive one of the bunch at 6-
This season. Brown's redshirt
experience is still helping the
Lions.D'Errico said Brown, like
each of this year's seniors, has
learned to lead on and off the court
by vocally helping the younger
der kind of clipped me in the head.
I just crumbled, collapsed and
went down."
After a few days of headaches,
Oliver was fine and back at prac
But before he knew it. Billy was
back on the trainer's table with his
second concussion in as many
weeks after going against Brooks
for a rebound in practice and hit
ting his head on the floor.
"Again. I don't actually remem
ber getting hit," he said. "I didn't
realize that first day what it
meant. I was going to be out four
months and there I was back to
square one."
Then, on Dec. 15, after about 12
weeks of non-contact drills, he was
cleared for contact.
But after suffering two concus
sions that close together, the only
choice Oliver had was to redshirt
the rest of his freshman year after
missing so much time. During
that period he put on about 20
pounds of muscle, and Oliver's
mom said life was finally back to
normal through the winter and
summer months.
"Then, sometime in September
the next year, the headaches start
ed," Mrs. Oliver said. "He did
everything he could to play
through it but after awhile it just
got difficult."
For some time, Mrs. Oliver said
her son would wake up and go to
practice the same way anybody
else would go to work with a
headache he just dealt with the
But after playing 24 minutes
through five games that season,
the team decided to give Oliver a
medical redshirt after the
headaches became more severe.
"It was tough," Oliver said.
"Every day I tried to go practice
and hope it was going to get better.
But for some reason it wasn’t. It
was a pretty dismal time in my
Though many assumed the
headaches that caused him to sit
the season out were caused by the
concussions, the Oliver family was
assured by experts that the two
were completely unrelated.
Since migraines are so difficult
to monitor unlike a broken leg
that can come up in an X-ray
the team took the cautious
approach with Oliver as soon as
the headaches became unbear
From Page 9.
“We will honor his decision and support his efforts
to address his personal issues.”
Penn State coach Cael Sanderson recruited Long
while he was the coach at lowa State. When
Sanderson took the role as Penn State’s coach in
2009, he brought two of his assistants from lowa
State as well. Cody Sanderson, Cael’s brother, is cur
rently the associate head coach, while Casey
Cunningham is the head assistant coach.
Long would be the third lowa State wrestler to
transfer to Penn State since Sanderson took over the
program. Cyler Sanderson, an All-American last
year, and redshirt freshman David Taylor, the No. 3
157-pound wrestler in the country, both transferred
From Page 9.
Two seasons ago, a big non-conference win was
the only thing keeping the Lions from an NCAA
Tournament berth. They were sent to the NIT
instead, which they won. Last season, the Lions suf
fered a two-point loss at home to the Hokies.
The Lions (7-2) aren’t exactly coming off a confi
dence-building win as they ready for the Hokies. On
Tuesday, the Lions needed a last-second, 28-foot bas
ket from Talor Battle to beat Mount St. Mary’s. Still,
the Lions were able to puff out the win, something
the Hokies haven’t done in two weeks.
After recovering from an early-season loss to No. 5
Kansas State, the Hokies (4-4) have lost three
straight. However, all of their losses have come
against quality opponents.
The Hokies lost to No. 20 UNLV in Anaheim, Calif.,
No. 19 Purdue and Virginia (6-3), which also beat No.
22 Minnesota.
“They have a sour taste in their mouth with their
loss to Virginia,” assistant coach Lewis Preston said.
"So at 1 o’clock on Sunday, we expect them to come
out and try to throw to put it in boxing terms
haymakers and knockout punches.”
Those punches will come from the Hokies’ senior
guard Malcolm Delaney and senior forward Jeff
Allen, one of the premier inside-out combinations in
Brown said she’s specifically
talked to the players who are red
shirting and told them about how
positive of an experience her red
shirt season turned out to be.
If not for that extra year, Brown
wouldn’t be here with this team.
She said she has had a great expe
rience with this season’s group,
and the senior hopes it ends with a
win and a fourth title.
That would mean something
special for Brown and this group
she has become so close with dur
ing her time in Happy Valley.
“They’ve definitely accepted me
into their class,” Brown said of
this year’s seniors. “I’d say we’ve
become much closer over the past
four years.”
Though she possesses size and
strength, Brown displays a great
deal of finesse on the court. If she
spots an open area in the oppo
nent’s back row, the senior will opt
to push the ball rather than spike
it. More times than not, that deci
sion results in a precise shot that
falls to the court for a point.
Rose said it’s Brown’s versatili-
“It’s not about basketball,” D.J.
Jackson said after Oliver hit his
head against Duquesne last week.
"It’s about the kid’s health.
Concussions are very serious and
there’s nothing to play around
“You don’t really want to have a
kid’s career ruined because he
goes back out there too early.”
The decision to redshirt Oliver
has benefited the forward as he
came into the 2010-11 season feel
ing completely healthy.
"The best thing in everybody’s
mind was just take a clean break,”
Mrs. Oliver said. "He hasn't had a
headache since. The bigger con
cern was just getting him to feel
better and that’s what we focused
"He’s fine."
Back for good?
• Really, he's been fine."
Laura Oliver couldn't reiterate
it enough.
After two years of head prob
lems, Mrs. Oliver is eagerly await
ing the day when people don’t
associate her son with migraines.
"He hasn’t had a headache
since last February. We re talking
almost a year," she added. "Yet, it
still seems like the first word out of
everyone's mouths when Billy is
mentioned is, ‘Oh, he had a lot of
problems with concussions and
And while it is frustrating at
times, Billy remained upbeat
throughout the whole process.
Thanks to a tight circle of
friends, he is able to laugh now
about the things he can’t control,
showing he doesn’t harp on his
past injuries.
“They make fun of me when a
ball comes by my head and misses
me by a couple of inches,” Oliver
said. “They are like, ‘Whoa Billy,
don’t get another concussion.’ I
think that’s funny. Laughing about
something helps a lot of the time.”
Never upset or angry, Oliver’s
fellow forward Brooks said he
always has a positive attitude.
But there have been times
when he’s been pushed to the
For instance, coach DeChellis
remembers times that Oliver had
to lie down in the film room during
practices because his head would
hurt so badly.
“Billy’s done a great job,” the
coach said. “
“I needed a chance to start over
somewhere else.”
to Penn State since Cael Sanderson’s arrival.
Although Long will no longer wrestle for lowa
State, he still had praise for the Cyclones’ coach.
“I want to thank Coach Jackson for his support
while I have been here,” Long said. “We were work
ing on a process through which I would be able to
join the team for the second semester. As I worked
through this process, I came to the conclusion that I
needed a chance to start over somewhere else.”
the ACC. Delaney is averaging 20.4 points per game,
which ranks 32nd in the country, and is shooting a
career-high percentage from the field (44.8), the free
throw line (88.9) and the 3-point line (43.8).
“If you’re guarding Delaney and he throws it into
Allen and we’re trying to double the post,” forward
Jeff Brooks said, “you don’t leave Delaney because
he’s such a great shooter.”
The Lions will be getting some reinforcements in
the frontcourt to help deal with Allen. Forwards DJ
Jackson and Billy Oliver, who both missed the Mount
St. Mary’s game, are on pace to return against the
Against Duquesne, Jackson had a player fall on his
neck, causing the left side of his body to temporarily
go numb. Jackson was taken to the hospital for pre
cautionary reasons and placed in a neck brace for a
few days
A half after Jackson left, Oliver was knocked to the
floor on a rebound and banged his head.
With his history of head injuries, the medical staff
decided to hold Oliver out in the game against the
“This is a big game for us. They're an ACC team
that’s very good, very talented," Jackson said. "We’re
gonna focus in hard these next couple of days in
preparing for Virginia Tech, because we re gonna go
down there and it’s going to be a war."
ty that makes her such a good
“She’s one of those rare individ
uals that can hit the ball from
antenna to antenna,” Rose said.
“She can hit high and she can hit
quick. She’s been a major part of
what we’re doing.”
Sitting 18th on Penn State's
career kills list, Brown will need to
add to her total if the Lions want to
reach that goal of another champi
Though Brown says any of her
teammates can heat up in any
match and carry the team, oppo
nents know Brown is the Lion to
key on.
When discussing what helped
the Lions overpower his team last
Saturday, Virginia Tech coach
Chris Riley said one thing: “Blair.”
“She was pretty solid, ” Riley
said of Brown. “Blair’s ability not
to make mistakes is what I
thought was one of the differences
in that match.”
Brown had 11 kills to go along
with six blocks against the Hokies.
The senior understands she’s the
He’s hung in there. He hung in
there last year when he had some
dark days where he was just mis
Then there was the time in
practice earlier this season when
Brooks blocked the ball in Oliver’s
direction prompting play to stop.
“I hit it so hard and who did it hit
in the face?” Brooks said smiling.
“It hit Billy Oliver. I didn’t want to
be the guy that really hurt Billy
“That’s why I’ve been trying to
calm down on my shot blocking,
especially if Billy is in the game
because I don’t want to aim right
at his head.”
Though Brooks seems to
always be around when Oliver
gets hurt, he avoided a potentially
devastating situation that the two
can laugh about now.
With all of his injuries seeming
ly in the past, Billy and his family
are hoping to move on as the Penn
State forward tries to create a new
name for himself this season.
Twelve minutes into Penn
State’s season opener vs. Lehigh,
Oliver stepped up and drained a
particularly memorable 3-pointer.
“It’s over,” he said he thought to
himself after hitting the shot. "I
know I can do it so I’m going to go
out and hit another one.”
It was his first basket in almost
a year and marked a new era in
the key reserve’s career as he fin
ished the game with 10 points.
Over the next month, Oliver
continued to produce for the Lions
coming off of the bench as Penn
State’s sixth man.
“Every minute on the court is
just icing on the cake,” Mrs. Oliver
“He wanted to play, he came to
play and he stuck with it. We think
with the more experience he gets
you’re going to see what Billy can
With his 3-point shooting, strong
passing ability and hustle, Oliver
has started to mold himself a new
name one devoid of the word
headache or concussion.
With the Lions so thin in the
frontcourt, Oliver is going to be
instrumental in the team’s suc
cess this season.
“He can play a couple different
positions for us,” DeChellis said.
“He’s pretty good defensively. He
can make a jumpshot and he just
gives you another guy who can
play quality minutes for you.”
The Daily Collegian
Andrew Long
Penrl State transfer
To e-mail reporter:
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go-to player this season and said
that's part of being a veteran on
the team.
That wasn't the case in past
years, as Brown played alongside
a pair of Division I National Player
of the Year winners in Hodge and
Nicole Fawcett.
Sophomore setter Kristin
Carpenter said it took Brown a lit
tle while to adjust to her role on
the team this season. She said
Brown was surprised by the role
at first, but the senior has since
become accustomed to it.
Carpenter had no problem
declaring Brown as the player she
looks to most on the court.
The setter believes-that’s a good
thing, saying Brown's career stats
show she is "kind of a big deal.”
“I do think she's handling it a
whole lot better than at the begin
ning of the season," Carpenter
said. "She’s just realized that's her
role now, not only to be a leader,
but to be that player who can put
the ball awav at crucial times."
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Two minutes into the second
half against Duquesne on Dec. 4. it
appeared as if Oliver's long trip
back to health may have hit a snag
in the road when he hit his head
against Brooks under the basket.
Back on the bench for the rest of
the game and forced to sit out the
game three days later, Oliver was
in an all too familiar position he
dreaded being back in.
"Right when it happened I was a
little scared," Oliver said. “I was
just a little dazed when I got it.
Although I agree with it and I’m
happy they are holding me out and
being cautious, it's just frustrating
I have to miss practice again. I
missed the game and it stirs up
old memories a little bit."
But with his mother in the
stands nervously watching her
son, Oliver flashed her thumbs up
and let her know everything would
be OK
“He was always very honest,"
Mrs. Oliver said. "The coaches
were good about that, they would
say, ‘Billy, we trust you to tell us
when you're not feeling well.’ We
got used to him being very honest
and so when he turned around
and mouthed to us, ‘l’m OK' I
knew he wouldn’t have said that if
he wasn’t. I was able to enjoy the
second half."
After spending the past week in
tests to make sure he was healthy
enough to play again, the forward
is back and ready to practice with
the team.
“The tests were fine,” team
trainer Jon Salazar said. “He did
“Everything we are doing is
very precautionary because of his
history of having concussions and
then having chronic headaches
last year.”
Without any symptoms shown
this week, Oliver is expected to be
healthy enough to play again this
“I’m still a little jittery out there
but I’m just going to play the game
I know,” he said. “It’s still coming
back to me. I feel great, I passed
all the tests with no problems and
I’m ready to go against Virginia
Going forward, a healthy Oliver
appears to be an important piece
of Penn State’s puzzle.
That is as long as Jeff Brooks
stays far away from his head.
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