JHU's Merrell has healthy, hot hand

THE BALTIMORE SUN

George Merrell's day in the sun has arrived.

Johns Hopkins' senior quarterback seems to have escaped the injury jinx that has hindered him for two seasons, and he has gone out two straight Saturdays and thrown for career-high numbers in lopsided victories.

Last week, he picked apart Washington & Lee for a career-high 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-7 romp, surpassing the previous week's career-best 220 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-9 rout of the host University of Rochester.

Merrell also rushed last week for a personal-best 78 yards and compiled a career-high 306 yards total offense.

"I had a right-hand injury last season, an ankle injury my sophomore year, and I got a chance to play three games my freshman year when the first and second QBs got hurt," he said.

Merrell says his performances are fueled by a lot more than his much-welcomed ability to stay healthy.

"When you're surrounded by a lot of good athletes on offense, good play-calling by the coaches and a strong defense, you're going to be successful," he said. "Yes, it was frustrating the last two years when I was injured, but football has its ups and downs, and you just have to go with the flow."

Merrell's two-game flow this season has nearly matched his passing statistics for six games last season (522 yards and six touchdown passes).

With Merrell throwing and junior wide receiver Brian Wolcott, mainly, on the receiving end, the Blue Jays are among those Division III schools receiving votes in the initial American Football Coaches Association poll.

The Blue Jays are one notch in the poll ahead of Salisbury University, which also is 2-0, having outscored opponents by a combined 65 points.

"A lot of great things have been happening to our football program lately, but our No. 1 goal still is winning the Centennial Conference title," Merrell said. He was referring to three program firsts last fall: winning nine games in a season, sharing the Centennial championship, and winning a postseason game.

Even though the Jays are looking more every day like a Division III power, Merrell said, "The football players aren't treated much different around here. Lacrosse is still No. 1."

Tigers tame Bears

Junior Sarah Miller continued her strong play for the Towson University volleyball team Tuesday night, making a match-high 11 kills as the Tigers turned back Morgan State, 3-0, at Hill Field House.

April Hoffman contributed four service aces as Towson improved to 6-4. The Bears, who dropped to 2-11, were led by Jahmeela Zeigler, who had nine kills, and Tiffany Oliver, who had eight kills and seven blocks.

Towson was coming off victories over Harvard and Boston College in the New England Challenge, where the Tigers were beaten by Northeastern in four games.

Miller had 59 kills and 30 digs in the three matches in Boston, and she leads the team in kills per game (4.05). Towson junior Liz Goubeaux had 44 kills, 22 blocks and three service aces in the three Challenge matches.

Impact player

Outside hitter Lindsey Lawson, a 5-foot-9 transfer from Elon College, is a primary reason Salisbury is off to a 9-4 start in volleyball this season.

Lawson, a junior who went to Dulaney High School, is in the Capital Athletic Conference's top six this week in service aces (fourth with 30), kills (fourth, 2.93 a game) and hitting percentage (sixth, .257).

Also, freshman Salisbury setter Abbey Petrecca is fourth in the CAC with 8.19 assists a game.

Et cetera

Graduate student Jennifer Davis led the home team to a second-place finish behind Georgia State in the UMBC Retriever Volleyball Invitational last weekend with a .378 hitting percentage. Davis was chosen America East Player of the Week for her performance.

Towson junior Julie Lambi became her school's all-time leading field hockey scorer with her 27th career goal in a 6-1 win last week over Georgetown.

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