The second-ranked Concordia (St. Paul) volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division II volleyball championship match with a 3-1 victory over West Texas A&M at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.

Concordia prevailed in four games, 30-17, 30-22, 29-31, 30-19.

Freshman Emily Palkert from Excelsior, Minn., led a group of five Concordia players in double figures in kills with 21. She also had six blocks.

The Golden Bears led the entire way in all three games they won and had the Lady Buffs at match point in the third game, leading 29-28 before West Texas rallied for three consecutive points to send the match to a fourth game.

"Our girls came out really, really fired up tonight. Right from the get-go, they just went after it," Concordia coach Brady Starkey said.

Sophomore setter Maggie McNamara from Zumbrota, Minn., broke her NCAA Division II assist record as her 65 assists give her 2,022 for the season. Last year, she set the record with 1,977 assists.

Concordia will play Western Washington in the championship match at 7 p.m. today.

U senior swimmers lead

Seniors Mike Woodson and Russ Payne led the 10th-ranked Minnesota men's swimming and diving team on the first day of competition at the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.

Woodson won the 50 freestyle and contributed to two victorious relays, and Payne won the 200 individual medley.

Minnesota has 371 points to lead the 12-team field. The meet continues today with prelims at 10 a.m and finals at 5 p.m.

FROM NEWS SERVICES