College Update

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy alumna Jenna Orlandini and her University of Washington women's volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Final Four. (Courtesy of Red Box Pictures) (December 18, 2013)

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Jenna Orlandini (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2008) Washington volleyball senior: It’s been a busy last couple of weeks for Orlandini.

The former All-Area first-team selection is making final preparations leading up to the Huskies taking part in the NCAA Final Four. Washington tasted plenty of success in the Pac-12 Conference and has done the same throughout its deep postseason journey. In addition, Orlandini received All-American honors Wednesday.

Orlandini was one of three Washington athletes to receive All-American recognition by the American Volleyball Coaches Assn. She earned honorable mention. Teammates Krista Vansant and Kaleigh Nelson picked up first- and third-team recognition, respectively. It marked the first time that the Huskies hailed three All-Americans since 2010.

Orlandini, a libero, and the third-seeded Huskies will meet second-seeded Penn State in a semifinal match at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Key Arena in Seattle. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The winner will meet top-seeded Texas or 12th-seeded Wisconsin in the championship match at 6:30 p.m. Saturday live on ESPN2.

Washington (30-2, 18-2 in conference) is seeking its first championship since 2005. Orlandini, who helped the Huskies capture the conference championship for the first time since 2005, has participated in 447 career sets. She’s tied for second all-time and three sets away from sharing the mark. Orlandini ranks third in career digs with 1,968, good for 12th in conference history.

Orlandini returned to Los Angeles for the regional final at USC’s Galen Center. Washington overcame a 2-0 deficit to storm back and top sixth-seeded USC on Saturday. She finished with 22 digs and seven assists to help lift the Huskies to a 26-28, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 17-15 victory. In a regional semifinal match against 23rd-seeded Kansas on Friday, Orlandini contributed nine digs in Washington’s 25-18, 25-13, 26-24 victory.

Orlandini earlier earned conference honorable mention and was selected to the All-Pacific North Region team.

Nick Dragovich, (Crescenta Valley High, 2010) Chapman University basketball senior: Dragovich and the Panthers have fared well lately, winning three of their last four games entering Saturday’s nonconference home contest against UC Santa Cruz. Chapman is 5-3, 2-1 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Dragovich made his presence felt Monday during a conference home game against Whittier College. Dragovich finished with 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals to help the Panthers earn a 91-77 victory. He made five of nine shots from the floor and had four offensive rebounds for the Panthers, who are in the middle of a seven-game home stand.

Dragovich finished with 11 points and four rebounds in Chapman’s 90-65 nonconference home win against West Coast Baptist on Friday.

In nine games, Dragovich is averaging 10.8 and 6.1 rebounds per contest.

Eric Verso (St. Francis High, 2011) Stanford soccer sophomore: The former All-Area honoree finished the season with three goals for the Cardinal, who saw their season end Dec. 1 with a 1-0 road defeat against Washington in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Verso, a forward, came off the bench and played five minutes against Washington. In a second-round postseason road match against 20th-ranked Cal State Northridge on Nov. 24, Verso was a substitute and played 12 minutes in Stanford’s 1-0 win.

The Cardinal began the playoffs Nov. 21 with a 1-1 (3-2) victory against Loyola Marymount with Verso playing 19 minutes.

Verso scored two goals, both game-winners, for Stanford in 18 matches, which finished 10-7-4, 3-5-2 in the PAC-12 and enjoyed its first 10-win season since 2009 and reached the round of 16 for the fifth time in its last five postseason appearances.

Verso’s younger brother, Mark, is a freshman forward at Stanford. Mark Verso participated in 16 matches and finished with nine shots. He saw some playing time in a postseason match against CSUN.

Jordan Royer (Crescenta Valley High, 2011) Chapman University soccer junior: Royer saw action in 17 games on the season, notching starts in eight and tallying a goal and an assist.

The junior midfielder/forward scored a goal in the first game of the season, a 10-0 dismantling of Mills on Aug. 31, and notched an assist in a 4-1 loss to Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 28.

Chapman finished the season at 10-10-1 and 7-7 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.