Catawba headed to Michigan for national semifinal

By Ronnie Gallagher, The Salisbury Post As soon as Catawba College athletic director Dennis Davidson heard the score, he said his heart sank. Grand Valley State 33, Saginaw Valley State 30. Davidson was on the field in Valdosta, Ga., reveling in Catawba’s 37-34 overtime victory over No. 1-ranked Valdosta State in the Division II quarterfinals. He knew if Saginaw Valley State could win, Shuford Stadium could see one more game before it was torn down for renovations.But Grand Valley, the nation’s second-ranked team, gets the nod for homefield advantage. Catawba will travel to Allendale, Mich., for Saturday’s Division IInational semifinals. The winner will face either North Dakota or UC Davis in the national championship game Dec. 8 in Florence, Ala. That game will be televised on ESPN. Catawba will fly out of Charlotte on a charter either Thursday or Friday. Davidson received a call Sunday from Steve Murray, the commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, who is on the national committee, telling him of the travel plans. Catawba lost its chance for a home game due to the committee’s criteria. First, it looked at head-to-head competition, which of course, did not factor in. Second, it went by overall record. Grand Valley State is 11-0, Catawba 11-1. Then, it looked at strength of schedule. Catawba played Livingstone (1-9), North Greenville (0-10) and Austin Peay (2-8). There was no chance of coming ahead there. Davidson was told the criteria did not include national rankings but if it did, Grand Valley was ahead in the polls as well. “None favored us,” said Davidson. Catawba will be facing a Grand Valley State team that lost its star quarterback, Curt Anes, in the first round of the playoffs to a knee injury. In the win over Saginaw Valley State, second stringer Todd Wojciechowski went down to an injury. The Lakers eventually pulled out the victory behind third-string QB Ryan Brady. Allendale is located about 15 miles from Grand Rapids. Lubbers Stadium holds 8,000. That’s 4,000 more than Shuford could hold. But now, the tearing down of the stadium, and the renovation can officially begin. “We were hoping for one more game at Shuford,” Davidson said. ######

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