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Sports Briefs

1/29/2014, 12:35 p.m.

After spending the 2013 campaign at West Virginia State University, Omar Aqel has signed a letter of intent to transfer to University of St. Francis and join his older brother, Ali, on head football coach Joe Curry's team beginning next fall. The 6'0" 225-pound Aqel saw action in six games as a reserve linebacker for the NCAA Division II Yellowjackets this past season. He is a graduate of Sandburg High School, where he was an All-Southwest Suburban Conference choice as a senior in 2012 playing for coach Dave Wierzal. "I am excited to have Omar back home, joining his older brother, Ali, and playing for the Saints," said Curry. "He is an aggressive and passionate player who runs well to make plays sideline to sideline. We look forward to Omar helping to continue the tradition of great linebacker play at USF." Aqel's older brother, Ali, was a major contributor on the Saints' defensive line in 2013. He finished the season with 29 tackles, including three tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. The Saints posted a 7-4 overall record this past season and were the runner-up in the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League with a 4-2 conference mark. USF claimed a No. 21 ranking in the NAIA postseason coaches' poll.

Lewis University head men's volleyball coach Dan Friend has been selected as an assistant coach for the USA Volleyball High Performance 2014 Men's Junior Team, USA Volleyball announced. Friend will help USC men's volleyball coach Bill Ferguson prepare the Men's Junior Team to compete for a second-straight title at the 2014 The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Championship (July 27-Aug. 4) in El Salvador. The top two teams from the NORCECA Championship will qualify to compete at the 2015 FIVB Under-21 World Championships. "It is always an honor to represent your country," Friend said. "I am looking forward to working with some of the best young talent in the country to help win the NORCECA Championship and qualify for the FIVB World Championships." Friend, in his 10th season at the helm of the nationally-ranked Lewis men's volleyball program, was the head coach the 2012 US Boys U-18 National Team that collected a bronze medal. He also served as an assistant coach on the 2011 USA FIVB World Youth Championship, 2009 FIVB World Youth Championship and 2008 Men's USA Volleyball Junior National Training Teams.

Bolingbrook High School defensive back Cecil Nicholson has made a verbal commitment to play football at the University of Indianapolis in the fall. The 5-8, 175 pound All-Conference and All-Area senior accounted for 45 tackles, five tackles for a loss, 10 pass break-ups and three

interceptions for the Raiders last year.

The University of St. Francis men's tennis team opened the calendar year with a 9-0 victory over St. Ambrose University Saturday afternoon at Challenge Fitness. After winning the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles matches and picking up a forfeit at the No. 3 spot, the Saints went on to win all five contested singles matches in straight sets. USF (2-0) gained its final point of the contest with a forfeit victory at No. 6 singles. Senior Andres Stecher, sophomore Boris Peshev, and freshman Anders Sandberg each notched a pair of wins on the day. Randall and Stecher won 8-3 at No. 1 doubles, while Peshev and Sandberg paired up a for an 8-0 decision at No. 2. Peshev (6-2, 6-1), Sandberg (6-0, 6-3) and Stecher (6-0, 6-0) then posted respective straight-set wins at the top three singles positions. Junior Chad Randall (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport) posted a 6-1, 6-2 win at the No. 4 singles spot, and junior Diego Mogrovejo won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5. USF returns to action on Feb. 9 when it hosts NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois University at 10:45 a.m.