Volleyball Hosts Tiger Invitational This Weekend
Sept. 4, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis will wrap up its season-opening homestand this weekend with four matches in the Tiger Invitational on Sept 5-6. On Friday, Memphis will open the five-team invite against Iona at 11:30 a.m. and then take on IUPUI at 7 p.m. They will host Indiana State and Troy on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
The U of M is coming off an encouraging weekend in which they went 2-1 to finish as the runners-up in the Memphis Invitational. Memphis got first-year head coach April Jauregui's career off to a fast start with consecutive sweeps over Alabama A&M and McNeese State to open the year 2-0. But the Tigers youth showed in the title match against UALR. U of M middle hitters Casey Sines and Emily Underwood were each named to the all-tournament team. In her first weekend of collegiate action, Sines led the Tigers in hitting and put down a match-high 19 kills versus UALR. A redshirt sophomore, Underwood was solid on both sides of the net, hammering away for 25 kills and making 17 blocks (1.70 bps).
Friday morning's opponent, Iona, brings a 3-1 mark into the weekend. The Gaels posted a pair of sweeps against Stony Brook and Bucknell and lost a five-setter versus Central Connecticut State in action last weekend. Iona's roster showcases eight sophomores and just four upper classmen. The Gaels hit .240 as a team, while holding opponents to a lowly .120 attacking clip. Sophomore middle blocker Colleen Genett leads the team with a .407 hitting percentage, while junior Sarah Wiener had a standout opening weekend, striking for a team-best 44 kills (4.00 kps) and a .304 hitting average in 11 sets. She leads the team with 59 kills. Sophomore libero Allison Nieters paces the defense with over five digs per set. The reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Neiters was named the MAAC's Defensive Player of the Week.
Memphis and Iona faced each other for the first time at the EIU/Pepsi Challenge in the 2007 season. The Tigers rode the strength of 19 kills from Burton and got strong offensive performances throughout the lineup to hit .350 and race to a sweep of Iona in its final match of the Eastern Illinois Pepsi Challenge.
Indiana State broke a 20-match losing skid last weekend with a five-set win over Lipscomb in the second match of the season. The Sycamores, 3-2, have fed off of the victory to win three of its last four coming into the Tiger Invitational. ISU has shown its experience early, winning a pair of five-set contests. Junior outside hitter Jodilynne Stoker is the top option for setter Whitney Fromm. Stoker has racked up a team-high 55 kills on 188 swings. The Sycamores hit just .153 as a team. Defensively, Indiana State has held its opponents to a .172 percentage. Senior defensive specialist Kristy Cox leads the team and is nearing the century-mark in digs with 93. Stephanie Volden has made a team-best 20 blocks.
Memphis holds a 2-0 record in the all-time series versus Indiana State. History was made the last time the two met as then-Memphis head coach Carrie Yerty became the UofM's all-time winningest coach after the Tigers swept the Sycamores. In the match, Memphis got 19 kills from Shelby Burton and defeated Indiana State in all statistical categories. Three players reached double-figures in kills, while setter Laura Côté set a match-best 42 assists.
The Tigers' third opponent of the weekend, IUPUI, has a similar make up to Memphis with just one senior and four freshmen. They too had success in the opening weekend of the 2008 season, playing to a runner-up finish in the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational. The Jags lone loss came at the hands of C-USA member Tulsa in five sets. Junior Danielle Goodnight and freshman Shari Bernhardt each hauled in all-tournament accolades. Goodnight runs the offense and averages 10.69 assists per set, while coming up big on the defensive side of the net with 51 digs. Bernhardt stuffed the stats sheet as well, logging 41 kills and making 46 digs.
This weekend's meeting with be the second between IUPUI and Memphis. However it will be the first in 24 years. Memphis bested IUPUI, 3-0 back in the 1984 season.
Troy enters the weekend's action with a 1-2 mark after falling to Colorado and Mississippi State at the MSU Classic. Their lone win came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Troy returns 11 letterwinners, including all six starters from last year's crew that 16-17. The Trojans roster boasts an experience group of five seniors and three juniors. Troy hits just .191 as a team and is led by sophomore Megan Henderson and senior Aubre Smith. Henderson hits .375 with 12 kills, while Smith hits .352 and leads the team with 26 terminations.
The Tigers have won all six meetings between the two institutions. Memphis has swept all six meetings.