Volleyball Set to Host Tiger Invitational This Weekend
Sept. 7, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Head coach Carrie Yerty and the University of Memphis volleyball squad will open its home schedule this weekend, as it hosts the Tiger Invitational. The Tigers, who will play doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, will put its undefeated mark on the line against Lipscomb University in the home-opener at 2 p.m. on Friday.
Following the home-opener with Lipscomb, Memphis will match up with Southeast Missouri State in the last match of the night. Day two will showcase a rematch of the 2005 O'Charley's Tiger Invitational title match as the Tigers take on Arkansas-Little Rock at 2 p.m. Memphis will play Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. in the tournament's final contest.
Memphis is off to its best start since 2001 season, and the third-best start in Yerty's 11 seasons, due largely to the play of junior middle blocker Shelby Burton. The current Conference USA Player of the Week, Burton leads the team and C-USA with a .472 attack percentage and 25 service aces. The Tiger junior is ranked second and 13th nationally, respectively in hitting percentage and aces. Not only does Burton excel offensively, but she also leads the team and ranks second in the conference in blocks.
Sophomore setter Laura Côté has done her part to help Memphis to its 6-0 start. She trails only Burton in the C-USA in hitting percentage at .437. She is third in the league and 30th nationally with 12.64 assists per game. The Tiger offense, that is ranked seventh nationally in aces and 11th in attack percentage, has also solid production from sophomore Sarah Bury, who is second on the squad with 76 kills.
The Tigers first opponent, Lipscomb, enters the weekend with a 3-3 mark after coming away empty in three matches at the Kansas State Invitational last weekend. The Bisons got off to a 3-0 start after a pair of wins at the Magic City Invitational, and a 3-0 win at Austin Peay. Alex Scruggs leads an offense that hits just .153, with 63 kills. Ann Mullins paces the team and ranks 14th nationally with 6.38 digs per game. Friday's match with Lipscomb will be the first in Memphis history.
Southeast Missouri State is just 1-6 on the year and has lost four-straight coming into the weekend. The Redhawks' lone win came against Western Carolina. Memphis is 10-2 all-time against SEMO.
Arkansas-Little Rock is 4-5 after splitting four competitions in the Baylor Clarion Invitational last weekend. The Trojans are led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Amila Barakovic's 124 kills and junior middle blocker Ivanka Davidova's 118 kills. Libero Ana Carolina Buccini is 18th in the country in digs, with a team-best 210. Memphis has won seven of the 10 meeting in the all-time series with UALR.
At 2-6, Louisiana Tech brings a two-match win streak into the weekend. However, La. Tech opened the year with six-straight losses. Despite its record, LT has posted more kills than its opponents, as well as holding opposing hitters to a .181 attack average. Shannon Philips has a team-high 123 kills, while Ambra Hayes is the second option with 100 kills. Defensively, Brittney Nakamura has made nearly five digs per game with 145. Phillips and Hayes have also eclipsed the 100-dig mark in the early season. The Tigers are 2-2 all-time against the Lady Techsters. La. Tech outlasted Memphis 3-2 in last year's meeting.
Tournament Schedule Friday, Sept. 8 9 a.m. Lipscomb vs. La Tech 11:30 p.m. UALR vs. SEMO 2 p.m. Memphis vs. Lipscomb 4:30 p.m. La Tech vs. UALR 7 p.m. Memphis vs. SEMO