Volleyball Hosts Memphis Invitational This Weekend
Sept. 7, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball team will kick off the home portion of the 2007 schedule this weekend when it hosts the first of it two preseason tournaments. The Tigers will host Arkansas-Little Rock, Austin Peay, Mississippi State and Nicholls State in the Memphis Invitational beginning Friday. Memphis will open tournament action with an 11:30 a.m. matchup with Nicholls State.
The Tigers will play a doubleheader on both Friday and Saturday. Friday's nightcap will feature Memphis versus in-state foe Austin Peay, while the UofM will battle UALR and Mississippi State at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively on Saturday.
At 4-3 on the year, Memphis enters the weekend on a three-match win streak that earned them a runner-up finish in the Eastern Illinois Pepsi Challenge. Senior middle blocker Shelby Burton earned all-tournament honors last weekend. Burton had a milestone weekend for the Tigers, showcasing her talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the net. Already the program's attack percentage leader, Burton placed her name among Memphis' elite by slamming her 1,000th career kill. The Tiger senior also etched her name in the Tiger record books by tying the program record with 11 total blocks versus Eastern Illinois. Burton is the team leader in kills, attack percentage, service aces and blocks.
Freshman Kelsey Labrum has come up big for the Memphis offense. Labrum has downed 10 or more kills in each of the last three contests and is second on the team with a .265 attack average. Senior Ashley Liford is coming off of one of her strongest defensive weekends. Liford, who is second on the squad with 85 kills, leads the way for Memphis with 75 digs. She posted a career-best 25 digs against EIU last weekend.
Laura Côté continues to run the offense efficiently. The third-year setter leads Conference USA with an average of 12.48 assists per contest. She has guided the Tiger offense to over 15 kills per set and a .230 attack percentage.
Defensively, Memphis has gotten solid block from Burton and Liford, as well as its libero duo of Christine Bach and Becky Shaffer. Bach leads the team and ranks in the C-USA top-10 with a 4.25 digs per game average. Meanwhile, Shaffer trails only Liford with 71 digs. The freshman has tallied 10 or more digs in each of the last four contests, including a career-high 15 digs in a sweep of Loyola (Chicago).
Head Coach Carrie Yerty also earned recognition last week, as she became the program's all-time leader in coaching wins. She surpassed former Tiger coach Diane Hale with the UofM's sweep of Indiana State on Saturday. Yerty has now won 214 matches while at the controls of the Memphis volleyball program.