Tiger Volleyball Prepares for Final Preseason Tournament
Sept. 14, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball squad will wrap up preseason action this weekend when it hosts the Memphis Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Tigers will play Central Arkansas at 11:30 a.m., and Murray State at 7 p.m. in a doubleheader on Friday. Saturday's action will see Memphis take on Alabama A&M and DePaul at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
At 9-1, Memphis is off to its best start since 2003 when Yerty's crew got out of the gates with a 17-1 mark. That team finished the year 30-6. Since 1996 only three Tiger teams have started off the season 9-1 or better.
As has been the case since the first match of the season, Memphis is paced by junior middle blocker Shelby Burton. Burton, who has downed 10 or more kills in all nine Memphis wins, is fourth in the nations and leads the team and Conference USA with a blistering .502 hitting percentage. In addition the Tiger junior is 13th nationally and first in C-USA in service aces, with 27. Her 153 kills is fourth among C-USA players, while she is ranked second with 1.24 blocks per game.
Memphis has gotten solid leadership from setter Laura Côté. The sophomore leads the league and ranks 15 nationally with 13.26 assist per game. Côté is fifth in the Conference and first among all C-USA setters with a .363 attack percentage. With Côté at the controls of the Memphis offense leads the league and ranks 11th in the country in hitting percentage and 22nd nationally in assists.
Defensively, senior libero Christen Clayton leads the team and ranks second in C-USA with 5.06 digs per game.
The Tigers first opponent, Central Arkansas, enters the weekend with a 4-6 mark. The Sugar Bears started the season 0-3, but have since gone 6-1, including defeating C-USA foe Tulsa 3-1. UCA is led by Evaree Franklin's 3.31 kills per game. Sophomore middle blocker Camila Scapani leads the Sugar Bears with as .352 hitting percentage. Memphis leads the all-time series with UCA, 3-0.
Murray State enters the weekend with a 5-1 record and has won four-straight. The Racers, who are off to its best six-match start in its 24 years, are ranked 23rd in the nation in digs with a 21.32 digs per game clip. MSU is led by seniors Holly Jansen and Katie Kemezys, who are averaging 3.16 and 3.12 kills per game, respectively. Sophomore libero Heather Norris averages 5.54 digs per set, while freshman setter Cassie Chesney has notched 4.25 digs a game. Memphis is 13-2 all-time against Murray.
DePaul is 2-7 in the early season. The Blue Demons got off to a 0-5 start, including losing to Rice. DPU hits just .138 as a team and is led by Morgan Ingersoll's 122 kills (4.02 kpg). Ellen Hayes is second on the team with 82 kills. Hayes leads the defense with 134 digs (4.47 dpg), while Stacy Pando has a team-best 24 blocks. The Tigers lead the all-time series 14-7. Memphis has not played DePaul since a meeting in the Conference USA tournament in 2004. The Tigers emerged victorious in that meeting, 3-0.
Alabama A&M is 0-4, but has played tough competition in Kansas, Alabama and Miami (Fla.). Brittani Lewis leads the team with 29 kills, while Crystal Ward paces the defense with 26 digs. The Bulldogs have been swept in all four matches and are hitting -.013 on the year. Memphis is 2-0 against Alabama A&M.
Tournament Schedule Friday, Sept. 15 9 a.m. Alabama A&M vs. DePaul 11:30 p.m. Memphis vs. Central Arkansas 2 p.m. Murray State vs. Alabama A&M 4:30 p.m. Central Arkansas vs. DePaul 7 p.m. Memphis vs. Murray State