Volleyball Set to Host Saint Louis in C-USA Opener
Sept. 30, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Match: The University of Memphis (15-4) will open its Conference USA season on Friday night when the Tigers host the Saint Louis Billikens. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Memphis brings a season-long, eight-match winning streak into the contest, while SLU has won four of its last five.
Detour: Due to the Homecoming parade that will be taking place at 5:30 p.m., all Tiger volleyball fans are urged to take Goodlett to Central then Zach Curlin as an alternate route to the Fieldhouse.
The Series: Saint Louis leads the all-time series 14-11. However, the Tigers swept the Billikens 3-0 in last year's meeting in Saint Louis. The series dates back to the 1980 season. Before last season's win, the Tigers had not beaten SLU since a 3-0 win in 1994.
Last Week: Memphis completed a perfect 5-0 week by taking home the UNC-Greensboro Invitational Tournament championship. The Tigers defeated Florida Atlantic (3-1) and UNC-Asheville (3-1) on Friday, before returning on Saturday to sweep Morgan State and outlast host UNC-Greensboro. Senior setter Heather Watts put up stellar numbers in the tournament on her way to earning the Tournament's MVP honors. It was the second time this season that Watts has received tournament MVP recognition. Senior Tiara Gilkey was named to the All-tournament Team after hitting .350 or better in all five contests and had match-high kill totals against Davidson (15), UNCA (26), Morgan State (12) and UNCG (17).
Women of Honor: Memphis seniors Heather Watts and Tiara Gilkey have shown outstanding leadership on the court this season and have put up multiple performances worthy of recognition. For the second consecutive week, the duo garnered recognition in the C-USA weekly awards. Watts was named the league's Setter of the Week for the third time in four weeks, while Gilkey earned co-Player of the Week acknowledgment. For the week, Gilkey hit a blistering .446, while downing a team-high 86 kills. The senior outside hitter put up double-doubles in each of the four UNCG Tournament matches. She put down a season-high 26 kills and hit a scorching .525 in the 3-1 win over UNCA. Watts earned her second tournament MVP honor last week after guiding Memphis to a 4-0 record. Watts set the Tiger offense with an average of 14.83 assists per game and posted match highs in all five contests.
Scouting the Billikens: Saint Louis comes into the C-USA opener winners of four of their last five matches. The Billikens are led by junior middle hitter Aida Antanaviciute, who leads the league with 44 kills, 6.25 kills per game and 382 points. The junior middle has posted 30-kill performances three times this season, including a C-USA-high 39 kills against Indiana State on Sept. 1. She also downed 32 kills against Oregon State and Illinois State. The Billikens bring an even 8-8 record to the match after losing to Illinois State 3-2 on Tuesday. However, prior to the loss, SLU had put together and impressive four-match win streak that earned them the Fairfield Invitational Tournament title over the weekend.
Led by Antanaviciute, SLU also has three other players that have slammed at least 100 kills in Lauren Boissevain (137), Sutton (133) and Jessica Poorbaugh (107).
What's Next? The Tigers will head South for a pair of league contests against Southern Miss on Oct. 8, and Tulane on the ninth. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. starts. After the Saint Louis match, the Tigers will not return home until Oct. 15 when they host East Carolina and Charlotte on Oct. 16 in a two match homestand.