Tiger Volleyball Returns Home for C-USA Action versus UAB
Oct. 6, 2005
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
After 34 days on the road, Head Coach Carrie Yerty and her Tiger volleyball squad will return to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse to open its home Conference USA schedule with a match against UAB on Fri., Oct. 7. Match time is set for 7 p.m. Following Friday night's contest, the Tigers will travel to Birmingham to take on the Blazers in a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday. Friday night's C-USA home-opener is 80's night and Freshman Friday. The three fans with the best-dressed 80's gear will win a Tiger gift pack, while all freshmen in attendance will become eligible for a $500 book scholarship. In addition, the first 100 fans will receive a Memphis Tiger rally towel.
Memphis enters the weekend riding the momentum of a 2-0 start in C-USA play. Led by reigning C-USA Setter of the Week Laura Côté, the Tigers swept Southern Miss and handed UCF its first league loss in consecutive matches last weekend. Côté handed out 42 assists against USM and followed that performance by setting a career-high 66 assists at UCF en route to garnering her second C-USA weekly award. The freshman was just one of several Tigers that posted outstanding performances on the long weekend. Senior Nancy Nellans, who is second in the league with 10 double-doubles, downed 15 and 18 kills against the USM and UCF, respectively. The South Bend, Ind. native leads the team with 227 kills and 217 digs. Shelby Burton led the U of M defense with eight blocks against Southern Miss and then five against UCF. The sophomore, who ranks fifth in the conference with 1.05 blocks per game, also hammered 26 kills in the two matches. Sophomore Ashley Liford rebounded from a six-kill night at Southern Miss with a career-best 23 kills to lead Memphis's season-high 79-kill offensive attack at UCF.
UAB, who was picked to finish 12th in Conference USA in the preseason coaches poll, went 0-13 in league play last year and won just one match overall. However, under first-year co-interim coaches Allison Magner and Nikola Petrovic, the Blazers have raced out to a 10-2 start that includes a 1-2 mark in C-USA action. UAB is led by freshman Ivana Bozic's 197 kills (4.58/g). Bozic was named Conference USA Volleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 12 to become the first Blazer volleyball player ever to receive C-USA Player of the Week honors in the 10 years UAB has been in the league. Isabel Oquendo and Casey Dent are the only other Blazer players with as many as 100 kills with 135 and 100, respectively. Oquendo tallied consecutive double-double performances for UAB last weekend against UCF and Southern Miss. UAB's lone senior registered a career-best 32 kills against the Golden Eagles. Also against UCF, teammate and setter Nevena Stefanov posted a career-and match-high 68 assists.
Memphis is 33-8 all-time against UAB. The 33 wins are the most against any other current Conference USA member. The Tigers and Blazers have met on the volleyball court 16 times as C-USA foes, with Memphis coming away victorious 14 times, including 13 of the last 14. The U of M defeated UAB 11 consecutive times from 1997-2001. The last time UAB claimed a victory over Memphis was in the 2002 season when they handed the Tigers a 3-1 loss. Since Memphis has beaten the Blazer in straight sets. This year's meeting is unique in that the Tigers and Blazers will meet in back-to-back matches. However, this will not be the first time the two teams have done so. Memphis defeated UAB 3-1 and 3-0 in successive matches in the 2000 season.