Tiger Volleyball to Face UCF and Southern Miss in C-USA Weekend Action
Oct. 8, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball crew will wrap up a three-match road swing as well as its travel for the month of October this weekend, when it heads to UCF and Southern Miss for a pair of C-USA tilts. The Tigers will battle the Knights at 7 p.m. EST on Fri., Oct. 10, before taking on USM on Sun., Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.
Memphis will take on UCF on the heels of a lackluster loss at Arkansas State on Tuesday. At 12-7 overall and 3-2 in league action, the Tigers currently sit in a tie for third with Tulsa in the league standings. Despite the loss, Memphis did have some bright spots. Freshman outside hitter Kelsey Knoche came off the bench to down a career-high 10 kills and Emily Underwood re-emerged as solid offensive option with 13 kills and a .300 attacking percentage. Christine Bach also was solid with a match-high 20 digs.
Laura Côté has 739 assists this year and needs just one assist to become the second Tiger setter to crack the 5,500 assists milestone. With 5,499 career assists, she now trails the program's all-time record by just 154 helpers. Rebekah Strickland continues to swing at a high efficiency. The 6-3 right side hitter leads the team with a .294 hitting average. She is second on the team with 177 kills. Katlin Inglish's 183 terminations is tops on the squad.
Behind Underwood's block and Bach's back row presence, Memphis has the league's second-best defense, holding opposing hitter to just a .135 attacking clip. Underwood leads the nation and league in blocking, while Bach ranks second in digs and third in service aces.
After struggling to a 9-23 finish overall and going winless in 16 C-USA contests in 2007, UCF has seen a tremendous turnaround under first-year head coach Todd Dagenais. Just 18 matches into the 2008 campaign, the Knights have eclipsed both the overall and conference win totals from 2007. UCF is currently 12-6 on the year and has won eight of its last nine, including three straight. The surprise has come in league play they have won three in a row to improve to 4-1 and hold a tie with UAB for the league's top spot. After dropping the C-USA opener to SMU, the Knights broke through with their first league win since the 2006 season--defeating Tulsa in straight sets on Sept. 28. They continued the momentum to sweep league action against Marshall and East Carolina last weekend.
On the floor, the Knights are led by the outside hitter duo Erin Campbell and University of Florida transfer, Janine Williams, who rank fourth and sixth in C-USA with 3.41 and 3.38 kills per set, respectively. Campbell has a team-best 239 kills, with Williams following closely behind with 233. UCF ranks fourth in the league with 13.24 kills per set. The offensive efficiency comes from the middle as Lauren Williams and Jenny Heppert rate among the conference's top attackers, hitting .324 and .316, respectively. The offense is run by two-time C-USA Setter of the Week Lauren Rosenthal. The sophomore garnered her second Setter of the Week honors this week after leading the Knights to a pair of wins. She hauled in the league's weekly honors for the first time on Sept. 22, 2008. UCF is fourth in the C-USA statistical rankings at the service line, logging 1.29 aces per set. Heppert's 23 aces are seventh in the league.
All-Time Series vs. the Knights
The U of M last lost to UCF in 2005 when the Knights bounced the Tigers from competition with a 3-1 decision in the opening match of the 2005 C-USA Championships.
Scouting Southern Miss
Offensively, USM has struggled, hitting just .180 and averaging 12 kills per game and 10.70 assists. Ashley Petrinic and Stevi Cherry lead the offense with 157 and 152 kills each. The Golden Eagles are strong form the service line, recording 1.34 aces per set--good for third in C-USA.
All-Time Series vs. the Golden Eagles