Volleyball Set to Take on ECU and Marshall in C-USA Weekend
Oct. 11, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The University of Memphis volleyball team will be put to the test this weekend in a tough Conference USA weekend of action against East Carolina on Friday night ay 7 p.m. EST, and Marshall at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday afternoon. At 4-2 in the conference, Memphis is currently in a four-way tie with Houston, Tulsa and UAB for third place in the league standings.
Memphis has won three straight, including defeating Southern Miss and UCF in league action last weekend at home. With that momentum, the Tigers look to accomplish something that has eluded them in two years of making the road trip to ECU and Marshall--winning on match. In four matches over the last two years, Memphis has yet to defeat either ECU or Marshall.
Riding the talent of Shelby Burton, Sarah Bury, Laura Côté and Ashley Liford, Memphis will attempt to reverse its past fortunes. Burton leads the Tigers in hitting percentage, kills and blocks--all three of which Memphis ranks as one the league's top two teams. Her 1.45 blocks per game is tops in the league and 33rd nationally, while her 113 total rejections is the fourth most in the country this year. She is hitting a solid .405, which is good for second in C-USA and 18th in the country. She is eighth in the league in kills, a spot ahead of fellow senior, Liford. Liford's arm has come alive since the start of conference play, as she leads Memphis with 80 kills and a 4.0 kills per game average against conference opponents. The reigning C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Week, Bury is averaging nearly a block a game, while ranking third on Memphis' squad in both digs and kills. Setter Côté is ranked 38th in the country with a 12.37 assists per game clip. She has quarterbacked the Tigers to the league's second-best hitting percentage, at .247.
Memphis will be heavily challenged all weekend, first by ECU on Friday. The Pirates are 12-9 overall and 3-3 in the league after splitting a pair of matches last weekend. They posted a four-game win over UTEP, before falling to Tulane in four. ECU is led by a strong senior class of Kelly Wernert and Mignon Dubenion. Wernert, who ranks as the league's second-best point producer, leads the team and sits in the No. 3 spot in the league stats in kills. She averages 5.05 spikes per period and is just nine kills shy of ECU's career kills mark. Dubenion is second on the team with a 2.36 kills per game mark. She leads the Pirates defense with 69 blocks. Libero Trish Monroe anchors the backline with 315 digs. She ranks fourth in the league with 4.29 digs per game.
Memphis leads the all-time series 7-3, but was swept in the season series last year.
Marshall is the league's top squad and is perfect in six contests. The Thundering Herd took over the top spot last weekend with a convincing sweep of then-first place Tulane, followed by a four-game win over UTEP. Marshall holds the league's longest win streak--a string that has now reached seven-in-a-row. One of the conference's most explosive offenses, the Herd boasts the conference's top talent, in Kelly Anne Billingy, as well as the reigning C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, Stephanie Cahill. The Preseason Player of the Year selection is second in C-USA and seventh in the nation, slamming 5.21 kills per game. She averages an amazing 6.10 kills per frame in C-USA matches and hits a strong .342 from the outside--good for sixth in the league statistical report. The Trincity, Trinidad native, leads the league in points, accounting for 7.0 points per game. Cahill is a strong second attacking option for the Herd as she checks brings a 3.35 kills per game average into the weekend. She has put away 241 kills on the year. Cahill and Kristin Marcum lead a potent serving attack. Marcum lead the team and ranks eighth in the league with 35 aces, while Cahill is 10th with 30. While Memphis is the league's best overall blocking defense, Marshall has the strongest block in C-USA matches. Four Herd players have made at least 39 blocks, led by Uche Ndubisi's 62.
Memphis is 1-3 all-time against Marshall after being swept in the 2006 season series.