Tiger Volleyball Hosts ECU and Marshall in C-USA Action This Weekend
Oct. 13, 2005
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball team will face its strongest league competition yet, when it hosts ECU and Marshall on Friday and Saturday. At 3-1 in league play, the Tigers are undefeated at home and currently rank second in C-USA standings. Marshall sits atop the league standings with a 5-0.
Memphis has lost its last two matches, both of which saw the Tigers take a 2-1 lead only to lose games four and five. The U of M defeated Belmont in every statistical category but the score in its last match. Nancy Nellans recorded her second 31-dig performance of the season, to go with 21 kills. Colette Ramirez hammered a season-high 13 kills and hit .476, while freshman setter Laura Côté had a career-high 67 assists in the Tigers' fourth consecutive five-game loss.
Nellans leads Memphis with 274 kills. She and sophomore Ashley Liford, who has 219 kills, are the lone Tigers that are averaging 3.00 kills per game. Melissa Nance (167 kills, 2.46/g) and Shelby Burton (144 kills, 2.36/g) round out the U of M's top four attackers. Memphis' best blocker, Burton has missed each of the last two matches with an illness. Nellans also has a team-best 273 digs.
ECU returns 10 letterwinners, including five starters from last year's squad that went 5-8 in league play and finished ninth. The Pirates were picked to finish 11th in this year's preseason polls, but have proven the pollsters wrong through this point in the schedule. At 3-2 in league play, they currently are fourth in the league standings. Senior Pam Ferris leads the way with an astounding 4.15 kills per set. Erica Wilson is second on the squad with 173 kills (3.09/g). The Pirates are tied for 27th in the country with 16.26 kills per gameFive Pirates have made at least 100 digs, with Trish Monroe logging a team-high 233. Jaime Bevan has a team-best 49 blocks.
Marshall, who was tabbed to finish second in the league's preseason polls, has won all five of its C-USA contests. The Herd has won six consecutive and eight of the last nine. Preseason Player of the Year Kelly-Anne Billingy leads Conference USA and ranks fifth nationally with 5.57 kills per game (245 kills). The Thundering Herd is hitting .267 as a team, good for 25th nationally. The offense, which is currently ranked 16th in the nation in assists, is run by setter Katie Stein. Stein's 721 assists leads the league and is also fifth in the country with 14.14 assists per game. Stephanie Cahill is second the team with 201 kills. She has posted nine double-doubles this year. Defensively, Maggie Arias has a team-high 195 digs, while Amber Sims has 57 of the team's C-USA-best 138.5 blocks. The Marshall defense has held its opponents to a .148 hitting percentage.
Memphis has never lost ECU on the volleyball court in six meetings. The Tigers swept ECU at home last year. Sunday's meeting with Marshall will be the first between the two institutions.