Volleyball Begins Three-Match Homestand on Friday
Oct. 18, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball squad will get the second half of its Conference USA schedule underway on Friday, Oct. 19, when it hosts the Rice Owls in the first of three straight home matches. The match is set for 7 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The Tigers will wrap up its C-USA weekend with a 1 p.m. tilt versus Houston on Sunday, Oct. 23.
Memphis, who has won four of its last five matches, enters the weekend set on the heels of a pair of five-game outings at East Carolina and Marshall last weekend. On Friday at ECU, Head Coach Carrie Yerty shook the Tiger lineup up and it resulted in a Tiger win as junior Sarah Bury put away 22 kills in a tough 3-2 win over the Pirates.
Bury slammed 19 kills against Marshall, but 17 aces by the Thundering Herd thwarted the Tigers chances to knock off the league's top team.
The Tigers (16-8; 5-3 C-USA) are led by senior Ashley Liford. Liford is having one of her strongest seasons and averages 3.75 kills (330 kills) per game. The Tiger outside hitter leads the team in double-doubles and is second in aces and digs. Senior middle blocker Shelby Burton continues to lead the team in attacking efficiency and blocking. The San Antonio native maintains a .389 average and has made 127 rejections. Her 28 service aces is also a club high. Freshman Christine Bach anchors the Memphis back line, leading the team with 302 digs.
Winners of seven of its last eight home matches, Memphis needs just two wins to solidify its seventh consecutive season with a .500 or better record.
Rice comes to Memphis with a 9-11 record and an even 4-4 mark in conference play. The Owls have dropped three of the last four matches and four of the last five road contests. They are led by Natalie Bogans, who ranks among the league's top hitters with a .320 average. She ranks third on the team in kills behind Jessica Holderness (264 kills) and Jennifer McClean (207). The pair is the lone Owls averaging over 3.0 kills per set. McClean and reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week, Tracey Lam both have 25 aces.
Four Owls have made over 200 digs, led by Lam's 289. Holderness has 279 digs and McClean has 225. Rice is one of the conference's top digging squads. Caroline Gill's 89 blocks is a team-best
Houston will take a three-game win streak into weekend action. The Cougars have won eight of the last 10 and are 11-8 and 6-2 in the conference. Current C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, Justine Farmer has been phenomenal this year, averaging 5.47 kills per game. He has hammered down 399 kills to lead the Cougar offense. UH has used three primary attackers this year, with Hannah Sullivan and Lucy Charuk getting the majority of the sets not given to Farmer. Houston hits .205 as a team.
Defensively, Erin Rice 81 blocks--nearly 40 more digs than the next closest blocker. Amanda Carson averages 4.25 digs a set.