Tiger Volleyball To Take On Tulsa and SMU in Weekend Action
Oct. 20, 2005
TULSA, Okla. - The Memphis volleyball team will test its undefeated road mark in Conference USA play this weekend when the Tigers take on the 18-3 Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Fri., Oct. 21, followed by a meeting with SMU in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. Both Tulsa and SMU are undefeated at home in C-USA action this year, with three and four wins, respectively.
Memphis enters the weekend with the momentum of a pair of five-game league wins against ECU and Marshall last weekend. The Tigers' strong block propelled them to a overpowering game-five win over ECU on Friday night, before overcoming a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Thundering Herd, who was previously unbeaten in league competition. Senior outside hitter Nancy Nellans leads the Tigers, who are 5-1 in league play and has won five of the last seven matches. The South Bend, Ind. Native has a Conference USA leading 14 double-doubles this year and leads Memphis in kills and digs with 309 and 308, respectively. She is also the lone Tiger ever to record a pair of 30-plus dig performances in a season or career. Freshman setter Laura Côtè runs the offense and has posted 10 double-doubles. The rookie has 965 assists and has effectively distributed the swings among all Tigers attackers, as six players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per game. Ashley Liford is second on the team in kills with 258 (3.19/g). The sophomore led Memphis in kills in both matches last weekend. Virginia Tech transfer Colette Ramirez has been a strong addition to the Memphis starting lineup with double digits in kills in each of her last three outings. The junior ranks eighth with a .312 attack percentage in C-USA action.
Winners of nine of its last 10 matches, Tulsa is 5-2 in the conference. The Golden Hurricanes only league loss came at the hands of Houston on Oct. 9. Freshman Renee Brooks and Julie Silva are one and two in the conference in hitting, with .408 and .352 attack percentages each. Silva also ranks fourth in the league with 12.33 assists per game (888 total). TU is second in C-USA in hitting (.240), Opponent hitting (.163), assists (14.64/g) and kills (16.09/g). Kassiana Urnau leads Tulsa with 238 kills, while Amy Meyer, Germana Hilario and Dana Weddle each down over 2.00 kills per game. Defensively for the Golden Hurricane, Evyn Wills has a team-best 347 digs (4.63/g).
SMU is 8-11 on the year and 4-3 in seven Conference USA matches. Picked to tie for fourth in the league in the preseason poll, the Mustangs are 7-1 at home this year. Rachel Guilbilato leads the SMU attack and is tied with Memphis' Nellans with 14 double-doubles. Her 273 kills (3.85/g) are eighth among all C-USA participants, while her 32 aces ranks ninth and her 4.27 digs per game (303 total kills) sixth. A strong defensive squad, the Mustangs are atop the leagues statistics in blocks and digs. Freshman Natalie Peters leads the team and C-USA with 99 total blocks, including 25 solos. Caitlin Rainbird joins Guilbilato in the league's top-10 digs list with 3.71 per game.
Memphis is 7-1 all-time against Tulsa with the Tigers earning a sweep over the Golden Hurricane in the last meeting between the two schools in 1998. Sunday's meeting with SMU will be the first time the two schools will have met on the volleyball court.