Volleyball Heads to Houston for Final C-USA Road Weekend
Nov. 6, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Winners of four-straight matches, the University of Memphis volleyball squad (17-10; 8-5 C-USA) will hit the road for the final time this season with its eyes set on maintaining its grip on fourth-place in the C-USA standings. That task will be a challenging one as the Tigers take on Houston at 7 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 7, followed by a battle versus Rice on Sun., Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.
Memphis has been strong down the stretch of the regular season, winning five of its last six, including four C-USA matches to climb into fourth-place in the league standings. The Tigers swept conference play last weekend, taking Marshall and ECU down in straight sets.
First-year head coach April Jauregui's squad depends heavily on its defense and it has not failed them. Memphis leads the conference in blocking (2.83 bps) and holds opponents to a league-low .144 attacking percentage. Sophomore middle blocker Emily Underwood leads the defensive stand with 1.57 blocks per set. That figure leads C-USA and ranks second in the nation. Her 165 total blocks in tops in the country and fourth on Memphis's single-season blocks list. Underwood is flanked by right side hitter Rebekah Strickland, and middle blockers Carolyn Baker and Casey Sines. All three average nearly a block per game. Christine Bach patrols the backline with a team-high 480 digs. She ranks second in the league with 4.57 digs per period.
Offensively, Laura Côté runs an offense that hits .213. The program's all-time assists leader hands out an average of 10.27 assists per set. Strickland and Underwood are her most efficient hitting targets, connecting at a .265 and .263 attacking clip, respectively. Strickland is second on the team with 253 kills behind outside hitter Katlin Inglish's 259.
Scouting the Houston Cougars
Houston's roster showcases one of the league's top hitters in senior Justin Farmer. The outside hitter leads C-USA with 201 kills and 4.28 kills per set. The Preseason All-C-USA pick ranks fifth all-time in C-USA with 2,027 career kills and 10th with 1,496 digs. She is one of four active C-USA players with 1,000 kills and digs. Farmer gets offensive help from Lucy Charuk, who is fifth in C-USA with a .348 hitting average. Charuk has 253 kills. Freshman outside hitter Ingrida Zauere is second on the squad with 2.78 kills per set. She hits .230 with 192 kills. Three-time C-USA Setter of the Week Kelsey King ranks third in the league with 10.76 assists per game. She is second behind Côté with 1,065 total assists.
Houston ranks second in the conference in blocks, behind Memphis. Charuk leads the Cougars and ranks second in the league with 129 total blocks and 1.30 rejections per period. Current C-USA Defensive Player of the Week, libero Amanda Carson is among the league's top-10 in digs. She leads the team with 321 digs and picks up 3.24 per set.
All-time Series vs. Houston
Scouting the Rice Owls
One of the top offenses in C-USA, Rice leads the league in assists and kills, while ranking second in hitting. Senior outside hitter Karyn Morgan leads the charge and is sixth in C-USA with 272 kills (3.28 KPS). Rice also gets solid offensive production from Jessica Holderness and Ashleigh McCord. Holderness has 255 kills, while McCord is third with 238 kills. McCord, a freshman middle blocker, hits .302 on the year, but has been impressive in C-USA action. In 13 league tilts, she ranks fifth in hitting (.345) and kills (3.35 kps). Sophomore setter Meredith Schamun sets the table for the offense and leads C-USA and ranks eighth in the country with 11.60 assists per set. She is a two-time C-USA Setter of the Week honoree.
Libero Tracey Lam highlights the Rice defense. Lam, who has been honored as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week four times this year, leads the league and ranks 29th nationally with 4.90 digs per set.
All-time Series vs. Rice