Volleyball Hosts Home Stand Finale This Weekend
Nov. 8, 2002
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- - The University of Memphis volleyball team (17-12, 2-7 C-USA) will host their final C-USA weekend of the season when Charlotte (14-12, 5-4 C-USA), Friday night, and East Carolina (6-22, 0-9 C-USA), Saturday night.
The Tigers are currently in the 11th spot in the league. The top 12 teams qualify for the Conference USA tournament that is being held Nov. 22-24 in Chicago, Ill., on the campus of DePaul University. Memphis, which has four league games remaining, needs to rack up wins to prevent falling any further in the standings. Marquette, whom Memphis beat 3-0 in their last home weekend, is currently in the 12th and final playoff spot, while host DePaul is one spot out of the tournament right now.
Junior Brittany Barnett (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) has made a strong case for a post-season honor this season, ranking in the top 10 in the league in kills per game (4.13) and leading the Tigers with 1,128 attacks so far this season. But what has made this Tiger team different from teams in the past has been the balance of the offensive attack. Sophomore Tiara Gilkey (St. Louis, Mo./Pattonsville) is also hitting .242 and is averaging 3.50 kills per game. Her 361 kills is just 48 more on the season than freshman Nancy Nellans (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph). Nellans will be another Tiger for opposing coaches to consider come ballot time for all-freshman team honors. The South Bend, Ind., native has downed 20 or more kills seven times so far this year, with four of those coming against C-USA competition.
The Tiger middles have stepped up their play as of late, with Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Mary's) again leading the team with a .248 attack percentage. Neba is also averaging 1.73 kills per game and is leading the Tiger blocking game with 69 total blocks. The team's lone senior, Brooke Chrisman, will be honored by the team Saturday night in her final Tiger home match. Chrisman has been a particularly effective blocker in the last six matches, and is now third on the team with 57 total blocks and second with 12 solos.
Memphis has two road contests remaining following this weekend. The Tigers will travel to Tulane, next Friday, and Southern Mississippi, next Saturday.