Volleyball Set for C-USA First Round Action Versus No. 11 UTEP
Nov. 19, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The sixth-seeded University of Memphis volleyball team will get its 2008 C-USA Championship run underway on Thurs., Nov. 20, when the Tigers take on the 11th-seed UTEP Miners in the final match of first-round action at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
The Tigers (17-13; 8-8 C-USA) have lost each of the last three outings, but hope to us their home court advantage to advance to the quarterfinal round for the third consecutive season and fifth time in six years. The Elma Roane Fieldhouse has been favorable to the Tigers this season as they take a 10-6 home record into the 12-team tournament. Six of those 10 wins came inside C-USA play. Memphis has won four-straight at home.
Ranked first in C-USA and ninth in the country in blocking (317.5 total blocks, 2.79 blocks per set), Memphis is led by its defense. The stiff Tiger defense holds opponents to a league-low .151 attacking percentage. Sophomore Emily Underwood is the league's top blocker with 172 total rejections and 1.51 bps. She ranks third nationally in blocking. Libero Christine Bach has picked up a league-high 512 digs and is second in the conference with 4.49 digs per set. Bach is also dangerous from the service line, tying for the league lead with 42 aces. She ranks second with .37 aces per frame.
"It is a pleasure to host the conference tournament for the first time since 1991," said first-year coach April Jauregui. "Our faculty and staff have worked really hard to put on a fantastic event. I look forward to playing on our home court in front of our fans and I know the players are really fired up to play as well. They want to finish the season strong. I wish all the teams the best of luck. It will be an exciting tournament with hopefully 2 teams in the NCAA tournament at the conclusion of this week."
Scouting the UTEP Miners
All-Time Series vs. UTEP
Memphis improved to 5-1 all-time against UTEP with its four-set triumph over the Miners in early October. The U of M is 2-1 versus UTEP in Memphis, with its lone loss coming in 2005. Since then, the Tigers have won four-straight against UTEP. The only time the two institutions met in C-USA tournament play was in 2006 when Memphis faced an upset-minded UTEP squad in the semifinals of the C-USA Championships in Houston. The Tigers rode Shelby Burton's 23 kills, .579 hitting percentage and five blocks to a 3-1 win over the Miners to advance to the semifinals of the C-USA Championships. Laura Côté handed out 60 assists, while Sarah Bury (15 kills, 11 digs and four service aces) and Ashley Liford (12 kills, 15 digs) both finished the night with double-doubles.
Scouting the Rice Owls
All-Time Series vs. Rice
First round play begins with No. 8 seed SMU (14-16, 6-10 C-USA) taking on No. 9 seed UCF (14-16, 6-10 C-USA) in the opener at Noon, followed by defending tournament champion Tulsa (21-10, 8-8 C-USA) as the No. 5 seed battling No. 12 seed East Carolina (13-18, 3-13 C-USA) in the early session on Thursday.
In addition to Memphis's match versus UTEP, the opening night session highlights No. 7 seed Southern Miss (17-12, 7-9 C-USA) taking on No. 10 seed Marshall (12-14, 5-11 C-USA), the 2007 C-USA regular season champion, at 5 p.m.
Volleyball fans can also catch earlier tournament action via video streaming at www.conferenceusa.com. These games are included in each school's respective monthly and/or annual All-Access subscription as well as in CBS College Sports XXL subscription. Non-subscribers are recommended to purchase the school's monthly All-Access package (for November) for $9.95 to get games. The Championship game is included in the school's annual All-Access subscription, CBS College Sports XXL subscription and/or as a PPV. The Championship game will NOT be included in the monthly All-Access subscription. The championship game is available via pay-per-view for $7.95.
2008 C-USA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST ROUNDS Thursday, Nov. 20 (8) SMU vs. (9) UCF 12 p.m. (5) Tulsa vs. (12) East Carolina 2 p.m. (7) Southern Miss vs. (10) Marshall 5 p.m. (6) Memphis vs. (11) UTEP 7 p.m.