MAC Pepsi Players of the Week
TWO MORE TEAMS QUALIFY:
Bowling Green and Akron became the third and fourth teams in the MAC to qualify for the league's postseason tournament over the weekend, joining Western Michigan and Ball State, which clinched positions one week prior.
Two weeks remain in the regular season schedule and four spots have yet to be filled. Central Michigan and Toledo were the first schools to be officially eliminated from postseason play following play on Saturday.
The Broncos and Cardinals did clinch two of the four available home courts for the quarterfinals, which will take place Tuesday, Nov. 23. The four winners from the quarterfinals will advance to the highest remaining seed for the semifinals and championship match, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27.
WMU PUTS FANS IN THE STANDS:
Western Michigan, which began the week on a 13-match winning streak, closed out its home schedule by drawing more than 1,000 fans in each of its final two matches. The Broncos drew a season-high 2,082 fans to their match with Akron, then had 1,304 in attendance for their match with Miami.
EIGHT STRAIGHT 20-WIN SEASONS:
Ball State has posted an eighth straight 20-win season for the first time in school history. The streak includes 1992 (22), 1993 (26), 1994 (25), 1995 (22), 1996 (21), 1997 (21), 1998 (21) and this season. Stringing together eight 20-win seasons had happened only one other time in the history of the Mid-American Conference. Western Michigan posted nine in a row beginning in 1979 and ending in 1987.
TEAM EFFORT KNOCKS OFF WMU:
Behind the efforts of Kalamazoo, Mich., native Kim Schaper, the Zips upset previously undefeated Western Michigan in conference play. Schaper played despite suffering from the flu all week and had not practiced at all during the week. Schaper netted 59 assists and 14 digs. Also helping out was junior Julie McDivitt, who fired 17 kills (.417 hitting percentage) and 26 digs. Senior Kim Branam also contributed 17 kills (.457 hitting percentage).
KEMERER NEARING ELITE COMPANY:
Bowling Green senior Lori Kemerer is three blocks from entering some elite company in Falcon history. Kemerer would become only the second BG player in history to register 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs and 500 blocks, joining Lisa Mika as the only Falcons to reach the feat.
HOME MATCH MEANS A WIN?:
Entering play this week, less than half of the league's teams (six of 13) have a .500 or better record at home. Ball State puts its league-best 13-1 home mark on the line in its final home match of the season Wednesday against Bowling Green, a team that is 4-1 in league road matches. Right behind BSU is Western Michigan, which finished with a 14-2 mark on its home floor, while Miami (8-4) and Bowling Green (6-3) each have won 67 percent of its home contests. Buffalo (9-6) and Eastern Michigan (7-5) are the other schools with home winning records.
CMU LOOKS TO END STREAK:
Central Michigan is currently on a 10-match losing streak, the longest in school history. Over that span, the Chippewas have won only four games.
WHAT A TURNAROUND FOR BG:
The 1999 season has turned into quite a special one for Bowling Green and head coach Denise Van De Walle, and there is still two weeks of the regular season and the MAC Tournament left. After finishing with only 16 MAC victories total over the last three seasons, including four league wins last year, the Falcons have reached the 10 win mark for the first time since they won 11 back in 1994.
PRESEASON POLL REVISITED:
Below is a comparison of the league's preseason poll, which was released back in August, in relation to where the teams stand with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
East Division Pick +/-
Bowling Green 4th +3
Akron 2nd even
Marshall 6th +3
Miami 1st -2
Kent 5th even
Buffalo 7th +1
Ohio 3rd -4
West Division Pick +/-
Western Michigan 3rd +2
Ball State 1st -1
Eastern Michigan 4th +1
Northern Illinois 2nd -2
Toledo 6th +1
Central Michigan 5th -1
THOMPSON CLOSING IN ON 1,000:
In only two years as a regular face in the Miami lineup, Alissia Thompson is closing in on the 1,000 career kill mark. Thompson, who recorded 415 kills last season and has 331 kills this season, has amassed 914 for her career to date. With only four regular-season matches left on the Miami schedule, Thompson would have to average 19 kills per match to reach the milestone. If Miami were to advance to a quarterfinal match, Thompson would need to average just over 15 kills per match. To reach the tournament, the RedHawks need to win one more match or have one of the following three schools lose one more match -- Buffalo, Northern Illinois or Toledo.
SUCCESSFUL ROAD TEAMS:
While seven of the MAC's 13 teams have had their difficulties at home, three of those schools have winning marks on the road. Akron and Marshall are both 2-4 at home but on the road are 8-6 and 7-5, respectively. Kent, which is 2-8 at home, is 6-4 in road contests and 5-2 in MAC road matches.
NO SOPHOMORE LETDOWN HERE:
Ball State sophomore Megan Hammons is having the most prolific offensive season ever by a BSU sophomore. She set the school record for kills in a four-game match with 29 at Ohio on Saturday. That improved her season total to 424 kills, which is the fifth-highest single-season effort in team history. It shatters the previous BSU sophomore record of 361, which was set by Michele Winkle in 1982. Hammons has hammered 10-or-more kills in a match 20 times this season, which ties the sophomore record set by Lindsay Follin in 1996 and ties the 11th-best effort in team history. She has recorded 20-or-more kills in a match nine times to destroy Stefanie Decker's (1989) sophomore record of three.
FIVE-GAME MATCH NETS BIG NUMBERS:
Eastern Michigan and Kent battled to a five-game contest that produced a combined seven players tallying kill-dig double-doubles. EMU's Jill Hutton led the team with 26 kills and 26 blocks, Sara Schaub had 22 kills and 15 digs, Karen Simpson had 14 kills and 22 digs and Courtney Huffman had 11 kills and 24 digs. Kent was paced by Carrie McEnery's 19 kills and 20 digs and Carrie Patterson's 14 kills and 17 digs.
MERRILL IS MARVELOUS FOR OHIO:
Ohio junior outside hitter Amber Merrill has posted three straight kill-dig double-doubles, including 18 kills and 12 digs in the Bobcats' loss to Ball State. For the season, Merrill has nine double-doubles and leads the team with 381 kills. Her 4.19 kills per game average is fifth in the MAC, while teammate Katie Mullen is sixth with a 4.18 average.
ROOKIES PACE TOLEDO:
Three Toledo freshmen -- Jessica Buck, Bitsy Mayhle and Becky Radomski -- have accounted for 58 percent of the team's kills (716 of 1,227) in 1999. In Toledo's two wins last week, which were the team's first home victories of the season, the trio totaled 70 percent of the Rockets' kills.
PAIR REACH THE CENTURY MARK:
Two senior setters -- Northern Illinois' Ali Frasor and Marshall's Nicole Frizzo -- reached the 1,000 assist mark over the weekend, increasing the league's total to eight setters who have tallied 1,000 assists this year. Frasor reached the century level for the second consecutive year, while Frizzo made it for the fourth consecutive season -- a first at Marshall. Ball State's Emily Sallee, who has 4,319 career assists, is chasing former Cardinal Wendy Carter for the career mark at BSU. Carter totaled 4,404 during her stint as a Cardinal.
MORIN IS MARVELOUS AT THE NET:
Western Michigan senior Traci Morin, who was third in the nation in attack percentage last week, hit .437 in her final two home regular season matches of her college career, in addition to averaging 5.7 kills and 2.4 blocks and two digs per contest. Morin had 17 kills and nine blocks against Miami, then had 23 kills and eight blocks versus Akron.