Mid-American Conference Volleyball Notebook

Updated 11/11/1980
MAC Pepsi Offensive Player of the Week
Julie Zylka, Ball State (So., MA)
Muncie, Ind. (Delta HS)

Zylka was named to the all-tournament team at the Flyer Invitational after hitting .641 (44-3-64) and averaging four kills, two digs and 1.18 blocks per game in three matches, helping Ball State to the tournament title. Against Tennessee Tech, Zylka had eight kills in 11 attempts and then registered a career-best 22 kills against Austin Peay, including kills in each of her first 11 attempts, and committed only one error in 29 attempts for a .724 attack percentage. In addition, Zylka added 12 digs and six blocks against the Lady Governors and concluded the tourney with 14 kills, four blocks and a .500 attack percentage against Dayton.

Other nominees: 
Name --                Att.  %    (K-E-TA)     K/G   D  (D/G)   B/G 
Melissa Lewis, BG      --   .328  (62-20-128)  5.17  35 (2.92)  0.42 
Keri Shiels, UB        --   .368  (67-17-122)  4.18  52 (3.25)  0.63 
Kristin Tack, CMU      --   .242  (40-18-91)   3.64  12 (1.09)  0.18 
Jill Hutton, EMU       --   .556  (38-3-63)    3.17   9 (0.75)  1.25 
Kellie Nowak, Kent     --   .253  (59-21-150)  3.11  42 (2.21)  0.42 
Heidi Kuethe, Marshall --   .265  (46-16-113)  3.54  41 (3.15)  0.46 
Kerry Hardek, Miami    --  14.75 assists/game  0.58  28 (2.33)  0.62 
Mandy Swick, NIU       --   .290  (94-38-193)  7.23  71 (5.46)  0.69 
Katie Mullen, OU       --   .358  (63-20-127)  4.50  26 (1.86)  0.71 
Jessica Buck, UT       --   .375  (18-6-32)    3.00   2 (0.33)  0.33 

MAC Pepsi Defensive Player of the Week
Mandy Swick, Northern Illinois (Jr., OH)
Coffeen, Ill. (Hillsboro HS)
Swick averaged 5.46 digs and 0.69 blocks per game for the Huskies, including 20-plus kills and digs in each of the team's three matches. Against Villanova, Swick, who garnered all-tournament honors, recorded 26 kills and 22 digs and followed that with a 28-kill, 28-dig performance in a loss to Kentucky. The junior closed out the tournament with 40 kills, 21 digs and four aces and three blocks against host Virginia Tech. For the week, Swick hit .290 (94-38-193) and averaged 7.23 kills per game.

Other nominees: 
Name                     Digs (D/G)   BS-BA-TB  (B/G)   K   (K/G) 
Lori Kemerer, BG         34   (3.78)  3-10-13   (1.44)  21  (2.33) 
Rebecca Meade, UB        66   (4.40)  1-4-5     (0.33)  58  (3.87) 
Jennifer Mitchell, CMU   25   (2.27)  2-8-10    (0.91)  32  (2.91) 
Sara Schaub, EMU         25   (3.13)  0-6-6     (0.75)  37  (4.63) 
Sarah Kutschinski, Kent  56   (3.29)  4-8-12    (0.71)  30  (1.76) 
Mindy Collins, Miami     69   (5.31)  1-7-8     (0.62)  63  (4.85) 
Amber Merrill, OU        25   (1.79)  0-9-9     (0.64)  58  (4.14) 
Cori Begle, UT            2   (0.20)  3-5-8     (0.80)  31  (3.10) 

Rough Week vs. Ranked Teams:
While the MAC had a winning mark against non-conference opponents during the opening weekend (26-23, .531), the league was a combined 0-6 versus teams in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll. Both Western Michigan and Kent faced two top-25 schools, while Akron played then No. 1 Penn State and Toledo met No. 7 BYU. This week doesn't get any easier as three MAC schools face ranked foes. The Zips host No. 14 Ohio State Tuesday, while Miami battles No. 1 Pacific Friday and Toledo travels to No. 2 Penn State Saturday.

Van De Walle Nearing 300 Wins:
Denise Van De Walle, who is in her 17th season as BG's head coach, is one win shy of becoming the second coach in MAC history to register 300 career wins. Van De Walle, who is already the school's all-time winningest coach, would join Miami's Carolyn Condit (314 career wins) as the other coach to reach the plateau.

New Mac Coaches Open With Wins:
The MAC welcomes two new coaches to the league this season, as Todd Kress takes over Northern Illinois' program, while Nadine Lilavois will direct Buffalo's squad. In their first week of play, the two teams went a combined 6-1. NIU went 2-1 at the Hokie Classic, while UB was a perfect 4-0 in Lilavois' debut.

New Member Of The 3,000 Club:
Ball State junior setter Emily Sallee totaled 156 assists during the weekend to increase her career total 3,088 and become just the second player in team history to eclipse 3,000 assists. Wendy Carter (1992-96) holds the school record with 4,404. Sallee, a 1998 first-team all-MAC selection, paced the league last year in assists per game (13.67) which ranked No. 20 in the nation.

Closing In On 1,000 Kill Plateau:
Bowling Green senior Lori Kemerer is only three kills shy of becoming the eighth player in Falcon history to register 1,000 career kills. Kemerer already ranks in the top 10 in four other statistical categories, and with 913 digs, is 87 short of becoming the sixth BG player to record 1,000 kills and digs.

EMU's Hutton Tops Blocks Chart:
Senior middle blocker Jill Hutton became the school's all-time leader in block assists in the first game against Indiana State on Saturday. Hutton, who compiled 15 block assists in four matches, has 299 and passed current Eagle assistant coach Stacy Carey for the top spot. Hutton, who has helped EMU to a 3-1 mark in 1999 and its best start since 1996, was named to the all-tournament team at the Eagle Volleyball Classic.

And The Home Streak Continues:
Miami extended its homecourt winning streak to 17 with wins over Northwestern, Morehead State, Western Kentucky and DePaul last week. The 17 wins is the longest home court streak in the history of the program, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set from November 11, 1980 to October 6, 1982 when Miami played at Withrow Court. The current streak started with a three-game win over Ball State on September 30, 1998.

NIU's Swick Picks Up Pace From 1998:
Junior Mandy Swick, who led the league last year in kills (473) and was third in kills per game (4.11), picked up right where she left off at a year ago at the Hokie Classic. Swick totaled 94 kills over three matches for a 7.23 kills per game average, which included a career-high 40 against host Virginia Tech. She also produced at least 20 kills and 20 digs in each of the team's three matches. Against Kentucky, Swick registered a career-best 28 digs to go with 28 kills.

A First In A While For Ball State:
Ball State's first-place finish at the Flyer Invitational was the school's first regular-season title since Sept. 6-7, 1991, when the Cardinals opened the season with victories over Akron, Michigan State and Toledo to win the Michigan State Tournament.

At-Tack-ing The Net For The Chips:
After seeing action in only seven matches a year ago, sophomore Kristin Tack made the most of her playing time for CMU over the weekend. Tack led the team in kills in each of the team's three matches, including a career-high 20 versus IUPUI, and later added 12 against Wisconsin-Green Bay and eight versus Montana.

Frasor Nets Assists Record:
NIU senior setter Ali Frasor established a new career best in assists with 83 in the Huskies' win over Virginia Tech. In addition, she nearly pulled off a triple-double in that match with 18 digs and eight kills. Against Villanova, Frasor passed out 65 assists and had 11 digs and six kills.

UB's Shiels Paves Way For Bulls:
Sophomore Keri Shiels, a member of the MAC All-Freshman team last year, is part of the reason for the Bulls' 4-0 start. Shiels had 20 kills in the season opener versus Canisius and recorded 21 kills, 19 digs and seven block assists in a five-game win against Youngstown State. After producing only 273 kills as a freshman, Shield totaled 67 in her opening weekend.

Freshmen Frenzy For Marshall:
Marshall freshmen Heidi Keuthe and Sara Boyles made the most of their first collegiate week. Keuthe opened her career with an 11-kill, 15-dig performance against Morehead State, while Boyles added nine kills and four blocks. Keuthe closed out the Flyer Invitational against Tennessee Tech with 15 kills and 12 digs, while Boyles added 10 kills in the win.

Tough Tourney For Kent:
While Kent is winless in five matches this year, the team's record is quite deceiving. After dropping a tough five-game loss at Pittsburgh, the Golden Flashes participated in the Wildcat Classic in Tuscon, Ariz., where their four opponents (Sacramento State, Arizona, Santa Clara, San Diego) were either ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll.

Rough Waters In Florida For WMU:
Like Kent, Western Michigan endured a tough opening weekend of play. The Broncos began with a 3-0 win over Jacksonville, then faced national powers Nebraska and Florida at the Gators' tournament in Gainesville, Fla. While WMU fell to both teams, the Broncos concluded the tourney with a four-game win over Big Ten opponent Iowa to finish third.

Aces Drop For Rockets:
Toledo had six different players serve up at least one ace -- 11 total -- in the Rockets' match with nationally-ranked BYU. Freshman Becky Radomski served up a team-high three, while three others had two each.

Collins Digs Up Title For Miami:
Mindy Collins had one of the best weeks of competition of her stellar collegiate career en route to earning Miami-Sycamore Inn Classic Most Valuable Player recognition. Collins led the 'Hawks in digs, with a 5.31 digs per game average, and kills, averaging 4.85 for the week. Against Western Kentucky, Collins picked up 25 digs in three games, while producing 14 kills.

M&M Leads Bobcat Parade:
Senior Katie Mullen and junior Amber Merrill helped Ohio to a second-place finish at the Jefferson Cup tournament in Charlottesville, Va. The pair, who both garnered all-tournament honors, led the Bobcats in both kills and digs in all three matches. Mullen had 16 kills and Merrill 14 in the win over the SEC's Alabama, and each had 20-plus kills in the win over Furman (Merrill 25, Mullen 20).

Case Makes Her Point For Zips:
Akron's Ashlie Case, last year's MAC Freshman of the Year, made a bold statement to start her second year as a Zip. Case delivered 21 kills in a tough four-game loss to Maryland, then had 18 kills and 18 digs in a five-game setback to Bradley at Penn State's tournament. In four matches, Case is averaging 4.1 kills and 3.0 digs per contest.

Nowak Sizing Up Competition:
Kent senior Kellie Nowak registered double-digit marks in kills in four of five matches, including a career-high 21 against Santa Clara at the Wildcat Classic. In addition, Nowak picked up 14 digs in that match to go with a .415 hitting percentage. Against No. 15 Arizona, Nowak hit .381 with 10 kills.