MAC ENDURES TOUGH SCHEDULE:
The Mid-American Conference opened the 2000 schedule with teams facing three preseason nationally-ranked squads and met seven schools that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year (0-3 vs. ranked teams and 1-6 vs. 1999 NCAA teams). This weekend is much the same, as the league will battle seven teams that played in the postseason a year ago and will also face two schools that are ranked in the first official USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll of the year -- No. 21 Loyola Marymount and No. 25 Michigan.
NIU WINS MARQUETTE TOURNEY:
Northern Illinois was the lone MAC school to capture a tournament over the weekend, winning the Marquette University Invitational. The Huskies, who defeated Eastern Illinois, McNeese State and Marquette, placed Jenny Bowman, Carrie Blankenship and Jen VonderHaar on the all-tournament team. The Huskies have won five consecutive matches, dating back to last year.
MAC POSTS KEY WINS OVER C-USA:
The Northern Illinois win over Marquette was one of three victories the MAC had over a Conference USA school in the opening weekend. In addition to NIU's victory, Bowling Green defeated Cincinnati in five games and Toledo beat Memphis. Last year, the MAC was 4-7 versus C-USA schools, including an 0-4 mark against the Bearcats. Overall, the league was 18-23 against non-conference opponents last weekend.
TRIPLING YOUR PLEASURE:
Bowling Green sophomore Caty Rommeck had the leagues first triple-double of the season in the Falcons win over Cincinnati, setting BGSU career highs in all three categories. The Oakland University transfer had 24 kills, 11 blocks and 10 digs against the Bearcats. Rommeck had a total of 20 blocks in the three matches, with her 1.67 blocks-per-game average leading the MAC.
CMU'S YOUNG GUN:
Central Michigan sophomore Jenny Young, this week's MAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, showed no early signs of a sophomore slump in the Chippewas opening weekend at George Mason's tournament. Young averaged 4.67 kills per game and had a .392 attack percentage. The outside hitter, who led the team in kills in all three matches, had 22 in the season opener against Fresno State and was named to the all-tournament team.
NEARING THE CENTURY MARK:
Western Michigan head coach Cathy George is nearing a coaching milestone. George, who is in her seventh year at WMU, is four wins shy of reaching 100 for her career as the Broncos head coach and would become the 10th coach in MAC history to reach the century mark.
MCDIVITT IN A NEW ROLE FOR UA:
While Akron's Julie McDivitt is actively pursuing the MACs career dig total, the senior is somewhat setting a new timetable to break the record so she can settle into her new role as a setter. McDivitt, who is 14 digs short of breaking Brenda Bailey's (Ohio) league record of 1,526 digs, replaced all-MAC setter Kim Schaper. The Zips host Cleveland State on Tuesday, then travel to play in Clemson's tournament this weekend.
SALLEE SET TO MOVE UP RANKS:
Ball State senior setter Emily Sallee should move into fourth place this week on the career assists chart. Sallee, who is sixth with 4,850 assists, is 16 from moving into fifth and 20 from fourth. The MAC Player of the Year in 1999, Sallee is also 150 assists from becoming only the fourth player in league history to do so.
ACES, ACES FOR HAWK FROSH:
Freshman defensive specialist Amy Doran assaulted Miami opponents from behind the service line, serving up six aces. Doran recorded three aces against TCU in her first match as a RedHawk. She also nailed three aces against Denver in Miamis second match of the weekend.
TOLEDO OFF TO QUICK START:
The Toledo Rockets picked up two wins at Bradley's tournament to finish second to the host school behind the all-tournament performances of sophomores Bitsy Mayhle and Heidi Neumeister. Mayhle posted a career-high 23 kills against Memphis and finished the tourney with five aces and 25 digs, while Neumeister hit .393 and had 33 kills. The Rockets, who last year dropped their first six matches, didnt pick up their second win until their eighth match.
LESSINGER MAKES DEBUT FOR OHIO:
Mike Lessinger made his head coaching debut on Saturday against Mercer and picked up a 3-0 win at IUPUI's Invitational. The Bobcats, who finished third at the tournament, featured three freshmen and two sophomores in the lineup. Ohio was without the services of Amber Merrill, who is still recovering from a thumb injury which she suffered over the summer.
YOUTH SERVES IN BUFFALO:
Buffalo opened the season with a second-place finish at its own tournament, losing only to tourney champion Providence. The Bulls were paced by freshman Lindsay Matikosh, who was named the tournament MVP. Matikosh led the team in digs with 53 (3.79 dpg) and in kills with 37 (2.64). The first-year player had 17 kills each in wins over Bucknell and Canisius, in addition to registering 22 and 18 digs, respectively, against the two opponents.
KUTSCHINSKI HAS CAREER DAY:
Kent States Sarah Kutschinski had a career-high 27 kills in the Golden Flashes match with Nevada last Saturday. The junior outside hitter hit .361 (27-5-61) in the match with Nevada and was named to the all-tournament team.
MAKING A CASE FOR HER RETURN:
Akrons Ashlie Case made a strong return to the court over the weekend for the Zips, who finished second at the Villanova Wildcat Invitational. Case, who missed most of last year with an injury, averaged 5.22 kills and hit .371 for Akron and earned MAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. A sophomore outside hitter, Case had 20 kills and 13 digs in a loss to American, then closed out the tournament with 17 kills and seven digs in a win over the host school.
MAKING NOISE AS FRESHMEN:
Bowling Green freshman Susie Norris and redshirt freshman Laura Twyman put up some big numbers over the weekend for the Falcons. Norris, the MAC Defensive Player of the Week, had 30 digs in the teams win over Cincinnati and averaged 5.25 digs per contest, while Twyman came off the bench to record 10 block assists, which tied a school mark for most block assists in a five-game match.